Alphabits Soup is mankind's most diabolical creation. Splayed across the briny surface of each bowl, drifting, churning madly, are the perfectly reasonable and carefully ordered letters of the English alphabet. Even the name is hideous; AlphaBITS, as though the whole thing were crumbling into random chunks, drifting away into the watery slop Campbell's tries to pass off as a lunch. Alphabits are an ingestible form of chaos, a slurry of disarray funneled down the clenching gullets of children from coast to coast. When I overcame my repressed homosexuality and my intense aversion to mess long enough to bilge my seed into a woman, the mewling things she disgorged never stooped to eating Alphabits.
Oh you think I don't get women? I've had many offers, believe me. I walk into a bar, lick the light switches, run my finger along the tops of all of the chairs and then inevitably some gorgeous college girl who remembers my stint on Double Dare wants to buy me a drink and chat. I sit uncomfortably, transfixed like a pinned butterfly on the end of her hot spear of exhaled germs. Will she try to touch me? Will she move the salt shaker three inches from its starting point after dousing her filthy hand for a tequila shooter? How did I get myself into this?
No, not for me. Never for me. Order is meaning, an escape from the esoteric nightmare of chaos. To actually know where something is, to understand its correct place, to keep it there no matter what occurs; that is my purpose. Some fool might look at the mad swirl of the sea and produce a poem, I see the perfect stacks of cookies, crackers, and candies on my table at the diner and I know order. I will present unto you, in short and concise segments, the origins and means of manufacture of each of these foods.
I even wrote a book about this shit and they still don't listen to me.The show is "Unwrapped" but I would never do that. There is an intern who does the actual unwrapping. Sometimes the director instructs me to pick up one of the food items - to disrupt the delicate balance - and with agonized reluctance I do. However, if he asks me to eat the item, well then the pattern falls apart, so fuck him. People know Marc Summers so I can get away with that. I'm not some no-name NYU student directing 23 minute infomercials for Three Musketeers bars on a cable network about food.
Our set designer is a guy by the name of Dylan Kiszlowski. He's a union guy and it shows, no concept whatsoever of personal grooming, a complete lack of attention to detail, and a general disinterest in setting up our displays. He'll lumber onto the set like an ogre, shifting packages of Mike & Ikes or carefully positioned bowls of ice cream wherever he wants. I have a fucking system Dylan! Didn't you read that five-page single-paragraph memo I sent out where I explained in agonizing detail that boxed candies should be at a five degree angle with my speaking position serving as the northern polar direction? Do I have to wrap my hand around a 93-perferation/23-ridged rubberized hammer grip and pound these fucking dirt simple concepts through your skull?
Here's an example of a conversation I had with Dylan last week while shooting our potato chip episode.
Me: Well holy crud (I positively do not swear on set), what the dadburned heck is going on here Dylan? There are Ruffles all over the table.
Dylan: Rich said to actually display some of the product-
Me: Did Rich tell you to vomit Ruffles across the table like a 90 pound freshman girl on a Jaeger binge? Did he want you to upend a bag across this table that I have licked clean TWICE already today? Do you know that grease stains will show up on camera?
Me: Yes, "uh", you pinheaded embodiment of the word "carelessness". It looks like a Ruffles truck overturned here! Look at this! Look at that chip there, it is within three inches of the bag of pork rinds. Move it this instant AAAAAAH! God in heaven, move that blasted thing!
No, no, no, no, NO!Of course when Dylan finally got around to overcoming the effects of gravity on his lardy fingers he moved the chip within six inches of the Fritos bag. Potato to corn, greater than eight! Potato to pork, greater than four, but for Christ's sake, potato to corn, greater than eight! I asked Richard to fucking put this shit on a fine-scale graph each shoot and he still is not doing what I told him to. Goddamn amateurs! It's like Double Dare all over again. Do I need to tell you the thread count on all of the red team shirts or are you going to stop laundering them as permanent press? Ugh, I don't even want to think about that disaster.
You know what, I had this shit figured out with History IQ. The History Channel! I'm thinking there is no way I could get myself into situations like this on the History Channel, but then they decide that the cow-eyed masses want to see more stock footage of Panzer IVs or that howling moron R. Lee Ermey and his humiliating goofball routine. I think it's because the ingrate viewing public knows about as much about history as they know about astral projection and they just hate being reminded of how utterly ignorant they all are. On the plus side I get paid more doing Unwrapped, but I'd give up one of these zeroes for a crew that understood the meaning of the word "organized".
Do you know how they make Peanut Brittle? This is great, I learned just last week when doing the voice over for the montage. They use a technique called "COMPLETE FUCKING BEDLAM". There are volcanoes of peanuts shooting out of machinery, the conveyor is covered in this oily brown residue, and Rich told me the day they shot at the factory half of the hoppers were jammed with what they call "nuggets". I don't go near a location shoot, but just watching the raw tapes was enough to make me break out into a cold sweat. I had to film the voice over wearing nearly opaque sunglasses Nancy bought from the geriatric eyewear section of a pharmacy. I looked like Ray Charles but even the reduced audio of the conveyor running was making me want to throw up.
I'm sure you want to know why I'm bothering to vent all this. Well, I want you all to know how much I suffer to bring a little entertainment into your lives. I could go work in a clean room at some microchip plant running my carefully gloved fingers across the ridges of semi-conductors. Instead I endure for my craft and for my viewing public. Remember that! Remember my agony when you see me daintily pick up a carefully smoothed jawbreaker on your TV screen. Know how moving that ice cream spoon when I pretend to eat some of it is like driving white-hot needles into my nail bed. Each time I shift a package or box I feel like Saint Sophia watching the slaughter of her innocent children, powerless and alone, but devout in my love for the viewing audience.
The Remains of Bidet (James Ivory, 1993)
We might find we have more in common than we think if we just stop fighting long enough to combine our bodies into a singular organism.
The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.