"If I had a brain, I'd think about very dark and disturbing things."

I love television. I want to get that out in the open from the start so that it's perfectly clear that this is article is not an act of hate or anger, but an intervention born out of caring. I love television, but this time, it has gone too far. I was innocently flipping through the channels, certainly not looking for softcore porn of any sort out of a horrible desperation, when a familiar image caught my eye. It was Dorothy, that loveable Kansasian scamp, and her little dog, too. It had been so long since my screen had been graced with their freakishly inhuman Technicolor presence. It seems that the WB network was preparing to show "The Wizard of Oz" in a few days time. Now, there's nothing inherently wrong with that. "The Wizard of Oz" is premium family entertainment. That's the sort of feel-good movie that restores a small portion my faith in humanity after watching something like "The House That Screamed." No, the problem was that the WB, in a move that could only have been the influence of some sort of demonic marketing imp, somehow figured that they could hype up "The Wizard of Oz" as a scary movie. It's a G-rated movie from the Thirties, WB network. You're not fooling anyone. Not for a lack of effort, though. They cut together all of the clips of the Witch and her flying monkeys, and had the whole thing narrated by the guy who does the previews for genuine horror movies and always insists that you have assumptions of safety about unsafe things. I would love to have been in the room for that presentation.

WB Executive 1: "Alright, people, we need something to pull our network out of the doldrums."
WB Executive 2: "What about something that panders to black people?"
WB Executive 1: "No, we already put their Steve Harvey on the air, and they still don't like us. We need something new. What sort of exciting specials do we have in the works?"
WB Executive 2: "Well, we're showing 'The Wizard of Oz' next week."
WB Executive 1: "Feckpeh! That's exactly what I'm talking about! How are we supposed to make that sound exciting?"
(Demonic Marketing Imp appears in a puff of smoke pink smoke.)
Demonic Marketing Imp: "I might be able to solve your problems."
WB Executive 2: "That was some gay smoke, right there. And did you just say 'Feckpeh?'"
WB Executive 1: "Shut up, Gil. Alright, Demonic Marketing Imp. You've got my interest. What do you have in mind?"
Demonic Marketing Imp: "We'll use clever advertising to convince the stupid human public that this is a totally different 'Wizard of Oz,' a new, horrifying vision of pure evil. Hee hee hee! Behold!"
(He pulls a video cassette out of thin air and puts it in the VCR with his prehensile tail.)

(The advertisement begins with a black screen.)
Horror Narrator: "Just when you thought it was safe to get sucked into a giant tornado..."
(Foreboding music begins, stays throughout the the rest of the ad. Slow-mo shot of Dorothy smacking her head against the wall during the tornado. Fade back to black.)
Narrator: "One girl..."
(Dorothy steps out of the house.)
Dorothy: "Where are we, Toto?"
(Fade to black.)
Narrator: "Lost in a world that is not her own..."
(Close-up of Dorothy, snot jiggling in her nose, a la 'The Blair Witch Project.')
Dorothy: "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore."
(Fade to black.)
Narrator: "Accused of an unspeakable crime..."
(Shot of the Wicked Witch of the West pointing her broom at Dorothy.)
Wicked Witch: You killed my sister!
Dorothy: I didn't mean to!
(Close up of the Munchkin coroner, tilted to the side for some reason.)
Munchkin Coroner: "And she's not only merely dead, she's really most sincerely dead."
(Colors turn negative for a slow-mo shot of the Wicked Witch of the East's feet rolling up under the house. Fade to black)
Narrator: "Unwanted by all..."
(Shot of the Emerald City gatekeeper.)
Gatekeeper: "No one sees the Wizard! Not no one, not nohow!" (He slams his little guard window shut. Fade to black.)
Narrator: "Trusted by none..."
(Shot of Glinda, the Good Witch of the North.)
Glinda: "Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?"
(Fade to black.)
Narrator: "In order to save her own life, she must stand against a supernatural force unlike any foe she has ever faced."
(The Wicked Witch makes the end of her broom burst into flames. and laughs maniacally. Shot of the Wicked Witch rubbing her glowing crystal ball. Shot of the message "Surrender Dorothy or else!" forming out of smoke in the sky over the Emerald City. Fade to black.)
Narrator: "With only three friends by her side, it will take all of their cunning, love, and courage..."
(Shot of the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion.)
Scarecrow: "If I only had a brain-"
Tin Man: "A heart-"
Lion. "The nerve."
Dorothy: "Why, that's awful!" (Echo effect on her last words.) "That's awful, that's awful, that's awful, awful, awful, awful..."
(Fade to black.)
Narrator: "To defeat an invincible army..."
(Flying monkeys stream out of the Wicked Witch's castle. Sweeping shot of the Witch's guards marching. Close-up of the Wicked Witch's face as she cackles. Zoom in on the Witch until the entire screen is filled with green, then fade to black.)
Narrator: "And appease an all-powerful dictator..."
(Shot of the giant head of Oz.)
Oz: "Silence!" (Flames shoot out of the ground on either side of him. Fade to black.)
Narrator: "This Sunday... a journey you will never forget. 'The Wizard....'"
(Graphic of "The Wizard of Oz" in a lame, scary font.)
Narrator: "'Of Oz.'"
(Fade to black.)

(As the tape ends.) Demonic Marketing Imp: "What do you say, gentlemen?"
WB Executive 2: "What the hell? That was terrible! I mean, it's "The Wizard of Oz!" It's rated G, for Christ sake!"
(The Demonic Marketing Imp spits a thousand poison thorns into WB Executive 2's left eye.)
WB Executive 2: (Clutching at his shredded retina) "Aaaaaaaaah!"
WB Executive 1: "I liked it. You're hired!"
Demonic Marketing Imp: "That's what I thought. Hee hee hee! Excellent! Kill all humans! Hee hee hee hee!" (Spits more thorns into WB Executive 2's right eye.)
WB Executive 2: "Aaah! My eyes! Oh God, my eyes!"

What the surviving executive and the imp were forgetting, though, is that everyone on Earth has already seen "The Wizard of Oz." Starving Nigerian AIDS babies have seen "The Wizard of Oz." These days, children are born having already seen "The Wizard of Oz." It is not a scary movie. It has never been a scary movie. Everyone knows that it is a cutesy, family-friendly movie that serves as a whore for the Technicolor corporation. The scariest thing about it is that it doesn't credit any of the individual Munchkins, but rather gives them a group billing as the "Midget Singers." The only way "The Wizard of Oz" could ever frighten anyone is if a crazed psychopath tore the film out of the tape, used it to bind and gag a family, then bludgeoned the parents to death in front of the children with the empty cassette. Even then, it would have to be a pretty damn scary bludgeoning. Frankly, I'm shocked and appalled by the WB. That's the sort of ratings-grubbing sensationalism that I'd expect from FOX, who brought us "Who Wants To Marry a Millionaire," "When Prostitutes Attack," and "Who Wants To Marry a Millionaire Prostitute, Who Will Then Attack You," but not the Warner Brothers. I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised, though. That sort of overly dramatic advertising is becoming more and more common. It's a simple formula: foreboding music plus crappy fades plus that one narrator equals profit. Most of it is the narrator. That guy's got it made. All he has to do is read his lines like every three words is a complete sentence, and yet never actually complete a thought. I guarantee you, within the next few years, every TV or movie promo will use him.

"Oh, Mary! I'm the luckiest guy in the world in a dark and disturbing way."

(Black screen. Foreboding music plays.)
Narrator: "Just when you thought it was safe to celebrate Christmas..."
(Shot of townspeople.)
Townspeople: "Merry Christmas!" (The shot freezes and twists to the side for some reason on the last syllable. Fade to black.)
Narrator: "One man, standing on the brink of oblivion..."
(Shot of George Bailey standing on the edge of a bridge.)
George: "Everyone would be better off if I was never born!"
(Fade to black.)
Narrator: "He will be lead through the veil of death..."
(Close-up of Clarence offering his hand to George.)
Clarence: "Come with me."
(Fade to black.)
Narrator: "To a world of destruction..."
(Shot of George and Clarence arguing.)
George: "Harry Bailey went to war! He got the Congressional medal of honor! He saved the lives of every man on that transport!"
Clarence: "Every man on that transport died!" (Echo effect on the last word.) "Died, died, died, died..."
(Fade to black.)
Narrator: "To a world of depravity..."
(Close-up on Annie.)
Annie: "I been savin' this money for a de-vorce, if I ever get a husband."
(Fade to black.)
Narrator: "To a world of pain..."
(Shot of Nick the bartender leaning over the bar to talk to George.)
Nick: "Hey look, mister, we serve hard drinks in here for men who want to get drunk fast, and we don't need any characters around to give the joint atmosphere. Is that clear, or do I have to slip you my left for a convincer?"
(Fade to black.)
Narrator: "His only escape is to find his own redemption..."
(George shouts after Mary.)
George: "Mary! Mary, don't you know me?"
(Close-up of Mary's disdainful reaction, then fade to black.)
Narrator: "His only hope is to discover..."
(Title graphic fades onto the screen.)
Narrator: "'It's a Wonderful Life.'"
(Fade to black.)

Or, God forbid...

Stephanie:"I've got stupid on either side of me!" Olsen Twins:"We've got ugly in the middle!"

(Black screen. Foreboding music plays.)
Narrator: "Just when you thought it was safe to break a lamp..."
(Black and white shot of the broken pieces of a lamp on the floor. A baseball slowly rolls through the pieces. Fade to black.)
Narrator: "In a time of innocence lost..."
(Close-up of Michelle gasping.)
Narrator: "One girl, who is played by two girls, will find herself the target of an investigation..."
(Danny stands over the broken lamp, his hands on his hips.)
Danny: "Michelle, did you break this lamp?"
(Fade to black.)
Narrator: "She will enter a world of lies..."
(Shot of Michelle waving her arms in desperation, and also because she's like three years old.)
Michelle: "No! It was Stephanie!"
(Shot of Stephanie waving her arms in desperation because she sucked. Seriously, am I right, or what?)
Stephanie: "What?"
(Fade to black.)
Narrator: "Her friends and family will turn against her..."
(Stephanie puts her hands on her hips, glaring at Michelle.)
Stephanie: "How rude!"
(Shot of Aaron with his thumb on his nose, waving his fingers at Michelle. I was never really sure what that was all about. The point is, I hate Aaron. Come one, you remember Aaron. The little brat who was always insulting everybody but never got his comeuppance? I wanted to smack him something fierce. This isn't really stage direction. I'm just venting, here. God, I hate that kid. I think he grew up to be Haley Joel Osment or that kid who played Darth Vader in "Episode 1." I don't know, one of those punks.)
Aaron: "You're stupid, dumb-dumb!"
(Fade to black.)
Narrator: "She will learn a lesson that she will never forget..."
(Danny kneels in front of Michelle, his hand on her shoulder.)
Danny: "You have to learn to take responsibility."
(Fade to black.)
Narrator: "A terrifying new part of growing up..."
(Same as previous shot.)
Danny: "It's part of growing up."
(Fade to black.)
Narrator: "The crime comes full circle on the next episode of..."
(The title graphic fades onto the screen.)
Narrator: "Full House..."
(Fade to black.)

That day is not far off, my friends. And once we get to that point, where will we be? I'll tell you where: in a world without hope... a world without justice... a world without morality... a world where Something Awful will have it's friggin' hands full...

(Fade to black.)

There's No State Like State Og. Not Even Missouri.

We've just received the latest word from the kitten-loving megacorporation State Og, and I for one couldn't be happier, or so this prepared statement that I'm writing out of my own free will and not at all at gunpoint would have me believe. This week there's more Og news than you could shake a stick at, unless it was one of State Og's trademarked Super Sticks. Those things can do anything.

Today marks a great accomplishment for one of State Og’s finest! News has just reached us that Bob Nigel, an employee from Intercourse, Pennsylvania, crushed the overwhelming odds and became the first man in history to survive the State Og Acid Challenge. The test consists of one simple trial; the challenger must endure seven gallons of deadly acid poured over his naked flesh. Since Mr. Nigel did not choose to undergo the Acid Challenge on his own accord, but was in fact forced outside into the Og Acid Rain by his fellow coworkers, State Og must waiver the monetary element of his reward. However, we are quite certain Mr. Nigel will enjoy his State Og beer hat and Acid Challenge trophy just the same!

The mischievous coworkers who locked Mr. Nigel out of the building during the acid storm report that they “knew Bob always had it in him,” and though Bob was running about and screaming “my flesh, burning, oh God, help,” they were certain he was going to tough it out until the end.

Ha ha! That's what the chip they implanted in my brain forces me to love about State Og. They're always bringing out the best in their fellow man, usually with acid. But there's far more than just painful scaldings in the latest update from our cherished State Og representative. See for yourself! Act natural as you do so. They can see you at all times, and they know what you -- oh crap, they're on to me!

– Ben "Greasnin" Platt

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