Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Ragtime Gal (or — How a Cartoon Made Me Sound Like a Crazy Person)

— “I think what needs to happen is that you should show them the side that you show me: the smart, articulate one that you for some reason hide whenever someone imposing is around. It’s like you’re that one Looney Tunes frog.”
— “Come again?”
— “You know, that frog that shows up in some of the old Looney Tunes episodes? It wears… a top hat, I guess.”
— “I don’t remember any frog. I remember the rabbit and the duck and the pig. And Elmer Fudd. And… that yellow bird.”
— “Tweety Bird.”
— “Yes, Tweety Bird. I remember her.”
— “I don’t think Tweety is female, in spite of the eyelashes. But you really don’t remember the frog?”
— “No frog.”
— “Okay, this guy finds a frog who can sing old-timey songs really well. You know, ‘Hello, my baby / Hello, my honey / Hello, my ragtime gal.’”
— “…”
— “But the frog can only sing these songs when he’s around the one guy. Whenever the guy tries to show the frog off, like to anyone who could possibly give him money for the frog, he just sits there and croaks, just like a regular, stupid frog.”
— “This is really insulting.”
— “You really don’t remember the frog?”
— “No, but I’ll remember you comparing me to him.”
— “He was a recurring character. I know they ran the shorts in the Looney Tunes episodes that used to play late on Saturday mornings back when we were kids.”
— “Was he a ‘person’ animal like Bugs? Did he wear clothes?”
— “No. He was just a dumb frog who exhibited amazing superamphibian qualities but strictly when in the presence of his owner. Everyone else only sees him as a regular frog.”
— “Who wears a top hat.”
— “Well, I think the owner puts the top hat on him when he’s trying to book the frog a Broadway show or something. The hat isn’t important.”
— “Is it that the frog’s singing is all in the owner’s head? Is he crazy or something?”
— “No. Wait, maybe yes, now that you mention it.”
— “Maybe you’re the owner, and this whole recollection is a figment of your imagination in the same way that the frog’s owner thought he could sign.”
— “No, and you know how I’m right? The frog was the logo for the WB.”
— “…”
— “The network? That was around when we were teenagers? It’s the network that had Buffy on it.”
— “You mean UPN.”
— “No. Well, yes. But this is getting complicated. Before Buffy was on UPN, it started out on The WB. And the frog was the logo, like how NBC gets a peacock. Oh, and I remember the receptionists at The WB had to answer the phones “Dubba-Dubba-Dubba-Yoo-Bee.”
— “Because that’s how the frog talked?”
— “No, the frog never talked. He just sang. I’m trying to think of a way to explain this.”
— “You got me.”
— “Do you remember how only Big Bird could see Snuffleupagus? And how he’d always be telling people ‘Oh, you just missed Snuffie. He was just here.’ And everyone else on Sesame Street would be all ‘Oh, sure he was, Big Bird.’”
— “No.”
— [throws up hands in frustration]

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