The Brunching Shuttlecocks Ratings

The Neighborhood of Make-Believe

Henrietta Pussycat
If there's one thing I want to impress upon my readership, it's the importance of context. A middle-aged man with a hand-puppet going "Meow meow love meow meow meow friends" in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe: beloved children's icon. A middle-aged man with a hand-puppet going "Meow meow love meow meow meow friends" at the bus stop: a good reason to give undivided attention to your crossword puzzle. I found it particularly eerie that she could only speak English about once every five words; the rest was "meow." It was like the inverse of the Smurf language. C

Lady Elaine Fairchilde
The thing about childhood is that nothing makes sense. You have no idea what half the jokes on sitcoms are about, Bugs Bunny keeps making references to WWII-era European dictators you don't recognize, and Hot Wheels always manage to go around the loop-the-loop just fine on the commercials. So you just relax and go along with it, and fifteen years later you look back on the things that confused you and say "Ah! Yes! It makes perfect sense now!" Except in the cases, like Lady Elaine, where you don't. I still don't get Lady Elaine. Was she related to that Madam marionette? Or was she some sort of ground-breaking transgendered hand-puppet? Why did she live in the Pantheon? She was about the only one with a mean streak; I really think she would have been happier as a Muppet, where she could have blown things up and hit people. B+

Mr. McFeely
I really try to avoid commenting on the sexual implications of character names. Such jokes are usually pretty obvious and adolescent. Watch Mr. Roger's Neighborhood with some fourteen-year-olds and you'll get all the "Henrietta Pussycat" gags you can stand. However, it's impossible to ignore in this case. Come on, The guy's name is "Mr. McFeely"! It sounds like a Butthole Surfers album! So here goes: Boy, that "Mr. McFeely" certainly could "hand-deliver" those "packages." He certainly knew how to "ring the bicycle bell." I wonder if he ever made "overnight deliveries"? There. Glad to have that out of my system. C+

The Trolley
I've come to the realization that the Trolley is the god of the animistic Religion of Make-Believe. It creates and unmakes their universe. It comes and goes like a comet, on an agenda of its own. Nobody may understand it, they may only fear it. Oh, yes, they treat it with the same open friendliness that they treat every face-painted vagrant that comes their way, but that's because in their souls they understand one law: don't piss off the Trolley. B

Bob Dog
Bob Dog is dead now, gone to the Happy Education Grounds to frolic with Mr. Hooper. So sad. No longer will he put on doggy makeup and and floppy fabric ears and go "Bowowowowow" to the delight of children and the unemployed. He probably had training in Shakespearean theatre. People who end up playing housepets on children's television shows always have Shakespearean training. I took some theater arts classes in college, but thank Bacchus I never took any Shakespeare classes or I'd probably be "Boomer the Kitty Klown" on cable access somewhere. C-

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