Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Today's Strip, Yesterday's Inspiration

The strip in question:

The reference in playback:

There are many, many things one can say about the seminal two-part appearance of The Doobie Brothers on 1978's version of "Must See TV," What's Happening!

First, while most music performers make only a small cameo when guesting on a sitcom (usually a brief chat with the main character backstage or at a pretend charity concert), The Doobie Brothers practically turn their appearance into an episode of Don Kirshner's Rock Concert (thus requiring the What's Happening! scribes pen no more than ten pages of dialogue). Second, the episode makes one wonder how on earth did the word "doobie" ever get past the censors (although any censorship of the band's very name would have made the guest turn impossible, as it did with the Circle Jerks' unaired appearance on Barnaby Jones). Third, the episode also makes one wonder why a band that would soon go on to score a number one album ("Minute by Minute") and a Grammy-winning number one song (the Michael McDonald-droning "What a Fool Believes") is performing in a high school auditorium (though hazy memory cites a possible pretend charity event or the chance one or more of the band members attended the fictional school). And fourth, one (well, this one) can't help but notice that the above clip fails to show the episode's thrilling backstory, wherein Rerun scores front-row tickets by promising some shady characters to bootleg the concert, only to get so swept up in the music that he drops his hidden personal cassette recorder--right in front of the Doobie Brothers!

And so, without any further ado, the thrilling denouement to "Doobie or Not Doobie" (the first part premiering 30 years ago yesterday):


Claude said...

Hee. I remember that episode like it was last week. The entire audience going silent as the band leans over and points at the tape recorder (because, you know, they'd seen it on the monitors. I guess) is what made it art.

I'd forgotten the conceit that the Doobie Brothers were alumni of the high school, though. That was pretty amusing.

KG said...

I've always thought the line "Which Doobie you be?" should have won an award. I still come out with that occasionally, though I can't think of why or when.

In my neck of the woods, "doobie" wasn't a candidate for censorship at the time. Maybe alternate meanings hadn't reached our area yet.