Innocence Lost

Today’s my birthday, I’m checking who else was born on 9/26, and in addition to the old faves – Gershwin, Springsteen – I see this is the 20th anniversary of “Chucklevision.”

Q: What the hell is that?

A: I’m glad you asked. “Chucklevision” is a children’s TV show hosted, plotted, and perfected by The Chuckle Brothers, beloved entertainers from Yorkshire. They are so ridiculous that I’m still worried I might have dreamt them. They are slapstick comedians whose catch phrase is “To me! To you!” This is yelled as both men are trying to pull or lift things – see, each one’s confusing the other. They perform yearly pantomimes on fairy tale or pop culture themes of varying degrees of inspiration. “Doctor What and the Invasion of the Garlics” – inspired. “Spooky Goings On” – less inspired.

I should add that “Doctor What” ends with a rave sequence.

They are terrifying to look at. Barry Chuckle, in particular, looks like the kind of guy you see on a unpainted park bench at 3 a.m. snuffing wine from a paper sack.

And yet, and yet… the very thought of these guys makes me happy. The picture of mid-sized venues selling out as parents tote their kids to watch deathless vaudeville hacks trip over things and splatter each other with cream pies temporarily twists my perma-sneer into a smile. I can never be a convincing misanthrope. I love my fellow humans way too much.

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