Miscellaneous improvements


Jason Segel comedies: I had a dream a couple of weeks ago where Jason Segel, Judd Apatow repertory player and star of I Love You, Man and How I Met Your Mother, had the lead role in a movie about a guy who was so determined to prove that sports were stupid and that any idiot could master them that he decided to prove this by breaking the world record for the pole vault. (In my dream, I was the screenwriter, and the script was actually based on my own real-life experiences.) Upon awakening, it’s still almost impossible to believe that this movie has not yet been made. I have an amazingly vivid image in my head of Segel’s big, white, doughy body in a tank top and a comedically short pair of striped shorts. And I’m not alone: I mentioned this idea to my friend Matt, and it was like I’d pressed “play” on a DVD player in his brain cued to a scene of Segel writhing around and shouting in pain after a vault gone awry. The box office for sports comedies is currently boffo, and this one is clearly crying out to be made.

Getting married inexpensively: Try, if you can, to get married on February 29. Not only is this the off-season for weddings, which allows you to rent a reception hall more cheaply, but your anniversary will occur only once in every four calendar years, so you’ll have to buy anniversary gifts much less often.

Body-switching comedies: I can’t be the only one who thinks that 17 Again, which seems to be some kind of body-switching comedy starring Matthew Perry and Zac Efron, looks all wrong. The two of them look nothing alike. Zac Efron is better suited to a gender-switching comedy in which he becomes Lindsay Lohan. They look alike. (Plus, the sexual orientation of the lead character could credibly stay aimed toward women.) If you have to make some kind of multigenerational body-switching comedy vehicle for some Disneyfied teen idol, why not use Joe Jonas and Peter Gallagher? They have the eyebrows to make it believable. But maybe it’s time to start looking at some different variations on the body-switching comedy. First, there could be one that involves a change in both age and sex; the ones I’ve seen mostly involve a father becoming his son or a mother becoming her daughter. What about one where a father and daughter switch places? As it could consist largely of footage of him leering at her nubile friends as they innocently changed clothes and showered after gym class, this could be a popular direct-to-video offering. Second, what about one that involves more than two generations at the same time, such as one where a grandfather becomes his grandson, the grandson becomes his father, and the father becomes the grandfather? And third (and possibly building on the second idea), there was a wave of body-switching comedies in the 1980s — Vice Versa, 18 Again, Like Father Like Son — in which the actor who formerly played the son is now old enough to play the father in a new film (and possible sequel). God knows Fred Savage, Charlie Schlatter, and Kirk Cameron can use the work now, so let’s make it happen.

Explaining torn clothing: Like many of you with fat thighs that rub together, the crotches of my pants wear out much sooner than other areas of my pants. I find that “My crotch is too big” is a simple, acceptable, and even intriguing explanation to anyone who notices this — certainly more so than “My genitals seep an acidic discharge.”

Interviewing Michael J. Fox: During his long, heroic struggle with Parkinson’s disease, former teen idol Michael J. Fox has suffered a decline in his speech, motor, and interview skills. Watching the poor guy stammer and twitch his way through a conversation, as he did on the most recent edition of The Daily Show, is a frankly nervewracking experience for the viewer, and it’s probably no picnic for the host or Fox himself either. (However, I would like to see him interviewed by legendary British television presenter Sir Michael Parkinson, host of the program Parkinson, about his Parkinson’s disease.) As Fox struggled to spit out his sentences, I began to wish that Jon Stewart would simply reach over, rap on his forehead with his knuckles, and bellow, “Hello! McFly!” With any other Parkinson’s disease sufferer, this would of course be cruel and very rude. But it’s never been inappropriate to do this to Michael J. Fox, and that shouldn’t change just because he’s sick now. In fact, it’s more important now than ever to treat him like a normal person. Plus, it might remind him of healthier, happier times.

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