If you keep up with the bunny tabloids, you know that the Public Broadcasting Service recently censored an episode of “Postcards From Buster,” a children’s show in which Buster, a cartoon rabbit, visits Vermont and meets some real-life children and their lesbian parents, “mom and Gillian.” The episode disappeared the same day PBS received a letter from Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, who asked PBS to “strongly consider” returning the federal money used in its production.
I received this information in an email from Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting [FAIR], which seemed shocked that the depiction of lesbian mothers would trouble our administration. Well, I think FAIR should get with the Bush mandate. Better scripts than Buster’s have met the axe. Here, for instance, are some high-class treatments of children’s and adult classics that I submitted to PBS. As you can see, it took me awhile to get it, er, “right”:
The Velveteen Rabbit—The charming tale of a stuffed bunny rabbit who becomes “real” only after his sumptuous fur has been rubbed off by the frisky good-luvin’ techniques of his favorite little friend, Buster.
Our story begins as the Velveteen Rabbit, plagued by low self-esteem and the feeling that he somehow lacks “verisimilitude,” attends a support group for mentally disturbed animal characters. There, he meets Buster, who is trying to cope with PBS stardom and a deep-seated attention deficit disorder. The bunnies are given a lot of Zoloft and told to “get out and enjoy life!” They are soon seen everywhere together—at day care center photo-ops, PETA rallies, the 92nd Street Y…
But nothing lasts forever. As PBS moves inexorably to the right, Buster becomes increasingly concerned about his image as a red-blooded “stud” bunny. The myth of the “multiplying rabbit” begins to tear the couple apart. Distraught because the Velveteen Rabbit is unable to bear him children, Buster begins a torrid relationship with the renowned Lady Bunny, who claims she’s as fertile as the Nile Delta and can get him a spot on “Wild Kingdom.”
The Velveteen Rabbit goes mad with grief and—in accordance with revised American Psychiatric Association guidelines—is chained up in the attic for the rest of his days. Meanwhile, Buster never calls, never writes. Not even a postcard.
Bald now, but totally authentic, the Velveteen Rabbit develops a hysterical case of eczema and sings “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Leaves You,” sort of like the guy in PBS’s “Singing Detective,” but even more real. [“Unsuitable”—PBS]
MOBY DICK—Crusty old sea-faring Cap’n Ahab is haunted by the Great White Whale that bit off his leg during a moment of maritime passion on a singles’ cruise in the Bahamas. Moby Dick, aptly named for his gigantic phallic shape and high mobility amid the briny deep, has left the smitten Ahab, who finds meaning in their encounter by designing a new gay sex toy, called the “Mobile Dick.” But something is amiss. The captain cannot get the design right—he must see Moby one more time. So he signs up for the next whaling expedition.
Alienating himself from his crew—who seem to enjoy a fair amount of sex without the aid of commercial trinkets—the Cap’n has plenty of time on the voyage to think up advertising slogans. “Got Dick?” “Sperm of Endearment.” “Moon, June, Spoon, Harpoon…”
Ahoy! What’s that on yon starboard poop deck? No, over there, idiot, by the yardarm! It’s Moby Dick! Cap’n Ahab drops his handkerchief, and the chase is on! Extremely nautical maneuvers ensue, and the crew swims away, disgusted. Ahab awakens to find himself lashed to the side of his phallic obsession, which has slipped on a gargantuan condom for the occasion. Too late, the Cap’n discovers he has an allergy to latex, and dies. [“Disgusting”—PBS]
THE THREE LITTLE PIGS— Played by three off-duty police officers, the three little pigs are merry constables who become bored with their beat and develop a yen to be blown by the wolf, an inner-city youth with better things to do.
The wily pigs erect a straw hut, then a stick house, hoping the flimsily constructed buildings resemble crack houses that will attract the street-smart wolf—whose powers of oral satisfaction are a neighborhood legend. The wolf, however, ignores them and begins to think about going to law school.
Tired of the wacky approach, the trio builds a sturdy little brick police station. They go to a park, “entrap” the Wolf, charge him with resisting arrest, take him to their station, and beat him senseless. After giving phony evidence at the wolf’s trial, the three little pigs visit the wolf in prison and order him to perform fellatio on them. The wolf instead goes to the prison library to study cases of prosecutorial misconduct, and plots his revenge. [“Bad, even for you”—PBS]
MASTER-RACE THEATER PRESENTS: THE BROOKLYN TELEPHONE BOOK—Having run out of great Western literature that can be performed with English accents, Master-Race Theater brings you each and every telephone listing for the entire New York City borough of Brooklyn. Hear distinguished British actors Helen Mirren, Derek Jacobi and Emma Thompson as they read aloud “Noo Yawk’s” Spanish, Greek, Italian, Chinese, Russian and African names the way they were meant to sound!
Filmed on location in Sussex, England, the action takes place in an 18th-century manor house simply bursting with butler pantries, chamber pots and other period artifacts that make you want to run to Home Depot for more faux antiques! Ill-tempered servants in lovely period costumes, a must-see. [“Approved! When can you start?”—PBS]