michael jackson dies
Watch the video after the jump.
More of our best of the decade coverage, which started on Tuesday. You can read the other posts at the link above. Here, we talk about a very aught-like phenomenon: the cult of celebrity.
There is no clearer metaphor for the concept of being a celebrity than the Hollywood Walk of Fame. You work hard to chase your dream and achieve a career for yourself by making your name known to the masses of the universe.
Then when you've grabbed that star and become a regular fixture in the flash bulb of the press' cameras, how does the public honor your tireless toil and efforts? They throw you down on a sidewalk and walk all over you.
In the Aughts, however, a new celebrity oozed out of the primordial muck. A celebrity that still suffered the slings and arrows of the tabloid press and a complete loss of the right to privacy, but achieved their stardom by simply cutting out all that pesky hard work and tireless effort nonsense. These are the celebrities who became famous by simply because they were famous.
Who doesn't like a little drama? We love it here at TV Squad. Of course, its usually the scripted kind that we obsess over, not the real-life variety. But it was hard to escape all of the behind-the-scenes scandals going on during the Aughts.
The backstage drama often spilled out onto the tube, in talk show interviews, reality series, and with the 24-hour news networks looking to fill time and boost their ratings. Needless to say, we had little trouble picking our top TV scandals of the '00s.
A lot of memories have surfaced of the good times that pop icon and musical genius Michael Jackson provided the world in the wake of his untimely and unfortunate death. However, an elephant in the room has wedged its wide butt in between the happy memories that range from "Billy Jean" to "Rockin' Robin," other than the eye-bleedingly bad Moonwalker movie.
Jackson's life outside of the recording studio and in the blood-soaked pages of the supermarket tabloids provided a lot of fodder for comedies and comedians that turned the man into a punchline just as fast as the radio waves turned him into a legend.
The man's death was tragic and newsworthy, and the recent memorial was also deserving of some extreme attention, but some of the bits and pieces almost scream for the story to stick around. Mark my words, Michael Jackson will replace Jesus and the Virgin Mary as the holy face that some yahoo will see in their morning batch of French toast.
One of those stories reached such a fever pitch that the network that spawned it tried to put a stop to it. An overly vigilant CNN viewer spotted a shadowy figure walking across the camera during Larry King's visit to Neverland Ranch. The video found its way to YouTube where it garnered over 4 million hits and sparked a wave of news coverage not seen since, well, Michael Jackson's death.
Like Joel reminded us last week, the King of Pop provided the voice for Leon Kompowsky, a large and loveable brick layer who says he is Michael Jackson. In the episode, Homer is charmed by Leon and brings him home from a mental institution, where the rest of the family eventually falls in love with him. The sweetest moment comes at the end when Leon and Bart perform a birthday song for Lisa.
In fact, Jackson is probably one of the many creative minds who helped the show and its characters move into more musical territory and become an even deeper part of global pop culture. When you're a king, you have all sorts of powers, so you might as well use them for the good of your kingdom.
That's why when I become king, I will order all television networks to play nothing but Top Gear and Robot Chicken and that episode of Married...With Children where Al meets a stripper named Rocki Mountains. Anyone who tries to stop me will be thrown into a cell without the benefit of trial and forced to watch reruns of Cop Rock and AfterMASH until their eyes stop working and/or melt right out of their skull. Whadaya gonna do about it? I'm the frigging king!
Surely, considering his importance in the music video format, MTV would have a response. And it would mean a break from their glut of reality crap. What a pleasant surprise to see a marathon of Michael Jackson videos. This is how I want to memorialize a music legend. No matter what he did or didn't do with his life, the music will always be his legacy. Thank you MTV (I can't believe I'm saying that) for eulogizing Michael Jackson in the only way that truly matters. With his artistic genius.
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