Let’s start with my reaffirmation that I am not a fan of Weird Al Yankovic. However, unlike most, I am willing to keep an open mind about my opinion. And, as many have said he puts on an amazing live show, I am willing to reserve final judgment until I see him perform his shtick, live and in person (as long as the tickets are less than $30 each).
But, he is here…in our Springfields…begging for attention (which seems to be his primary purpose in life), which warrants a post about him here.
What seems evident to me, is that he is much the same in the game, as he is in real life…a cartoon character, based primarily on his ability to spin puns and parity into gold (and bling). Even I have to admit…he has is act down.
So, where did he first show up? And how will he interact with our characters long after this update is over? Let’s take a look…
According to his WIKI profile: “Alfred Matthew “Weird Al” Yankovic (/ˈjæŋkəvɪk/ YANG-kə-vik; born October 23, 1959) is an American singer, songwriter, parodist, record producer, satirist, actor, voice actor, music video director, film producer, and author. He is known for his humorous songs that make light of popular culture and often parody specific songs by contemporary musical acts, original songs that are style pastiches of the work of other acts, and polka medleys of several popular songs, featuring his favored instrument, the accordion.”
I had to look up the term “style pastiches” to fully understand. According to Webster.com, “A pastiche is a work of visual art, literature, theater, or music that imitates the style or character of the work of one or more other artists. … Pastiche is an example of eclecticism in art.”
So…it was pretty much what I thought it was. Al just rips off other people’s ideas, to “make them his own.” Not exactly original…but then, neither is most of Pop music these days…but, I digress.
He has made a handsome living (that phrase always makes me laugh…what is the opposite of a “handsome living?” a “butt-ugly living???”), from taking other people’s music…and then through music and video, making fun of the original, while keeping himself in the joke, by being an accordion-playing buffoon, with a smirk. I guess the old saying, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” goes a long way in Al’s mind. He flatters, a lot!
Getting his start with bits on the “Doctor Demento” show in 1976, most fans remember his huge success with Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” redux, “Eat It” (1984) But by then, he already had certified hits with “My Bologna” (parody of My Sharona- 1079), “Another One Rides the Bus” (You can guess that one- 1981), and “I Love Rocky Road” (Joan Jett had to love that one- 1983).
While Al usually has the tacit blessing of the artists he is ripping off, there are several who have denied him the right to mess with their hits, including Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney, Prince, and surprisingly, James Blunt. I say “surprisingly” in that Blunt didn’t have much of a career to risk.
OK…so enough about the “Real Al,” (is there a real Al?). Let’s move on to his appearances in “The Simpsons” and TSTO.
He has appeared in four Simpsons episodes…always as himself (to be fair…how can you parody someone who is a parody in real life?). His most notable appearance was his first, in “Three Gays of the Condo,” when Marge hires him to write a love song to woo Homer back from living with two gay men. Yes. This was one of the episodes that stretched credulity, even for the Simpsons.
He also made appearances in the episodes “That ’90s Show,” “The Food Wife,” and “White Christmas Blues,” where his song, “Pringle Bells,” was featured.
The best part of being someone who in real life, is “part cartoon,” is that you can pretty much show up anywhere, and everywhere. My guess, is that Al may have in fact reached out to EA to be part of TSTO. And while that may be a push, you can bet he had nothing but support for the idea for appearing in the game. After all…who was he going to sue if they used his likeness?
However…I do find it odd that he is not voiced. I would have thought that he would have no problem lending his voice to a project, knowing that there was nobody who was going to try to imitate someone who imitates others for a living.
The “Physics Loop” of an imitation cancelling out another imitation may be at work here…much like the physics of “stereo phasing” can actually cancel out two distinct recorded tracks that had microphones out of phase, when the track is played in mono. Look it up…it’s a very real phenomenon (here’s a video).
So…in the world of theoretic physics…if may mean that Weird Al’s voice is actually playing…you just can’t hear it.
But what IS clear, is that while the EA programmers were happy to use Weird Al (can we just call him Weird for short?) profusely in this update, they cheaped-out horribly in the number of tasks, and especially outdoor tasks they gave him.
Weird Al Permanent Tasks
- Permission to Parody a Song – Cash 70- XP 17- 60m – Brown House
- Squeeze Out a Parody – Cash 175 – XP 45 – 4h – Brown House
- Parody Himself – Cash 275- XP 70 – 8h – OUTDOORS
- Get Inspiration – Cash 420 – XP 100 – 12h – Kwik-E-Mart
- Fix a Simpsons Relationship – Cash 600 – XP 150 – 24h – Simpson House
So you can see the problem…he is barely outside (mostly in the Brown House), and the one time he is outside, he is doing a parody of himself (see the Dual Imitation Physics Phase Cancellation theory above).
I’m going to give the guy a break. He has made a fabulous career, using his talent to bring happiness to those with a low standard for humor (kind of like Taylor Swift), and for that, many of you are abundantly grateful!
For me…grinding to earn Weird Al Prizes is a bit like trying to collect all of his record catalog. You can do it…but, in the end, you may find yourself asking why you went to all of the trouble for this kind of a reward.
Go ahead. Bring it on. I know there are Weird Al fans out there. Let’s hear why I am wrong…and why I should stop harshin’ on your boy. I can take it.
Yes. The world can use some more “silly” right now. But I’d preferred to have Spinal Tap in the mix. Now THAT would be worth the grinding!