Friday, January 12, 2007

Bang, Zoom! … Ralph lives in a world of sudden, intense pain. He reaches under the icebox to retrieve a hidden Christmas present and his hand is caught in a mousetrap. He falls down the stairs, slips on rock candy Norton has spread upon the floor, is scalded by a blast of steam while trapped in a narrow pipe queasily suggestive of the anal canal. His roars of agony punctuate the episodes like the cries of a masochist in a bordello of the bizarre.

… The Kramdens’ barren marriage begs the question of impotence, not uncommon in men who are grossly fat. There are hints that the couple tries to spark Ralph’s libido with role-playing and various fetishes. (It is worth noting that Ralph’s comment, “It must be some kind of fetish with her,” spoken about Alice’s desire to open presents only on Christmas morning, is perhaps the first time that the word “fetish” was uttered on a television program.) In one episode Ralph poses as Alice’s brother in a sexually charged atmosphere of faux incest, jealousy, and possible gang rape (Alice casually ticks off the names of all the men who surround her at work). In another, Ralph is forced to wear an apron and perform humiliating household chores. In a particularly shocking segment, Alice dresses up as a little girl, and dances about in a diminutive dirndl while salaciously licking a large lollipop. Ralph’s fury at this display is doubtless for the benefit of the Nortons, and is certainly a displacement of his hidden and rapacious pedophilia …

… Ralph mistakenly thinks a dog’s medication is meant for him. He believes he will be taking it in a saucer of warm milk. The next step—wearing a dog collar—is not far off.

… Signifiers of fellatio and homosexuality crash like leaping stags through the thickets of the twisted, umbral world inhabited by Kramden and Norton. They are seen in bed together (Norton in socks and hat—another fetish?) While traveling in a Pullman car their wrists are bound with handcuffs. In a sick parody of marriage, Ralph puts on (and cannot remove) a ring that Norton has purchased for another man; this other man and his followers crowd around Ralph while Norton holds up the fat, bejeweled hand and declaims his fondness for the intended recipient, until Ralph can take no more and erupts in violence. In one memorable, almost surreal moment, Ralph puts the head of a vacuum cleaner pipe into his mouth and is tortured when Norton plugs in the machine, causing it to suck Ralph’s mouthparts deep into the pipe …

… Sadomasochism hangs in the dismal air of the Kramden apartment like an engorged plum that may burst at the touch of a fruit fly’s delicate forelimbs. Norton is bullied, punched, pushed around. He gets even by dressing like a fop from the court of Louis XIV and slapping Ralph’s face with his elegant glove …

… Ralph’s bus rumbles along the streets above while Norton, far below, slogs through rivers of raw sewage in his high rubber boots … Is Ralph the “top” and Norton the “bottom,” in a subconscious fantasia of coprophilic lust…?

… The two men are not shy about trading endearments or admitting, even in front of their spouses, the depth of their mutual infatuation. Norton, when writing down Ralph’s “good pernts,” sums them up in one tender phrase: ‘“sweetest guy in the world.” Ralph, pacing in his apartment while Alice looks on, overcome with the friendship ring he thinks is meant for him, says of Norton, “Imagine that man upstairs, thinkin’ about me day and night … ”

Note: In San Francisco, sometime in the early 80s, there was a gay, Honeymooners-themed boutique. Must track down the name of this establishment, and ascertain whether the following rumor is true: that the boutique’s best-selling item was a massage oil called Pal o’ Mine Lotion

The Ghosts of Christmas Past Some Christmas features from the Y.P.aRchives.
Christmas Correspondence Between Advice Columnist "Mother Wisdom" and a Disgruntled Reader I'd like to pass along a little Christmas blessing I just learned: "May you bleed from your eyes as you service our dark master."
Frosty's Lament Like burnt-out coals, no longer live,
My snow blind eyes will not revive ...



RSD | RSS I | RSS II | Atøm | Spanish









From the Y.P.aRchives


Fun, Fickle Fiction (for Free!)
Fact, Opinion, Essay, & Review
Poetry & Lyric
Advice, How To, & Self-Help


Spectacular Features, Calendrical Happenings, Media Gadflies
Media Gadflies
Calendrical Happenings
The Book Club


Semi-Frequent Columns
Letter from the Editors
Disquieting Modern Trends


Interviews with Interviewers
One-Question Interviews


Correspondence (Letters To and Letters From) Letters from Y.P.R. Letters to Y.P.R. Birthday Cards to Celebrities


The Y.P.aRt Gallery Illustrious Illustration Photography Photomontage Graphic Design Logo Gallery


Pop Stars in Hotel Rooms Shreek of the Week of the Day What's Up with That? Fuit Salad Nick's Guff Vermont Girl The M_methicist Daily Garfield Digest Polish Facts: An Antidote to the Polish Joke


New & Noteworthy Et Cetera, Et Cetera, Et Cetera


Contributors' Notes


The Y.P.aRchives

This journal is powered by Movable Typo 5.02.

Y.P.R. & Co.