In which Jason and Hilary Kelley review “Who’s Johnny” by El DeBarge from the movie Short Circuit.
What we have here is a taut legal thriller in which El DeBarge is being brought up on charges for the plot of the movie Short Circuit. I bet John Grisham is biting his gavel in half, he’s so mad he didn’t write this first! And his wife is sick of finding gnawed gavels all over the place. “John, you’ve either been taking cases in beaver court again, or you’ve been watching El DeBarge’s Who’s Johnny, and I know you haven’t been to beaver court because your comically oversized buck teeth are still soaking on the bedside table.”
Has there ever been a robot more in contempt of court than Johnny Five? Has a robot ever shown a more flagrant disregard for our system of law? He’s planting explosives in the judge’s gavel! Imagine if John Grisham had been gnawing on it. He’d have to use his fake beaver teeth as his real teeth. It wouldn’t surprise me if there was a deleted scene of Johnny Five’s robotic hand groping the statue of Lady Justice.
This. Robot. Hates our freedom.
I might have to disagree with you, Jason. This whole thing is very familiar, and I feel like this is actually a peek into a small convention for people born with a specific genetic mutation: Wrigglewrist Syndrome. The hallmarks of this syndrome are a proclivity to gesticulate effusively with one’s index finger or thumb in the faces of people whom you are trying to persuade, and also to waggle repeatedly (but this is not to be confused with Wagglerot Disease).
I tried to say “Wrigglewrist Syndrome” five times in a row once, and I snapped the little sliver of connective tissue under my tongue. For the rest of the year I was able to touch my cheek with the tip of my tongue. I was popular with fifth-graders and fit in with Lhasa Apsos. Things were looking up. But then I got my flap-implant. Since replacing that little piece of flesh, I notice that I don’t have the social freedoms I once so enjoyed. I guess what I’m saying, Jason, is that if I’ve ever been asked “How loose is your goose?” I have to say, “Not very, sir. Not very at all.”
Johnny Five knows what it means to be constricted. These people hate him because his joints are fixed, and he doesn’t have to worry about flopping fingers, or wrists that become a slapping hazard in high winds. He’s in control–and they hate that. I hate that. But I’m also a robot bigot. A robot traded my ancestors on a human plantation in the 1800s. Rumor has it, I’m 1/32 robot on my mom’s side, but we don’t bring it up at dinner.
Robots trading humans, and breeding with them?! Johnny Five has a lot of explaining to do! If he isn’t too busy having a fire hose turned on a municipal judge, that is. It’s only a matter of time before J-Five turns his own hose on the members of the jury, resulting in yet another 1/32 robo-baby.
Just out of curiosity—when El DeBarge is sworn in, does he swear on the bible, or on the grinning cardboard cutout of Steve Guttenberg? It’s a difficult choice! One gives us comfort in difficult times, lending spiritual guidance and providing answers to life’s most difficult questions, and one is the Bible.
What do you suppose happened to the Steve Guttenberg cutout after they finished filming this? I like to think that El DeBarge took him home. “You’re coming with me, two-dimensional Steve Guttenberg! You better get your ass ready to love me in every dimension, though. We’re going to graft that Johnny Five arm on you, and then we’ll see who’s a robot, and who’s able to breed with humans.”
Do you think he smiled in that special way?
Do you think El DeBarge knows that Ralph Macchio built the foundation of his career on being mistaken for El DeBarge?
Do you think El DeBarge then wrote a response song entitled “Who’s Johnny?” because excitable passers-by continuously shouted at him to “Sweep the leg…!”
Do you think Ralph Macchio is, in actuality, a cardboard cutout with a phenomenal agent?
Did you know that I am 1/16 cardboard cutout, on my father’s side? I’m eligible for reparations from Turtle’s Records & Tapes for the rest of my life. I’m entitled to the square-footage equivalent of six two-tops in any food court in America.
You can’t buy that kind of power, my friend. Next time you want some Sbarro, you let me know. I’ll make sure we have some space to move around.
Do you think anyone told El DeBarge that it’s more traditional to wear white when one is on trial? If I was on that jury and saw that suit, it would only remind me of two things: Iron bars. And Venetian blinds. One obscures the vista to the outside world, keeping its resident in a cage of poor lighting, miserable food, and bland walls as a result of bad decisions. And the other one was not the 80’s.
Wait. Now cardboard cutouts are having babies with people, in addition to robots? Look, I’m as progressive as the next man—I voted for Obama! I even voted for cardboard cutout Obama. But that was before I knew he’d be impregnating human women. And to think I let him watch me get to third base with my girlfriend. No wonder he’s grinning so much!
Is this how Cardboard ObamaCare works? I’ve got to foot the bill for his illegitimate two-dimensional babies? They are pretty cute, though. And look how handsome regular Obama looks with his cardboard twin.
Cardboard Obama and Cardboard Steve Guttenberg should do a Prince and the Pauper thing, where they switch lives for a day. Cardboard Steve Guttenberg can get a taste of what it’s like to run the cardboard free world, and Cardboard Obama can finally enjoy all the Steve Guttenberg perks he’s been dreaming of all these years. Put your feet up, Cardboard Obama—you made it!
Jason, I’m glad we talked about this. Before we watched the video, I thought maybe I was the only person partially-afflicted with cardboard genes. But now, I don’t feel quite so alone.
Sidebar: if you could only wear cardboard jeans instead of actual pants for the rest of your life, would you be happy? I imagine them to be pretty durable, except in the rain, when it would look like you just smuggled a bunch of hamburgers between your legs and they left grease marks. I submit that it would be humiliating, and disappointing.
This is a scenario in which you’d want to have a backup striped suit on you. Just in case.