Thursday, August 31, 2006

Pink Lady

Despite having been a phenomenon in Japan (with a still loyal fanbase), Pink Lady is best known in the U.S. for the failed television show Pink Lady and Jeff. Considered one of the biggest flops in television history, it lasted only six episodes, supposedly cost Fred Silverman his job, and is blamed for being the final nail in the coffin of the variety show format. Here's the thing though--I loved it. I was only ten when the show debuted on NBC, and I thought it was about the best thing I had ever seen on television, better even than Sonny and Cher. I was pissed when the show was cancelled.

So I was pretty psyched when I came across a still-sealed copy of Pink Lady's U.S. album. I should have left the album sealed, boy is it ever bad. It's not even bad in a so-bad-it's-funny way. It's entirely competent, entirely generic, by the numbers, disco. It's not even bad so much as it is undistinguished, which by my reckoning is worse. I remember what I liked about the television show was that its stars, Kei and Mei, were outsiders. They were struggling to make sense of American mores and customs every bit as much as I was at ten-years-old. I couldn't figure out the elaborate kabuki rituals the other kids my age were practicing any better than Kei and Mei could understand comedian Jeff Altman's jokes (to be fair, most Americans had the same problem). But no trace of that outsider status comes through on the album, it's just crummy disco. I imagine their Japanese material is a lot more interesting.

I realize every person on the planet other than me says this was the worst TV show ever, but as far as I'm concerned, any show that put Larry Hagman, Teddy Pendergrass and Sid Caesar together in a hot tub with two bikini clad Japanese women could not be all bad. The show is available on DVD, so I guess I could prove that to myself was I so inclined. I'd like to see it again if for no other reason than to exercise some long dormant synapses. Saturday Night Live did a hilarious parody skit called "Pink Lady and Carl" (the Carl in question being Carl Sagan). I'd like to see that again too.

If you want more info on Pink Lady check out this incredible U.S. fansite. Nothing on the album is any good, but here's their cover of "Walk Away Renee" anyway.


dan said...

Maybe they should have given Shonen Knife a variety show.

Pete Bilderback said...

I would still love to see a Shonen Knife variety show.