Jim Croce had it right:
You don't pull on Superman's cape.
You don't spit into the wind.
You don't pull off the mask of the 'ol Lone Ranger.
And you never completely recraft well-known, if expletive-filled, lines of the Coen Brothers' dialogue from The Big Lebowski in an effort to make it family friendly.
(I could be paraphrasing Mr. Croce ever-so-slightly.)
I mean, I do understand the desire for networks to clean up movies, so they don't bruise the tender ears of kids who would otherwise have to learn these words through texting.
But what I witnessed on cable TV over my cup of java this morning was not a simple vanilla substitution of "frig" or "shoot" or "heck." This was dubbing John Goodman's famously repetitious, manic and tire-iron wielding rant against car-stealing juvenile offender Larry Sellers into:
"Do you see what happens when you feed a stranger in the Alps, Larry? This is what you get when you feed a stranger in the Alps, Larry! This is what you get when you feed a stranger in the Alps!"
Feed? A. Stranger? In. The. Alps?
Really, Censor People? REALLY?!
(Note, the video below titles it "fight" a stranger in the Alps, but listen carefully. Goodman's character Walter goes on to mention something incoherent about feeding scrambled eggs...)
Just where do you even start, as an overdub script writer, to swap in "feed a stranger in the Alps" as a viable threat, and believe no one will notice?
We so rarely hear about guys going to prison and being worried that an angry cellmate named Snake will want to transport them to a European mountain region otherwise known for skiing and chocolate manufacture, to share unspecified sustenance.
So unless I am mistaken due to my own admitted lack o' cool, "feed a stranger in the Alps" has not yet become one of the Hip and Now phrases in today's American lexicon.
It tends to stand out, is what I'm saying.
Changing major, well-known lines of a script to something involving dining, Switzerland and what later seems to include egg proteins, is a little like selling a powerful SUV in a car commercial... but instead featuring a dairy cow in all the high performance driving shots.
("She's got four-wheel drive, traction control and anti-lock brakes. Plus, the mileage is amazing. Just two bales to the gallon.")
It removes a certain layer of sophistication and authorial intent, is my point.
So what I think happened is they hired the MadLibs School of Family Friendly Film Dubbery to scrub the Lebowski TV version. The goal of this organization would be to plop in the first random word of the same number of syllables from the dictionary, and hope the American Public won't suspect anything.
And I imagine that while it started with Lebowski's "feeding a stranger in the Alps," it then moved on some other film classics.
"Frankly, Scarlett, I don't give a dab!
"We came, we saw, we kicked its ark!"
I notice tomorrow Die Hard is on. Since I don't have it on DVD, it'll be nice to see it on broadcast television again. And to be truly in theme, I shall leave you today with these few noble, parting words:
"Yippie-kai-yay, mocha flavor!"Ah, yes... Bruce Willis couldn't have said it any better himself!