Posted by Alexander Jerri
Welcome the Moment of Truth, and the conclusion of the 4-part semi-fictional expose of one doctor’s degradation from healer to heel.
Fame was taking our Odd Couple for a lovely jaunt. Dr. Dave made guest appearances on sitcoms, and Mel was jobbed into a number of cable network talent exhibits. About the time Mel started doing the “Big Balls Show” on MTV alongside fellow thinly-disguised fictional standup, Kimmy Jimmel, he began adopting a definitively rightwing stance on issues about which he had no business opining.
Mel: What is it about the Middle East that causes people to be violent, do you think? Dave. Is it something in the soil? Is it –
Dave: (sarcastically) No, it’s two hundred years of oppression by the West, that’s what the liberal, the politically correct —
Mel: – is it the humus? The babaganoush? The crappy music? What is it?
Well, what are you implying, Mel and Dr. Dave? Is it just that dark people on the other side of the world have more violence in their blood or genes? Is it their religion? Their swarthiness? Middle East experts and armchair scholars alike knew that the region had been carved to pieces and raped by the colonizing powers, and the CIA had, as recently as 1953, overthrown the elected Mossedegh government in Iran to install the Shah, and were – even as Dave and Mel were busy disparaging knowledge – continuing their manipulations of peoples, their propping up of dictators, and facilitating when not outright committing the murders of political leaders in the region. The West was not an innocent observer. Radios could be heard across the nation being smashed in fury.
This was no longer a “hip” sex advice show slipping common-sense abstinence, monogamy, condom-wearing, and heterosexual-leaning advice “under the radar.” This was a couple of media figures peddling naked rightwing racist and corporatist propaganda.
And that’s how Dr. Dave finally found his ideological home in the Fox News milieu.
He tried to make it as an actor, no one knows why – I guess he figured if a rightwing toady like Ben Stein could do it, so could he – but someone who’s handsome because there’s nothing wrong with him isn’t a particularly memorable face. Safer to build on his brand as the new, less repulsive Dr. Laura (not fictional. Why keep up the pretense?). And that’s exactly what he... read more
Posted by Alexander Jerri
Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.
Last we left the rising star, Dr. Dave, he had just discovered an admirable, and, it would turn out, valuable quality in his on-air partner, Howard Stern imitation, Mel Kinolla.
What it was, was showmanship. Mel was a great performer, a natural talent. Dr. Dave felt a warmth for the talent of his friend and wanted to share in it.
Mel began to draw Dave deeper into a comically jaded mindset with a little game in which the caller would be put on hold and Mel would speculate on what had happened in the caller's childhood to put them on the road to disaster. Dave would discuss Mel’s speculations, come up with his own scenario, and they would bet on whose was closer to the truth. Then they'd go back to the caller and elicit the backstory to settle the wager.
It would go something like this:
Mel: All right, honey? We're going to put you on hold for a second. (click) Okay, let's make a little wager here. I'm gonna say, father took off when she was, say, five years old. Mother was an alcoholic – no, mother had an alcoholic boyfriend. Boyfriend molested the daughter.
Dave: I think the father molested the daughter. Same scenario, but the father was alcoholic and abusive.
Mel: Abusive physically or sexually? Dave: Both.
Mel: Why? – I'm just curious.
Dave: It's very common with lesbians – or, she's sixteen, she doesn't know if she's a lesbian or not, really, at that age – but it's very common that survivors of incest abuse start to experiment with being lesbian...
... The contrast between the crudeness of Mel and the compassion of Dave grew less and less discernable as Dave’s discourse sank to Mel’s level. In response, Mel seemed to feel the need to up the crudeness.
Mel: I'm gonna say, drunk father, abusive to mom, mom neglected her, dad was sexual around her but didn't touch her, just let his Johnson hang out, walking around the house. Maybe he even spanked it in front of her. She was raped by a much older boyfriend.
Dave: Raped or seduced? Although it amounts to the same thing. I think there's something anal there.
Mel: Anal? Whaddya mean, like a suppository? Or a broomstick? Dave: I don't know. Something anal. I can't put my finger on it. Mel: Good. Don't. Don't put your finger on the anal thing.
A pattern in Dr. Dave’s diagnoses was that bisexuals weren't bisexual but, rather, confused. And teens below the... read more
Posted by Alexander Jerri
Welcome to the Moment of Truth, the thirst that is the drink.
When we last left our fictional protagonist, Dr. Dave Pitkis, the Dr. Drew Pinsky doppelganger of this four-part roman a clef, a radio producer in LA had just had an idea to pair medical advice with adolescent stoner commentary.
Mel Kinolla was in heavy rotation on off nights and as an opener at the Laugh Factory comedy club on Sunset, just a block or two east of the strip proper. Let’s face it, everything east of the Chateau Marmont is not really the strip. You can’t say Zankou Chicken is on the strip.
Kinolla was a real workhorse. He had a palette of embarrassing real-life situations he put to good use, or harnessed into service, as one of those self-deprecating comics. Paired with Dr. Dave on the radio show, which was now broadcast out of LA with the name "Dopeline," and for which both were paid, Mel spoke with the voice of the regular guy who understood the stupid urges of teenagers and probably would have been in the same mess as many of them if he'd had the opportunity or the balls when he was their age. Dr. Dave would warn Mel of the dangers of this or that behavior, however fun it might seem on TV or in Grand Theft Auto or in the sexy mass- cultural mythology, and give the teenager under scrutiny advice on how to get out of the mess he or she was in. And Mel would say something like, "Still, I wouldn't mind hittin' some of that. Sounds like James here has it pretty good, diddling two broads." And Dr. Dave would say, "No no no. You really don't want to do that. Not without a condom, and not with a minor."
By teenager, incidentally, I mean to include the numerous twenty-somethings who called in with the emotional problems of teenagers. The mean age of the callers rose and fell, but their median emotional age hovered at around sixteen.
Dr. Dave was the name he went by, as he does to this day. He was called Dr. Dave even when he testified before a Congressional Committee on the advantages of treatment-based approaches to fighting illegal drug use as opposed to the punitive kind favored by the "smaller government" mentality that had come into vogue in Washington. "Punishment doesn't cure addiction and so ultimately does nothing to shrink demand for illicit drugs," Dr. Dave testified. "Under what other circumstances do we punish someone for being sick? You can't punish the measles out of someone, that person is still going to spread the... read more