Friday, October 1, 2010

Bill & Ted's Excellent (live action ) Adventures and Cereal

I remember, even at the age of 11, being highly conflicted about the existence of this show. On one hand, it was a chance to see more Bill & Ted. On the other, this was not Alex Winter, Keanu Reeves, or George Carlin, so what was the point? I didn't know it at the time but it wasn't the original writers either.

The first image you see when you start the show is Rufus appearing before the three great ones and I'll give them kudos for doing a good job in recreating their outfits. The set even looks pretty good. The theme song is very reminiscent in sound to "I Can't Break Away," the opening song to the film. Rick Overton does a decent enough job playing Rufus. You can tell the two stars, Chris Kennedy as Bill and Evan Richards as Ted, are trying really hard to mimic Alex & Keanu's movements and way of speech. The images of the circuits of time are directly pulled from the movie. Their outfits are similar, and I can't complain about them not being exact because one would hope the guys would change clothes from time to time. Unfortunately, there's plenty of other things to complain about.

Ted has a dangly, shiny earring. It sticks out past his hair, and reflects the light pretty much every time his head moves. While I know earrings for guys were big in the 90s, I can't imagine that thing looking cool even then.

The guys work at Nail World, a hardware store. Their boss is the stereotypical high strung nerdy balding guy who can't stand them. The entire first episode is built around him, rather than putting the focus on B&T and seeing as how he's not even remotely funny, it's terrible. On top of that they go back in time and see King Arthur.. a mythical figure, not a true historical one. The only good thing about this was that Deidrich Bader played King Arthur, so it was funny to see him in something shortly before he became known for playing Jethro in the Beverly Hillbillies movie. For some strange reason in this first episode, Rufus is trying to convince someone to buy something at the hardware store, and he pulls his sunglasses down and his eyes flash yellow. The person is hypnotized and agrees to buy it. Do we all get superpowers in the future or something? Of course if the next stage of human evolution is mind control, that may explain why an entire civilization could follow the philosophy of a heavy metal band.

I'm assuming that the show is set in 1992, since it says Rufus is in 2692. Of course the events of Bogus Journey happen in 1991 so that's just plain wrong. Even if you assume that the princesses are NOT the same age as Bill & Ted, for them to still be in high school in 1992 would mean that they were freshman in 1988. That's definitely wrong because Ted even says to Bill about Missy "Remember when she was a senior and we were freshmen?" in the movie. Of course there is absolutely no mention of the princesses at all in this series, so maybe we're just supposed to take this as an alternate universe. It's also an alternate universe where Ted still has a mom and their fathers look nothing like their movie counterparts.

In the second episode they do what the second season of the cartoon series did, and jump into a TV show. Rather than a new phone book, they accomplish this by hooking the antennae of the booth up to the TV cable wire. The only excuse I can see for doing this stuff is that it's cheaper to create modern sets rather than period pieces. While I made it all the way through the first episode, halfway through the second my tolerance dwindled. I started basically watching the first clip and then stopping, just to get an idea of the basic premise of each episode. The plots are pedestrian typical bad sitcom fare and the jokes are incredibly corny. The only thing I found funny was at one moment when they go to play air guitar and realize they're out of tune. They stand there and tweak their imaginary head stocks, strum once to check the sound, then proceed again to air guitar triumphantly. Of course the real Bill & Ted can't even tell when they're out of tune, so it's still a bit of a failure.

There were a total of 7 episodes made and they're all up on youtube if you're really curious, but I strongly suggest not seeing these for any other reason. But you don't have to take my word for it...

While promoting Bogus Journey on the Arsenio Hall show, Alex Winter flat out admits that the TV show sucks, and why. Apparently he was not aware of the second season of the animated series at this point since he gives that an endorsement.

Here's part two, where he claims he actually enjoys the cereal.

The coolest thing about the cereal was that some of the boxes came with a cassette tape holder that sort of looked like the phone booth and had the animated Bill & Ted on it. The most heinous thing about the cereal was that it was made by Purina. I never tried it as a kid, though I do remember running into it at the store that is now called Big Lots. All the boxes had been cut with the box cutter used to open the box they were shipped in, and my dad wouldn't buy any for fear that the bag inside was cut too. This was probably for the best.

Just for fun, here's the cereal's commercial.

I have just about exhausted my Bill & Ted theme for you guys. The only thing left is the 12 issue Bill & Ted's Excellent Comic Book series.

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