Tuesday, July 22, 2014


It's been a big summer for Alfred "Weird Al" Yankovic. The pre-eminent musical comedian and pop culture parodist is hotter than ever following his audacious eight-day long music video premier in celebration of Mandatory Fun. In order to capitalize on his social media buzz honor one of the greatest comedic voices of our time, we at the Progressive Cinema Scorecard turn our attention to his '80s cult comedy classic, UHF.
  • Weird Al’s George is a whimsical daydreamer who gets fired from one dead-end job after another because his employers don’t recognize his genius and creativity. Basically he’s the template for every Gen Y male in America. = -11pts 
  • Big Edna actually seems pretty justified in tossing George out. = +4pts 
  • So, George and his friend Bob are “roommates?” Is this a Bert and Ernie situation? = +6pts 
  • Weird Al in a Hawaiian shirt. = +13pts 
  • George's love interest played by Victoria Jackson, back when she was better known for sketch comedy than for paranoid, typo-ridden screeds about Obama's plan to force suburbanites into cities. = +4pts 
  • Ever the forward thinker, Weird Al foresaw that in the 21st century, the primary means by which individuals would gain ownership over terrestrial broadcasting stations would be through winning them in a poker game. = +10pts 
  • Engineer Philo testing his interocitor a sly reference to This Island Earth. = +12pts 
  • Head of rival, network-affiliated station R.J. Fletcher played by Kevin McCarthy, better known for this. = +18pts 
  • Loveable janitor Stanley Spadowski played by Pre-Seinfeld Michael Richards. = +22pts 
  • Also, pre-racist tirade Michael Richards = -22pts (A wash) 
  • Somewhere out there, a grad student is writing his dissertation on the allegorical significance of “the mop” in us all. = +7pts 
  • Did no one tell David Proval UHF was a comedy? He's basically playing Richie Aprile in this movie, and it's terrifying. = +3pts 
  • The Spatula City ad. = +30pts

  • '80s fashion alert: The 0:24 mark of the video above. The lady in mint green. = +13pts 
  • Ironically, the music video dream sequence reimagining the theme from The Beverly Hillbillies as an 80s rock song is probably the least amusing thing about the whole movie. = -12pts 
  • George's Channel 62 achieves massive ratings by putting the mentally ill on TV, a business model later copied by Fox news. = +8pts 
  • Channel 62 has a surprisingly diverse lineup. = +10pts 
  • ...Of racial stereotypes. = -14pts 
  • It's okay, Weaver, we probably would have picked the box, too. = +6pts 
  • For making us all a little more eager to learn the Dewey Decimal System. = +21pts 
  • Still waiting for Ghandi II to be greenlit. = +17pts 
  • These technicians' toy poodle expressed serious disapproval over Raul's Wild Kingdom. = 0pts (Because we don't give a shit about his opinion.) 
  • Stanley Spadowski is apparently being held hostage in the warehouse where Channel 8 stores all of its empty boxes. = +3pts 
  • Richie Aprile meets a slightly kinder fate in UHF when Stanley only shoots him with a staple gun (spoiler?). = +7pts 
  • The you’re-secretly-being-recorded-saying-something-dickish-and-it-bites-you-in-the-ass bit is born. See also: Eastbound and Down Season Four, Batman Returns, Mel Gibson post-2009 = +2pts 
  • “How did he get so ripped for the Rambo scene?” – actual IMDB comment. = +16pts 
  • At the closing of the telethon, how did Big Louie know where to find Uncle Harvey? He truly is a man you do not want to mess with. = +5pts 
  • We’re really happy that the homeless guy was able to save the station, but maybe he should have spent his money more wisely than a Rolex and television stock. = +9pts 
Total Score = +187pts

While there are certainly aspects of UHF that haven't aged so gracefully (*cough cough Kuni cough*), UHF still maintains much of the slapdash charm that made us fall in love with it as kids. Even in an era where YouTube pipes hot and cold running parody straight into our homes for free, Weird Al has maintained his peculiar staying power. For several generations and counting, Weird Al has been America's wacky uncle, taking the ephemera of the present age and turning it into a timeless artifact of absurdity. He is not bound by any time or place. Like Channel 62, Weird Al belongs to all of us.

Score Technicians: Joe Hemmerling and Amanda Hemmerling

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