The Breakfast Table

Do These Glasses Make Me Look Ugly?

Dear Merrill–

I also came across the terrible Moesha news, and it’s truly tragic, not only for Moesha (oops, sorry, I meant Brandy. I always just think her as Moesha, even though that’s obviously not her name, kind of the way millions of people around the country still think that Richard Dean Anderson’s name is “TV’s McGuyver”–man, it must drive the poor guy absolutely nuts, wouldn’t you think?), but for our entire nation. On top of the the pain and suffering Moesha (er, Brandy) must be going through herself on a personal level (I once saw a Lifetime original movie about coping with dehydration, and believe me, it was more than a docudrama, it was the powerful story of one woman’s courage in the face of acute moisture-shortage), there is also the larger tragedy of a whole consumer populace having to go without new episodes of Moesha every week until, somehow, a cure can be found.

As a comedy writer, I’m sure you must be familiar with Moesha’s (there I go again) sitcom work. Did you ever happen to see the one where Moesha has to get glasses, except she refuses to wear them because she thinks they make her look ugly, and so she spends the entire episode bumping into things and getting into all sorts of crazy mixed-up situations because she, you know, can’t see anything?

I didn’t, but I did see a two-sentence capsule plot summary for it in the TV listings one time a couple of years ago, and I gotta tell you, I laughed my friggin’ ass off. Just imagine how much even funnier it would’ve been if I’d actually seen the entire half-hour episode! Until such comedy gold is back on the airwaves once again, the theme-song lyrics “Everybody! In the house! Say Mo-eeeeeeeeeeeeee-sha!” will have taken on a grim new tone for us all, becoming not an anthem of celebration and joy but a somber dirge of melancholy and despair across the land.

The bit about the TV Guide summary is a true story, and here’s another one: An entertainment reporter here at the paper attended a press junket with Moesha (I mean Brandy) once, and he got to interview her along with the rest of the teen cast of a psycho-murderer horror flick she was in, called, I think, I Still Know What You Did Two Summers Ago, or something like that. I still have the Moesha promotional hat he gave me from his trip. Since they were all teens, he sarcastically asked them if they had any advice for the Youth of America, and Moesha literally replied that if they believed in themselves, they could make their dreams come true.

But get this: That’s not the funny part. To illustrate her point, she said “Look at me … sometimes I worry that I’m not pretty enough, but I work hard, and put on makeup, and try to overcome my weaknesses.” (!?!?!?!?)

She didn’t say, “Sometimes I worry that I’m not a good enough singer,” or sitcom actress, or movie star, or whatever. She was worried that people didn’t think she was pretty enough. And I wonder what Donald Trump (and really, a candidate now? Doesn’t this guy know his life already parallels the plot of Citizen Kane enough as it is? I mean, hasn’t he even ever seen it?) would have to say about that? And maybe all the nation’s aspiring submarine-crew girls would finally get to fulfill their dreams of supervising, and, in the event of World War III, actually launching thermonuclear weapons, if only they just believed that they were pretty enough, huh?

More later,