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Culture Review: Chipwrecked!

Me? I want a hula hoop.

I remember hearing that hula-hoop Chipmunk song for the first time- it was one Christmas Eve while driving in to a relative’s house in Boston. My Dad tuned it in on the radio and was like, “Hey- listen to this!” This is perhaps my earliest Christmas music memory. I was thoroughly charmed.

By the time a few years had passed, Christmas with the Chipmunks had become totally ubiquitous in my kid-world. By then, the marketing department had reinvented the Chipmunk look with a cuter album cover than the creepy 1958 original pictured above. And those freaking Chipmunk records were everywhere.  It wasn’t uncommon for otherwise bright, reasonable children to find themselves huddled over a battered Fisher Price record player in the heat of a July afternoon, listening to records of a man named Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. singing Christmas songs in sped up three part harmony.

Christmas with the Chipmunks fit right next to Sounds From A Haunted House and Disco Duck in many a budding record collection. I suspect this had more to do with the pitiful number of children’s records available at Sears than the quality of the releases themselves. Otherwise, how could you explain us sitting around listening to monster sound effects like they were groundbreaking Beatles singles? Oh yes. We listened to Halloween records in the middle of summer, too. It was pretty crazy when you think about it. But the Chipmunks stuff was actually quite catchy. Still is. Not bad for a guy performing all the parts in slow motion!

Editors note- I recently had someone knowingly and patiently explain to me that the guy who recorded the album, “Dave,” did all the voices. Dave is a fictional character. I hate to break it to you, but he is no more real than Darth Vader.

So cute, how Alvin messes with Dave (his… father?) and gets yelled at. That gag never gets old.

“AL-VIN!”

Dave is like a pissed-off Man In The Yellow Hat. What’s with all the bachelors adopting young, talented, mischievous animals?

Who would YOU rather live with?

I wanted to be Alvin. Alvin was the ‘cool’ one. And the other two were chubby/greedy (Theodore) and smart/nerdy (Simon). Who wants to be The Nerd? Or The Glutton? Plus, Alvin is the lead singer, and he dates the hottest Chipette, the oh-so ravishing Britney.

This all played out in greater detail in the TV shows and Christmas specials (there were at least three) which kicked into full gear in the 1980’s. They were a bunch of dumb kids’ shows, but the theme song was kind of cool, I guess. I loved it back in the day, and hey- I’m still singing it. Let’s pause and enjoy it.

Insipid and annoying as the cartoon was, it was still MILES better than the full-length 3-D tripe Hollywood has been foisting on our children, and us, as of late. Yes, I am speaking of CHIPWRECKED and the bastard siblings which preceded it. Probably the best thing that can be said about these horrible movies is that they bought David Cross a house. And introduced my daughter to the work of Lady Gaga (skip to 30 seconds in).

Or, for a sense of how truly annoying this entire movie is, watch this. Or, don’t. You can take my word for it. I saw the thing in the theater. I even paid for it. Trust me- this movie really sucks.

Jason Lee is an empty shell of a man, “acting” opposite these saccharine little monsters. It’s painfully obvious that he was delivering his lines to an empty space on top of a couch, and the effects wizards would later insert our stars with the press of a button. They cast big name celebs to be the Chipmunks- even though the voices are so sped up, you can’t tell who they are at all. I think Amy Poehler is a Chipmunk, for example. The plot is weak as water, the comedy is threadbare at best, and the blatant use of pop culture references and constant product placements are beyond shameless (Carnival Cruise, anyone?). After watching this, Stella was woozy as if she’d been force fed candy for two hours, and I felt I needed a shower. And a Carnival Cruise.

Alvin, Simon, Theodore! Doot, doot, doot doot doot doot!

But those Chipmunks STILL make a darn good McDonald’s toy. They are pictured above without accessories, since Stella could give a hoot about the leaves Simon is supposed to hold and Alvin’s surfboard won’t stick to his feet. Santa brought Stella the original three boys, and the Talking Tuxedo Alvin. Apparently Santa, like me, enjoys the occasional McDouble.

Stella was satisfied with four Chipmunks. I, however, am a completist. I am not going to settle for half the set, not when my daughter adores The Chipettes. Not even when any sane person would consider this insultingly vapid, insipid film 1000 times more repugnant than the most horrific filth the internet has to offer. I needed to be the hero. I needed to get my little princess her Britney, and her Chubby Theodore Counterpart, and her The Nerd Girl One. Isn’t it funny that I will spend hours writing this post and would rather not look up the real names of The Chipettes? Is it really that important? See- I’ll even link to the Wikipedia entry on them, and still not bother to find out! Take that, Chipettes!

So, I drove around. I went to different McDonald’s. They all told me the same thing. STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE TOYS. In other words, NO. I was too late. And then, I wandered into my local Walmart Micky D’s. And there it was. THE DISPLAY. The Chipmunks Toys! However, the ladies working there patiently explained to me that they had no Chipmunks left, and would I like a Strawberry Shortcake one instead?

NO. I. WOULDN’T.

What I would LOVE, I gushed, batting my eyelashes and throwing my hair around seductively, was for us to all smash open that freaking case and get the farking GIRL CHIPMUNK TOYS out of there. Like, NOW. Please.

And they paused for a moment. And then they actually did it. They broke open the case and gave me The Chipettes display models!

Nerdy, Greedy, and Britney

Unfortunately the Chippettes have globs of glue in them in random spots, and they don’t talk or anything like they are supposed to. However, who cares! Stella’s game at this point is simple: Line up the Chipmunks on one side of the kitchen floor, and slide a Chipmunk at them at top speed, attempting to knock as many over as possible, as violently as possible.

“All that work for some concept novelty bowling!?” you ask. Beats using them to reenact musical scenes from Chipwrecked. And it’s actually rather theraputic.

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About Uncle Dad

DJ, musician and Dad of three!

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