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Funny Fun was the first half-hour live-action comedy television episode produced by Ted Phillips with T.J.'s Cracked Egg Pictures, in a series which was later named Wha...? It was completely improvised by Ted and Nick Phillips. This is the first production in which viewers can plainly see Ted's personality and absurdist humor that includes pop culture references from the period. It was recorded on VHS-C format media on the old camera in September 1994, but was not edited or released to the public until March 6, 2009.



Synopsis

The episode consists of Ted Phillips, as Teddy, attempting to find "funny things" throughout his living room. Nick Phillips, in his second supporting role as Nicky, is grounded in reality, seeking to conform to the life society has laid out for him - by going to school.

History

Ted Phillips recorded Funny Fun over 1994 shorts The Ice Monster and Dinosaur Insurance.

In late 2000, Funny Fun instantly became a smash hit when cult fans obtained access to the archival footage. In 2001, Rich Falantano commissioned Nick Phillips to film the second episode, Funny Pun, at which three attempts were made. At the end of the final version of Funny Pun, Clare Phillips announced that the next episode would be Funny Bun.

Funny Fun grew in popularity for a number of reasons. In Funny Fun, Teddy amuses himself by referring to things with obviously incorrect names, such as when he calls a lizard a turtle or calls Pinocchio "Boo-Boo and Apple". He also misuses household objects to poke fun at some of society's shortfalls (i.e. parody), such as when he smokes crayons and starts coughing. Ted's over-the-top performance is offset by Nicky's social acceptability as Teddy looks to point out the insanity of people's everyday lives.

Beginning in 2004, physical damage due to age and improper care made it impossible to view the tape any longer. After many attempts at repairing the tape, it seemed likely that Funny Fun would become another lost project. On December 26, 2008, Ted Phillips was able to successfully workaround these issues and transfer the albeit damaged master to a digital file.

Starting in February 2009, Funny Fun was mistakenly listed on the Cracked Egg Studios web site as having been produced in 1995. However, because Nicky is genuinely excited about pretending to go to school and the shooting location is obviously not setup as a nursery as it was beginning in October 1994, it's likely Funny Fun was produced in the few weeks of high anticipation before Nick Phillips started Kindergarten in September 1994.

Cultural References

  • In the background, there is a Zenith television and a Sanyo Betacord VCR Model 4650[1]. On the floor, there is a hardcover copy of Grispino et al.'s The Children's Bible (1965).
  • Nicky plays with a toy tape recorder.<span class="special_footnote">[vague]</span>
  • Teddy wears a Wilson Snow Boarding shirt.
  • Teddy and Nicky have a 1992 hardcover print of Walt Disney's Pinocchio.
  • Several times, Teddy holds up the book Handling Feelings by Joy Berry while singing a song combining lyrics from the Human Race Club song "Uncomfortable Feelings" and the title song from the movie Don't Eat the Pictures: Sesame Street at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to the tune of the latter song. After the first time, Nicky responds with "Lean Mean Machine?!" referring to the Human Race Club episode "The Lean Mean Machine."
  • Teddy has a souvenir book from a 1994 performance of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which he had attended a few weeks earlier at Madison Square Garden.
  • Teddy and Nicky have Awesome Original Bubble Tape.
  • Teddy harasses "the guy in the third row," just like Lawyer Goodwill does in the 1937 Looney Tunes cartoon "The Case of the Stuttering Pig."
  • Teddy says to Nicky, "Lampwick, put your shirt on," referring to how Nicky is currently dressed up as Lampwick, his favorite character in the 1940 movie Pinocchio as whom to dress up.
  • Nicky says, "Is that my skirt?" referring to how he cross-dressed frequently, making skirts out of two upside-down shirts tied around the waist.
  • Teddy smokes a red Crayola crayon from the crayon bucket.
  • Teddy eats an M&M, although he calls them N 'm Ns.
  • Teddy wraps a belt around his forehead, imitating Quailman from Doug. Nicky protests that it is more like how the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wore bandanas over their eyes.
  • Teddy summarizes the 1993 Doug episode "Doug's Comic Collection."
  • Teddy refers to the turning off of the protection grid in the 1984 film Ghostbusters - specifically, the line in which Egon says "He shut off the protection grid."[2]
  • Nicky compares the belt to the one that Popeye wears.
  • Nicky's "walking next" is a reference to a 1994 day on Edison Avenue when Ted was walking "sideways," and Nicky, dressed up as Gabby from the 1939 animated film Gulliver's Travels[3], insisted himself to be walking "next".
  • Nicky uses the belt as an extended tongue in imitation of cartoons in which characters' tongues are stretched to extraordinary lengths. An example of this is in the 1993 episode of Rocko's Modern Life called "Rocko's Happy Sack."[4]
  • Teddy holds up the April 1994 issue of National Geographic and mislabels the cover photo.
  • Teddy does "the Come Back Here," in which he imitates dogs who chase their own tails.
  • Teddy and Nicky play with Tiger Head Lights purchased at a 1994 performance of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which they had attended a few weeks earlier at Madison Square Garden.
  • Teddy's tiger voice is an impression of the character Ernest P. Worrell from the 1988 TV series Hey Vern, It's Ernest! The "man with a head on backwards" is a reference to the episode "Hey Vern, It's Scary Things."
  • Teddy and Dad debate whether they had watched the performance video, which was forty-one minutes long, from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
  • Nicky says, "The gun is broken," referring to a toy laser gun he had gotten for Christmas.<span class="special_footnote">[vague]</span>

Trivia

  • At some parts, you can hear children outside playing.
  • At some parts, you can hear Blackie whimpering as a result of her flea-inflicted pain.

References

    1. ^"Sanyo Betacord VCR Model 4650". Betamax Collectors. Retrieved on March 9, 2009.
    2. ^"Ghostbusters". SeaQuest DSV. Retrieved on March 9, 2009.
    1. ^"Gulliver's Travels (1939) (Public Domain)". Google Video. September 15, 2006. Retrieved on March 9, 2009.
    2. ^"Rocko's Modern Life: Rocko's Happy Sack / Flu-In-U-Enza". TV.com. Retrieved on March 9, 2009.

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