Caricature Actors Can’t Help Themselves

Every good actor has his or her own distinctive persona or “type.” It’s why we line up at theaters to watch them do their thing, whether it’s Jackie Chan using a household object to kick a bad guy’s ass, or Meryl Streep getting emotional – first angry, then sad, then strong-willed and able to overcome. Unfortunately, too much of a good thing can go wrong. It’s why we don’t leave children or my wife alone with candy, they can’t help themselves. It’s the same with actors, they want so badly to be loved and adored, they’ll just keep on doing that thing we love over and over, harder and more often until their “type” takes on a persona of it’s own. And that’s when actors turn into caricatures, taking their career into a weird, sad place. For example:

1. Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro Ben Stiller certainly has a type, bumbling and inept, with a healthy dash of awkward conservatism. It began in There’s Something About Mary, led into The Royal Tenenbaums and even Permanent Midnight, which if you haven’t seen, please do. Then there’s De Niro, a hero among actors. A man who becomes his characters, losing and gaining weight to portray them best. Raging Bull, Goodfellas, The Godfather Part II, even Jackie Brown, which I still defend as one of Tarantino’s best. The man is tough and not to be screwed with. Or at least he was. Lately, he’s become a bit of a Focker. In fact, they both have. Great actors who have become “franchise actors,” committed to a slew of movies based on one single, dirty pun. Maybe it’s not so bad for Stiller, there seems to be a lot of jobs for neurotic, nervous guys, such as museum nightshift security guard, zoo lion, and girlfriend to Polly. Not funny jobs, but jobs. But De Niro? Taking a role that makes fun of your persona is a slippery slope, and Analyze This turned out to be a runaway train downhill towards animated sharks. The man with the mohawk who used to stand in front of his mirror whipping out guns at himself is now a man in a Christmas sweater doing poop jokes holding a tiny dog. I guess the Stiller and Meara comedy team of the future is Stiller and De Niro, I can’t wait for their next masterpiece, Grandfockers. 2. Christopher Walken Speaking of De Niro, remember when he and Christopher Walken were in The Deer Hunter? The role he won an Oscar for in 1979. Probably not. Wedding Crashers and Balls of Fury is a long way from Oscar. A good litmus test to see if an actor has become a caricature of themselves is if videos of them reading things becomes popular online. For instance, have you seen Christopher Walken reading Lady Gaga’s “Pokerface”? It’s hilarious, it’s also the second thing that comes up when you Google Christopher Walken, behind him dancing in the Fatboy Slim video and in front of him reading “Three Little Pigs”. I believe Walken’s decent into caricature began as many have, on SNL, with The Continental. An awkward ladies man trying to seduce the camera. Again, hilarious, I’m not saying I’m not enjoying this portion of Walken’s career, Leslie Nielsen did the same thing, going from dramatic actor to a parody of himself, becoming one the funniest men in comedy. I just think it’s odd that lately Jay Mohr’s impression of him sounds more like Christopher Walken than Christopher Walken does.

3. Jeff Goldblum Did someone say odd speech pattern? Then we have to talk about Jeff Goldblum. He didn’t start out that weird. Watch him in The Fly, he almost sounds like a normal person. Not his “the-batteries-in-your-walkman-are-dying-while-you’re jogging” cadence he’s developed lately. Jeff Goldblum’s awkward way of speaking has become so strange that it birthed a meme, “Drunk Goldblum” where internet-ers take video of Jeff Goldblum speaking “normally” and slow it down a bit. The result, he sounds like he just chugged a case of Four Loko. How did this voice caricature begin? I blame chaos theory. That’s right, his role as Dr. Ian Malcom in Jurassic Park started Goldblum down the road of eccentric scientists with bizarre ways of speaking that continued towards Independence Day, leading straight to more Jurassic Park, then took a hard left at Cats and Dogs, never looking back. Now all his characters, even his TV show detectives (“Law & Order: Criminal Intent”) and morning show producers (Morning Glory) speak like someone is in his windpipe slamming on the breaks and gas. I just hope he never has to play a speech therapist.

4. Al Pacino At some point Al Pacino went from having an amazing and subtle range of emotions to having only two, normal volume and screaming. I don’t remember Michael Corleone in “The Godfather” yelling random words in his sentences. This is what a transcript looks like of current day Al Pacino speaking. “HELLO! My NAME is Al Pacino and I AM an actor…IN FILMS!!!” Sometimes I wonder if Pacino is just bored with acting, so to make it interesting he has decided to constantly screw with the sound guy, making his life a living hell quickly adjusting knobs with no notice, having to turn up the headphones then having his ears blown out suddenly. And I can tell you the exact moment Pacino decided to screw with his soundman. The year was 1995, the movie was, and still is, Heat. The line: “She had a GRRREAT ASS!” I don’t know why this character wanted to shout “great ass,” but as soon as he did Al Pacino went from amazing actor to a caricature of himself. I am sure it will only get worse, screaming himself hoarse for half of a sentence and whispering for the other half. In the future I bet TV remotes will come with an “Al Pacino” setting that quickly turns the volume up and down as he speaks, making him sound almost normal.

5. Gary Busey You guys, Gary Busy is crazy! Right? Or is it just a character? I can’t really tell. The weirdest part of Gary Busey turning into this bizarre tornado of new-age B.S. and intense violence is that it began when he started playing himself. Was he that strange in Lethal Weapon, or Point Break or Rookie of the Year? Maybe, but I certainly wasn’t scared to see him on the street after those films, I would have definitely asked for his autograph. Now, I would cross the street out of fear if I saw him coming. His new life as a caricature began with I’m with Busey, in 2003. A reality show on Comedy Central where writer Adam de la Pena hung out with Gary Busey and learned about the world. The insane world inside the mind of Busey. Gary went on to push his new attitude on VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club until it became its own character on Entourage. Currently, he can be seen on Conan being chased around by the giant orange Conan blimp. The blimp flies over Busey’s house and he screams at it, sometimes with his mouth full of a sandwich, sometimes not. One night my wife asked me, “How real do you think that is?” I had no idea. Someday, we may look back and put Gary Busey in the same genius category as Andy Kaufman, but until that day, he’s just another crazy guy from reality TV.

6. Julia Roberts Yeah, that’s right, Julia Roberts. The soul that used to be behind her eyes has left and gone south, towards the only thing that matters anymore, that mouth. Eat, Pray, Love, Valentine’s Day, Duplicity. They all hinge on one thing, Julia Roberts flashing off her giant horse-mouth smile with a city full of bright white teeth and laughing like she’s having the time of her life. “Ohhh, can you believe what amazing things are happening in my wonderful life I’m living!? I’m laughing and living my joyous life! Don’t you wish you were there, right now? Smiling and laughing with me!?” I doubt it, because in real life I bet that mouth looks like more like a cavern or a black hole you might get sucked into and that piercing laugh might shatter your eyeballs. Ironically, the film that started all this smiling instead of acting is right there in the title, Mona Lisa Smile. I see no resemblance. As time goes on I assume Julia Roberts won’t have any lines in her movies, she’ll just be put into more and more joyous situations by sexy, fun-loving men and best friends for her to cackle at so my wife can say “See? Why can’t we have fun like that!”

7. Denzel Washington “A man with burning hot intensity, street smarts who is tellin’ youngins how it’s done.” That could be the description for every Denzel Washington movie in the past ten years. Be on it on a train (The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3, Unstoppable,) behind a podium (The Great Debaters) or back in time (American Gangster/Déjà Vu) this man is going to scream in your face and teach you a lesson, son! The interesting thing about this caricature is it’s not just Denzel alone; it’s the camera too. I don’t think I could recognize Denzel without his entire face filling the movie screen as the background whizzed by before cutting to an explosion. In fact, I’m not convinced he has an entire body. And as Denzel does more films his rookie partner he has to teach lessons to will have to get younger and younger until every Denzel Washington movie will be only his face screaming at a baby teaching it how read or speak or crawl while the crib speeds out of control and explodes. Exciting!

8. Nicolas Cage If Nicolas Cage’s voice gets any deeper and raspier we are going to have to listen to all his movies with special headphones adjusted for maximum bass. As a caricature, I don’t know if I can exactly explain what Nicolas Cage has turned into over the years, it feels not quite from this Earth. He’s slimy, but tough. Smarmy, yet awkward. Uncomfortable, yet confident. I’m not even sure if he’s actually a caricature, all I’m sure of is that he is no longer a normal man. He’s weird. We can’t blame him, though, it’s not his fault. Nicolas Cage was put through something that no man should have to bear. Something that no one can be considered “normal” if they survive. He was the star of the three most cheesiest/intense action films that ever took themselves too seriously, in a row. The Rock, Con Air, and Face/Off. How can we as a society force one of our own to spend two years of their life submerged in one-liners, gunshots surrounded by doves, running from balls of flames, men screaming into the sky, random boat chases, forced emotional bonds and pretending to be John Travolta and come out the other end sane. It can’t be done. We should expect nothing else from Nicolas Cage besides making Ghost Rider sequels and doing a live action remake of Mickey Mouse’s, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, where he is defending New York City from an evil sorcerer for some insane and inane reason. I say, go forth and God bless Nicolas Cage, keep making your creepy bizarre movies, we’ll be here waiting for you when you want to get better.

9. Tim Burton No, he’s not an actor, but Tim Burton has absolutely become a caricature. Everything Tim Burton puts his hands on turns into a children’s nightmare version of it. At one point in the past I believe Tim Burton could direct a script in a way that best showed off that story, but no longer is that possible. It all must turn into a mush of horrifying, hallucinatory images from childhood. At first it was cute, I still love Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure and The Nightmare Before Christmas. They were childlike in a different way that was new and fun, but now his movies are like a child who used to do a silly dance for grandma and grandpa, but grandma and grandpa have since passed away and the kid still insists on wearing his sailor outfit and doing the dance. And it’s really creepy. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory creepy. We didn’t need a Corpse Bride kids movie, or a darker version of Sweeney Todd and we absolutely didn’t need a version of Alice in Wonderland that included a mini-Helena Bonham Carter with a head blown up like a balloon. So, if you really care about me, gentle reader, and yourselves and your children and want to continue to have pleasant dreams that will never be tainted, we need to band together. We need to keep Tim Burton away from children’s books. Whatever it takes, steal his library card, don’t let him into any bookstores because I don’t think I could handle Johnny Depp dressed up as a freakish Harold running around with a giant purple crayon in Burton land.

The 7 Deadly Sins as Reality TV Shows

The Seven Deadly Sins are good things to avoid. But sometimes it’s hard to know how. How do we watch out for Wrath? Isn’t Envy others people’s problem? And I thought Pride was a good thing. Like gay pride, those parades are a blast! If we can’t understand the sins, then we can’t avoid them. When meanings are lost the lines between right and wrong blur and the next thing you know you’re drunk on a date with your neighbor’s wife, paying for everything with a stolen credit card you beat up a priest for! I’ve seen it too many times. It’s sad and I don’t want it to happen to you, so I’m putting the sins in terms we call all understand: Reality television terms.

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Lust is Rock of Love Lust is most often portrayed as a sexual vice. Surprisingly, Bret Michaels is not the major luster on Rock of Love— the 44 sluts he has had on his show are. All they want is to hook up with a Rock Star. It doesn’t matter that he’s twenty years past his prime. It doesn’t matter that he is bedding dozens of other women right in front of them. It doesn’t even matter that his red bandana is only there so his wig looks less obvious. They just want him–in the hot tub, in the VH1 mansion and in the back of the tour bus, wherever they can get him. If that doesn’t work they’ll suck tequila out of the belly button of their fellow stripper (who’s trying to bed the same man) until they’re drunk enough to make out with each other. If you ever find yourself acting similar to a drunk, nasty, horny, lady on Rock of Love, you probably have a problem with Lust (and an STD).

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Gluttony is Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew Gluttony is when you just can’t get enough, like every single person on “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.” Not only can’t they get enough drugs or alcohol, they can’t get enough of being a celebrity. The show is three seasons of B-level celebrities who have moved from the gluttonous consumption of meth, cocaine and alcohol to the gluttonous need to be watched and fawned over. Hey, Jeff Conway take a break! Get off TV and go be alone for a few hours. Of course, it’s not just the celebrities. Dr. Drew can’t get out of this one unscathed either. He’s a good doctor, he’s incredibly smart and has done wonderful things for people, but it’s pretty obvious he doesn’t mind sensationalizing his patient’s problems if it gets him a bit more screen time. You can’t tell me that someone who has appeared on Hollywood Squares, Big Brother, The Young and The Restless, My Gym Partner’s a Monkey, Dawson’s Creek Dancing with the Stars, Robot Chicken, Celebrity Sex Rehab and the movie Wild Hogs isn’t a bit gluttonous about being on camera. The first step to ending gluttony is to just say “no,” to drugs, alcohol or crappy projects.

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Greed is The Apprentice Last year Forbes estimated Donald Trump’s new worth at $2.7 billion. Trump himself says it’s closer to $5 billion. He is currently being paid $3 million dollars per episode of the show. The reason Trump and The Apprentice exemplifies Greed is easier to see when we look at it’s opposite virtue, Generosity. Generosity is praising others, giving to others or letting someone else have their due credit. Not exactly something you can say about a man who has filed a trademark claim on the phrase, “You’re Fired.” The show is about getting yours by whatever means necessary, be it yelling, crying or saying someone is “worse that Hitler.” I’m looking at you Joan Rivers! It’s about making more money than your fellow contestant and throwing them under the bus the first chance you get. Look at its most famous cast member, Omarosa. If she were any more selfish about getting what she believes she deserves she’d be on VH1 taking over for New York. However, it’s all trickle down from The Donald. It’s his show, his rules and his stupid haircut. He is the star. If you talk over him, he’ll shout at you to shut up, if you try and take underserved credit, you’re fired (patent pending) and if you cause him to lose any money he’ll disgrace you in pubic and force you back to daytime TV with your tail between your leg (just ask Martha Stewart).

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Wrath is Hell’s Kitchen The shouting, the screaming, the cussing, the smashed plates, the burns, the stitches, the angry customers. You stupid, fat, donkey! F*ck off! Get out!! THIS IS WRATH!!! We all have our Ramsay moments, the urge to call someone “fat boy” when they’re not up to our standards, to hurl insults when the risotto doesn’t taste perfect. Wrath surrounds Hell’s Kitchen. It’s in the frustrated bitchy customers; it’s in the backstabbing that happens when someone’s lack of meat-cut knowledge holds the rest of the team back from going on a helicopter ride to Catalina Island and instead forces them to shell clams all day; it’s in Gordon Ramsay. There is, however, one person who almost always exemplifies the kindness and patience that is the antithesis of Wrath—the Belgian maître d’ of Hell’s Kitchen, Jean Philippe. Season after season we watch him take crap from Gordan Ramsay, the contestants and customer after customer after customer and he almost never loses his cool. He smiles and apologizes and moves on. He is almost unflappable. So although Gordon’s outrageous attitude is absolutely entertaining to watch and really makes the show, in real life I am always struggling to be a little more Jean Philippe and a little less Gordon Ramsey. Unless someone f*cks up my risotto!!!!!

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Sloth is Big Brother I haven’t seen much of Big Brother because it personifies sloth so exactly. Every time I turn it on all I see are a bunch of people slumped back into giant couches. Kind of talking, but not really. Sometimes someone is cooking and a few other people are standing around watching. It’s just a bunch of people living in a little fake house…living there. That’s it! Nobody is ever doing anything! This is Sloth. Their “house” is a set on the CBS lot, right down the hall from the Price is Right set. I know they can’t really go anywhere, but these people could be based on Mount Vesuvius and they’d still spend all day playing half a game of pool only to fall asleep in front of an aquarium. (If you think these contestants are boring in daylight, try watching them while they’re not “performing” for the camera. I dare you to tune into Showtime’s Big Brother After Dark, aka Green Night Vision TV.)

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Envy is America’s Next Top Model AMNTM is filled with beautiful, sexy women trying to be more beautiful and sexier than each other, trying to show each other up every week, in every way possible. When they fail, that expression on their face? That’s envy. And then there’s Tyra. Trya wants everything to be about her. Each season, twelve or so model hopefuls arrive and spend the next thirteen episodes trying to live up to Tyra, who every week kicks one of them off the AMNTM ledge with her Bruno Magli heel. It’s like peasants praying to a Golden Calf, if the Golden Calf were always telling you how awesome and golden it was. But that’s what Tyra does, show-off how well she can cry, pretend to be compassionate and tout her “amazing” signature look every chance she gets. If a model protégé has a sob story, Tyra has one that’s worse. When you resent everyone and everything they have, even if you have so much more, that’s envy. And that, in a nutshell, is Tyra.

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Pride is American Idol It’s America’s favorite reality show. And it knows it. Each show begins with Seacrest saying, “…….and THIS is American Idol,” with an unsaid, “and you’re not.” Every week a host makes a comment about how tonight is the biggest night of a singer’s career. The first portion of every season is dedicated to showing how badly so many people want to be a part of it. The contestants get cockier and more full of themselves every year. Simon Cowell, the know-it-all who, I’ll admit, usually does, sits there with a smug smile, stuffed into a black or white V-neck, waiting to tell people what they did wrong. He knows he’s the reason the show is a hit. When he winks to the camera, it almost makes a sound it’s so full of disdain for anyone that’s not him. It is also with an over abundance of Pride that every single year Ryan Seacrest brags about how this is the most votes they have ever received in American Idol history! We get it, you’re popular.

The 10 Creepiest Edible Spokesmen

There is something extremely disturbing about food that says, “Eat Me.” Think about it: when cute, animated comestibles inform us, in cheery, cartoon voices, that we should devour them, they’re actually asking us to, well, kill them. What do you think the Pillsbury Doughboy looks like after you’ve put him the oven and used him to mop up some gravy? Not so cute, for one thing. What kind of twisted characters beg for such a fate? These ones, that’s who. The venerable SuicideFood rules this game, but there are always new players. Herewith, a list of the ten creepiest edible spokespeople.

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10. Frosted Miniwheat The Frosted Mini Wheat is a Jekyll and Hyde. He’s got his evil sugary side, the one on commercials acting delicious and happy, convincing us to soften him up in milk and slurp him down. But on the other side, being held captive is his Wheaty twin. He doesn’t want to be eaten! He is healthy and sensible, just trying to lead a good, honest, whole grain life. But he doesn’t have the control. The frosting side owns him and it’s the frosting side that gets to make the rules. He’s the one who will take them both down your gullet. Sorry little healthy wheat guy. Don’t look at me like that.

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9. Mrs. Butterworth The classic overbearing mother. “Just have a little more syrup on your pancakes, it will make everything all better!” Will it mom, will it really? Will it really be okay if I just have some more sugar with breakfast, even if it’s killing you? Look at you, willing to give up your insides, giving up every part of yourself to make me happy each morning. What about your happiness? Maybe there wouldn’t be so many problems around this house if you saved a little of yourself for yourself. You’d feel better and we could get this family back on track. And what about dad? How do you think it makes Mr. Butterworth feel that you’re just emptying your body for anybody that can twist off your hat? Maybe that’s why he been hanging around that honey bear! Because the bear is full, mom! Did you ever think of that? Did you?!

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8. Mayor McCheese Mayor McCheese leads a very dangerous life. He has a cheeseburger for a face/head. Not only must he must live in fear of it being eaten, it’s so out of proportion with the rest of his body, he must constantly worry he’s about to fall over. And, god forbid, his cheeseburger head hits the ground, because you know there are a lot of vermin that would be all over it. Hello Mayor McHalfCheese.

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7. Twinkie The Kid Twinkie has been around for a long time. Hundreds of years, probably. And he still looks like a kid. Why? It’s the preservatives. They keep him young and fresh, forever. It’s him and the vampires, but no one takes him seriously. So please, help end Twinkie’s horrific existence as the 200 year-old kid. Bite off his head and suck out his white frosting soul so that he may pass on to a better place.

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6. Chips Ahoy Cookies The Chips Ahoy Cookies are a bunch of rich party boys driving around in their dad’s convertible on TV, probably drunk. They live life without consequences, assuming they’re invincible because of their perfect chocolate chunks. Unfortunately, time will catch up with them. It always does. Whether it’s after school, desert time or Christmas Eve, they’ll be drowned in a glass of milk and swallowed up by a hungry snacker. It’s so sad, I almost wish it didn’t have to happen. But it does, right now. Yum.

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5. California Raisins I feel the worst about eating the California Raisins, mainly because I don’t understand them. Why do they want to be eaten? But then again, does anyone really ever “understand” brilliant, old blues musicians? It seems to me that they’re in their prime, months away from being inducted into the Motown Hall of Fame, having influenced generations to come. So, why get eaten now? Maybe the music isn’t making the blues go away anymore. Maybe that thing they heard through the grapevine was worse than we thought.

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4. M&M’s One sarcastic, one dumb. A couple of sad, bad acting, bumbling fools. These are a couple of guys who I don’t mind taking down, all the way into my stomach. They’re not friends in real life, you can just tell. A couple of actors just phoning in a tired performance. They make me sick, especially if I eat too many.

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3. Charlie Tuna I’ll admit, I didn’t get this one at first. This commercial is too old for me. So, I looked up an explanation of Charlie on Wikipedia. Apparently, Charlie is a Tuna with good taste (as proven by his hipster glasses and hat) that doesn’t taste good. That’s right, the point of the ad is that Charlie tastes bad. That’s why he’s disappointed, staring longingly, wishing that hook was piercing him. That’s why everyone is “Sorry, Charlie.” Including him. He’s sorry he’s not dead. Look at how depressed he is, he wants to die. That is where we’re supposed to come in. Charlie wants us to be his personal Dr. Kevorkian. He wants us to chow down, glasses, hat and all. Well, forget it. You don’t taste good, remember? No, instead I will eat all your friends, leaving you even lonelier and more depressed, alone and alive. Sorry, Charlie.

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2. Kool-Aid Man Oh, the destructive life of an addict. In this case, a sugar addict. He’s high on sugar all the time. He’s 20% sugar! Crashing through walls, screaming at children. Belushi, Farley and now Kool-Aid Man. The worst part is, nothing will make him change. Not even being grape. No, Dr. Drew can’t even help this man, he is too far gone. This is one case where I truly think the best thing we can do for Kool-Aid Man is to just chug him and put him out of his jittery misery.

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1. The Pillsbury Doughboy This pervert makes me sick. Always asking us to poke him, thinking it’s SO funny! Oh yeah, look how cute it is when my finger sinks into your stomach. It’s disgusting. He wants us to roll him around, get him hot and watch him rise. No thanks! Your little hat and scarf don’t fool me, I see you for what you are. You’re not a real chef, you’re just a nude, little man running around my kitchen giggling at his own perversity. If someone else wants to indulge this deviant degenerate’s fetishes than by my guest. Personally, I refuse to encourage him. I think he’s crude and absolutely tasteless. Plus, I’m trying to stay away form carbs.

Sex Dolls: A Timeline

This is a story filled with Nazi’s and Sailors and Japanese Sci-Fi and lots of money. Nope, it’s not a George Lucas Film, it’s the history of sex dolls! Throughout time we as a people have always been obsessed with sex. We are either trying to have it as much as possible, wishing we were having it as much as possible, treating it like a dirty little secret while thinking about it as much as possible or we’re just plain doin’ it as much as possible. With all the sex we are either having, wanting to have or pretending we don’t want to have, there isn’t always a partner available to actually, you know, have it. When Plato said, “Necessity, who is the mother of invention,” he was definitely, if not exclusively, talking about sex dolls. Now, you may be thinking to yourself at this point, “Ew! Sex dolls? They’re so creepy and gross and weird!” Well, that’s a little small-minded and also absolutely right. They’re nasty. But so are a lot of things, and that doesn’t mean they’re not part of our history. Herewith, a handy timeline of sex dolls and their pernicious influence.

8 AD. — The First Sex Doll Story Told. In Metamorphoses, Ovid wrote of a myth involving a woman sculpted from ivory by Pygmalion. Her name was Galatea and he became so obsessed with her, bathing her feeding her and of course sleeping with her, eventually Aphrodite (presumably sick of being weirded out) made her into a real woman. Thus, the porno version of Pinocchio was born.

image 11th to 12th Century — Touching of Naked Statues Encouraged. Naked women made of marble, called “Sheela-na-gigs,” were carved into the sides of English and Irish churches to ward off evil spirits. The carvings had exaggerated vulvas and a legend at the time said caressing these sexy busts gave you the power to heal others. Perhaps, sexual healing?

15th Century — The First Sex Dolls at Sea. Called “Dame De Voyage” in French, “Dama De Vinje” in Spanish or, the most hilarious of the three, “Seemannsbraut,” in German, these female dolls made out of sewn cloth were used by sailors aboard their ships to occupy their time (and bodies) on long trips at sea.

image 1941 —- Nazi’s Invent the Modern Sex Doll. That’s right! The world’s first sex-dolls as we know them were created in Nazi Germany at the request of the SS leader, Heinrich Himmler. Called the “Borghild Field-Hygiene Project,” Himmler came up with the concept to stop the “unnecessary losses” of Nazi soldiers due to STD’s. The Project was considered ”Geheime Reichssache,” translated: ”More secret than top secret.”

The sculptor on the project, Arthur Rink, created three dolls. Typ A: 168 cm bust. Typ B: 176 and Typ C: 182 cm. According to Rink, The SS wanted the breasts “round and full” and SS Dr. Olen Hannussen insisted on “a rose hip form, that would grip well.” As for the face (Yes, they cared about the face, too.) The team agreed it needed a cheeky and naughty look. They asked to borrow the face of an actress of the time, Käthe von Nagy, for the doll, but she declined. Dr. Hannussen suggested an “artificial face of lust”, which he thought would be more appealing to the soldiers. Technician, Franz Tschakert agreed saying, “The doll has only one purpose and she should never become a substitute for the honorable mother at home… When the soldier makes love to Borghild, it has nothing to do with love. Therefore the face of our anthropomorphic sexmachine should be exactly how Weininger described the common wanton’s face.”

Going along with the Nordish Nazi vision of beauty, a tall leggy blonde rounded out the form. The first model of Borghild, Typ B, was completed in September 1941. Later, this blonde life-sized woman would inspire Ruth Handler to create the Barbie Doll for girls.

1975 — The Stepford Wives Premieres. A film about the quaint town of Stepford, Connecticut where men have beautiful robot wives that are all absolutely perfect…except for the fact that they’re creepy as hell. Trivia: Diane Keaton turned the role of Joanna down the night before signing her contract, because her analyst got “bad vibes” from the script.

Early 80’s — The First Sex Robot is invented. British Company, Sex Objects Ltd. creates a sex robot, named “36C,” for obvious reasons. “She” also had a 16-bit microprocessor and voice synthesizer that allowed primitive responses to speech and push button inputs. People who used this still get turned on when they hear Stephen Hawking speak.

1985 — The Term “Gynoid” Coined. Gross, right? Totally. The term “Gynoid” was a name given to a female robot designed to look like a human female. It was given to us by Gweyneth Jones in her 1985 novel, Divine Endurance. Luckily, in 1997 Mike Myers gave us the much more palatable and fun term, Fembot!

1987 – Britain Lifts Prohibition on Importing Dirty Stuff. In 1982 a blocked attempt to import sex dolls into Britain began a court case about whether or not to lift the import ban on all “Obscene or Indecent” items. The sex companies finally won the case in 1987, lifting all prohibitions. This opened the floodgates to all perversity in England, prompting the famous cry, “The British are cumming! The British are cumming!”

1995 — The Inflatable Sex Sheep Sold. Muttonbone Productions, Inc. creates a life-sized, anatomically correct inflatable sheep called the Love Ewe. It is sold mainly as a gag gift. I hope.

image 1996 – First “Realistic” Sex Doll Created. At 29 years-old, Matt McMullen stops making scary Halloween masks for a living and creates the first female sex doll that is anatomically correct in look and feel. Her name is Leah (above). McMullen goes on to create the company Real Dolls, one of the most popular sex doll companies in the world. The dolls have a poseable PVC skeleton with steel joints and silicone flesh, which is advertised as “the state-of-the-art for life-like human body simulation”. They are now available in 10 customizable body styles, with a choice of 15 faces and five skin tones. Prices begin at around $6500, with some models costing over $10,000. One was also featured in the 1997 film, Lars and the Real Girl, somehow legitimizing the company.

2005 — Japanese Company Begins Renting Out “Dutch Wives.” Dutch Wives is the Japanese term for high quality silicone sex dolls. By the end of 2005 the Japanese company Forest Dolls had over 40 shops nationwide. The hourly rental rate, in 2005 was 13,000 yen an hour, or $146.00. Wigs and costumes were also available to rent.

2007 — Lars and The Real Girl Premieres. A story about a man in relationship with a sex doll, nominated for an Oscar for its screenplay written by Nancy Oliver. That’s right, a woman!

2007 — The “Sexual Audio System” Is Invented. A Japanese company adds an mp3 player attached to a built-in pressure sensor in the chest of its sex dolls. It takes 4 AAA batteries. The dolls also come with real pubic hair and detachable heads. This is really disturbing.

image 2009 — The First Male Sex Doll. Germans make the first make Android-Sex doll, named “Nax.” It has an “automatically soaring penis” and “artificial automatic ejaculation.” It costs $10,000 and the only thing weirder than the name Nax, is what he looks like (above). Yikes! I guess German ladies love bald dudes with ponytails that reek of failed Cirque Du Soleil performer. Sorry American ladies, better luck next time.

image 2010 — The First Sex Doll with a “Customizable Personality.” At the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas, Doug Hines, owner and designer for TrueCompanion, revealed Roxxy (above). She costs a mere $7,000 and reacts to tactile and verbal stimulation. Personalities range from “Wild Wendy,” an outgoing party girl to “Frigid Farrah,” the shy librarian type. Her interests can be modified according to the owner’s conversation preferences. For example: “No, I don’t think you’re weird at all. You’re cute and hot and totally normal and of course you could get a real woman if you wanted to, you’re just too busy being rich and powerful. Also, you should buy me lots of sexy friends. What’s your credit card number again?” image 2010 — The Sarah Palin Sex Doll is released. Marketed as the “This is NOT Sarah Palin Inflatable Love Doll,” so they don’t get sued, it is The Sarah Palin Sex Doll.

Smells Like… Antonio Banderas

Every person’s scent is unique. From the good to the bad, the natural to the store bought, the subtle to the pungent, a person’s smell conveys something about him—due both to pheromones and the fact that a guy drenched in Drakkar Noir could not, and should not, ever be mistaken for a man sprinkled with Tom Ford. As with all aspects of our appearance, we manipulate our scents in the hopes of making ourselves as attractive as possible to potential mates. So what exactly are we conveying about ourselves when we slap on a little Tim McGraw? What does it mean to smell like Usher? Do other people like us better when we smell like Paris Hilton? I took five celebrity scents—Usher, Tim McGraw, Paris Hilton, Antonio Banderas and iCarly—out for five different nights on the town. Here’s what I learned.

Day #1:Usher’s Usher For Men. Price: $9.99 for .17 FL Oz.

Purchasing experience: I set it on the counter at Rite-Aid and was already learning things. The woman behind the counter said, “This is popular today. Three people have bought this already. But the big bottle.” I wanted to ask her all kinds of census questions. Were they rich-looking? How old were they? What race were they? But I only had time for one, “Men or women?” They sold both Usher Cologne and Perfume. “Men.” I put on a couple of sprays, on my way to a friend’s birthday party. I brought the tiny bottle with me to reapply throughout the night as needed.

First impression: Colognes (and perfumes) seem to start with one scent, settle into another, and then hit a third during their death rattle. Usher came on like a strong Hugo Boss, and then faded away into nothing. I had to reapply twice before I got to the party.

Play by Play: I got there, got a drink from the bar, greeted friends, got and gave lots of hugs. And nothing. Not even a hint from anyone that I was wearing anything, which I normally do not. I talked to an ex-fling and the conversation was more boring than usual. That did not bode well for Mr. Usher.

I moved on to hang out with a couple friends, one of whom is a writer for a big hour-long drama and the other an actor featured on some Reno 911 episodes. Both fascinating and great guys. We ended up talking about Bosom Buddies for a long time. It was the cologne. Its scent was enshrouding the room in a blanket of boredom.

Having had enough of this “nobody noticing” crap, I asked a friend of mine to smell me, but not in a weird way. He sniffed me and shrugged. I told him it was Usher. He said, “Smells like everything else…just like Usher.” Burn. He then went on to talk about something boring. He couldn’t help himself, damn it! Damn this mind numbing cologne! Cults and Republicans should be buying this stuff by the gallon. It creates a sedated American in seconds.

Feeling the albatross of Usher ruining my good time, I decided to fight back by pounding Miller Lite. Meanwhile, the piano player at the bar played Billy Joel and I got sucked into a conversation about the local zoo. Foiled again! By Usher! I asked another friend to smell me. “I don’t smell anything, [sniffs closer] oh yeah, it’s nice.” Then she turned her back to me. I told myself it was because I was hammered on Miller Lite, but I knew the truth. It was the cologne. I’m much more charming when I’m drunk.

The only thing that got this crowd semi-riled up after being bathed in the boredom that is Usher’s cologne was the piano player’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” But it only my scent of malaise wafting in his direction for the pianist to start playing happy birthday for the birthday girl. I scarfed down a piece of cake and left. Usher ruined my night. I felt sorry for the other three Rite-Aid customers.

image Night #2: Tim McGraw’s McGraw. Price: $18.99.

Purchasing experience: Before going to the bar, I went to the Rite-Aid to purchase another celebrity cologne. They had both McGraw and Southern Blend McGraw. They were both $18.99, fortunately, there was a tester bottle of McGraw (regular) open. Unfortunately it was empty, but that wasn’t going to stop me. Rite-Aid wanted me to test McGraw and damn it, I was going to. I opened up a box and sprayed away. I put it back and left, just like the man who wrote “Indian Outlaw” would want it. (For those not familiar with his discography, it was indeed Tim McGraw who wrote “Indian Outlaw.”)

First impression: Again, it smelled like nothing. And I put a lot on since I wasn’t going to have the bottle with me. This was starting to piss me off. Maybe a hint of leather? Maybe not.

Play by Play: I left Rite-Aid and was walking to the bar when it hit me. MCGRAW IN THE FACE! McGraw had come home to roost. I was musky all over and it was getting stronger by the second. I immediately regretted how much I had put on. I was very self-conscious of how strong I smelled as I entered the bar. I got hugs and they knew it immediately.

Throughout the night McGraw got strong reactions. Not unpleasant strong, just intense strong. When describing it people would go into flowery detail like they had just become wine sommeliers in Napa Valley. People had different reactions that revealed more about their character than Mr. Faith Hill had intended. It seems McGraw Cologne is a truth serum of emotion. A friend went into detail about how it reminded her of being with her ex-boyfriend on a bathroom floor in Freeport, Illinois, circa 1994. Also a hint of her cousin’s kind-of-boyfriend-who-turned-out-to-be-gay-later and wore a lot of Marshall Field’s cologne that he used to steal. A Russian woman told me it made her really want to go out and eat oranges. I was also told about how it was like incense from the bathroom of an ex who was in a band and lived in a commune with the other guys in the band. Another friend who is more “sensitive” than most said it was “Unobtrusively fragrant. Iit’s sort of mild and calming if albeit a bit floral for a man’s fragrance.” The woman standing right next to him said, “It smells like like a hunky man, like a manly man. It’s, like, better than Axe.” It reminded her of camping. And trees. “There’s an air of cigarettes, like a man!” You could tell she was getting horny.

All the revelations were starting to make me nervous. McGraw was turning out to be truth serum and I didn’t feel right tricking people into revealing themselves through the undercover scent dosing of McGraw. I can only imagine what would have been revealed if I was wearing Southern Blend McGraw. The next women I spoke to said it was like passing by woods on a snowy evening. She went on to say she wouldn’t like it if it was in a mall, but she liked it because she likes me. Oh my God, McGraw was making my friends hit on me. With my wife literally feet away.

My nerves were shot and the woman behind me kept standing up and slamming her chair into me out of excitement. I needed to get this McGraw out of here before someone got hurt. Someone like me. Then, I swear to God, the jukebox started playing “Don’t Stop Believin’.” The McGraw was screwing with me. Trying to make me insane. The title of Tim’s album Set This Circus Down made perfect sense. I got scared and quickly left.

Later that night, at home, I got into a big fight with my wife. It was about a lot of things and nothing at all, but there were plenty of things said. Then crying. I absolutely blame the McGraw. It had gotten to me. And dragged my wife down with it.

The next morning when I put my jacket on, it still reeked of McGraw. I took it off and hung it far away form the rest of my clothes. It is now a weapon, only to be used in cases of emergency, like when I need to know the absolute truth, and fast. The coat will get the results, and I just hope I never have to wear it again.

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Night #3: Paris Hilton’s Paris Hilton…For Men. Price: $9.99 for 1.0 FL. Oz.

Purchasing experience: I walked into Ross Dress For Less and the line was ridiculous. I went over to the cologne/perfume kiosk. Locked. I looked inside and saw Paris Hilton…For Men. My first thought was, isn’t Paris Hilton always for men? Then a rimshot went off in my brain. My second thought was it’s going to take forever to get someone to come unlock this thing. Then out of nowhere, a Ross employee came up behind me and just opened the case. What the hell? A customer behind me had already summoned her. I jumped in and pointed to Paris’s box. Another rimshot. Before I had to get in line the Ross employee took our purchases and said, “Come on over to Customer Service ‘n I’ll ring you up.” It was a retail miracle. I even got to donate my leftover change to Haiti. Thanks Paris for being so easy! Third rimshot.

First impression: The only smell that comes to mind is cologne. I know you can’t define a word using the same word, but if someone asked me what cologne smells like, it would be this. Basically, this is the Platonic ideal of cologne. It is full of cologne-ness.

Play by Play: I sprayed it on and went out to another birthday party. Full disclosure: This was a ’90s themed party and we were asked to come in costume. So, while wearing Paris, I was dressed as grizzled Detective Andy Sipowitz from the TV show NYPD Blue. Bald cap, mustache, short sleeve shirt with a tie, fake gun on my hip and calling people “Douchebag.” I should also point out this ended up being what you might call a “low-level industry party.” There were a handful of writers and recognizable working actors at this party. Steve Agee from The Sarah Silverman Show was there; John DiMaggio, the voice of Bender on Futurama, a writer from the unfortunately defunct Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, and plenty of other people from commercials—a semi-celebrity party in Hollywood with networking and people trying to get laid or get work. This cologne is already in its element. Now we get to see what happens when a snake eats its own tail.

I schmoozed and got reactions. When I asked what they thought of it, most people used other colognes to describe Paris For Men. Stetson, Fahrenheit, Cool Water, Nautica. The birthday girl even said, “It’s masculine, yet I feel comfortable. It’s like a party, but at the same time hot.” I swear to God she really said “Hot.” She elicited Paris’ own catch phrase to describe her cologne. Eat, snake, eat!

Surprisingly, when I revealed it was Paris for Men, most of them just nodded and smiled. There was no judgment at all. They still liked it.

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Night #4: Antonio Banderas Blue Seduction, Cologne for Men. Price: $22.95 for 1.0 FL. Oz.

Antonio Banderas was made for ladies. Not the cologne, the man himself. Not that men can’t enjoy AB too, but God made him specifically with women in mind. Because of this, I gave my wife the first impression.

My Wife’s First impression: It’s kinda fruity, definitely fruity-like. A good spring scent. Then she told me I could put more on, so I did. Not because she’s my wife, but because he’s Antonio Banderas.

Play by Play: As I left the house I tried to compose my olfactory thoughts. AB Blue Seduction smelled different to me. It was not the kind of scent I was used to, it was not cologne-y at all. It didn’t smell like a flower either, or a food…I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then it hit me. It wasn’t just a smell. It was a full experience. AB BS was my “biggest” scent so far. It wasn’t just a smell, it was an entire night.

To me, it smells like a photograph of a memory of a night out with great friends. I can smell the cologne I’m wearing, mixed with the perfume of the woman I’m talking to, a hint of the white wine she’s drinking along with the cigarette smoke infused jacket of the guy standing in our circle. I can smell the floor of the bar soaked with years of spilled alcohol and indiscretions. The Guinness breath of another friend laughing at my joke mixed with a waft of Hollywood Blvd and the food cart outside when the bouncer opens the door to let in someone new.

Maybe it was the positive visualization, maybe it was a premonition, but either way my night turned out to be a lot like I envisioned. I ended up watching some of the funniest improv comedy I had seen in a long time and old friends were popping up everywhere. Reactions to the cologne like, “It smells like perfume for a man,” “It’s got a clean smell,” and “It’s very comfortable with itself,” turned into great conversations about interesting places we’ve lived and visited, stories about seeing porn stars on the street and jokes about Olive Garden commercials.

As we talked, I pictured the music playing, drowning out our words and becoming a soundtrack, as a camera swirled around us in slo-mo circles. Sure it wasn’t just the cologne, but maybe it wasn’t just the friends either. If I’ve learned anything from this experiment so far, it’s that the cologne you wear is not about how you smell to other people. That crap is meaningless. People smell too many different things. It’s about the attitude the cologne gives you. It seeps into your skin and imparts something new. Maybe something you weren’t expecting or something you didn’t even know was in you. You don’t exude a scent, the scent exudes you.

Night #5: Nickelodeon’s iCarly Cologne. $11.99 for 1.0 FL. OZ. Available at Rite-Aid.

Purchasing experience: For the last night of my experiment I decided to go all out. I wanted to try something really different. I picked a scent I would never look twice at, paid money for it. and wore it out in public. I know iCarly is not a celebrity—it’s a TV show—but I still got my hopes up for great reactions to this one. I’m also nervous to reveal it as iCarly and get the stink eye that I can only assume creepy pervs get all the time. For those of you that don’t know, iCarly is a kid’s show on a kid’s network about a girl named Carly struggling with adolescence while gaining fame by hosting her own web show with her bestest friends. Or at least that’s what imdb tells me. I’ve never seen it. It’s a show for young girls.

According to the box for Nickelodeon’s iCarly, it is cologne. Not perfume. Sure, cologne can be for women too, but what Tween knows that? I can only assume the “Cologne” distinction is some sort of misprint or weird marketing scheme. Lucky for you, their mistake is my evening of wearing it out.

First impression: Bubble gum. It smells like a big pink cube of bubblegum. With just a hint of chemicals.

Play by Play: Unfortunately, whenever I get my hopes up too high they are instantly dashed. I wore it out with friends and the reactions were, “Fruity.” Or “What is it?” And that’s it. They gave up caring within seconds and went back to their beer or conversation about game shows. My wife said, “Smells splashy.” I waited for more. I stared and she returned it with a blank stare of her own. She repeated, “Yup, just splashy.” The problem with iCarly cologne is that it doesn’t smell like cologne, it smells like a mistake. Like I’ve been chewing Big League Chew and you just caught a whiff of my breath. Or I spilled a hunk of frosting on my shirt somewhere and you just can’t see it.

Nickelodeon iCarly also fades away quicker than the others. Where Antonio Banderas or Tim McGraw grows on you and becomes distinct, this one comes on medium-strong with its sugary-sweet smell, then fades away within minutes into nothing, a background smell. I didn’t mean that as a metaphor, but you can sure as hell take it as one.

The Takeaway

Throughout this experiment I got a lot of varying opinions. I couldn’t pick one as my favorite, they all made me a different man. They were all powerful in their own way, except for iCarly. That one was a waste of a night.

If you are important enough to have your own celebrity scent, it has to be bold. Sure, some people may think it reeks like flowers, but you gotta go for it. You have to try. Cologne, like anything in life, isn’t supposed to be milquetoast and monotone. Which is why nobody knows what iCarly’s real name is. Nobody I spoke to had any idea. Poor iCarly. Someone’s making cologne with her name on it, keeping it milquetoast to appease just enough people to keep it barely profitable. It’s like paying the minimum on your credit cards each month; it’s actually counterproductive.

I may be saying this more to convince myself, but I think it’s better to wear cologne that’s too strong and to stand out than wear nothing and feel nothing. If you make a big, bold choice you’ve got a shot at going from being iCarly to being a McGraw or Paris or Banderas, or to a lesser degree, Usher. Or maybe even, someday, if I really play my cards right, BETETTE!

The 10 Most Controversial Billboards in Recent History

The humble billboard has been with us since 1867, rising in popularity right alongside our beloved automobile. A constant in our lives, a staple of family vacation road trips, it doesn’t yell at you like radio or TV commercials and it won’t just pop up while you’re reading informative yet humorous on-line articles. Mostly, it just tells you how far away the next restroom is. But make no mistake, that unassuming piece of poster board off to the side of the road has us by the balls. Advertisers spent $6.99 billion dollars on them in 2008, and that rate that is steadily increasing. Billboards have an advertiser-consumer relationship that other media would kill for. They tell us to get off at the next exit for Panda Express NOW! And we do. When was the last time you got off the couch to buy something because the TV told you to? (Except for the McRib of course. But it was only available for a limited time!) If you still doubt the power of the almighty, low tech billboard, consider the fact that they can cause quite a stir (the image above just might be the latest to rock the boat!). After the jump, ten recent, highly controversial billboards.

1. The Oracle Affair How do you let everyone in the country know you’re a douchebag? It’s easy with billboards! This year, three-story-high billboards were put up in Atlanta and San Francisco and New York featuring a photo of Charles E. Phillips (a member of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board and co-president of the software company Oracle Corp) and his mistress YaVaughnie Wilkins with a quote from Phillips, “You are my soul mate forever.” The billboards forced Phillips to admit to having an eight and-a-half-year affair with Wilkins, which he has since broken off. He is now back together with his wife, Karen.

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2. American Woody. It seems that billboards are making Woody Allen a lot more money than movies these days. In 2007 Allen sued American Apparel for $10 million dollars for posting billboards in New York and Hollywood of an unlicensed, doctored photo of him from Annie Hall. On the billboard he appeared as a Hasidic Jew with a long beard, side curls and black hat. Eventually Allen accepted a $5 million dollar settlement. I think Woody was mainly upset because he’s tried so hard to keep the fact that he’s Jewish on the D.L.

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3. Hot Jackass Action! In 2006 Johnny Knoxville took it upon himself to put up a billboard in West Hollywood, the heart of the gay Los Angeles community, for Rainbow Cruise Lines. Under the slogan “Come Board Me Sailors” was a picture of Jackass Two director Jeff Tremaine and cinematographer Dimitry Elyashkevich in a shirtless, fun-loving embrace from a previous piece that never aired. Tremaine and Elyashkevich knew nothing about the billboard until they saw it and realized it was them. But then again, what do they expect working for Jackass? A gay billboard of you is still WAY better than having your testicles electrically shocked with a muscle stimulator.

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4. Our Weatherproof President In January the clothing company Weatherproof bought a picture from the Associated Press of President Obama wearing one of their jackets. They made it into a billboard and put it up in Time Square and Queens. Obama himself never gave permission to be used in the ad and the White House forced them to take it down. It was just replaced by one featuring Mount Rushmore (but not before Breaking Bad could spoof it). Now, Weatherproof is hoping that Sarah Palin agrees to take Obama’s spot. On the billboard. Not the presidency. Right, Weatherproof? RIGHT?!?! PLEASE SAY RIGHT!

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5. The Thief and his Billboard In 2008 in New Zealand, a thief was photographed stealing 15 electrical transformers used for lighting a billboard. The photographs were then sold to the owner of the billboard who, sick of being ripped off, decided to use them. He put the picture on four of his own billboards with the text, “Who is this Thief? Reward $500.” After hundred of phone calls to the police, the man was quickly arrested. This seems unfair. I posted pictures I took of my ex-girlfriend without her knowledge all over at our gym and got a restraining order. That’s it, I’m moving to New Zealand!

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6. Earnhardt’s Dilemma Before Weatherproof drafted our unwilling president, the Texas Motor Speedway Track drafted an unwilling Dale Earnhardt Jr. In 2008 the speedway put up four billboards, to advertise the track’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Weekend, about why drivers want to win. Earnhardt Jr. thought they went too far with his, which said “Reason #88: STEP-MOM,” apparently referring to his strained relationship his late-father’s wife. Mom jokes are never wise.

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7. Mooninite’s Invade Boston!!!!! In 2007, the guerrilla marketing campaign for Adult Swim went horribly wrong. Or horribly right if you consider how many newscasters were forced to talk about Aqua Teen Hunger Force all day long. Billboards of the Mooninite character Ignignokt from Adult Swim’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force, made up of 400 LED lights, were displayed in 10 cities. But it was the Bostonians that went nuts. They mistook the wires and batteries for explosive devices, the city shut down completely and spent almost $500,000 investigating. Afterward, the Adult Swim parent company, Turner Broadcasting ended up paying the city $1 million for the upset and another $1 million as “good will” towards homeland security. The best part? After being taken into custody, the two men who put up the Mooninites were forced to give a statement to the press, which they did, talking exclusively about haircut styles of the ’70s.

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8. Skull Phone Home In 2008, an artsy stir was caused in Los Angeles when the graffiti artist Skull Phone hacked a digital billboard owned by the major media company, Clear Channel to promote himself. Or at least that’s how it appeared. Three images of skulls talking on cell phones came up between the normal advertisements on a Clear Channel billboard on the Miracle Mile. Turns out, they were paid for. By Skull Phone. A spokesmen for Clear Channel said, “”The party represented themselves as wanting to advertise ads for an art project.” Which made it a kind of social art project within a social art project that lost Skull Phone all street cred. Sorry Skull Phone. Time to get a real job and become Mr. Skull Phone, like your father.

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9. That Girl Emily Promotes! In a white trash version of the Oracle Affair, in 2006 a billboard was posted that read, “Hi Steven, Do I have your attention now? I know all about her, you dirty, sneaky, immoral, unfaithful, poorly-endowed slimeball. Everything’s caught on tape, Your (soon-to-be-ex) Wife, Emily. P.S. I paid for this billboard from OUR joint bank account.” It went up in New York, Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Chicago and was associated with the blog That Girl Emily, an unhappily married woman. Emily was even asked by Good Morning America and British Glamour to tell her story. Unfortunately, Emily didn’t exist. It was all a marketing ploy from Court TV’s reality show Parco P.I. to advertise their upcoming season. A cool ploy, but it obviously didn’t work out as well as they had hoped, because I have never, EVER, heard of that show.

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10. PETA in general. You can’t have billboard controversy without talking about PETA. PETA has caught flack for so many of their billboards over the years they deserve their own article. Here are just a few of their “shockers.” a. “Got Autism?” This one has an unhappy face in a bowl of cereal and connects cow’s milk with autism. This billboard went up in Newark N.J. which has some of the highest rates of Autism in the country. They people there were very unhappy with it. No kidding! You think those people might be a bit sensitive to that sort of thing? You don’t think they have enough to deal with PETA, what with their autistic kids? You gotta throw a billboard in their face?

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b. “Pro-Life? Go Vegetarian” This PETA billboard has people up in arms in Kansas City, MO because it was put up to coincide with the ongoing news story of the killing of Dr.George Tiller, who performed late-term abortions. That is awful, PETA. You really know how to cram salt into the wounds, don’t you? At least the billboard has a bunch of baby chicks on it…I’m just going to try and focus on those cute lil’ chicks and not think about how awful you’re being by trivializing a man’s murder by making it into an ad to go vegetarian….awww, look at those little fuzzy guys!…much better.

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And of course, there are all the “I’d Rather Go Naked” anti-Fur billboard ads featuring super sexy women, nude. Hey, pro-fur or not, who doesn’t like sexy ladies? Nude sexy ladies at that! And if you’re asking yourself now, “Hey, where are all the pictures of those billboards?” Go look ‘em up yourselves, ya pervs!