I consider myself a conossieur of trash T.V. Whether it’s Steven Seagal, spin-kicking a bad guy so fast you feel certain his overly tight pants will explode off and make you claw your eyes out, or a Sy-Fy movie about “______(combine literally any two kinds of animals into one, weird word. Ex: Giraptor, a combination giraffe and velociraptor).” I thought I’d seen it all.
With today’s date being the one year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death I had prepared myself for the worst: “Thriller” music videos on repeat for 23.5 hours of the day and tearful celebrities pretending like they were close with the dude in interviews. What I hadn’t prepared myself for was the penultimate piece of trash T.V. The piece de resistance of rubbish, if you will, that I found myself staring at late last night on Animal Planet. It was titled “Michael Jackson and Bubbles the Chimp: The Untold Story.” Before you go and permanently unbookmark this site as some kind of pervert’s den of vice, let me assure you, the show wasn’t as lurid as your wild imagination might make you think. It was, however, terrible. That’s why I watched it. . .so you wouldn’t have to. And because the only other thing on, currently, is “Tyra.”
So, ladies and gentleman of the burnpoetry jury, I give you Exhibit A in the case of Chris’s sanity V. Chris’ love of trashy programming.
The Show Begins: I find myself wondering, why do I like to watch this schlock? Why haven’t I just resigned myself to a “Billy Jean” marathon on BET? Undaunted, I continue watching.
29 Seconds in: La Toya Jackson’s mug appears in a 1080-p, 56-inch, high-def, closeup. I nearly wet myself. I scream like one of those guest cameramen on “Ghost Hunters.”
2 Minutes in: La Toya claims that Bubbles the Chimpanzee, “Became a human.” I begin to firmly believe that she’s been removing large chunks of her brain and injecting them into her lips.
7 Minutes in: I realize that the life of a Michael Jackson ape is far, far, more luxurious than any that I will ever have.
14 Minutes in: The show has footage of MJ holding his kid over the edge of a balcony with a towel covering his face. My only thought, “did he use a chimp as a crash-test dummy test for this little stunt?”
19 Minutes in: I become convinced that La Toya’s chin is going to collapse like a poorly engineered bridge.
27 Minutes in: Michael apparently wanted to try to get doctors to perform an operation to put vocal chords into Bubbles so he could talk. My guess? He wanted a better backup singer than Tito.
38 Minutes in: They show the Neverland Ranch and I realize, with eerie certainty, that the whole place was just a really expensive version of the whole “leaves and twigs covering a gaping whole” booby trap.
44 Minutes in: Michael apparently took his monkey on tour. The Japanese apparently loved it. For some reason, at this point in the show with my mind going into atrophy, it all makes perfect sense.
46 Minutes in: La Toya giggles as she describes how Bubbles slapped her so hard she passed out. I realize how terribly jacked up her childhood must have been. I start to feel bad for her.
46.25 Minutes in: I stop feeling bad.
49 Minutes in: I begin to realize that the “scientist” that signed off to do this show must’ve wanted to commit career hara kiri. Doing a program of this quality is as bad for a career as an I.V. drip of uranium is for someone’s health.
51 Minutes in: They show the now-26-year-old Bubbles. He’s taken the breakup hard. Bubbles, suffice it to say, has really let himself go. He’s hairy, covered in grey, dirty hairs, weighs in the mid 220’s and struts around in his own poop.
52 Minutes in: I realize that, unless I get my act together, I will share a similar fate.
53 Minutes in: Bubbles doesn’t appear to recognize La Toya. Which makes sense since she’s probably had three plastic surgery operations in her van on the way to the zoo.
54 Minutes in: La Toya attempts to have a tearful discussion with Bubbles. Her tear ducts, having most likely been removed, didn’t get the memo.
58 Minutes in: La Toya leaves Bubbles and goes back to her lair below ground, where she will wait until the casting call for Gholam’s role in “The Hobbit.”
59 Minutes in: Bubbles mourns by munching on a stick. Or poop. . .I really didn’t get a good look.
The Credits Roll: I tearfully put down my box of Kleenex. It’s been a hell of a ride.
I learned that Michael Jackson was more comfortable arond animals then people, that Animal Planet is desperate for programming this time of year, and that La Toya could play her brother in a biopic if she talked in a higher pitch voice. In the words of the immortal comedy genius, Dave Chappelle “I wish I had more hands so I could give this piece 4 thumbs down.”