Imagine There's No Seacrest Hair
Susan Isaacs August 13th, 2012
I don’t watch sports on TV, and I only caught a few of the Olympic games. But when I found out I missed seeing director Danny Boyle and Sir Paul McCartney in the opening ceremonies, I made sure to watch the closing. Larry said it was going to have a load of great British bands, a tribute to John Lennon, and The Who would be the big closing act. I wanted to see if The Who would be cheeky enough to play “Won’t Get Fooled Again” in an election year.
I don’t watch broadcast TV. I’ll watch a season of a show when it gets to Netflix. So there’s a host of things I’ve forgotten. Like if a channel is airing a two-hour movie, it will take three and a half hours to broadcast the whole thing, or they’ll cut it way down to make time for the Pampers commercials. I also forgot that if a live sports program starts at 7pm, it actually starts a half hour later, and the first thirty minutes you’re forced to listen to two old geezers talk about products, services and programs related to the network. At 7:30, the marginally sports-themed infomercial finally ended and the ceremony was about to begin, when Bob Costas said, “It’s going to be one massive rock concert. And that means the man for the job is Ryan Seacrest."
Does it really mean that? Must it mean that? I’m not a fan of Seacrest. I remember when he was just a rude radio DJ in LA. Now I can’t get away from his capped teeth and starched-up bangs. His Buckwheat updo was so high last night, it looked like the Olympic flame pit. I wished someone would drag him over and give him a singe-cut. Bless his heart.
But no, Costas' intro wasn’t the worst moment of the evening. It was when the clock reached 11pm and I realized I’d been sitting on the couch for four hours to watch three hours worth of actual show. Four hours of my life I will never get back.
Oh wait. That was the worst moment until the next moment, when the clock hit 11pm and Bob Costas said, “We’ll be back in an hour with The Who. Next up ‘Animal Practice’!”
That’s right. They postponed The Who finale so NBC could air a new sit-com. NBC ran the “Animal Practice” promo three times an hour for four hours, and it looked bad. I was in such denial about The Who postponement, that I sat through a minute of the Animal show. That was another minute of my life I will never get back. I saw a monkey in a doctor’s coat, a fat girl yelling her punch lines while holding a penguin, a wacky Asian running through the hall with a tiger, and some tense banter between the dweeb doctor and hot administrator who may become attracted to each other by Episode Seven. Not that we’ll ever see Episode Seven. Why? All of Olympic-viewing America hates “Animal Practice,” because it postponed The Who to midnight.
I feel sorry for the people who created “Animal Practice.” Few shows are brilliant right from the get-go; just watch the first few episodes of “Seinfeld.” But I don’t know how "Animal Practice" got made being so awful. Maybe they started off with a good pitch. “It’s ‘House’ Meets ‘Animal Planet!’” They decided to cast some great no-name comic actors like the oddballs in “The Office.” But then the network came in and forced the writers to punch up the jokes. They wanted more gags, so they add the monkey in the doctor’s coat, the tiger and the penguin. They cast the fat, loud girl, because Melissa McCarthy is hot off of Bridesmaids (forgetting that what makes Melissa McCarthy great is that she’s Melissa McCarthy. When it’s a Melissa McCarthy knock-off, you have to make her yell and hold a penguin with dysentery). Then the suits made every actor perform like they were PMS’ing and on speed. Finally they added the romantic tension between the misanthropic doctor and the hot, uptight administrator girl. Because that happens in real life. No wait, because it happened in “House.”
Bless their hearts.
Oh I forgot, I was going to write about the closing ceremony and the John Lennon tribute. And I love John Lennon. For one, he never worked with a monkey in a doctor’s coat. Also, he longed for the same things Jesus proclaimed: peace, truth, and justice for the little guy.
I shouldn’t be surprised when a Lennon tribute means a rendition of “Imagine.” But it saddened me to see a bunch of kids singing, “Imagine there’s no heaven.” A generation growing up thinking there’s nothing but us, alone on this planet. The only way I can complete the last sentence of that verse is like this:
"Imagine there’s no heaven. It’s easy if you try
No hell below us, above us only sky.
Imagine all the people, living for… themselves.”
Gah! Still, last night I tried to listen without judgment.
"Imagine there's no countries; it isn't hard to do.
Nothing to kill or die for. And no religion too.
Imagine all the people living life in peace.
Imagine no possessions. I wonder if you can.
No need for greed or hunger; a brotherhood of man.
Imagine all the people sharing all the world."
I don’t think hell is a physical location below us in the core of the earth. But wherever God is not, will be hell. NT Wright’s book, “Surprised by Joy,” challenged me that God never intended us to live with the goal of getting outta here to live on some fluffy cloud with nothing to do. Wright reminds us that in Revelation, Jesus returns to Jerusalem, he redeems and reclaims this world and this sky and this solar system. So maybe John Lennon wasn’t completely wrong. Sure. I can imagine there’s no white fluffy cloud heaven where we sit around doing nothing.
“No religion, too.” I imagine Lennon saw a lot of dead religion. Jesus hated dead religion. So yes, I’d like to imagine a reality where there is no more dead, false religion.
The rest of the lyrics – no more greed or hunger, nothing to kill or die for, a brotherhood of man – are not that far from John the Revelator’s vision.
"I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.' He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!'"
A pastor-friend of mine must have been thinking similar thoughts, because she posted this on her facebook page while watching the closing ceremonies.
“And there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every NATION, tribe, people and language standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: 'Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb'" (Rev. 7:9-10).
Did you know that John Lennon had a born-again period? During his absent years he got saved watching Oral Roberts on TV. He and Yoko summered in Japan, and according to some Japanese Presbyterian pastors, he hung out at a church and got into some deep discussions. But by the time he was doing press for his final album, he said some disparaging things about Bob Dylan becoming a Christian.
Still God’s grace extends to the uttermost. Here’s what I think, or what I hope. That in John Lennon’s dying moments, Jesus appeared and said, “Hey it’s me. You wanna come with, or not?” and John said yes.”
I’ll never like “Imagine,” but I can imagine where we are going is a place not unlike the best of those lyrics. And there will be no more Ryan Seacrest hair. God may make me lay down my snarky criticism. But that could be as boring as hanging out on a fluffy white cloud.
Susan Isaacs is a writer, actor, and comedienne with TV and film credits including Planes Trains & Automobiles, Scrooged, Seinfeld, The Drew Carey Show, My Name Is Earl and more. She is an alumnus of The Groundlings Sunday Company and the author of Angry Conversations With God: A Snarky But Authentic Spiritual Memoir.
Click here to listen to Susan's most recent appearance on SBE.
This entry was posted on Monday, August 13th, 2012 at 11:14 am and is filed under Animal Practice, Imagine, Jesus, John Lennon, NBC, NT Wright, Olympics, Olympics Closing Ceremony, Revelation, Ryan Seacrest, Susan Isaacs, SusanIsaacs.net, The Bible, The Who, TheSusan.com. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.