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To: Big Giant Head
From: High Commander (aka Professor Dick Solomon)
Re: Planet Earth
We have been here on Earth for nearly what the humans call "a year." You have requested a report on the "Third Rock from the Sun." I do not feel we have compiled enough information. However, since your word is supreme law, we are forwarding our report to be used by those who would follow us to study this obscure planet located in an outpost of the galaxy the humans have affectionately nicknamed the "Milky Way" (after a popular candy bar). I hope you will find it helpful. I wish someone had done it for us. This place is not exactly what we expected.
As you remember, it wasn't long ago that we first began to hear the radio waves that were emitting from this small blue dot. Much of the information we received was inaccurate. For example, the oft repeated command "To the Moon, Alice!" has nothing to do with space travel. They have been to the Moon, but there was no one named Alice involved. In fact, as it turns out, no women were allowed to go to the Moon at all. Sally, our second in command, is understandably upset since she agreed to be "the woman" on this mission based on the "Alice Directives."
Other things you should know: "Yabba Dabba Doo" is not a code for anything. The man who said "I am not a crook" was. But we were right on one thing--Madonna is a slut.
We are at times confused, but we remain alert and patient. Other than Sally's frustration, we are all content with our mission. I am fine in my human body. I don't mind having to be the tall dashing manof the unit. Information officer Tommy is glad to be an adolescent, and Harry, our receiver/transmitter, is just glad to be anywhere.
In March of 1994, in a restaurant in Los Angeles, California, I was abducted by aliens. They had taken the form of a comedy writing team, a married couple calling themselves Bonnie and Terry Turner. Some years before, masking their true intent, they had insinuated themselves into my good graces when I had hosted a TV show called "Saturday Night Live." "You're just like us!" they had chirped. "You drive your offspring around in a Volvo station wagon!" I had been charmed by their unpretentious manner, so unlike the strenuous theatricality of their SNL cohort jokesmiths. Little did I suspect their dark motives, that their comradely banter was an alien strategy to soften me up. But on that fateful morning in March, they finally struck.
Looking back on the event, I marvel at how easily I was taken in. The aliens had shrewdly arranged the meeting through my agent, instructing him to inform me that my "old friends the Turners" wanted to have breakfast with me. As I joined them at their table in the plush confines of the Four Seasons hotel, they seemed harmless enough, as benign and chucklesome as I had remembered them. Having researched the typical profile of the earthling actor, they knew my vulnerability to the blandishments of writer-producers. So they set about to use a subtle, insidious weapon on me: the television situation-comedy pitch.
Situation comedy. Sitcom! The very word had always sounded faintly cheesy to me. From my early days as an idealistic young actor, I had left only one unbroken rule: Never do a sitcom. And as Terry Turner launched into his pitch, my resolve was utterly intact. I smiled indulgently. I may even have imperceptibly shaken my head and rolled my eyes as I silently rehearsed the phrases I would use to turn him down. What a fool I was! What a pathetically deluded fool! Did I catch no whiff of the paranormal? Spot no hint of the extraterrestrial? Did nothing about these people strike me as even a little . . . well, strange?!
"It's about four aliens," Terry began.
"Yeah, right," I inwardly replied.
How fiendishly clever of them to hide in plain sight! Their sitcom was to be about them! In hindsight the similarities are too painfully obvious:
A team of aliens visits Earth taking on human form (ditto the Turners).
Their mission is to report back home (in their first stab at fitting in, the Turners had worked in journalism).
They settle in Ohio (Bonnie Turner had taken the form of a grown-up high school cutup from--you guessed it--Toledo!). Everything either baffles or amuses them (ditto the Turners).
In matters of decorum, diplomacy, and self-control, they still have a lot to learn (I rest my case).
Posted October 23, 2009
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