Monday, October 22, 2012

Poor Jim Varney: "Your World As I See It" (1994)

After watching the video "Your World as I See It," you will have the phrase "your world as I see it" permanently burned into your memory because you will hear the words "your world as I see it" and see the sentence "Your World as I See It" almost fifty times in a piece of work that runs less than half an hour.

I pity Jim Varney. When he died a few years back from lung cancer, he was known strictly for his Ernest P. Worrell character and nothing else. He hated the "Hey, Vern!" pitchman (according to an "E! True Hollywood Story" I once saw) but the money kept him in the denim vest and gray baseball cap through dozens of television commercials and some feature length films.

Enter this, um, well, I'm not sure what to properly label it. Let's say "video." The video opens with the title, and introduces us to Varney's ultra-rich Astor Clement character. Varney does a dead-on preppie, talking through his clenched teeth and commenting on the behavior of the common folk before cutting to another Varney character (usually Ernest) doing something stupid and not remotely funny. The camera cuts back to Varney as Clement who comments this is "your world as I see it" before the picture fades out. Then, we get a pithy pun of a title for the next segment, then Clement, Ernest, Clement saying "your world as I see it," and another fade out, etc...people, this occurs on the video over FORTY times!

Each "short story," as the video box labels them, lasts about a short thirty seconds each, but go a long way toward triggering a migraine headache. I honestly don't know what the hell this is. The segments with Ernest and the other characters seem like they come from the commercials Varney did, cutting away before a product could be pimped. They were obviously meant to be shown as stand alone filler, maybe on a comedy channel or something, but as a half hour collection they quickly annoy. Two of Varney's characters on the video box aren't even in the video. While Varney's talent with characters other than Ernest was never properly utilized, this video does not help, either. Bunny the beautician, Auntie Nelda, Coy the mechanic, Baby Ernest, and even Astor Clement are not very amusing, here or anywhere else.

I was sorry to hear the news of Varney's death. Squandered talent is never pretty. However, if this video was meant as a new stab at unrecognized comedic brilliance, it fails as both brilliance and comedy. Who is to blame? There are no credits onscreen or on the video box, just poor Jim trying his damnedest to make me laugh.

Unless Varney's passing created a vacuum in your life, you might skip "Your World As I See It"...knowhutImean? (*) out of five stars.