I have found a new television obsession. No, obsession is not the right word. How about diversion (though I’ll admit this one will be taken in brief and infrequent doses).
To put it succinctly, “Wow”.
It’s a poorly-produced hour of nonstop polka music with geriatric dancers whirling across what appears to be a plywood dance floor in front of a bandstand filled with accordion players. It looks like it might have been shot either in the ag barn at the local fairgrounds or at the nearest VFW dance hall.
The host is a genial fellow, Big Joe, who is always decked out in some frilly-fronted, garishly-colored silken shirt with a vest to compliment the outfit. From a bit of research, it seems big Joe is the Polka czar of the USA.
This show takes me back to a couple of things from my childhood.
First, it’s Saturday evening at my grandparent’s house watching The Lawrence Welk Show on PBS. Seeing Bobby and Sissy dancing around in snappy matching outfits or the Lennon Sisters singing in perfect harmony or the guy tap dancing to some music that was already being piped into elevators 35 years ago. All introduced by Mr. Welk himself with the champagne bubbles drifting in front of the bandstand. Ahhhh, yesterday. I found a Web site that honors the show with an on-going blog of all things Welkian, such as cast members’ birthdays. I’m guessing this is pure irony, but the person in charge of all that goes by the handle JB Funky. Funky = Welk? Wunnerful.
The other thing Big Joe’s show reminds me of from yesteryear is SCTV. I can imagine John Candy impersonating Big Joe with Joe Flaherty rocking the accordion as a band leader and Catherine O’Hara as a dancing dervish on the floor with Dave Thomas as her partner. SCTV, of course, had its own polka moment with the Schmenge brothers .
And if you make it through an hour of polka on RFD-TV, you’ll be rewarded with classic episodes of The Porter Wagner Show.
That’s got to be a whole ‘nother post.