"The Fuccons: Meet the Fuccons"
Okay...I've said it before
and it bears repeating.
The Japanese can sure
put out a bizarre movie. From the outlandishness of "Crazy
Lips" to the sheer creepiness of "Ju-On: The Grudge",
they've run the gamut on bizarrity in fiction. Now they've decided
to up the ante with "The Fuccons", a tremendously popular
short show that premiered on something called "Vermilion Pleasure
Which is interesting.
Let's remember way back to the depths of the nineties to a little
show called "The Simpsons". They got their start as filler
material on "The Tracey Ullman Show," which didn't last
much longer than a couple years. "The Simpsons," however,
burst out of Tracey Ullman's second-rate comedy extravaganza to
become the longest running series on television. Probably, anyway.
Is "Vermilion Pleasure
Night" the Japanese equivalent of "The Tracey Ullman Show?"
Will "The Fuccons" be the next "The Simpsons?"
I have no idea.
Stop looking at me like
that! Dammit, I don't know a THING about Japanese television! I
asked a friend of mine who lived in Japan for two years if she ever
heard of "Vermilion Pleasure Night" and the first words
out of her mouth were "That sounds like a love hotel."
So what we have here
is a series of really, really short stories involving mannequins
that move to Japan.
Oh boy. Ohhh boy.
The father, James Fuccon,
is, as the promotional material describes him, an American businessman
transferred to his company's Japan division. He's the head of the
family, but must keep constant watch lest his son's mischievous
nature and his wife's gentle reason vote him out. And even better,
he's been cheating on his wife.
The mother, Barbara Fuccon,
is "the perfect American housewife", which means someone
got all their source material from way too many hours of old 1950's
sitcoms. She's a bit of a ditz, but with an occasional vicious streak
that's funny by virtue of its sheer incongruity--picture Donna Reed
taking like thirty seconds every other episode to plot firebombing
the neighbor's new Woody or making the annoying paperboy "disappear",
and you'll get the idea. Barbara is also desperate to make a good
impression on the citizenry of Japan, including Mikey's teacher.
And Mikey Fuccon is a
sunny, smiling all-American Beaver Cleaver sort of boy who gets
in his share of relatively benign mischief, but seems just a bit
befuddled by his new surroundings. He's got a crush on classmate
Emily, but also has to face down the various troubles that seem
to spring up on him, including visiting cousins.
And the first thing you're
going to notice when you watch this is just how truly hallucinatory
the whole thing is. It's like what "Leave It To Beaver"
must look like to guys who drop a whole lot of acid before they
It's comical, in its
way. It's hard to be really funny in two minute bursts, but "The
Fuccons" manages to find a way to pull it off. I'm not sure
exactly how they pulled it off, but they did. Watching it almost
forces you to laugh by sheer virtue of watching it. I know how bizarre
that sounds, but I'm not kidding. Watching these two try to convince
their son that Japanese kids go to school on Sundays, watching Mikey's
manipulative cousin visit, and any of a dozen other plotlines is
just really spectacular.
Bizarre non sequiturs
seem to be the order of the day with "The Fuccons." For
no reason at all, characters will be moved into improbable positions,
like laying across a table. Mikey will be sent to do the family's
shopping by himself and not allowed to write a list, instead being
required for no apparent reason to memorize the list.
The special features
include, at least on the disk I got, a whole ream of DVD-ROM specific
All in all, I'm taking
the high road here and not giving you the obvious pun that "The
Fuccons" is indeed a fuccon good time. Say it fast--it works.
No, I'm not going that route. Instead, I'm going to tell you that
despite its unusual format and hallucinatory subject matter, "The
Fuccons" will provide a great many good laughs and just as
many "huh?" moments.
GRADE: 3 stars ***
Meet The Fuccons
Directed by Yoshimasa Ishibashi
Written by Yoshimasa Ishibashi
Starring Barbara Fuccon, James Fuccon, Mikey Fuccon
about 20 mins
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