40-08-14 Bacon Sandwiches

STARRING: BERNARDINE FLYNN AND BILL IDELSON
Just Sade and Rush are home and the weather is nice; they sit on the porch swing and gossip about the passersby.

Eventually, the subject gets around to pigs - and Rush tells a story about Rooster Davis and his ridiculous idea for a restaurant.

MIS' CROWE SAYS:
Rooster Davis has a restaurant idea. A…rather…upsetting restaurant idea.
This is it — the legendary “Bacon Sandwiches” episode. There are a lot of “Vic and Sade” scripts that are as weird and dark as this one, but this one has achieved a certain notoriety because it’s one of the recordings that wound up on tons of “Vic and Sade” LPs and “Best of Old Time Radio” compilations. Although there’s no Vic in this episode, it’s a good choice for an introductory episode of “Vic and Sade.” It’s an excellent example of Paul Rhymer’s sense of humor and of the dissonant combination of warmth and horror that the show is capable of evoking. In this episode, even Sade is horrified by the central idea and wants no part of it — when Rush finally works his way to the point of the story, she cuts him off with an emphatic “Ish!” and he is allowed to go no further.

Most Americans don’t like to think about where their meat comes from. Of course, we’re aware of it, but we don’t like to know about the specifics. In fact, some meat producers are intent on passing laws that ensure we can’t know about the specifics. Americans prefer their meat to come in neat little packages that resemble the animal as little as possible. Some Americans do, that is. Growing local food movements such as farm-to-table seek to counteract this ignorance, encouraging consumers to be aware of the animals and see the conditions under which they are raised. If I wanted to, I could visit a local farm, pick out a heritage-breed pig, look it in the eye as it foraged for acorns in the forest, and pay it my best wishes before it was turned into my Christmas ham. In New York City, there are live meat markets where you can choose your animal, have it slaughtered on the spot, and even watch the slaughtering process if you want to. But it’s hard to source your meat more locally than “out in back of the restaurant.” I’m beginning to wonder if an idea like Rooster’s is the next step in carnivorous hipster dining. “HELP WANTED: New Brooklyn restaurant seeks trained nurse.” Watch out for it, everyone.

Check out the curious echo of this episode I noticed in “Sawbones,” a medical history podcast I enjoy, in which a conversation about pig skin used for human skin grafts leads to the discussion of “bacon stripped from the living pig as he squeals in agony and yet is preserved through witchcraft.” 74 years later, this is still an abhorrent idea. As I’ve observed before, Paul Rhymer was ghoulish ahead of his time.
SEE THE SCRIPT (transcribed by Lydia Crowe)
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Rush talks about the dark side of swine: {{{HEAR}}}

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INSIGHT FROM GARRY MOTTER
It reminds me of the paradoxical Ship of Theseus, which had every one of its parts replaced, one at a time.
 

Is it really just one pig?  The same pig?
 

Actually, there is a lot of surreal humor in V&S; I don't think this episode is more bizarre than, say, R.J. Konk's Improved Portrait.
 

I wonder if Rhymer got a lot of mail complaining that the Gooks seldom let each other finish a thought, and decided to make a skit about that. -- Garry Motter

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MIS' CROWE SAYS (Part II):
The most bizarre (and hilarious) episode for me would have to be "Robert and Slobert Call Long-Distance," but "Bacon Sandwiches" is right up there! It is usually one of the first episodes I recommend to people new to the show because I think it is a pretty good example of Paul Rhymer's sense of humor and of how ahead-of-its-time the show could feel. I think the slow exposition of the bacon sandwich scheme (the payoff is delayed by countless interruptions by Sade) is what makes it especially horrific, plus the story being framed in this cozy Norman Rockwellian scene of a boy and his mom sitting on the front porch watching the neighbors go by. It's like a combination of a horror story and a joke. And if you're vegetarian or eat kosher, it's a really good way to get rid of a craving for bacon! -- Lydia Crowe  
Download the complete commercial-free, sound-improved episode!

3 comments:

  1. this one is my favorite, great writing, great performance. you dont get this level of writing in mass media anymore. witty. what i love is it is warm and fuzzy but also has a dark side.

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  2. Hi thanks for the comment. Yes, it does have a dark side. There are quite a few that do, actually.

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  3. One of the best lines ever....Rush empathizing with the pig: "He don't lead a very gay life of it, what with bein' stabbed every little while...".

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