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January 2, 2013

Time of the season

Fables of the Deconstruction is taped in front of a live audience.

“The Beverly Hillbillies.” Season 51, episode 12. Front foyer. Jed enters from the parlor, crosses toward the front door carrying a fishing pole. The front door opens letting in an enormous gust of wind, blowing Jed back. He drops his fishing pole. Elly May enters, carrying a basset hound. She and Jed struggle to force the door closed.

Jed: Goodness gracious, Elly May, where’d you find all that wind?

Elly May: It’s a twister, Pa! I gotta collect up all the critters and take ’em down to the fancy root cellar!

Jed: A twister! In Beverly Hills! Weeeeelllll, doggie! I ain’t never heard of anything such as that!

Elly May: Happens all the time, Pa! You should see some of the storms they show on the picture machine! They used to be stories, now it’s global warming!

Jed: You and your fancy electronic gadgets. Global warming. What won’t they think of next?

(Elly May exits through the parlor as Jethro pokes his head through the curtain from the fancy dining room.)

Jethro: Did somebody say “twister”?

Jed: Elly May says there’s a tornado gonna blow Los Angeles all the way back to Oz! That girl believes anything you tell her.

Jethro: Oh, it’s true, Uncle Jed! The weather’s gone plumb loco! That’s why I’m working on my super science weather nullification machine! Come on in here and see! (Jethro exits to the dining room.)

Jed: Super science what-if-ication? That trick never works! (Jed chases after Jethro into the dining room.)

In the dining room, there’s an enormous steampunky machine sitting on the pool table with spinning cups and electrodes and such. It makes popping and bubbling noises. Jethro picks up a blunderbuss-like gun.

Jethro: Yeah, Uncle Jed, I think I got it worked out just right this time.

Jed: Oh, I don’t know, Jethro. The last time you tried to nullify the weather, you obliterated all of reality. When we came back, things weren’t quite the same.

Jethro: What are you talking about?

Jed: Huh? I, uh, what does this do?

Jethro: Oh! Well, you remember how I made it rain in the kitchen that one time?

Jed: Oh, yeah, Granny will never forgive you for that! You ruined her cornbread!

Jethro: Who? Huh? Well, I figured if I can make a cloud in the kitchen, all I gotta do is reverse this thingamabob like this, and I can remove moisture from the target area, and then it’s bone dry, and we can spend the rest of the day lounging by the cement pond! I got a date with a bikini beauty!

Elly May: (Enters carrying two chihuahuas.) Have you seen my chihuahuas?

Jed: It looks like you got them right there in your hands!

Elly May: No, my other chihuahuas! I got five more! (She exits urgently.)

Jed: Uh, I don’t wanna spend my days lounging by the cement pond. I was gonna go fishing.

Jethro: Well, you can do that, too! All I gotta do is put some Ice-9 in this little hopper, and I’ll blast it at that twister. Wait till you see this! That tornado’s gonna stop dead in its tracks. (Jethro runs toward the front door, but the hose connecting the gun to the contraption is too short.) Gosh darn it! I shoulda built the weather nullification machine out on the lawn! I’m gonna have to run to the Home Depot for supplies! I’ll be right back! (Jethro opens the front door and is blown back by the wind. As he struggles to exit, Elly May blows by carrying a collie.)

Jed: Elly May, where’d that dog come from? I don’t recall you ever having a dog like that!

Elly May: It’s what they call a “rescue,” Pa! They give ’em away up at the kennel. Apparently they don’t have a root cellar! (Elly May exits to the parlor.)

Jed: It’s probably just as well that Granny didn’t make it through the last reincarnation; she’d never put up with this nonsense!

For further consideration: They seem to have mastered the art of time travel on BBC America. This year’s excellent Christmas episode of “Doctor Who” suggests that death can be defeated by carefully pinpointing moments of arrival and departure in the time stream. A promo for a collection of new shows coming to the network looked very promising. Could AMC have a challenger for the attention of discriminating viewers?