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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mister Rambo's Neighborhood

A 1985 episode of the Tonight Show featured Johnny Carson in the role of Mister Rambo -- a character combining Mister Rogers and the Sylvester Stallone character John Rambo. Throughout this sketch, Mister Rambo talks with children about various ways to punish, harm, and even kill others and themselves.


At the end of the sketch, Mister Rambo even detonates an explosive as Mr. McFeely leaves the house resulting in debris and one of Mr. McFeely's limbs flying back in through the window.

According to some sources, Fred Rogers openly complained about this sketch and Johnny Carson responded with a public apology.

What do you think? Did this parody take things too far?

To read about this and other parodies of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, visit the Neighborhood Archive.


Mike said...

Considering the fact it's situation comedy along with the target audience being adults, I didn't think it was over the top. I could tell Carson was playing off the lyrics of, "I Like to be Told." "If, it's going to hurt." It's sort like what would happen if Hulk Hogan was to become a Nanny and how he would handle himself in those kind of situations. In some cases you see this now in television that is on today, such as Wife Swap and other programs where someone else takes over a situation that is originally handled by someone else.

Eric Scales said...

I didn't think it was that bad- had Carson been playing Fred doing those things, that would be something else, but like Mike said, this was Rambo doing Fred's job, not making fun of Fred so much as ridiculing the premise. And being on late night, not much risk of children seeing it.

Mark Baker-Wright said...

Is there any way to verify that rumor that Fred Rogers complained about this sketch? My understanding is that considered the Eddie Murhpy "Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood" sketches on SNL to be "affectionate," and they seem to me far worse than this.

Mark Baker-Wright said...

I was able to do some research on my previous comment. In The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers, author Amy Hollingsworth comments that "(w)hile it has been widely reported that Fred came to view Eddie Murphy's 'Mister Robinson's Neighborhood' with 'affection,' I know for certain that this was not his first reaction."

Although the Carson parody is alluded to in the early part of the book, Hollingsworth makes no comment as to Fred's reaction to it.

TL said...

I'm not sure, Mark. I'd be curious to know more if you find something out about Fred's response to this sketch.