Difference between revisions of "Max: Parodies"

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(Ah, MAD, I miss you...)
(Ah, MAD, I miss you...)
<div class="inlinecite">This issue of MAD is in the MaxRchives; inquiries about the content are welcome.</div>
<div style="float:left;" class="inlinecite">All images &copy;1987-1990 EC Publications. Thanks, guys.<br />This issue of MAD is in the MaxRchives; inquiries about the content are welcome.</div>
<div style="float:left;"><span class="inlinecite">All images &copy;1987-1990 EC Publications. Thanks, guys.</span></div>
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Revision as of 18:33, 4 April 2015

A satirist must often suffer the same slings and arrows in return. Max Headroom has been parodied, satirized and paid homage in a surprisingly broad variety of ways.

"Maxine Legroom" (January 1987)

Maxine Legroom, tastefully cen-cen-censored here.

When Max was interviewed for Playboy magazine, the editors accompanied the interview with a layout for a rather hot blonde (female, of course) equivalent named Maxine Legroom. It's an absurd self-parody of their usual Playmate pictorials, complete with a "biography" listing Maxine's interests. It ran under the subtitle, "Max, have we got a girl for you!"

The model was Playboy regular Sondra (Sandy) Greenberg, who also appeared in Playboy Video Magazine #12, doing four Max-like segments. I haven't seen those yet...

(There is also a series of workout videos under the "Maxine Legroom" name, but if there's a connection - to either Max or this Maxine - it's escaped me.)

This issue of Playboy is in the MaxRchives; inquiries about the pictorial and interview are welcome.

MAD Magazine (March 1987-1990)

(March 1987) One of Max's two national magazine covers - this and Newsweek appeared within almost the same publication month.
The inside content of the March 1987 issue.
(September 1987) The on-the-heels Newsweek cover did not escape MAD's editors.
(December 1987) Max's strange obsession with golf irritated even MAD's readership.
(March 1988) This comparison of Max and Don Johnson had special sting in that "Miami Vice" was one of the two shows that tanked time-slot companion Max's ratings.
(January 1990) Max's last appearance in MAD was this jab at Matt Frewer's difficulty in moving on to other roles.

Max famously appeared on the cover of the March 1987 issue of MAD, albeit wearing his Alfred E. Neuman mask. An inside sidebar was the only related content, showing that the decision to go with Max was probably a late decision by The Usual Gang of Idiots.

MAD ran a few Max items over the next few years, probably stuff that was in hand, in prep or in press as Max started to fade from the scene. Most are fairly sharp, even unkind observations... but still funny.

(Ah, MAD, I miss you...)

All images ©1987-1990 EC Publications. Thanks, guys.
This issue of MAD is in the MaxRchives; inquiries about the content are welcome.

Doonesbury & "Ron Headrest" (April 1987-1993)

The first two "Ron Headrest" strips from April 27 & April 28, 1987.
Doonesbury ©1987 G.B. Trudeau. Reprinted courtesy of the creator and Universal Press Syndicate. All rights reserved.

Gary Trudeau was one of many comics artists to latch onto the Max meme, turning then-President Ronald Reagan into a digitized parody of himself, Ron Headrest. The gag outlived Max's run, as well as Reagan's. "Ron Headrest" makes 77 appearances through about 1993, which (subscribers only, sorry) can find in the GoComics.com online archives.

Garry Trudeau is quoted as saying that this was one of his least popular characters... but damn if it isn't the most spot-on parody of them all. Trudeau clearly "got" what made Max interesting and a little scary, and found the ideal candidate to carry the joke...

My thanks to Garry Trudeau and UPS for permitting me to include these sample strips.

Sesame Street (1987-8)

Mup-Mup-Muppet M-Max. What a ham.

Along with his brief appearance reciting the al-al-alphabet, Max made two appearances in the Muppet universe.

  • "Muppet Babies: 'This Little Piggy Went to Hollywood'" (1987)
Max was briefly impersonated as 'the weirdest guy on TV' by 'Baby Gonzo' in Episode 406 of "Muppet Babies," 24 Oct 1987.
  • Sesame Street Magazine (1988)
Max was portrayed as "Max Hogroom," by 'Link Hogthrob' in the Spring 1988 issue of Sesame Street magazine.

Maxine (1988)

Maxine: Allison Carter gets dig-dig-digitized, in more ways than one.

It's Rule 34 before anyone conceived of a Rule 34, much less an internet. Yes, it's Max-themed porn starring Porsche Lynn as both Allison Carter and Maxine Bedroom.

Gawd help me, here's a synopsis:

"Porsche Lynn stars as Maxine, an intrepid reporter for a busy metropolitan TV news show. She's hit upon the story of a lifetime when she meets a couple of couch potatoes who claim that by watching network television that were turned into a pair of feverishly frolicking sexual animals. Rather than just enjoy the situation, though, the couple feels the need to expose the networks nefarious scheme — to entice viewers into sex through subliminal manipulation. How causing sex among your viewers is supposed to boost ratings is a mystery, but Maxine lays bare the whole sordid story on her nightly broadcast. But now she's run afoul of the powerful network execs who created the whole plan! They plot to assassinate Maxine, but little do they suspect that her personality will be transplanted into the network's own central computer. She becomes more powerful than ever, beaming her sexy shenanigans into homes from coast to coast. A take-off on the one-time hit series 'Max Headroom,' this video uses flashly effects, gorgeous women and plenty of white-hot action to keep you intrigued from start to fiery finish. It's a cyber-sexual trip to the far side of sexual bliss — a trip you'll be happy to take again and again."
This video is in the MaxRchives; inquiries are welcome.

Back to the Future II (1989)

Back to the Future II: Ronald Rea-Rea-Reagan (Jay Koch).

The second installment of the time-traveling movie franchise took Marty McFly to, uh... 2015, where among our flying cars, rehydrated food and other wonders he encountered several Max-like characters on the service screens of the old diner.

(I have to say that I am beyond embarrassed not to have realized, until it was pointed out to me, that in an additional layer of satire these t-talking heads were pitching The P-Word (Pepsi).

Excuse me, I'm going to go ride my hoverboard around to look for flying cars and self-lacing shoes...)

Back to the Future II: Michael Jack-Jackson! (E. Casanova Evans).
Back to the Future II: Ronnie joined by Khomei-meini (Charles Gerardi).

  • "Sledge Hammer: 'A Clockwork Hammer'"
This sitcom, a running parody of tough-guy cop shows, ran on ABC in the same years as Max's show. It used a punning title and parodic theme for each episode of its two-season run. One, almost inevitably, was based on the title character becoming Max-Max-Maxified.
  • David Letterman
Sometime after Max's famous interview, Letterman parodied Max using his standby court jester, Larry Bud Melman.
  • "Carmen Sandiego"
The animated series featured Carmen's boss, seen only as a talking-head on TV.
  • T-Mobile Germany's "Robert T-Online" (2001)
One of the more bizarre manifestations of Max-influence was this strange talking-head spokesbeing for T-Mobile Germany (a division of Deutsche Telekom), a very Max-like "Robert T-Online."
  • Eminem: "Rap God" (2013)
Eminem's 2013 single "Rap God" features an extended parody of Max with the singer in full costume and on a signature moving-lines background.

The 2007 commercials for Channel Four could also be called parodies... or at least self-satire.