Touched by an Uncle
|It is requested that an image or images be included in this article to improve its quality.|
Touched by an Uncle is an Emmy-award winning television series created, directed, and produced by Weird Al Yankovic. It ran on NBC for twenty-seven seasons between 1983 and 2009 and has been aired in numerous countries and on at least three other planets. The show's premise was based around bringing to justice the perpetrators of the heinous crimes that were the show's subject matter. Originally, the show's writers wanted to embrace an optimistic outlook with regards to the abused main characters, but Yankovic fired them for failing to embrace the gritty horror the subject matter entailed, more often than not leaving the abused with physical, mental, and emotional scars that forever haunt them. The program brought increased worldwide attention to the problems outlined in the show and resulted in Yankovic's nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. While new episodes are no longer in production, syndicated reruns currently air on TNT (they know drama) between CSI: Boise and Everybody Tolerates Raymond.
The program usually featured a child or group of children who experience some form of sexual abuse; while, originally, uncles were predominantly featured as the antagonists, later episodes involved other family or community members in that role. In all cases, Jonas Runge, an eccentric private investigator (played by Frank Welker), arrived at the scene and uncovered evidence of wrongdoing. As the series progressed, it is quickly revealed that these are not isolated incidents and that someone or -thing is responsible for the string of abuses. In the series finale, Runge discovered that he, in fact, had inadvertently set into the chain of events by refusing to allow his now-middle-aged son (portrayed by Yankovic himself) to join a Little League team, and his son had harbored a grudge against him ever since.
Jonas Runge (Frank Welker): Jonas is the main protagonist of the show and is responsible for bringing the numerous antagonists to swift justice while simultaneously uncovering the truth of the string of pedophilic crime that seems to follow him wherever he goes. Because of Welker's extensive background in providing voices for things other than human beings, Runge often interjects bestial chirps, growls, barks, howls, grunts, and susurusses in his speech.
Steve Stevens Stevenson, Son of Steven (E e cummings): Runge's go-to guy for information. Runge usually pumps Stevenson at least once per episode and Stevenson's blunt mannerisms provide welcome contrast to Runge's spastic nature. Stevenson has a curious obsession with naked mole rats and, on exactly nine occasions, spits and roasts one over a trashcan fire.
Michele Meyers (Bea Arthur): Runge's on-again, off-again girlfriend. Usually she serves as the initial excuse for Runge to get going on the case at hand, but in a twenty-sixth-season episode it is revealed that she is, in fact, the culprit behind a string of mysterious glory hole assaults.
Paul V. Dremont (Wierd al yankovich): Yankovic offered yankovich a role in the series starting with the third season episode "Twist and Shout" as Dremont, a local police chief out to solve the case and to steal the thunder from Runge. After ratings spiked as a result of the character's inclusion, Yankovic had Dremont become a permanent fixture in the storyline as Runge's on-again, off-again competition who, as the series progressed, suffered increasingly frequent bouts of mental instability. The series finale featured Dremont cracking and gunning down Yankovic for putting into motion the string of heinous crimes.
Occasional cast and guest stars
Each episode featured a guest actor as the star pedophile; usually these were actors or actresses that were personal friends of Yankovic and who wanted to experience the "dark side" of acting. A few individuals returned for more than one appearance on the program; some of them include:
Lawrence Mathern (Macaulay Culkin): The only guest star who had a role as a victim (in the fourth season episode "Color by Numbers") and returned as an abuser in his own right (in the nineteenth-season episode "Poisoned Fruit").
JimBob "Snake" Granniss (Ron Jeremy): One of Runge's most tenacious felons, he was brought to justice in the first season episode "Balls of Fire," only to return in the third ("Christmastime"), eighth ("I'll Show You My Wizard"), fourteenth ("Professional Rat Killer Extraordinaire"), seventeenth ("Shake and Bake"), twenty-third ("Fursuits 'M' I!"), and twenty-seventh ("Grand Slam Finale") seasons.
Faith Atruescoe (Some French chick): Runge's other on-again, off-again girlfriend, who Yankovic was sadly forced to cut out of the plot after the ninth season because the cost of having her on the show would exceed the show's entire seasonal budget. Atresco often got into catfights with Meyers over such things as Runge's underpants, whether to get 1% or 2% milk, and baseball.
M.C. Maser (Michael Jackson): Jackson appeared as a jive-talking hipster rap artist in numerous episodes. In stunning plot twists, Maser was in every case found innocent of the claims levied against him by the abused children; instead it was revealed that a less obvious target was the culprit. The first time this ploy took place, in the second season episode "Got Some Funk on Your Face," Yankovic received his first Emmy for the series. Afterwards, Yankovic included Maser as fan service or because, as he put it, "[he] really couldn't think of anything better to fill the time with, and people ate it up regardless."
While no plans yet exist to release the series to DVD, Yankovic hopes to have each of the seasons – along with numerous bloopers, outtakes, and commentary – available by the end of the 2009 fiscal year. The distribution company with which he would be affiliated, Paramount, has been under heavy fire by NAMBLA for "irresponsibly and unfairly portraying the lifestyle we as members of this organization embrace in a negative light that has had detrimental effect on our membership."