Thursday, February 14, 2008

Searching for the Big Yellow Joint

As regular readers and close friends of mine are aware, there are certain things about which I am an unabashed dork. No apologies. I like myself this way.

So it should come as no surprise that this past Sunday I spent about three hours wandering around Balboa Island, humming "The Big Yellow Joint" and looking for the site of the Bluth family's frozen banana stand. If you don't know what I'm talking about, if by some bizarre misjudgement or oversight you've missed out on Arrested Development, the greatest sitcom of the modern era, you must consider yourself culturally stunted. As your friend I sincerely urge you to sit down with your DVD player and devote a weekend to rectifying this tragic condition. Seriously. Click over to Netflix right now--look, I'll even put a link here--and add all three seasons to the top of your queue. Just do it. Go. I'll wait.

(The hands of the clock spin around in fast motion. Pages fly from the calendar. The reader returns from Netflix.)

Cool, so you did it? Good. Ok.

Anyway, I didn't find the spot, exactly, but what I did find were two actual frozen banana shops. They're three doors apart, and each one claims to be the original. I'm sure there's a story here.

Maybe back in the 1940s a disgruntled employee quit his job at one stand and opened his own. Maybe it was two brothers who had a big fight over who was going to run the family business, and the younger one ended up standing in the street in front of the shop shaking his fist and declaring, "By God, Cornelius, I'll show you! I'll open my own shop!" Which he did, three doors down, using the recipe his father developed, thereby creating a split in the family that lasted for generations, and even today the two branches of the family don't speak to each other. You can kind of see the germ of ideas that eventually blossomed into actual Arrested Development plots right here. Of course the woman who served me my banana had no idea of the history of the two shops.

The banana itself? It's an actual frozen banana on a stick, dipped in chocolate and rolled in your choice of toppings (I got the works). It's not the most transporting snack food experience I've had, but who am I to knock traditional Balboa Island cuisine?


hsempl said...

a "split" in the family? ha ha!

i'm such a good girl, but i only added disc 1 season 1 to the top. i'll see if i get hooked.

does that have fruity pebbles on it?

An Briosca Mor said...

Arrested Development used to be on right after my favorite shows, The Simpsons and King of the Hill. So when I'd get home after the Sunday session I'd flip on Fox and leave it on as I futzed around the house doing dinner and such. Thus every single episode of AD that ever there was has already played in my house at least once. While it had its funny moments, I never really did get into it as a show. I think that was mainly because of the whole voiceover narration aspect of it, which always seemed to be an artificial construct to me. If you're going to just narrate an entire story line to me, do it as a radio program. If you're going to act it out, let the scenes themselves tell the story instead of merely being the video accompanying an audio narration. It seemed like most all of the funny bits in AD were in the action rather than the narration, too, so if your eyes wandered from the set during the show, all you'd get would be the unfunny narration.

There's a show that comes on now (or did pre-strike, anyway) before my current favorite show, The Office, called My Name Is Earl. It does the same voiceover narration thing, and I don't like it either, probably for the same reason.

Di said...


Rob said...

I just found out that the scenes set on Balboa Island were actually filmed in Marina del Rey. That makes sense. Not only is there no big yellow joint-shaped banana stand on Balboa, there's no harborside plaza like we see on AD, let alone a ferris wheel or cute faux lighthouse. Clearly more fieldwork is called for next time I'm in CA.