Zippy is the "wise fool". He knows nothing at all and
everything at once. Media-soaked, he has the attention span of a channel-surfer.
Hes giddy from information overload. He speaks in an expressive voice,
full of emotion and media sound bites. His mind works in a distinctly non-linear
fashion, leap-frogging from one thought to the next , creating a speech
pattern that closely resembles the swing of improvisational jazz. Though
his behavior may appear "surreal", hes really making his
own kind of sense of the world. His seeming "non sequitur" style
is really more of a rearranging of subjects, objects and emotions, flowing
like poetry. Zippy thrives on an additive-rich, high MSG diet and a hefty
dose of celebrity-spotting (after all, he lives in Hollywood). Hes
fueled by Ding Dongs and taco sauce. Of course, theres an intentionally
satiric edge to Zippy, but this never takes a back seat to his strong attachment
and loyalty to those around him. When hes not hanging out at Donut
Hut, the bowling alley or the laundromat, he lives with his family in a
courtyard apartment building a few blocks from Hollywood Boulevard. When
he wants to get away from it all, he goes to his fur-lined fallout shelter
in an vacant lot on the other side of town. Hes the central character
of the show, bouncing around inside each episode, both reacting to and directing
(often unwittingly) the storyline.
Griffy is Zippys partner in "surreal" social
criticism. He never met a phenomenon about which he didnt have an
instant opinion. All-too-rooted in the real world, hes the "bad
cop" to Zippys "good cop" as they affect and react
to the "real world". Underneath Griffys judgmental nature,
though, is a lot of insecurity and self-doubt. Try as he may to keep his
emotions in check, they find a way out. He often uses his analytical powers
as a weapon (or a shield) in his battle with modern civilization. L.A. is
the perfect "fishbowl" for Griffy to analyze and dissect, since
its the "belly of the beast"--the place where all fads and
trends originate. He created and heads the "Stupidity Patrol",
composed of three assistants who cruise the city looking for "deviants"
(anyone who doesnt see society the way Griffy does) and report back
to him. Griffy is a part-time astronomer whod rather turn his high-powered
telescope down at the city than up at the stars. He works (naturally) at
the Griffith Observatory, in the hills above Hollywood.
Claude is a perenially lovesick urban hillbilly with a cowlick
on steroids whose real life closely parallels the guests on tabloid TV talkfests.
Hes originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he worked in a bowling
ball factory. He came to L.A. full of high hopes and found a job-- working
in a bowling ball factory. A searcher for lifes hidden blueprint,
hes always on the lookout for the "ideal" woman he can never
quite find. Hes a barroom philosopher who dispenses trailerpark wisdom
to anyone wholl listen (mostly, its Zippy). Hes soulful,
emotionally needy and full of comedic self-pity. Claude believes everything
he reads in the National Enquirer. His dreams die hard and, as a result,
he harbors a "dark side", full of suspicion and paranoia. Fortunately,
his darker urges dont dominate him, and he comes off a little like
a "Don Quixote of love". Hes never truly introspective,
but has a romantic image of himself (lots of "couldves"
and "shouldves"). When his optimistic nature backfires,
he just goes on. He lives in an RV Park down by the freeway on-ramp, next
to the 7-11.
Claude on romance...
Claude: "When Im in love, I worry Ill fall out of love.
When Im out of love, I worry Ill never love again."
Zippy: "Its vicious circle of ecstasy and despair, huh, Claude?"
Claude: "Wouldnt want it any other way, pardner."
Mr. Toad is, essentially, a malevolent force. He enjoys seeing
other people squirm as a result of his words and deeds. His motto is, "Screw
them before they can screw you". Hes a big, green sociopath with
a permanent chip on his shoulder, full of bully vengeance. Mr. Toad is the
only one of Zippys friends who was born in L.A. and his anger springs
from the alienation he feels toward all the "outsiders" whove
"ruined the place". Since L.A. is populated almost exclusively
by outsiders, the Toad has an endless supply of victims to torture. He hates
show biz and celebrities-- but he loves to hate them. He wears his alienation
proudly, aware that its the source of not just his anger, but his
power. Hes cynical, abusive and very large. "Dont goad
Shelf-Life ("S.L.") is always looking for the "next
big thing", especially if the merchandising rights are available. He
never stops scheming and dreaming. Hes the poor mans Donald
Trump, only a little less artful about his deals. Hes in L.A. to work
the angles--maps of the stars, forged celebrity autographs, his short-lived
"StarTours" company, getting on game shows, psychic hotline infomercials,
real estate frauds, etc. He tries to get has-been Hollywood celebs to endorse
his scams. Hes in get-rich-quick heaven, the mecca for flash and trash.
Though hes not consciously out to hurt people, he can rationalize
any pain he causes ("Hey, pal, its a dirty business"). Hes
young and "entitled". He feels he deserves to succeed and is oblivious
to everyone elses needs. The only person who likes him (aside from
his loan shark) is Zippy. When he speaks of "grief" or "personal
loss", its most likely because he had to switch accountants.
S.L.s a sreetwise hustler and a loner (hes an orphan, on his
own since he was twelve) and, since no one ever helped him, why should he
help anyone else? He doesnt know how to act "normally" with
people and doesnt care. Hes totally unself-aware ("Theres
no money in self-aware, pal.") and, as a result, never sees the long-term
repercussions coming. He wears a tight, black sweater emblazoned with ever-changing
sayings ("Reach Out and Touch Someone Else", "Can We Network?",
"Make My Deal", etc.), which can also reflect his inner thoughts.
Shelf-Life speaks in a rapid-fire New York accent, spraying as much as saying.
Zerbina is Zippys sensual, full-figured, occasional wife.
Though shes a pinhead too, shes a little more "rooted"
than Zippy. Not that she doesnt forget as often as he does that theyre
married-- and have two kids. Shes strongly self-confident and not
at all eager to please, and she clearly marches to the beat of a different
drummer. A nineties woman, she doesnt define herself solely as a wife
and mother, though constantly embracing and rejecting those roles. Of course,
she says and does everything through the "pinhead filter" (not
"1,2,3" but more like "2,3,17"). She enjoys shopping,
waiting for hours to connect to her Internet server and deconstructing the
post-modern nuclear family.
Fuelrod and Meltdown are Zippy and Zerbinas twin offspring.
They go to "Hollywood High" and have a garage band. Though they
have "regular kid" qualities, they often act less childlike than
their parents. They try valiantly to negotiate the shoals of adolescence
and decode their progenitors puzzling behavior and bizarre advice.
somewhere between "pinhead" and "normal", kind of like
the children of immigrants, juggling "old country" and American
( Zerbina: "Turn that Metallica CD up, Fuelrod! I can still hear myself
Fuelrod: (peeved) Yes, mother.")
Vizeen is a feisty, independent woman in her twenties. Under
her pierced, "rebel" exterior, she has a sweet nature-- though
shed never consciously reveal it. She works in the lounge of the Lucky
Strike Lanes on Hollywood Boulevard where she entertains the bowlers with
a medley of radio and TV commercial jingles. Shes working her way
"up" in show business, always hoping to be discovered. Shes
optimistic and isnt easily discouraged. She has a poignant, sympathetic
nature and , in many ways, is the "sanest" of the group. Vizeens
kind of attracted to Griffy--in spite of his judgmental nature-- but she
has a special place in her heart for Zippy, who happily listens to all her
"extreme" ideas on UFOs, reincarnation, crop circles and thrift
shop accessorizing. She has a lot in common with Shirley McClaine-- very
bright , but a bit nuts on the inside.
Zippys twin, yet diametrically opposite, brother. Lippy
dresses in black and thrives on misery-- his own as well as others. He
only enters Zippys life for one purpose: to try and make him unhappy.
Good luck, Lippy.
Two guys and a gal, overeducated and underfed. They work for
Griffy,cruising the streets of L.A., correcting the behavior of insensitive
louts. Their mission in life: to point out to the rest of us our shortcomings
and/or lapses in good taste.
Zippys celebrity sniffing pooch, Starhound, can pick up the scent
of Dom DeLouise at fifty yards. He and Zippy go for "starsearch"
walks around Hollywood. Loni Anderson, look out!
The Toadettes pop in and out of Zippys world as symbols of mass
gullibility. They live to be swayed. Between all two hundred of them,
they have half a mind. The Toadettes worship Mr. Toad like a god and rarely
stray very far from their pond in Griffith Park.
Indistinguishable from one another ("Im one! Im
the other!"), Zeep n Peep are Zippy spin-offs determined to
achieve major merchandising clout. Theyre all packaging and no content.
They "appear" to Zippy occasionally in his fur-lined fallout
An enormous dachshund head mounted on a pole, the Doggie is
the last remaining vestige of a defunct fast food chain ("Doggie
Diner"). It stands on a corner of town Zippy walks by almost every
day. Zippy and the Doggie have long talks about human emotions and stuff.
Ebb and Flo are Zippys parents. They may have sold him to the circus
sideshow when he was born. Who remembers? They live in Florida. When they
drop in (and after Zippy has checked their picture ID), Fuelrod and Meltdown
get ready for some unconditional love. Be patient, FR and Melty. Very
Mr. Toads family. They live above Zippy and Zerbina.
Their midnight furniture-throwing contests are a constant source of entertainment
to the pinheads below.
Zippys erstwhile cat, Dingy (at least in Zippys
mind) is always demanding a Cuban cigar and a dry martini. Dingys
catch phrase: "Cats are not cute!"