Ranking the Kids' Shows: the Cutthroat World of being a Wiggle
No one ever said rock 'n' roll wasn't a cutthroat business.
The big news over the weekend, and by "big" I mean if you have a kid under 3, is Greg, the original Yellow Wiggle, is coming back. Yes, I'm fucking serious. (And, no, I am not talking about the 49ers' suck job and Alex "Whiskey Dick" Smith picking a fine time to come up limp again. And Kyle Williams? Fuck you too.)
I'm a huge fan of the Wiggles, my fondness well documented. When Greg Page, the singer/songwriter--and let's just say it, visionary--behind the Wiggles was forced to step down due to a debilitating illness that caused him to faint a lot on stage (something that might be hard to explain to kids), he handed over lead singer reins to Sam Moran, a nebbish understudy who quickly became the de facto face of the franchise.
I never liked Sam. I honestly don't know what he contributed in terms of songwriting, my exposure to his fronting the Wiggles limited to a few seconds of "Day-O" in a Sprout promo, but he seemed to me to lack the stature, both physically and metaphorically, to lead the band. But in all fairness to Sam, it's tough to follow the genius of "Fruit Salad" and "Hot Potato." Kind of like stepping into the shoes of Joe Montana and Steve Young. Jeff Garcia never had a chance.
A few of you might be wondering where the joke in all this is. There isn't one. Yes, I may, technically, be a tattooed, big-gunned, former felon, but I'm a dad now. And if you are a parent, you know how fucking important a vital Wiggles are to your sanity. Without the Wiggles, it's goddamn Disney playground, Justine Beiber; it's fucking Barney.
Once the elation subsided, I did a quick Google search to see how the big move went down, which though not quite as cool as David Lee returning to Van Halen, is still a fairly big shakeup in my rock 'n' roll world these days*.
Apparently, of that $28 million in yearly income, Sam was paid a pittance of $200K, with his buyout being 3-months' salary, or about $60K. Rather than take a dig at Anthony (he's the Blue Wiggle for all you keeping score at home), whose former band was, coincidently enough, called the Cockroaches, Sam took the high road, posting this upbeat, if heavy-hearted, video, urging the children to "keep wigglin'." That's very good advice, Sam. Both when you are unceremoniously dumped from a children's singing group and, you know, if you are a fish.
Frankly, I've never been able to figure out what Jeff (Purple) or Anthony (Blue) even do in the group. Murray (the Red Wiggle) at least plays the guitar. If any two should be "salaried Wiggles" it's those two dead weights. It's funny when you strip away the family-friendly veneer and realize that what lurks behind all the smiles and Big Red Cars is the evil, petty heart of man, who will fuck over just about anyone if it means an extra dollar to add to their pile of millions.
I'm sure Sam will be OK. He's an avid Star Trek fan and has his own "grown-up" singing career. If ever two skills could be combined for guaranteed success...
Not that I care. I'm just happy to have Greg back. It simply wasn't the Wiggles without him.
Who's up for a little celebratory "Fruit Salad"?