Honestly, it would be pretty bizarre if the contest-cum-carnival to introduce the Napoleon Dynamite animated series wasn’t ridiculous or a half-debacle, so in that regard, I can say that the event was a total success.
To create awareness for the upcoming program, FOX set-up shop at the corner of Hollywood and Highland, offering to the public a food truck serving quesadillas and tots, tetherball, THE Tina the Llama, a bizarre little nook called “Deb’s Crafts,” and a surprise appearance by the cast of the film and show. Honestly, their appearance may have only been a surprise to me due to my lack of preparation for the event, but whatever, the amount of jewelry the guy that plays Pedro was wearing was shocking no matter what your expectations were.
However, the real spectacle here was a Napoleon Dynamite impersonation contest, which garnered hundreds, if not thousands (actually, more like “dozens”), of entrants. Unfortunately, the contest got off to a late start because a) this didn’t seem like a particularly well-run event, and b) there was a whole grip of Koreans who were keen on Jesus demonstrating on the street, and they made it hard to hear anything other than the Koreans bellowing on about how great Jesus is. You can find this guy just singing his heart out at about 1:25 on our video.
Of course, the demonstration ruined my interview with the cast, and caused the impresonation contest to be delayed so long that no one really stuck around to see it, but when you think about it, I was there to cover the Napoleon Dynamite animated series, and they were there to save mankind from eternal damnation, so I didn’t really feel like I had a valid gripe.
Beyond that, no one seemed to really care about the tetherball installation, save for one crazy guy who just went batshit on it (solo), and the crafts didn’t seem to be terribly popular either. The llama kept biting people and was just kind of an asshole in general. We didn’t stick around for the impersonation contest because, after a two-hour delay, we just didn’t want to, knowing we could find footage of it online.
We were wrong. There seems to be no footage of the sound-a-like contest at all. Shit.
In summation, the event was cut from the same cloth as the Napoleon Dynamite film – it was a little overhyped, some mild fun, and just weird and dumb enough to keep my interest. I would tell you the premiere time and date of the cartoon on FOX, but they didn’t give the press free tots OR quesadillas.
Hmm. Now I feel bad. As a compromise, here’s a link to the premiere date and time.
A very special thanks to Matt McVay for editing, filming, and basically doing all the work on this piece. A less special thanks to Michaela Kuenster for just sorta being there.