Werner Herzog Moderates a Discussion Between Tina Yothers and Keisha Knight Pulliam

April 20, 2012

Rather than speak with you, I would like to leave the two of you in a locked room with this bear. The key to escape would be in one of your stomachs, but which one?

Werner Herzog: You were both chosen to be the verbose, to be the contrary, to be the youngest who speaks plainly and often.

Tina Yothers: The smart-aleck, annoying younger sister, yes.

Keisha Knight Pulliam: Rudy Huxtable wasn’t annoying. Smart-aleck, yes, but not annoying. Rudy was cute.

WH: Which of you feels more sorrow, I wonder? Which of you would say that they hold greater pity for the other of you than for themselves?

KKP: Not sure I follow, Werner.

WH: You, Keisha Knight Pulliam. You were the adorable imp for a number of years on the show of Cosby’s. And then in your maturation you became vaguely hirsute, darker of skin…

KKP: Whoah. Back up there, Werner…

WH: Your role was recast, with Rudy vying then with Vanessa for the tinfoil crown of favored middle-child, while Raven Simone luxuriated in the adoration that was once yours. A veritable Caliban then, Rudy Huxtable, in all senses of the meaning.

KKP: You’re way off, bud.

WH: Aah. Your catchphrase that became the grating screech of the emasculating harpie, yes. Bud. Hah.

TY: That must have been hard for you, Keisha… Knight? I never knew if it was Keisha-Knight Pulliam, or Keisha Knight-Pulliam.

KKP: It’s just Keisha.

WH: And you, Tina Yothers. Although the youngest, you were not the most attractive. You were not cute. Although no Facts of Life’s Natalie Green, you must feel some of Natalie’s pain, no?

TY: I always thought of Jennifer as cute. Not her primary defining characteristic, but one of them.

WH: Infinitely forgettable, I could not remember your character’s name until you just now uttered it. I have always and will always think of your character as you, Tina Yothers. I can remember Rudy Huxtable’s name, but Jennifer Keaton… are you certain that your character’s name was Jennifer Keaton, and not perhaps Tina Yothers Keaton?

TY: I’m sure.

WH: So I ask again, which of you pities the other more? Rudy Huxtable, you were cute and beloved and became reviled. You lost what Tina Yothers Keaton never had. Would you rather have never known what it was you lost? Or do you wish for Tina Yothers that she might have known, if only for a half-season or so, what it was to be adored, valued, and not found to be disquieting?

KKP: You know, this kind of feels like one of those horror movies. The ones where you’re placed in an impossible situation that it will be physically and mentally scarring to extricate yourself from, plus compromising of your humanity. Did you write those Saw movies, Werner Herzog?

WH: No, no. Although I wish most ardently that I had. The richness and elegance of mortified carnality, of irony incarnate. It is synesthetic in its beauty.

TY: Shouldn’t there be cameras, microphones, something? Are you not recording this?

WH: (tapping temple with index finger) It is all in here, Tina Yothers Keaton. For your edification and also that of the generations to come. It is most portentous. Frightfully so. An eclipsing enormity.

TY: K. Soo, do I get an IMDB credit for that?

WH: No. (laughing) No, Tina Yothers Keaton, you will not. There are no more IMDB credits for you.


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