January 23rd, 2007

Audio Dream Theater, Episode the Second: Crouching Douglas, Hidden Shumlin

by Philip Baruth

As regular readers know, we launched an audio component to the site a few months back, in partnership with production-wizard Alex Ball of Rip and Read, and the mighty Neil Jensen of What’s The Point?

the league of 2 xtraordinary gentlemenWe call the new joint venture Audio Dream Theater, and the idea is to take satire to the next level — and then up the ante again once we get there.

Episode One, “The League of Extraordinary Republican Gentlemen,” followed the adventures of Jim Douglas and his youthful ward Brian Dubie, two down-on-their-luck GOP superheroes trying to block passage of the New England Wilderness Bill.

(Episode One is always available on the sidebar if you missed it somehow.)

In Episode Two, The League battles a new veto-proof Democratic majority and an old nemesis — Peter Shumlin, master of martial arts. Global warming, of course, is the crisis at hand.

And as an added bonus, we learn the origin of Brian Dubie’s powers, and their deep, tragic connection to Helen Reddy.

It’s called “Crouching Douglas, Hidden Shumlin.” And like the last episode, Alex’s production-quality is absolutely brilliant. Listen with a nice pair of headphones, dude. You’ll be glad you did.

As always, the script follows the embedded player, which follows Neil’s full-sized poster below. And the player itself is just click and go.


the league of 2 xtraordinary gentlemen

Audio Dream Theater

The League of Extraordinary Republican Gentlemen
Episode Two: Crouching Douglas, Hidden Shumlin

Voice Over:
The year: 1974. The place: Bread and Puppet Theater. Young Brian Dubie is orphaned in the freak collapse of a giant Helen Reddy puppet.

Vowing to fight the left-wing politics that ripped his family apart, Dubie joins forces with another victim of tragedy — Jim Douglas. Together, they form the League of Extraordinary Republican Gentlemen.

We join them now, in the Cave With the Golden Dome, where Douglas has frightening news for his youthful ward. [Water dripping; bat wings, etc.]

Douglas: Brian, I want you to sit down, son. [Sound of chair being pulled out] I have some bad news, I’m afraid. It’s just that — well, you know that on your birthday, it’s always just you and me and Auditor Randy Brock eating cake and playing games.

Dubie: [Fondly] Yeah, last year Randy creamed that two-headed Ben & Jerry pinata!

Douglas: Well, Randy won’t be coming to the party this year.

Dubie: [Breathlessly] Is he dead, Jim?

Douglas: [After a beat] Yes he is, Brian. But look, never mind about Brock — we’ve got ourselves to look out for now. The Democrats now have a veto-proof majority.

Dubie: Good thing Democrats can never get organized like Republicans, right Jim?

Douglas: Usually so. But an old nemesis of mine has come back to lead the Senate Democrats. He’s strong, and shrewd. There was a time when my eerie monotone was more than a match for him. But I’m afraid his own powers have doubled in strength.

Dubie: Powers?

Douglas: He’s a warrior, Brian, raised in a temple high in the mountains of Putney — the Shum-Lin monastery. Shum-Lin priests are taught discipline, all of the ancient martial arts. A young priest can’t leave until he’s passed the Ultimate Test.

[Flashback music, leads into soft Chinese music; intermittent soft gong sound]

Old Shum-Lin Master: Ah, Grasshopper. You are clever, and learn fast. But there is much more to learn, Peter. Before you may leave the monastery, you must snatch the pebble from my hand.

Shum-Lin: [No hesitation] Just gimme the freaking pebble.

Old Shum-Lin Master: [Totally cowed] Okay, okay, Jesus.

[Flashback music brings us out]

Douglas: So you see, Brian, Peter Shum-Lin is our worst nightmare.

Dubie: We’re all gonna die! We’re all gonna die!

Douglas: [Meaty slapping sound] Get a grip, man! Look, I still have my powers: the eerie monotone, the ribbon-piercing scissors . . . and say! We haven’t ever really put your powers to work. [Pause] Uh, what exactly are your powers, Brian?

Dubie: [Proudly] People like me against their better judgement.

Douglas: That’s your power? I might as well be partnered up with a pot-bellied pig.

Dubie: I’m sorry, Jim. I’m worthless.

Douglas: [Bucking him up] No, no, Brian — don’t say that. Why, you’re a swell partner. And a credit to the League.

Dubie: [Brightening] Really, Jim?

Douglas: Why sure. It doesn’t matter if — wait a second! You just used your likeability powers on me, didn’t you?

Dubie: [Smugly] Sure did. No one’s better judgement can withstand ‘em.

Douglas: Well, by gosh, maybe we do have a fighting chance after all. [Sound of fists pounding on a huge wooden door]

Douglas: Who can that be? Let me activate the Cave’s security monitor. [electronic tuning noise] Dear God in Heaven! It’s Shum-Lin, and he just put a wad of gum over the security camera! We’re flying blind!

Dubie: Don’t open the door, Jim!

Douglas: I’m afraid with a Shum-Lin warrior, it’s not really a matter of opening anything, Brian. [Sound of wood crashing, splintering]

Shum-Lin: Governor Douglas, I was hoping we could take a meeting.

Douglas: Meeting? You have violated my cave, Sir.

Shum-Lin: Yeah, well, we’ve got a global emergency going on, my friend. It’s called Global Warming.

Dubie: Global what?

Shum-Lin: Warming. Look, I used to go deer hunting when I was ten years old, forty years ago, okay? And the biggest thing we had to worry about then was freezing our asses off. Last year, I shot a buck wearing just my t-shirt. And this year, I’m out there running around in the woods in just my tightie whities. There’s something really wrong with that picture.

Douglas: Indeed there is. But look: there’s a bright side of global warming too. We spent almost none of the money in the Low Income Heating Program fund this year. So we can use that money to recount the Auditor’s race again.

Shum-Lin: I didn’t think you’d listen to reason. Hey Al, get in here! [Heels on floor]

Douglas: It’s Al Gore!

Gore: Hello, everybody.

Dubie: Oh my God, Jim, did they recount his race too?

Gore: No, no, Brian, the Supreme Court stopped the Florida recount in my case, in violation of their strong Federalist principles. [Laughs good-naturedly] It was about as vigorous a screwing as any Presidential candidate has ever received. [Laughs again, voice very upbeat] And deep inside I remain absolutely livid about it, of course. [Chuckle]

Shum-Lin: Enough with the civics lesson. Just tell him the freaking inconvenient truth.

Gore: Well, Governor Douglas, you were speaking of the so-called “bright side” of global warming. And of course that’s simply a new and improved Republican talking point, designed to obscure the need for urgent action. [Chuckles]

Douglas: [Using the Eerie Monotone; accompanying sound effect] But Al, any legislation to fight global warming will slow the economy, and we’ll lose jobs.

Gore: [Chuckles, then in a bit of a monotone himself] Nice try with the eerie monotone. But I’m afraid I have a sort of genetic immunity to that.

Douglas: Damn!

Gore: No, I’m excited that Peter here has made global warming his first priority as Senate President Pro-Tem. [Another chuckle] It’s what I would have done if the [bleep-bleeping] Supreme Court hadn’t [bleeped] me like a two-dollar [bleep].

Dubie: You know, Al, even though we disagree, I’ve always respected you for speaking your mind.

Gore: Thank you, Lieutenant Governor Dubie. You’re shockingly misinformed but . . . but I find that I really like you, Brian.

Shum-Lin: He’s using his likeability powers again. Step back, Al. [Martial arts noises; smacking sounds of kicking/punching]

Voice Over:
Tune in next time, when we’ll hear Al say . . .

Gore: [Laughing] And of course if I could ever get that piece of [bleeping] Associate Justice Antonin Scalia out on the paintball course I’d [bleeping] him right in the [sustained bleep and out]

Voice Over:
Same Audio Dream time, Same Audio Dream channel.


Alex Ball: Sound; voice work
Philip Baruth: Script; voice work
Neil Jensen: Graphics; voice work

5 Responses to ' Audio Dream Theater, Episode the Second: Crouching Douglas, Hidden Shumlin '

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  1. on January 23rd, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    […] Here’s to Alex Ball and Philip Baruth for being, well, Alex Ball and Philip Baruth. […]

  2. on January 25th, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    […] Today we’ll be debuting the Douglas/Dubie audio satire we posted Tuesday: “Crouching Douglas, Hidden Shumlin.” You can stream the show itself here. Which is nice. […]

  3. on January 27th, 2007 at 12:39 am

    […] If you’ve yet to hear the second installment of Audio Dream Theater — “Crouching Douglas, Hidden Shumlin” — the set-up, poster, script, and embedded audio player are available here. Readers tell VDB that the Dubie origin story, involving the crash of giant Helen Reddy puppet, and the cameo by Al Gore may well be the highlights. […]

  4. on March 20th, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    […] VDB: First things first. Recently our satirical team Audio Dream Theater went live with a piece called “Crouching Douglas, Hidden Shumlin,” in which you were portrayed as an all-powerful martial arts expert who had been secretly raised in a temple high in the mountains of Putney. Did you manage to listen to the piece, and did it ring true for you in any way? […]

  5. on March 20th, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    […] Sure, there’s lots of great stuff in VDB’s mighty long interview with Peter Shumlin. But here’s the most important part… VDB: First things first. Recently our satirical team Audio Dream Theater went live with a piece called “Crouching Douglas, Hidden Shumlin,” in which you were portrayed as an all-powerful martial arts expert who had been secretly raised in a temple high in the mountains of Putney. Did you manage to listen to the piece, and did it ring true for you in any way? […]