This Dan O'Brien

Elmer Fudd’s Letters Home

May 14th, 1972

Dear Mom,

Hi Mom! Gosh, where do I start? The weather’s been good (perfect for rabbit season), sessions with my speech therapist seem to be going well (I hope to be able to wish you a “MERRY” Christmas this year, not “Mewwy.” That’ll be my gift to you!) and I’m making lots of friends.

But holy cow, all I REALLY want to talk about is this girl I met. Sorry, this woman. I met someone, Mom, someone special.I know I have a habit of rushing into things but, Mom, I think she’s the one. She’s so beautiful, she’s so sweet (but still kind of sassy) and she doesn’t even seem to mind my speech impediment. She accepts me, just when I thought that kind of thing would be impossible. She’s so confident, she’s on another level, I just want to give her everything to see what she can make out of it. What she even sees in a dummy like me is anyone’s guess.

OH, and best of all I met her while hunting, if you can believe it. She’s into hunting! She was just out in the woods and I found her—well, we found each other. We didn’t even speak at first, because we didn’t NEED to, there was just this CONNECTION. Instantly. So much went unspoken, it was like we were waiting for each other. She wasn’t shy about approaching me and, bizarrely, I wasn’t shy either, because we just worked together, immediately. We kissed! Right when we met! I love her. I LOVE HER!

I don’t think I knew what love was, before. I had a dim understanding of it, from movies and songs, and I remember what you and Dad were like together, but until I met Her, I only understood love anecdotally, as a bystander. I finally feel like I’m a participant, and I never thought I would be. Beyond that, I feel lucky. I’m not saying “I’m lucky because I get to be with her,” I’m saying “I’m lucky because I get the privilege of loving her.” Do you understand that, does that make sense? Even if she didn’t love me back, I will forever be grateful just for getting the opportunity to love her. Because I know what my life was like before I loved her, and I don’t even think I would call that a life, now. It feels so good to love her, to have love inside of me, to feel what normal people feel. I get to love her, do you understand? I get to. I’m allowed to. I weep at how lucky that makes me. Mom, I weep.

Listen to me, going on and on about this woman. We’re supposed to meet up in the woods again tomorrow. I’m going to ask her if she wants to go dancing with me. I don’t really dance, but I know most women like doing it so I looked up places that offer Salsa lessons for couples and there are some affordable ones in my area. I figured a dancing class would be a nice date. We can be close and we can talk, and we can move together.

I’ve rambled enough. I gotta get ready for tomorrow. I don’t even know how I’m going to sleep!

Love and Respect Forever,

Your Son Elmer

PS I know things must get lonely around the house since Dad’s passing, but remember that your “Lil’ Elmmy” loves you and is always thinking about you. I wish I could be by your side right now, but of course I have to try to catch and sell enough animals so we can afford to keep the house (I’ve included a check for $25; it’s all I made last week). It’ll get easier, Mom, I swear to God it’ll get easier. It’s going to be a good year. I can feel it.


May 15, 1972


Disregard previous letter. It was a boy rabbit in a dress. I don’t know why he did it. Don’t ask me about it.

PS I don’t think I ever learned how to be happy.


roman-sunshine said: Hello Mr. O'Brien! I hope you are well! I just read your Cracked article about adopting a dog, and saw the picture of your dog from May. I am really happy for you! Could you please show us more pictures and tell us a bit about your dog?



If you’ve been with us since Season 1, you recognize that as Winston Rowntree’s classic intro artwork style. Also you probably see that design and hear the theme song in your head. And notice how everyone’s positioned in their correct diner seats? That’s because we are doing our first official After Hours shirt exactly goddamn right. [GET IT HERE]

I’m on a fucking t-shirt?


If you’ve been with us since Season 1, you recognize that as Winston Rowntree’s classic intro artwork style. Also you probably see that design and hear the theme song in your head. And notice how everyone’s positioned in their correct diner seats? That’s because we are doing our first official After Hours shirt exactly goddamn right. [GET IT HERE]

I’m on a fucking t-shirt?




I have spent most of my 4th Of July weekend re-watching Susan Harris’ late 70s/early 80s masterpiece, SOAP.

I first watched SOAP in syndication, in the late 1980s, but I’m pretty sure that I may have missed some episodes, so this is my first deliberate start-to-finish viewing. I bought the complete series on DVD a few years back, but binge-watching four seasons of a network TV series is a daunting proposition. There are 93 in total and I just finished Season One (25 episodes).

I wish SOAP was available to stream— it seems that being available to stream is the determining factor these days as to whether older shows are re-discovered or consigned to cultural oblivion. Certainly, shows like Cheers have benefited from being on Netflix, and HBOGO has allowed people to keep The Sopranos and Deadwood in the conversation long after they’ve finished. (I’m not sure what contractual hiccup has kept HBO’s two most important comedies, Larry Sanders and Mr. Show, from being on HBO GO but someone needs to fix that ASAP.)

I wish that Mitch Hurwitz would put in a good word to Netflix about re-acquiring streaming rights to SOAP, since it is the clear precursor to Arrested Development. I’m hardly the first person to point this out, but it bears repeating: fearless taboo-busting, serialized storytelling, a cheerful narrator recapping the plot over jaunty theme music, a corrupt adulterous patriarch being investigated by the SEC, a black ventriloquist’s puppet that people can’t stop trying to strangle, incest that isn’t-quite-incest… Did I mention that Hurwitz cut his teeth as a writer on Golden Girls, the hit show also created by Susan Harris? 

The biggest similarity is that both shows are brilliant and both of them broke new ground in Comedy.

SOAP still feels genuinely dangerous. There are missteps, for instance, in the handling of Billy Crystal’s character, Jodie— the first openly gay character on television to be portrayed as a fully-realized human being instead of a punchline— but I’d argue that these are the result of the show’s courageousness in dealing with subject matter that hadn’t really been handled like this before. The show’s core humanity, and its commitment to taking its ridiculous characters seriously, allows it a lot of leeway to take risks with making jokes about controversial things. The fact that this show isn’t a nightmare of offensiveness 40 years later is a tribute to what a smart writer Susan Harris is.

(One of the best improv classes I ever took at UCB was when my 401 teacher Curtis Gwinn reacted to an especially offensive improv set by delivering a 45-minute lecture on how you can do ANYTHING in Comedy “but it can’t just be nihilism… it has to have a REASON.” SOAP is a great example of that in practice. There are jokes that are dated, and attitudes that have not aged well, but the show treats its characters with such respect underneath all the outrageousness that it can afford to make the occasional mistake and all is forgiven, instantly. At least that’s how I see it.)

And the cast: Katherine Helmond, Robert Guillaume and Richard Mulligan are three stand-outs, giving career-best performances in a generally strong ensemble, with a guest roles played by some of the funniest character actors of the late 1970s, many of whom would end up with their own shows just a few years later.

I am going to finish watching these DVDs and then start loaning them around to people. I wish that people were posting GIFs from SOAP and talking about how great it is. And I wish that some streaming service would pick up all 4 seasons so that everybody would start watching this great, great show.

[RELATED: I just ordered a bootleg dvd set of the entire series run of the Martin Mull/Fred Willard fake talk show Fernwood 2 Nite (and its 2nd season as America 2-Nite), which isn’t available in any legit form. As far as I can tell, it has a similar role to the SOAP/AD lineage, only with shows like Larry Sanders and Alan Partridge. So there goes all my free time, forever. I am also working on stuff of my own, but if none of that amounts to anything, at least I will have enjoyed these programs.]

I found some weird site streaming episodes of Soap a few years ago, but I sort of jumped in willy nilly and didn’t commit, which was too bad because I looooved Soap when it was on Comedy Central in the afternoon in the late 90s. It took over for Kids in the Hall, at some point, so it must have been really good for me not to loathe it resentfully.

This show is the best and anyone who hasn’t watched it is missing a huge piece of kickass tv comedy history and needs to get learnin’. There would definitely be no Arrested Development without Soap.

I can almost guarantee that Soap is available for free rental down at your local library ( that’s how I watched it). Everyone needs to watch this show.

Anonymous said: Are you going to run for president in 2016?

I made a promise long ago that I would only run for president if Ole Dirty Bastard could be my running mate (for reasons that should be obvious). He is, as far as you’re concerned “dead,” as is my campaign.

Anonymous said: my parents gave me your books on presidents for my birthday yesterday. so far i like it.

No problem, Mr. The President.

Anonymous said: i asked my mom to give me How To Fight Presidents for my birthday, and she did! i'm on page 8 and i like it so far! it's got a good font!

Thanks, Anonymous person who I can only assume is probably David McCullough. I just re-read 1776. The font kinda blows but otherwise it’s pretty good.


I am just clumsy as fuck this week. #welp #ididntneedplatesanyway #sigh

Dope sandals Starlord.


I am just clumsy as fuck this week. #welp #ididntneedplatesanyway #sigh

Dope sandals Starlord.

pastaspoon said: Hello! My questions are: I can't find any information on any, (IF any) acting training you have had. You are extremely good in front of a camera; it took me a fair bit into my own acting degree to learn how to get out of my head and make eye contact, heh heh. If the answer is none, What is your impression of what "the process" is like, and have you ever dealt with the questions, "who am I", "what am I doing", etc for a role? kloveyoubye.

Someone writes words down (sometimes me!) and then when all the lights are in the right place, someone says “Action,” which is code for “Pretend you’re the person who thought the words that are on the paper or, failing that, say them in the right order. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING is to remember what you were doing with your hands because when we move the camera around and shoot this same scene from a different angle we need everything to match up for continuity.” It’s just playing pretend. Acting is easy which is why it’s literally the only job children can legally do.