This put your correspondent in mind of the program's cornily aspirational theme song. The fun -- relatively speaking -- really begins after the jump when we showcase five of the many covers of the song.
Books are awesome, yeah?
First, I asked myself "Does a gutter punk version of this song exist?"
For the numerical and temporal purposes of this column - and for the sake of my very fragile sanity - I limited my research to versions of the Reading Rainbow theme uploaded to YouTube within 2012 or damn close to it. Semi-exhaustive searches turned up ten possible contenders. But since 5ingles trades exclusively in fives, we smile sympathetically and shake our heads sadly at the chart-proof efforts of DJ Militia, Matt, Ricky, and Brandan, and 6TA Live. It just didn't happen for those guys.
The Decepticons guest-host Reading Rainbow, with Starscream sitting in with the house band in Chaka Khan's place. Behold, the queasy, nightmarish black magic of pitch-shifting: that shit cray. More cray, in fact, than most bona fide noise puke.
Why Farmingdale didn't just go whole hog for a whole tripping-balls/melting-eyelids fake episode of Reading Rainbow is totally beyond me.
If there are any children out there reading along, I implore you: when given a choice between a library card and reality-altering drugs, choose the library card. You can step away from a book at any time, then return to it whenever you please; with drugs, that sort of guarantee isn't ironclad.
The sad irony is that Robison's throwing his all into covering a song where the pull-quote lyric is "I can go anywhere," but he's belting this thing out in some sort of sub-basement dungeon with busted boxes and a heater and random other shit to keep him company.
Where he needs to go, of course, is the auditions round of American Idol. I wouldn't buy a Zachary Robison album, but it's hard to argue that the guy doesn't deserve a cult following.
It's difficult to settle on the most disturbing aspect of this awkwardly spellbinding performance. Is it the de-de-de-de-de bullshit? The hot-pink keytar action? The stalker-ish come-on to LeVar Burton at the very beginning? The uncanny similarities between Catherine's voice and that of Chaka Khan? I'm not sure what the answer is, but she does a cover of "Billie Jean" that I can't quite force myself to sit through beyond the first fifteen seconds.
1. Miten 'N Danny, "Reading Rainbow Theme"
Because a banjo, an accordion, and the lamest dorm room in North America ever are involved, this easily bests Zachary Robison's soul-bearing rendition in the dorkiness department. The shit-ton of non-Reading Rainbow related silliness makes this even dumber, but you have to give these kids props: they're making fools of themselves for charity. What have you done for charity lately?