Enterprise Square, USA, on the campus of the Oklahoma Christian Bible College, is a Disney-esque (that’s being charitable) theme park dedicated to the glorification of free enterprise and the excoriation of government control. Visiting this spawn of big business and the religious right, built in 1982 and apparently not remodeled since then, was like taking a time machine back to our childhoods under Reagan’s first term: that sunny, unapologetic Cold War jingoism, that pre-Japan confidence in the American Way, and all the high-tech wizardry that 1982 had to offer. Audio cassettes! Games with paddles instead of joysticks! Beta!
Our little tour group was greeted in the lobby by a videotape of Bob Hope. Bob, who apparently owed some of his chums in the military-industrial complex a favor, started to read some platitudes about Enterprise Square off his cue cards, when suddenly he was interrupted by a “news flash” from that well known journalist, Ed McMahon.
Had Bob won the Publishers’ Clearing House Sweepstakes? Was he a contestant on Star Search? No! Aliens from the planet “Flabjab” had crash-landed right on the campus of the Oklahoma Christian Bible College! And before Ed could say “heeeeere’s Zazzie!” the aliens themselves–Bubbin, Zazzie, and their long-suffering robot yes-man, Quonk–came down through the ceiling.
Here the plot took a bizarre postmodern turn. It seems our aliens–in truth they looked more like low-rent Muppets–needed replacement parts for the spaceship they’d just totalled. But how to pay for them? Nobody on this planet would accept their “Flabjabbian Blaffle” as legal currency, and the aliens, who obviously come from some weird Muppet culture with high taxes, gun control, and socialized medicince, didn’t have a clue about how to make any Earth dough. “I know!” said our teenage tour guide, the poor dumb “Worth the Wait”-pledging bastard gamely playing out the same script he’s probably done a thousand times. “Why don’t you, uh, Flabjabbians join our tour group, learn the wonders of capitalism, get respectable jobs, and save up enough Blaffle to get home?” And here I was thinking they’d just enslave our race by laying eggs in our brains. But the capitalism thing works, too.