If you know anything about me you know I'm totally obsessed with puppets. Not sexually -- let me get that out of the way because I know my readers, and you are all sick, deviant people and I love you for it -- but seriously -- I'm apeshit for puppetry. I think it's pure genius, totally artistic, and incredibly fun. How obsessed am I with puppets? My first stop when I came to Hollywood was Jim Henson Studios, I know every word to the soundtrack of Labyrinth, I read Jim Henson's website daily -- yes, I know he's dead (heart - broken) but the studio throws us fans a bone and posts daily entries from his old diaries (which I don't totally use as life lessons). And I may have seen every one of the Puppet Master movies and given them all 5 stars on Netflix whether they deserve it or not. I could go on. I won't. Let's just say, I'm a little crazy for puppets.
That's why I'm now totally obsessed with 19 Action News' coverage for the corruption trial of Cuyahoga county commissioner Jimmy Dimora, which began last week in Akron, Ohio.
After the judge trying the case decided to bar TV cameras from the courtroom (the nerve!) the station took matters into their own hands and came up with the most brilliant trial coverage idea I've ever seen in my life (and I followed E!'s Michael Jackson molestation trial coverage with the creepy impersonators RELIGIOUSLY -- so I think I know a thing or two about bizarre coverage tactics) -- why bother with tired "been there, done that" crap like putting a reporter in the courtroom who then gives a daily report that evening, or utilizing one of those hack sketch artists to paint weird pastel representations of the goings on -- why do any of those things... when you have a puppeteer on hand?
Did you catch that? They're using puppets to reenact a trial.
There's still an "inside reporter" -- albeit he's a talking squirrel who delivers the courtroom play by play in the vein of a sports announcer -- and there's defense attorney Andrea Whitaker, dressed stylishly with pearls and a grey suit that compliments her green skin quite nicely. There's even puppets for all the witnesses, including contractor Ferris Kleem who claims he paid the commissioner thousands of dollars in return for favors -- however nefarious you want to say Kleem may be in real life, his puppet-self looks like a neighbor pulled straight off Sesame Street.
How incredibly genius is this? How badly do you want to move to Cleveland just so you can witness this daily? Okay hold on, that was going too far -- no one wants to live in Ohio, there are some crazy. people. there. Crazy people like puppeteer Kirk Maynard and cameraman Dave Spangler -- the men behind "The Puppet's Court" who continue to deliver the people of Cleveland SOLID GOLD.
Follow Vanessa Berben on Twitter: www.twitter.com/2FingersBerben