Courting Cousin Vicki Could Be Problematic

December 20, 2008

A staple when it came to video rentals for my high school friends and I was National Lampoon’s Vacation which featured Chevy Chase leading his family on a “pilgrimage to see a moose.” It supplied us with an endless supply of lines for the times when we did venture outside the city limits (it also had Christie Brinkley).

One of the many colorful characters in that flick was Cousin Vicki who rocked the ganja, stirred Kool Aid with her hand, and boasted that, regarding her French kissing abilities, “Daddy says I’m the best.”

Several years ago, I realized that the actress who played Cousin Vicki – Jane Krakowski – was now on the show 30 Rock. She hasn’t been taking orders in a drive-thru for the past twenty-five years (her list of credits at The Internet Movie Database is lengthy including several years on Ally McBeal), but I hadn’t seen anything she’d been in.

In my universe, Krakowski had gone from the age of thirteen to late thirties in a flash. What if I’d met her in some bar and shared a few drinks during those years of her career of which I was oblivious?

At some point, our respective professions would become a topic of conversation. I would probably tell her I was a Bedouin because, as Paloma has astutely pointed out, I like to say the word Bedouin.

Jane, having told me she was an actress, might tick off a list of movies in which she had appeared. I would sit there “like a dog that had been shown a card trick” (to quote Bill Hicks) until, finally, she would ask if I’d ever seen National Lampoon’s Vacation. The light bulb would flicker and my mouth would then fall open.

“You’re Cousin Vicki.”

And if such a scenario had ever occurred, would it be possible to date this woman? She’s Cousin Vicki, for God’s sake!

It would lead to me immediately tracking done those high school buddies with whom I had shared the movie years before, most of whom I haven’t spoken with in years.

“Dude, you would not believe it, but I’m dating Cousin Vicki.”

The news would immediately elicit a reference to her French kissing skills.

I think it would be impossible for me to view Krakowski as anyone other than Cousin Vicki. Repeated viewings of Vacation had seared that into my brain years ago.

I’d live in a state of perpetual fear that, if things got serious, I’d end up meeting her family and expect Randy Quaid as Cousin Eddie, her father. There would be her youngest sister, Daisy Mabel, who “sings like a bird and eats like a horse” despite being born without a tongue. And would her brother Dale be prospering as an earthworm farmer?

It would, quite simply, be a star-crossed mess which would invariably end in tears. Sometimes the universe gets things right.

I was surprised at how many “Jane” songs I had (as opposed to “cousin” and/or “Vicki” songs), so here’s a handful…

Over The Rhine – Sleep Baby Jane

Icicle Works – Understanding Jane

The Point – Hey Jane

Jon Astley – Jane’s Getting Serious