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Brenda Dickson used to be legitimately semi-famous. A former beauty queen, she played the role of Jill Abbott on the daytime soap The Young and the Restless for over a decade. In 1987, after she was, according to IMDb, “fired” from Y&R, Dickson self-produced a video infomercial called Welcome to My Home. In it, the soap star strikes various poses in various baroque evening gowns whilst standing in various corners of her opulent mansion. Then, “through the magic of Hollywood,” Dickson invites the viewer to “teleport into my closets” for lessons on “style, which is as important in your life as your look.”
Twenty years later, in January of this year, this improbably insane slice of celebrity self-indulgence made it to YouTube, where it has since, predictably, become fodder for a number of takeoffs and parodies. Now Brenda Dickson is internet famous, and she doesn’t like it one bit.
The most widely-seen of these parodies is the work of Deven Green, a Los Angeles-based figure skater-turned-comedian. Green’s parodies of Welcome to My Home are the nastiest that I’ve seen, both in terms of work-safe content (Green’s version of Dickson is obsessed with her own “vagine”), and in their general attitude towards Dickson.
Though Green posted the first of her three parodies on YouTube several months ago, Dickson apparently just got word of their existence last week, when she posted a alleged email from a fan on her website. The email read in part: “I saw the spoof on Brenda Dickson’s YouTube “Welcome to my Home.” I want to say to the person who must be illegally using Brenda’s tape ‘Jealousy is a disease.’ [Green is] said to look like the Wicked Witch of Oz, but weighs 300 pounds! … But Brenda Dickson, she’s a class act.”
I made note of Dickson’s “Fan E-mail of the week” last Thursday, after learning of it via the WoW Report (they, like other blogs who have jumped on this, point out that Green is actually slim and great looking, and suspect Dickson wrote the “fan letter” herself). At that point, all three of Green’s spoofs were still watchable on YouTube; at some point on Friday, the first installment was removed, “due to a copyright claim by a third party.” Commenters on Green’s YouTube profile are outraged. Green’s clips are a little one-note for my tastes, but I would agree that a copyright infringement claim is weak at best. At the very least, it seems odd that YouTube would remove one of Green’s clips, but turn a blind eye on the other two.
If YouTube does put the clampdown on Green’s clips, my suggestion would be to switch your affinities to Welcome to Our House, a Dickson parody from New York comedians Julie Klausner and Jackie Clarke. Clarke and Klausner play two soap star sisters, Natalie Hammer and Nina Hammer-Ortiz, and although their first clip is an almost shot-for-shot parody of Dickson’s original, it’s not really an attack on Dickson herself — the sisters device allows them to explore alternate realms of celebrity delusion. Klausner and Clarke recently unveiled a second chapter in the Hammer sisters’ saga at a show in New York; hopefully it will soon end up on YouTube.