Correction, June 19, 2003: This article originally reported that Doggy Fizzle Televizzle appears on MTV2. In fact, as the article now reflects, it airs on MTV, though it does show in reruns on MTV2. Also, the episode described in the article is a pilot that originally aired last fall; the show's first full season begins with a new episode Sunday, June 22.
Open on Snoop Dogg, viewed from the back: pigtails, small head, extra-broad shoulders. He's presiding over the nation's capital, at a podium facing the Washington Monument, the reflecting pool, a crowd of thousands. Then the vantage flips; now he's at the podium with Lincoln looking on behind him. I can't tell: Is he playing to the "I Have a Dream" audience, cut in as backdrop? Greetings Funkateers.
Snoop introduces a quartet from the mother ship—men glammed up in furry top hats, gold lamé, pale-pink dreads. He peace-outs the King crowd, and the picture dissolves into a short early graphics funky-psychedelic montage. Then Snoop's rapping, bashing MTV for sidelining blacks.
This is MTV's variety show, Doggy Fizzle Televizzle, hosted by hardworking, sleepy-eyed Snoop Dogg—the entertainer whom everybody, for some reason, likes, including me. Snoop's izzle language—where, uh, "-izzle" is substituted for the final syllable or syllables of a word—is like a kids' clubhouse code; it's just cryptic enough to keep the parents out, but easy to pick up once you've heard a few minutes of it. "Don't change the dizzle. Turn it up a little. This is the bizzle. Snoopy D-O-double-gizzle." The cable-access look of this thing works well: There are pinwheel graphics and cheap lighting, and, when Snoop sweeps into the poster-plastered foyer of his house ("my Graceland, why I do what I do"), he appears in a cloud of dry ice.
Listen, Snoop's going to be showing us some off-the-wall beep. Since The Osbournes,MTV now scripts a show just to censor it, with MTV Networks choreographing a harmless—and, ideally, lucrative—intramural showdown. Here on MTV, as Snoop says, they're going to show us "things that MTV afraid to show you."
Snoop takes a job at Arby's and does a little Punk'dsegment, messing with the customers at the drive-thru. This is funny. He pretends to need money for Christmas and his kids. He takes orders, preaches the gospel, jokes about slavery. He bawls out customers. He asks them for guns. You want a gin and juice or Hennessey and Coke?
He's got a fake R. Kelly video, starring himself and an overage girl. He teaches school to squealing kids as Mr. Dizzle, making jokes, doing a raunchy Cosby. Then, in Eddie Murphy mode—Snoop amplifies the old bits, but he doesn't rip them off—he raps some nursery rhymes. The couplet that stayed in my head: "With a knick-knack bitch snap give a ho my bone/ These lil' hos came roaming home."
There are low moments: a predictable sketch about cornball "black history" PSAs, the "Cap'n Pimp" segment. Generally, Snoop leans too hard on pimps-and-hos humor. But who's complaining? Doggy Fizzle Televizzle is a very good time—loose, mellow television with an excellent comic ringmaster who has a gift for Wildean inversions. Take the political segment of the show: "Police brutality is horrible. I think the way the police is treated is disgusting." Thanks to MTV for bravely defying MTV and finding a way to keep on the air this happy, upbeat shizzle.