In the world of entertainment and pop culture, the right music can have a profound effect on a situation. The Imperial March makes Darth Vader's appearance in "Star Wars" both ominous and magnificent. The indie rock soundtrack compiled by Zach Braff transformed "Garden State" from a cute indie film into a movie that spoke to a generation and launched the careers of several fringe bands. A swell of triumphant lyric less notes on "Biggest Loser" tells you it's time to share in the emotional rise or fall of a contestant as they're informed of the week's weight loss. And the opening notes to the song "Thriller" lets 1500 Pilipino inmates know it's time to break into a choreographed dance routine in the yard.
On June 25th, 2020, two years will have passed since American pop legend (and frequent headline maker) Michael Jackson passed away from cardiac arrest brought on by abuse of the drug propofol. Though it's easily argued that the King of Pop's best songs had already been recorded, the footage from the planned "This is It" tour made it crystal clear that Michael Jackson, "Entertainer", still had some moves to share with his fans during the 50 dates scheduled at London's O2 Arena between July of 2020 and March of 2010. It's shameful, really, to think what could have been. Concert wise, that is.
Which got us thinking: what if MJ hadn't stopped with his planned tour dates? What if he had lent his image, songs, or opinions to some of the major happenings of the last couple years? What follows are the Top 5 situations over the past 12 months we would have loved to see Michael Jackson's name attached to.
5) Heidi Montag's Plastic Surgery
Over a career that spanned nearly five decades, Michael Jackson's dalliances in plastic surgery were constant fodder for tabloid magazines and inquiring minds who questioned the rationale behind Jackson's ever changing appearance. Considering that his efforts were seemingly focused on one body part (his nose), it's curious to try and gauge what Jackson's take would have been on 20-something Montag's head to toe reconstruction. Not content to adjust just her nose, Montag- a stunning starlet before her surgeries- underwent procedures that ranged from simple (liposuction) to bizarre (part of her facial reconstruction included having her ears pinned back). We'd like to think that Michael would have taken a stance of solidarity in this situation, standing beside Heidi in her quest for physical perfection. Not that anyone would have taken her any more seriously as a result, but at least she'd look a little less…plastic.
4) Michael Jackson as Cameo Actor (Movies)
As amazing- nay, amazeballs- as it was to see Mike Tyson's mug in "The Hangover" franchise, how fantastic would it have been for the Wolfpack to run into MJ doing a legacy show in Vegas? Or hiding in the backroom of some dirty Bangkok bar? For that matter, with his pale complexion he could easily have slapped on a little glitter and played a small- but soulful- role in one of the "Twilight" movies. Don't tell me Stephenie Meyer couldn't have penned a part for Gloved One (clearly worn as protection from the sun).
3) The Use of Michael Jackson as a Gauge for Career Damage Due to Scandal
Back in the early 90's- long before news was made, broken or exacerbated by texting (Rep. Weiner's graphic messages), facebook, uncensored twittering (Roger Ebert's controversial comments on the death of Ryan Dunn), and all manner of evolved methods of instantaneous data delivery- Michael Jackson had to weather quite a storm of scandal involving allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. Though Jackson was never convicted of the crime, his name was still raked through the mud on television and in print.
Though it's impossible to say what impact social media would have had on Jackson's case, it would be interesting to be able to use it as a thermometer to grade the severity of a situation. For instance: Mel Gibson has seemingly tarnished his reputation and career beyond repair following a DUI, anti-semitic remarks, and a tape where he uses racial slurs and is implicated in domestic violence. Better or worse than MJ? Using after-scandal product sales (album sales for Jackson, ticket sales for Gibson) as a measure, Gibson would be dubbed the more severe scandal having brought in less than $1 million at the box office for his latest film, "The Beaver"; Jackson's post-scandal release, "HIStory", sold over seven million units. Sorry, Mel.
2) Michael Jackson as a Cameo Actor (Television)
Several shows on TV could have easily incorporated Jackson into story arcs where he played himself or a fictional character. High atop the list of fantasy appearances would be a Jackson 5 era appearance on "Mad Men". With the series moving through the 60's, it's easily believable that Don Draper would have occasion to take his kids to a Jackson 5 concert at the Apollo. Or perhaps he could have played a creepy serial killer nemesis for Michael C. Hall to study on "Dexter". He could have even duetted with "30 Rock" star Tracy Jordan on a re-issue of "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah" with a "Thriller" theme. The possibilities are endless!
1) The Use of Michael Jackson Songs for Ridiculously Appropriate Soundtracks
With the amount of crazy behavior that's been chronicled in the media in just the last six months or so, we'd like to suggest the following Michael Jackson songs be used when speaking of their respective headliners.
"Thriller"- The Dallas Mavericks' NBA Finals victory over the Miami Heat
"PYT (Pretty Young Thing)"- Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's indiscretions with a 17-year-old prostitute
"Beat It"- Anything to do with Charlie Sheen's firing from "Two and a Half Men", Oprah Winfrey's parting from syndicated daytime television, "surprise" withdrawals from "The Bachelorette", or Brett Favre's(potential)retirement from the NFL.
It's sad to think what could have been if Michael Jackson was still with us, but it's heartening to know that the legacy he left will be entertaining us long into the foreseeable future.