Exclusive interview: Tinky Winky talks
By John Breneman
a long talk with my pal Tinky Winky the other day. Poor little
fellow is really depressed, which is unusual for him. His
disposition is generally quite gay.
Professionally, things are going well. His children's show,
"Teletubbies," has become a smash hit among the
influential bib-and-strained-peas demographic, and he's been
holding up well under the pressures of fame.
But then along comes the Rev. Jerry Falwell, who -- as you
probably have heard -- is accusing Tinky Winky of being a
homosexual and contributing to the moral delinquency of impressionable
Tinky Winky is extremely media shy and has refused nearly
all requests for interviews. He is also very sensitive about
his image. I know because he and I worked together on several
failed TV pilots a couple years back.
We first became acquainted when I worked as a writer for the
pastoral police drama "Tinky & Hutch." But we
really bonded on the set of the ill-fated sitcom "Plush
Little Prince of Bel Air."
I've always found Tinky Winky to be charming, gentle soul.
Sure he's a little confused about his gender identity, but
that's quite normal when you're a soft purple doll who carries
a bright red purse, or "magic bag." Anyway, to this
day he insists that he and Pee
Wee Herman are "just good friends."
When the Falwell fiasco hit the news, I knew Tinky would
need some moral support. So I called him up, thinking I could
introduce him to some of my friends in the Furby community.
Almost as an afterthought, I asked him if he'd consider doing
an exclusive on-the-record interview with the Herald. I was
elated when he produced a warm falsetto humming sound that
I knew to be his way of saying, "Why sure. Anything for
you old buddy."
Now it is important to understand that, due to the linguistic
limitations of an underdeveloped larynx, Tinky Winky's vocabulary
is predominantly baby talk. Therefore he has learned to communicate
his more complex thoughts using what he calls "tubby-telepathy."
The interview proved cathartic for Tinky Winky, whose closest
friends call T.W., or simply Wink. He wept at times, revealed
some of his innermost hopes and fears, and even giggled at
the suggestion that he might one day host a pretend tea party
with Richard Simmons and Barney Frank.
He also revealed his belief that the Rev. Falwell began spreading
the rumors because he harbors a grudge. Tinky Winky claims
that, during casting for "Teletubbies," Falwell
had auditioned for the coveted role of Dipsy, but was rejected
because he was too old and wore glasses.
The Herald also has learned that Falwell is preparing to
release a report charging that the inane, but seemingly harmless
Teletubbies exert "a profoundly anti-Christian influence"
over children because they refuse to recite the Lord's Prayer
on their "perverse and morally bankrupt" program.
During our two-hour interview at Caffe Kilim, Tinky Winky
sipped hot chocolate as he candidly shared his feelings on
the importance of make-believe friends and his rivalry with
the purple dinosaur Barney, which he says the media has been
blown way out of proportion.
A keen student of current events, Tinky Winky also offered
an eight-point plan to ease tensions between Serbs and ethnic
Albanians in strife-torn Kosovo.
Regarding the future, he plans to fulfill his three-year
contract with "Teletubbies" but hopes to then branch
out into television news. He is already pitching network executives
a concept for a Sunday morning political show. "The Tinky
Report" would eschew feisty partisan dialogue in favor
of cute little dances and "substantive, relevant baby
talk on the issues of the day."
Tinky Winky confided that he bears no ill will against Falwell
because he understands that the reverend is "a troubled
little man" who is really just crying out for attention.
He said he forgives Falwell. But looking deep into Tinky Winky's
blinking, childlike eyes, I could feel his pain.
Portions of the Humor Gazette's exclusive interview will
be broadcast soon on the magic TV screen on Tinky Winky's
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