Conan On Conan

Pierre Bernard 03

Hop into the DeLorean, fire up that flux capacitor, and take a journey back in time with me. It’s July 15, 2004. Case Closed had been airing on American television for less than two months. At 12:30 AM (Eastern Time), you could either switch the TV over to Cartoon Network and get ready to watch the pint-sized detective at 1:00 AM (episode 031 was airing that night), or you could switch over to NBC and see the antics of another famous Conan.

I would like to think that Late Night With Conan O’Brien (which aired from 1993-2009 as an integral part of NBC’s weeknight talk show lineup) needs no introduction. I was (and still am) a huge fan of both Conans, but the timeslots of each program meant that I was forced to choose between them. I vividly remember watching the first half of Late Night and then faithfully switching over to see Case Closed at 1:00. I had grown used to flipping between Edogawa and O’Brien, but for one surreal night, the latter gave me both.

One of Late Night’s many comedy sketches featured the show’s graphic designer, Pierre Bernard, ranting about whatever little nerdy rant popped into his head. Bernard covered obscure subjects like comic books and anime, usually leaving Conan and his audience horribly confused (which is the whole joke). O’Brien would then reassure Pierre that there were (probably) a couple of people in America who actually knew what he was talking about.

Below is a transcript of the July 15, 2004 segment of “Pierre Bernard’s Recliner Of Rage,” in which the calm but passionate geek set his sights on Case Closed (specifically Katsuo Ōno’s musical score) and ripped it to pieces in his own unique way. This not-too-positive review stands as the most mainstream publicity Case Closed had ever received while on television (or possibly ever). Oddly enough, Pierre never once acknowledges that the main character of the show is named Conan. Enjoy.

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Pierre Bernard 01

Conan: “Y’know, before we go any further, I do want to address something. Let’s face it, folks, there’s a lot of anger in America today. Between the war in Iraq, the uncertain economy, and the very divisive presidential election, tempers are really running high. Well, we have one person on our staff that’s particularly angry: one of our graphic designers, Pierre Bernard.”

Pierre Bernard 02

Conan: “Pierre says… Pierre says he knows… he says he knows how America feels and he is ready to articulate our anger for us… and he thought he might as well be comfortable while he does it. So here he is now in a little segment we like to call “Pierre Bernard’s Recliner of Rage.”

Singer: “Pierre Bernard’s Recliner of Rage!”

Conan: “Alright, uh, hey there, Pierre. Are you comfortable and angry?”

Pierre: “Comfortable and furious, Conan.”

Conan: “Okay then, uh… Oh, God… Then you just go ahead, Pierre, and you speak for America.”

Pierre: “Okay, here goes. I’m a huge fan of animation, especially Japanese anime. So it goes without saying that I love a lot of anime shows appearing nightly on the Cartoon Network. There’s Witch Hunter, sort of like an animated X-Files. Big O, the Batman of giant Japanese robots. And one of my favorite shows, Cowboy Bebop, about two space bounty hunters, Spike and Jet, who team up with a woman named Faye and a computer wiz-kid named Ed. One of my favorite episodes was when Spike met a frog that told him he was on the staircase to heaven. And each episode has jazz music mixed into it that helps calm my nerves before I go to sleep.”

Pierre: “So you can imagine my annoyance when I turned on the Cartoon Network a couple of nights ago and found the show had been replaced. A new show called Case Closed; the show’s poorly-drawn and features music that’s completely inappropriate for my pre-sleep wind down. Besides, if they needed a replacement for Cowboy Bebop, there are so many better shows to choose from. Like Sakura Diaries, Amazing Nurse Nanako, or my personal favorite, Bubblegum Crisis, about futuristic policemen who masquerade as machines. Bottom line, America…”

Pierre Bernard 04

Pierre: “The Cartoon Network should get rid of Case Closed, replace it with one of the shows I mentioned, or bring back Cowboy Bebop with his nerve-calming jazz music.”

Pierre Bernard 05

Conan: “Thank you, uh… Thank you very much, Pierre. I’m… I’m sure there are at least two or three other Cowboy Bebop fans out there who know exactly what you’re talking about.”

Pierre: “Hang in there, amigos.”

Singer: “Pierre Bernard’s Recliner of Rage!”

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If you’re offended by Pierre’s comments, you simply aren’t enjoying this the way you should be. I was fortunate enough to see this segment the night it aired and the whole silly thing makes me smile to this day. It’s particularly fascinating to revisit this segment after all this time and see that Pierre’s wishes have come true. Case Closed has long been off Cartoon Network and the franchise, despite thriving in Japan and many other parts of the world, is all but dead in America. Could Pierre Bernard have been responsible for this?! We may never know…

Cartoon Network apparently aired a tongue-in-cheek response to this segment the following night, but I can’t find it archived anywhere. If anyone was able to record it, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. I’m sure it’d be hilarious to read. Either way, I hope you all enjoyed hearing about this insignificant moment in television history!

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