Tomorrow, Tomorrow
June 7, 2009 12:59 PM   Subscribe

Michael Kinsell sees himself as the next Mr. Rogers. So much so, that he planned a gala event, replete with big-name stars and full orchestra, where Rogers would be honored and Kinsell would be introduced as his successor, telling potential investors he had the blessing of PBS and Rogers’ longtime production company, Family Communications Inc. The only problem was, none of his claims were true, and his charade quickly fell apart.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing (64 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
THIS MAN IS NOT MY NEIGHBOR
posted by kldickson at 1:13 PM on June 7, 2009 [18 favorites]


what?
posted by nola at 1:14 PM on June 7, 2009


After reading, I was hoping for genius stunt. But instead...

...here is the poor deluded (creepy, potentially dangerous) sap being interviewed by San Diego NBC affilate.
posted by humannaire at 1:14 PM on June 7, 2009


I don't think anyone but Mr. Rogers could pull off that look without being creepy.
posted by stavrogin at 1:16 PM on June 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


How utterly bizarre. What was Kinsell trying to do? Surely this gala wasn't ever going to actually happen. Was it just a take-the-money-and-run scam? Or was his plan to pull off a stunt so audacious that he'd become a momentary celebrity and parlay his fame into something else later, in which case we've all fallen victim just by talking about him?

In any event, I hope that the ghost of Fred Rogers appears to Michael Kinsell every night for the rest of his life, telling him that what he did was wrong but everybody makes mistakes.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:20 PM on June 7, 2009 [16 favorites]


so did he actually have his show air?
posted by fuzzypantalones at 1:21 PM on June 7, 2009


The kid might have good intentions but his execution is inherently flawed. Let him grow up a bit and learn from his mistakes if he truly believes in children's and public broadcast television.
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 1:24 PM on June 7, 2009


I am having a horrible idea for a reality tv show.
posted by Free word order! at 1:24 PM on June 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


Fucking with Mr. Rogers is the express route to a MeFi beatdown.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:25 PM on June 7, 2009 [10 favorites]


That's Mister Rogers, Joe Beese, not "Mr.," and don't you dare forget it.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:33 PM on June 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


Michael Kinsell has been spending too much time in the Land of Make-Believe.
posted by mattdidthat at 1:33 PM on June 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


This kid has Michael Jackson-esque delusions of grandeur, minus the actual money or fame.

His IMDB bio notes that "Early on, Kinsell understood the importance of childhood..." If this eighteen year old had a similar grasp on the meaning of adulthood, he wouldn't be in this situation.
posted by hermitosis at 1:33 PM on June 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


Why do I have the horrible feeling this kid will go far?
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 1:36 PM on June 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Con Artistry can start at a young age!
posted by ericb at 1:38 PM on June 7, 2009


The most interesting part, to me, comes from the caption of that unbelievably creepy photo of him in his Mister Rogers costume.

Kinsell, above, says he has six episodes of Michael’s Enchanted Neighborhood ready to go.

Please, please put these on Youtube or something, kid. It's the only way anyone's ever gonna see them.
posted by EatTheWeak at 1:43 PM on June 7, 2009


The term Narcissistic Personality Disorder is often overused nowdays, but this may be a classic example. He may have really believed the fantasy he created and was selling everyone. In one interview he says that he often created make believe worlds in his room when he was young. Looks like he still does.

His future as as children's entertainer, which looked like it had a chance before he went all wacko with it, is finished. What parent is going to let their kids watch this creepy guy?
posted by eye of newt at 1:57 PM on June 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


...here is the poor deluded (creepy, potentially dangerous) sap being interviewed by San Diego NBC affilate.

He so reminds me of "Ross the Intern."

Ross, however, is engaging and delightfull. This kid. Creepy!
posted by ericb at 2:00 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


He reminds me of that creep Kevin Trudeau.
posted by milkwood at 2:01 PM on June 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wow, what an idiot. Maybe, in his head, he just thought he was organizing something in a somewhat direct way, but the fact that he was trying to style himself as Mr. Rogers just amps of the creepiness factor. What a moron.
posted by delmoi at 2:01 PM on June 7, 2009


Behold: The Anti-Rogers.
posted by Avenger at 2:03 PM on June 7, 2009


Wow. I just read the part of the interview where his mom admits to investing $100,000 of her own money from her tax prep business in her kid's "gala" and I have to wonder...family scam? Or family delusion?
posted by jeanmari at 2:10 PM on June 7, 2009


You know, my first instinct is to say he's a complete piece of shit, but Mister Rogers wouldn't want me to do that, so I won't. There are a lot of people whose name you could pull a scam like this and more or less get away with it, you know, just end up the subject of a mocking article or two at worst. But Fred Rogers? He's the closest thing our society has to a real saint. He's universally loved and respected. And this asshole used his name for some sort of chintzy scam. Hangin's too good for 'im. Burnin's too good for 'im.
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:16 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Kids say the darnedest things!
posted by katillathehun at 2:20 PM on June 7, 2009


Reading these articles, I couldn't help but think of that Miracle Mouse guy. Whatever happened to him?
posted by evilcolonel at 2:32 PM on June 7, 2009


What was Kinsell trying to do? Surely this gala wasn't ever going to actually happen. Was it just a take-the-money-and-run scam? Or was his plan to pull off a stunt so audacious that he'd become a momentary celebrity and parlay his fame into something else later, in which case we've all fallen victim just by talking about him?

He thought it would quickly become self-sustaining so that even if the truth came out it would be too big to stop, like on those episodes where the kids try to get the parents back together by pretending they (the parents) are writing love letters to each other.
posted by DU at 2:33 PM on June 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


But Fred Rogers? He's the closest thing our society has to a real saint. He's universally loved and respected.

Everywhere to the left of Rush Limbaugh, anyway.
posted by DU at 2:34 PM on June 7, 2009


I hope somebody is keeping on eye on Mister Rogers's gravesite. I'm afraid this kid might try to dig him up.
posted by faster than a speeding bulette at 2:43 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


The greatest tragedy of this whole thing is that Mallory Lewis bought a new purse.
posted by ericthegardener at 2:50 PM on June 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


How utterly bizarre. What was Kinsell trying to do? Surely this gala wasn't ever going to actually happen. Was it just a take-the-money-and-run scam? Or was his plan to pull off a stunt so audacious that he'd become a momentary celebrity and parlay his fame into something else later, in which case we've all fallen victim just by talking about him?

He was trying to bootstrap it, I'd imagine. Make a show of legitimacy to interest legitimate celebrities, who retroactively legitimize it.

"Hey, Danny Devito, be part of my gala... I've already got Kevin Spacey!"

"Sure, kid, sounds like fun."

"Hey, Kevin Spacey, be part of my gala... I just spoke to Danny Devito and he's on board!"

"Sure, kid, sounds like fun."
posted by fatbird at 3:16 PM on June 7, 2009


Can it matter at all that the kid goes to Point Loma Nazarene University?
posted by snsranch at 3:17 PM on June 7, 2009


Basically, this kid has watched way too much TV.
posted by hermitosis at 3:24 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey, maybe Susan will hire him!
posted by fatbird at 3:27 PM on June 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Hey, maybe Susan will hire him!

They're made for each other!
posted by ericb at 3:28 PM on June 7, 2009


You know what was funny about these articles? Did you notice that there was actual 'reporting' going on? Fact checking, confirmation of statements made, all kinds of good reporter stuff.

I had to contrast it to all the 'unnamed sources' bunk one gets on these huge national issues.

Good times.
posted by Trochanter at 4:08 PM on June 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


This reminds me of a recurring nightmare I had as a child. Having climbed a tree, I find myself further and further out on a branch, until I'm holding on to a bending twig looking down at the ground far below me.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:12 PM on June 7, 2009


Seriously, one kid making a few fake companies and trying to con stars into wasting an evening just to get his own tv show is a huge deal? At the very least, he is awesome at publicity. (And more disturbingly, likely seriously mentally ill .... )
posted by shownomercy at 4:53 PM on June 7, 2009


He was trying to bootstrap it, I'd imagine. Make a show of legitimacy to interest legitimate celebrities, who retroactively legitimize it.

As an aside, I've heard this is par for the course for how lots of Hollywood movies get the green light. The one I've heard the most is "The Last Action Hero". According to lore, the screenwriting pair, once they had the script finished and in the hands of as many people as they could get them, started a targeted rumor campaign that the film was greenlit and that Schwartzenegger (and McTiernan?) were slated to star. It was total BS, but the rumor was so pervasive that within days it was greenlit and Schwartzenegger did agree to do it.
posted by zardoz at 5:18 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: Replete with big-name stars and full orchestra.

Is that anything?
posted by littlerobothead at 5:38 PM on June 7, 2009


I just know that fucking Prince Tuesday put him up to this!
posted by orme at 6:06 PM on June 7, 2009


Does anyone else look at this dude's picture and see Ricky from Better Off Dead?
posted by Cyrano at 6:15 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


zardoz: "It was total BS, but the rumor was so pervasive that within days it was greenlit and Schwartzenegger did agree to do it."

The governor of California, ladies and gentlemen.
posted by JHarris at 6:34 PM on June 7, 2009


Does anyone else look at this dude's picture and see Ricky from Better Off Dead?

Now that you mention it...

posted by Dr-Baa at 6:59 PM on June 7, 2009


"Hey, Danny Devito, be part of my gala... I've already got Kevin Spacey!"

"Sure, kid, sounds like fun."

"Hey, Kevin Spacey, be part of my gala... I just spoke to Danny Devito and he's on board!"


I understand Obama's trying something similar in the Mid East.
posted by scalefree at 7:49 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:56 PM on June 7, 2009


I hope that poor man gets the therapy he needs.
posted by Argyle at 8:11 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can it matter at all that the kid goes to Point Loma Nazarene University?

Perhaps he'll get a job someday with an alumnus.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:13 PM on June 7, 2009


Fucking with Mr. Rogers is the express route to a MeFi beatdown.

I am a pretty peaceful person, never been in a fight in my life ... and upon reading that article, my first thought was, "That kid needs a good beating."

Something about what he did, combined with the photo of him in the cardigan and sneakers, summoned some dark, primal force in me that just wanted to ... hurt that twerp.
posted by jayder at 9:27 PM on June 7, 2009


I'm going to do what Mister Rogers would want me to do, and refuse to say anything mean about this guy.

Man, this is hard.
posted by mmoncur at 9:28 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Everywhere to the left of Rush Limbaugh, anyway.

I refuse to acknowledge those people. I like to imagine Mister Rogers telling them "I'm sorry that you're so mad at the world", and then singing What Do You Do With The Mad That You Feel?.
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:13 PM on June 7, 2009


He wrote a 32-page letter to the intended musical director, explaining his concept. Once it gets to that point, it sounds like mental illness rather than scam to me.
posted by queensissy at 11:41 PM on June 7, 2009


For someone who claims to admire Fred Rogers as much as he does, Michael Kinsell certainly seems to have missed something fundamental.

Mr. Rogers was so appealing because he was trustworthy. Even in the land of Make Believe, he was never dishonest. Even as a little child, you knew in your heart of hearts that Mr. Rogers would always tell you the truth and would never deceive you.

Michael Kinsell can put on the sweater and the tennies, but he doesn't seem to understand there is difference between pretending and lying.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:30 AM on June 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Does anyone else look at this dude's picture and see Ricky from Better Off Dead?
posted by Cyrano at 9:15 PM


Gee, I'm real sorry your plan blew up, Ricky.
posted by orme at 3:39 AM on June 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


I served with Fred Rogers. I knew Fred Rogers. Fred Rogers was a friend of mine. Michael Kinsell, you're no Fred Rogers.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:28 AM on June 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Creepy fucking weirdo.
posted by PuppyCat at 5:19 AM on June 8, 2009


He must be a put on. Far too creepy to watch him speak. Zero charisma. Kind of a reverse Borat.
posted by JBennett at 7:17 AM on June 8, 2009


Trochanter, some guy ripped you off on the San Diego News site -- unless you're "John Paine," of course...

John Paine Monday, Jun 8 at 6:59 AM
You know what was funny about these articles? Did you notice that there was actual 'reporting' going on? Fact checking, confirmation of statements made, all kinds of good reporter stuff. I had to contrast it to all the 'unnamed sources' bunk one gets on these huge national issues. Good times. You know what was funny about these articles? Did you notice that there was actual 'reporting' going on? Fact checking, confirmation of statements made, all kinds of good reporter stuff. I had to contrast it to all the 'unnamed sources' bunk one gets on these huge national issues. Good times.

---------------------------

You know what was funny about these articles? Did you notice that there was actual 'reporting' going on? Fact checking, confirmation of statements made, all kinds of good reporter stuff.

I had to contrast it to all the 'unnamed sources' bunk one gets on these huge national issues.

Good times.

posted by Trochanter at 7:08 PM on June 7
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 8:08 AM on June 8, 2009


From Tom Junod's fantastic Esquire article about Mister Rogers...

[Mister Rogers's] patient gray eyes were fixed on the little boy with the big sword, and so he stayed there, on one knee, until the little boy’s eyes finally focused on Mister Rogers, and he said, “It’s not a sword; it’s a death ray.” A death ray! Oh, honey, Mommy knew you could do it … And so now, encouraged, Mommy said, “Do you want to give Mister Rogers a hug, honey?” But the boy was shaking his head no, and Mister Rogers was sneaking his face past the big sword and the armor of the little boy’s eyes and whispering something in his ear–something that, while not changing his mind about the hug, made the little boy look at Mister Rogers in a new way, with the eyes of a child at last, and nod his head yes.

We were heading back to his apartment in a taxi when I asked him what he had said.

“Oh, I just knew that whenever you see a little boy carrying something like that, it means that he wants to show people that he’s strong on the outside.

“I just wanted to let him know that he was strong on the inside, too.

“And so that’s what I told him.

“I said, ‘Do you know that you’re strong on the inside, too?’

“Maybe it was something he needed to hear.”


Perhaps if that little boy had been Michael Kinselll, this wouldn't have happened.
posted by incessant at 8:19 AM on June 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think what steams me the most is that this creepy little twerp wasn't even born when Windstorm in Bubbleland originally aired.
posted by anazgnos at 9:54 AM on June 8, 2009


Does anyone else look at this dude's picture and see Ricky from Better Off Dead?

I was getting a whiff of "mefi's own" Jesse Thorn, but then I see Jesse Thorn everywhere.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:25 AM on June 8, 2009


The kid is creepy, but so was Mister Rogers.

There, I said it.
posted by notashroom at 12:53 PM on June 8, 2009


I don't think anyone but Mr. Rogers could pull off that look without being creepy.

notashroom beat me. My response was, I'msorrywhat to the "pull that look without being creepy".

Playing the game Taboo one time, I gave as a clue "Oh, that pedophile with the kids' show!" And, despite scorn, everybody playing knew who I was talking about.
posted by quarantine at 2:02 PM on June 8, 2009


There's a lot of hate in here.

From the articles posted, I see a kid who always wanted to be Fred Rogers when he grew up, but didn't realize that the only person who could be Fred Rogers was Fred Rogers. He's spent a lot of time and energy chasing that instead of being Michael Kinsell. I don't see any outright scam or malice, I just see someone chasing a dream that was doomed to failure from the beginning.

I hope he picks himself up, dusts himself off, and goes about learning who he is rather than who he wishes he was, 'cause that's what Mister Rogers would have wanted him to do.

Unless it was a scam, then he needs the hounds set on him.
posted by lekvar at 3:50 PM on June 8, 2009


An aside, because it's been nagging at the back of my mind: Let's give Kinsell the benefit of the doubt for the moment and assume that he was sincere. I spotted yet another detail that proves he's missed the point of Mister Rogers. The name of his proposed show was Michael’s Enchanted Neighborhood. Check that use of the first name there, and keep it in mind while I lay some history on you.

When Fred Rogers launched his show, it was 1968. The child-care theories of Benjamin Spock were widely and deeply influential, and while Spock's "permissiveness" has been overstated, his principles did encourage parents to grant their children a significant measure of freedom and self-determination. One trend that grew out of Spock's theories (albeit not one, I believe, that Spock himself promoted) was that of allowing or encouraging children to address adults by their first names.

Fred Rogers disagreed. It was his belief that while children should be treated with respect and consideration, there are still fundamental differences between child and adult psyches, and one lesson that needed to be taught was formal respect for one's elders. They're not perfect or infallible by any means, but they've lived longer and learned more, and Rogers believed that this should never be forgotten. Hence, to his audience, he was always Mister Rogers, never Fred.

Under much different circumstances, I might have learned to someday respect Mister Kinsell. I don't think I, or anyone, would show the same deference to Michael.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:01 PM on June 8, 2009


Mr. Rogers never claimed to be anything.

"Behold: The Anti-Rogers."

Doesn't the Bible say something about knowing the Anti-Christ by the fact that he will claim to be the Christ?
posted by Eideteker at 6:37 AM on June 9, 2009


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