Whitefish Bay got out a shout out on national television Sunday night – but it wasn't quite as flattering as as one of the "best places to live in the U.S."
Nope, one of the characters in Fox's animated "Napoleon Dynamite" series actually argues that Whitefish Bay is the "most boring city in America." But the writer of the sketch, Whitefish Bay's own Dan Vebber, said it was meant to be more of a shout out than a diss.
In an e-mail interview with Patch, Vebber said he got his start in the media as a cartoonist during his time in UW-Madison, where he became the editor of The Onion during its beginning days in the early 1990s. Once The Onion gained a nationwide audience, he moved to Los Angeles in 1995 to write for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Futurama, American Dad – and now – Napoleon Dynamite.
Vebber said he has gravitated toward animated shows, due to his cartooning background. He's developed about 10 pilots that have made it to various stages of development, but never made it to air.
Two of the shows were specifically about Whitefish Bay, and he said he still has a dream to make a show about his hometown a reality.
"I really think a King of the Hill-style show set in Wisconsin could be hilarious," he said.
So, what does Vebber think about his hometown, and does he really think it's boring?
He said he threw Whitefish Bay out there during the writing process, and the other writers thought it sounded like a comedically boring small town. He said he doubts it's really the most boring city in America and said "that joke was a shout out, nothing more."
"Whitefish Bay was a safe, upper-class environment that all-but demanded harmless rebellion against authority – in my case, especially rebellion via humor and parody," he said.
"It was pretty suffocating when I was a kid, and I get the impression from my visits back that it's similar today. But it was a great place to grow up, where one could play flashlight tag after dark without worrying about getting murdered. I hope it's still like that."
A look at Whitefish Bay's crime statistics would suggest a cold-blooded murder is not in the foreseeable future, but does that mean it's boring? Should folks in Whitefish Bay feel slighted by the b-word or take it in stride as a shout out from a Bay native?
For an answer, we turned to Whitefish Bay's own Fox 6 News anchor Ted Perry, who said he saw the clip while heating up his dinner in the break room. He said was surprised by the local call-out and was amused to hear about his village on national TV.
"I've seen only 20 seconds of that show, and it just happened to be that clip. At first I thought 'What the Hell?' but then figured there had to be a connection and learned from another writer on the show there was a Whitefish Bay connection," he said. "As a resident of the Bay, I was amused, not offended. I mean anyone who's been to the knows Whitefish Bay is ANYTHING but boring."