If there’s any character lurking in the Breakfast With The Beak archives more notorious than Fake Tim Pawlenty, it’s most certainly Doktor Socksenberg.
I have a tumultuous history with this particular puppet. For one thing, he was made in my image, which I find both flattering and offensive. The joke started simply enough: last July we got the idea to do an experimental show in which Johnny Goodtimes imagined a new sidekick out of one of his socks, and rapidly sank into dementia. This particular segment met with mixed reviews, but the character did manage to spark a few ideas; most notably Johnny’s inspiration to construct a real-life version of the puppet for use in visual media (rather than simply imitating a silly voice as one might expect in an audio-only podcast). He even painstakingly glued googly eyes and dozens of tiny bits of yarn to the puppet’s face to create an approximation of my own beard and hair. The result is somewhat grotesque, but undeniably clever.
Socksenberg’s personality has developed organically over the years, and it turns out he’s quite the sneaky, opportunistic, manipulative little bastard. Similar to the title characters in Evan Dorkin’s Milk and Cheese comic book, Doktor Socksenberg is both a harsh critic of all the things we despise, and also a spiteful antagonist of his own creator.
Doktor Socksenberg’s history with various forms of Beak-related media goes all the way back to 2011, so this is a good time to review and catalog his antics for future study:
In July 2011, Johnny Goodtimes is led to believe that co-host Doktor Heisenberg (myself) has died tragically, and introduces the sock puppet, Doktor Socksenberg, as his replacement. Though initially friendly, within mere moments Socksenberg takes on an ominous edge, first with creepy declarations of love and devotion, before transitioning into outright mockery of Johnny’s fragile mental state. Socksenberg then attempts to derail the show with inaccurate statements about the history of Qatar.
Get Sweaty For Spaghetti:
Shortly after losing his co-hosting job, Socksenberg found a new career as the mascot for The North American Spaghetti Council. His first commercial debuted on YouTube in August 2011, in which he attempts to convince Doktor Heisenberg to purchase spaghetti with sharp volleys of verbal abuse.
Socksenberg returns to the podcast to promote his new commercial. Johnny shows signs of being unable to distinguish reality from fantasy.
In October, apropos of very little, Socksenberg appears mysteriously at the last second of the show to scream, “Hey assholes!” into the microphone.
In November 2011, Doktor Socksenberg conspired to sabotage Breakfast With The Beak‘s Thanksgiving special by inviting random guests to the Breakfast Kitchen via Google+ without the consent of the hosts. His efforts result in appearances by Fake Tim Pawlenty, whose overzealous advances of friendship prove to be deeply unsettling, and also Globey from Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, with whom Socksenberg appears to have a lasting camaraderie.
A Very Spaghetti Valentine’s Day:
In February Doktor Socksenberg starred in a special Valentine’s Day-themed commercial for the North American Spaghetti Council. The ad implies that buying spaghetti for your sweetheart is a guaranteed path to sexual conquest.
Socksenberg returns to the podcast to teach us about viral marketing, the ineffectiveness of all professionals claiming to be media consultants, and his growing empire of corporate branding partnerships.
Breakfast is Coming:
To promote the beginning of Season 2 of Breakfast With The Beak, Doktor Socksenberg appeared in a graphic parody of the promotional material for Game of Thrones, in which he takes the place of Tyrion Lannister.
Season 2 Trailer:
Socksenberg lurks ominously in the background of the Breakfast With The Beak Season 2 YouTube trailer. He does not speak, and appears to be preparing to steal a bottle of wine.
Doktor Socksenberg returned to the podcast again in July 2012 to promote his latest business venture, Socksenberg Condoms, with the slogan, “They’re fuzzy for her pleasure!”
In his role as official spokespuppet of the North American Spaghetti Council, Doktor Socksenberg visits the show in September 2012 to deliver the Council’s official stance on the “Sketti” episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. His disapproval is especially vehement at the use of ketchup in place of an official sauce, and the probable conclusion that the ketchup in question was bought on auction from dead people. (Sidenote: This segment is the only time on record in which, during the taping, I laughed so hard I vomited. The vomit audio was cut from the final broadcast.)
The tinkling of jingle bells announces the approach of Doktor Socksenberg onto 2012’s Christmas episode, in which Socksenberg joins Johnny and myself in reminiscing about our adventures with Pittsburgh’s favorite eccentric panhandler. Socksenberg reveals that he used to work as an incompetent dishwasher, but refuses to delve deeper into his own backstory, citing the “power of myth.”