July 29, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

”Being Bobby Brown”: Whitney’s potty mouth

I’m not sure how or why, but every once in a while, a line of dialogue makes that long, strange leap from the TV screen directly into the cultural consciousness. There’s the timeless classics, like Seinfeld‘s ”Not that there’s anything wrong with that,” and the fleeting ones, like ”You are the weakest link. Goodbye.”

And then there are the ones of summer 2005. ”Note to self: I don’t need to see that,” from The Comeback. ”Can you handle my truth?” from Britney & Kevin: Chaotic. And even the return of ”Hug it out,” via Entourage.

Tonight, on Being Bobby Brown, another contender to the (ahem) throne emerged, courtesy of Brown’s infinitely quotable and often constipated wife, Whitney Houston. Midway through a romantic dinner with Bobby, Whitney begins to complain of stomach cramps, even seeking an Advil to accompany her pear and gorgonzola salad. And then, gently rocking her pelvis, she says the following:

”I’m about to do the doo. I’m about to drop it on the one — a boatload.”

”Oh no she didn’t,” you say. To which I respond, ”Oh yes she did.” Now of course, I realize that a discussion of Whitney Houston’s bowel movements is neither polite nor appetizing, so if you’re, say, only on the third bite of your morning McGriddle, you might want to shut down your browser and pick up reading this column a little later. For the rest of us, though, I think it’s worth determining if a new and entertaining way of announcing a trip to the toilet has arrived, or if we’re going to be stuck with telling coworkers, ”I gotta go to the can,” or ”Uh-oh, nature’s calling,” or ”I’m going to the little boys’/girls’ room.”

For starters, a cultural catchphrase has to flow easily off the tongue, so I think it’s worth trimming the fat off each end of Whitney’s statement and leaving the leaner, meaner, yet utterly meaty, ”I’m about to drop it on the one.” Try saying it out loud, maybe three or four times in a row. It sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Almost like a great rap refrain or, oh, a jaunty sample akin to Theo Huxtable’s ”jammin’ on the one,” from The Cosby Show, which, whether she intended it or not, Whitney seems to be referencing. Then again, maybe I’ve got it wrong. Whitney could be subconsciously comparing Bobby’s music to her own excrement. It’s not a stretch, given that Bobby once released a disc called, interestingly enough, Drop It on the One (listed at amazon.com as an out-of-print item).

Still, if Whitney’s taking hidden potshots at Bobby’s musical oeuvre, he’s at the point in his career where even negative attention is welcome. Watching him sidle up to the bar and seek the attention of a stranger who had never heard ”My Prerogative,” ”Roni,” or ”Humpin’ Around” — even I had forgotten that last one — you get a clearer sense of just how far the once mighty singer has fallen. Backed into a corner, not getting a laugh by pretending to be Todd Bridges, Bobby finally uses his trump card, ”I married Whitney Houston,” and gets a handshake from the clueless dude, a moment that might’ve been a little bit poignant if the rest of the program weren’t so incredibly pointless.

Six episodes into an eight-episode run, it’s pretty clear the producers of Being Bobby Brown are reaching to fill the 22 minutes Bravo allots each week. When Bobby and Whitney leave the kids unsupervised in their hotel suite, are we supposed to be surprised when they act out by playing with toy guns in the hotel hallway and cutting their writing utensils into messy bits? (After all, they’re children and, more important, children left to their own devices and with a camera crew trailing their every move.)

Even more lame, when a skeevy married woman named Kelly flirts with Bobby (”you’re a lot cuter in real life,” she purrs) in order to score a little Bravo airtime, shouldn’t karma dictate she end up on the editing room floor? And what to make of the quick-stepping cameo from The Jeffersons‘ Sherman Hemsley? Was he trying to impress ABC suits so they’ll give him a spot on the next season of Dancing With the Stars? Was it necessary to show the family dog’s poo after Whitney thought she sat in it? Given the series’ poor sound quality and bad lighting, and Whitney’s often-incomprehensible pronunciation — her under-construction home is ”emp,” not to be confused with ”empty” — I don’t know why I’m expecting anything better.

Which I guess means I’ll be witnessing two more weeks of Whitney telling friends on the phone that she’s ”about to go take a real one and sit on the toilet to talk to you,” not to mention dramatically calling attention to her gastric woes by shouting, ”The agony! The pain! The pressure!” Yep, the toilet humor’s flowing with gusto on Being Bobby Brown. Now whether or not we all wind up text-messaging Whitney’s next pearl of wisdom to a dozen or so friends and co-workers, well, we’ll just have to wait and see.

What did you think? Will you be using ”drop it on the one” in a sentence today? How about ”do the doo”? ”Take a real one”? And are you worried Whitney might make good on her threat and leave the family’s pint-size pooch out in the wilderness?

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