Sunday, March 2, 2008

Baby, come back! Any kind of fool could see...

Tonight while eating our respective seperate dinners (one for a chewer and one for a non-chewer) , my husband and I copped a squat in front of the tv for our third Netflix movie of the week. "Their third Netflix movie of the week," I picture you saying to yourself. And then I imagine you scratching your chin and going, "Why, that coupla kids must be huge movie buffs! I'd bet they just eat and sleep movies, those crazy film zealots - probably celluloid snobs, the pair of 'em." Well, that's where you'd be wrong, friend (and we're not snobs, either, you judgers). Actually, we keep renting all these movies because of our assessment of the current state of tv as a giganto wasteland of shite. Actually, this shitey wasteland brings us to the reason I am communicating with you today. I just want to hearken back to a time when television made me smile. Today I give you Ten Really Non-Crappy Things I Wish Would Return and Live On Forever on My Television Set.

1. Sale of the Century, circa early - mid 80's. Oh, wow, was this ever the best game show ever. Holy crap! Did that lady just pay the surprisingly low, low price of $12 for the once in a lifetime opportunity to have a six days five nights all inclusive stay at the beautiful Desert Isles of Palm Springs Resort? You bet your sweet ass she did, and she's not done yet! This game show doesn't get any play on the modern rip-off Game Show Network, but it deserves its propers. Jim Perry (the host, duh) was aces, the music was gnarly (in the nonironic way), the prizes were outtasight. I want it back.

2. Small Wonder - How could this show not be perfect? It's the perfect premise: a normal Wonder bread family featuring a beautiful mom, a sporty dad, a super-white-teethed adolescent boy with an effeminate name and, oh yeah, Jamie the boy, apparently you aren't quite feminine enough for your sicko mommy because she made Daddy create an incredibly creepy glass eyed robotic female sister for you named Vicky. One of my most requested impressions as a six year old was Vicky's robot speak, and I was damn good at it. This show had plenty of waaaaacky hi-jinks and, if that weren't enough, Edie McClurg in her acclaimed inside the box pesky neighbor role. If all of that doesn't spell perfection, I seriously don't know what does.

3. Studs - My face is turning red now. I know you watched this, and if you pretend you didn't, I'll know you are lying. It came on after Married With Children reruns in my area, but it played second fiddle to no show. Remember: superperv Mark DeCarlo hosted this dating show in which three skanks went on dates with two skeezes and they answered REALLY CLEVER innuendo- laden questions about their craaaazy escapades and then the matchy matchiest couple won a fabulous trip to a skankaskeezarific resort in Cabo. Amazing.

4. ABC Afterschool Specials - These little beauties truly were fear propaganda at its finest. I got quite an education from each and every heart-wrenching installment I watched, from My Dad Can't Be Crazy...Can He, to The Day My Kid Went Punk and who could forget the hold onto your nuts powerful The Hero Who Couldn't Read. I could diagnose every problem-laden pubescent kid in my path with the education I received from my afterschool specials. In fact, there's a couple things I've noticed that I've been meaning to ask you about yourself...

5. Crossroads: The Lionel Ritchie / Kenny Rogers edition - Okay, so here's a show that actually still airs and mygod, airs to death, but for some reason or other, CMT refuses to hear my cries at night to please oh please replay the Kenny/Lionel festival of love which my husband haphazardly deleted from my DVR ushering in my sadness then anger then questioning then bitterness then denial and then understanding and then finally sadness again. This showcase of heaven-sent melodic stylings of sweet Lionel coupled with Kenny's obvious sex appeal have brought me to tears more than once. Now, instead of being able to hear Kenny and Lionel charm me til I tingle with "Stuck on You," I am, well, stuck with my husband's version in which the words have unfortunately been altered, and now instead of hearing how mighty glad Lionel is that I stayed, I am regaled with a version in which my serenader romances me with "I'm mighty glad you shaved." Somehow, it's just not exactly the same.

6. Today's Special - I am a sucker for creep-fests that pose as children's shows. Looking back, this early 80's Nickelodeon contribution was one of the creepiest. From what I remember, it took place in a kickass department store and featured a talking but only in rhymes puppet mouse name Muffy, a crotchety old puppet security guard named Sam, a real life lovely storekeeper named Jodie and a mannequin with a magic hat who came to life and to whom I was inexplicably attracted. The gang hung in the store and ran into some drama here and there. All I know is, I loved me some Special. I'll order another, please.

7. Malibu Shores - You might not remember this. It was kind of blink-and-you'll miss it, but it featured Momma Michelle Phillips as a momma named Suki to Keri Russell and her older brother in the drama-laden setting of Malibu, CA. Again showing that if you have a zillion dollars and are bankrolling your television show, nepotism don't amount to a hilla frijoles - Aaron Spelling cast young ingenue numero dos Randy Spelling in a forgettable role as a character whose name I have forgotten. But, this one season drama fest exploring puking and drinking and beach parties and kids from the wrong sides of the tracks was right up my alley. It still is. I am all over the dvds whenever they come out. You should be too, if you have any idea what's good for you.

8. You Can't Do That On Television - I was sooooo into this show when I was a kid that if you produced any episode for me now, I could probably word for word it on that ass. This is the show that brought green slime to American culture (thank you Canada!), and I was obsessed. I was in love with Kevin Kubusheskie, I wanted to be Marjorie, I hated Lisa Ruddy, I thought Christine was cool and worldly, I thought Alanis was the weirdest name ever, I wanted to beat up Vanessa, the list goes on and on. I cannot praise this show enough. I just discovered this website dedicated to the show which I HIGHLY recommend you visit because, mygod, why wouldn't you?

9. The New Treasure Hunt - I would give my left pistachio to see this show again. I wanna share the premise with you, as I bet I won't find a reader out there who will be give me an Amen in the remembering department on this beaut. Here's the gist: there's a ginormous stack of presents on a stage, and, well, contestants open then and win the prizes inside, like a vaccum cleaner or a tennis bracelet. My sister and I loved when this show was on, and for years we forgot the name and would ask passersby if they remembered it, and no one ever ever did and we thought we were insane and my sister was finally committed and I sat and listened to Kenny and Lionel over and over and over while she was gone because of the anguish and at the same time overpowering love this program bequested us. That might have been slightly hyperbolic. I really only listened to Kenny over and over while she was gone. What a great show this was.

10. USA Up All Night - Wow. A little embarrassing. But, yeah. I was a preteen girl and I liked Rhonda Shear and even the crappier Gilbert Gottfried night of USA Up All Night and the cheesefestiest B Movies out there. Alright, if you must know, I loved most everything Rhonda or Elvira or Gilbert introduced, from Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II to American Gothic to The Malibu Bikini Shop. Let's face it, it was boobies movies without the boobies. Or, fuzzied out boobies. It was a preteen boy's dream, I imagine. I seriously wonder what USA network numbskull cancelled this moneymaker. I guess internet porn took away the simpler times. I blame you, Al Gore. Great going.

Anyhoo, there's my list. My current tv has never even had the pleasure of seeing any of these ten shows o' wonderment. Somehow, my life seems a little lesser because of it.


Anonymous said...

I miss Rhonda Shear. Damn that Al Gore!

Malcolm said...

Did you ever hear the rumor that the kid who played Jamie on "Small Wonder" grew up to be Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins. Even though I know it's not true, they do share a remarkable resemblance.

YCDTOTV takes me back to the early days of Nickelodeon. A couple of weeks ago I was on the site you linked to and found some recent pics of Christine, Lisa, and Alidair. I was surprised to see he's bald now!

I used to watch "Up All Night" until I got frustrated with them cutting/covering up all the good parts out of the movies they showed. Skinemax and Showtime After Dark here I come!!

what's a donzer said...

Oh my gosh! I did hear the Jamie / Corgan rumor, often coupled with Wonder Years Paul and Marilyn Manson, of course.

And, it's a little bittersweet to little Alasdair bald. He looks exactly the same, though. I bet his voice still cracks when he talks, too.

Apparently helping out Al Gore's cause, you, Malcolm, and your male counterparts turning en masse to Skinemax and SAD helped kill the Up All Night phenomenon. :) And poor Gilbert Gottfried's career has been in the toilet ever since.

what's a donzer said...

I would like to add an addendum to this post. I need a number eleven. Like a violent wave at high tide, it hit me suddenly that I am also realllly missing that zany twin clasic, Double Trouble. I loooooved the antics of Kate and Allison Foster. Bring it back!