Friday, February 29, 2008

New Kids on the Block: The Cartoon

I have a humiliating confession to make.

I was a HUGE New Kids on the Block fan.

Granted, I first got into them when I was in kindergarten and my obsession ended sometime in the second grade, but I'm still haunted by the memories to this day.

How big of a fan was I? Big enough to loyally watch their Saturday morning cartoon every week.

Even back then, I knew this cartoon was absolutely atrocious, but I was determined to be loyal to my beloved New Kids. I mostly watched for the interviews with the group at the beginning and the concert footage they showed at the end of each episode. I was beyond pissed when I learned that the guys didn't provide their own voices for their animated counterparts. And boy did the voice actors play up the Boston accents.

There are so many cheesetastic things about this cartoon that I don't know where to begin:

  • Of course, they just had to make Jon's dog into a damn animal sidekick. I'm just glad that he didn't talk. He probably would have had an exaggerated Boston accent too: "Lookit the fiah hydrant onnah cawnnah!"
  • Catch phrases ("Posse up!")
  • Disguises out the wazoo
  • Musical montages and more musical montages
  • Chase scenes
  • These horribly tacky borders would sporadically pop up and surround the screen. Worst visual effect ever.
  • The sound effects! They buuuuurn!

  • Here's a full episode, broken into three parts. Oh, and if you manage to make it to the end, you might notice that the ending credits ("Step by Step") sound uncannily similar to a certain other cartoon's closing theme song (EDIT: the first video I posted had the entire credits, but it was removed and this one only has a couple of seconds of it. If you want a more in-depth comparison, here's the original version of "Step by Step"). Hmm, I wonder which came first?

    Wednesday, February 27, 2008

    Commercials: Pepsi

    Pepsi is known for having some pretty interesting commercials. In the early 90s alone there were more different Pepsi commercials than I could count, maybe even more than there are today, and they were ALWAYS on. You couldn't escape them if you tried. Maybe this is why I prefer Coke.

    Does the "Chill Out" hand gesture ring a bell? In the summer of 1991, Pepsi ran a series of "Summer Fun" commercials in which people on the beach (including Bo Jackson, Dr. Ruth, and Gilbert Gottfried) did that inane hand thing to the song "California Sun" by The Dictators (famously covered by The Ramones). My group at day camp actually used that commercial as the basis for our skit/dance type thing at Parents Night. The skit consisted of us doing typical beach activities to "California Sun". We made a giant Pepsi can and at the end, the lone boy in our group popped out of it and we all did the gesture. I think that commercial ruined "California Sun" for me. Every time I hear it, my hand stubbornly starts to "chill out".

    Whew, that was long-winded. Here's just 1/5,679 of those commercials:

    "You got the right one baby... uh-huh!" It's unfortunate that this campaign caused a generation of kids to refer to Ray Charles as "that guy in the Pepsi commercial". Pepsi sure went all out here. This was one epic ad:

    1992. The "Gotta Have It" campaign. Did anyone else have a Gotta Have It card? I got mine when they were handing them out for free at the mall. I don't recall actually using it for anything and still don't know exactly what it was for, but my eight year old self sure was psyched to have a "credit card".

    Upon searching the internet, I discovered that the card was good for discounts on Reeboks, Continental Airlines tickets, and MCI (now Verizon) long distance. Gee, what a barrel of fun.

    Here's one of the commercials, featuring Yogi Berra, Regis Philbin, Dr. Joyce Brothers, and... Brenda Walsh.

    Pepsi Crystal. Boy did that receive a lot of backlash. I drank it one time and it didn't taste too different from regular Pepsi to me. Then again, I was drinking it from a can, so maybe that ruined the effect.

    The commercial, featuring "Right Now" by Van Halen (yet another song that Pepsi managed to ruin for me):

    And for the piece de resistance, here's the infamous MC Hammer commercial. Damn, the cola wars were brutal back then.

    Tuesday, February 26, 2008

    Sesame Street: Plants Need Water

    When I watched Sesame Street, I'm willing to bet that at least half of the segments they showed were made before I was born (it sucks that they seem to have abandoned that trend, huh?). Case in point: this little animation from the 70s. Possibly the most unintentionally (or maybe it was intentional) funny clip ever. I'm sure that wasn't the only plant those kids were growing.

    Monday, February 25, 2008

    The Baby-sitters Club: The TV Series

    Say hello to your friends...

    I was absolutely obsessed with The Baby-sitters Club book series. In fact I probably continued reading them long after I should have stopped. Naturally, I was psyched that there was a TV series based on the books. Unfortunately, it came on the Disney Channel, which was a premium channel (like HBO) back then. I had to make do with renting the videos whenever I could find them.

    Of course, there were a few things about the show that differed from the books. These little differences bugged the hell out of me, no matter how trivial they were (although to be fair, some of these didn't bug me until just now). Examples:

    • Japanese-American Claudia didn't look remotely Asian.
    • Mary Anne, who was supposed to be on the short side, towered over the others (the books ALWAYS made it a point to mention that only Kristy was shorter).
    • Dawn, whose "California girl" persona was over-emphasized in the books, had a very thick Jersey (or maybe Bostonian?) accent.
    • Stacey was supposed to be the "fashionable" one, but she looked hella frumpy at times, even by early 90s standards. And Claudia's attire wasn't nearly "wild" enough.
    • Charlotte sure acted babyish. Granted, she's a kid, but she's supposed to be smart and precocious.

    I present "The Baby-sitters Special Christmas", a holiday special and Very Special Episode rolled into one (if you pay attention, you might notice that Jackie Rodowsky is played by Little Pete Wrigley):

    And for a bonus video, Dr. JD helps Dawn save the trees!

    Tuesday, February 19, 2008

    The Super Mario Brothers Super Show

    Hey, pisanos! It's The Super Mario Brothers Super Show!

    Ah, this show epitomized the cheese of the late eighties and early nineties. It had a rap, canned laughter, former wrestlers posing as video game mascots, ethnic stereotypes, "celebrity" cameos, you name it.

    I remember watching this after school when I was about six. However, I dreaded Friday episodes, because there was NO trace of Mario. Stupid Legend of Zelda. I wanted my Mario, dammit!

    To this day, I refuse to call the princess "Peach". She'll always be Princess Toadstool to me, partially thanks to this cartoon.

    And now for the clips.

    The opening theme (is it just me, or does the rapper sound like Flava Flav? And what the hell is a pisano?):

    Do the Mario!

    Here's a cameo by Magic Johnson:

    Did Mario drop the f-bomb?

    And finally, a clip from the cartoon segment. After watching this, I decided that I hate Toad. With a passion.

    Friday, February 15, 2008

    Out of This World

    For the record, Out of This World is the show about the alien. Small Wonder is the one about the robot.

    I didn't watch this show as religiously as the others I've blogged about, but I feel obligated to do an entry about it, since I did one about Small Wonder and so many people tend to confuse the two.

    If you remember the theme song, you might recognize it as Bing Crosby's "Swinging on a Star". It's funny how an old standard is so often associated with a short-lived syndicated series by members of my generation. I'm sure this makes pre-Baby Boomers want to tear their hair out.

    So this story had your basic Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch formula:

    • Evie discovers she's half-alien
    • upon coming of age, Evie receives supernatural powers
    • Evie abuses said powers, all while trying to keep her identity a secret
    • wacky hijinks ensue
    The most notable of Evie's powers was the ability to stop time. To this day, if I could pick any power, that would be it.

    Evie's father (who we never saw) was voiced by none other than Bandit. Additionally, her uncle was Plucky Duck.

    Here's a full episode, split up into four parts. Enjoy!

    Wednesday, February 13, 2008

    Small Wonder

    For the record, Small Wonder is the show about the robot. Out of This World is the one about the alien.

    In my area, this show came on right before Disney Afternoon. Most people I knew referred to it as "that show with Vicki the Robot". Since I'm a redhead, I heard "You look like Harriet from Small Wonder/that show with Vicki the Robot!" more than once in elementary school. To make matters worse, the actress and I even have the same first name. Dammit, all redheads don't look alike! The last person I want to be compared to is Vicki the Robot's Satan-spawned neighbor.

    The Lawson family tries to pass Vicki off as their daughter. They even forge fake adoption papers for her! Illegal much? Plus, you would think that acquaintances of the family would question the fact that Vicki never changed out of that same godawful dress.

    Maybe it's just me, but the whole concept of having a slave robot that looks so much like a little girl seems... unethical somehow. I certainly wasn't so bugged by Screech's robot Kevin on Saved by the Bell. At least Kevin wasn't kept in a cabinet in Screech's bedroom.

    So it turns out that Harriet's mom was Ferris Bueller's school secretary, among other things. Oh yeah, the kid who played Jamie is NOT Billy Corgan.

    The theme song is hilariously bad. Very 1950s-esque. "She's fantastic, made of plastic, microchips here and there" is beyond campy. Since it's cut from the video of the episode I posted, here's the intro:

    Here's the pilot episode, broken into two parts:

    Monday, February 11, 2008


    Today, I thought I'd post some of my favorite commercials that aired when I was a kid.

    First, I would like to express my disappointment at not being able to find the British Knights Dymacel commercial that used to air during Double Dare. I really liked the song.

    This first one is still one of my favorites. Sing with me: "three pieces, two pieces, one pieces, Reese's Pieces."

    Because of this next commercial, the sentence "Bubble Tape: it's six feet of bubble gum for you - not them" became the bane of my parents' existence. Sheesh, that ad wasn't lying...

    And finally, I present a Whatchamacallit commercial. Catchy, n'est pas?

    Friday, February 8, 2008

    Sesame Street: Teeny Little Super Guy

    Without a doubt, "Teeny Little Super Guy" was my favorite Sesame Street skit. I think I identified with it a lot, because I used to play random little pretend games with various household objects. Yeah, I was a weird kid.

    Aside from that, it had the coolest theme song ever. I never did forget it, even during my post-Sesame Street, pre-Youtube years.

    In the following clip, Teeny Little Super Guy learns about Danger. Enjoy!

    Thursday, February 7, 2008

    Today's Special

    Until it went off the air, Today's Special was a regular part of my weekday TV viewing schedule. For the first five years of my life, I couldn't enter a Sears, Dillards, Famous Barr (which became Macy's here in the midwest a couple of years ago), or J.C. Penney's without wanting to frolic with the damn mannequins. However, doing so got me chewed out by my mom and pissed off the stores' clerks, so I quickly abandoned that behavior. I think this show also contributed to my brother's crippling fear of mannequins when he was two.

    Here's a summary, yanked from imdb: "Each night in a major city, Sam the Security Guard locks the closed department store and joins Jodie in the Children's department as she brings a special mannequin with her even as she prepares to work on a display for the next day. With some magic words, the magic hat it wears brings it to life and becomes Jeff. Together with Muffy the Mouse, this gang learn about various things to teach younger viewer, both by the themselves and with visitors to the store."

    Today's Special is yet another Canadian import that aired on Nickelodeon. However, I used to watch it on PBS, between Mr. Roger's Neighborhood and Sesame Street (they reran the show into the early 90s, which is why it was able to traumatize my aforementioned brother, who was born in 1987).

    Upon watching the various video clips, I have come to a few conclusions:
    • The puppets on this show are FUGLY, especially Sam.
    • Muffy is fecking annoying.
    • I can't believe that this show didn't scare the crap out of me as a kid, because it sure does now!

    And now for just a few of the videos I found:

    The theme song:

    Jeff comes to life for the first time:

    Sam, Muffy, and the computer:

    Nifty little HMS Pinafore parody:

    Tuesday, February 5, 2008

    Fifteen (A.K.A. Hillside)

    Fifteen was a teen drama that aired on Nickelodeon in the early nineties. I have a few vague memories of it, but other than the theme music and some minor details, most are a blur, so I decided to do a little research.

    So it turns out that Fifteen is the American title. The show's real name is Hillside and it's Canadian. And... that's about all of the information I managed to find.

    Let me tell you, the utter crappiness of this show was definitely lost on me at seven years old. It's hilariously cringeworthy. After watching the actress that plays Courtney, I understand where the creators of South Park get that Canadian flapping head stereotype.

    Here's a full episode. I did post an extra clip of the theme song, since it was cut out of the video, but it's been taken down from Youtube. Enjoy!

    Oh yeah, the kid in the striped shirt? He eventually grew up to become Van Wilder .

    Cartoon All Stars to the Rescue!

    For my first official post, I bring you nostalgic GOLD.

    Remember Cartoon All Stars to the Rescue? That was a kid's dream TV special. Where else could you see such an epic cartoon crossover? Twenty characters from ten different shows were featured, including:

    ALF (ALF: The Animated Series)
    Alvin, Simon, and Theodore (Alvin and the Chipmunks)
    Huey, Dewey, and Louie (Duck Tales)
    Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck
    Baby Kermit, Baby Piggy, and Baby Gonzo (Muppet Babies)
    Slimer (Real Ghostbusters)
    Papa Smurf, Brainy Smurf, and Hefty Smurf
    Michelangelo (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
    Winnie the Pooh and Tigger

    If you need a refresher, here's a summary, courtesy of Voice Chasers: "Nine year old Corey is very worried about her older brother, Michael. He is using drugs and he just stole her piggy bank to buy some more. Luckily, Corey has help. TV's most popular cartoon characters, including Winnie the Pooh, Bugs Bunny, Alf, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and a host of other animated all-stars, leap into action to help free her brother from the clutches of "Smoke," a deceptive and corrupting character who's leading Michael down the road to a drug-abuse dead end."

    Cartoon All Stars to the Rescue VHS: $29.99
    Cartoon All Stars to the Rescue poster: $9.99
    Hearing Winnie the Pooh and the Muppet Babies talk about crack: priceless

    Here's the episode in its entirety, sans the Ronald McDonald house ad and Daddy Bush's intro (if you want to see that part, go here). Enjoy!


    Welcome to "Remember That One Show?", a one-stop spot for the television needs of your youth!

    Are you constantly confusing Small Wonder with Out of This World? Have you been racking your brain trying to remember the name of that obscure Nickelodeon teen drama? Are you a twentysomething looking to relive your childhood? If the answer to any of the above is yes, you've come to the right place!