And finally, summer’s over.
Fall is here and all ready the weather seems to have changed. Gone are the almost unbroken days of sunshine. Gone are the random heat waves that push the thermostat into the high 90’s.
Autumn has always been about changes in my life.
2006: I was starting at UF, hundreds of miles from anyone I had ever met.
2007: I was at the lowest point in my life and would stay there for almost a year. Suicide is passingly contemplated and thankfully never attempted.
2008: I started at UNC-Chapel Hill, slowly regaining my self-worth, and amazed to find that despite my every fear of having kids my girlfriend’s daughter saw me as her “Papa” and that the feeling was increasingly mutual. I have my first internship working with a group of lovably insane 6 year-olds. I also work at a restaurant again for the first time since I was 17. I start a little website.
2009: I rent my first house. I have another teaching internship; this time at a local high school. My time of mild whoring around begins.
And now in 2010, well the biggest change here is something I’ll talk about later this week or next depending on how much free time I have to write about it. It has to do with this.
Time to break out the apple cider and the hot chocolate. Time to break out the pumpkin pie. Time to break out the Halloween decorations. Time to break out the jeans and jackets, the hats and scarves.
Welcome back, Autumn.
You took your sweet time getting here.
As most of you know today is the first day of summer here in our little half of the world. Now I could do some sappy post about the things I love about this time of year.
But I think this says everything I need.
From the men whom I believe need no introduction, ladies and gents, I give you Summertime.
*Also, if you hadn’t all ready my favourite masshole Lilu has some rather great news to share but needs our help (read: we need to pimp her on Twitter which she tells you how to do. Now what are you waiting for?
Hello, my lovelies, and welcome to my Top 10 nostalgic TV shows. If you didn’t read Monday’s post, you can find it here. Before I go on, I need to say something. Some of you are going to disagree. Some of you may even disagree strongly.
Verily I say unto you: make your own damn lists. Pick your favourites. We’ll all get nostalgic together. Fun right?
But on with the show.
Also, there be spoilers ahead. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Now like many kids who don’t actually remember the 80’s, I did see reruns of Transformers G1 in the early 90’s. However, it was the Beast Wars series that got me hooked. Why would this rather controversial show make my top 10 list in its predecessor’s place you ask? While yes, BW had great action and dialogue that overflowed with heavy innuendo the real draw were its wonderful characters. If you ask the fictional death that I remember most, I’ll still tell you Dinobot. Anyone who dies quoting Shakespeare after beating up Megatron with a stone ax deserves nothing less than a suitably heroic death. Also this Megatron is such a glorious egomaniac. “Yesssss.” Now if only they had been able to use “The Touch”.
If you know me at all, you knew this one was coming. I watched Power Ranger from the get-go and I think a good part of that had to do with how much I love the opening. Was it cheesy? Yes. Were the fight scenes ridiculous? Of course. Did the plot make sense? Most assuredly not. And we loved it all the more for these facts. I remember the revelation that Tommy was the evil Green Ranger, I remember Lord Zedd and Rita getting married, I remember the movies, the toys (I may still have a Dragon Dagger and Falcon zord, I’ll never tell), but mostly I remember playing outside until this show came on when every kid on the block hightailed it back home. This show, in many ways, was my childhood and I will always remember it fondly because of that.
Warner Bros. really brought their A-game when it came to their cartoons because this gem of a show is still cracking me up a decade and a half later. Animaniacs is quite possibly one of the most irreverent children’s cartoons I have ever seen in my life not named Looney Tunes. When told they needed to have a moral at the end of the show, the writers came up with the Wheel of Morality which were always a complete non sequitur. Filled with sexual innuendo, almost no fourth wall, and a completely insane cast it was probably one of the best cartoons ever made. Also educational as its the reason I know all 50 state capitals, the nations of the world, and the presidents in order. If you missed this one, definitely check it out on Youtube.
I love Star Trek but this was the show that completely got me hooked on science fiction as a kid. Almost unknown to nonfans of today, Babylon 5 had some of the most epic storytelling I’ve ever seen outside of a film which is why I get tweaked when I realize just how underrated it is. And as much as I enjoyed Stargate SG-1 or Battlestar Galatica and worship the ground Joss Whedon walks on, neither BSG or Firefly top this. Stargate is a distant fourth here. Most frustratating of all, if you want to watch this one you need to own the DVDs and good luck finding them. Unless you know some shady bootleggers. Like I do.
As big of an otaku as I am, there is no way in Hell I was not going to include my gateway anime on this list. Like many American kids growing up in the 90’s, this was the first anime (or its prequel, Dragonball) our generation ever saw where we knew what anime was unlike Speed Racer and Gatchaman (G-Force in the States) from the 70’s. Known for its rather…extended fight scenes, flashy moves, signature art style, and as a source of many Internet memes Dragonball Z is quite possibly one of the most successful anime imports of all time. Also notable for just how mature the unedited version was with panty shots, heavy cursing, perversion played for laughs, and of course violence. If you watched this show and ever have some spare time, check out TeamFourStar’s Dragonball Abrigded on Youtube which is piss-your-pants hilarious. You won’t regret it.
Before LOST, this was the jigsaw puzzle plot show. Before Buffy was kicking ass. Before a town in the Deep South wet crazy over vampires. Before the Winchester brothers struggled with angels, demons, and serious codependency issues, there was The X-Files. With quite possibly the most convoluted plot I have ever seen and more UST than you can shake a stick at, this show most definitely left its mark on me as it was the first supernatural/alien themed show I saw in my life. Even a lot of concepts and catchphrases from this one entered mainstream use even today. Ever heard o the tinfoil hat? Or someone referred to a Mulder or Scully? “Trust No One”? This is where they originated. Although the less said about the movies, the happier I’ll be.
I will go on record and say this is my favourite Disney show. The story of a clan of Scottish gargoyles who are betrayed and then frozen in stone sleep until 1000 years later when a loophole in the spell sees them awaken in (then)modern day Manhattan with all the culture shock that would entail. Then everyone from revenge-bent humans, manipulative businessmen, Oberon’s Children, and various other mythological creatures are pounding at their door. Like most shows I enjoy, it was the well-rounded characters that kept me coming back for more. Just look up “Xanatos Gambit” and you’ll find out why the man is one of my favourite chracters of all time. Also have to give Gargoyles its props for handling gun safety and racism in the most mature way I have ever seen unlike most cartoons which would just say they were bad. I’m looking at you Captain Planet. This show was also responsible for getting me interested in Shakespeare as a kid.
My sick and twisted love affair with B-grade sci-fi and horror movies? Came from here. My habit of mocking any bad movie to make it more enjoyable? Came from here. My blog motto? Adjusted from the theme song. Mystery Science Theater 3000 was a show where the human host (I prefer Joel) and his robot companions, Crow and Tom Servo, would lampoon some of the worst science fiction movies of the 50’s and 60’s, especially the works of Ed Wood who is widely regarded as one of the worst directors in Hollywood history with Uwe Boll looking to be his successor. If you can find episodes, and good luck there, give it a try. Remember, it’s just a show. You should really just relax.
The greatest cartoon ever. Seriously. After the success of Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman, Warner Bros. greenlit an animated adaptation which was ever bit as dark as the film it came after. This was the one that introduced me to superheroes and probably why Batman is still my favourite. A fantastic cast (listen to the Joker laugh about mass homicide and domestic abuse then remember its the same man who a few years before said “I am a Jedi, like my father before me”), fantastic art and orchestral music, and quite possibly some of the most broken villains ever. Harley Quinn, Baby Doll, and Mr. Freeze (“Hearts of Ice” will break you) especially. Gritty, often funny, action-packed, suspenseful, and at times heartbreaking this is the standard I hold all animated series up to. A special shout out goes to The Gray Ghost (voiced by Adam West himself) both of whom are given a heartwarming tribute from Batman in-story and the writers themselves. So my hat goes off to the Caped Crusader, who first introduced me to the world of comic book heroes.
Considering how often phrases from this show slip into my blog posts and regular speech, this really shouldn’t surprise you. The show that put Joss Whedon on the map, Buffy is quite possibly my favourite show ever. Buffy took the horror movie cliche of a girl getting butchered in an alley by some monster and turned it on its head by the eponymous girl hunting the monsters (mostly vampires) and kicking their ass. Why do I like this show so much? The characterization and the dialogue. You want to know where I got my sense of bantering humour from? Here you go. Helped that the actresses were pretty hot and that puberty was hitting me hard when I first started watching. A little TMI sure but still true. This was also the first show I ever bought the complete box set for and probably one of the most watched other than Seinfeld or Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Like it? Hate it? Want to tar and feather me?
Don’t worry, it’s a common reaction and one I’m long used to. And yes I do mean all three. I seem to have one of those personalities.
I enjoyed this and look forward to more lists in the future, maybe like top books or movies.
We’ll see what happens when it happens.
Happy trails kids.
Just like the boomers and X-ers before us, the early Generation Y crowd is getting older and as we do, we look at the new generation of kids and wonder just what the heck happened? To us, it seems like the Nineties were a golden age where Saturday morning cartoons were a way of life, you spent all day playing until the street lights came on, and where people seemed to be nicer in general.
Even though I was a month shy of 12 when 2000 hit (Oh Y2K, the amount of panic you caused was hilarious) it still feels like those days were another lifetime.
So after talking over nostalgia with my blog crush friend Jeney and during a rather awkward Gchat conversation (I fail at Gchat, seriously) came up with the idea of doing a little tribute to some of the most amazing shows we grew up watching.
Originally, we were only going to do the top 10 but as I was making my list I realized that there was no way I could narrow it down.
To make the list, 1.) I had to have watched the show sometime between 1990 and 2000 2.)that the show produced new episodes and didn’t just show reruns 3.)I have to be able to watch it now and still find it enjoyable. Therefore shows like Will & Grace, Seinfeld, Dawson’s Creek, and Saved By The Bell didn’t make the cut despite how much I love them as I didn’t start watching them until my teen years.
That being said, here is a look back with Part I of my tribute to my favourite shows from the Nineties.
And we kick the list off with Celebrity Deathmatch. This show, along with Beavis & Butthead and another further down the list, was one of the reasons I started watching MTV in the first place. Unbelievably violent, stuffed with pop culture references, and with a hilarious (and very loose) storyline. For those of you who missed this one, the show was structured much like an episode of (then) WWF Raw or Monday Night Nitro with several matches and interviews with the various contenders spread throughout. Most of the original episodes are on Youtube so if you want a quick laugh then you can’t really go wrong here.
Rugrats was quite possibly one of the first shows I ever watched not named Sesame Street or The Price Is Right. This was the show that basically took the question of what babies/toddlers are like when no adults are around and ran all the way to the bank with it. So how did this show with an admittedly lame premise manage to become one of the most Nickoledeon shows ever? The memorable, well-written characters and dialogue that often snuck in more mature humor that would fly over any kid’s head. Also this show had some of the most honest holiday specials I have ever seen with a special nod going to their final Christmas special and the heartbreaking Mother’s Day episode.
After the abortion known as Roundhouse, Nickoledeon decided to give sketch comedy one more try. And thankfully, they got it right this time. This was the first sketch comedy show I ever watched and remains one of favourites 16 years later. All That could also have been called Saturday Night Live for teenagers, or at least the first six seasons could before the show started to target preteens and younger kids instead. It also introduced the world to Kenan Thompson, Kel Mitchell, Amanda Bynes, and Nick Cannon.
The Adventures of Pete & Pete was a…special show. It followed the adventures of two brothers, Big Pete and Little Pete, and their interactions with the somewhat insane residents in their home town. But I, like most kids who watched, was far more interested in Little Pete’s fight against The Man (responsible adults) which was aided by his personal superhero Artie “For I am Artie — the strongest man…in the world!” and his other best friend Nona (played by a very young Michelle Trachtenberg). Also notable as one of the few old school Nick shows that had a full DVD release in the new millenium.
Reboot had a very simple premise, imagine your computer is a world unto itself with various programs existing as unique citizens each with their own quirks. Now imagine that there are certain programs whose main goal is to defend them from viruses and their worst enemy, you. Well more like your computer games. The first 3 seasons followed this format of various User games wreaking havoc until the final season which was pretty much Lost in (Cyber)Space. This was one especially notable for being the first entirely computer-animated TV series and for having such an open (and downer) ending.
If you asked me and my sister what we would be doing most Saturday nights as kids, we’d tell you we were watching SNICK for All That and this next show Are You Afraid Of The Dark? The premise of this one was every week, a group of teenagers would go into a clearing in the woods to tell horror stories that often borrowed from fairy tales and famous short stories. It ran from 1992 until 2000 here in the states and as such is one of the shows I remember most vividly. This is also the show that inspired M. Night Shayamalan’s hit-movie The Sixth Sense in terms of its now-famous twist ending. Best of all, the compete series is available on Youtube.
Ah, my first guilty pleasure show. Xena: Warrior Princess was a spin-off to Kevin Sorbo’s Hercules that became a cult hit. A story that revolved around fight scenes, Greek mythology, some slapstick, and more lesbian subtext than I have ever seen in my life? There was no downside here folks. It followed the story of a former warlord as she tried to atone for the people she slaughtered during her conqueror days alongside her sidekick/bard/best friend/partner/soul mate Gabrielle all the while going up against tyrants, monsters, Amazons, a psychotic rival, a ridiculously powerful hellspawn, Caesar, and eventually the Gods themselves.
You know you were singing it, don’t even bother trying to deny it. This one may be one of the most well-known and well-loved Nineties shows of them all and it easily made my list at #13. Before he was saving the world on his time-off in Independence Day and after he was rapping about Summertime, Will Smith made his way into our homes and hearts as the smooth talking Philly kid living with his auntie and uncle in Bel Air. Both a coming-of-age story as well as comedy, I honestly do not know anyone who did not at least like this show. And as I consider anyone who didn’t as non-existent, I never will.
At #12 on the countdown is my other favourite MTV series. Daria followed the observations of the classic deadpan snarker, Daria Morgendorffer, as she and her best friend Jane, as they comment on the exaggerated stereotypes that populate their town and in particular their high school. With witty dialogue, a well-written story arc, and quite possibly one of my favourite examples of sibling rivalry in Daria’s bratty, manipulative, smarter-than-she-acts sister Quinn, this show easily deserves its spot on the list and if not for the fact that it is almost impossible to find episodes now would probably make my top 10.
And last on today’s list, we have The Wonder Years of my generation. Boy Meets World was about the life and times of Cory Matthews (Ben Savage, little brother of Fred Savage) along with his best friend Shaun, his older screwball brother Eric, his nuisance-turned girlfriend-turned wife Topanga and the surprisingly adaptable teacher Mr. Feeny. This is where I was introduced to the concept of bromance and the phrase, “she’s all grown up!” Notably, while the show was usually more comedy than drama it did handle issues like parental abandomnent/neglect, alcoholism, the troubles of being young newlyweds and the death of a parent exceptionally well. This show and specifically the characters of George Feeny and Johnathan Turner have had more impact on my life than any show ever as they are what made me want to be a teacher in the first place. Yeah, my career goal came from a 90’s sitcom. The finale episode is also one of the few times where even watching video of it years later will make me a sobbing wreck. “I love you all. Class dismissed.” -sniffle-
Come back around on Wednesday where I gab about my top 10 favourite shows from the Nineties.
40 years of excellent children’s programming as the pioneer of a genre that was largely an experiment. It has one 118 Emmy Awards and it has been estimated that 77 million Americans watched it as children. I am, of course, talking about Sesame Street.
To the people who gave us Big Bird and Grover, Kermit and Oscar the Grouch, Bert and Ernie, Grover, Elmo, The Cookie Monster and The Count, a very happy 40th anniversary to you.
You’ve taught children how to count, to read, to cook with their family, to be hygienic, to share, to be kind, and to deal with death. And you’ve done it with enough parental bonus that even older teens and adults can find it funny.
And to you Mr. Henson, for helping to make it possible.
Sweeping the clouds away
On my way to where the air is sweet
Can you tell me how to get
How to get to Sesame Street
Confession: I was singing said theme song under my breath in the teacher’s lounge this morning. The history teacher who heard me (and who is in her mid 40’s) joined in with me. Both of us went away smiling.
Edit Note: Happy 100th post to me!
As those of you who’ve been following me for a while know, I am rather fond of writing letters to people. So with my birthday tomorrow (Wednesday) I had been trying to write something for the occasion but I suppose the crazy study sessions and working has had me too preoccupied. Then I happened to be browing the 20SB forums, when I found a thread asking what you would say to yourelf 10 years ago.
While you are psyching yourself up for turning 11 tomorrow, I’m doing the same to turn 21. You steadily have people being surprised at just how smart and well spoken you are. People love the fact that you always smile.You are constantly told that your life is perfect.
I know better. I know how much you want to break down in tears behind that fool’s grin. I know how much you wish someone would see through it. I know that underneath that smile is a traumatized and neglected little boy.
I wish I could tell you that your pain was done with.
God, you have no idea how much I do.
It’s strange how I think of you as a different person, instead of just a kid version of myself.
So what do I tell you that I wish someone had told me?
Never forget who you are. It’s OK to be angry, you have every right to. However holding everything in for years is going to backfire horribly in October 2004 and by backfire, I’m mean you’re going to snap and beat the living hell out of the people who hurt you. You learn this lesson eventually but there was so much misery we could have avoided if we learned to talk to people about our problems. Which leads me to my second point.
Don’t be afraid to trust in people. I know you think adults are useless. For Dad, I wholeheartedly agree hence my declaration that I would rather be shot than become like him. Mom, when you’re 16, she’s going to slowly start waking up and realizing she knows nothing about her son. She still doesn’t really but at least she is making the effort to try. However, Rose loves you like she gave birth to you herself and Mami isn’t far behind. They even considered adopting you if things with Mom and Dad ever went too far.
Your middle school years are going to be Hell Kiddo, no kind way to put it. You are going to be ostracized, threatened, and generally trod upon until you become kind of jerkass in order to keep everyone at arm’s length. However, you will find a saving grace in E, despite how short a time you will know her. From her, you will develop your near-legendary stubbornness and your cloudcuckoolander act. Most importantly, she’ll teach you how to control yourself. It pays off.
Spend more time with Aunt J, Grandma, and Grandpa because by the time Christmas ’99 rolls around Aunt J will die very suddenly and Grandma and Grandpa will have both suffered strokes. Grandma will be bedridden for the next year until she dies after patting your head one last time while Grandpa will begin to rapidly show symptoms of Alzheimer’s.. Even though Grandpa lives until you’re 15, he never remembers your name again. So make use of that time now, please.
You may believe you don’t deserve love right now but you will eventually meet Tink who pretty much verbally beats that thought out of your head. She’s right. We didn’t ask for what happened. We aren’t used goods.
The next 10 years are going to be filled with heartbreak, finding family, love, joy, and everything under the Sun. But through all the tragedy, we survive. Better still, we thrive.
Oh, speaking of finding family.
In January of 2008, you get reaquainted with Eva (who you’ll meet in 7th grade) and eventually you begin to develop feelings for her. Eva’s daughter will also worm her way into your heart to the point you have pretty much claimed her in your head. The first time she calls you Papa, you’ll wait until you leave Eva’s house and even though the thought confused and terrified you, you’ll spend about three minutes crying in your car.
We’ve found a family, you are now a cook in this lovely restaurant in town, you are working on a children’s book, and you are a teacher’s aide to a rambunctious but heartwarming group of 6 and 7 year-olds, so we’ve made a good start on fulfilling our dreams.
You are a wonderful kid and despite everything thrown at you, somehow you grow up to be a decent man. The scars of our childhood are still here, but they are much muted by the many wonderful people in our life. So as you begin your second decade of life, know that it is better than the first overall.
I can only hope our third is even better.
Happy birthday Kid, I’ll be seeing you.
Live. Laugh. Love.
– Kendall, age 21
Like many Gen Y-ers, I remember clearly the pop craze of the mid- to late 90’s and early 2000 era. And you had to be under a rock to not be exposed to the music of one Britney Spears. “… Baby One More Time”, “Oops! I Did It Again”, and “Stronger” were like the tween girl theme songs back in the day. I remember a teacher of mine at the time saying she had a good message for young girls.
I also remember watching the video for “Oops! I Did It Again” the first time and thinking “…so that’s what they mean by Catholic schoolgirl.” Oh puberty, you really did do a screw-job with my logic.
But I digress.
Now this is a woman who for most of my late teenage/early adult life has pretty much personified the phrase “fallen starlet”. From the young girl on The Mickey Mouse Club (holy nostalgia, Batman) to the pop queen to a woman who loses her kids in a horrendous divorce and highly covered custody battle, loses her aunt to ovarian cancer, attacks a paparazzi vehicle with an umbrella, and most memorably checks herself into a drug rehab center, leaves after 24 hours and shaves her head bald, then checks herself into another one.
I am happy to hear that she is now back on the music scene and now trying to move on from the drama of the last 3 years, getting her act together.
According to Billboard, her new album titled “Circus” is the #7 in sales, only having been moved from its #6 spot by the release of the Notorious soundtrack. Logically this would mean that it is just a wee bit popular.
So while I was browsing the Internets during my break at work yesterday, I stumble across this article about The Parents Television Council ( a non-profit organization with a mission “to promote and restore responsibility to the entertainment industry”) expressing outrage that one of her songs “If U Seek Amy” is playing at peak times when children may stumble across it as if you really listen you realize what she is saying when she sings the title.
Almost predictably, Top 40 stations have continued to play the song heavily against the PTC’s protests.
I have about two basic responses to the whole situation.
- Stations will play what earns them ratings. Point blank. They may edit the songs slightly but they are not all that known for bowing to pressure to stop playing one of their top songs. It’s good business people.
- To parents who agree with the PTC, if you hear the song while your child(ren) is around then simply change the station or turn the radio off all together.
In conclusion, with all the horrible things in the world right now, this is what the PTC gets their knickers in a wad over? Seriously folks? Seriously?!
There are these little things called priorities, try and find them please.