Tag Archives: 1980s nostalgia

Goofy 80s: Oh, Boy George!

No, I didn’t forget a comma.  I’m talking about 80’s icon, Boy George.  When I was a little kid, he was a hot topic of conversation.  Like the brilliant joke about the three bathrooms: Boy, Girl, Boy George.  There was a glam movement in the 80’s, when men wore makeup, punk or long hair, feminine (or just plain ugly) clothes, etc.  I’m not sure why.  I am a woman and expected to wear makeup, for instance, and I find it annoying.  Same with bras.  Why would you want one if you didn’t need the over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder? (I am truly channeling elementary school here.)  But back to George.  He was part of a group called “The Culture Club” which, speaking of school, sounds like something they made you join for a foreign languages credit.

Reminds me of some of my family portraits.

Reminds me of some of my family portraits.

Anyway, this was the perfect time for our Boy George to emerge from his . . . saucer?  I dunno.  Today I bring you one of his videos, which is remarkable for the aesthetic value . . . pfft, not really.  His videos are goofy as heck.  And in the case of this one, so irritating I want to put a wine screw through my ear.

What video could I be talking about?  Well it’s this video is of his oh so entertaining song “Do you really want to hurt me?” in which Boy George whines “do you really want to hurt me?” roughly 5,000 times.  YES.  Yes, Boy George, I really want to hurt you.  I really want to make you cry.  Please quit singing that over and over.

I side with Angry Cat.

I side with Angry Cat.

If you thought the song was annoying, then you should really check out the video.  It’s annoying too, but also goofy and mildly hilarious. We start in an old-time British court room complete with judge in wig, except it’s not exactly your average courtroom.  First off we have a crew of black gospel singing ladies swaying back and forth in one booth.  Then in another booth we have, I swear I am not  making this up, a bunch of people in black face wearing glittery hats and also swaying back and forth.  Clearly Boy George is being tried for making such a tasteless video.  But we’ve only just begun, folks.

He puts on his sparkly sunglasses and suddenly the video says we are in “The Gargoyle Club, Soho, 1936”.  Oh, goody, a history lesson with this goofy dork.  I can’t wait.  Boy George wears a really rockin’ sweat suit that’s clearly been bedazzled with something, possibly a bouquet of roses, I’m not sure.  He also wears his signature black hat that one of my children comments looks Amish.  Yeah.  Boy George.  Amish written all over that guy.  Especially with that . . . that hair.  I think it’s hair.  He begins to dance around the club, and wow, his dance moves are so awesome I’m pretty sure I could do them while drunk.  He sways back and forth, shaking his hips and doing this funny little twirl while he minces around the room.  At this point, I can’t imagine ANYONE who doesn’t want to hurt him.

Boy George channeling Raggedy Ann.

Boy George channeling Raggedy Ann.

The guests are bizarre, but still stare at Boy George like the weirdo he is, and he is yanked away by . . . some guys.  The fashion police, possibly.  Then we start flipping back and forth.  We’re in the courtroom.  Now, oh oh, flashback glasses, we’re at a pool.  Once again, the video informs us we are at “The Dolphin Square Health Club, 1957”.  Sure we are.  George walks out of the pool and starts his little dancing jig again, where people stare in horror, naturally.  Check out 2:08 where George adds a little hop to his dance steps.  Genius.

Two more members of the fashion police attempt to grab him, but no dice, George disappears and we’re . . . back in the courtroom!  Yay!   Everyone is getting down except the judge, who is all mad.  George is arrested, charged no doubt with breaking all laws of good taste, and tossed in a jail cell.  Now he IS sadfaced.  And still singing.  The gospel ladies show up at the door, grovin’ on down, and George walks out of his cell which apparently was . . . unlocked?  Come ON, judge, you should have kept him locked up at least until the 1990’s.

Why are they all picking on meeeee?  Do they want to make me cry?

Why are they all picking on meeeee? Do they want to make me cry?

Finally he emerges out on a stairwell, dances a bit more, and The End is mercifully plastered across the screen.  And I just – wtf was that about?  I have no idea.  Why did Boy George choose a courtroom with blackface people?  Why did he go to two historical places and freak people out?  Why did he then come back?  Why was he wearing a craft project?  And why, at some point, does no one in the video actually HURT HIM because I’m sorry, he’s asking for it.

Well here’s the video for your own viewing pleasure.  Did I miss something?  Can you tell what it’s about?  Is there a song / video that you’d like me to make fun of review?  Please tell me in the comments below.

Fat Blast From the Past: 1980s Exercise Videos

Hey, team!  Are you ready for some fitness?  Are you?  Bounce up and down!  Again!  Now stand on your head!  And bounce, one, two, three – keep bouncing!  That’s right, bounce on your head!  You can do it!  Don’t stop, or this giant Gila Monster will eat you!  Yay, motivation!

Last week you guys gave me a great list of exercise videos to check out.  There were scary words in the titles like “shred”, “burn”, “ripped”, “turbo fire”, and “Richard Simmons.”  Freaked me out a little bit.  I don’t want to own most of them.  Keeping people like that Jillian girl from “Biggest Loser” around would keep me up at night.  I could just see her staring at me from that box with that look on her face that says “I hate you.  Now I’m going to kill you.”

What if I don't want to be shredded?  Quit staring at me, Jillian!

What if I don’t want to be shredded? Quit staring at me, Jillian!

So I figured I’d check them out of the library, or rent them, or something.  And then I decided, meh, I’m tired.  I’ll check out youtube.  Turns out this is a great source for some real exercise gems, folks.  So I figured we’d do a “Fat Blast from the Past” with some 80s exercise videos.  First up is a 1987 clip from “Buns of Steel 2” (because the first one wasn’t steely bunned enough).

You have to love the exercise leader.  Mullet, hippy beard, headband, spandex, and . . . electric blue legwarmers.  I simply must have that fine specimen of manhood!  Also, check out the girl in the back.  They’ve got her up on some sort of platform, the better to see her pink spandex leotard and blue tights.  Watch at about 2:47 on the tape where they all bow their heads in shame.

Next up!  The Firm.  No, not the Grisham novel that was made into a sucky movie filled with endless close-ups of Tom Cruise trying to act like he’s thinking.  This one’s another 80s trip – 1988 to be exact.  This clip starts up with a chick in a white leotard (more spandex!) looking confused in front of a serene picture of some hippy woman with flowers in her hair.  But then we’re in familiar territory with multi-colored leotards and tights in all shades of hot pink, blue, purple, peach – like a human Easter basket.  She starts out the routine with pelvic thrusts that would look inappropriate, but she’s so thin I don’t think she actually has a pelvis.  She stays chipper through the entire ten minutes.

But if you really want upbeat, look no further than Richard Simmons!  He is truly a freak of nature inspiration.  This clip of  “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” begins with Richard just happening to show up on what looks like the set of Sesame Street, where some random people are just hangin’ out, playing with hula hoops.  You know, the usual street stuff.  He asks if they want to dance and they all hop up and down.  This video differs from the others in that, for some reason, these people are not already in shape.  I mean, wtf, why are they doing an exercise video then?

Richard himself resembles an undercooked, malnourished turkey, but you can’t beat him for enthusiasm.  Check out his glittery tank top and short shorts.  Then pray that they never bring back those short shorts on men.  There are some fun dance moves, like on about 0.36,  where you move two fingers back and forth over your face and splay your legs out like disco dorks.

Of course, no flashback would be complete without a Jane Fonda clip.  Back in the 80s, Jane Fonda was the Queen of Exercise (Richard Simmons was the Princess).  She still does exercise tapes today, but much, much slower and a with a lot less bouncing.  This one’s her “New” workout from 1985 and features Jane, some other chick they keep focusing on (isn’t this Jane’s video?), and a girl wearing a visor, a purple crop top, yellow shorts, and a tan to literally die for – how long was she in the tanning bed?  The best one, though, is our token guy in the back wearing a crop top and red spandex pants so tight I’m surprised he’s breathing.  I admire a guy brave enough to bear his hairy midriff.

Well, that’s all for today, folks.  Aren’t you tired from all that exercise?  I know I got tired (and slightly nauseous) just watching them!  You just can’t beat the classics.  Stay tuned next time while I check out some more exciting and not at all terrifying exercise videos.

To All the Dolls I Loved Before . . . Part One

I love toys.  I’ve been collecting them, loving them, dressing them, and destroying them for years.  When I was a baby, my older brother gave me a stuffed bear and rabbit.  And then proceeded to take them for himself.  I didn’t mind at the time, as I was more interested in dust motes and my feet.  But it wasn’t long before I was paying attention to my toys, specifically my dolls.  I had all sorts of dolls, but let’s start with the most famous.

The Cabbage Patch Kids

Yes, that is a baby face sticking out of a cabbage. Why?

My mother happened to like dolls as well, so I got a lot of them.  I’m sure you remember the Cabbage Patch craze, yes?  If not, go check out Angie’s blog which will mess with your mind until you scream make it stop, make it stop!  Anyway, though at first these arguably ugly dolls were hard to come by, eventually I ended up with like a dozen of the things.  I loved those stupid dolls.  Not that I remember any of their names oh yes I do.  There were Irv, Janie, Dolly (she went to Spain!), Andrew (bald), Britney and Beth (twins!), Amber (a “preemie” with one tuft of hair in the middle of an otherwise bald head), Patti (with cornsilk hair, not yarn!), Laura (a “baby” that was somehow smaller than the “preemie”) and a few others.  I liked these dolls so much I even wrote my first stories about them when I was like eight.  They were still better than what E.L. James can write now, which is very, very sad.

OMG! Andrew, is that you?

Anyway, these dolls were special because unlike the rip-offs, they had official adoption papers so you could get your name printed on a doll birth certificate.  You could also change their names, which clearly I did, because their original names were stuff like Pukenose Prunella.  Well, except for Irv, because somehow no other name would fit that weird little doll, my very first who was acquired through a daycare center.  I have no idea why they had them.  Anyway, you could also tell they were authentic by looking at their butts.  No, really.  They had the signature of the artist (Xavier Roberts) on their behinds, which seems like an odd place to put it looking back on that now.  But still, you can bet we girls were opening up those diapers and making sure they were legit.

Who is this Roberts guy, and why is he tatooing my baby’s butt?

You can’t just have Cabbage Patch Kids and no equipment, though, are you mad?  I had a swing, a playpen, a baby snuggie, a high chair, a car seat, a stroller, and lots of diapers for invisible poop.  Now there are dolls that will make real simulated poop in their diapers, but thankfully I never had one of those.  Thing Two does have a Baby Alive doll that demands that she feed it bananas 24/7 and it annoys her to no end.  “Mommy, she always wants something!”  Yes, dear, how tiring that must be for you.  But back to me.  I was very serious about being a pretend Mommy.  I took good care of my children.  Except when I forgot them overnight in the backyard.  Or a friend drew on them.  Or I lost all of their clothes.  Or the sewing making their bottom cracks came undone (solved the diapering problem, though).

I had this. Doll baby cage! (You can never be too careful)

I also wanted to be a teacher from a young age.  Because children are stupid (no offense to teachers, but that is an incredibly hard job when the children are animate, I discovered).  My parents both worked for the school system, so I knew a lot about what teachers did.  They had grade books, and attendance books.  I created both in spiral notebooks.  I also created seating charts.  Not that I was a particularly anal child or anything like that.  I lined the dolls up in rows – sometimes you had to work hard to get them to sit up right.  Occasionally someone would get sick and I’d toss them aside and mark them absent.  My grading policy was simple.  The prettiest dolls got the best grades, and the ugly ones (like, say, those Flower Kid ripoffs) failed big time.  So you know, just like real life.

I think I’ll go pick some cabbage . . . OMG!!!!!

There were some Cabbage Patch Kids I didn’t have.  For one thing, my twins were not the “official” twins that came two to a box and for some reason cost ten times as much as just buying two dolls that looked similar.  Which is what my mother did.  I had a fascination for identical twins, so I often had two of the exact same doll which my brother thought was really dumb.  Like, what did he know?  All his GI Joes looked the same to me.  Another doll came with a stuffed horse she could ride.  I never got that one.  Again, parents weren’t feeling the love there.

I never got a real pony either.

Most of my friends also had these dolls, and they played together.  One of my friends, who goes by Ravin here because she thinks she’s a bird but can’t spell it right, was never given a Cabbage Patch Kid because her mother thought they were lame.  Which they were.  But then her younger sisters (some of those fascinating identical twins, although these twins would jump from trees like crazed ninjas and try to kick you) got Cabbage Patch dolls, and one could say she was pretty pissed.  So at 12, she bought one, even though she really wasn’t into dolls by then, just because she could.  And later one of said twins gutted it and made it into a flour baby for school.  She still hasn’t entirely forgiven that sister.

I will haunt you foreverrrrrrrrr!

My Cabbage Patch Kids are still around, up in my parent’s attic somewhere.  I think some of them might have gotten their legs chewed off by mice.  And they started making the CPKs again, in an effort to snare parents raised in the 80s, as if we’d be that dumb oh yes of course we would.  But it wasn’t the same.  For one thing, these new dolls are somehow even uglier than the ones we had as kids.  Or maybe that’s just my nostalgia talking.

So tell me about you.  Did you grow up in the 80s (or thereabouts)?  Did you have some of these stupid dolls?  Did you want one but your parents were big meanies?  Did you have another favorite?  Or were you like Thing One, who thinks baby dolls are like, yuck, cause who would want to pretend to be a mom?  That’s freaking hard.

Let me know in the comments below.

Bonus: Obama Kid and other representations of presidential candidates were apparently auctioned off for charity in 2008 according to the Seattle Times.

Yup, I won again. Deal.

My Barbie Dream House

When I was a kid growing up in the 80s, I had tons of Barbie dolls.  My mother wasn’t too concerned about that body image crap and neither was I.  I just wanted her life, man.  She was a teacher (with a really short skirt and a piece of chalk as big as her torso), a ballerina, an astronaut, a rock star (“Barbie and the Rockers” which was not a takeoff of “Jem”, who was truly, truly, truly amazing), a doctor, and even a “office woman” for those kids who didn’t get to see mom because she was working to pay for their toys.  Day to Night Barbie had a suit that you could reverse to form a snazzy dress for late night partying!  I don’t know where the heck Barbie worked, but if she had energy for partying, it couldn’t have been a very hard job.  Then again, she admitted Math was hard (which it is) so I’m guessing she was a Presidential intern or something challenging like that.

She even had a pink briefcase. Girl had everything.

She also had a lot of great stuff.  A swimming pool (I just used a dishpan), cars (sneakers), and so many clothes!  My grandmother was this great seamstress, so I had awesome personalized Barbie designs, you poor loser children.  Of course my friends and I were too lazy to dress our Barbies, so we’d just pop their heads off and switch them.  Barbie also had billions of spike-heeled shoes that were immediately lost in the carpet as soon as you opened the box.  That had to suck for her, since she couldn’t ever put her feet flat, so she had to tip toe around everywhere she went.

I had the three-foot cardboard condo with the little white elevator you pulled with a string. It was cool, because she could stand up in this house.  In most houses Barbie couldn’t stand up so she had to walk around hunched over.   On tip toe.  I felt sorry for Ken, living in the pink house, but looking back he probably liked it just fine.  I think Barbie and he were just pals, personally, and Barbie had a thing for G.I. Joe – the doll one, not the action figure.  That would have just been weird.

Like this. Is it bad that I’m tempted to buy this again?

I had an aunt who liked buying me Barbie stuff.  I got this way awesome refrigerator one Christmas with a bunch of teeny tiny groceries.  My older brother helpfully glued every single thing inside the fridge so I wouldn’t lose it.  I was not appreciative of this.  How the heck was Barbie supposed to eat  now?  Then again, looking at her waist, this probably wasn’t that much of a problem for her.  I also got this couch that made out into a double bed for when she had sleepovers.  She and Ken liked hanging out on the couch bed and watching ballet, since that was the only thing the tiny plastic TV showed on its screen, a ballerina.

One thing my Barbies didn’t have, and that I totally salivated over, was the big, freakin’ Barbie Dream House.  This thing was huge!  Unlike the townhouse, it was made of sturdy pastel plastic.  It came with tons of cool furniture and a wide elevator that her token wheelchair bound pal could ride on, or Barbie since there weren’t any stairs, and really, Barbie’s lazy.  There was even this balcony for Barbie to bungee-jump from – if you were inclined to have her do this (and I was).  I think my friends and I would have given our least favorite Cabbage Patch Kids as well as our siblings for one of these.  But they cost like 150 bucks or something, and our parents didn’t love us enough to pay that much.  So we did without.  Life was cruel back then.

But one day the most exciting thing ever happened!  I got the Barbie Dream House – as an adult. Um, for my daughters. It was only 7 bucks at a garage sale which was an unbelievable bargain. It even had all the freaking furniture.  So I lugged this thing home, even though the kids technically already had Fisher-Price dollhouses (hey, I they liked dollhouses, okay?).  But this was no ordinary dollhouse.  This was the DREAM HOUSE, people.

Check it out.

My children were not nearly as impressed as they should have been.  Thing One was bummed that it was all in pastel colors, because she was so over pink, you know.  Thing Two was happy with it, but she just didn’t get the grandness of it all.  That’s because they have grandparents, ie my parents who did not buy me the Barbie Dreamhouse, who will buy them almost anything.  Life is unfair.

It even opens up inside. If you’re not impressed with this house, something is wrong with you.

Barbies in my children’s generation have changed too.  When I was a kid Barbie still had her giant bosoms.  I don’t know why they had to change this.  I mean, some women just have big boobs, that’s part of life, kids.  But I guess it was hard on her back, especially considering she had to also walk hunched over on tip toes, so she got a reduction.  The problem is that now, if your kid happens to be playing with an older Barbie, she can’t fit into her clothes.  My daughter has a Barbie (somewhere) that is a Mommy.  Barbie’s red headed friend Midge sold out and settled down with some bozo and had kids.  She even came with a pregnant tummy that held the new baby.  You can pop the baby out and pop it back in again.  I find this fascinating but a bit disturbing.  I never want my babies popped back in again.  Midge Mommy Doll can’t fit into Barbie’s clothes either.  I think it’s because she’s a Mommy and no Mommy can fit into her old clothes.

Anyway, the Dream House is still there, and it still gets used, although my kids generally aren’t into playing families so much.  Thing One loves fashion, so her Barbies are usually dressed in the latest tissue paper looks.  Thing Two likes integrating her stuffed animals into the fun, which has to freak Barbie out a lot to see a penguin bigger than her house.  Sometimes the Barbies hang by the neck from the top bunkbed, naked and upside down, tied up in my honor cords from graduation.  I don’t ask why.  My kids bicker sometimes, but mostly they do have fun playing together, while I play with the Dream House.