Freeze Frame

Did you listen to New Kids on the Block?
Listened to them, lived for them, something like that. I was around 11 when they became popular, which of course is the age that guarantees that you will not only love the boy band du jour, but that pictures will exist forever of you, gap-toothed and permed, wearing sweatshirts proudly sporting the band’s pictures. And of course I had every Bop, Big Bopper and Teen Beat with their faces on it, pictures of them on inexplicably ginormous buttons on my jean jacket, and a poster of Joey McIntyre on my bedroom wall.

Did you ever own a slap bracelet?
Yeah, a bunch. But we should really talk jelly bracelets.

The Babysitters Club or Sweet Valley High?
Okay, why don’t you just ask me to choose between food and water? Both were finely crafted tomes about the struggles of growing up, coming of age, and Kristy was definitely gay, right? If I had to pick one (siiiiigh), I was probably more obsessive about Sweet Valley High. I started reading them in the third grade and I really felt that it helped me get a sense for what being a teenager would be like. Which worked out well because when I was finally in high school myself, I had an asexual boyfriend named Todd, drove a Fiat, and had eyes the blue-green of the Carribean. And my mischevious twin sister finally showed up! (Incidentally, you forgot Sleepover Friends. And what’s up, Taffy freakin’ Sinclair? I could talk a blue streak about all those bitches, too.)

Salute Your Shorts or Hey Dude?
I didn’t watch either. Lame, I know. Where the hell was I?

Kids Incorporated or The Mickey Mouse Club?
I vaguely remember Kids, Inc. I think they recreated the Mickey Mouse Club when I was older or something.

Did you want Dylan to end up with Brenda or Kelly?
Okay, listen. This isn’t an 80s question, but I’m perfectly happen to discuss this. Basically it doesn’t matter either way because Dylan was a fucknut. The husky voice, the stupid hair, the motorcycle, the tortured past…BLEH. I liked Brandon, but I do understand that he wasn’t a viable option for Brenda. The funny thing is that I still remember the creepy, pseudo-sexy dialogue between Dylan and Brenda right before he poked her on prom night. In any case, I never forgave Kelly for stealing Dylan away. So uncool! But then Brenda grew her bangs out and got boring, so whatever.

Who was ALF?
The little puppet alien guy who lived with the family and dispensed wisdom. The 80s were weird. Why did we just accept that shit? Hello, Small Wonder.

Do you remember the show Dinosaurs?
I mostly remember that my cousin Andrew thought it was really funny and I didn’t. But he was also probably around four at the time, so that may have accounted for his tastes.

Do/did you know the words to the Fresh Prince theme song?
Do and did! In West Philadelphia, born and raised…

Kimmie Gibler or Urkel?
Gah, those feisty, weird-talking neighbors. What about Boner? Skippy? Mrs. Poole? (No idea what remote pocket of my brain I pulled her out of.) Also, didn’t Laura end up with Urkel? Realistic.

Blossom or Clarissa Explains It All?
Blossom, although I kind of hated her and loved that her boyfriend wouldn’t sleep with her. Also, can I just throw in that Elusive Jen once told me that she couldn’t understand why the Huxtables’ oldest daughter was white?

Bobby Brown or Tevin Campbell?
Either way, you really can’t go wrong.

Step By Step or Full House?
Hmm, probably Full House. I was a little more committed to the family members and their compelling character arcs. How rude.

Did you listen to Milli Vanilli?
So much so that I didn’t really understand the big deal about them lip syncing. Hello, did a complete lack of musical integrity mean that their songs were any less awe-some?

Mr. Rogers or Reading Rainbow?
I loved Reading Rainbow! I think we all outgrew Mr. Rogers pretty quickly, and some of those puppets were pretty disturbing. There was a strange dictatorship happening there with the king and queen and the rest of them.

Did you own a Glo Worm?
I don’t think so.

Paula Abdul: better now or then?
Well, I was a BIG fan of Coldhearted Snake and Straight Up and Forever Your Girl and Opposites Attract and basically everything else that came out of her mouth in the 80s, but nothing beats her being drunk during live TV interviews nowadays, so it’s really a toss up.

Wild ‘n’ Crazy Kids or Double Dare?
Um, did someone order a PHYSICAL CHALLENGE? I loved Double Dare. Didn’t it seem like it was on every day? Was it? I wanted to kill the kids who didn’t know that in order to go up the slide covered in hot fudge, you were supposed to put your feet on either side where there was NO hot fudge, otherwise you were never going to get that goddamn flag at the end. And I actually don’t know what Wild ‘n’ Crazy Kids are/were.

Remember Legends of the Hidden Temple?
No, but if I was eight years old and you were suggesting that we play it in the backyard, I’d be totally into that.

The Mighty Ducks or The Little Giants?
I never saw either one.

Did you watch Saved By The Bell?
Hell yes. Jessie and her caffeine pills!

Who was hotter: Zack or Slater?
Zack! Slater was and is totally scuzzy.

Camp Nowhere or House Arrest?
I have no idea. What about Camp Cucamonga? Anyone?

Did you own a pair of Reebok Pumps?
Nope.

Care Bears or Smurfs?
Again, a very tough call. I’m going to have to side with the bears on this one. They really cared.

Rainbow Brite or Strawberry Shortcake?
Rainbow was cool, but Strawberry dominated my world in the 80s.

Did you watch Miami Vice?
Nope.

Did you own a pair of Jelly Shoes?
About ten.

Did you own a Trapper Keeper?
Of course! I love John Mayer’s quote from I Love The 80s on VH1: “Trapper Keepers were the genesis of obsessive compulsive disorders for my generation. You started out strong and then by the third day of school, the Louisiana Purchase was crumpled at the bottom of your bag and you just told yourself, ‘next year.'” In related news, John Mayer is a douche.

Atari or Nintendo?
They were both addictive. I remember that Atari had some program you could buy that let you write your own game, and my dad showed me how to use it and then came back a few hours later to play the game I came up with. The first thing that came on the screen was the question, “Do you like blonds, brunettes, or redheads?” Apparently I tried to develop an escort service.

Do you remember when the A-Ha video was the pinnacle of modern technology?
Remember when? It’s still the shit, thank you very much. Their love survived the trash!

Ever owned one of those embarrassing crimping irons?
I can feel the judgment in your question. YES, in seventh grade I was the proud owner and obsessive user of a pink crimping iron.

Did you have Michael Jackson tapes?
Records, even! For one of my birthdays, my dad told my grandmother that I liked Michael Jackson, but instead of Thriller she bought me old Jackson Five records. Boo.

Do you remember the first time you ever kissed someone at a dance during Crazy for You by Madonna?
I never did, but my God, I WANTED TO. When I was 12, I couldn’t imagine a more romantic song.

Did you play with Transformers?
No. Mostly My Little Ponies, Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake and friends, Barbies, Jem, She-Ra, that kind of thing. My dad had a Transformer, though. He was probably 35.

What life lessons did you take from 80s movies?
Sweep the leg, angry marshmallows will kill you, in the future we turn into assholes or something, never say that Thor is a homo, Elisabeth Shue is the perfect girlfriend, my will is as strong as yours and my kingdom as great, the empress likes you to say her name, and when the pirate ship sails away filled with jewels, don’t let it go just because you have enough in your pockets to save your freakin’ goon docks. Swim after the damn ship and then you can buy the whole WORLD!

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12 Responses to “Freeze Frame”


  1. 1 Matt June 29, 2007 at 11:36 am

    I don’t know what is sadder: the fact that you wrote this or the fact that I read it…and am now doing the same. NKOTB 4 Life, metal strips on wrists are fun, Bobby Budnick and Donkey Lips 4EVA, Kids Inc. all the way, I once had an ALF birthday cake, Dinosaurs was great but not 80s, “on a playground is where I spent most of my days,” totally Gibler, Clarissa b/c she was cuter, Blame It On The Rain ya’ll, Full House for the show but I had a major crush on the girl who played Al on Step By Step, Geordi La Forge reading = TV GOLD, I had some mini Glo Worms, Paula is funnier now, Wild ‘n’ Crazy Kids + Double Dare + Legends of the Hidden Temple = many hours spent in front of the TV, loved Mighty Ducks and Little Giants (yes, I had crushes on girls in those, too), Jessie singing “I’m So Excited” = funniest TV moment ever, I DID have reebok Pumps, I always insisted on my mom buying me a Trapper Keeper even though we both knew I would never use it, Atari + Nintendo + Intellevision = many happy hours, A-Ha video is STILL awesome, and I grew up on Transformers and GI Joe.

  2. 2 Nikol June 29, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Because of this post, I want to make you a friendship bracelet.

  3. 3 Killer June 29, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    It is easy to see where Jessie got the mad acting skills that would rocket her to success in Showgirls.

  4. 4 3carnations June 29, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    I was never a fan of New Kids on the Block. I was the right age…But they just didn’t interest me.

    I LOVED Double Dare. I would have loved to go through the obstacle course!

    I saw Paula Abdul in concert (with Color me Badd). We knew someone who worked at the concert place, so we got bumped up to 3rd row. Awesome. Now…Not so much.

  5. 5 Shesabigstar June 29, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    I am so fucking excited right now that I can hardly type…oh, and I’m crying. Seriously, this is the most exciting post, EVER! As soon as I read the NKOTB question, I knew this post was written for ME. Well, maybe you didn’t know that is was for me, but really it was. I’m so excited…do you want to know my answers? Can we post them here in your comments like Matt did? OMG…so excited over here!

  6. 6 randomstuff June 29, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    I think I’ve said this before, but I swear we had the same childhood, but I was over in upstate NY.

  7. 7 nabbalicious June 29, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    Oh, man. I don’t know what to comment on first.

    Instead of Trapper Keepers, I had Pee-Chees. And dammit, I tried SO HARD to keep them looking nice and neat, but yep, by the third day they’d be trashed.

    Love the clip. Hilarious!

    I adored “Double Dare”!

    I think one missing question is, “Did you slow dance to ‘Forever Young’ by Alphaville?” Or wait, is that too far past your time? It might be close enough.

    Long live the 80s!

  8. 8 kate June 29, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    Can I gank this?

  9. 9 Sara June 29, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    Oh my god YOU ARE HILARIOUS! I laughed at everyone of your answers and I still can’t hear “I’m So Excited” and NOT think of Jesse!

  10. 10 Married Jen June 29, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    Camp Cucamonga.

    Had it on tape. Watched it daily. I still remember the song… “Camp Cucamonga! Oh yeah! Oh yeah!”

    I LOVE CHAD ALLEN.

    DJ, Urkel, Winnie Cooper, guy from head of the class (camp counselor), john ratzenberger, sherman helmsley… All star cast in my book!

    Great post. I still love New Kids.

  11. 11 Red June 30, 2007 at 10:48 am

    Oh, Matt.

    Nikol, woo! I want to make YOU one!

    Killer, right?! BTW, still dying over that patio furniture retirement plan comment.

    3c, I Adore Mi Amore?! That’s awesome!

    Shes, you’re adorable! Of course you can.

    Random, ha, I don’t doubt it.

    Nabbalicious, I only remember slow dancing to songs on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, sad to say.

    Kate, can I google gank?

    Sara, ha, thanks! I know, it’s so great.

    MJ, you remember Camp Cucamonga?! Yay!

  12. 12 Noelle July 2, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    For just a day, I’d like to have the power of your memory. There are a lot of things on this list that were very important to me 15-20 years ago and I have now completely forgotten them.

    If only I could remember the plot of at least one episode of The Snorks…


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