Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hey Kids, here's a game you can play....

....while watching the ABC Afterschool Specials, deliciously packed in DVD by year.

Let me caution you, these are so much worse than you remember, and appear to have been written by the 5th grade class of Our lady of No Life Experience.

And Yet... and yet so much better.

Most of the people I know these days are parents, and eventually we get around to a "but it's different now" kind of conversation. Usually when I am asking why they can't just leave their preteens in a drawer and come out with me.

And perhaps it is, if different means no 10 year old knows how to make a pot roast. Recently I said, to one of those moms, "What I remember is that you threw a baby shower for one of your 8th grade friends, we knew by name everyone who smoked pot, the high school boys had their own 'frat house' in the woods, where we heard all the details of what went on out there, and there were no parents around." (and slurpees were a dime, rantrant)

Take a look at your afterschool specials -- watch them with your shrink -- and play a game I call "Let's Ride Bikes." I call it that because we didn't call it a play date and we organized it ourselves. And if they brought us to an awkward place where we had to say (Nancy McKeon stutter style), "G-g-osh, you guys, I don't feel right about that," we had the AfterSchool Special behind us.

Like a little Lifetime network for your teen.

Be the first to call out......
1 - a shot or a scene that you would never see on a kids' show today or in anything geared toward family viewing. I like this one as an example:

If you are playing Let's Ride Bikes Drunk, drink once for the close-up of the girls lighting these candles, the fact that they are holding a seance, the clear lack of smoke detectors in the house, and this entire conversation, which is about putting a hex on the father's new wife to make her disappear.

2 - the bootstraps/it's tough-out-there moral. Later in this episode, Dana Hill (Fallen Angel!) goes crazy-goth and cute girl above has to friend-divorce her. The outcome of this story is, (honestly) that if your friends are wierd, you should ditch them and they should get counseling. And that is probably better advice than your parents should adopt them (this means you Bradys, Seavers, and Cosbys).

3 - hey, that's ______! This is the best part of watching Afterschool Specials, of course. But it is not fair to spot the leads as future stars (Rob Lowe never prettier), but for the walk-bys: Felicity Huffman, Cynthia Nixon, Lance Kerwin.

4 -the 70s technology - AT&T desk phone, "selectric" typewriter, TV remotes the size of a brick, and kids cooking dinner.

5 - Count the parents. Drink once for every time one puts their work first and twice when a kid explains it to another kid.

6 - Really bad writing. You can make bingo cards for this.

"let me get this straight."

"I already know about you, Carrie Bender. You just moved here from Pasadena, you have a dog named Luttiebell, and your brother died last year of leukemia."

"I know, I know..." "Ok, Ok!" "All right, all right."

"It's not exactly the most _____ in the world."

7 - Even worse acting. To be fair, it is amateurish acting enhanced by bad writing and embarrassed further by bad directing. because our Jodie is still the best thing going on in every stinko thing she's in, Rob Lowe has a complete Method Acting breakdown as a schoolboy father, and Lance Kerwin has clearly been told to play to the balcony. And when is James at 15 going to be on DVD?

That ain't him. we all looked like that.


  1. The show would be James at 45 now. Why did he seem sooo much older than me back then?

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