What I’m Watching Today: Hi Honey, I’m Home

Today, I came across a pilot called Hi Honey, I’m home that aired on Nickelodeon in 1991. I’ve been watching a lot of unsold pilots lately, and I was genuinely surprised that I liked this one.

By the way, that younger son is A.J. McLean of Backstreet Boys fame

It’s not perfect, but it’s an interesting concept and I am interested in seeing more. I’m seeing on Wikipedia that there was a first season of this show produced, but thus far I can’t find the episodes anywhere. Please let me know if you’ve ever come across them.

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1980s Officer Byrd PSAs

Don’t be a nerd! Listen to Officer Byrd!

 

Some cute ads, but despite Officer Byrd’s popularity in Los Angeles, Officer Mike had a falling out with the LAPD. Mike wanted to pursue his own show and a life as an entertainer, and so he and his bird faded into obscurity.

My Favorite Pieces of Barbie History

I have a weird relationship with Barbie dolls.

First of all, I played with them until I was probably like 12, so a little bit beyond when other kids stopped. I built a Barbie Hogwarts in my bedroom, used a cigar box as Harry Potter’s trunk.

Then in college I studied Sociology and Women’s and Gender studies, and spent a semester collecting people’s stories of how they played with Barbie dolls, which I then turned into a paper and then a zine.

Later, I took an experimental video class where I edited pieces of various Barbie advertisements and other symbolically feminine footage (I’m afraid to even look back at the video I made, as I’m sure it was pretty cringe-y and heavy-handed) with a video released to news organizations in 1993 by The Barbie Liberation Organization

The BLO was brought about by the creation of Teen Talk Barbie:

This doll was significant in that each doll said  4 phrases out of a list of 270, meaning that few dolls said the same 4 phrases.  However, the things they had Barbie saying were, generally, pretty fucking sexist. The phrase that got the most media attention, though was, “Math class is tough!”. The company ultimately pulled the phrase from the list, but continued to sell the doll.

Anyway, in my research for these various Barbie projects I’ve undertaken, I’ve watched a lot of Barbie ads, and I thought it would be fun to compile all of my favorites in one central location.

Loving You Barbie (1983) 

I love this ad because it is so strangely queer. The little girls are writing notes telling Barbie how much they love her and they continually state how beautiful she is. Generally Barbie ads cultivate this sort of hero-worship feeling about the doll, but this one just feels romantic.

Color Splash Pocahontas (1995) 

Um. Why does John Smith have a color-changing chest Eagle?

Cool Shavin’ Ken (1996) 

I mean, I know it’s Barbie, but this one is so heteronormative that it kind of grosses me out, and I’m currently in a very hetero relationship. Also, I love the Old Spice tie in.

Astronaut Barbie (1985) 

This one is by far my favorite. Barbie doesn’t even pretend she’s getting anything productive done in space. She even TAKES HER HELMET OFF to dance under a space disco ball. I also love the puffy sleeves on that space suit.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch – The 1970s Cartoon

If you, like me, grew up in the 1990s and swore you saw an animated Sabrina show (that wasn’t the 2000s animated show) late at night on Cartoon Network, YOU WEREN’T DREAMING. It exists!

This iteration of the show definitely has the look of the original Archie comics series. Sabrina’s aunts aren’t nearly as pretty or likable, it’s impossibly sexist, and Harvey is actually somehow dumber than he was in the 90s show.

Also, it’s worse than you remembered. And the theme song is infectious, so watch out.

 

I have to say, I like the short hair look way better on Sabrina.

 

That Time Sabrina The Teenage Witch met The Violent Femmes

A couple months ago, I made my boyfriend watch this strange little piece of TV history: When Sabrina the Teenage Witch met the members of Violent Femmes–the band most famous for this song.

However, Violent Femmes did a lot of really great music, and if you haven’t listened to their other work, you really should.

Anyway, despite my own teenage enjoyment of the band, I don’t know that they were ever the stud-muffins that they are made out to be in this episode. I’m including a clip below, but it’s worth a laugh to watch the whole episode on Amazon Prime if you have the time and the resources to do so.

 

P.S. I also just found this clip of the femmes performing The Spongebob Squarepants theme song from 2002–it was included on the 1st Season Spongebob DVD

The Early Internet – Clips from the 90s & early 2000s

cyberfresh

 

Katie Couric and the rest of the Today Show crew  don’t understand what the internet is in 1994 

DotComedy was an ABC show from 2000 that was one of the early attempts at bringing internet humor to TV screens. From what I can tell it never really did very well in the ratings.

Also from DotComedy, their correspondant, Katie Puckrik visits the creator of airsicknessbags.com, which was an online museum of air sickness bags throughout the decades. 

And this digital archive actually still exists!  I actually found another interview with this guy that I enjoyed. “Daddy loves” his airsick bags. 

I don’t know much about the origin of this clip, other than the fact that it was created by Apple computers in the 90s. I thought it was an early 90s thing, but according to the Cult of Mac blog, it was apparently made in 1997. 

This one’s a classic, but I felt as if I should include it. The Kids Guide to the Internet. 

 

Don’t forget, ladies! The Internet is not just for boys!

Lost Films & Media I Really Want to See

[FYI, I intend to update this as I discover more things I can’t find on the internet]

  1. The Duggar Family singing Jim Bob’s 2004 political theme song, “Won’t You Please Vote For My Daddy?” Which is referenced in this article, back when the family only had 14 children. I’ve heard that the Duggar’s released it as part of their press package for the election, but from what I can tell, no videos of the song have been posted online. I’m very sickly fascinated by this family, and have always been curious about it.
  2. The Amateur’s Guide to Love 
  3. Ethel Is an Elephant  – A NYC photographer has to cope with his new roommate, Ethel, who is an elephant. I’m not sure why this pilot was never picked up, since it sounds amazing.
  4. Gary Busey hosting a marathon on Nickelodeon in 2002- This one may or may not exist.
  5. LAX 2194 – An unsold pilot with Ryan Stiles as an alien.
  6. A Dog’s Life – This looks to be a really unfunny precursor to Wilfred. I wanna see it.
  7. A We-Are-18 commercial that aired on cable from the mid-90s to the early 2000s. In it, a woman takes off a fur coat and says, “It’s cold outside, but it’s sizzling in here.” This ad apparently ran for a few years, and my boyfriend references it every winter when, but I’ve never been able to find it.
  8. This animation I saw several times as a kid called “Fidget-y Midgety.” After trying to find it, I did find it on a list of Cartoon Network webtoons someone compiled (which was helpful, because I totally remembered it being Nickelodeon–but all evidence so far points to my brain being wrong). Despite finding evidence that I’m not crazy, and it does exist, I can’t find record of the actual cartoon anywhere. It was about a girl named Midge who couldn’t stop fidgeting, and I really related to it in my little ADHD heart. I’ve had what I remember of the song stuck in my head intermittently for the past 15 years.
  9. September 25, 2003 Broadcast of ABC’s Primetime Live, which included an interview with Treva Throneberry, and from what I can tell, is the only recorded interview of her that seems to exist. According to worldcat.org, it aired with a segment about hotel sanitation, and may have been released on VHS, however no known libraries hold a copy.

 

[Last updated 6/13/18]

The Trash I’m Watching Tonight: The Moment of Truth

YouTube recommended this clip to me today, because its algorithm has figured out that I am a connoisseur of TV garbage.

So, that started me down a new rabbit hole. Which is great because I’m all caught up on 90 Day Fiance.

My Findings:

This show went on for TWO seasons for a total of 23 episodes in 2008 to 2009. Prior to starting the game the contestants answer a questionnaire of 100 questions while hooked up to a polygraph machine (which, by the way, are no longer admissible in court, although it should already be obvious from that clip that the show isn’t super credible).

The contestants then have their answers to these questions revealed in front of their family and friends for money, while a Jerry Springer-ish audience eggs them on. It’s like if Maury and Deal or No Deal had a baby, basically. And it is pretty much designed to ruin lives.

Also, I assume I don’t have to tell you it aired on Fox. The same network that brought you Married By America and The Swan. Which, by the way, are too awful for me to watch. Even I have my limits.

One interesting fact is that the show filmed a 3rd season that never aired. One episode of this “lost season” in particular sounds fascinating, although incredibly depressing. From the wiki page:

…one contestant in the unaired third season did answer all 21 questions truthfully to win the top prize. The contestant was Melanie Williams, a member of a secretive polygamist group. Most of the questions centered around the secrets of polygamy and what took place in the group in which Williams was a member. For $500,000, Williams’ final question was whether she believed her father had sexual relations as an adult with a minor. She said she felt he did, and the lie detector determined her truthful for the grand prize.

A user on reddit said that the episode did air in some countries where polygamy is more common, but I can’t find any verification on that. Another reddit user claiming to be involved in production posted to /r/television a couple years ago and had a few interesting things to say, namely that one of the other unaired episodes included Travis Walton, a famous UFO abductee.

Also of note is that the producers required the participants to sign an agreement to accept the conclusions drawn by the machine. Which would really suck if you were just nervous during your interview. Oh, and one episode was so bad that the host, Mark L. Walberg (not to be confused with Marky Mark) requested it not air. Of course, it did anyway.

I’m still searching for information about past contestants, particularly if they’re talking about their actual experience on the show. It all seems too absurd to me, this can’t be totally real.

Anyway, I’m going to spend the night watching the episodes on YouTube until I feel disgusted by the shows existence and the fact that it aired longer than so many better shows. We’ll see how long that takes.

Some “Highlights” So Far:

  • In Episode 12, the contestant brings along her former cop father, and he looks progressively more heart broken as she answers questions. Also, the narrator says in the first few minutes of the episode,”she’s the most cold-hearted contestant yet!” This show has no shame.
  • In that same episode, she is asked by her friend if she thinks he can make it as a musician. She does not.
  • I know it’s a reality TV thing, but this show is probably about 50% SHOCKING clips that will be shown later in the episode. Thankfully, I’m only half paying attention.
  • They really make this woman out to be completely evil. This is why you don’t go on reality shows, folks.

 

P.S. It took me 2 episodes before I hated humanity.