That 80s Mailbag

Lorimar Productions
Lorimar Productions

Please email Stephen all of your movie, TV, and random entertainment questions: stephenthescoop@hotmail.com


Welcome back to week three of “I Love the 80s” month here at The Scoop, where we are celebrating everything from that glorious decade that we all know and love.  In case you missed the first two installments you can find them here and here.

As you can imagine, talking about the 80s brings back a lot of memories for people who grew up in a world of MTV, “Just Say No,” and Aquanet, so I’ve been inundated with questions about all things 80s.  Not only have I received a ton of questions, but I’ve received some terrific questions, so this week I am going to open up the mailbag and throw out a few answers to you fine people.

So let’s sweep the leg of this mailbag and show it who is boss…

tumblr
tumblr

I like the 80s, but why did the “That 80s Show” not survive any longer than it did?  I thought it was going to be funny, and don’t know why it didn’t work.

Jason – Austin, Texas

The answer to why any televised situational comedy fails or succeeds is always the quality of the writing, and the writing on That 80s Show was really, really, REALLY bad.  It debuted in 2002 after That 70s Show was a huge hit, and the network, being reactive in nature as it is, thought that it was only the nostalgia that people loved.  That 70s Show really took care of story and characters, which when paired with excellent casting, can make a show exceptional.

Carsey Werner Productions
Carsey Werner Productions

That is why I was surprised that the show didn’t work, because the same team of writers was behind both, but it was painfully obvious that they were just being asked to do something for the network with 80s Show, while 70s Show was a labor of actual love.  You could tell they were just going through the motions by the way that most of the jokes were about how terrible the things in the 80s were, while the reason That 70s Show worked was that the decade was just a setting for great stories each week, not the focus of the entire show.  That is what makes it so much fun to watch, and what makes a current show as much fun as that one.

ABC
ABC

If you have missed The Goldbergs, then you are missing out on one of the best comedies that is currently on TV.  It is the best combination of nostalgia, humor, story, family, and charm, and it isn’t just a running joke about the 80s.  Yes, it is set in the 80s, and there are some great things to see from the decade there, but the reason the show works so well is that the stories are really well done, and the jokes work in any decade.  The good news is that you have time to catch up on it now, and you will be very glad that you did.  The second season just ended and you have all summer to plow through the first two seasons and get ready for season three.  Trust me, you won’t regret it.


How have you written so much about the 80s and not mentioned Glamour Shots yet?

Amanda – Arlington, Texas

You are 100% correct, that is a terrible job by me to have not said anything about it yet.  There are very few things that are better than the glossy, hair-sprayed, and soft lighting of Glamour Shots.  I firmly believe that the two reasons that the Internet was invented were to find hilarious Glamour Shots and to see pictures of Nic Cage’s face on things.  Those two Google searches always lead to non-stop entertainment and make me want to send a thank you note to Al Gore for inventing the Interwebs.

Photo Credit; Lea Brown
Photo Credit; Lea Brown

Look at this picture!  I mean really take it in, it is just absolutely perfect!  Only in the 80s could you leave the house thinking, “You know, I think I’m going to have my picture taken with enough hairspray on to kill the ozone, and I’m popping the collar to my jacket that looks like it was made from a world championship wrestling belt.  I look so fly right now!”  And you know what, she does look great.  You can’t look at this now and compare it to modern fashion, you have to absorb it with the 80s perspective, which is: This look made all of the guys stop and say DAAAAAAAMMMMNNNN!!!


Who was the toughest movie villain to escape in the 80s?  Jason Voorhees has to be high on the list, but Freddy Kruger is in your dreams, so he has to be the toughest, right?

Mike – Grapevine, Texas

They are both formidable opponents to escape with your life, but the toughest is and will always been Hell Track.  You might not make it out with your life because face it, not all of us are Cru Jones.

TalliaFilm II Productions
TalliaFilm II Productions

What did you want to be when you grew up in the 80s?

Charlotte – Houston, Texas

A computer programmer…

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Can you please settle a bet for me?  My friend says that the best thing from the 80s that nobody talks about anymore is Fraggle Rock, and I say it is Buck Rogers.  Which one of us is right?

Dave – Dallas, Texas

First off, you both have excellent taste, but I have to disagree with both of your answers.  The best thing that nobody talks about from the 80s has to be G.L.O.W.Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling had it all, from skits to rapping to wrestling to the best names that have ever been created.  They rapped their intro, and as it turns out, the “rings” that they wrestled in weren’t even padded, they were essentially carpet over plywood.  Do you know how tough these women would have to be to do that?

I stumbled on to G.L.O.W. as a kid because I was a big fan of WWF and watched Saturday Night Superstars religiously, but one night after it ended, I didn’t turn off the TV for bed and this started.  I ended up watching all of it and kept on watching it for the next four years.  It was and is very entertaining to see these women rap and perform the worst promos that have ever been cut.  If you have never seen this show, then do yourself a favor and fall down that YouTube rabbit hole for a few hours, only to return forever changed.


Can you think of something from the 80s that wasn’t meant to be funny at the time, but has now become unintentionally hilarious?

Evelyn – Houston, Texas

That is a tough question, Evelyn, since you just described almost anything from the 80s, but luckily you have come to the right place.  The answer to your question is undoubtedly the British kids’ television series, T-Bag……you read that correctly, T-Bag.

Thames Television
Thames Television

T-Bag was a show about a woman named Tallulah Bag (T-Bag), who obtained magical/witch-like powers when her kid sidekick Thomas Shirt (T-Shirt) made her a cup of tea from the High T-Plant.  T-errific, right?!

Each series had a different title, such as, T-Bag and the Pearls of Wisdom, T-Bag Bounces Back, and Take off with T-Bag.  Everything about this show is dripping with unintentional hilarity and, for my money, you cannot find a better measure of how innocent the 80s were.  God bless you, The 80s, please never change.


Stephen Balding is the Entertainment Badass for The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenB_41.

Advertisements

I Love the 80s: The Swayze Awards

Silver Pictures
Silver Pictures

Please email Stephen all of your movie, TV, and random entertainment questions: stephenthescoop@hotmail.com


Welcome back to week two of “I Love the 80s” month here at The Scoop, where we are celebrating everything from that glorious decade that we all know and love.  In case you missed the first installment, check out the Couple Skate Power Rankings here.

Just like with any decade, the 80s were full of things that were good and bad, but when they were bad in the 80s, they were really, really bad.  I’m fully aware that most of that is hindsight, but I was one of the kids who grew up poor, and I would have told you then the same that I will tell you now…that Gobots sucked ass.  They were cheap, they were small, and compared to a Transformer, they looked like an Ewok standing next to Chewbacca.

tumblr
tumblr

That made me appreciate the finer things in life, even if I only had one Transformer and an empty TV box that I turned into my own Fortress Maximus.  You knew that it was Fortress Maximus due to the writing in pencil I put on the side of the box that said Fortress Maximus.

There were countless things about my childhood that kept me in constant fear of getting beat up, but that information leaking out would have been as sure fire a butt-kicking as someone seeing my tighty-whities with blue Donald Ducks on them that were sewn by hand by my Aunt Reta.  I’m telling you now that if a picture of that surfaces, I am going on the lam and moving to Canada like a draft dodger in the 60s.

Being poor, though, just meant that when something awesome happened, I really appreciated it so much more.  The year that I turned 8, I finally had a birthday party that wasn’t at home with my cousins Chris and Harrell and whatever other friends we could scrape together (I wasn’t the popular kid if you couldn’t tell from my underwear selection)  to enjoy some homemade cake and store brand ice cream.  Please don’t misunderstand me, those are now some of the best memories that I have, but at the time I wanted an actual party at the skating rink or bowling alley or anywhere that would make me seem like the cool kid that I most definitely was not.  So, for my 8th birthday, my mom invited some people and we loaded up the car for a full-fledged birthday at McDonald’s!

Tumblr
Tumblr

Words cannot convey how awesome that was at the time, and how much fun McDonald’s was to a kid of the 80s.  To be fair, that may have just been for me, because my dad was notoriously cheap and refused to eat anything fast food, so anytime we got to go out to eat in general it was an amazing event.  When I got to play at this place, it always made for a special day.  I mean look at it and let its glory wash over you!  You got to play outside (skin cancer wasn’t a thing then) and ignore the fact that in the middle of the summer, that solid metal playground equipment could give you 3rd degree burns.  The BEST!  I will never forget that birthday; it goes down in history as one of the best I ever had, even if I did get another stupid Gobot that year.

So now that I can look back and appreciate the finer things in life, I want to give retroactive awards to some certain things that may have been forgotten.  What do I call an award that celebrates the best things the 80s have to offer?  The Swayze Award, of course, what did you think it was going to be?  Nothing sums up everything good about the 80s better than Patrick mother-effing-WOLVERINES Swayze!  His name is forever going on this award, and there is no other person who can even come close, so hat-tip to the Movie Yoda for the idea.

So without further ado, here are the categories and winners for the 1st annual Swayze Awards.


Best Toy of the Decade:

Transformers

Look, they are freaking more than meets the eye, what else do you need in a winner?  GI Joe was cool, and He-Man action figures were much better than the cartoon, but when it came down to pure greatness, you cannot beat Optimus Prime and his crew of Autobots.  I will admit that this choice is very much slanted to the boys of the 80s, but I am 100% aware of how Cabbage Patch Kids and Strawberry Shortcake are hall of fame toys.

I am aware, but never had any in the house growing up because my sisters are 7 and 9 years older than me.  There are definitely other great toys from the decade, like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which I watched religiously on TV and had all of the action figures, but nothing trumps Transformers.

Tumblr
Tumblr

Especially not My Buddy with their catchy jingle or Teddy Ruxpin, which looks cool on TV until you see it talking in person and realize his face/mouth/voice is clearly being maneuvered by the devil.

Best Commercial of the Decade:

Where’s The Beef?

The first commercial that came to my mind wasn’t this commercial, but I do bow to its longevity now.  The Where’s the Beef? lady coined a catchphrase that stuck around the rest of the decade and beyond.  She was even on talk shows simply because of how popular she had become by doing the commercials.  There are several other options from the decade that came to mind for me first, like California Raisins and that pesky Noid trying to make your pizza cold before you could enjoy it.  Those are great commercials, and if you ever get bored, then chase the Kool-Aid Man, wrecking shit for 5 decades on YouTube.  Nothing can top the Where’s the Beef? lady, and I’m sure she was a huge fan of Patrick Swayze, so she gets the award.

Best Music Video of the Decade:

Weird Al Yankovic – “Eat It

I am sick and tired of Thriller being considered the best music video of all time.  Sure it was good, and sure it was groundbreaking, and sure Michael Jackson was the biggest thing in music, but how on earth can you top this song?  Weird Al is a freaking pioneer, who still cranks out great songs to this day, and to top that off he’s never been to court over allegedly diddling children.  Weird Al changed the lives of so many adolescent boys of the 80s and made it cool to make a fool of yourself.  His Weirdness is a freaking icon and if you don’t like that, then you can eat it.

Best Movie of the Decade:

Road House (1989)

Giphy
Giphy

If you think for one second that I’m creating an award named after Patrick Swayze, and not including this movie as the best of the decade, then you are crazy!  I totally get that there are movies that you might consider “better” than Road House, and I even had an argument today with our friendly neighborhood 80s guru Jenifer Sutton about it, who maintains that if you’re going with Swayze you have to roll with Dirty Dancing, but nothing is changing my mind on this (even though she tried very hard to do just that).  Sure, nobody puts Baby in the corner, but nobody and I mean NOBODY is going to fight on Dalton’s watch, and especially not that greedy asshole Brad Wesley.

Silver Pictures
Silver Pictures

This is peak Swayze on top of peak Sam Elliot on top of peak Kelly Lynch, and to top that off, Swayze rips the freaking throat out of a guy AND has sex with a woman against the wall standing up straight!  Both of those things are equally impossible if you’re not The Swayze (seriously, try to pull that off and be prepared for your core muscles to jump out of your body, screaming in pain.  Stop lying to me, movies, you dick).  Did Han Solo ever do that?  Did Indiana Jones ever spot a blade on Nazi boot?

The answer is a resounding no!  It’s Dalton and Road House for the win, so don’t get a problem over it there, mijo.


Stephen Balding is the Entertainment Badass for The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenB_41.

Couple Skate Power Rankings

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

Please email Stephen all of your movie, TV, and random entertainment questions: stephenthescoop@hotmail.com


For two straight weeks now, I’ve been inundated with the 1980s in an array of forms and fashions.  I’ve been listening to an 80s Pandora channel at work, I plowed through 12 episodes of the very funny and very underrated TV show The Goldbergs, and had a conversation about a very popular movie(more on that later) from the decade that, for some reason, has remained unwatched here at Casa de Stephen.

All of these things are clearly sending me a signal that it’s time to revisit the decade that brought us so much joy, love, and gave zero fucks about the ozone layer…I’m looking at you, Aquanet.  I’m not one to disregard signs, so the month of May is going to be “I Love the 80s” month here at The Scoop.  We’re going to take a trip down memory lane and take a look at the fashion, the movies, the music, and oh, those glorious music videos.

Photo credit: Jenifer Sutton
Photo credit: Jenifer Sutton

So buckle up, because I know everyone has few pictures like this one: you in a denim vest, high-waisted acid-washed jeans, big hair, and rocking a sweet Walkman that is blasting your favorite Depeche Mode tape.  This picture makes me so very happy because you can see the pure joy of everything that is the 80s on her face.  This isn’t a random internet picture; this is a picture of my good friend and 80s super-fan Jenifer.  She will be my guide and go-to source over the course of this month, and personally helped me pick the power rankings for this week.

One of the best things from the 80s is the perfection of couple skating, and the main reason is that the music was tailor-made for those slow intimate rolls under the flashing lights next to your main squeeze.  The skating rink was a place where teenagers of the 80s went to attempt to work up the nerve to talk to a member of the opposite sex.  As a guy, if you were lucky, you would start that process early in the night, so by the time that magical announcement was made, you could couple skate with that special lady.  It may very well lead to making out with her, but trust me, nobody has ever gotten laid from roller skating.  You don’t believe me?  Fine. Here is exhibit A of what guys look like roller skating while attempting to look cool.  We’ll call this the sound of virginity.

That doesn’t take away from those perfect few minutes with just you, a lady held close, and the perfect song playing out on that rink.  What was the perfect song though?  That is what I want to answer, so we are going to kick of the month by running through the best couple skate songs ever.


  1. REO Speedwagon – Can’t Fight This Feeling

My favorite thing about this video is the way it starts by zooming in on a baby with so much innuendo that they aren’t even attempting to cover it up.  I wonder how many children were conceived to this song?  It is the band’s way of saying, “Congratulations, you just won a baby!” and what better group to do that than these guys, with their mustachioed piano player, perm-mullets, and child-under-the-bed-on-acid dream sequences?  Don’t ever change, The 80s, you are so perfect.


  1. George Michael – Careless Whisper

A conversation between a record producer and George Michael prior to making this video:

Producer: This is going to be hot, George; I have some great ideas for your video.

George: I have a list of things that I need, or this isn’t happening.  1.) I need a saxophone blasting a sweet riff for the entire song.  2.) If any of these women have better hair than me, then I’m walking off set.  3.) I’m wearing white for 95% of this video all the way down to my tube socks.  4.) I need a stunt double for the hard core making out scenes with any woman.

Producer: You’re the man, George! No wonder you are such a ladies’ man.  How about a bump of cocaine?

George: *sigh


  1. Journey – Open Arms

Listen very carefully and you can hear the panties dropping right now from the women currently watching this video.  Steve Perry created such a craze with this song that even after he left the band, people continue to pay money to watch his band play and sing this with another person.  That takes serious talent, which is the biggest reason that it makes this list.  He was singing for all of those teenagers who couldn’t talk to women, but could skate close to them and pretend that the song was coming straight from them.  Thank you, Steve Perry, for helping these nerdy guys make out with a girl, if only for a minute.


  1. Peter Cetera – The Glory of Love

Straight off of the Karate Kid II soundtrack and directly into your heart comes Peter Cetera, looking straight into your soul with his pipes that sound extra good when combined with the acoustics of a dojo.  If this song was good enough for Daniel Son, then it is good enough for you, dammit!  This song would have you waxing off with women in no time.


  1. Cheap Trick – The Flame

This is unconfirmed, but I believe they named this song The Flame because it was a nickname for their dicks, and they called women moths.  I have a soft spot in my heart for Rick Nielsen; he is one of my favorite guitar players of all time.  He is also my favorite part of this video because even with a song that is supposed to be romantic, he is rocking the most over-the-top guitar that anyone has ever played.  He’s just the absolute best!


  1. Debbie Gibson – Lost in Your Eyes

The alternate title for this video was “Shoulder pads and Bangs,” which are 80s staples.  Lost in Your Eyes was every girl’s dream of how a date should go, from letting a guy playfully chase you in the park to sitting on rocks while having a good laugh to watching an orchestra play for a few minutes on the street.  Every teen girl of the 80s pictured singing this song to a hunk with feathered hair and dreamy eyes, which is why Debbie Gibson remains a pop idol to this day.


  1. Madonna – Crazy for You

It’s Madonna and Vision Quest all wrapped up in one video!!  You can’t find something that represents the decade of the 80s better, this side of Patrick Swayze’s feathered mullet.  This was peak Madonna, and never forget how huge of an influence she was to teenage girls at that time.  For all of the Taylor Swift talk that is going on right now, she couldn’t get away with everything that Madonna did, from marrying Sean Penn to having a young Beastie Boys open for her on tour.  She was and is a pop culture legend, even if she has slowly turned into Gollum.


  1. Poison – Every Rose Has Its Thorn

This is the mother lode of couple skate anthems, and sums up the 80s so perfectly!  It’s got everything that you could ever want in it: spandex, lady hair on dudes, guitar solos, power ballads, arena bands, and videos that combine footage of rocking with a quiet moment to sing to the ladies.  Play this song the next time you are near a jukebox and listen as the initial groans turn into a heart felt sing-a-long.


 

  1. Berlin – Take my Breath Away

I feel the need…the need to watch every moment in my foolish lover’s game.  I have made it my goal while writing this column to make out with a woman to this song shortly after I play a game of beach volleyball with my bros in jean shorts.  Look out ladies; I’m going on the prowl.  This is the top spot, and there was never a close second for me.  It’s got everything you could ever want, and everything else is in the rearview mirror.


So that is the list, I hope you had as much fun reading it as I did writing it.  You could even say that I had the time of my life (I have no regrets).  I’ll see you next week as we continue our “I Love the 80s” month here at The Scoop.


Stephen Balding is the Entertainment Badass for The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenB_41.