Please email Stephen all of your movie, TV, and random entertainment questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
What did you want to be when you grew up in the 80s?
Charlotte – Houston, Texas
A computer programmer…
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.
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.