While I was watching an ad for Progressive Auto Insurance last night, something caught my eye. See if you can figure out what it was.
Well? Did you notice?
Hint: It has something to do with one of the actresses. Watch it again. Does the woman playing "Shoe-Loving Prospective Progressive Customer" seem familiar? Fans of Saved by the Bell might think so, because that's clearly Leanna Creel*, the actress who played Tori.
You know, her:
Almost threw me off with that hair, Tori, but you could never fool me.
Nickelodeon is adding some of its classic 90s and early 2000s programming to the iTunes store.
As part of Nick Rewind, which catalogues its older programming, Nick
will sell individual episodes for the standard iTunes price of $1.99
and “best-of” collections and seasons for $8.99-$19.99.
Among the shows available on Nick Rewind on iTunes will be Rugrats, Clarissa Explains It All, Doug, Hey Dude, Rocko’s Modern Life, The Amanda Show, Aaahhh! Real Monsters, Angry Beavers, As Told by Ginger, Rocket Power and The Wild Thornberrys. (source)
Today's NYT included a very interesting (at least, it was interesting to my little born-in-'80s brain) article called "Beloved Characters as Reimagined for the 21st Century." The best possible summary of it I can give is: LOOK WHAT THEY HAVE DONE TO STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE.
of my favorite characters from childhood has been Bratzed. According
to the article, this is because "an unusually large number of classic
characters for children are being
freshened up and reintroduced as their corporate owners try to cater to
parents' nostalgia and children's YouTube-era sensibilities." Well
thanks, but consider my nostalgia officially NOT catered to on this
one. I have no daughters, but I hardly feel like I could bond with one
over her hussified version of my innocent childhood doll; in fact, the
contrast between the two actually detracts from any sense of
connectedness because it makes it so starkly apparent how much the
concept of girlhood has changed and warped in the past couple decades.
Am I alone in my outrage here? Part of me feels dangerously close
to those nerds who come out of the woodwork every time a Star Wars
re-make or a movie based on some geeky book comes out so they can rant,
rant, rant about the injustices done to the original work. Plus, it's
not like all the dolls I had in the '80s and '90s were completely
de-sexed and inoffensive (Barbie, anyone?). I can't really make the
argument that dolls have only just recently begun to reflect
unrealistic body types and anti-feminist attributes, but I am disturbed
nonetheless by the notion--whether true or untrue--that Strawberry
Shortcake could not appeal to today's kids without a complete overhaul
of her face, hair, and clothes.
I guess my problem isn't so much that they are doing this to dolls in general, but that they are doing it to my dolls.
Obviously it's an affront to my nostalgic sensibilities, but it also
implies certain things I don't agree with. Like, why does Strawberry
Shortcake need to be more "today?" It's not like we were all wearing
bloomers and pinafores a la Strawberry in the '80s--her getup was
outdated then, too. Because she was a doll, with a whimsical
back story and a gang of fruity friends who lived in a place called
Strawberryland and required a little imagination to appreciate.
I'm hoping this trend just goes away, but it looks like it will
claim at least one more of my favorite character lines before all is
said and done--from the article: "American Greetings is dusting off
another of its lines, the Care Bears,
which will return with a fresh look this fall (less belly fat, longer
First I noticed that Mario Lopez (aka A.C. Slater) was hosting the America's Best Dance Crew, MTV's new elimination-based dancing competition. Then I started seeing the commercials on Bravo for Step It Up and Dance, a new dance-off show hosted by none other than Elizabeth Berkley (aka Jessie Spano). All I can say is that I really hope more networks will start copying the "Saved By the Bell cast member + dancing + weekly eliminations" format. If I could just get one SBTB dance show per weeknight, that would more or less ensure that I never had time to be in a bad mood.
With all the reality shows there are out there to get involved in, you'd think the ex-members of a boy band would never have to actually get back into performing; nevertheless, New Kids on the Block have an announcement to make:
After months of speculation and rumor, the Kids are coming back. A
well-placed source tells PEOPLE exclusively that New Kids On The Block
are indeed getting back together.
The band's Web site, www.nkotb.com,
which had been dormant, is now back up and running in anticipation of
the official announcement, which the source says will be made in the
next few weeks. (Source)
The People article also notes that the group's ages now run from 35 on the low end (Joey McIntire) to 40 (Jonathan Knight). That makes all of them plenty old enough to be Hannah Montana's father.
Those of you who have been following this blog regularly should not be surprised at my choice of Halloween costume this year. Behold, the American Gladiators:
The boys are (back, L to R): Nick as Nitro, Kevin as Malibu, my brother as Viper and, in front, Ben as our "ref." The girls are my sister Kate as Storm, Laura as Diamond, and me as Zap. The pugile sticks were made by yours truly using red wrapping paper rolls, bubble wrap and electrician's tape. My mom made our name belts.
Here I am with Pancake in his matching bandana:
And here is a jousting face-off between Storm and Diamond:
It's hard being D-list! All the A-list starlets can get by just showing their boring external private regions to the cameras, but when you're not as famous you have to up the ante sometimes to get attention. Like, by showing them the actual inside of your body. And by selling that first exploitative photo of your child when he/she's at the ripe age of, oh, negative six months old.
Now that I have cable again, it's a little overwhelming--there are way too many options to choose from. I'm having to make some painful choices, like if a rerun of a show I
really like should take priority over a new episode of something I kinda like. However, there is one piece of my TV viewing schedule that I have completely figured out: weeknights at 7
p.m., American Gladiators
reruns on ESPN Classic are officially the way to go. (It's also aired
on Saturday and Sunday mornings, but that's a little early--even for
the BEST SHOW EVER--so I am sticking to five nights a week for the time
I am posting this information primarily because I want to let as many people as possible know that they can be watching American Gladiators every day of the week. However, I have a secondary aim as well: posting gladiator pictures.
Here's Nitro, who was on the show from 1989-1992 and then again
from 1994-1995. No clue what he was doing in 1993--writing his
memoirs? Spending a year at the Grover Cleveland Institute for
He's not my fave, though--that distinction goes to hottie Laser, who was on the show from 1990 to 1996.
is hard to tell whether the males or females on this show look more
ridiculous. One strong argument against the ladies is that they are
always. picking. wedgies. I mean, I don't blame them--look what
they're wearing--but still. Here's Zap on wedgie patrol:
Wikipedia's list of gladiators
is fun to scan, especially because as the years go by, the names of the
new gladiators get more and more insane: Havoc. Dallas. Jazz.
Rebel. Tank. Thor.
Finally, this post would not be complete without some video, so here is a great YouTube clip of Malibu, the gladiator with the super-cool surfer persona:
And here's a clip of two women facing off in the Eliminator:
After reading that, I wasn't sure why Elizabeth Berkley thinks she can help teenage girls. After all, her job history more or less exclusively includes (a) basically giving up her own teenage years to be on TV; and (b) playing a stripper, but hey--who am I to judge? I thought. Then I saw her website, ask-elizabeth.com.
The main components of Elizabeth Berkley's advice website for teens are butterflies, fairies, pink, and Comic Sans. There are also Hello Kitty accents, rainbows, and clouds. It is probably the most hideous website I have ever seen, and my friends will back me up when I say I have seen just about every single page on the Internet.
Actual screenshot from the webpage's intro, so you know I'm not lying.
The ugliness isn't even really the problem, though--it's that Berkley seems to have no concept of what teenage girls are like, which does not bode well for her ability to help them. Today's teens are about as interested in clouds, rainbows and fairies as they are in doing their homework on typewriters.
It may seem strange that someone who once played a teenager on television would be so clueless about adolescence, but think about it--would you ask someone from Grey's Anatomy to operate on you in real life? Probably not.
Anyway, I'm just glad I developed my self esteem the old-fashioned way: by making fun of people.
The XYZ Affair has produced a music video you will enjoy. The plot is roughly that the band lives next door to a very grouchy Marc Summers (former host of Double Dare), so they enlist the help of three '90s Nickelodeon TV stars (Michael Maronna of The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Danny Cooksey of Salute Your Shorts and Jason Zimbler of Clarissa Explains It All) to help them get revenge on him. See it here.