Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Nostalgia lives, and Jenny Craig weeps

While I warm up my sore throwing arm, allow me to take you on a tour of my (metaphorical) glass house.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I was 15 years old, stood 5-foot-8 and weighed 110 pounds. When I was a senior, I was 17, 5-foot-9 and 148 pounds. By the time I was 19, I weighed 163, and I'd stopped growing taller. At 21, I was 190. At 24, I was 205. I stayed at 205 until 28, when somehow I ate my way up to 238 one holiday season. When I stopped being able to see my Little E when I looked down, I went on a diet and got back down to about 210.

The point is? Most people gain weight as they get older, whether they want to or not. Hey, there's a reason I'm joining a gym in Hillsborough, and it's NOT because I like working out.

So now that all of that is on the record, let me get to my point:

I've found a new TV show to rubberneck at: NBC's "Hit Me Baby 1 More Time," which apparently is named for the Britney Spears song (she's Mrs. Kevin Federline to you Teen Beat readers; she used to be a singer, or at least a lip-syncher).

And based on a column by one of my newspaper's TV writers, I'm not alone in staring, half-amused and half-appalled, at this show.

Hey, "The Contender" is over, and "Trading Spaces" sucks without Paige Davis. I've got to tape something.

The basic premise, for you who haven't seen, is this: Five musical acts, mostly from the '80s and unseen since, sing a hit, then cover a current pop song, with the audience picking a winner. Despite the thought that these has-beens might need the cash, the winner gets only a donation to a charity of its choice.

Musically speaking, I've enjoyed the show. I've known all but one or two of the songs performed, and in many cases, have it floating around on a CD somewhere. And to my surprise, I've known most of the current hits, too, probably the result of listening to far too much Top-40-Crap radio on my commute.

It is fun, though to see how some of the covers differ from the regular songs, like a hip-hop guy covering Britney's techno-dance "Toxic." Although perhaps my favorite song covered thus far (four episodes, I think) was Five for Fighting's "100 Years," and Sophie B. Hawkins just BUTCHERED it.

(Aside, my formative musical years run from about 1985, when I joined the Columbia House cassette tape club at 10 years old, to about 1997, when my music-loving ex-fiancee walked out of my life. I buy maybe a half-dozen CDs a year, and my last purchase was the 10th anniversary acoustic version of Alanis Morissette's "Jagged Little Pill," which falls into my musical prime, as it were.)

But really, the most morbid aspect of the whole affair isn't thinking about how old *I* have gotten as realizing how old *they* have gotten.

And old, generally speaking, means fatter and balder. Well, the women aren't balder.

But I remember Mike Reno, lead singer of Loverboy, as a Canadian sex symbol (now that's an oxymoron) in tight leather pants and a headband. I liked Loverboy then, I like them now, and frankly, they can still rock out pretty well.

But they seemed light a band member, and my guess is, Reno ate him. He was HUGE. Like bloated huge.

Hell, Tiffany was in Playboy about three years ago, and SHE looked chunky, even if her implants were falling out of her outfit.

And there was some guy who had some seriously huge hair back in the '80s, and he came on stage in a ballcap with a ponytail out the back. And he wouldn't take off the hat. Evidently all that hair migrated to the back of his head.

The worst part is, they take pleasure in showing the performers in their prime. You know, young, thin and energetic. Then they bring them on stage as the host, Vernon Kay, intones, "and now, (he or she) is back!" And it's like, DAMN! what happened to you???

By the way, Paige Davis gets fired, and Vernon Kay has a job? He's the most annoying Englishman this side of Tony Blair. I've taken to fast-forwarding through his bits. Hit this one more time, doofus, then SHUT THE HELL UP.

But hey, to the performers' credit, they're musicians, and most of them can still sing. Likewise, almost all know how to play to the crowd, and they must be doing something right, because NBC keeps showing lots of scantily clad young women waving their arms in the front row while mouthing the words and swaying to the beat. Although, oddly enough, the later performers have been winning and it's the vocalists who've tended to win (well, Vanilla Ice isn't really a vocalist) rather than the rockers (who usually go first to get things started with a bang)... me, I prefer rock, but hey.

What it comes down to is, for this child of the '80s, the show is just fun. Even if it's goofy, cruel, morbid fun. Props to NBC for keeping me amused in a post-"Contender" world.

"Hit Me Baby 1 More Time," on NBC
I don't know if any of this is true, but it mocks that stupid Vernon Kay and is therefore good
A random '80s nostalgia link
Britney, baby, one more time
And Jenny Craig, because we all need it (though I, for one, still have my HAIR)

Yeah, that's two posts in one day, but it's after midnight, so as far as I'm concerned, this counts as tomorrow's. Or today's. Whatever. You know what I mean. Now where'd I put "The Contender" on my DVR...?