Thursday, February 4, 2010

90s Kids' Shows -- Musical Style!

Here we go. I've got my blogger pants on, my Irish coffee (more Irish than coffee) and my Doritos within arms' reach -- I'm ready to bring you another installment of ABC Not-Just-For-Kids, but this time...there's a twist! DUN-DUN-DUUUUN! Instead of simply recapping an episode, I'm paying homage to the more musical side of things. Yes, it seemed that every channel we turned to as a rugrat, our TV shows were singing to us. Kinda like High School Musical, only not annoying and gay. (Says Lorelai as she closes her iTunes browser so nobody can see the horrors that lurk there.)

(Oh, and in case you're wondering, my blogging pants are actually a pair of harem pyjama pants with a nineties-style floral pattern on them. I also have a grey- and black-striped pair that I bought because they looked like ones Kelly Taylor had on 90210.)

Today I'm bringing you the best (and the worst) songs from my childhood. Who knows, they could be from yours, too. Let's get started with a little ditty everyone knows...even tortured prisoners.

Barney the Dinosaur -- I Love You

Oh. My. Gawd. This is one of those clips that absolutely ruins your childhood. You have fond memories of Barney, right? I mean, he's the dinosaur from our imagination! He can be your friend too if you just make-believe him! Barney's great fun! Right? Right?

Wrong. So very, very wrong. Barney is one giant purple pimple of annoying on the face of humanity. He's the most grating childhood fellow from memory, and the kids he danced around with -- oh the kids! The irritating, attention-whore kids who just won't shut up! The fact that my parents actually let us own a video of this fucking thing growing up is a testament to their patience. (Come to think of it, that video got "lost" pretty early on in the piece.)

'I Love You' is yet another way Barney came back to bite us in the arse when we were older -- because after you listen to it, even once, you NEVER GET IT OUT OF YOUR HEAD AGAIN. Ever. I'm not entirely unconvinced that it isn't some sort of brainwashing propaganda. Yvan eht nioj! Yvan eht nioj! I'm fucking onto you, Barney.

Lamb Chop's Play-Along -- The Song That Never Ends

I always hated Lamb Chop. I don't know why, I just wasn't interested in his little adventures. He seemed like kind-of a smartarse to me, and I never appreciated it.

Take this clip for example. This song, it never ends. It. Never. Ends. Seriously. The poor host is basically doing a very good commentary of what everyone over the age of ten felt when Lamb Chop and his motley crew starting singing that godforsaken number. He and his buddies spawned an entire generation of primary school kids who knew that it was the key to going from zero to annoying in five seconds.

And then the children come out of the barn and start marching! Ugh! If I didn't know that this was filmed waaay before Barney, I'd say they were sending up The Purple One's load of snot-nosed showponies.

Play School -- We're Going To The Zoo

For any international readers who didn't have the privilege of experiencing Play School, it was basically a show where two presenters sang, danced and made stuff out of other stuff. Cardboard boxes became cars, household sponges became babies, pipe cleaners became anything under the sun. And they sang about it. Since said presenters broke out into song about a hundred billion times an episode (accompanied by a piano that seemed to come from nowhere), I have much to choose from.

This clip is a special one because it features the irreplaceable John Hamblin. If Play School was a real school, he'd be the wiseacre at the back, spouting clever one-liners and double entendres. While we were all marvelling over Monica's ability to write secret messages using nothing but a candle stick, our parents were laughing away at John and his antics. And it's no wonder:

I'll be honest with you -- when I was finding a suitable clip for this show, I got a little sidetracked and watched everything I could with John in it. What a man, what a legend, what an uncanny resemblance to Michael Caine. I snorted my Irish coffee out my nose at the end of this clip when he called the pillow baby Kylie and proclaimed that Knee-High had a floppy neck. (A joke I never got as a kid. Knee-High's made from stockings! Ha ha ha!)

Bananas In Pyjamas -- Banana Holiday

This is a song I'd forgotten all about, but the second the music started, I magically remembered all the words. And unlike Barney and fucking Lamb Chop, it's actually fun and catchy.

What's not to like? In these troubled economic times, we could all learn a thing or two from the Bananas. Sure, they want to go away on a holiday, but where to? And at what cost? The solution, my friends, is to have a holiday at home with all your teddy and rat friends! Yay! You'd never have to come back from that holiday. Sure, you wouldn't be able to steal all the shampoo and stuff from the hotel bathroom, but packing is a breeze! And all the other things the B-Nays wanted to do in the first two verses of the song can all be done on Cuddles Avenue! Hooray! Fun for all!

Seriously, though, they live on the beach. As in, their house is literally on the beach. And they don't have jobs of any description, unless you count that Surf Patrol thing they do. (And in a town of six people, I don't.) Your life is already a holiday, Bananas! Thanks for rubbing that in.

The Wiggles -- Uncle Noah's Ark

"Foul!" I hear you cry. "The Wiggles are a band, not a cast from a TV show! And they're a new thing!" Well, wrong, I cry back! The Wiggles have been around in Australia for years and years and years. Long before they had their names on their skivvies, they were just four dudes in coloured T-shirts who didn't mind humiliating themselves for the entertainment of children. But yeah, you were right about the first bit. They did eventually get their own TV show, but this song's not from it.

Actually, this song is from their very first video, of which my brothers and I were proud owners. (My bro had a bit of a man crush on Greg. We couldn't get him to wear any colour but yellow for the first six years of his life, and I'm absolutely not exaggerating.) As you can see, The Wiggles were not always the well-oiled machine of preschool fun that they are today. They don't even have their logo on their belts! What peasants!

Fact: during these early days, they didn't even have a separate guy playing Captain Feathersword. One minute the four of them would be rockin' out, singing about fruit salad and getting ready to wiggle, and the next, The Cap'n would arrive just as Anthony magically disappeared...

'Uncle Noah's Ark' is my favourite Wiggles song of all time. I only wish I could've found the actual clip online, but I think you get the gist from the cheesy album cover, and the brilliant song lyrics. I mean, there are animals! Noah! A bullfrog that talks! I learned the word 'fowl' from this song, and that's not all I learned. Oh no. The Wiggles made bible studies fun. They probably saved a few souls in their day. And what have you done for us lately, Lamb Chop?

Sesame Street -- C is for Cookie

I had a hard time choosing this one. There are so many classic Sesame Street songs that it was difficult whittling it down to just once choice. After all, Kermit reminded us that it wasn't easy being green. Ernie professed his love to a rubber ducky so passionately it must've made Bert a little jealous. They even sent up popular songs, like when the Shapes Band told us how hip it was to be a square. I seriously wanted to be a square...until I worked out what that meant for humans.

I chose 'C is for Cookie' for my countdown because I believe it expresses a childlike innocence that simply does not exist on Sesame Street anymore. Of course, it's still a fun show. It teaches us stuff. But the lessons now have less to do with our ABCs and more about...sigh...healthy eating. Nowadays, C is for carrot, celery and cucumber -- cookies are only "sometimes" foods. Ugh. When I was a young'un, cookies weren't sometimes foods, okay? We had them with our glass of milk. It was the only way our parents could get us to drink milk. I doubt the words, "Hey kids, if you don't drink your milk you won't get any celery," is going to have the same effect, Sesame Street producers.

Look at the Cookie Monster here. So joyful is his proclamation of love for the common household cookie. He loves cookies more than donuts. He loves cookies more than the moon. The moon! Man has aspired to go to the moon since we figured out what the fuck it was, but ask the Cookie monster, and he'd tell you that he'd rather sit down a chow on a choc chip treat. I doubt he shows that sort of enthusiasm when he's singing about motherfucking vegetables.


  1. Cookie Monster was the shit back in the day. It pains me to think about cookies being a sometimes food.

    Barney drove me absolutely bonkers. I was 11 years old when Barney came on the scene, and the kid I babysat for would only behave if we watched one of the tapes on repeat.

    Even though I was too old for it, I always had mad love for Bananas in Pyjamas. I think maybe the songs used to hypnotize me.

  2. I hate that cookies are now a sometimes food, too!

    Go bananas in pajams!

  3. I have no idea how I missed Bananas in Pajamas but I never have seen this show. My friend had a stuffed doll but I had no idea what it was!

    Barney was the worst.

    Check this out, I dated this guy all through college, wanted to marry him but he dumped me, he was actually related to Sherri Lewis. It was his great aunt! How cool? Ha ha!

    Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing