Monday, April 5, 2010

Salute Your Shorts-O-Rama Part 1: The Radio Call-In Contest

I have a confession to make: ever since Children of the Nineties reran her Salute Your Shorts post the other day, I have not been able to stop watching it. I'll wake up in the middle of the night, itching to see what the gang at Camp Anawanna are up to. It's a disease, I tells ya, and I gots it bad. It's classic 90s Nickelodeon, after all. And would you look at that -- another ranga bully to add to our collection. You see, kids, long before South Park was making fun of gingers, they fucking ruled the world. Gribbs, Calvin and Wheeler -- meet Budnick. I think you'll all get along quite nicely, as long as you keep those freckled faces of yours out of the sun.

In honour of my bandwidth-consuming new hobby, I've decided to bring you back-to-back SYS recaps. (Which I think calls for an 'o-rama' suffix, don't you?) Get ready for some serious Camp Anawanna fun times ahead. Also, in a strange coincidence, I believe I've answered one of the Google search term questions ("abc series summer camp red hair") from my Google Analytics post. Huh. Who'd have predicted that?

If your memory is a little hazy and you need a bit of a catch-up, I highly recommend you visit Children of the Nineties and meet the kids. Oh, but don't worry about reading up on Pinsky. He's a dick, and he's not in this episode anyway. If you don't have time or are just too lazy, I'll give you a one-word description of the kids regardless. Since they're carbon-copy stereotypes like all nineties characters, it's really all the info you need.

Bully Budnick is hanging out in his cabin when loser counsellor Ug comes in all in a tizzy. Apparently he has a hot date, and needs a little spring in his step. Since Budnick's the camp hawker, Ug knows he's got something good in his suitcase. Budnick gives him some home-made cologne, which Ug puts all over his face despite Budnick's warnings not to. Ug says, "Seems kinda unfair to splash this on, you know, being a babe magnet. This'll be like throwing gasoline on a fire." I doubt that very much, Ug, since you are, as your nickname suggest, ugly. It may be a ridiculously unoriginal moniker, but I'll be goddamned if it ain't true.

Time for the opening credits, which totally rule. You know it. I love how half of them don't know the words, the other half make up the words, and fat boy Donkeylips goes on some tangent about how his fishing rod broke. Oh, Donkeylips. As soon as I saw him in this clip, I recognised him as Monica's prom date in that Friends episode where Ross plays the Beverly Hills Cop theme song on his Casio keyboard. (Okay, that's not actually what the episode's about, but it's the highlight for me.) Also, I think he was in Dude, Where's My Car. Donkeylips gets around.

The boys are chillin' in their cabin. Honestly, how often do these kids just sit around doing nothing? Don't they ever have activities or anything? (Instructional Swim doesn't count, because Michael and Budnick didn't even participate.) Nerd Sponge is doing something nerdy, as per his character trait requirement, while the other boys listen to the radio. It seems that Giant Jim the DJ is one of their favourites -- Donkeylips regales us with a story about how he once did his show butt-naked. He says it with such enthusiasm, too. You worry me a little, Donkeylips. Sponge cleverly points out that it's radio, so he really doesn't know for sure.

Giant Jim is hosting a radio quiz, and asks the question: "What gland in the human body makes you mature and grow bigger?" Budnick reckons it's the mouth. Sponge tells him that the mouth isn't even a gland, and clearly he's thinking of the pituitary. Sponge is such a little know-it-all shithead in this scene. (Harsh, but true.) Clearly I'm not the only one who thinks so, because when Sponge snarks that it's not surprising Budnick doesn't know the right answer, Budnick threatens to pound him. Yeah, you go, Budnick! Average kid Michael suggests that they stop all the fussin' and-a feudin' and get down to some phone-callin'. They're going to call the radio station and win a hundred bucks! Oh, such fun!

Unfortunately for the Boy Genius and his blonde-haired Jew friend, popular Dina is already using the only phone at camp. She's talking to her friend about this absolutely gorgeous boy she somehow met while in the camp confines. The mystery boy even has the early nineties-approved "four Ps" -- ponytail, pierced ears, personality and a Porsche. Ew to the first two, but I wouldn't say no to the others. Michael cons her into getting off the phone by telling her that Donkeylips is using her bra as a slingshot. I find this really funny for no apparent reason, except that I'm really an eight-year-old boy at heart. Long story short, not only does Sponge win the hundy, he also goes into some sort of lightning round where, if he answers two more questions correctly within the next 24 hours, he wins a thousand dollars. Budnick and Donkeylips's response? "Pituitary power!" Heh. Pituitary power. We totally have to make that a 'thing.'

Hippie ZZ and lady sporto Telly are listening to Giant Jim's show as well, and they rush over to the boys' cabin to congratulate Sponge. Michael starts bragging about Sponge's genius, and dares the girls to ask him anything. Dina asks him what Madonna's first number one hit was, and of course, Sponge has no idea. (For those of you playing at home, it was 'Like A Virgin'. I can't believe they were allowed to reference that song.) ZZ asks him an INXS question, and Telly asks him a tennis question, and guess what? A Beautiful Mind over there knows nothing. He doesn't even know what Johnny Depp has tattooed on his arm! (Dina says it's 'Winona Forever', so clearly it was before the unpleasantness and the partial laser removal.) Telly says that if they cut the girls in on 30% of the G he's going to win, and they'll pop culture the little dude up.

During archery (hey, an organised activity!), Sponge and Michael contemplate the girls' offer. Michael very sagely tells him, "There are two types of questions in this world -- guy questions and girl questions." Well now, Michael dearest, that's awfully general. Who's to say that someone who knows George Michael's real name can't be a dude? In fact, I'd suggest that quite a few dudes have called out George Michael's real name before, loudly, perhaps in a public bathroom. But I don't know, do whatever you want. The two decide to take their chances and keep the money to themselves. With pituitary power on their side, how could they possibly lose?

Once again, the boys are sitting around, doing nothing and waiting for Giant Jim to ask his next trivia question. All of a sudden, Ug comes in and turns off the radio. Oh, and his face is blue. Not like, "Brr, I'm so cold, I'm practically turning blue!" Actual blue. It seems that the Eau de Budnick he scored off everyone's favourite mischievous camper actually had blue dye in it. Niiice. Budnick tells him that "the Smurf look is in." Oh, and how right he is, too. Just ask James Cameron. Ug puts the entire cabin on lockdown -- no one is to leave without his permission. But oh noes, that means they can't get to the phone! Say goodbye to the G, boys.

Suddenly, the batteries in the radio die. Heh. It's just not your day, is it, Spongecakes? It's okay, though, because Budnick has a spare set. With that comes this exchange:

Budnick: "I'll give you these batteries for 20 per cent of the jackpot
Sponge: "You're not making money off my brain--"
Michael: "We'll take it."

The boys turn on the radio again, and Giant Jim is telling "Spongie" that he has four minutes to answer the second question -- what is George Michael's real name? Oooh, shit just got interesting. Sponge and Michael freak the fuck out and then rush over to the girls' cabin. They're still demanding 30% of the jackpoteroonie.

Sponge: "Oh, you can just forget that--"
Michael: "It's a deal."

Heh. Michael. Please don't ever go to Switzerland and leave us with fucking Pinsky for the rest of the series. Telly helpfully tells them that if they need anything else, just call them, handing over a ridiculously large walkie-talkie. Oh, nineties. How I miss thee.

While all this is going on, Ug is calling his hot date and cancelling on her because he's blue. "No no, not sad blue. Blue blue. Toilet bowl blue." Hee! I feel sorry for the Z generation. Have you watched Nickelodeon lately? I guarantee you, it's not pretty. While we're all going back and voluntarily reliving the kids' shows of our day, they're stuck watching shit made by the Jonas Brothers. There is very little shorts-saluting in Jonas, or so I'm told.

Michael radioes the girls' cabin and tells them that Ug's on the phone and they can't call the radio station. The girls provide a distraction by screaming loudly and then telling Ug that there's a skunk in the room. Just out of interest, is Ug the only counsellor in this joint? Because I'd think a female counsellor would be more appropriate. Then again, I'm probably just saying that because Ug looks like something out of America's Most Wanted.

Oh, and speaking of America's Most Wanted, it should be said that Giant Jim the DJ is taunting Sponge over the radio in a ridiculously over-the-top way. It's reminding me of the phone conversations the killer from Scream had where he taunted his victims before attacking them/gutting their boyfriend on the porch. I also doubt all this Sponge talk is making for interesting radio to anyone else listening who happens to not be Sponge.

Of course, it wouldn't be an awesome kids show if everything went to plan, now would it? After hanging up on Ug's girlfriend, the boys drop their quarter into some kind of vent, and their new plan...oh, their new plan. It makes me feel sick even retyping it. Michael finds some used gum on the phone, chews it (!) and then sticks it on the end of a stick, which they then insert into the vent. Michael, with your ten per cent managers' fee, please buy yourself some health insurance. (Side note: it's actually Dina's gum, but they don't know that and it's still gross. That phone's outdoors, for God's sake!) They get the coin, ring up Giant Jim and answer the question correctly. Huzzuh for gum-chewing Michael! What's a little hepatitis compared to a hundred smackeroos?

Telly's listening to the show with her headphones on, and Ug is running around the room hunting a nonexistent skunk with a tennis racquet. Poor blue Ug. Telly tells him that she just saw it fly out the window, so he can go now. Ug calls bullshit because as far as he knows, skunks do not have the ability to fly. Dina calls him a "big, brave man" and he gets distracted by her flattery and leaves. Bleech. Ug, please tone down the creeper vibe from now on.

Sponge has been listening to the radio intently all night, and by the next morning, he's hella tired. During breakfast, Budnick and Donkeylips just happen by. Budnick concedes that, "For the first time, I see that being a little scientist dweeb is a pretty cool thing." I bet Bill Gates heard that a few times after that whole Microsoft thing took off. (Is he still cool, Bill Gates? Or is it all about Jobs now?) Sponge thanks him for the roundabout compliment, but says that he's having doubts as to whether he can stay up listening to the radio any longer without getting some shut-eye. He questions whether it's worth his health, and Budnick helpfully adds, "Your health? Yeah." He then goes on to say that if Sponge misses out on that question, he's going to be very unhappy and may just "do things" to Sponge in his sleep. It all sounds a little rapey, to be honest.

Ug enters the dining hall and helps the creepy tone of the scene oh-so-much by saying, "Someone was very bad last night." Ew, what the hell is going on here? Of course, he's talking about the fact that someone snuck out of their bunk and made a call last night without his permish. I guess his girlfriend wasn't too happy about getting hung-up on. I wonder if it's Rachel from the Ug Gets Dumped episode, and the fact that I'm even wondering that means I seriously need to find a net nanny to block YouTube for at least a month. I'm really addicted, like, a Lindsay Lohan amount of addicted right now. Regardless of the identity of the mystery girlfriend, Ug tells the campers that they're all on "double probation," whatever that means, until one of them steps forward and claims responsibility for this heinous crime.

Budnick calls a meeting of the minds in his cabin. Sponge is so tired from last nights' lack of sleep that he literally can't get up. Pfft, Spongie Boy, you are such a feeb. Budnick finally gets him out of bed by putting Donkeylips's old sock on his head. Of course the fat boy has foot odour. That's not cliched at all.

What comes next is a cute little montage where the different stereotypes -- ahem, sorry, I mean campers, teach Sponge everything they know about their particular fields. Telly gives him some sports info. Budnick inexplicably finds himself an electric guitar and starts playing Metallica. Dina gives us an admittedly ill-timed rundown of the Coreys, including recently deceased Corey Haim. I guess it is pretty cool that he's now forever immortalised in a Salute Your Shorts episode, though. It's more than I can say. Michael, whose only character trait is that he's the "normal" kid, talks about Gilligan's Island for a bit. ZZ inexplicably finds herself an acoustic guitar and starts playing 'Kumbaya'. (I knew there was a reason I shipped her and Budnick! Look at the synchronicity!) And Donkeylips? Donkeylips teaches Sponge how to make farting sounds with his armpit, which I'm sure will come in handy when Sponge goes on to star in an Adam Sandler movie. This montage goes on for a long while, too, and the poor kids who can do nothing else except sing Kumbaya and fart with their armpits are forced to do it over and over again. Dina's bit's actually pretty cool to watch, as we get references to more Coreys and Tiffany. (She helpfully tells us that the singer isn't cool, but the store is.)

Even though his nickname is a reference to how much knowledge he can absorb, Sponge crashes and burns. ZZ tries to help by standing over his near-lifeless body and singing some more Kumbaya. Michael's head pops into the shot, and he pats her on the shoulder and says, "Just get out of here." Michael dude, you funny. Everyone else comes past and call him names, except Budnick, who repeats his freaky rape threat.

Michael (aka the good one) tries to rev him up by saying, "Show everyone you're not a little bookworm wuss." I'm sure that's helping, Michael. Sponge confesses that he's scared about getting the last question wrong, most likely because Budnick is going to go to town on him in his sleep, prison-style. Michael tells him he has faith in him, and Sponge gets up with a renewed sense of hope and determination. Pituitary power!

It's quiz time! The kids gather around the radio as "Giant Jim Jerkaroo" (as Sponge calls him) asks the question -- what colour is a giraffe's tongue? Sponge says it's red, then changes his mind and goes to black. Budnick's like, "Whaddaya mean, black?" I'm not sure Budnick understand basic colours. Sponge concedes that he doesn't know the answer. O RLY? You're telling me that a kid who, earlier in the episode was reading a book about molecular theories in fucking Latin doesn't know what colour a giraffe's tongue is? Michael and Telly tell him that they're proud of him for getting this far (a sentiment Budnick does not share), and Sponge says, "I'm pissed off that I'm not as smart as I thought I was." Whoah there, pally, that's some strong language you're laying down on us. Pissed off? Were they seriously allowed to say that back in the day? I can't imagine Alex Mack ever saying something like that, and she wore a hat, so she knows a little something about the world.

Just then, Ug rushes in with his boom box on his shoulder and his face ever bluer than before. I'm about to give him his marching orders to Pandora. Dina tries to explain why they're in the boys' cabin during lockdown, but Ug interrupts -- he knows the answer. A giraffe's tongue is black. Heh, Ug actually outsmarted Sponge! How do you say 'pwned' in Latin, Spongiekins? Michael, still unsure as to whether to trust a blue-faced, slightly pedophilic douchebagatron with their fortune, asks Sponge what he thinks, and Sponge suggests they start trusting Ug. Budnick says, "Now I know this kid's a moron." Bud, you win Camp Anawanna.

Speaking of winning, Sponge calls the radio station, wins the moolah and the kids all cheer. Suddenly, Ug comes on the line and demands the money for himself because the kids made him blue. Giant Jim asks him what he could be so sad about, and of course Ug's response is, "Not sad blue. Blue blue. Toilet bowl blue!" End camp fun, cue credits. Poor old Ug loses again. Pituitary power!

Next time: Budnick becomes a camp counsellor, and Pinsky gets ignored by me because he's Pinsky, and fuck Pinsky.


  1. I loved this show so much! And I also especially loved seeing Donkey Lips as Monica's date. Yes, he'll always be known to me as Donkey Lips.

  2. YES! Every time I play bar trivia, I hope there will be a question about what color a giraffe's tongue is just so that I can wow everyone with my mad giraffe tongue color knowledge.

    Please keep saluting their shorts.