Thursday, March 27, 2008

Regret, thy name is Menudo

Like soulless Wall Street brokers, despotic politicians or Brett Michael’s bandana, fandoms can seduce you with good looks, fast times and the promise of a retirement funded purely through action figures. Sometimes, though, as good as those looks are and as fun as those fast times can be, we end up regretting our fandoms, wondering what could have driven us to pay 30 bucks for a signed “Charmed” script off eBay or stand in line for hours at a convention just to shake the moist hand of Gil “Buck Rogers” Gerard. At the time, though, those actions don’t seem crazy. It’s only in retrospect that we perhaps come to regret what we’ve done and vow never to speak of it again.

Unless of course you’ve got a nerdy blog.

I’ve made some poor choices in my lifetime. I wish I could chalk them all up to youthful indiscretions, but that would be disingenuous. Plus, I don’t think when I was watching “Scarecrow and Mrs. King” as a junior in college I could still be counted as “youthful.” If only...

Yes, poke around in the dark recesses of my fangirl past and you’ll find several Menudo cassette tapes -- in both Spanish and English. I was in middle school and, quite possibly, the only suburban white girl in metro Detroit with a passion for the world’s first boy band. (Slightly cross-eyed Roy was my favorite. Dumb as a post but he looked good in glitter.) Although I was alone in my fan-ness, the upside was that I could stock up on Menudo action figures at a shockingly discounted 90 percent off at the local Meijers. The dollar ninety-seven investment hardly seemed worth it, though, when I realized their pants were glued on. I was kind of a weird kid.

Go back even further and we can mock me for a serious love of “Buck Rogers,” although even as a nine-year-old I sensed that a man with thinning hair and a poor relationship with spandex unitards was perhaps not “all that,” as the kids of the future would say. I believe my passion for “Buck Rogers” simply filled the void created by “Star Wars.” Movies only came out every three or four years. “Buck Rogers” came on every week and there were talking robots and space ships...and um, shoddy graphics and...a bird man...never mind.

Then there was The Monkees. I wasn’t around for the original incarnation, but boy, did I get Monkee fever when they made a comeback in the late 80s. Looking back, I try to justify my fervor as a simple appreciation of The Monkees' special brand of cultural satire, but really, I think I just liked Peter Tork. I blew hundreds of bucks of allowance money on concert tickets, magazines (including an issue of “16” that had the best line ever from a washed-up musician, courtesy of Mr. Tork, who said, “I used to be a heroin addict but now I’m just an alcoholic”) and pins. I probably could have bought myself a car or, you know, popularity but I squandered it on ill-conceived memorabilia. I was blinded by the fandom. Naughty fandom!

Which is my long way of saying, do you have any fandom demons in your closet? Things you regret, be it ownership of the entire boxed set of “Xena” or a childhood spent in “Spiderman” underoos? Think of this as Fan AA. We’re all friends here...

17 comments:

Bakerloo said...

Before the movie came out, I was completely obsessed with Dick Tracy. I had the Dick Tracy water bottle, Dick Tracy duffle bag and Dick Tracy t-shirt. I still only have the t-shirt, which was my signature item of clothing in college. I wore that shirt so much that when someone impersonated me for senior skits, they stole the t-shirt so everyone would know who they were playing.

But then I saw the movie and HATED IT. Fortunately, it had a great soundtrack by Madonna which led to many afternoons spent with my first ever gay best friend, choreographing dances to "Now I'm Following You" and "Sooner or Later." I was shocked to find out later in life that "Sooner or Later" is a Sondheim song. And that's where my Dick Tracy obsession segued into my theatre obsession. I won't get into the Broadway memorabilia I have....

Letishue said...

When I was about fifteen/sixteen I went nuts over this New Zealand tv show called The Tribe. It was a sort of post-apocalyptic show about a virus that wipes everyone over the age of 18. The actors were all teenagers, they wore crazy hair styles and makeup pretty much smeared all over their faces. It was crazy and I was obsessed. I imported the soundtrack, I watched every marathon WAM ran, I begged my Mom to assist me in putting "zulu knots" in my hair, there were posters on my wall, and worst of all I spent my free time emailing the WAM network badgering them about when the new season would start. Poor guys, we were practically on a first name basis. This is made all the more embarrassing by the fact that the show was not that great. Campy acting, very low budget but try telling sixteen year old me that. And don't even get me started on my childhood obsession with the yellow power ranger.

RedCochina said...

I really wish I could say I've only been infatuated with quality, ubercool bands but *tsk* I was a tween smitten by Joey McIntyre's adorable blue eyes. Had all NKOTBs albums, magazines, buttons, t-shirts, etc. My dad took me and a friend to their concert (my first concert ever!). And I was devastated when they broke up.

OK, that was embarassing. :)

LadyGypsy said...

Hi, my name is Kimberly and I used to be a New Kids on the Block fan. A "blockhead" if you will.

In a box deep in the eaves of my mother's attic, there are Jonathan Knight and Joey McIntyre "fashion" dolls, an NKOTB pillowcase, concert photos, posters, buttons, VHS tapes of concerts and TV appearances and a binder painstakingly filled with pages and pages about the band that I lovingly cut from the teen magazines at the time. At the time (mid to late teens) I'd have gladly taken a bullet for 4 out of 5 of them.

Because of my former fandom I've taken an oath never to mock a teen girl for squee-ing at a teen-pop band, no matter how painful I think the band is.

By the way, when rumor surfaced of a potential NKOTB reunion, I was all set to buy tickets. I'd have gone by myself and enjoyed the company of my thirty-blah-year old Blockheads.

Anonymous said...

A boyfriend of mine gave me for my 18th birthday:

Replica vintage poster for Big Brother and the Holding Company

Janis Joplin Action figure.

I sold the action figure at a garage sale for ten dollars last year. I'm not sure what to do with the Janis Joplin essential music scores I amassed in high school. I'm still holding on to the CD's. (Hey, the music's still good). I will get the poster framed some day.

--M.M.

magpie said...

Ok so apparently I was a "blockhead" too. I got out before I ammased too much merchandise though...
By real confession is for Animaniacs. I loved that show. I watched thru the end of high school into college. I have loads of random crap from when the Warner Bros had a store. I admitted to a coworker the other day that my (now well used and partially tea stained) Animaniacs mug is my all time favorite one. I was so thrilled when they reappeared on DVD and like to show clips to my 8th grade students. Only they totally don't get it. And just so my nerd-ness is clear - I was not so much a Pinky and the Brain fan, especially when they had their own show. I still think that the Warner kids had the best sketches!

Jen said...

My name is Jen, and I was obsessed with the Outsiders (both the book and the movie). I must have covered an entire bedroom wall with posters of those boys.

I've overcome my addiction, but it's strange, Matt Dillon looks exactly like he did 25 years (gulp) ago.

Code Crafter said...

Ah, I went to not one but two MC Hammer concerts...at one of them the opening act was Vanilla Ice.

I was really into ST:TNG for a while and had a HUGE crush on Data. I wrote some really inappropriate fan fiction. Luckily I'm pretty sure all evidence of that was destroyed long ago.

Liz said...

It feels good to get it all out there, doesn't it? I'm no AA expert -- yet -- but I think we had a good session. And if NKOTB ever reunites, I have a feeling we'll see a lot of Park Benchers at the show. :)

Kathe said...

Hello, My Name is Kathe and I had a serious "problem" with "Scarecrow and Mrs. King". It all stemmed from my love of Kate Jackson in Charlie's Angels. She WAS the smart one and then there was of course Bruce Boxleitner... *sigh*... I was sadly disillusioned by him once he went and married Melissa Gilbert, but that's another story. My obsession led me to actually TAPE record (not thru the VCR, but actual cassette tape) an early episdoe and listen to it over and over. Yeah, I still have that entire episode memorized. When we purchased our first VCR I managed to tape every episode. It was years before I let them go.

After that show ended the Universe blessed me with "Star Trek - TNG". Oh yes, obsession reigned supreme and I also taped every single episode of that masterpiece of TV. I have spent so much money on VCR tapes in my youth, I'm pretty sure I could have bankrolled my college tuition with that money.

Trey said...

When I was younger, I was a card-carrying member of the Robotech Defense Force. I may even still have the card around here somewhere.

I also admit to a small obsession with Jem and the Holograms, and fangirlish squeeing for both The Monkees and The New Monkees. The Monkees, with Weird Al, opening, was my first concert.

Liz said...

Trey, I went to a concert during that Monkees tour with Weird Al, too! Good times....

Kathe, you and me both on the VCR tapes. I was a taping junkie growing up. The downside was that I was too lazy and foolish to label any of them! To this day, there are boxes and boxes of video tapes in my basement -- and I have no idea what's on them! D'oh!

queencallipygos said...

Hi, my name is Kim and have in the past actually owned the following:

* Phil Collins albums.
* John Denver albums.
* A BIONIC WOMAN coloring book.
* A soundtrack to RIVERDANCE.
* Mulder and Scully Barbie Dolls.
* Mulder and Scully action figures.
* The Princess Leia action figure (however, I could never figure out how to get her hair back into the double-bun look, so she's got a bob now).

And I actually liked the following:

*ISHTAR.

that last one probably trumps everything.

MandyU said...

I too, was a blockhead. I think I fell off the wagon just after Step-by-Step was released. Joey was all over my bedroom all through elementary school. Debbie Gibson too.

And I had a crush on Data too Code Crafter. You're not alone. I've developed weird nerdy crushed on lots of characters...maybe that should be a future topic of discussion.

Liz said...

Ooh, fellow blockhead here. It killed my nine-year-old self that my mom wouldn't buy me a ticket to the NKOTB concert (she told me, strangely, that some girls broke their necks standing on chairs at concerts, which didn't make sense even then, but I guess she had to have a reason, no?). But I'm pretty sure the New Kids sleeping bag is still in my parents' attic, so at least there's that.

And then there was the ice-skating obsession. I didn't skate, myself, but to this day my parents have drawers of VHS tapes marked "DNTO" (DO NOT TAPE OVER!!!!!); they're full of skating competitions and exhibitions from the mid-nineties. I went to all the skating shows that came to my area and spent hours looking at the programs I brought home, and I knew everything about all the skaters. I even hand-wrote most of a novel about a thinly veiled Paul Wylie and (pre-incident) Nancy Kerrigan.

Wow, I was awesome.

Anonymous said...

Oh the Birdman! I remember the birdman. He had a ship with bird claws for god sakes, how could you not love that.

Fortunately, I didn't loose too much money as a kid collecting things I'd later regret in life. But, I'm 36 years old and my friend just bought me a BSG Cylon action figure for my birthday. (which I totally asked for.) So, um....yeah. I figure probably fit in here someplace.

SFG said...

Nothing wrong with developing crushes on TV characters...actors after all are chosen among thousands of men for their attractiveness. I would argue the nerdy bit is, say, crushing on Data rather than Picard or Riker.