bad TV, celebrities, music, nostalgia

Kelly Ripa as a teen…

Last night, just before retiring for the evening, someone in a fun Facebook group I’m in posted this poofy video…

This video was from a show called Dance Party USA. It must have been a local series, since I never saw it in Virginia.

I think the person who shared this did so because of the song. It’s Debbie Gibson singing her hit, “Only In My Dreams”, which was a hit when I was a teenager. I was never a Debbie Gibson fan, but a lot of my friends were. I was familiar with the album this song came from, as well as Ms. Gibson’s formidable talent. Her music wasn’t my favorite, but like me, she has perfect pitch. Unlike me, she plays piano and composes her own songs. At least back in 1988, when she was about 18 years old, she had an appealingly girlish voice.

I got a kick out of this video. The fashions and hairstyles, while cringeworthy in 2020, were quite familiar to me. Some of the dance moves were good. Some were pretty hilarious. And then, there she was… the great Kelly Ripa.

Isn’t this cute?

I’m not a big Kelly Ripa fan, but I do recall seeing her in ads and hosting morning TV shows. I’ve never been one to watch those shows myself, but my parents did. And I know that Kelly Ripa, also two years older than I am, has gone on to become a television presenter and talk show host. Wasn’t she famous for taking over Kathie Lee Gifford’s spot with the late Regis Philbin?

I thought the above clip would be thrilling enough, but then I spied another upload featuring the great Rick Astley of “rickrolling” fame and huge hits like “Never Gonna Give You Up” and “Forever Together”. I actually kind of liked Rick Astley when he was popular, although it didn’t escape my attention that his songs all sounded quite similar.

Oh my dear LORD!

Rick seems kind of low key, especially compared to Kelly Ripa’s hair, which is permed to poodle perfection. Seriously, kids, if you want to know what we looked like in the late 80s, here ya go. Jesus Christ! And I thought the Bradys were tacky!

Ooh… Bobby Brown is showing off his moves!

I actually liked Pretty Poison. I wonder what happened to them.

I’m sure this was fun at the time. It’s kind of embarrassing now.

Here’s a more recent look at Kelly Ripa. She’s aging nicely. It helps to have professional makeup artists and hair stylists fixing her up. She now hosts Live with Kelly and Ryan.

I think those choppers have been used to sell toothpaste, too.

Ordinarily, I would post this on my music blog. Maybe I will post it there eventually, although I’ve kind of lost interest in that blog recently. Besides, Kelly isn’t a musician. She’s just a cutie pie who presents stuff on TV. I was pretty shocked to see her on Dance Party USA, though. I guess people have to start somewhere. I’ve read that that show was taped in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Camden, New Jersey. They had a lot of cool celebs on there. According to their Wikipedia page, it looks like none of the hosts ever went on to the big time, unlike Kelly, who was apparently an occasional guest star.

I just can’t believe how quickly the past 32 years have flown by. It seems like yesterday, I was a teenager mucking out stalls and impatiently waiting to launch my life. It just goes to show that before you know it, you’re an old bat like me, with an aching back and lots of memories. Maybe shows like these took off after Sarah Jessica Parker, Helen Hunt, and Shannen Doherty made Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.

I’ve never been one for dancing. Well, except for maybe slam dancing… a good slam dance was fun, especially when I was in my 20s and inebriated. I don’t dance anymore, so don’t ask me. I wonder if Kelly still does.

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musings

What inspired this?

I have a feeling this song was inspired by something besides sunshine and flowers…

Last week, I started watching the new show Fosse/Verdon, a series about Bob Fosse and his wife, Gwen Verdon. Ever since I saw the 1979 film, All That Jazz, I’ve been a fan of this famous Broadway duo. I also remember watching the 1985 film, A Chorus Line, in which their daughter, Nicole Fosse, starred. All That Jazz was based on Bob Fosse’s life; the movie, which starred Roy Scheider as Broadway choreographer Joe Gideon, ended with the protagonist’s rather surreal death, although Fosse lived until 1987.

This is one of the more memorable scenes in All That Jazz.

The first time I saw Gwen Verdon dance was on the old 1980s TV show Fame, based on the film of the same name. Gwen Verdon was a guest star, and she and Debbie Allen did a number. I gotta say, as talented as Debbie Allen is, I was left kind of awestruck by Verdon, who even in older later years danced like a dream.

She makes it look so easy.

I am not myself a dancer. My eldest sister got those genes and she was pretty good at cutting the rug– especially in ballet. Thanks to her involvement in dance, I was often dragged to ballets and other cultural shit when I was a kid. I developed an appreciation for it, even if I am myself somewhat unrefined about some things. Still, as I watched the first video in this post, I was kind of wondering what made Paul Simon come up with those sunny lyrics. Although I don’t know for certain, I kind of get the impression that maybe it was the green, green “grass” that has inspired so many artists over the years. Or maybe he was just high on life.

Listening to Simon’s lyrics, coupled with the strange “Dr. Suess-esque” set and Verdon’s own impossibly fluid dancing, makes me think the world would be a better place if more people enjoyed a little weed. On the other hand, it’s entirely possible that this number was inspired by the weirdness that was the 1970s. I only remember the mid to latter years of that decade myself, but to me, it was a magical time… probably because I was a little kid with no responsibilities.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I smoke weed myself. I’ve actually only tried it once, and that was in June 2015, when we visited Haarlem, in the Netherlands. Marijuana is legal in the Netherlands, so it was a prime chance for me to see what all the fuss was about. While I’ve heard that some people don’t like pot, I found it kind of relaxing and fun. It definitely made the drive back to Germany less dull. I think I could use another trip to Haarlem, not just for marijuana, but also because it’s just a really nice little city that manages to be quaint even though it sits next to Amsterdam. I had decided to stay there based on Rick Steves’ advice and several of Bill’s Dutch colleagues congratulated me for that. Apparently, Haarlem is one of the better kept secrets to visiting Amsterdam, which I found expensive, overwhelming, and not all that charming.

Anyway… watching Verdon’s floaty dance moves in her pink outfit, looking like she stumbled into Dr. Seuss’s world as she flitted and flowed to Paul Simon’s “groovy” lyrics made me wonder what inspired that number. And my thoughts about potential drug inferences might have come from Desperate Housewives, and a memorable scene set to “Feelin’ Groovy” as Lynette Scavo tries to deal with the chaos of dealing with four, young, very active little kids. A little better living through chemistry… quite tempting when things get crazy. Obviously, I wasn’t the only one who got the connection.

Whoa… obviously I’m not the only one who gets the reference.

I actually meant to write about politics this morning. I’ll probably get around to it, after I pull the sheets out of the dryer. But anyway, I like Fosse/Verdon. Michelle Williams does a great job as Gwen Verdon and has come a long way from Dawson’s Creek. Watching FX’s new show reminded me of how lovely Gwen Verdon was and seeing that clip from the Carol Burnett Show was a treat this morning. It kind of makes me wish I’d taken some dance lessons myself.

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