The White Stuff (In the Middle of an Oreo)

Last night’s episode of The Goldbergs (a loving sendup of 80s suburban American) exposed our children to New Kids on the Block – and by extension “Weird” Al (which I’ll get to). If you didn’t see the episode, the two brothers find an old VHS tape of their older sister on which she’d recorded her mad love for NKOTB. The boys planned to use that tape to tease her relentlessly, but couldn’t help themselves from falling in love with the New Kids, resulting in the boys recording themselves lip-syncing Hangin’ Tough. The video gets out and yadda yadda yadda. Good episode (most are). Now one of the many, many awesome things about our kids is that when something grabs their interests they dig right into it – and after the show it was, Was that a real song? Who were NKOTB? Did you like them, Daddy? BOOM!

CUT TO:

INT – JDOUBLEP’S HEAD

We are in the Brainbow.

On a purple couch, suffused in the prismatic light of the Brainbow, sit JORDAN, JOEY, DONNIE, DANNY and JON, THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK, frozen in time around1989. They aren’t doing the New Kids’ dance. They are looking right at us, unmoving, unblinking, seemingly on the verge of tears.

JDOUBLEP
(Voiceover)

DID I LIKE THEM? SHIT. HOW DO I ANSWER THIS? NO I DIDN’T LIKE THEM. I WANTED N.W.A. TO GIVE ‘EM SUMPIN’ TO DANCE TO. I WANTED ICE T TO BREAK OUT HIS DRILL ON ‘EM. I WANTED THE GETO BOYS TO SHOW ‘EM THE MIND OF A LUNATIC!

JOEY

WE’VE BEEN TOGETHER FOR A LONG TIME, BABY.

JDOUBLEP
(Voiceover)

NO. NO. NO.

JOEY & JORDAN

DO YOU HAVE TO LEAVE?

JDOUBLEP
(Voiceover)

I REMEMBER HOW IT ALL BEGAN
I USED TO SING DIRTY RAPS TO MY EASTSIDE FRIENDS

NKOTB
(Standing up, hands over hearts)

PLEASE DON’T GO, J
WE JUST CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT YOU
PLEASE DON’T GO, J
SO LISTEN TO ME… (DON’T GO, J)
PLEASE DON’T GO, J
YOU WOULD RUIN OUR WHOLE WORLD
TELL US YOU’LL STAY
NEVER EVER GO AWAY
WE LOVE YOU (WE LOVE YOU)

CUT TO PREUTOPIA:

No, kids, I can’t say I liked them – coolness codes of late 80s/early 90s forever prevent my saying those words…but I can tell you that I knew all the lyrics to their songs. Then my family teased me and we spent 30 mins youtubing NKOTB videos and doing the New Kids’ dance. I think I’m going to make some shirts that read “Donny is my home boy.”

Soon it was time to brush teeth and put on pjs. And while that was going on I mentioned “Weird” Al’s parody of “The Right Stuff”, which prompted: Who is “Weird” Al?

WHO IS “WEIRD” AL?!?!?

I’d failed as a parent. Our kids are pop music aficionados. They have incredibly nuanced and wacky senses of humor. They write their own parodies of Christmas carols about pooping! How had this taken so long? We quickly remedied this by foregoing standard bedtime routines in favor of 30 minutes of “Weird” Al videos which truly blew their minds and induced fits of giggles all around. It was awesome. They especially liked the Polka Face medley.

Finally, it was lights out and as the day faded away I caught our daughter humming lightly into her pillow: Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh-oh – Hangin’ Tough. Golden moments of parenting.

Then came morning and our son wakes up, rubs his eyes and asks, Can I watch some “Weird” Al videos? That was awesome, too.

This post is dedicated to my brother, M. The P family’s biggest “Weird” Al fan and only admitted NKOTB fan. (You didn’t hear that from me.)

The White Stuff (In the Middle of an Oreo)