Something is Wrong in Tom Hanks’ Neighborhood, Mike Judge Finds a New Office Space, and Fighting Games Come Roaring: Thirty Twenty Ten – Feb 15-21

Street Fighter IV turns 10, Milton loses his stapler, Joey’s dates a violent Punky Brewster, Madea goes to Jail (The Movie), Bill and Ted debut, Conan says goodbye to Late Night, and TV begins its slow journey into HD. All that and more this week on Thirty Twenty Ten, your weekly look back on the week that was 30, 20, and 10 years ago.

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13 thoughts on “Something is Wrong in Tom Hanks’ Neighborhood, Mike Judge Finds a New Office Space, and Fighting Games Come Roaring: Thirty Twenty Ten – Feb 15-21

  1. oh no, the planet’s funniest animals with wimpy Matt Gallant!! My mom had a thing 11 years ago where she watched that show every.afternoon. for about a year, the same 20 episodes over and over again. I think Matt did the V.O.’s for the WB in the beginning too.

    I love the KMart scene in Madea goes to Jail because it was probably the last movie scene ever in a KMart https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OXfGR4dgiY

    I’m so mad that I don’t have a copy on DVD (I missed it the night it aired, yes I brought my DVD recorder with me to college) of Conan’s last late night.

  2. I never did see The Burbs save for a scene I saw on TV that was a nightmare dream sequence and had Dick Miller as a garbage man. I do want to however since it seems up my alley.

    I did see Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure however. *air guitar* I first saw it on TV back in 2004 or 2005 I think. Maybe 2003. It was on a Saturday morning movie block on what used to be ABC Family at the time. Saw that, Digimon: The Movie and Back to the Future Part II there. Of course, the 80s live action films were edited for dialogue. Though “You killed Ted, you mideval bonehead!” sounds more in character than him shouting Dickweed. But I loved it from the getgo and have the DVD. I should see it again really, been a while but I know some facts. Like it was supposed to be distributed by DEG (DeLaurentiis Group) back in 1987 but they went bankrupt and the film went to Orion Pictures instead. Though they had to dub all instances of 1987 with 1988. Can’t do anything about a banner that says ’87 but what can you do? And Sean Connery was considered for Rufus apparently when they toyed with the idea of hiring a serious actor for the role before settling on George Carlin.

    Third film should be fun though, they have a promising idea, director and they won’t recast Rufus. No idea what they’ll do but hey, that sequel’s Twitter account is verified so it must be happening. Hell, it’s set to film on March 5th this year and as a sort of consistent irony, MGM will distribute the film via their newly reinstated Orion Pictures.

    And that episode of Married with Children, love that one too.

    Office Space I saw parts of but should see. I like the song Take This Job and You Shove It though, very catchy.

    Though if I may for a brief moment, Idiocracy fucking sucks. It’s celebrating eugenics. I really hope Mike Judge doesn’t believe in eugenics after making that movie.

    Anyway, I did however watch October Sky in the 7th grade for Science class. Sadly though, my teacher didn’t get the whole class to watch a demonstration of laughing a mini rocket like in the film. But looking back, it’s pretty good.

    Jawbreaker I should see too however.

    But Madea Goes To Jail, parts of I saw on TBS before they and Tyler Perry didn’t like each other anymore, I admit I chuckled a couple of times but I feel there should be a rule for bad comedies that you know it’s going to suck if it has K-Mart product placement given that and Grown Ups 2.

  3. Also, apparently Tyler Perry is retiring Madea this year after the latest one with one about a family funeral. We’ll see how long that lasts given he said that before and he still played the character. He even made and starred in an animated about Madea for crying out loud!

  4. Here are all the memories/thoughts dredged up by this week’s episode:

    Bill & Ted:
    Bill & Ted was one of those weird things that I saw completely out of order. I knew it first as the Saturday morning cartoon. Years later I caught Bogus Journey and loved it, and from there rented Excellent Adventure. That sort of out of order viewing isn’t really possible these days when the entirety of everything ever created is available instantly. Like I have to explain to my kid why he can’t watch something right now sometimes because he’s so used to everything being available on demand.

    The ‘Burbs and Nostalgic Lenses:
    I agree with Diana. The ‘Burbs – Nostalgia = Meh.

    I never saw The ‘Burbs as a kid. I only watched it as an adult when my wife had me sit through it talking about it like it was a classic. I was left with the same feeling that it was a movie that wasn’t quite there. My wife, on the other hand, loves the movie. She and her siblings grew up watching it and they think it’s a classic of ‘80s cinema. I guess you had to be there watching it when it came out.

    The Digital TV Switch:
    I worked at Fry’s in the Components section back when the switch from analog to digital broadcast was going down. We had a shitload of converter boxes coming through, as well as detailed instructions for customers on how to get their rebate from the government that paid for their converter box completely if they got one of the cheaper options.

    I live in the Midwest and our store was right on the edge of some pretty rural areas. A lot of people who came in were complaining because apparently the digital signal doesn’t travel as far as analog over the airwaves, and it’s either working or not. There’s no in between with a fuzzy signal that can be boosted by weather or manipulating rabbit ears. A lot of rural folks complained that they weren’t able to get half the channels with the digital signal that they got with the analog signal.

    Honestly I was surprised at how many people still relied solely on their TV antenna rather than getting satellite. Mostly they were older and set in their ways, but it was still a shock.

    Fired Up:
    So I never saw more than a few seconds of this movie and it’s probably terrible and forgttable. A throwback to the kind of teen sex comedy from the ‘80s that the world didn’t want in the late ‘00s.

    Having said that, I was a straight male cheerleader who went to a cheer camp where there were five hundred girls and maybe twelve guys for an entire week, so I have things to say about the premise of this movie.

    The real world version is a lot more boring than Hollywood. Surprise. All but one of the guys who were there were straight. I didn’t even know the gay male cheerleader thing was a stereotype until Bring It On came out. At our school it was something guys did if they wanted to win a state championship because the squad was good. Also, it wasn’t the target rich environment you might expect. The guys were sequestered into one wing of a dorm where they were surrounded on all sides by camp staff and security guards. They didn’t want us getting out of our wing after hours, and girls weren’t allowed to join us.

    The one time we were allowed to let loose was at the end when our squad hosted a dance. At that point it was a situation where twelve guys got lost in a crowd of five hundred dancing girls who’d been away from male companionship for a week, but even then it wasn’t all that racy. We were in high school and it’s not like anyone could sneak away without getting in trouble from the staff who were keeping a watchful eye on everything. Close dancing in a crowd was about as hot and heavy as things got.

    In short, the fantasy of being among the only handful of guys at a cheerleading camp for a week isn’t nearly as sexy or interesting as it sounds since we were kept on lockdown the entire time.

    Simpson’s HD Crop:
    Your discussion of the Simpsons switch to HD being similar to Gilligan’s Island being in black and white couldn’t be more true. My son knows the difference between shows that fill the entire screen and “square” shows that daddy shows him from when I was a kid. He talks about it the same way I talked to my parents about black and white vs color TV. Oh, and I think we can all agree that the decision to crop the top and bottom of old Simpsons episodes so they fit on an HDTV rather than properly remastering them makes them look like shit in 16:9.

  5. Bill S. Preston and Theodore Logan are some amazing characters and it’s also amazing that their movie came out the same week as the very first Wayne’s World sketch on SNL (if you want to wait until the second sketch to talk about them, that was on March 25, 1989) I really don’t think we had been exposed to the dumb stoner trope before (Fast Times at Ridgemont High was a little before our times) so they the two duo’s are heavily linked because my 10-11 year old reference group instantly began mixing and maxing there quotes to be super cool. B&T definitely became a VHS staple for me and I must have watched it at least 10 times but zero times in the last 20 years though so I’m anxious to watch it with my kids and see what the youth of today think of it.
    I still think of him as young but Keanu Reeves is now the average age at which men become a Grandfather in the USA.
    Bill and Ted side products: Did anyone ever play the video games? I remember really wanting to but never doing so for one reason or another. I’m sure they are adaptation trash typical of the time but I’d be curious to hear from anyone who played them at the time.
    Googling around; Wow! There was BOTH a Bill and Ted cartoon series and a Bill and Ted live-action TV series. Until I googled it I had zero memories of the live-action one but as soon as I saw it, I remembered that it totally sucked.
    As a Bill & Ted side-note, I tried to kick start a wacky B&T inspired time travel comedy about George Lucas from 1976 being time-traveled to the year 1998 to make the Phantom Menace and I had a scene where his goofy time-traveler-buddy was supposed to remember to steal some keys in the future, and then hide them on top of a windowsill in the past so they could find them in the present. George Lucas then began searching all for the key and couldn’t find it and got mad at the time-traveler. The time-traveler apologized and then said, “Well, at least now I don’t have to remember them.” https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jrralls/citizen-george-every-saga-has-a-creator
    Office Space came out 20 years ago and I’ve yet to have a job in the last 20 years that I didn’t think about it at least once at. My current job? I just had a boss essentially say, “What would you say it is you do here?” Working in a Japanese school? I had printer problems for two years and always dreamed of going “Gangster” on it. Working a help line for a bankruptcy? I literally had someone say “Looks like somebody has a case of the Mondays.” (To this day I still don’t know if they were quoting the film or not.) Being in a car dealership and having co-workers pitch me terrible ideas of their start-up that would allow them to quit? The Jump to Conclusions Mat jumped to my mind as they were talking. It’s even come up in utterly non office environments. When I was in a fraternity we had a guy who was in the process of joining and then after “the incident” we didn’t want him to join anymore. In a private meeting without him there, we withdrew his membership invitation. Someone asked who was going to tell him, and the response was that his invitation was now removed so the problem was resolved. At this point two people laughed and said, “It’s just like Office Space – “We fixed the glitch.” (And don’t get me started on how many of my college friends told me about girls who they were going to show their O-face to.) The film is such a gem with tons of little things, for instance I didn’t notice that the place Jennifer Aniston works at is called Chotchkie’s, which means a small bauble or miscellaneous item. Truly a great work. What are your favorite little touches in Office Space?
    And now, let me get a little too real; What has Peter’s working life most been over the last 20 years? We know he decided to work construction. Nothing wrong with that, it’s fairly high paying blue-collar job once you’ve got a couple years of experience, but it’s also heavily tied to the overall economic environment. When the dot.com crash happens in 2000 Pete, as a guy with only more than 1 year of experience is likely to be the first to let go. Not guaranteed, of course, but I want to look at what his _average_ future would be like. So, one year of work experience, followed by probably at least one year of unemployment and one year of underemployment (hired for a week or two to help with a job but nothing regular). But by 2002-2003 the housing boom begins to take off and Peter probably gets regular work again and then the next five years are probably really good ones for Peter. If we assume that he’s 30 in Office Space (the actor was 32 so I feel this is fair) then given someone in his demographic group this probably around the time he gets married and has kids. Not guaranteed, but that’s a fairly typical age to do those things, his work should be going great so when he turns 39 he probably has two very young kids. And you know what will also happen before his first kid starts attending school? The Great Recession. And that absolutely devastating to every branch of the construction industry. Even people with decades of experience weren’t able to find work for a while. It will be far worse for Peter than the 2000 recession and he’ll have a decent chance of being completely unemployed and then underemployed for years and years. All while he has young kids to take care of. That might be enough for him to decide to go back to an office job, but at that time his skills would be decade plus out of a date making it very hard to compete against fresh faced college grads as well as all the recently-laid off office workers whose skills were up to date. So he probably won’t get an office job, even if he wanted one. So he keeps trying to find construction work because that is what he knows at this point but the jobs just don’t exist. He is likely going to have some very very tough years until at least 2013 when he the market is “good enough” after which he has a gradually improving employment position. And that brings us to today where Peter is 50 years old and still working construction. In the modern day Peter is facing two very big problems. His first problem is that his 50 year old body is significantly different from the 30 year old body he started his career path in. The various injuries (micro and major) that come with being past middle age eventually build up to a degree that they can’t be overcome with an increased knowledge base. This happens earlier in blue collar jobs like Peter than in other type of jobs. His second big problem is that for the entire blue collar workforce in the entire first world for the entire 21st century, wages have been flat. The reasons for that flatness don’t matter for Peter’s lived life experience. For him it’s just a global phenomenon which he would have spent most of his adult life trying to work against. Individuals may do better, and Peter may be one of them, but there is also a chance that he is making the same wage, adjusted for inflation, now as he was in 2002. Only he’s got kids and tons more responsibility then he did back then. Keep in mind, nothing of what I have just outlined is improbable. At every junction I tried to look at what the most probable course of Peter’s working life would have been, year by year. Mainly due to vast huge uncontrollable trends which he could not have easily foreseen when he made his choice in 1999, there is a very strong chance that 2019 Peter would look back on his decision made in Office Space with more than a little regret. Not guaranteed, but that would seem to be the most plausible outcome.

  6. October Sky became the de-facto busywork movie at my high school. Last day of the semester and everyone’s done with exams? Put on October Sky. Senior Skip Day and the teacher doesn’t want to teach a mostly-empty class? Put on October Sky. Last-minute substitute doesn’t want to follow the lesson plan? Put on October Sky. The actual teacher doesn’t want to follow the lesson plan? Yeah, fuck it, it’s October Sky time.

    I have no idea if I’d call the movie “good” or not, I’ve never seen it in an environment that didn’t involve wooden desks with plastic chairs bolted to them. But I was a shy kid and movie time meant I got to sit there and fill my notebook full of doodles without the anxiety of being called upon, so I do have a twinge of nostalgia for October Sky.

    1. This was common when I was in sixth grade, and it was always Lion King. Choir class in high school in the late 90s was always the Les Mis anniversary vhs performance, senior year of high school (2000,2001) was Remember the Titans.

  7. I’m probably the only person on the planet who has something to say about Nasty Boys but Craig Hurley was regular at my Starbucks I managed and would always talk about his time on this show and I couldn’t believe it was a real show. When I looked it up I laughed and laughed and thank you for reminding that this gem exists.

  8. It’s AYAOTD time, a bit late but here nonetheless. This weeks saw the premiere of ‘The Tale of the Virtual Pets’, an episode that had evil tamagotchis that we’re trying to replace all of humanity with their own copies of us. I’m not a huge fan since the episode is incredibly dated and rather dull, feeling like it was written by an old woman and the dialogue matches. One not really worth looking into but it’s not offensively bad.

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