10 Pop Culture Staples of my Childhood: A Shameful Look Back

I don\'t think this means anything; \'Love is like a bomb, baby, c\'mon get it on / Livin\' like a lover with a radar phone / Lookin\' like a tramp, like a video vamp / Demolition woman, can I be your man?\' A radar phone? Is that what they use to make calls in the future as depicted in the 1950s?
10 Pop Culture Staples of my Childhood: A Shameful Look Back

If you’re like me, when you think back on your childhood under the stairs, it was a lot of frantic prayers and candle wax burns. But also, there was a lot of awesomeness. Most kids are pretty convinced that the things they like are, by default, awesome. Why else would they like them? It’s only later in life you can look back and wonder if maybe your parents smothered you with a pillow at night, just enough to lower your IQ a few points below the national average. I’m forced to assume that’s what was going on when I was about 10 or so, how else can I explain any of this?


Everyone knows robots are awesome and will one day destroy us all in a well-deserved orgy of robo-destruction. Four Terminator movies have predicted it and I refuse to believe Arnold Schwarzenegger would put his support behind a piece of fiction that wasn’t at least 50 percent prophetic. It’s not surprising then that, as a child, I was pretty much all about robots. I think I may have planned to be a robot at some point in my life but of course that’s silly. As a Canadian, I had limited access to any decent robo-schools as our government focused more on beaver hunting and innuendo. Anyway, just because robots are cool doesn’t mean all robots are cool. Muffit II from Battlestar Galactica Back then Ian – This thing is wicked awesome. It’s a robot but it’s also some kind of panda dog thing and it will attack Cylons. Fucking Cylons! (I swore a lot as a child--bad parenting.) One time it saved them from a fire and I don’t even care if every single episode that featured a space dog fight used the same footage because this awesome robo-dog-panda is in the show! Apollo rules!

First we mastered space travel. Then we mastered this bullshit.

Today’s Jaded Ian - I don’t know how this thing got axed from the new Battlestar Galactica because clearly it was important as shit. As shit. I’m almost positive the special effects guys melded some tin cans and duct tape with a musty old bath mat to make this asinine thing and then jammed a midget with scoliosis inside to make it seem alive. On the show, the original Muffit was an actual dog and somehow, in the future where there’s a race of sentient androids and intergalactic space travel, the best they could do in terms of a robotic replacement was Teddy Ruxpin’s mongoloid cousin.
Twiki from Buck Rogers Back then Ian – This dude got to hang out with Gary Coleman and he sounded like Yosemite Sam. So honestly, even if his head looks like a delicately polished penis and he seems to be wearing a mini skirt, that’s OK. Today’s Jaded Ian – This is a robot with a page boy haircut who carried Dr. Theopolis around his neck like a futuristic Flava Flav. The more I think about it, the more I’m positive Flav actually stole this gimmick from Twiki, settling on a clock when he couldn’t make a similarly sized artificially intelligent computer that could hang around his neck.

Honestly, the only thing I remember about Twiki besides what he looks like is that he said “bidi bidi bidi” all the time, like a robot Rain Man. And while, for a second, that sounds awesome, I assure you that by the end of this article the idea will have firmly settled itself into the reality of absolutely fucktarded.
Soundwave from Transformers Back Then Ian – Holy shit! He’s a Walkman and there’s cassette guys and they fight and listen to his voice he’s awesome! Today’s Jaded Ian – I have never been so on the fence about something as I am at this moment. My gut is telling me how awesome Soundwave is, how undeniably awesome he truly must be, but then I stop to imagine Cybertron and the Autobots and Decepticons picking teams for a fight, and how completely disgusted both sides must have been with the prospect of having to pick the fucking Walkman.

Autobots - Inferior. Mixed tape featuring Bel Biv Devoe - Superior!

Try to imagine the Decepticons grabbing guys who can turn into tanks and helicopters and a team of construction equipment who can merge together to form Devastator. Then imagine who else must have been sitting on the field when they settled on the Walkman. Arguably they were down to Perceptor and Blaster when Soundwave got picked. The only thing lamer would have been if the Go-bots showed up and that nancy Scooter tried to join in.


Someone once said music is the gravy that slathers your soul, I bet. If that’s true then I’m one greasy son of a bitch, because I love music. Sometimes I sing in public restrooms. Sometimes I poo. Public restrooms are a mixed bag for me. Anyway, point is, over time my taste in music has changed, as anyone’s will. And with that change comes the realization that some songs just don’t live up to my pre-pubescent hype in retrospect. Which is disappointing because I was an awesome hype machine back in the day.
"Pour Some Sugar on Me" by Def Leppard Back then Ian – Hells yeah, rock anthem! Thank God no one has updated this jukebox since it was installed in the late 80s so that every afternoon I waste in this arcade playing Double Dragon I can be serenaded by a song that I think might be about sex, a subject about which I know nothing beyond the apparent need for sugar.

Not sure how the movie got switched from Double Dragon to Double Dildo.

Today’s Jaded Ian – Well I’ve seen sex on the Internet so I’m pretty sure I know what it is now and I’ll be damned if I can figure out why sugar needs to be involved. And wouldn’t the use of it devolve into some kind of syrupy, abrasive disaster? Also, I don’t think this means anything; Love is like a bomb, baby, c'mon get it on Livin' like a lover with a radar phone Lookin' like a tramp, like a video vamp Demolition woman, can I be your man? A radar phone? Is that what they use to make calls in the future as depicted in the 1950s? And does he mean "tramp" like "skank," or "tramp" like "old timey hobo"? You know how I feel about hobos.
"Every Rose Has Its Thorn" by Poison Back Then Ian – Hey, "Pour Some Sugar on Me" just ended, I wonder what song is next. "Every Rose Has Its Thorn"? I love power ballads! Man, when I finish this round of Double Dragon, I’m going to learn to play guitar so I can stand on a mountain in a really stiff wind in a leather jacket my mom is going to buy for me once my hair grows long enough to complete the look and totally rock this shit out. Why do I feel compelled to swear so much?

My guitar solo will be all Weeer! Fricka fricka weeer! and it'll be awesome!

Today’s Jaded Ian – I don’t want to talk bad about Bret Michaels but man, he actually ruined an entire genre of music with this song, I think. If Rock 'n' Roll was a person, power ballads were, without a doubt, that person’s labia. And nowadays people are happy to go to a party and be kitschy by playing 80s music because it’s fun to play pretend, but no one really likes this stuff. I tried to sit down once and listen to Whitesnake and a half hour later I woke up eating low fat yogurt and ironing my underwear.

TV Shows

Thanks to television, inattentive parents don’t need to even hire babysitters anymore, it’s like a miracle box that occasionally commits horrid sins like
The Facts of Life and MTV. It’s no surprise then that I may have loved TV a little more than I loved my own parents. Golden Girls Back Then Ian – Is it normal for a child to be so enamored by a troupe of septuagenarian spinsters? I don’t care, Sophia is hilarious and Rose seems to have lived since the Depression as a retard. Now that’s comedy. Also, Blanche makes me feel even more confused about all my new feelings than I’m used to. Today’s Jaded Ian – I don’t know if you know this, but a hell of a lot of the Golden Girls revolved around these dusty old birds trying to get laid. And at least one episode dealt with menopause. Everything you just read is terrifying.


The bizarre thing is that the Golden Girls is actually hilarious and don’t let anyone tell you different. If you have to choose between watching
Two and a Half Men and Golden Girls and you don’t pick the latter, you’re a bad human being and if you have a soul, it’s probably as black as tar. Say what you will about Bea Arthur, that dude was funny. The problem is that the Golden Girls is funny because it’s vastly inappropriate. Pretty much every episode included at least one joke about what a filthy whore Blanche was. Some good natured ribbing about how this well-ripened lady banged like five different guys every week. And while on the one hand that’s funny, try to imagine how you’d feel if your grandmother was an epic slut. Just a wicked, raunch-crotched old thing. Prostars Back then Ian - Wait. Hold the phone. Are you telling me Wayne Gretzky, Bo Jackson and Michael Jordan are secretly working together to fight crime? Did you just hear that high pitched whistle? That’s the sound of my first boner. I don’t know why it’s whistling, it’s my first one.

Pictured: My first boner.

Today’s Jaded Ian – During the opening credits of this show, cartoon Bo Jackson picks up an entire tree and then uses it to murder some poor schlub who’s just cutting down trees. Logging is a legitimate profession, people do it all over the world and they do not need to be beaten to death by professional athletes.


You know everything I said about TV? Read that again, but imagine you’re enjoying some greasy, Becel-slathered popcorn at the same time and a vastly over priced box of Milk Duds.
Monster Squad Back Then Ian – So Dracula just got the Wolfman, Frankenstein, a Mummy and the Creature From the Black Lagoon together? And someone kicks Wolfman in the balls?! Ha ha ha! This movie gets every Oscar this year!

Wolfman's got nards! Ha ha ha! Gold!

Today’s Jaded Ian – You know what, this movie is still fucking awesome.


I had far too many toys I can’t quite remember as a child, but all of them were awesome for at least a half an hour at some point.
Transformers Electric Train Set Back then Ian - Humina! It’s Transformers and it’s a train? It’s electric? This is what Jesus would be if he were a toy that also wanted to destroy everything that crossed its semi-circular path. Today’s Jaded Ian – I don’t know at what age it happens, but eventually every kid comes to the realization that a toy train is the playtime equivalent of autism. And it should occur much earlier than it does, usually within minutes of assembling the train, but it never does.

Definitely. Definitely a lame ass toy.

I used to have this thing under my bed for literally five years. Every year I’d drag it out, put all the pieces together and get it powered up, and then sit in stunned disappointment as it buzzed along in its tiny circle, occasionally knocking down the cheap, molded plastic pretend transformers that I would put in its way. It was like following your dad to work one day only to find that he dumps his suit and briefcase in an alley and spends the rest of the afternoon dressed as an adult baby serving drinks at a nameless restaurant full of European perverts. God, that was a bad day for me.


I don’t know at what age I’d decided that boobs and I were meant to be friends for life, but I do know that as a child, my taste in women was poor at best. This was likely due to my body’s complete lack of testosterone and the fact I owned about 100 different Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures and wanted to join Voltron when I grew up. My plan was to brazenly show up Keith by thoroughly mocking his ability to pilot a giant, robot cat, thus humiliating him into giving me the job as leader.
My French Teacher Back Then Ian – Wait a sec, what’s the deal here? I have a girl teacher who doesn’t look like the bastard child of Wilford Brimley and Angela Lansbury? I didn’t know such things existed. Her short, spiky hair is bold and different and she has captivated my eager-to-learn mind. She’s so young. So beautiful. I love her. Where’s the sugar? It’s time to do some pouring.

Nothing that turned up when I Googled "lesbians" was usable here.

Today’s Jaded Ian – I’m terribly sorry, Mrs. Sharpe, but it has come to my attention in the ensuing years since I left your class that you were absolutely 100 percent as gay as a parade down main street. I’ll concede that the shortish boy hair wasn’t a dead giveaway, nor was your penchant for pant suits and overalls or your coaching of the softball team. But looking back, I probably should have pieced it together every time your wife picked you up after school, gave you a hug and a kiss, and drove you home. It was the first time I’d mistakenly fall for a lesbian, but not the last.
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