Thursday, July 3, 2008

USA GIRLS!: A radio program

One of my prized possessions in elementary school was my tape recorder. I'm not talking about some hulking boombox either; this thing was silver, moderately sleek, and—as much as it could be in 1987—compact, meaning I could carry it around with me, oh, EVERYWHERE. At some point all of the following were recorded for posterity:

  • Spy missions in which my sister and I would tape our parents unawares. Unfortunately, these were usually extremely boring. Sometimes we'd have to intervene to get the juicy conversation flowing, which would generally lead to my dad saying things like, "What do you guys want? I'm trying to read the paper."

  • Songs performed by the Punkettes (aka me, my sister, and our neighbor Tawana), including a cover of "The Greatest Love of All" as well as original compositions like the inspirational "You Can Do It If You Try." (I might have to dedicate some later posts to my second career as a singer/songwriter.)

  • Greetings from assorted classmates. (I would then immediately have to stop the tape and rewind it so they could hear themselves.)

  • About 8,000 songs—taped off of the radio by holding the tape recorder next to the speaker. If anyone entered the room and dared to SPEAK while I was in the midst of recording, they would face my wrath.

And then there were the radio shows. Many, many radio shows. See, my friends and I were pretty convinced that we were all celebrities who just hadn't been discovered yet. One of the ways to prep for our eventual fame was to host talk "radio" shows on a variety of subjects, either as ourselves or in character (which more often than not meant affecting an accent that would make Meryl Streep want to stick hot pokers in her ears).

Following are the scripts (yes, they were SCRIPTED!) for two episodes of USA Girls, one of our early efforts and the brainchild of my friend Jessica and me. It was a news show of sorts, covering all the areas of interest for a nine-year-old girl—in other words, clothing, pop culture, and boys. And occasionally the weather.

Man, it's a good thing podcasts didn't exist back then.

Episode 1:

J: Introducing our new show "USA Girls!" And here they are.

First there's the lyrically amazing theme song:

Girls! USA Girls! We're girls! USA Girls! Girls! We're USA girl girls! USA GIRLS!

S: Now the movie reports. "Light of Day" is given an A. And we think you should see "Manican" even though we haven't. Thank you.

Yeah, that's right, Light of Day, starring Joan Jett and Michael J. Fox as rocker siblings trying to make it big in Cleveland (as a native Clevelander I say, good luck!). Doesn't sound like a kids' movie? That's because it's totally not. Yet we somehow badgered my friend Katie's mom into taking us. In another tape recording from this same time period, Katie and I are discussing the film and she thoughtfully remarks, "I think that the reason why Michael J. Fox's last name is Fox is because he is SUCH a HUNK of CHEESE." Where did we come up with this crap??? Also, don't worry, we ended up seeing Mannequin eventually, and it was even BETTER than Light of Day! A+!!! (My God, children have the most undiscerning taste ever.)

J: Now the weather. It is SO cold out there, it'll bite your butt off.
[Adding the word "butt" into your newscast = instant hilarity!] I went walking and I froze to death. Fortunately, someone rescued me. Thank you. Now time for a song!

I'm pretty sure the songs were those I had taped off the (actual) radio and involved Debbie Gibson.


J: I have this boyfriend. He keeps dumping me. What should I do.
S: You should dump him.
J: Thanks a bunch.

S: No Boys like me! How do I get them to like me?
J: I think you should act sexy personally.
S: Thanks for your advice.
J: Your wellcome.

I don't even want to know how a nine-year-old would act sexy.


Good Bye

If nothing else, USA Girls was succinct.

Episode 2:

J: Now "USA girls!"

Girls! USA Girls! We're girls! USA Girls! Girls! We're USA girl girls! USA Girls!

S: Now we will have the Animal reports. What animal should you choose? Rabbits, fish, birds, hamsters, and guinea pigs are best. Dogs doo-doo. Cats scratch. But the ones I've mentioned are just great. Thank you.

Did I really think dogs were the ONLY animals that pooped?

J: Now we'll have the clothes reports. Whats in style? Mini skirts, jeans, strech pants, bright colors, and fancy dresses are in style. The colors are hot pink, bright purple, light blue, maroon, white, and black. Thank you.

Fancy dresses! Are those going to make a comeback next? In maroon? Or bright purple?

Now a Song

S: Now we will interview
[my sister] Imogene. What boy do you like?
I: Too personal.
S: How is he.
G [her nickname is Genie, so I just went ahead and switched to G here]: Cute and smart.

Doesn't it seem like her reply should be more along the lines of "Fine; thanks for asking"? At least we valued a boy's intelligence as much as his looks.

S: What's your favorite food?
G: Chinese food
J: What's your favorite color?
G: purple
J: What's your favorite T.V. show?
G: Pee Wee's Playhouse
J: What's your favorite song?
G: Papa don't Preach
S: Thank you!


S: Goodbye
J: See you next time

What do the children of today do without tape recorders? Seriously?

NEXT TIME: Anti-smoking propaganda in the guise of a story!


Linley said...

That was the most polite radio show ever.

Thank you.

BadKat said...

Actually, I think your dating advice is right on!

Bridget Locke said...

*snicker* Oh, this totally reminded me of a video tape my grandpa did of me and my brother back in 86ish. It mostly stars my brother (camera hog), but my dialogue is hysterical. My brother was trying to show off his baseball hitting skills and in the background you can hear me snarking each time he missed (which was 99% of the time).

I hadn't it seen it in years and after my grandpa passed away 2 years ago, we got it in the mail. I don't think I've laughed like that in years. I had tears pouring down my cheeks. I shoulda been a comedian. he-he

gollygee said...

You know they have machines that can convert your cassette tape recordings to digital, right??? You know you totally HAVE to do this right??? :D

Laura @ Hungry and Frozen said...

That theme song made my day :)

zanne said...

I love it! You remind me of myself a lot. Not that I was THAT creative, though. The radio show is hilarious! I was always trying to get my siblings and friends to act out our favorite books. I once wrote a script for "The Ghost in Dobb's Diner" (based on a book we had) and I believe it involved a punk rock ghost (played by me). Unfortunately rehearsals fell apart and we never performed the play in front of an audience (aka my mom) and I no longer have the script.

Sada said...

PUNK ROCK GHOST!!! Oh my God, that might be the best thing ever.

Nyssa said...

I could not stop laughing. I love your blog so much.


nancy said...

oh god. i used to do radio shows. except it was just me sitting alone in my room talking at my tape recorder and interviewing my teddy bear (i did his voice myself. he was mexican thank you very much).

Tiffany said...

what a hunk of cheese!!! ha ha ha! omg, I couldn't stop laughing at that one. When I was in the 4th grade or so, me and my best friend used to do radio shows too, although we never wrote down a script or anything. ALthough I do remember they were sort of along the same lines as your masterpieces ;)

We also used to interview ourselves as the band we made up and were in called Silver Secrets, haha.. too bad neither of use could sing or play an instrument.. I guess it didn't matter though, since I think all we did was lip sync to Debbie Gibson songs :D