Mouse Trap was Insane

I think I played Mouse Trap once. You don't play Mouse Trap, you construct it and set it off.  Who really cared about the game portion of it? You roll the dice, you move around the board...etc., and if you get the cheese first...who knows, someone gets trapped. That's all there was to it. You could skip the whole first step and just go right to the cheese, and you'd miss nothing. It was all about setting off that ridiculously inefficient trap of conveniently placed random objects.

Remember how it goes together: The Wheel of Fortune hits the elastic band of stop sign which hits the old-timey streetlamp of hanging boot which kicks the marble bucket over at the top of the hill and sends it down the bungly path and chute until it hits a pole which hits a balancing marble which rolls down the drain and hits a see-saw, which catapults a diver backwards into a shallow kiddy pool with no water in it, which wakes the T-Rex, which fights off the Velociraptors which chase you to a van which brings you to the helicopter... and eventually a cage comes down on the mice.

After 20 times, you'll probably think of 20 better ways to kill a mouse, but none could be as crazy. It was like a Salvador Dali painting or a Dr. Seuss book set in plastic.

The Pizza Head Show

The look of terror.
The Pizza Head Show was a series of commercials for Pizza Hut in the 90's, and I loved every single one of them. They always had this naive and very stale slice of pizza with a "freshly kicked-in-the-groin" (Mr. Bill ripoff) voice whose sole purpose was to get chucked around and preyed upon by this bully pizza cutter named Steve. There was also this complicit narrator who sounded friendly but reveled in the thing's torture. Throw in all kinds of crazy slapstick, copious terrified reaction shots of his bug-eyed olive eyes and gaping red pepper mouth, and the ultimate destruction of many a model red-roof Pizza Hut locale, and you have all the ingredients for a perfect piece of unforgettable 90's television wackiness.

My brother and I even invented a whole slew more ill-fated adventures for this most unappetizing slice, probably even more humiliating than anything they put him through. So now when anyone says, "Sure he is!" all I can think of is deceitful big-brother-like sadism. Love it. 

90s Nick Ads I

In the spirit of the kid who might spend a gorgeous summer day watching TV, let's watch commercials...


Here's what I might have learned from this block of Nick ads back in 1994...

1: the world is whining for Weinerville,
2: IN YO MOUTH!,
3: Veterinarians don't eat meat,
4: Home Alone 2 is "Never Before Seen",
5: Bacos are better than a man...
6. "Punch the doughboy, see what sound he makes!"
7: Give American Food a New Attituuude.... with Cheese!,
8: Rocko's Modern Life is probably not educational,
9: Girls like long chocolate boxes...
10: Mike rocks everyone's world. 

Shark Week

His name is Badass.
To the 8-year-old me, Shark Week was second only to Christmas, and even at that, it was a loose second, in the highlights of my year. Hell, Christmas is a day, Shark Week is a week! It cooled me off so many a hot summer afternoon. Splashing down in the blue with the makos, blues, tigers, hammerheads, and great whites... with only one of those flimsy bird cages for protection, was the best part of any summer... second only to fireworks. But then again, the 4th of July is also a day. Shark Week is a week.

If we could catch it, we watched it. If we couldn't see it, we taped it. One portrait of how cool this programming block was to a kid like me back somewhere around '95, involved just a remote control sinking to the bottom of the ocean with a bite taken out of it. "Just when you thought it was safe to turn on the TV..." the caption read. In short, this was TV so intense, I was having second thoughts about going in the plastic pool.

If all the girls in the 90's vowed to become marine biologists after Free Willy, all the boys got into it because for one week every summer, some guy was on TV, in a cage, underwater, poking tracking devices into sharks, taping sharks feed, feeding sharks, or being fed to sharks. It was like watching Jaws without the boring parts. A bunch of people go out on the water, you see them from underneath paddling on their boards in silhouette, someone says "I never saw it coming," and then a dash of red food coloring rolls up the screen in the water. "Whoa! I can feel that in my arm!"

Of course sharks aren't just killing machines, and dorky boys like me actually did find the sciency stuff interesting, like how sharks can't stop swimming or else they die, or how sharks have been around since the time of the dinosaurs, or how they can sense a drop of blood a mile away, or how sharks in a feeding frenzy will bite anything, even themselves (which I found amusing). I learned a lot from Shark Week, and I already had my survival plan ready should I ever come face to face with one. It began and ended with a good punch in the snout. That being said, scrawny me wouldn't have had a chance.