Thursday, July 21, 2005

Terrible Teenybopper

Last night I did the very important thing that I've been meaning to do. That's right; I left my disturbingly huge pile of laundry on the floor, neglected to make my lunch for today, forgot to wash my hair, and even ignored the dog because it was time to watch Brat Camp.

I don't know if anyone else had the same routine I did in high school, which was to come home, take a nap on the couch, wake up to watch Sally Jesse Raphael, and head to work to accompany second-graders on your acoustic guitar as they sang "This Little Light of Mine."

Yeah, so, the cheese stands alone.

My point is that I used to watch Sally Jesse every day, more out of habit than actual interest. Sally Jesse had two topics: My Husband is a Control Freak! and the ever popular My Out of Control Teen is Ruining My Family!. One could only assume that a true sadist lurked behind the famed red glasses. Despite seemly surface, Sally was hellbent on having a weeping housewife on her set at all times. Whether her child or her mate was causing the tears was inconsequential so long as they were flowing. Sally had Kleenex perenially in waiting on a table that might house a plant on another, more functional talkshow.

[My other point is that I may have had a more exciting adolescence if I had spent less time learning the chords to "Jesus Loves Me," and deciding who got to play Mary and if she indeed had to hold hands with Joseph and if she got the distinction of riding the rickety donkey on wheels or if she would have to drag it.]

On the wifebeater shows, the last fifteen minutes were occupied by some sort of Dr. Expert on wifebeating (prevention thereof not techniques for) who would elicit some kind of teary apology from the husbands, or at least a grudging acknowledgement that yeah, it's probably not okay to make your wife eat dinner in the backyard. But the troubled teens (oh those terrible, terrible teens!), they would be hauled off to boot camp halfway through the show by an ex-Marine named Sgt. Julu. In the middle of the last guest's request for her mother to, ahem, convey oral affection on her posterior, Sgt. Julu would burst from some hidden doorway and descend on the stage, his neck veins like mountain ranges on an elementary school globe. Before they knew what was happening, the troubled teens would be in a prison van on their way to the morgue, where they would "see what it feels like to be dead," and from there whisked off to boot camp. Apparently all it takes to break a teenager is to make them get up early, wear pants with lots of pockets, and run half a mile.

Not that that wouldn't have worked on me.

Anyway, I've been enjoying the terrible teen genre since I was myself a timid teen, and I suppose it had some psychological value to see the behaviors I secretly wanted to express punished, and my non-expression of them vindicated. I could've been a great terrible teen. I had a strategy worked out and everything. If ever my mother saw fit to bring me to Sally Jesse and confront my maneating, meth-fueled ways (and if ever I saw fit to adopt maneating, meth-fueled ways), all I'd do was give Sgt. Julu the silent treatment. The kids always yelled back, which gave Julu something to work with. But come on, the guy can't hit you; what is there for him to do if you just absolutely refuse to speak to him?

This is why I enjoy Brat Camp. Aside from the captions they put under each terrible teen (Shawn, 17: Angry Punk), I think I'm once again reminded that the path I didn't choose leads to pooping in the woods.

The other thing that's fascinating about Brat Camp is that, instead of military boot camp, the terrible teens are forced on a forty day wilderness adventure with a guy who calls himself "Little Big Bear." To be fair, he acknowledges that this is his "Earth name." He and his coeducators (Shimmering Aspen, Fire Shaper, Mountain Wind and Glacier, among others) have somehow convinced many, many wealthy parents to give them what I assume are generous sums of their children's trust funds despite the fact that they have hippie dreadlocks and names that sound like men's deodorant scents.

This is empowering. I've decided to follow suit.

May all the powers of the Earth be with you,
Princess Venus Moon Dirt Rock Shrub Tree Cactus Ostrich Sea Cucumber Please Give Me Your Money I Won't Use It To Buy Weed.


Anonymous mike said...

I was more of a Jenny Jones fan than a Sally watcher. I miss (Iron Chef) Raymond Moses from the Jones' Boot Camp episodes and the "My kid has out of control hair" episodes.

Have you seen Sally recently? I caught the reunion show for the Surreal Life on VH1 last month and she looks AWFUL. She dyed her hair a thick brown but still has the red owlish glasses. And she still lacks the flair for talk shows that got her knocked out of the marketplace.

11:44 PM  
Anonymous stupidboy said...

Wow! We even had Sally here on tv in my tiny country. Do you remember the Terror Teens show with the Terror Teen called Ice? She said that was her gang name because she used to 'ice' people. But Sally made her break down and admit she wasn't in a gang and had never 'iced' anyone. It was awesome.

5:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Husband is a Control Freak! and the ever popular My Out of Control Teen is Ruining My Family!.

Couldn't you just let the former loose on the latter? Seems pretty obvious to me. But then, I am very wise,


King of Israel
All-round smartarse.

8:21 AM  
Blogger What'sHerFace said...

Well, your Royal Highness, knowing how Sally's shows tended to go, the Control Freak and The Terrible Teen would more than likely become fast friends. They'd bond, snorting coke off the coffee table during Battle Bots and drinking coffee mugs of Jack Daniels at breakfast. Much, much housewife crying would ensue.

Damn, I should just send that one over to Sally J. She'd eat it up.

8:48 AM  
Blogger What'sHerFace said...

And, S.B., I don't remember Ice! I wish I did! She sounds like the best!

And just so you know, my gang name is Enrico Fermi, cause after I beat a bitch's ass she's only got a half life left.

8:53 AM  
Anonymous stupidboy said...

I remember another Terror Teen called 'Dust' but have no idea what the logic behind that one was.

6:32 AM  

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