Cultural popcorn
July 1, 2001 6:36 PM   Subscribe

Cultural popcorn

Everybody's got their indulgences-- maybe it's an impressively bad tv show, a blatently comercial film you've watched dozens of times or the upteeth sequel of a good book by a lazy author. What's your cultural big mac? What can't you admit you love?
posted by christina (101 comments total)

During most of the 1990's, it was 90210.

Now, I didn't just watch the show, I would attend showings at a friend's house, where 4-5 others would show up each Wednesday night at 8pm. I never missed an episode from their late high school years to the end of the series. It was an all-night event, mostly an excuse to get together, drink beer, and shout at the screen MST3K-style ("Ohmygod! Look what Tori's wearing! How can her dad produce the show and let her dress like that!?!").

We even kept it up after college, when everyone moved to different cities, we'd still get together for 90210 weekly. We'd pontificate on the future directions of the series over group emails, cruise newsgroups the day after new episodes to summaries to comment on, etc. It was pretty pathetic.

Unfortunately, there's nothing as bad as 90210 on TV today, otherwise I'd probably still be doing this with friends.
posted by mathowie at 6:52 PM on July 1, 2001

Sometimes Saved By the Bell was on, and while I didnt love it or schedule viewings of it, if it was on the tube, sometimes I didn't go for the remote.
posted by brucec at 7:01 PM on July 1, 2001

star trek.

and aerosmith.
posted by rebeccablood at 7:02 PM on July 1, 2001

I've got you all beat. Professional Wrestling.
posted by jpoulos at 7:11 PM on July 1, 2001

Formula One auto racing, and umm, OK, NASCAR. Oh, and any show on the Animal Planet that involves monkeys.
posted by machaus at 7:23 PM on July 1, 2001

no, i win. the jerry springer-ricki lake double header on weekday nights.
posted by sugarfish at 7:23 PM on July 1, 2001

Wrestling. Springer. Britney. Nikki. Arena football.

My name is Oliver, and I like Pop.
posted by owillis at 7:32 PM on July 1, 2001

The Monkees. When I was a freshman in high school about 30 years after their show originally aired and there was a bit of a revival and they were being shown on Nickelodeon. They're just... fun... and Peter Tork was so cute.
posted by dagnyscott at 7:55 PM on July 1, 2001

I'm a sucker for the Real World on MTV. When one of those marathons comes on, I stay up all night and watch.
posted by gyc at 8:23 PM on July 1, 2001

Pikers. There was an adorable little show from Mr. Spelling a few years back, went by the name of Models, Inc. It had everything - thrills, adventure, and of course, models.

I needed something to fill the hole left in my viewing schedule left by the demise of Knot's Landing.
posted by UncleFes at 8:28 PM on July 1, 2001

OK...deep breath...I've read every Tom Clancy novel. Not the co-authored ones, but every one of his cheesy he-man/techno warrior/special-ops fantasy bullshit bestsellers. Every time I tell myself that this is the last one, that I'll never do it again. And then, when the paperback release comes out...

I offer no defense.
posted by BT at 8:33 PM on July 1, 2001

I fucking hate myself for this, but I've seen every episode of this, at least twice.
posted by dong_resin at 8:56 PM on July 1, 2001

Shasta McNasty. And MTV's Undressed. Lord only knows why. Complete and utter lack of taste, I guess.
posted by youhas at 9:03 PM on July 1, 2001

John Carpenter movies.
posted by jjg at 9:05 PM on July 1, 2001

Dude, They Live rules.
posted by jpoulos at 9:13 PM on July 1, 2001

Dong, don't feel bad.
I love Gilmore Girls as well. It's got the same pacing and feel to it as this legendary show. Sadly, I think it will end up the same way.

However, it doesn't explain my obsession of catching every rerun of Married...With Children. I seem to enjoy Al's put-downs and insults too much to be healthy.
posted by Grum at 9:20 PM on July 1, 2001

They Live is possibly my favorite movie from the 80's. Well, it probably comes in second behind Joe vs. the Volcano, the best so-bad-and-campy-everyone-knows-it, unapologetically fluff movie.

I forgot to mention that in addition to the 90210 viewings, I caught each and every episode of Party of Five that came on afterwards, also with aformentioned posse of people. Jennifer Love Hewitt is so awful she's great.
posted by mathowie at 9:20 PM on July 1, 2001

They Live even had Roddy Piper!

My obscure-yet-guilty indulgence in Paul Mercurio (warning: self-link) is pretty well publicized. But here's one I don't always talk about: I never miss a Keanu Reeves movie.

I'm sick.
posted by frykitty at 9:20 PM on July 1, 2001

As far as I know, I'm the only one who genuinely likes this, with no sense of irony about it whatsoever.
posted by dong_resin at 9:24 PM on July 1, 2001

Dong, I thought Ford Fairlane was pretty good back when it came out, of course, I also thought the best action movie I ever saw while in highschool was Road House.

I never miss a Saturday afternoon showing on USA when it's on.
posted by mathowie at 9:30 PM on July 1, 2001

I'm sorry, I forgot to mention my love for the movie The Adventures of Ford Fairlane. There is no redeeming quality to this movie, but I almost always end up getting a cramp from laughing at it so much.

Booty time!
posted by Grum at 9:30 PM on July 1, 2001

From They Live:

Piper's character: "The world's a bitch....and she's in heat."

Best. Line. Ever.
posted by jpoulos at 9:49 PM on July 1, 2001

for me, it'd have to be the real world. which is starting soon i might add. i also buy jamiroquai stuff, especially 12" LPs, whenever possible.
posted by moz at 9:51 PM on July 1, 2001

oops. very sorry. Got it wrong. Here it is (wav)

And another good one.
posted by jpoulos at 9:55 PM on July 1, 2001 this. Or this. Way back in (?) 1996, Nick-at-Nite showed an all-night marathon of this stuff, and I fell into it as hard as the kid fell into the giant hat in the opening credits of Lidsville. Pure cheese...but back in, what, 1970-1972, when I was about five years old, this was the modern equivalent of crack cocaine + Playstation. And if they came on again, I'd be glued to the set all over again. Charles Nelson Reilly, you've still got it!

NB - Sorry to date myself so badly - I hope the majority of MeFi folks forgive my nostalgic dip into their pre-conception years.
posted by davidmsc at 9:57 PM on July 1, 2001

i used to read image comics when i was a kid... and i actually enjoyed and took pride in enjoying the dawson's creek for the first two seasons... then there was the spice girls thing... and gangsta rap... and katherine applegate's teen romance novel series making out... and that stint with flash... and... ah, can't do this to myself anymore... ::weeps::
posted by lotsofno at 9:59 PM on July 1, 2001

One word. Enya.
posted by bilco at 10:12 PM on July 1, 2001

Back in high school, I rebelled against the wealth of my upbringing and the opulence of my surroundings in the best way possible; I turned into a mid-nineties pseudo hippie and followed the Grateful Dead untill Jerry up and died.

I've since renounced my crunchy ways, and have eliminated all traces of hippiness from my music collection.

But somehow, I found myself downloading a bunch of old bootleg recordings from Napster. I don't choose to listen to them, but sometimes they come up in rotation.

And when they do, I secretly rejoice.

I am so ashamed . . .
posted by aladfar at 10:19 PM on July 1, 2001

bilco WINS!

Last night my friends were amazed and horrified to find that I knew all the words to "Jessie's Girl."

I'm with Oliver, 'cept you'd have to swap Nikki and Arena Football for The Backstreet Boys and the National Cheerleading Championships...
posted by black8 at 10:24 PM on July 1, 2001

This threat is great. It's like a support group for crap.
There was a time, albeit breif, when I really, and I mean really, liked Britney Fox.
posted by dong_resin at 10:27 PM on July 1, 2001

In my top 10 movies there is one "turd in a punchbowl", if you will.

Hudson Hawk. I love it, I watch it everytime it's on cable, and I know a lot of the lines.
posted by perplexed at 10:37 PM on July 1, 2001

nothing will ever beat 'the gong show.'

posted by maura at 10:40 PM on July 1, 2001

dong, the first concert I ever attended was quite a crap-tacular.

Britney Fox opened. Kixx followed them. The headlining band was Ratt.

(and yeah, my stupid buddies and I bought t-shirts and wore them to school the next day)
posted by mathowie at 10:45 PM on July 1, 2001

i saw every episode of the new leave it to beaver at least three times. intentionally.
posted by daedsiluap at 11:01 PM on July 1, 2001

(in Alex Trebex's distinctly fake compassionate voice)
The rawk tee-shirt. Ohh.....Mathowie.. sorry.
posted by dong_resin at 11:05 PM on July 1, 2001

Er, Trebek.
posted by dong_resin at 11:06 PM on July 1, 2001

If someone's gonna admit to liking Enya, I'll admit to really, really liking Yanni's first couple of albums, Optimystique and Keys to Imagination. In fact I think the latter might well be one of the finest New Age albums ever recorded (excepting the cheesy synthesized saxophone sound on one track). Of course, those were the days when a former member of Tangerine Dream was running Private Music. They put out a lot of interesting stuff back then.
posted by kindall at 11:12 PM on July 1, 2001

I'll jump on that bandwagon. John Tesh's Garden City is a fave of mine. Everything after that sucked, tho.
posted by frykitty at 11:19 PM on July 1, 2001

Yeah, I have Garden City myself. Also his Tour de France, which preceded it. That was another Private Music release.
posted by kindall at 11:26 PM on July 1, 2001

Those of you in the US probably won't understand how shameful this is, but I have an unexplainable passion for BritPop group Steps.
posted by lia at 11:37 PM on July 1, 2001

Prince's movie Under the Cherry Moon.
Chuck Barris' The Gong Show Movie.
posted by Rebis at 11:48 PM on July 1, 2001

So, let me get this straight....

We're competing to see who has the worst taste?

Wang Chung.

Ender's Shadow, by the way, was a damn fine book.
posted by jaded at 12:08 AM on July 2, 2001

I dunno if I should tell you people this... but I secretly enjoy reading Maxim. It started innocently enough.. my new roommates had a subscription and they kept it in the bathroom so whenever i had to be in there for a long time, i'd read it... and now I'm addicted. Yikes!
posted by chason at 12:16 AM on July 2, 2001

I secretly like 5ive songs. I'm sorry.
posted by Hjorth at 2:51 AM on July 2, 2001

I stopped being guilty about my 'guilty pleasures' long ago. I realized it wasn't doing me any good to harbor secret shame for liking Friends, Disney movies, and showtunes. So now I wear them on my sleeve. I feel ever so much better!
posted by toddshot at 3:27 AM on July 2, 2001

ER is about the only thing I watch religiously, although I am quite partial to reruns of Dungeons and Dragons, and if they would put on the cities of lost gold again I would be in heaven
posted by twistedonion at 3:40 AM on July 2, 2001

I don't know whether this ever aired in the US, but I always seemed to find myself secretly enjoying Prisoner Cell Block H.. The ham acting and wobbly sets were riveting.

I also own every Jean Michel Jarre album apart from this one.

On the subject of John Carpenter movies, I loved Dark Star. Now, if anyone knows where I can get a copy of that recording of "Twilight Fall on NGC-891" by Martin Segundo and the Santella Strings.....
posted by davehat at 4:21 AM on July 2, 2001

Hey, half of these things are not that bad.

Now for real shame and embarrassment, I couldn't get enough of thirtysomething
posted by fullerine at 5:13 AM on July 2, 2001

National Lampoon's Animal House.
posted by Grangousier at 5:29 AM on July 2, 2001

John Tesh did a Kraftwerk tribute album? Who knew...
posted by machaus at 5:41 AM on July 2, 2001

Two things, Davehat:
1. the surest way to crack me up is to just from out of nowhere, and in a bewildered voice, go: "How could it live? I mean, it was just full of air...."

2. An mp3 of Twilight fall on NGC-891 is to be found here.

And good god, fullerine.
posted by dong_resin at 6:29 AM on July 2, 2001

Does anyone remember Salvage 1? It starred Andy Griffith as a junk dealer who built a spaceship in his backyard so that he could go to the moon and salvage the metal crap NASA was leaving behind. Inspiringly bad.
posted by mikemonteiro at 6:31 AM on July 2, 2001

Er, the Dark Star link I meant to link to didn't happen, and instead, Davehat's came up. Go figure.
posted by dong_resin at 6:50 AM on July 2, 2001

Battlefield Earth a few times -- not sure why.
posted by cmacleod at 7:11 AM on July 2, 2001

prisoner cellblock H rules. God i was addicted that show. (and Benny hill) I like 'keeping up appearances'. Trashy W.W II novels are my weakness. ("wobbly sets" te-he. )Assault on precinct 13 is a great Carpenter flick.
posted by clavdivs at 7:22 AM on July 2, 2001

As a child, I brainwashed myself with a 45 of the Jackson Five singing "I Want You Back." I wore out the needle. I wore out the record. I memorized every instrumental and vocal part. Give me a multitrack recorder, a few instruments, an hour or two, and a bottle of good whisky, and I will give you a clumsy but energetic and amusing cover version.

When I'm finally mumbling my last mumble, I fear that I'll leap to my feet, sing "Oh, baby, give me one more chance...," and then spin through the floor and straight to hell.
posted by pracowity at 7:28 AM on July 2, 2001

yes, the days when our first diamond was a stylus.
posted by clavdivs at 7:40 AM on July 2, 2001

jpoulos: Don't worry, you're not the only wrestling fan here. Let the WCW invasion begin!

perplexed: I thought I knew all the other people who liked Hudson Hawk as much as I do. Glad to hear from a sixth.
posted by harmful at 7:42 AM on July 2, 2001

Oh, a shame thread! Why we never thought of this before, I have no idea.

Okay. When the first Sigue Sigue Sputnik album came out, I played it so much, I had to buy a new one. This is horrible.

And I've read . . . sigh . . . Shogun probably four times. I don't know. It must be some dire neurological condition.

Finally--and this one hurts--for a time, I couldn't bear the thought of missing a single episode of Silk Stalkings.

The fact that I actually have a girlfriend now seems to me as possible evidence of black magic.
posted by Skot at 8:32 AM on July 2, 2001

Penthouse Letters.

I win!
posted by jbushnell at 8:40 AM on July 2, 2001

John Tesh did a Kraftwerk tribute album?

Not quite. His Tour de France was basically a compilation of the soundtrack work he did for CBS's broadcast of, um, well, you figure it out. There's not much Kraftwerky about it, really. It was his big break, so we can blame CBS for unleashing him on us.

Oh yeah. Another one I feel guilty about every time it comes up in rotation on the MP3 player at work: Hall and Oates. Private Eyes.
posted by kindall at 8:50 AM on July 2, 2001

Ok - Enya is alright. As is early Mannheim Steamroller. But no mercy for those listening to Yanni or John Tesh!
posted by dnash at 8:51 AM on July 2, 2001

sob! my secret shame!
posted by thirteen at 8:59 AM on July 2, 2001

Wang Chung, Rick Springfield, and the movie Pump Up the Volume

Oh, the humanity.
posted by edlark at 9:11 AM on July 2, 2001

Does it count that I own two VHS copies of E.T. (you know, in case one ever wears out...). And I have seen it, in its entirety, more than forty times, as recently as last month. And I cried when the flower wilts and he "dies." Again.

Oh, and I've read "the novelization" of this upcoming movie trilogy from beginning to end more often than I can count...

Oh, and I have a Backstreet Boys CD. And I listen to it.
posted by m.polo at 9:16 AM on July 2, 2001

I saw Wang Chung live, and liked it. Everybody Wang Chung tonight!
posted by frykitty at 9:18 AM on July 2, 2001

America's Funniest Home Videos cracks me up so consistantly that I often miss three- to five-minute stretches of the thing because I'm laughing so hard. And when they show those "Bloopers!" reels at baseball games? Heaven.

As a bonus, here are three movies from recent years which are not Guilty Pleasures, but are, in fact, damned fine films even though it seems as if they should suck rocks: Hands on a Hardbody, Mask of Zorro, and, yes, Galazy Quest.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 9:43 AM on July 2, 2001

I'm all about The Real World/Road Rules. The past week of RW marathon airings was like a little piece of heaven in my humdrum, routine little life. I'm also a big fan of (here it comes) *Nsync. I can't help it, I think I've been hypnotised by Lance Bass and his freaky eye. (He has this weird thing happening with his left eye -- check it out. I'm not joking. I think he may be involved in some kind of occult practice or something.)

My fondness for another particular pop group has long been documented, even influencing the name of my main domain, but I don't consider such fine musical offerings to be a "cultural big mac" type of thing -- that goes for Enya too. What are you people thinking lumping that Celtic goddess in with Britny Fox, Undressed and Maxim!?! That's just out of line. But I give credit on that Jesse's Girl thing, 'cuz you know, Jesse is a friend and he's been a good friend of mine.
posted by Dreama at 9:54 AM on July 2, 2001

Personally, I'm looking forward to The Mists of Avalon almost more than Lord of the Rings. Reading it for the third time now, just to refresh my memory before it airs. (I always wanted Kate Bush to play the lead, though...)
posted by dnash at 10:02 AM on July 2, 2001

Ren and Stimpy
posted by joaquim at 10:12 AM on July 2, 2001

I watch two (2) episodes of Friends every day.

I avoid the new episodes, preferring instead to watch them in syndication because they play them in chronological order. I did break stride to watch the Monica and Chandler wedding episode, though.

As far as mindless TV entertainment goes, I just find Friends to be a very comforting show.
posted by jennyb at 10:16 AM on July 2, 2001

Let the truth ring from the mountaintops!

I own both Flesh For Lulu's "Long Live The New Flesh" and a 12" of Pat Benatar's "We Belong To The Night"! And I'm proud! Proud!! My favorite band when I was 12, and which still brings a smile to my face: Ultravox. I have possibly the world's rarest Ultravox collector's item, which the denizens of the official website have offered me upwards of 75 pounds for...but I'll never sell! mwahaha!

My all-time favorite crappy TV show was American Gladiators. My wife and I used to bet on it, and even had some terribly exciting action figure sets. My most successful betting strategy: "Never bet on the white guy" (Not racism. Just common sense.)

I also am a 29 year old heterosexual man that absolutely loves Brideshead Revisited. Is that so wrong? I mean, if you were a gay bee too?
posted by Kafkaesque at 10:20 AM on July 2, 2001

okay, this song by robbie williams. blame it on npr, they played a snippet and i had to have it.
posted by cheesebot at 10:21 AM on July 2, 2001

Rick Shadelbauer does an excellent column entitled "Pop Secret" in Amplifier magazine ( on just this topic, music division. One of the litmus tests is if you're whistling a tune you enjoy, and then abruptly change to a different tune when someone approaches. That's your Pop Secret.

My secret shame? The Grass Roots, and Felix the Cat cartoons (cheesy 60s version).

Brain candy! Is that so wrong?!
posted by mac at 10:22 AM on July 2, 2001

hey kafkaesque, i've had "reap the wild wind" stuck in my head for a few weeks now. i've also got a midge ure autographed picture-disc 45 - oooh.

yeah, and the brideshead revisited collection on video as well.
posted by cheesebot at 10:23 AM on July 2, 2001

i'm actually kind of surprised no one has mentioned their love of the rocky horror picture show.
posted by moz at 10:42 AM on July 2, 2001

Judge Judy. I shall have no other gods before her.
posted by lileks at 11:00 AM on July 2, 2001

cheesebot, my item is actually the pre-pressing of Vienna with the title as "TorquePoint" and all the same songs but in different order.

And I was just looking around for Brideshead on DVD, but I guess it's not available...and the VHS is no longer in print. Life is indeed a cruel joke!

And you want to know what two songs have been stuck in my head recently? No? Well, I'll tell you anyway: the theme songs from Vegetable Soup and Villa Allegre, two somewhat disturbing children's shows on Public TV when I was a wee bairn. Oh, and Big Blue Marble. And maybe ZOOM. It's hard to tell with all the singing going on in there.
posted by Kafkaesque at 11:04 AM on July 2, 2001

"It takes all kinds of vegetables, it takes all kinds of vegetables..."

"laaa la la la la la, la la, la la la la la, Villa Allegre!"

are you sure you're not me?
posted by cheesebot at 11:11 AM on July 2, 2001

Oh my god!

What the hell I am I doing here? This is not my beautiful house! This is not my beautiful wife!

They're all cheesbot's!

~or, alternately~

My god! We were in a huge doll's house the whole time!
posted by Kafkaesque at 11:15 AM on July 2, 2001

what's wrong with the rocky horror picture show?

or enya, for that matter? - rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 12:29 PM on July 2, 2001

My latest embarassing joy is the new "You Don't Know Jack" TV show, hosted by Paul Reubens. After all, didn't he lose his last series when he was arrested for showing that he did, umm, know jack?
posted by harmful at 12:32 PM on July 2, 2001

well that's just it. of all the celebs, he and george michael truly know jack.
posted by moz at 12:46 PM on July 2, 2001

I liked Dirty Work starring Norm McDonald. I also like a song by the Corrs. And when I hear one of Ratt's songs on the radio, I turn it up... which also reveals that occasionally I listen to a radio station that actually plays Ratt. >sigh<
posted by Bootcut at 12:51 PM on July 2, 2001

Ratt? '80s hair metal? I despise the genre, often quite loudly, but there are a few specific songs that I secretly enjoy when they are played. At least none of the songs I can stand are by Poison.
posted by harmful at 12:54 PM on July 2, 2001

I never missed Survivor, and I could watch a Lifetime movie anytime, day or night.
posted by culberjo at 1:02 PM on July 2, 2001

well ...... OK I actually taped every episode of Beauty and the Beast

In High School, I actually believed that Ronnie James Dio was one of the greatest poets our planet had ever produced.

And, while the Bangles made a few decent contributions to the world that is pop music, I mean come on!

i am become shame
posted by willnot at 1:40 PM on July 2, 2001

I've long ago come to terms with my pop culture whore self... I live for Fametracker, so there's not much point in hiding it.

However, the fact that I'm unable to stop reading the horrible Star Wars novels scares the shit out of me...
posted by fujikodunc at 2:08 PM on July 2, 2001

Any minute now I feel like I'm gonna be crying into Meatloaf's bitch-tits.
posted by frykitty at 2:08 PM on July 2, 2001

I still read /.
posted by moss at 2:16 PM on July 2, 2001

and I forget to close my tags.
posted by moss at 2:18 PM on July 2, 2001

I own the 7", 12" and Spanish language versions of Toni Basil's "Mickey."

I also watch pretty much any made-for-TVer shown on the "Lifetime Movie Network" when my schedule allows.

And....this one's pretty bad, I'm covering my head with my hands as I say it.....I like the "Macarena" song. (I don't do the dance though).
posted by Oriole Adams at 2:29 PM on July 2, 2001

I only have one copy of "Mickey", but it's on one of my Just Can't Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the '80s CD's. One of the fifteen volumes of that series I own. (No point in getting the sixteenth; it was nothing but highlights from the first fifteen.)
posted by harmful at 2:47 PM on July 2, 2001

I am that guy, the one you wondered about. The P.M. Dawn fan.

And I have all of Kid 'n Play's movies on video. Not to mention the Class Act soundtrack on CD.
posted by anildash at 5:18 PM on July 2, 2001

Boy, you leave a thread alone for a day, and look what happens! No one has owned up to charmed, which I suspect could fill the gap 90210 left in your life, Matt-- but if Shannon leaves, it's over! how will the power of three continue!!!

i also worship limp bizkit's cover of faith. you haven't lived until you've heard that.
posted by christina at 7:28 PM on July 2, 2001

Billy Joel. Played loud enough to drown out my tuneless caterwauling accompaniment.
posted by Optamystic at 8:00 PM on July 2, 2001

I don't have a T.V....
but I've been thinking of getting one...
so that I can watch Survivor.
posted by moss at 10:54 PM on July 2, 2001

Two of hearts
(Two hearts that beat as one)

and, of course, the J. Peterman catalog.
posted by sudama at 5:21 AM on July 3, 2001

Judge Judy. I shall have no other gods before her.

Amen. From the the bench:
"You know what my grandmother used to say? Beauty fades, but dumb is forever."

Also: John Hughes movies. Sixteen Candles is my favorite. I am not ashamed.
posted by mtevis at 6:45 AM on July 3, 2001

Relic Hunter
posted by smich at 7:34 AM on July 5, 2001

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