Ain’t No Party Like an S Club Party: Coming Full Circle

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Welcome back to the randomness! This, my dear friends, is going to the last entry into ‘fake band’ month! It has been a fun ride. I have been jumping around all the decades and found that television bands are a rarity now that should be brought back to mainstream television.  While I get to working on that, here is the final entry for the month.

We have come full circle. We started with a band that became famous through a television show and we are ending with a band that became famous through a television show. Ta dah!

S Club 7.

The same people who gave us S Club 7 brought us The Spice Girls (also my first major music obsession as a kid).  Their manager, Simon Fuller, found Tina, Paul, Rachel, Jo, Hannah, Bradley and Jon and created a television show where they go to Miami for a record deal. It aired on the BBC and in America on Fox Family.  Over 90 million viewers in 100 countries watched the show.   Much like The Monkees, the show was an exaggerated form of their real personality.  In fact, the show was compared to The Monkees! The vice president of Fox Family at the time said that the show was relationship driven and more sophisticated (uh…sure. The Monkees show did not take itself so seriously. That is why it is so well loved even today. Just saying.)

There were four more seasons, but I only remember the first season. That was around the time Fox Family changed hands and the programming changed.  I do remember the music and I can still sing the theme song to you (do you want me too? No. Ok. I will be over here now).  This band is fake and real at the same time.

Let me explain. The singers could sing and fit the traits of the average late 90’s post grunge pop band.  However, without that show, we would not be here talking about them right now.  Let us not pretend that is what made them famous. It was being on television every week pushing their songs onto preteens that did not know they were being sold to. I am one of those preteens. The show is one big album sale each week…with jokes.

Like California Dreams, I remember the music (I owned their first album) but I do not remember the actual plot of the television show. I have a feeling it did not matter. It was there to sell a product. Ok, I sound a bit…bitter.

I am not though. I still enjoy their music and I admire taking The Monkees marketing plan and reworking it for a new generation. Hats off to that production team.  Looking at the plans they put in place for them now, it looks so calculated and not as much fun. I thought I found this band by accident, but I was actually targeted. My preteen self is hurt.

I hear they are back on tour together. Reunion tour of sorts. I wonder if a new television show would still sell on American TV today? One’s mind can wander…

I listened to the album that connects to the first season and many of the hits still come back to me. I am brought back to a place of extreme innocence. It is a nice place to visit sometimes.

Best songs by S Club 7? “Two in a Million”, “S Club Party” and “I really Miss You”.  Those songs stand out to me because those are the songs they sang the most.  Check out the theme song below! I am positive you will remember this song!

That is it for S Club 7. The show is hard to find and I feel like this fake band eclipsed their own show.

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Well, that is the end of fake band month. I can only hope that fake bands make an appearance back on the pop culture scene. Well, for adults at least. I see you, Disney.

Hope you enjoyed! If you can think of any bands, I did not mention this month leave a comment below! Nothing makes me happier than watching a new television show!

Until then the randomness and fake band month has ended. Hope you enjoyed!

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Good Vibrations: California Dreams

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Hello and welcome back to the randomness! This is the closing ceremonies of ‘fake band’ month! This last ‘fake band’ has left a strong impression on my brain.  A lot of my childhood was spent watching this television show after school and during the summer months.

Here is the rub.  I have such strong memories of the cast, some of the music but none of the episodes.  Even weirder, I have strong memories of watching this show after school on the Superstation aka TBS but turns out…never aired on TBS. Then I thought it aired on Disney Afternoons with Brotherly Love. Nope. Did not air there either.

It was a NBC Saturday morning teen show.

Huh. My strong memory has failed me.

The show was California Dreams. It aired on the teen block for NBC Saturdays. I have no recollection of watching it there.

California Dreams was created by Brett Dewey and Ronald B. Solomon and was produced by Peter Engel of Saved by the Bell fame (sensing a trend here).  It aired from 1992-1996 for an impressive 78 episodes. Why impressive? Teen shows like this back in the day did not last long. Look at Saved by the Bell! Not that many episodes exist out there (Ignoring Miss Bliss and the College Years of course).

The show stared out with the Garrison Family and their kids who had started a band. This family would not even last past season two.  They reworked the show to write out the Garrison family and include people who did not really have a connection to the Garrisons. The show now only covered a set a friends that just happen to be in a band called California Dreams. The show centers on this band and the teen issues they face together. There are pairings that I do remember. Mostly Jake and Tiffani because I’ve always had a thing for the bad (secretly good) guy and sweet girl (hmmm….).

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The reason I am not going in deeper into this show is because it is a common set up. The Disney Channel still uses this.  I have seen this show many times as a kid. I have strong feelings about this show. I see the opening credits and I go back to a very happy place of being carefree and only worrying about getting my homework done.

That might be why I have such a strong connection to this show.  It is not the content that I remember it is the idea of the show. It was in my life during a time where I was purely a kid. I had no real worries and my biggest activity was riding my bike around town with my best friends. Going to the pool. Going down the shore. I hear the theme song to this show and I go back to that place.

So, I think this band and show holds a place in my heart. Not for the reasons I gave for the other bands but for the feeling it conjures.

I did find a YouTube video that had ALL of their songs (over 40 songs!!!).  I started to listen to them and a few do ring a few bells. None are covers and they are not that bad. It is very 90’s soft inoffensive rock.  Luckily, I am a secret fan of that type of music (Hello Boz Scaggs!).

I think my top three favorite are ‘She’s Not You’, ‘Must be Love’ and ‘Don’t Wake Me Up (California Dreams)’. I highly recommend that you check out the songs. I am still going through them as I write this and it is really catchy and creative.

The show is available on Shout! DVDs and the songs are available online (many fans still exist for this show).  Check out the theme and some of their songs below.

That concludes this look into California Dreams. A show that I have no real recollection of but I have strong feelings for. Reminds me of a first crush. You have strong feelings about the event but do not remember why you had that crush in the first place. That is my relationship with the show and band of California Dreams.

Since I do not have access to episodes and I am poor that is all for California Dreams. To conclude this month of ‘fake band’ love I will be looking at another band that evokes strong feelings in me.Just a little British band that is back on tour as we speak. Some might argue that they were not fake but let us not kid ourselves. This band followed The Monkees formula to success.

Hope you enjoyed and I will see you tomorrow!

It is the Little Things in Life: Band Mini Bites

Welcome back! Thinking about Saved by the Bell’s Zack Attack band got me thinking of other small bands that did not get their own show but left a mark in pop culture. Really, the bands that left a mark on my subconscious. Here are three ‘bands’ that I still remember fondly and even, on occasion, listen to unironically.

Hot Sundae – Go for it!

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I remember this other ‘band’ fondly. Girl musical group really. This Saved by the Bell episode had so many classic elements in it. A fun musical episode that was not a dream. It had a classic freak out from Jesse that I still yell when I am stressed out. It is a PSA for teenagers about expectations and managing stress as well. It has it all people!

The girls of Saved by the Bell only do this song because Zacks dad knows a producer looking for the next big girl group (why not sign the Zack Attack? Anyway…). Go for It has been stuck in my head. Rearing its ugly head at the most random of moments. Its catchy and very 90s. I also liked this song because it actually sounded like the actresses were singing it. In the Zack Attack episode, it sounds like fill ins since most of the actors could not sing…I assume.

Watch the video below. Come for the cheese, stay for the earworms!

Jesse and the Rippers – Forever

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Full House was a big part of my childhood. I was obsessed with the Olsen Twins growing up. I have seen most of the episodes more times than I can count (season one…not so much).  I remember loving Uncle Jesse’s band, Jesse and the Rippers. I was convinced they were a real band!

Anywhoo…

The one song I was obsessed with was Forever. Technically, it is a Beach Boys song but for the purpose of the show, Jesse wrote it for Rebecca, his wife.  It has sentimental value and is a very sweet song. I can still hear the opening piano cues in my head as I write this.  My fondest memory was when he sang the song to her in Disneyland with random Disney characters in the background.

The band did ultimately kick Jesse out. I found his next band, Hot Daddy and the Monkey Puppets less than desirable. It was less about the music and more that DJ wasn’t with Steve but that is for another blog post.

Mystik Spiral – Freakin Friends

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The television show Daria came into my life at a very turbulent time. I was in middle school feeling a bit lost among the cliques. I did not feel like I was above them but I did not feel like I belonged either. That is when I came across a Daria marathon on MTV and fell instantly in love. I related to Daria and her cast of characters so much I still feel a kinship to the show to this day. When I am feeling down, I still watch a few episodes.

In the show Trent Lane (Jane Lanes brother and Daria’s love interest) had a grunge band called Mystik Spiral. As I researched into the band, I found they had a website back in the day that I was still allowed to access through the wayback machine. It has a booking section, about us section and an actual fan club. If I were aware back then of the internet I would have been their number one fan!

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They have many songs (‘Ow! My Face’ being a favorite) but the one that stood out to me was Freakin Friends from the TV movie, Is it Fall Yet? Freakin Friends was written for the renewal of the friendship between Jane, his sister and Daria (long story).  This song is the best because not only does it represent these two characters well, it is used at the end of the series (Is it College Yet?) as an all-encompassing goodbye to the characters and the audience that watched them grow up.  It is sentimental, sweet and reminds me of some good times I had with friends I do not always see much of anymore.

Best lyrics?

When the whip comes down
when they nuke the town
when dead clowns can’t clown
we’ll still be freakin’ friends

Trent Lane is a lyrical genius my friends.

I am planning on a very big Daria blog post so I will stop here but it’s worth a listen and the show is definitely worth a watch.

These ‘bands’ may have been lost as time as gone on but I remember them. These songs still hold a place in my heart and place on my iPod. I kind of hope that more shows bring back to fake band. It does help a show have staying power to some even if it is cheesy in the end.

So, that is the end of this mini bites post. Stay tuned for my last favorite fake TV band. This one is an oldie but a goodie. So old to some I will not even give a hint. Ok, fine. I hope you are not dreaming but if you are…I hope they are California Dreams!

Oy. That was bad. Anyway, see you all next week! Hope you enjoyed your trip down memory lane.

Friends Forever: Zack Attack For the Ages

SAVED BY THE BELL, Top Row: Ed Alonzo, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Elizabeth Berkley, Mario Lopez, Bottom Row: Lark Voorhies, Tiifani-Amber Thiessen, Dennis Haskins, Dustin Diamond, Season 1, 1989-1993 (c)NBC / Courtesy: Everett Collection.

SAVED BY THE BELL, Top Row: Ed Alonzo, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Elizabeth Berkley, Mario Lopez, Bottom Row: Lark Voorhies, Tiifani-Amber Thiessen, Dennis Haskins, Dustin Diamond, Season 1, 1989-1993 (c)NBC / Courtesy: Everett Collection.

Welcome back to the randomness! Continuing the ‘fake television band’ love fest, I come to a smaller band. This band did not get a full-blown television show but it was part of a bigger teenage revolution. Well…in reruns at least.

Saved by the Bell aired from 1989 to 1992. It was another version of the show aimed at high school aged kids. The first shot was called Good Morning Miss Bliss and was aimed more at younger middle school aged kids. The third try was with the Saved by the Bell: College Years. I am sure I am the only person out there that actually enjoyed the show (I have it on DVD somewhere).

Either way the show followed Zack Morris and his friends (Kelly, A.C. Slater, Jesse, Lisa Turtle, Screech and Mr. Belding) as they navigated middle and high school and then college. Yes, it was preachy and could get ‘afterschool special’ on its audience but the characters were charming and have endured over time. I did not watch the show live (I was three when it started!) but I was a part of the Superstation (TBS) rerun generation.  Every day before school, I would watch two episodes while eating breakfast. In that time, I found my favorite episode to be the one that turned out to be all a dream.

“Rockumentary” was the season three closer that followed the rise, fall and rise of the Zack Attack band. It obviously followed the normal trajectory of the band being full of friends, letting outside forces tear them apart but to come back to together on their own terms (huh…sounds like the show itself followed that trajectory too).  I look at this episode as a VH1 Behind the Music with Casey Kasem (ah…poor Casey Kasem).

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The episode, watching it now (thanks Netflix!), is hokey and silly. The songs they sing in the episode are silly and I do not know why they would be hits to begin with. Silly is not a strong enough word but silly will work for now. I do love the references to Vanilla Ice (MC Hammer? I was never sure).

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I also found it funny that Screech was the one to write the tell-all about the band (predicting the future much?).  The episode is also missing Jesse. Jesse is in the band when Kelly and Zach break up but not in the fantasy version of the band! That always bugged me but according to the Saved by the Bell Wiki actress Elizabeth Berkley (Jesse) broke her left knee and was written out of the episode. I always figured that Jesse was too smart to go with the group and just went to college and got a high paying job (or Vegas). Either way, the writers could have added a small explanation. Then again, this show was not a stickler for continuity (Tori and Kelly were never in the same room people! Discuss!).

The songs were hokey but man where they catchy. I still catch myself humming the songs. Mostly Friends Forever but Did we Ever Have Chance still comes up in my head.  Friends Forever was a nice idea and fit the shows happy go lucky spirit.

I think I loved this episode and band so much because it let me vicariously live my secret desire to start a band when I was a kid. Let me say that I cannot hold a tune but I can play the flute…that is about it. I think I found the idea of hanging out with my friends and ability to sing soft rock un-ironically a huge draw. I think we all, at some point, wanted to start a band like the Saved by the Bell gang.

I will never forget the Zack Attack and apparently neither will future generations (again…Thanks Netflix!).

Stick around because tomorrow I will be covering the other Saved by the Bell band (I am so excited!) as well as other small fake bands that caught my attention as a kid.

The randomness has ended. Hope you enjoyed your time on the fake television band train!

2gether: I thought Korn was going to be here. This sucks!

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Welcome back to fake band month here on Amanda’s Pop Culture Randomness! As I wrote yesterday next on my tour fake bands was MTV made 2gether.  The plan was to talk about the television show but the show was hard to find. The episodes I did find did not hold up as well as the movie or the music videos. So, change of plans.

I will be looking at the movie and their two biggest music videos. Three pieces of media that really held up for me.

Without further ado, here is a review of 2gether and the music they rode in and out on!

2GETHER (The Movie)

Best Lines

“I made a commitment to you guys, and keeping a commitment is good manners. It’s called the Axel Rose Rule”– Jerry

“I can’t be perfect every time out. I’m not Ozzy Osbourne!” – Doug

“This one time I fit five dollars up my butt and, not to brag or nothing, but I bet I could fit way more up there. Way more. Easy!” – Chad

“Well you gotta embrace your worthlessness. You know, just think about all the greatest loser throughout history: UPN, the metric system, Kevin Cosner…” – Doug

“Mickey Parke has one ho and one ho only, and that’s Mickey Parke!” – Mickey

All of Whoa’s biggest hit aka Rub One Out

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Best Moments

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Why I liked it

This is what started it all. As I wrote in yesterday’s blog post the movie is a nice tongue and cheek view on boy bands and the record companies who produced them.  The cast worked so well together. I bought that these five guys were a band and I cared about what happened to them. It also introduced the idea into my head, at the tender age of thirteen, that I was being used to some degree by the music industry. It is worth the watch and a great look at time in history when MTV still played music or actually cared about music and not Ridiculousness. (hint…the movie is on YouTube. Watch it while you can).

The Hardest Part of Breaking Up (Is Getting Back Your Stuff)

Best Lyrics

“Hey Doug. You plus me equals jail time!”

“You took my heart now I have to take the bus”

“You walked out of my life with my CD collection”

“You got my sweaters, my hat, I can’t find my cat”

“I’d call you up girl but you took my phone!”

Best Moments

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Why I liked it

The video was a tongue and cheek look at the second single. The band starts with their love song and then goes into the break up song (like the formula dictates). This break up song was about a kleptomaniac but it still fits the formula.  It even has a rap breakdown that was starting to get popular then.

I loved this song and video because it literally dressed the band up as used car salesman. They are literally telling us they are selling us crap and we were going to eat it up. Really love that.  I also love the video poking fun at TRL’s video dedications and the people who do them. The idea of dedicating a video like this to anyone is pretty funny especially when the ‘nerd’ wants to know where the band korn is at that moment. It has a great beat and I find myself singing it to myself at random moments. That is the mark of a well-written beat and song.

U + Me = Us (Calculus)

Best Lyrics

“When it comes to cosines I know a thing or two”

“Girl, algebra, trigonometry can never equal up to what you do to me”

            “Well I’ve never been good at history and I don’t give a crap about Robert E. Lee”

Best Moments

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Why I Liked It

The video was meant to “introduce the band” to the world. It does contain a lot of the movie and winks at the movie but also elements of the most popular boy band videos at the time. It includes matching choreography, matching outfits and screaming girls behind a barricade. It even came with a little dance that I can do for you right now if you want (no? ok. That’s cool).  The song is catchy and funny and I have a sinking suspicion this was offered to other boy bands before it landed in the movie making fun of boy bands. I’m a sucker for songs that randomly talks about Robert E. Lee and how they don’t give a crap about him.

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This fake band was fun, silly and knew they were making fun of a boy bands. That might be why I’m ok with the band coming back to the small screen. My idea? Have it be about a retirement home for former boy banders or boy bands in therapy. I feel like that type of show would be a goldmine for the boy banders that are still wandering around lost after their fame has ended. Seriously…Chris Kirkpatrick…this is your time to shine.

Either way, 2gether will always have a place in my heart for showing up and making me smile for two years while screaming for NSYNC.

Let the fake band love continue! Next week? We will be discussing a small band that Casey Kasem could not even ignore. I hope they are still…Friends Forever.

            See you next week! Hope you enjoyed the 2gether fun!