TGIF Month: A Dinosaurs Live Blog

Welcome back to another Friday installment of our TGIF live blog series! We’ve watched the pilots of Family Matters, Step by Step and Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper, and now it’s time for-NOT THE MAMA  – Dinosaurs!

Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot/The Mighty Megalosaurus

Original Air Date:04/26/1991

Pilot Plot: Earl Sinclair must choose his role in life.

T: So here’s the thing – I remember watching only a few episodes of Dinosaurs, but thinking it was super weird. And perhaps not funny. But I think I was also just super aware as a kid that it was a weird show to begin with, and it might not have been up my alley. Could it have been the lifelike talking dinosaurs? Who’s to say. Never the less, I’m ready to give it another go!

M: I remember LOVING Dinosaurs and even having a Baby Dinosaur (… name?) figurine that I got at the corner store. To be fair, this was at the age where I was into weird humor – another fav was Ren and Stimpy. I also predict that I will not like it at all now!

T: I’d also like to note how vague the episode description is. It could lit’rally be about anyone, not even dinosaurs. I’m pretty sure that was the point of the show, but still.

M: I think it was very much a TGIF show but it’s Dinosaurs instead of people. I remember always thinking of Teen Boy Dinosaur as Dino Eddie Winslow and Teen Girl Dinosaur as Dino Laura. Yeah, I forget all the names except for earl.

T: The first scene is a fake newscast on “DNN” saying a giant meteor is heading towards Earth… this is a kids show. He says JK NO IT’S NOT right after but just so we’re all aware, the first joke is about impending death. Carry on.

M: I honestly blame/credit shows like this for instigating the weird meme-y culture our generation brought about.

T: I always forget Michael Jacobs, creator of Boy Meets World, also made Dinosaurs.

M: The more I think about it, the funnier it is that this concept was ever greenlit.

T: Guys, I think I didn’t connect with this show because it felt too much like Roseanne to me. Which I hateddddd. But again, people change.

M: Yes. I think Roseanne is a more apt comparison than Family Matters. They’re very blue-collar. You can tell because Earl has a shirt in a buffalo check pattern.

T: There’s another in TV set up, this time for the Dinosaur Shopping Network where a QVC-like commercial is going on and I can’t handle how real/fake this all is.

M: You don’t really see these Henson-y style shows anymore. It reminds me of Fraggle Rock, another fav during this era.

T: What is this pet they have? Oh it might be their dinner.

M: Everybody’s got that Winnie The Pooh style – shirt and no pants.

T: There are real people inside these costumes. Can you just image what this set was like on the down time? Fran is casually in the corner reading The Firm.

M: But like, how cool for those people to be getting residuals for this again, I guess.

T: Why

T: CHARLENE IS VOICE BY SALLY STRUTHERS! AND FRAN IS JESSICA WALTERS! BABETTE & LUCILLE BLUTH ARE DINOSAURS YOU GUYS.

T: ALSO Earl wants a brand new 90 inch TV but they are literal dinosaurs. HOW. I’m just putting this together.

M: The trick to watching Dinosaurs is not thinking about any of it.

T: The year is 60,000,003

M: “Why we countin’ backwards? What are we waitin’ for?”

T: Robbie is acting like he’s Danny Zuko.

M: I WAS JUST GOING TO SAY.

M: Why did I like this terrible baby? This baby is terrible.

T: THIS T REX AND HIS ARMS. HE’S HOLDING A CIGARETTE. I CAN’T

M: Earl asks for a raise and the dinosaur boss has a construction trailer with binders and blueprints everywhere. Again, you’re not supposed to think about it.

T:

“How was your day dear?”

“Compared to what Fran? Compared to walking off a cliff? Falling 10,000 feet, but living just long enough to see that first vulture swoop down and pick out my eyes? It’s a tie. Gimme a beer.”

Men, amirite?

M: The fridge is full of clamoring little critters. Heh.

T: YOU IN DANGER, EARL.

Frances, nothing in your little day is going to have an impact on how I live the rest of my life.

T: What if we just revealed pregnancies by moving our large dinosaur bodies just enough to reveal a large egg in a nest? And that women wouldn’t have to carry a human alien in our bodies for nine months?

M: Wait if that’s how it worked I 10/10 would have a kid.  Esp. the dramatic reveal & the part where nothing leeches my calcium reserves.

T: How do dinosaurs have sex? (This might be a rhetorical question)

M: Look at Earl. Look at Fran. Look at that terrible baby. No WAY is he the father.

T: While out on a temper tantrum in the woods, Earl encounters the creature he almost ate for dinner, Arthur Rizzic,  who changes his perspective on his own hardships. Teachable life lessons from dinosaurs – THEY’RE JUST LIKE US.

M: Disappointed they didn’t play the theme song, but slower, like they do in Full House or Family Matters.

T: Fran lures Earl back with a “Mastadon Surprise” which is probably just a casserole that’s been passed down in Fran’s family for years.

M: It might be how dinosaurs have sex.

T: Charlene doesn’t have pants on. She’s also looking straight down the barrel not apologizing for not wearing pants.

M: “Shirt, no pants like Winnie The Pooh” in the words of Lil Baby Aidy.

T: The baby sounds like a broken toy from Toys R Us.

M: Seriously f this baby.

T: Earl says dinosaurs are “going to rule the world forever” and it’s the most depressing thing I’ve ever heard come out of TGIF. And I’ve seen that Papouli ep of Full House multiple times.

M: We’re all careening towards oblivion WHEEEEEE

T: Well, safe to say I didn’t keep autoplay on for this.

M: Never again.

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Rex Manning Day, Mean Girls Day and More: Essential Pop Culture Holidays

In The Great Gatsby, Daisy always watched for the longest day of the year and then missed it. In the age of tumblr, I always watch for Saturday Detention Day, AKA Breakfast Club Day, and then miss it. I kind of understand how Daisy must feel. In the interest of never missing another movie or TV holiday, we’re compiling them here. Did we miss any? Let us know before we’re late to yet another Aaron Samuels Day.

Galentines Day

Date: February 13
TV Show: Parks and Recreation (2009 – 2015)
Reasoning:

Leap Day

Date: February 29, every 4 years
TV Show: 30 Rock
Reasoning: 30 Rock didn’t invent Leap Day, but it did invent Leap Day William, the heart and soul of the holiday

The Day Of The Dude

Date: March 8
Movie: The Big Lebowski (1998)
Reasoning: Anniversary of the Big Lebowski’s Release

Breakfast Club Day AKA Saturday Detention Day

Date: March 24
Movie: The Breakfast Club (1984)
Reasoning:

Winston Smith Day AKA 1984 Day

Date: April 4
Book: 1984, by George Orwell (1949)
Reasoning: The day Winston Smith began his diary.

Rex Manning Day

Date: April 8
Movie: Empire Records (1995)
Reasoning:

The Perfect Date

Date: April 25th
Movie: Miss Congeniality
Reasoning:

N Sync Day

Date: April 30
Song: It’s Gonna Be Me
Reasoning:

The Battle of Hogwarts

Date: May 2
Book and Movie: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Reasoning: Confirmed by J.K. Rowling, who said that Victoire Weasley was born on the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, May 2. The year was 1998:

Star Wars Day

Date: May 4
Movies: Many
Reasoning:

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Date: June 5
Movie: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
 Reasoning: It’s iffy. That’s the day the audio from the Chicago Bears game they attended came from, but there may have been a few months left in the schoolyear. Also, that parade would have been in the fall. Let’s say that any day you play hooky can be Ferris Bueller Day in your heart.

Best Friends Day

Date: June 8
TV Show: Spongebob Squarepants
Reasoning: There’s no date given for Best Friends Day in the episode where Spongebob and Patrick celebrate it, so it’s usually celebrated on the Facebook-ish holiday of Best Friends Day, June 8

Bloomsday

Date: June 16
Book: Ulysses, by James Joyce (1922)
Reasoning: The events of Ulysses (main character Leopold Bloom) take place on June 16, 1904

Harry Potter’s Birthday

Date: July 31
Books/Movies: The Harry Potter series
Reasoning: Not only is this the date Harry was born in 1980, it’s when JK Rowling was born in 1965. And of course, Neville Longbottom was born the day before Harry if you want to turn it into a two-day event.

Roald Dahl Day

Date: September 13
Books: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and many, many more
Reasoning: Roald Dahl was born on this day in 1916. Last year we celebrated with a whole week dedicated to Matilda.

Mean Girls Day AKA Aaron Samuels Day

Date: October 3
Movie: Mean Girls (2004)
Reasoning:

Treat Yo Self Day

Date: October 13
TV Show: Parks and Recreation (2009 – 2015)
Reasoning: The ‘treat yo self’ episode aired on this date in 2011

Abed’s Rudolph Day

Date: December 9
TV Show: Community (2009 – 2015)
Reasoning: In the classic 2010 claymation episode Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas, this is the day Abed always watches Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer with his mom. 

Refrigerator Day

Date: December 11
TV Show: Dinosaurs (1991)
Reasoning: The date this classic episode about Refrigerator Day aired:

 

Festivus

Date: December 23
TV Show: Seinfeld  (1989 – 1998)
Reasoning: The day the holiday ‘for the rest of us’ is celebrated with the feats of strength, airing of grievances and Festivus pole.

 

Best and Worst: Jurassic Park Dinosaurs

Jurassic Park is back, and you’ll be pressed to find anyone more excited about it than me. Sure, there’s the whole Chris Pratt of it all, but frankly I’m pretty jazzed about the dinos themselves. If you’re old enough to remember the first Jurassic Park coming out, you understand. I used to play Jurassic Park with my next-oldest brother – not a video game, but running around being chased by velociraptors, which somehow always culminated in riding down the stairs in a laundry basket. Kids are weird. And in college, I broke a friend’s heart by explaining why, scientifically, you could not clone dinosaurs the way they describe in the movie. Now I’m a full-scale adult, but I still have definite opinions about the best and worst dinosaurs.

Best Dinosaurs

Brachiosaurus

Why are they the best?

First of all, they’re gentle, like a child’s dinosaur, if you will. Second, they’re the dino that you first see grazing in the distance while majestic music plays, the one that makes you realize that this is legit. And third, dinosaur snot.

Plus, not that I’m a 4-year-old boy with a favorite dinosaur, but the brachiosaurus is my favorite dinosaur.

Dilophosaurus

Why are they the best?

They’re mean and awful, but at least they’re GOOD at being mean and awful. I like how they have dumb Shakespearean ruffs around their necks when they’re angry, and wish that I did too.

Velociraptor

Why are they the best?

They’re the stars of the movie, arguably. Too smart to mess with, and tiny enough that they’d be great pets if they weren’t so vicious. Plus they hate little Timmy as much as I did (Lex forever).

And also Ross Gellar:

Stegosaurus

Why are they the best? Generally a cool-looking dinosaur. Protective of their young. Hate photos, which I can relate to on a personal level.

Pterandon

Why are they the best? Flying.

Tyranassaurus Rex

Why are they the best? Undisputed king of the dinosaurs, first dino everyone learns about as a kid – although let’s be real, there is zero reason to teach kids about dinosaurs, it is quite literally the LEAST relevant thing for them to know. But the tyranassaurus still tops the list of children’s dinosaur knowledge, and it even has a kicky nickname, t. rex. The baby T.Rex is a personal favorite.

Dinosaurs That Shouldn’t Even Bother

Gallimimus

Why are they the worst?

Even when they stampede, they don’t look threatening. They look like a flock of those ballet-dancing ostriches from Fantasia. When your life is threatened by a dinosuar, you should be yelling something cooler than “oh no, the gallimimus are in releve!” 

Parasaurolophus

Why are they the worst?

They “move in herds”…. and that’s it. That’s all they do. Plus they have the giant body/ tiny arms problem to an almost laughable degree. They look dumb, like the dinosaur equivalent of a dog in a giant cone hat.

Plus, their name is really hard to spell.

Tricerotops

Why are they the worst?

You know when you’re around someone who’s sick, and on one hand you feel bad for them, and on the other hand they’re sort of annoying? Yeah. Like that.

Just Say YES: 80s & 90s Kids’ Shows That Made Drugs Look Fun

First things first: we would never tell children to do drugs. Children’s programs do it for us. Or did, anyway. Back when the front line of the War On Drugs was manned by a white lady named Nancy, kids’ shows told the youth of the nation to “just say no.” The problem: the drugs looked awesome. Was it because the show runners didn’t know what drugs looked like? Or were they just trying to show kids how hard it could be to resist peer pressure? Because I guarantee if these cartoons showed gross needles, or weed being smoked out of a dank Coke can, fewer kids would have wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Instead, the drugs looked awesome:

Punky Brewster

Punky’s got lessons. Don’t go all the way inside of a refrigerator. Your family is who loves you, not who abandons you in a supermarket. Someday, you’ll get a bra. And don’t do drugs, even though drugs look like the best candy in the world.

A group of girls invite Punky and Cherie into their clique, but only if they do drugs. I repeat: the girls invited Punky and Cherie to hang out in an amazing technicolor dream fort, and offered them free drugs. I’m not surprised that Punks did the right thing, I’m just confused why those girls wanted to be friends with her that hard.

Cartoon All Stars To The Rescue

This was an all-out failure of concept. When a young boy starts drinking beer and smoking dope ( I think they say “dope,” and I’m never 100% clear on what drug that’s supposed to be), his kid sis and a team of Cartoon All Stars gang up to teach him that there’s a better way.

That’s right, kids. If you do drugs, all your favorite cartoon characters will come over to hang.

In a way, though, this was the harshest punishment of all, because can you imagine being on drugs and then trying to deal with the fact that you were rolling with Alf, the Smurfs, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Garfield, the Muppet Babies – the freaking Muppet Babies – and the Ninja Turtles? While we’re at it, Ninja Turtles: the CONSTANT PIZZA? The slow, drawled out speech? Sitting around all day in a basement with your bros? Oh, come on.

Dinosaurs

I’ve seen episodes of Weeds that were less pro-drug than this. Earl and Robbie, the boy dinosaur who’s Dinosaurs’ answer to Eddie Winslow, find a plant that makes them all chill and happy, but then the next day all they can find is seeds and stems. So I guess the lesson here is that they should have had more drugs on hand. Anyway, the whole family turns amotivational and at the end, Robbie delivers an anti-drug speech. Or is it an anti-anti drug episode speech? “When one show does an anti-drug episode, other shows feel pressured to do one, too. […] [P]ut a stop to preachy sitcom endings like this one.” In sum, the writers room of Dinosaurs probably smelled like that one kid in your nighttime sociology class who always wore a Central American poncho.

Saved By The Bell

We all know and love the “I’m so excited.. I’m so scared!” scene, but it’s easy to forget how appealing that episode made drugs look to all those Type A kids out there. Like, if I do “caffeine pills,” I too can get tons of shit done? That sounds amazing. I think we can all assume that “caffeine pills” is a Saturday morning T.V. euphemism for speed or a less depressing version of meth.

Then, there was Johnny Dakota. He was a teen star who showed up to make an anti-drug P.S.A. with the kids of Bayside. The gang goes to a party at his place and learns that he does drugs himself. So, Johnny Dakota went back to his lifestyle of drug-fueled house parties and the Bayside kids went back to hanging out with their principal. Real good job there, Saved By The Bell.

Fresh Prince

Was speed really THAT big an issue for highly-motivated teenagers in the 90s? Like Spano, Carlton is a clean-cut honor roll type who falls prey to amphetamines. He gets the pills from Will, who is using them to keep up with his go-go lifestyle, and Carlton takes them thinking that they’re vitamins. I am now realizing that I took Sudafed to pull an all-nighter in law school a few times, and that I probably learned that little trick from 90s kids’ shows. I graduated Magna Cum Laude and I owe it all to what I know realize were drugs. These were either some hardcore amphetamines or Carlton had a pre-existing condition, because he got hospitalized HARD.

Captain Planet

This episode features something that I was led to believe would happen a lot more than it does: a stranger forcing me to take drugs for no real reason. Do you remember that? They’d teach you how to “just say no” if someone offers you drugs, and then your whole DARE class would get sidetracked talking about “well, what if someone MAKES you take drugs?” And not for any reason other than that they want you to be a person who is on drugs. I remember when Traci and I were in Greece, we met this weird girl on the train who told us to be careful in Athens because people would put drugs in our food. “Oh, like… for reasons?” we wondered. Nah. She said just like weed or mild hallucinogens, and I don’t know why they would waste their hard-earned drugs on people who didn’t even want them.

But I digress. Some dude puts drugs in Lenkas food not to do anything to her, but just so that she becomes a person who is on drugs. She’s pretty miserable when she’s off drugs, but when she’s on them it looks like a blast!

Now, as someone who’s blessed to share her name with a popular club drug, I’m in a unique position to critique drug names. The one in Captain Planet is called Bliss. That’s a stupid drug name.

Jem

A girl we’ve never seen before is offered drugs, and before you know it her guitar skills are through the roof! Eventually she starts experiencing side effects or something, but this will go down as the anti-drug episode that taught us kids that if you hate practicing clarinet for band, there’s probably a drug for that.