The Daily Dump

A place where everyone (me) is welcomed to express their opinions openly and honestly. I encourage free thinking, free wheeling, off-the-cuff banter and monetary donations.

Thursday, November 24

100 Things About Me: #2

Prologue: I’m on the train going to my parent’s house now. From my seat, in the reflection of the window, I am watching a rather large woman absolutely ravage a Big Mac. She is repeatedly spilling food on her rotund torso, fishing it off and putting it in her mouth. Also, she’s doing the stereotypical “Look How Gross I Am When I Eat” thing where she takes a sip of her soda WHILE she’s still chewing a mouthful of food. Do you ever really need a drink that bad that it can’t wait until you’re done chewing? Really?

Anyway, after Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow night, I will be rushing back to my apartment, throwing some clothes in a suitcase, waking up ass-early Friday morning and getting on a plane headed for Maui. The bad news? – I won’t be blogging for the 9 days I’m there.

Cut to scenes of irate people reading this:

Irate Person 1: “Are you [bleep] kidding me?”

Irate Person 2: “I’m going to kill that son of a bitch, who does he think he is?”

More Depressed Than Irate Person: (empty chair in front of an open window; terrible screams come from the street 10 stories below.)

The good news? I’ll be in fucking Maui.

This will easily be the longest I have been away from my blog since its inception. In a way I understand how parents must feel when they leave their children for extended periods of time. They put them in the kennel and just hope they’re taken good care of. Only with children I imagine it’s more intense. Like you really hope they’re OK. You really hope that they’re still there when you get back. You really hope people remember your name and come back to read your posts. You hope . . .

I figure it’s only fair to give you something in exchange for me going on the vacation of a lifetime. So I’ve decided to give you the most precious thing I have – knowledge about me. Knowledge in the form of . . .

#2 on my list of 100 Things About Me.

Like I said in the post for #1, I worry that people will lose interest if put a list of 100 things out there all at once. Unless number #96 is “I sold nuclear materials to Iran,” there’s a good chance no one’s going to care. To counteract that basic human notion of not caring about others in large segments, I’ll break it down over the course of . . . well however long it takes me. At this rate, we should get through all 100 things by the fall of ’07.

Hence, I give you number two.*

#2 I am terribly afraid of going deaf.

Starting at a young age, when I was taught in school that if you push a Q-tip too far into your ear you can go deaf, I have been overly sensitive about my ears. Back when my mother used to Q-tip my ears for me (like high school) I would plead with her the whole time, “DON’T DEAF ME! DON’T DEAF ME!!” True story. (Also true story: I became an English major. No really, I swear.)

Later on in high school, when I finally started paying attention in science class I learned that the reason so many people lose their hearing as they get older is because there are cilia in your ear which flap in the figurative breeze of the sound vibrations. If that breeze gusts too strongly, the cilia can break and, like fallen trees, never be stood up again. (I remember my teacher using that exact metaphor “like fallen trees.” It scared the shit out of me. One, because I pictures trees in my ears; and two because from that day forward I assumed every sound I heard was snapping cilia left and right. I still can’t look at a crop circle without thinking about my ear cilia.)

I looked back on all the rock concerts I had been too, all the times we had left with me screaming, “I bet the ringing in my ears is louder than yours!” and thinking it was so cool. Well kids, IT’S NOT! Going deaf, unless it’s the 80’s again, is definitely not cool.

Yes, I understand there are worse things that can happen to a person. You could have cancer, you could have no face, you could be paralyzed, you could have a tumor with hair and teeth growing in you. All dreadful, no doubt about it. But something about the thought of people constantly sneaking up on me scares the shit out of me.

Coincidentally, just yesterday, in furtherance of my bid to stay deaf-free well into old age, I bought some ridiculously expensive headphones (albeit with Sharper Image gift cards acquired in what might be considered a dubious fashion). They go right into your ear canal and form a tight seal so as to keep out external noise. Therefore, you don’t have to play your music as loud in order to hear it.

And wow, do these things work. I listened to my iPod on the subway yesterday at a little less that quarter volume and it was more than loud enough. That’s beyond impressive. But it does have it’s drawbacks – for example about five minutes ago as I was writing this, still on the train, I pulled one of those “stare up out the window as if to be in deep contemplation but really be thinking about what to eat when I get home” looks, and right at that moment the elderly woman next to me was trying to get my attention. Only I didn’t know that until, after what I can only assume were a few failed attempts at saying “Excuse me,” she finally tapped my arm. Seems she meant to go to Smithtown but got on a train for Ronkonkoma by accident and she wanted to use my cell phone to call her son.

Of course I had no problem with this; but what I DID have a problem with was that, in my efforts to not go deaf for fear of people sneaking up on me, I bought a pair of headphones that make me deaf and FORCE people to sneak up one me. Nice, sweet old women. Lost old women who just need to use my phone to find their family. I almost club one of them because I can’t hear a thing.

If that’s not enough, consider this: There are so many more famous blind people – Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Peter Falk (one eye), Helen Keller – than famous deaf people – that girl who plays all the deaf woman on TV, Helen Keller.

In fact, using this simple equation:

Ray Charles x Stevie Wonder x Helen Keller x (1/2 Peter Falk)
Marlee Matlin x Helen Keller

You see that a person is 21/2 times more likely to become famous if they are blind than if they are deaf. That’s just numbers people, you can’t argue with that.

So there you go. I’m scared of going deaf. I cover my ears while walking past construction site like a pansy. I get legitimately mad when people speak loudly right into my ear. I hold my breath when I Q-tip my ears. I’ve exposed myself to you like a raw nerve ending. And that’s a pretty gross metaphor, but I hope it makes you all feel closer to me so you’ll still be here when I get back.

With that, I’m out of here. Like “15 times zones over out of here.” Everyone have a great week and think of me often. Like when you see a commercial for Hawaii. Or when you see a picture of a white sand beach. Or when you Q-tip your ears. Or when you watch “Columbo.” Think of me.

* You didn’t think I was going to just ignore an obvious poop double entendre, did you?

Wednesday, November 23

She Was Trying To Cut And Paste

Crazy June: “This book Microsoft Word for Dummies is no good! It assumes you already know so much!”

Co-worker Standing Behind Me: “You mean things even a dummy would know?”

Me: (Silently staring at coffee.)

Crazy June: (Glazed look of oblivion on face.)

Tuesday, November 22

President Bush Really Impressed With Large Door

Look at my mock strength. It’s so big I can’t even open it. Look! I’m struggling with it! It’s so large though, I can’t get it to budge. If China has taught us anything, it is that we should have huge doors with ornate brass handles. I love this door.

My (Almost) Racist Haircut

Scene: In the back room where they wash your hair. Me in one chair and a middle aged woman in the chair next to me. We both have our heads back in our respective sinks. The woman washing my hair is doing the massage the temples thing and it is producing a warm sensation in my left thigh.

The woman who cuts my hair, who is Asian, walks in front of our chairs. She pauses in front of the middle aged woman. All of my dialogue is internal:

Asian Hair Stylist: (in Chinese accent) “Ohh, I love your shoe!”

Me: (with smile on my face) How nice.

Middle Aged Woman: (chipper) “Oh do you? Do you love this one too?”

Me: (practically sitting up in my chair, covered in suds) WHAT?!


Apparently, I was sitting next to one of the most unabashedly racist women in the world. So calloused she is she will make fun of an Asian woman’s accent right to her face. And not, like, when they’re caught in a traffic jam or fighting over the same discounted sweater, but in public, while the Asian woman was only trying to be nice! I’m so uncomfortable in the chair I can’t even enjoy my hair washing. There’s sweat on my brow. I can’t believe what I just heard.

The hair stylist and the woman washing my hair smile uncomfortably and chuckle a little. The stylist finally acknowledges the Middle Aged Woman:

Asian Hair Stylist: (smiling) “Awww. Did you break it?”

Me: Did she just threaten her?

Middle Aged Woman: “Yeah, the cast doesn’t come off for another few weeks.”


Apparently, the Middle Aged Woman had a cast on one foot. So when the Asian Hair Stylist commented on liking her shoe, she really meant she liked her one shoe. I almost shit my pants over nothing. The question now is, am I the racist one here? And if so, has anyone else ever become racist while having their hair washed?

Monday, November 21

Then Things Took A Turn For The Nude

My friends and I often sit around drinking, lamenting the fact that we haven’t done more with our lives. By this I can only assume that we mean not that we wish we had pursued more noble ventures like charity or science, but that we wish we had more money. Not that we’re poor – none of us are home eating half a package of Raman Noodles every night, saving the other half for breakfast, crying ourselves to sleep through the huger pains. But on a New York scale of wealth, we rank somewhere between “Will Only Take A Cab Home If It’s Past 2:00 AM” and “Limit Of Take-Out Once A Week.”

What we did wrong was we “followed our dreams” or whatever crap it was wealthy motivational writers were spewing out in our influential teenage years. My friend John works in the theater, where you need approximately one bazillion dollars to make a few thousand; Matt is musician / music lover who has worked hard to stay in his low paying, high music-artist-meeting job; BJ teaches at a Catholic school where I think they pay him in “prestige” and “not getting stabbed by students”; and I wake up every morning, whimper in bed for half an hour at the prospect of coming to work, clean myself up and write this fucking hilarious blog.

(Side note: I’m listening to online radio and “Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor just came on. Is this song about himself? It’s creepy.)

Ironically, then there’s my friend James (not Taylor) who is our resident starving artist. He goes to grad school for art and resides in a Brooklyn apartment that doubles as a wildlife preserve. He lives off student loans and a part time job IN HOBOKEN. That’s in New Jersey. The next state over.

James, for my money, has more balls than all of us put together. Whereas at least the rest of us are stable in our low paying jobs, James is throwing it all out there, taking a chance on being an artist which is as close as you can get to taking a chance on being a professional homeless person. He’s not necessarily finishing our leftovers at restaurants, but he has to take the G train home for Christ’s sake. (For anyone who doesn’t live in New York, the G train is a subway that supposedly runs through Brooklyn. I wouldn’t know though because I’ve never seen it, begging the question: “If the G train arrives in the station, but it’s in Brooklyn, is that any excuse to live in Brooklyn?”)

Well this past Friday was the figurative if not literal payoff for the life James has chosen. It was the one night a semester that his grad school hosts an Open Studio event where the general public comes in, wanders through the maze of studios and silently judges the work that these artists have poured their soul into for the past four months. I can only imagine this taking place in my office, a neatly dressed preppy couple stroll into my office looking around, then staring over my shoulder at my computer screen mumbling things like, “I find his desktop cluttered,” and “What’s that smell? It smells like pizza.”

I don’t know of a more nerve wracking, ego testing situation. But James, along with a little help from his friends and a little help from a few bottles of red wine, not only endured the night, but fucking nailed the night. Several people (all of whom looked old and rich) inquired about his work and at one point there was even a line of people waiting to circulate through his small studio. He even auctioned off a painting the size of a Nextel cell phone for $75. Pretty impressive indeed.

Unfortunately, he was upstaged by what I can only describe as “the greatest [art] show on earth.” I’ve never seen the Cirque du Soleil, but until I do, and they give me a lap dance, this still wins:

My friend Scott and I are drunkenly wandering through the studios, pretending we know something about art by getting up real close to paintings and saying things like:

Me: “I like this here, what he did with this line.”

Scott: “Yes, that’s the line right there.”

At one point we even walked into what might have been a large custodian’s closet and marveled at the “organized chaos” of the clutter and pondered serious artistic questions of where “the mess” ended and “the truth” began. In hindsight, I would pay $50 for a video of this interaction, complete with commentary provided by “America’s Funniest Home Video” with our segment entitled “Two Fools in a Storage Closet.”

Then on our way back to James’ studio, Scott veers off to the bathroom and I continue down the hall. Suddenly from the doorway up ahead, out come two completely naked girls holding hands. I mean not a single stitch of clothing on their body. They walk right past me and I’m repeating to myself almost audibly, “Don’t stare, don’t stare, don’t stare,” as I stare at them. Trying to avoid the construction worker-like head turn as they go by, I instead opt for the “I’m just making a phone call and waiting for my friend” maneuver and take my cell phone from my pocket while I turn around. In an alternate version of this story, I call God and say, “OK, you win. I believe in you.”

The girls then park themselves in an open doorway leading into a large room used for the silent auction. They stand approximately three feet apart facing each other, hands at their sides, neither speaking a word nor moving a muscle. The whole point of this exercise, it becomes apparent, is that in order for people to enter the room to the auction they would have to squeeze past these two naked girls.

Huh . . .

Now I’ll be the first to admit that, as much as I love art, I don’t necessarily “get” all art. For all my supposed artistic sophistication, I have the same delusions of “It’s paint specks, I could do that!” that mostly everyone else has when viewing some modern works. And try as I might to understand works like this

I still find myself saying, “No really, the whole thing’s blue. I can DO that. I’ve painted things blue before. I have PROOF I can DO that.”

And that was the same feeling I had watching uncomfortable conservative parents turn sideways and slide past these two naked girls. I didn’t GET what these girls were doing. Scott and I batted around a few ideas: “Maybe they’re trying to blur the line between being naked and being nude,” “Maybe they’re saying that there’s no difference between a nude statue and the nude body from which it is derived.” We finally decided that there would be no way we could understand their art unless we walked past them:

Scott: “OK, let’s do it.”

Me: “Let’s go.”

(Start walking down the hall. At about 20 feet away . . .)

Me: (through clenched teeth) “I can’t do it!”

Scott: “It’s too late, we can’t turn back now!”

Me: (helpless) “Scott . . .”

Scott: “Just look straight ahead?”

Me: “Do I say hello?”

And then Scott went through, and I followed, trying harder than I ever have to NOT TOUCH ANYTHING. One would have thought I was navigating an Indiana Jones type pitfall. And just like Indiana, in a way I was. I was navigating my way through my misunderstanding of abstract art. And just like Indiana, I would learn a life’s lesson in the end. Emerging on the other side of the doorway into the open room, I felt as though I saw the room in a whole new way, in a way unobscured by the embarrassment with which we were never meant to be born into the world. Society was still clothed, but by passing through the nudity my soul too was undressed. Also I had a little bit of a boner so that was there too.

So congratulations to James for an amazingly successful show, and congratulations to me for finally understanding art. And also for successfully restraining myself from walking up close to the naked girl, giving her a contemplative stare and then saying, “I like what you’ve done with the nipple here.” Because God knows I wanted to.

Friday, November 18

Top Five 80’s Sitcom Daughters Crushes: Part 5

It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for, either in anticipation of finding out the identity of my number one pick or in anticipation of me finally being done with a theme closely resembling child endangerment. Whatever your motivation, today’s the day.

Before I finish up though, I just want to say how fun this has been. Not just looking at pictures of young hot girls for five days straight, but the memories it all brought back. I’ll be the first to admit that I have an awful memory. I remember the date of approximately two of my friends’ birthdays, despite the fact I’ve known them for over six years now; there is an annual debate as to the correct date of The Girlfriend’s and my anniversary; and I am the King of “(waving pointer fingers in small circles) you know, the movie, the who’s-a-whatsy one, with the thing. You know.” But for some reason I have vivid memories relating to TV shows of my youth. Sure, it would be nice to have vivid memories of my mother reading me a book. But she was busy, I understand that.*

My number one pick wasn’t so much of a childhood crush as she was a scary adolescent obsession. It’s not just that she was hot, but she was the epitome of what, at the time, every boy my age thought you should want out of life. Blond, popular, and just dumb enough to believe that you are smart.

To be honest, I hardly even remember the show she was on. I don’t recall any one poignant episode in particular unlike I do with “Diff’rent Strokes” (cartoon porn), “Punky Brewster” (kidnapping), “Family Ties” (that whore Ellen breaking Alex’s heart) or “The Smurfs” (time freezing episode, which I am convinced will haunt me to my dying day). Yet I remember her more than any of the other actress’ in those shows, with the exception of Smurfette – but try as I might I just couldn’t find her attractive in a human light.

So here she is, my #1 80’s Sitcom Daughter Crush: Nicole Eggert from “Who Gives A Shit What Show She Was On?” (aka “Charles in Charge”).

Immediately I know what is going through your mind: “Yes, 9-1-1 operator? I’d like to report a potential sex offender.” Or, “Dan, the only reason you like her is because she got breast implants and then went running around the beach on ‘Baywatch.’ “ That is 100% untrue. I mean I will reject that statement with the ferocity of the “Trading Spouses” God Warrior.

Look at the facts.

Fact: Nicole Eggert has been hot in every single situation she has ever been in.

Hot with crimped hair.

Hot with big hair.

Hot while dressy.

Hot with glasses.

Hot while dainty.

Hot while athletic.

Almost too hot when in pajamas.

Hot while TV paused making stupid face.

Hot when standing with someone who is unattractive.

Hot when you can’t see her face.

Hot when waving angrily waving spatula.

That’s the only fact I need. And if there’s any dissention concerning whether Alyssa Milano is hotter than Nicole Eggert, I present this:

Nicole Eggert guest starred in several episodes of “Who’s The Boss?” appearing as Samantha’s friend Marci. Not only was Marci cooler than Samantha, but Nicole Eggert won a Young Artist Award for Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress, Guest Starring in a Television, Comedy or Drama Series, beating out such favorites as Leslie Bega of "Head of the Class” (who turned out hot and did nude scenes) and Blanca De Garr from "Rags to Riches” (who went approximately nowhere). She THEN goes on to win a Young Artist Award the following year for her work on “Charles in Charge.” Granted I’ve never head of the Young Artist Award, and the winner last year for Best Actress in a TV Show was Masiela Lusha from “The George Lopez Show” over Raven Symone from "That’s So Raven” (bogus), but the message is clear – Nicole Eggert is a force to be reckoned with.

(Editor’s Note: In the Awards & Nominations section on Nicole Eggert’s imdb page, she is falsely credited with only having been nominated for the Young Artist Award for guest starring on “Who’s The Boss?” when she actually won the award. If I were Nicole’s agent, I would be on the phone with someone from ASAP. Nicole, if you are reading this, know that if I were your agent I WOULD FIGHT FOR YOU! To the death even. Also, I hope you find this whole thing flattering instead of terrifying.)

But more than anything else, Nicole Eggert knew the one look that could make any man melt. To this day, women practice this look with each other in the bathroom at restaurants, trying desperately to perfect the powerful gaze. Nicole commanding it at such an early age is comparable only to a 12-year old Mozart composing blockbuster symphonies.

Nicole Eggert was the master at being intense and looking up:

And that’s that. Definitive #1 if there ever was one. And just in case you wanted one more feather in her cap, she grew up to be painfully hot. Like so hot if you licked your finger and then touched her arm it would sizzle. You could cook an egg on her in the midday sun. I’m buying a poster of her off eBay as we speak.

That’s Nicole, my #1 pick.

Encouragement: If you haven’t seen Nicole Eggert naked, go out and see Nicole Eggert naked. I suggest Blown Away to start. Not the one with Tommy Lee Jones and Jeff Bridges, though that is a good movie as well with Mr. Jones sporting a classic Irish accent. But the one with Corey Haim is the one where she appears nude. So clearly that one wins.

* Meanest joke I’ve ever written, easily.

Thursday, November 17

Top Five 80’s Sitcom Daughters Crushes: Part 4

I can’t make pretend that there’s any suspense left here. It’s not like we’re discussing the best Steven Segal movies of all time or which Fanta girl is the coolest. At this stage in the game, I wouldn’t even call this my opinion anymore. I think it’s borderline fact. We’re talking about pantheon hot teenage actresses from the 80’s (and I can’t believe any of you are still reading), and the two girls left on my list are undeniably the number 1 and 2 girls.

Ask any guy in his mid-20’s who his favorite teenage sitcom actress was in the 80’s and I guarantee you 90% of the time these two names will be mentioned. I know that some people were pulling for Tiffany Brissette from “Small Wonder.” And I looked her way, I really did. But when starting this thing, I set two major guidelines for myself:

1. The girl must play the role of someone’s flesh and blood daughter on a show. This is why Tracy Pollan wasn’t included. This is also why Mike’s girlfriend from Growing Pains wasn’t mentioned. And this is precisely why Tiffany Bissette wasn’t included. It’s weird enough that I’ve been writing for four days straight about hot teenage girls, I don’t need to start writing about hot teenage robot girls.

2. The girl’s parents must love her. This is why I didn’t include anyone from “The Facts of Life.” There was some dispute as to whether they were orphans or simply girls at a boarding school, but even if they were just girls at a boarding school they are disqualified under this rule.

So really, I had no choice in the matter. My #2 pick is the inimitable, always scantily clad Alyssa Milano from “Who’s The Boss?”

I really can’t say it any better than Ronny did on the message boards over at

“Shes soooooooooooooooooo cute girlie omg!!! Shes soooooo sweet, wonderful.. Shes a sun shines in the morning!”

I mean, the girl owns ALYSSA.COM. Do you have any idea how many girls from Long Island want the domain name THAT’S how awesome Alyssa Milano is. (There’s even a blog on her site, but apparently she only writes about natural disasters?*) And out of all of my picks, she is undoubtedly the most famous in the present day.

My only reservation with having her ranked as high as number two on my list is that there were some brutally hard times for Samantha Micelli, including several bad hair periods:

plus an inexplicable Asian period:

At the inception of “Who’s The Boss?” I even remember thinking to myself, “Well, I guess Angela’s kind of attractive . . .”

But the fact of the matter is, once Samantha hit her stride the highs far outweighed the lows. It’s like the now deceased oldies radio station WCBS-FM:

The hits





I feel like I don’t even need to say anything more about it. Unlike Mallory, who had the benefit of being on one of the best sitcoms of all time, Alyssa was on a show that derived 80% of it’s comedy from Tony Danza screaming family members’ names in a thick Brooklyn accent: “Mooona!” “Aaaangela!” Samandha!”

I’m not saying it was a bad show, because it definitely wasn’t. But if you put it up against “Family Ties” or “Diff’rent Strokes” or even “Perfect Strangers,” it just wasn’t as good. And yet Alyssa Milano shone through, made a name for herself and eventually became the butt of every joke made about Maxim magazine.

You really can’t ask for anything more. I can pay her no higher compliment than this: Back when I was still using dial-up internet, hers were the nude pictures for which I searched. She is, indeed, a sun shines in the morning.

That’s Samantha, my #2 pick.

Warning: Alyssa Milano is hot. Looking at pictures of her in your office will only make your co-workers thing bad things about you, like my boss who came by and said, “Oh, she’s good looking who’s that?” I can’t tell you what my response was because I immediately died.

* Apparently Alyssa Milano is also becoming a world-famous philanthropist. To quote her website: “Alyssa launched UNICEF’s pivotal “Trick or Treat” campaign in the fall of 2004 as an official spokesperson.” The program, run by overprotective mothers, checks all the food that is donated to poor African countries for poisonous needles and other harmful substances.

Wednesday, November 16

Top Five 80’s Sitcom Daughters Crushes: Part 3

While gathering the info on my number three sitcom daughter crush, I noticed a disturbing trend among my picks so far. It seems that stardom in the 80’s translates directly into doing nude scenes for rent money in the 90’s. At first I didn’t understand it. Was it the economy? Was Reganonomics more than just a funny word? Is “dressing slutty” the new “doing B-grade nude scenes?”

And then it hit me. It’s the internet. Among ushering in the age of fantasy football, music stealing and high-yield savings accounts, the internet has also single-handedly turned every “I needed some cash” nude scene into an omnipresent, indelible part of these actress’ past. I’m sure they never thought in the late 80’s early 90’s that the nude scene they did on the sly in the straight-to-video movie would someday be available to anyone with a connection to this “World Wide Web” thing.

I suppose actresses these days know better. Doing a nude scene is the equivalent of standing on a street corner in Manhattan handing out pictures of yourself naked. It’s not just the paying customers who are going to see it – it’s everyone with the ability to type your name into Google. And that’s sad, because the worst thing that happens to our sitcom starlets from the 90’s is that they end up with bit parts on “ER.”

But even if I won’t get to see my Top Five Sitcom Crushes of the 00’s nude someday, at least I have my downloaded topless pictures of my Crushes of the 80’s, including my new #3. Replacing Ari “Underdog” Meyers (“Kate & Alley”) is my former number two:

Justine Bateman of “Family Ties” fame is my new #3. (With apologies to Ari Meyers, who eventually got very hot. However, for the majority of the time the show was on the air, she just couldn’t compete with the rest of the pack – another victim of the 80’s style.)

That said, it’s no secret that Justine Bateman isn’t the most attractive girl out there.

But she had several things going for her at the time:

1. She’s a brunette. I’ve always preferred brunettes.

2. I wanted to be Alex P. Keaton. Has there ever been a more together dude than Alex P. Keaton? So together in fact that to this day every fan of the show remembers his middle initial? Nevermind the fact first he bagged Tracy Pollan (if this were strictly a “Girls I Loved From 80’s TV” list Tracy Pollen would be numbers 1-3), but then she leaves him (leading me to actually download the song “You Just Don’t Love Me No More” many years later) and he bags Courtney Cox (whose hair was three times the size of her head, but still)! All the while being a republican in a liberal family!

3. I wanted to be part of that liberal family. So if being with Mallory brought me closer to Alex P.* and the rest of the Keatons . . . well this is starting to sound weird.

4. She had that special something – even her fake “uncle” (older close family friend) thought so in the Very Special Episode entitled “Give Your Uncle A Kiss” in which a close family friend and older business associate of her father makes a pass at Mallory, leading to her parents confronting their friend and urging him to seek professional help. (Not to be confused with the episode about the actual uncle that redefined the low point of alcoholism, drinking vanilla extract straight from the bottle in front of his nephew.)

True story: I used to hate taking showers when I was young. One of my clearest memories of childhood is my mom threatening, exactly two minutes before the SERIES finale of “Family Ties” was about to air, that if I didn’t take a shower I wouldn’t be able to watch it.

This was before Tivo. I think this was even before VCRs. Before nor since have I showered as fast as I did that night, literally running back from the bathroom to the living room and launching myself onto the couch just as the theme song ended. That’s how much I loved “Family Ties.”

So what does that have to do with Justine Bateman? Consider this: Mallory Keaton, despite the prevalence of Alex P. Keaton, was the quintessential Keaton. Alex was almost too smart to fit in. Steven, the father, was too hippie. Elyse, the mother, too level-headed. Jennifer was too chubby in the face. But Mallory? She was clever when you least expected it, simple-minded in a cute way, pretty enough to be noticed but not so hot that she was relegated to eye candy. Maybe there are hotter girls out there, but being attractive isn’t always about being hot. Sometimes it’s about having a really awesome family on a really awesome TV show.

That’s Mallory, my #3.

No warning here on Mallory. It seems her nude scene was tastefully done. Although if you cringe in horror at the sight of an acting career deteriorated by years of nothingness, then avert your eyes. Please.

* In yet another freaky coincidence, while in my youth I was in love with Mallory in order to befriend her fake brother, now, in my mid-20’s, I am in love with Mallory in order to get close to her real brother, the star of “Arrested Development” Jason Bateman. And for the record, I absolutely think this should have happened.

Tuesday, November 15

Top Five 80’s Sitcom Daughters Crushes: Part 2

Being number four on a Top Five list is kind of like being the fourth person in an orgy. The fifth guy, the one videotaping the whole thing, is just happy to be there. Then there’s the core threesome happening on the bed next to you. Number four? He’s just moving around the outside of the pack like a bird trying to find a way to get to the bagel. It’s a lonely spot.

My number four is an embodiment of this sad place. But this is through no fault of her own – she was a product of her environment. Could she have been a Top Three? Absolutely. But something went terribly wrong somewhere. Her agent, her parents, her drug dealers – somewhere down the line someone dropped the ball on her career, and now she’s just a Number Four, lost, looking in from the outside.

Dana Plato of “Diff’rent Strokes” was my original #4, and Dana Plato is remaining my #4.

So why do I say that Dana Plato is the product of her environment? Because she was. (Bear with me, it’s been a while since I’ve written one of these arguments where I have to make statements and provide factual evidence to support those statements. Since college, I’ve taken to the “scream and use emotional hand gestures” method to prove a point.)

But before we get to that, let’s first acknowledge that facts: Even with that hair, Dana Plato was hot.

Not at the beginning, mind you, but none of these girls were hot in the very beginning (probably because they were pre-pubescent). What Dana had going for her though was that she was a product of the 70’s (like me). Her prime time came right after the sexy hippie/disco era and never quite made it to the big hair/baggy sweaters era that was like a wet blanket on so many other sitcom starlets. (See the other sister in “Charles in Charge.” If you’ve seen recent pictures of her, you know she could have been a contender . . .)

The other thing Dana had going for her was THAT LOOK.

I can just imagine the publicity photographers trying desperately to get her to smile like a Barbie, or at least like a child who was happy with her life, but no – she insisted on giving the camera the look. It’s a look that says, “I don’t care how old I am, I want to be sexy.” To a 12 year old boy, this is probably the most exhilarating/terrifying look out there. It’s the same look Tracy had at summer camp that year when I had my first kiss. She was a year older than me (also the camp slut) and as the other campers crowded around us to create a shield from the counselor’s view so we could kiss, I remember looking at her looking at me with that gaze thinking, “She’s going to eat me.” Later on, we snuck away together to the sports shed where she sat on my lap. I was so petrified all I could do the whole time we sat there was offer idle chit-chat and kick a kickball against the wall . . . from the sitting position with her on my lap. I might never forget that. But that’s neither here nor there. Point is, Dana was sexy

Where did it go wrong? More like where didn’t it go wrong for Kimberly on “Diff’rent Strokes.”

First her mother dies. Never easy for a girl to grow up without a mother. But worse than that is her father’s reaction to her mother dying. Unable to stand his daughter’s resemblance to his deceased wife, Phillip Drummond goes out and adopts two black children from Harlem, essentially saying, “I need something different in my life.”

OK, this isn’t exactly what happened (the kids were his housekeeper’s sons and he promised to take care of them when she passed away). But you get the point. Mom dies, Dad adopts two new children, spends A LOT more time with them because, well, they were the crux of the show. Just think of how many times you saw the inside of Willis and Arnold’s bedroom. Now, do you remember what Kimberly’s looked like? Of course not! They never showed it! And you want to know why? Because they didn’t want the audience to see Kimberly crying herself to sleep every night. That’s not “funny” enough for “Diff’rent Strokes.” Pain isn’t funny.

In a way, though, you can’t blame Mr. Drummond or the producers of the show. Look what Kimberly was trying to compete with:

Cute freckles aren’t going to compete with Mr. T. Not in 1985, not today – not ever. The cards were stacked against her. The drugs, the ribald movies, the eventual tragic death, none of it was a surprise if you look at what she was forced to grow up with. Yes, it is a sad story. But this is no surprise ending . . .

Was she one of my favorites? No doubt. Could she have been better? Even less doubt. Is she the perfect fit for my #4? The least amount of doubt of all.

That’s Kimberly. My #4. RIP (November 7th, 1964 – May 8th, 1999)*

Another word of warning: Don’t do a Google image search for Dana Plato. Just don’t.

*Terrifying Statistic Of The Day: Not only was Dana Plato born on my birthday, but she DIED on my SISTER’S birthday! No wonder I had no idea she died. I was too busy eating birthday cake. Just another injustice against Dana Plato. Add it to the list.