the 90s

Never Forget: The Olsen Twins Teach Us To Dance

So this past weekend was the family reunion which was great fun.  In addition, I got to see Dash and Overactive Blogger which is always a delight!  While at the seductive pool hall, OB reminded me of what is one of the greatest discoveries of all time.  Take it away, Mary Kate and Ashley!

Western line dancing, vogue, AND HIP HOP FREESTYLE?!?!

Shockandawe

I can’t wait!  Let’s start…

“Let’s get totally retro!” (00:54)

Bodyroll, bodyroll, bodyroll, bodyroll.
Step touch, step touch, step touch, step touch…
Bend, arms, bend arms, bend, arms, bend, arms
twirl, snap, twirl, snap!

crylaugh

Listen.   I just wasn’t ready.  I didn’t know they were going to keep it so sensual.

Next the ladies show us how to Charleston.  (01:45)

Meh…it’s no retro.  But I live for the green-screened effects.

One of them tells us we’re going to like this one big time as it’s our first solo! (2:22)

yass

Get in to her flawless footwork and hip movement! Karina Smirnoff could never!  So polished and professional!

We’re intro-ed into our sock hop dance with the greeting “Major Fun!” (03:00)

weeds

No thanks Ashley Kate.

“This one is hard!  Don’t stress!” for our 60’s dance lesson (03:37)

accurate

You can’t take this twist and shout!  Nor that take it to the floor girls.  Your fave can’t even compete.

SCORE! (04:02)

Ummmm…Mary Ashley?  That’s the electric slide.  Now, far be it from me to question our two intrepid dancing divas.  But really??  Those little turns aren’t going to distract me.

rupauljudgingyou

Try a little harder next time my dear.

Line dancing is totally the coolest, Mary!  (05:08)

kanyeshrug

Nothing to see here.  I do enjoy that she used the whole dancing space.

Holy shit, one of them is about to Vogue.  (05:52)

yas

Get into the fierce hand movement.  The seductive steps.  The side to side with the Walk-Like-An-Egyptian arms.

This is what I am talking about.  COME ON SEASON SIX!

And now for our grand finale, it’s time for iconic hip hop freestyle!!!!! (07:07)

Yes.  Yes.  Yes.

Gravevine left, arms up.
Grapevine right, arms down.

A wonderful callback to the bend and snap from the opening number.

 YASSSSS FANCY FOOTWORK!!!!!

snowwhitetwerk

Don’t be jealous of their boogie!!!! Though I see why you would be.

And turn, LEG!

I don’t think anything will ever top that.

What was your favorite routine??  How inspired are you to be a dancer now??

A Tribute: Sister Act 2

It’s Monday.  Let’s try and start this week off on a positive note.

So Saturday, I’m flipping through the channels to discover a channel playing Sister Act & Sister Act 2 back to back!

alasia

Both of these VHS’ were in heavy rotation in my childhood because they are pretty flawless.  Just entertaining in every way.  But for this post, let’s focus on the 2nd movie where “urban gangsta flava” saves the school!

We open with Whoopi rehashing the events of the first movie in a musical number for the gods!

Seriously.  This is not even 5 minutes into the movie and it’s already amazing.  Sorry for the foreign language, but that’s all that I could find via the YouTube.  When Whoopi yells, “Oh, I was a hoe!” I just can’t stop laughing.

Long story short, Whoopi has to come revisit the nuns who protected her and save the school with her sass and musical abilities.  She accepts after a classic Catholic guilt trip (so I’ve heard).

She meets the students who are so urban and anti-establishment and it’s all perfect.  Let’s get a rundown of our characters:

lovehewitt

Jennifer “Love” Hewitt as Prissy Snobby Girl

 

sketch

Sketch who can’t stay awake because he has a job

wesley

 

City High lead singer/Afrocentric one

frank kay

Frankay aka White Boy who raps

tanya

Tanya aka Flawless Vocal Goddess with copious access to Blue Magic

rita

And Lauryn Hill as Sassmaster Rita Wilson.

As with every single 90’s movie set in an urban setting, the kids react sorely to being educated, leading with Rita walking out of Whoopi’s tough love.

The relationship between the students and Whoopi lead to what is to my knowledge the greatest scene ever placed on film.

I GOT THE FLOW,
Y’ALL GOTTA GO,
SO GO GET YA BAGS SO YOU CAN GO,
HO HO!

tumblr_m0fy30zE9U1r5ih4o_zpsb1e22f29

 

I dare you to try and come up with a more hilarious moment than this.  You can’t.  Just stop.

Anyways, after a series of pranks and more urban gangsta flava, Whoopi is teaching us the most valuable lesson.

“If you want to be somebody, If you want to go somewhere, You better wake up and PAY ATTENTION!’

tumblr_mo5rfjxMek1qz80pso1_400

 

Kelly Clarkson lookalike is all, we need to liven this up.

DROP THAT BEAT!

cece

 

 

Whoopi is all, “Talent, what?!” and is like, we’re turning you into a choir.  No wonder you’re in the music class!

But before we get all the kids on board, let’s check in with our nuns!

OH MY GOD YES.

This is all just great fun, but nothing is better than my lady and her jig yelling “Vote for me, and I’ll set you freeeeee!”

squee

I just love that.

Some more plot, some more plot.  Let’s skip to His Eye Is On The Sparrow.

EqRJH

Just flawless.  Completely and utterly flawless. The harmonies.  The talent.  Lauryn Hill has become a bit of a punchline, but for serious.  She is so ridiculously amazing here.  And Tanya!  Why didn’t she have a better singing career?  So pressed right now.

Anyway, we get a montage and Lauryn Hill is back in the choir and we’re ready for our first performance!

The kids are still nervous about their reps and Afrocentric is leading the choir but his nerves are getting in the way!

Whoopi is all, “This is trash.  Scales and Arpeggios time.”  But then a key change leads to a dramatic increase in talent and this…

whenjesusWASHED

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASS!!!!

Seriously, this is amazing.

By sheer coincidence, the nuns are cleaning out a room and the high school was the best at singing in the 70’s and this will save the school.  The kids are entered, Sheryl Lee Ralph (Rita’s mom) HATES music!

Here’s a reenactment:

The accuracy though…

The Crispy villain guy is all huffy, the monks are on an adventure, and now we’re at the competition!

This turquoise choir sings Lord, Send A Revival and should have been the runner ups.

The intimidating stuffy choir also sings Joyful, Joyful and scares the kids into wanting to quit.

Whoopi is all, be yourself and show off that urban gangsta flava!

And now, the moment that you’ve all been waiting for!

I can’t even begin to breakdown how amazing this is.  If you don’t know the lyrics, you are LYING!  Rita’s mom shows up and puts some fear, but Lauryn Hill is all talented and sounds amazing.  Frankaaaay and Sketch rap.  The ladies singing “Come and join the chorus!!!” blow my mind every time.  The tenors hitting the “with the light of day, lord!” is such a sweet touch.  It’s all just so good.

dance

 

My personal favorite moment is the bodyrolls to Joyful, Joyful while Frankaaaay raps about Jesus.

And then, the school is saved thanks to all the talent and Crispy is foiled.  And Whoopi is not really a nun. THE END.

Except not!

Ugh, the 90’s were just so great.

We have a movie with a completely standard plot saved by amazing musical moments and hilarious acting.  I could watch this movie every day.

What are your favorite moments?  Do you have fond memories watching these two movies?  Let us know in the comments.  I’ll let you sing backup when we perform Joyful, Joyful!

 

 

 

 

A Tribute: Living Single

We all know that 90’s were an amazing time.  Buzzfeed has been making so many coins off of lazy lists of nostalgic shows, music, and toys for what feels like forever now.  But it’s just like when the “I Love The 80’s” series happened on VH1.  It was the perfect timing for that age group to look back fondly on their formative years.

One of the best things about the 90’s, especially for African-Americans like Class & I, was the sheer volume of sitcoms and television with Black casts.  We could watch The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Martin, A Different World, or Family Matters.  And that’s not even scratching the surface.  This is so important because seeing successful Black families, adults, and children.  It is so important! Even with Lupita N’Yongo, she mentions how important representation (i.e. Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple) was and how it inspired her to pursue acting.

Living Single was one of those shows that spoke so much to me as a child.  The show features six young people living and working in New York and their lives dating and working.  If you think it sounds similar to Friends, it’s because Friends was inspired by the Living Single setup.  To speak to the point above, when I watched the show, I thought I could be a stockbroker or own a magazine.  We’ll jump back to this topic in a bit let’s talk about the show itself and dance!

OOOOH and in a 90’s kind of wooooorld! I’m glad I GOT. MY. GIRLS!

So what is this show about?  Besides flawless dance moves and graphics.  Synclaire (Kim Coles) is a recent transplant to New York from Minnesota and is moving in and working for her cousin, Khadijah, the owner of a well received, but struggling magazine.  Khadijah lives with her snobbish nouveau-riche childhood friend, Regine (Kim Fields) who works in fashion throughout the series.  Divorce lawyer extraordinaire and Khadijah’s college friend, Maxine (Erika Alexander) lives across the street but spends most of her time at the place with her friends eating up their food and dispensing her acerbic advice.

Upstairs, bachelors Kyle Barker (TC Carson) and Overton Wakefield-Jones (John Henson) seem to spend more time downstairs than in their apartment.  Kyle, a rising stockbroker is a hot shot at work and in the bedroom while Cleveland-son Overton works as the handyman for the building.

Now as the show progresses, the relationships grow and change and we really see into these individuals’ worlds.  We meet their families, their co-workers, their friends, and their exes.  It’s a fantastic show (THAT YOU NEED TO WATCH) so I won’t spoil the best aspects of the story line.  But I will talk more about my favorite aspects of the show.

The Relationships

Now this is no shade to divas of reality television (Hey Joseline!) but this show had 4 women with a strong friendship that lasted throughout the entire run of the show.  Did they argue?  Sure.  Did they fight over men?  Occasionally.  But the core of the show really is how different each lady is and how they work together as they grow up.  It’s amazing.  At one point, one of the roommates moves out because the fighting gets so bad, but it’s all fantastically written and deep for a sitcom.

And even the romantic relationships are treated with maturity.  Whether it’s a cutesy relationship developing from a simple crush to marital bliss, or a love/hate relationship that develops into sexual attraction and true love unfulfilled.  The romantic adventures of the cast made sense for their personalities, whether it’s shallow Regine expanding her dating pool with a mailman, Maxine dating a college student, or Khadijah dating her anesthesiologist after an embarrassing procedure.

 The Guest Stars

This show had so many amazing stars.  Khadijah’s role allowed for celebrities to be on the show in an almost reasonable way.  Her dalliances with NBA & NFL players, the introduction of Morris Chestnut & Terrance Howard, and fun appearances from Heavy D & Naughty By Nature . Living Single even has an early appearance from Will Ferrell and delightful showing from Gilbert Gottfried.  With all of the attractive and up-and-coming stars, going back to watch the episodes is like a time capsule.

The Comedy

Now, the writing on this show is spectacular.  I could do a whole post on Max’s quips alone much less Overton’s homespun logic, Synclaire’s healing words, and Regine’s superficiality.  I can’t think of a single episode that doesn’t make me laugh.  Even serious storylines like breast reductions, dating a man with children, and unemployment are treated honestly but bring smiles.  One particularly fantastic moment comes from Max and Kyle pranking each other over a parking spot until Kyle is served with false divorce papers at a party.

The Characters

But as I mentioned above, this show is based on the strength of their characters.  Each of these characters are painted broadly, but they are nuanced, real people.  Synclaire is sweet and naive, but she also enjoys the occasional skin flick and a talented comedian.  Kyle is a driven stockbroker with a track record of success but harbors a secret desire to show off the pipes on Broadway.  And that’s just it!  We are all complex people who are bigger than just one character trait.

It allows the six mains to make believable connections despite different lives and histories. Kyle and Regine share vanity and fashion.  Khadijah, Max, and Kyle are driven and work to be the best in their field.  Synclaire and Overton are light-hearted and relaxed but offer the levity needed to make the other three relax.  Kyle and Khadijah also share the love of Afrocentricity.  We have six attractive, diverse friends working through life.

The show feels like it could be made with my group of friends (Me being a combination of Max and Regine, obviously)  We may have different interests but there’s something that obviously connects the lot of us.  As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, representation is important.  Living Single is one of the best representations of African Americans on network television ever and served as inspiration for me and many others.

So take a moment and watch the show!  It’s on TVOne and Logo currently but they may be on the internet if you look on the tube hard enough.

What are your experiences with the show?  Who is your favorite character?  What’s your favorite episode?  Let us know in the comments section or over on Twitter at @ClassNTrashShow.

Smooches!

smooches