guilty pleasure monday: what’s he got by the producers
ah, it’s guilty pleasure monday again. all the guilt. all of the pleasure. (at least for me, anyway.) if you’ve heard of this one, then you’re probably my age, or maybe a teensy whit younger or older. it’s a tiny little subset of american humanity, and it’s probably the only group who may actually recall this evanescent blip on the new wave radar.
the producers were an very early staple on very early MTV — you know, the station which formerly played music videos but now shows music videos only at random hours and moments, sandwiched between stupid reality shows and dorky dramas featuring incredibly spoiled people who have no grasp of reality? yeah, that one.
i loveloveloved watching videos on early MTV. didn’t care if people were just standing and faux playing in front of a moving background. loved it anyway. before than i would watch videos during half-hour shows on my local cable station. i still remember watching split enz and devo being sooooo awed by the direction in which music seemed to be going. finally, something different from the 1970s pap which, while i loved, i had outgrown.
and i adored watching music on TV. i lived for those moments when i could watch videos on don kirschners’ rock concert or even american bandstand (with the ever-so-creepy
dorian grey dick clark. he made me nervous, but i wanted to see and hear music, so i made some sacrifices.) so when MTV exploded into my world, i wanted my MTV, and i wanted it bad. at first, my cable carrier didn’t carry it, and i would go to friends’ homes in other towns and hope that they would put it on if they did have it. but soon enough, i had my MTV.
and i loved it. for awhile, anyway. then i got a life. but that’s a whole other story… 😉
so back to the producers. they burst onto MTV as a peppy, adorable new wave group. i think they even hosted an MTV new years eve show, or were on it, anyway. i don’t think much happened for them after that — i often wonder why. but they still tour, playing their brand of peppy pop. and i love pop. i don’t care who is singing it: a good hook is a good hook. it pulls you right in. and what’s he got has one.
it also has a favorite prom memory for me. (shut your eyes, dad. i know you’re reading this.) a fairly well-known jersey shore bar band, bystander, played my prom, a fairly non-memorable evening for me, as my then-boyfriend was away in north carolina or somewhere equally interesting. so, i went with a good friend from out of town who was very, very attractive — just not to me — and so several girls in my school were practically hanging all over him (poor guy), wondering what the hell he was doing with me.
naturally, i didn’t want to watch the good women of toms river north fawning all over my date (who, i’m sure, was enjoying the attention. and, as a good friend, i didn’t want to ruin his evening.) bo-ring. so, i took off for awhile and hung out with my friend sebouh, a guy who i hope i see again one day, in spite of the fact that he lobbied the entire senior class to vote for me as class pessimist just because he thought that would be hilarious. (i won.) (can you believe it? i can’t.)
bystander suddenly broke into a cover of what’s he got. sebouh and i started to pogo (yes, children, things like that passed for dancing back in those early 80s days). and as they sang:
what’s he got that i ain’t got?
immediately, i yelled out: A DICK!
(well, it’s TRUE! i am a girl, you know. a seriously classy 18 year old girl at that moment, to be exact. dad, i told you to cover your eyes.)
people around us thought that was hilarious. girls and guys began to chant that at the appropriate place in the song.
yep. i don’t remember much about my prom. but i remember that moment, thinking wow, i couldn’t unite these people to do a hell of a lot. but i could unite them into screaming an obscenity.
that, my friends, is power.
(or, perhaps, a lot of kids just dying to rebel.)