Monday, March 28, 2011

Sam Explains It All: Unsung Fashion Highlights from a Beloved Nickelodeon Show

I still remember the chilly, second-grade morn when I fearlessly wore my first Clarissa Darling inspired outfit--a pair of pink tights under some cut-offs that (much to my mother's dismay) I'd made the night before. Sadly, Clarissa's brazen style--her vests, headbands, green Dr. Martens, floral leggings, lobster earrings, etc.--were so over the top, that the sartorial genius of Sam (Clarissa's platonic bestie) was almost entirely overlooked...

until now. 

1. Neon Father-Son Bonding Surfer Ensemble
On a whim, Sam's single father decides to take him surfing. Being the well-adjusted child of divorce that he is, Sam not only indulges his dad, he dresses the part--adopting the style of a 1990s-beach bum-fanny pack-enthusiast.
Note the shock of gelled-up hair protruding from his neon green backwards baseball cap. This is no accident, my friends. Sam always knew how to maximize his sexy. While most people would have paired those pink shorts with a solid colored top, Sam subverts expectations and flouts social mores by wearing a tie-dyed shirt.

2. 90s Pirate Ensemble
Ah, the 90s! A time when you could go to your local, suburban department store and find a pair of striped harem pants. Can't you just see Johnny Depp, circa now, wearing something like this while chilling with the fam in the South of France? And then John Mayer wearing it in an embarrassing attempt to look like Johnny Depp? This outfit shouldn't work but for some reason it does. As a hardcore bandanna proponent, I applaud Sam's choice of cranial accessory.  

3. Carrot Frenzy Shirt
I think Sam wore this shirt, which reads, "Carrot Frenzy," in deference to red-haired Ferguson. Honestly, I don't know what a Carrot Frenzy is (a drug-fueled veggie binge? a song by The Presidents of the United States of America?) but there's something kind of esoteric about the shirt, and I'm into that. I don't know that I'd be able to pull off something like this with as much panache.

4. Futuristic Coach Potato Shirt Ensemble
How is this futuristic, you ask. Well, this episode of Clarissa Explains It All probably aired around 1992...HOWEVER...the baggy shorts-calf-high socks combo is an authentic 1997 look (See Blink 182).
The "Couch Potato Shirt" is also somewhat futuristic in that it foreshadows our current century's obsession with ironic graphic tees. Sam was so incredibly fashion forward, right? I look at these pictures and wonder how Clarissa was able to resist him. I mean, he's sitting right there, on her bed, wearing the couch potato shirt, and she was somehow able to not make out with him. 

5. The My-My-My Music Hits Me So Hard Makes Me Say Oh My Lord Thank You For Blessing Me With A Mind To Rhyme And Two Hype Feet Ensemble
Words fail me. But I guess if I had to say something it'd be...move, slide your rump, just for a minute let's all do the bump, bump, bump, bump...yeeaaaaaaaaaah.

6. The Amber Ensemble
This outfit might not be noteworthy if it weren't for the fact that I was dressed exactly like this a couple of days ago--Batman shirt, cuffed blue jeans, friendship bracelet, etc. And yes, at the time, I was climbing up a ladder on my way into my neighbor's bedroom. Yes, a little guitar riff could be heard as I hopped through the window. No, I'm not BFFs with my neighbor, nor do I technically know her. But I strive to live life as Sam would, and I'm not going to let a little thing like "breaking and entering" stand in the way of that.  

7. Proto-Hipster Geek Ensemble
Nowadays, it isn't uncommon to wear your geekdom on your sleeve. But this wasn't always the case. In my humble, Trek-loving opinion this is the coolest thing that Sam, or anyone on the show, ever wore.

...although, I'd kill for this watch...
...and those brontosaurus earrings aren't too shabby either.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Classics Illustrated: Red Dawn (1984)

Red Dawn.

What the hell?

Have you guys seen this movie? 

Well, I watched it for the first time last week and to say that my mind was blown doesn't even cover it. Red Dawn is bonkers. For real. In fact, it had such a tremendous impact on me that I was compelled to create these illustrations--a little project that I like to call...Red Drawn.
OK, so, for those who haven't seen it, Patrick Swayze and the venerable Charlie Sheen are brothers.  
C. Thomas Howell--who's wearing the raddest Star Wars hat for the first couple of minutes of the movie--Lea Thompson, and Jennifer Grey round out the cast. 

They're teenagers living in rural-blue jeans-work boots-gun hoarding-1980s-Colorado, defending American soil from commie invaders without the help of any adults. It's essentially Home Alone with only a few, very minor differences. 
The movie begins with a ton of kooky, socialist paratroopers landing right outside of the local high school, which--as any imperialist warlord will tell you--is the most logical place to begin an invasion.
The history teacher--the only black guy in the entire town, possibly the state--leaves the relative safety of the school building, nonchalantly walks up to one of these invaders (who's holding a huge gun, mind you), and asks what's going on. Naturally, he's killed. 
Commies apparently have an infinite supply of ammunition, 'cause this poor guy is shot, like, 20 times in the chest at point-blank range, and then they just start firing indiscriminately. One dude blows up an empty, parked, school bus with a rocket launcher while Swayze, Sheen, and their buds flee the scene. 
The gang get, like, 50 or 60  guns, head up to the mountains, and try to figure out how to proceed. Within minutes of being up there, they're super hungry. I mean, who wouldn't be, right? Like marijuana, full-out, Communist invasions, are notorious for their ability to give you the munchies. So, Swayze and Sheen take C. Thomas Howell hunting. After killing a deer, C. Thomas is peer-pressured into drinking the dead animal's blood--the brothers tell him that it's "the spirit" of the deer and that it'll make him a man or whatever. 
At which point, I start thinking that the whole invasion was just part of an elaborate plan to get him to drink a cup of blood. After munching on deer spirits, the guys go back into town to see if the Communists have left yet and find that their parents and the townspeople who haven't been rocket launchered to death, are being held in a reeducation/POW camp. Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen talk to their dad, who seems like a chill guy at first, but then he starts screaming "Avenge me, avenge me!" 
Apparently the entire invasion, which they're calling "World War III," was a personal attack on him. Patrick Swayze gets all emotional, thinking about his father, how red the dawn is, etc., and starts crying. 
They go back to the mountains, but not before picking up Jennifer Grey and Lea Thompson, who've been living under the floorboards of their grandparents' house. Whether or not they were living under the house before the war started, I don't know. 
The kids make that all-too-common transition from happy-go-lucky teenagers to commie killing guerrillas and start calling themselves the "Wolverines"--ostensibly because their school mascot was the "wolverine" but really I think the name was more about how badass they all thought Wolverine's adamantium claws and huge adamantium crotch bulge were
They kill approximately one jillion kabillion commies, and things are pretty sweet considering the circumstances. Eventually, they come across an American pilot who wants to help them. He tells them about the escalating war--a conversation that leads to a very poignant bit of dialogue.
For some reason it's winter now and the Wolverines are betrayed by one of their own. Patrick Swayze has no choice but to kill the dude...
...which makes him sad. He cries again. don't know what happens next because I went downstairs to eat a delicious steak.
By the time I came back, things were really starting to go downhill for the Wolverines. Jennifer Grey is wounded and begs Patrick Swayze to shoot her so the enemy won't find her and force her to talk or something. I don't know. Anyway, he can't bring himself to shoot her, so she has to take matters into her own hands. 
Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen go into town where they're both shot. Swayze uses what little strength he has to carry his bro to a playground.
The ending isn't a total bummer, though. Lea Thompson delivers this doleful voice over where she assures the audience that America eventually won WWIII.

...Or is it? 
The Red Dawn remake is being released this year and Connor Cruise--Tom's son--is going to be in it. So, we all have that to look forward to...

If there's a classic movie that you'd like to see illustrated, just leave me a comment or send an email and I'll make your dreams come true.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

In Which We Deal With Our Zits

Remember the time Doug Funnie got that huge zit, right before Beebe Bluff's big party?
Or the time that Angela Chase got a zit that was actually a metaphor for 90s teen insecurity and angst and flannel shirts and overalls or something?
Or when Zack and Screech started peddling that zit cream that had the unfortunate side effect of turning skin maroon, then Kelly Kapowski unwittingly rubbed the stuff all over her face--even though she only had one tiny, imperceptible blemish on the tip of her nose--so her entire face turned maroon, which maybe wouldn't have been such a horrible thing for her if she weren't (a) totally narcissistic and (b) in the running for homecoming queen; but because she was so transcendently gorgeous and popular, and also because maroon just happened to be one of Bayside High's school colors, she won anyway?
Or what about the time that Amber got that monster zit on her cheek and a week later it was still there, claiming squatter's rights?
Since I went through a bizarre second-puberty about a year and a half ago, where my face would breakout frequently and thoroughly (not one of those Proactiv-celebrity testimonial-non-breakout-breakouts, but legit breakouts), I'm not really sweating one pimple. But I think people, self included, just naturally tend toward Angela Chase-esque globalization when it comes to skin issues. All pimples suck, but what I've learned over the years, is that some pimples are worse than others.

(5) Chin Zit (aka "the meh..."): You might think it's devastating, but if you have a pimple on your chin, I'm probably not going to even notice it. So, don't fret. I used to get these giant, planet-sized bumps on my chin, and never once did that deter a homeless guy from hitting on me. 

(4) Middle of the Forehead Zit (aka "the Bull's Eye," aka "the Bindi," aka "the Third Eye," aka "the Fifth Eye if You're Wearing Glasses"): The car wreck of zits, it's impossible for passersby to not look. This centrally located pimple is so hypnotic, captivating, and charismatic that it could start it's own cult and gain a large, devoted following. Fortunately, you can always cut some bangs to obscure your hypno-zit if you're too embarrassed/want to prevent the pimple from indoctrinating the impressionable masses. But beware, if you cut your own bangs ("fringe" if you're British), you will almost certainly look insane. So think it over and weigh your options. 

(3) Cheek Zit (aka "the Chimple"): The cheeks, to me, are the cutest part of the head. If you're talking to me and you have chubby cheeks, then I'm not listening to anything you're saying, I'm just trying to figure out a way to casually bite your adorable face. This is why it's so tragic to get a zit here. But seriously, in my experience, these suck because they take forever to heal. I had a constellation of pimples on my left cheek last year and I can still sort of see the spots. 

(2) Lip Zit (aka "the Herp"): One of the absolute worst places to get a pimple because (a) it looks like herpes simplex and (b) totally painful. 

(1) Tip of the Nose Zit (aka "the Rudolph" aka "the why me?" aka "the seriously?" aka "whatever"): This zit is so inescapable, so impossible to hide, so in your face and on your face, so cliche, so the worst place to get a zit, that it's actually the best place to get a zit. You don't have to wonder if everyone you see is staring at your honkin' honker pimple because they TOTALLY ARE. So just get over it, man. Make a self-deprecating joke and laugh about it. Tell people it's your parasitic twin and get on with your life. 

But if you are genuinely depressed about your complexion, and I've definitely been there, I hope that you can find some solace in the fact that one of the most awesome people to ever walk the earth--quite possibly the most awesome person to ever walk the earth--had some pretty serious acne as a youngster.

Jerry O' Connell refuses to tell Harold about his delicious pepperoni zits:

The sequel: