10 June 2014


Children's Programme "Fake" Band Smackdown, Round 2!!! 
(Revisit Round 1)

One really interesting thing about writing a series that is as dependent on reader interaction as a votes-based tournament bracket is that even I get to be surprised! And I don't know what surprised me more: the results from Round 1 . . .

The Archies vs. Josie and the Pussycats -- Winner: Josie and the Pussycats

The Banana Splits vs. The Electric Mayhem -- Winner: The Electric Mayhem

The Beagles vs. The Chipmunks -- Winner: The Chipmunks

Kidd Video vs. Kids Incorporated -- Winner: Kidd Video

Barbie and the Rockers vs. Jem and the Holograms -- Winner: Jem and the Holograms

California Dreams vs. The Zits -- Winner: The Zits

2Ge+her vs. Big Time Rush -- Winner: 2Ge+her

The Monkees vs. The Partridge Family -- Winner: The Monkees

. . . or what I found myself doing with them . . .

Round 2
The Electric Mayhem Eight

The Chipmunks vs. The Electric Mayhem

What these two bands have in common is that they performed a lot of cover versions, while (as the bromide goes) "making them their own." A bunch of these were Beatles songs, which really shouldn't be surprising. Don't many bands--both real and fake, whether well-established or just getting started--try their hands and voices at a Beatles tune? The high-pitched Chipmunks' tended to stick to the Fab Four's earlier and happier hits, while the more sophisticated Electric Mayhem had an affinity for the more experimental songs. Both bands know their own strengths and do them well, but only one can advance, and it's going to be . . .

Winner: The Electric Mayhem

Jem and the Holograms vs. Josie and the Pussycats

Sometimes a face-off is no contest and sometimes I know I'll be regretting whatever decision I make. I grew up with both Jem and Josie, and I'm not crazy about choosing between them now. I'll admit that the Pussycats produced better songs, both in the writing and in the recording; but those songs had nothing to do with the stories they provided the soundtrack for. On the other hand, even the most mediocre Holograms song was an essential part of the episode it was featured in, which tells us that the people behind the show understood the medium. Which means they understood the message. In real life, Motown will always beat New Wave; but we're talking about "fake" bands here, so the one which gets to move on to the next round of the smackdown is . . .

Winner: Jem and the Holograms

Kidd Video vs. The Zits

It's good to have one last pairing of amateur bands, even if they're actually made up of professional actors. LOL! The cast of Kidd Video weren't expected to play their own instruments, though they were asked to do their own singing. They also starred in music videos and cut an album on which a couple of them were allowed to play their own guitars: the MTV generation's special mix of phoniness and authenticity! In contrast, the actors playing The Zits on DeGrassi Jr. High, none of whom were musical at all, had to learn how to play the only song this fake band ever came up with, because that was the only way for it to sound like a real song by a real garage band that really had no chance at a record deal. =P Unfortunately, what the choice will have to boil down to is the band which actually stands a chance in this smackdown, and that would be . . .

Winner: Kidd Video

2Ge+her vs. The Monkees

This is no contest, but dang it, I want to go through the motions! So let's begin . . . Whoever put 2Ge+her together was definitely channeling Weird "Al" Yankovic, whom we respect here. On an even more personal level, I'm thrilled that someone with the media savvy and clout to get something like this greenlighted helps me to make my case that Boy Band is a genre. Which brings us to the interesting idea that The Monkees were a proto boy band. Well, they were originally put together by a studio that insisted on controlling their image. And exactly like another boy band we've already heard (or in a few commenters' cases, refused to hear), they were engineered to drive a TV show. I could keep going, but I won't, because you all know by now that the last "fake" band in our Final Four is . . .

Winner: The Monkees

* * * * *

Not too thrilled with my picks? Perhaps this mini face-off will be some consolation . . .

Fat Albert and the Junkyard Band
School of Rock

It's about time that we get to hear some "educational" music! =P I used quotation marks there because every song a child learns on TV teaches him something, whether it was intended to or not; but only some of those songs, and the bands which played them, were produced with that in mind. Everything about the Junkyard Band was meant to promote creativity and good character, while everything about School of Rock was a revolt against what passes for elite formal schooling these days. Let's see if one of them will make a worthy wildcard! (Before you protest, yes, I know that School of Rock is from a movie . . . but we already made one exception for the Archie Sixteen, remember?)

Remember that just by voting for one of these two bands, you can earn another entry in the June Giveaway!

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Angie Tusa said...

I'm going to have to go with Fat Albert on this one, I loved that show too much as a kid to vote otherwise. :)

Bob Wallace said...

Josie and the Pussycats beat the Archies? You must have a lot of female readers.

Itinérante said...

I liked them both! And I know School of Rock!! but it won't get the vote...
I think I pick: Fat Albert and the Junkyard Band

Enbrethiliel said...


Angie -- Fat Albert is actually new to me, but oh, am I loving the disco music! ;-D

Bob -- Actually, the voters were pretty evenly divided by sex. If you had voted, it would have been a perfect 50/50 split . . . and Josie and the Pussycats still would have won! LOL!

Itinerante -- Thanks so much for participating again. =)

Darwin said...

I'm not even going to watch these videos and bias myself with the facts. Fat Albert for the win, of course.

"Hey, hey, hey, it's Faaaat Albert!"

Too lazy to see which login with take, so: it's MrsDarwin, naturally.

Enbrethiliel said...


One day, Darwin may comment here as you and I'll still know the difference between you two! ;-)

In other news, NoelCT has just voted for School of Rock on Twitter!

Sullivan McPig said...

I totally am on board with your results when it comes to electric Mayhem and Jem.

as for my vote: School of Rock

Paul Stilwell said...

The Zits...yeah, just having one song won't keep you in for long. LOL. I think they did a good job making it sound like a "real song by a real garage band that really had no chance at a record deal".

School of Rock.

Brandon said...

I vote Fat Albert.

Enbrethiliel said...


Stilwell -- I know that The Zits' having only one song is now part of the legend of DeGrassi, but I also long for that alternate universe in which they put together an EP. =P

Brandon -- Noted!

cyurkanin said...

Floyd's version of Blackbird makes my eyes watery. The remaining smack-downs should be only to determine second place. And Fat Albert.

DMS said...

I'm torn between Fat Albert and Josie and the Pussycats. :) I am going to have to go with Josie and the Pussycats- but it is tough!

Enbrethiliel said...


Christopher -- Maybe Fat Albert will wildcard his way into second place. =P But you've given me an idea . . . (Oooooh!)

Jess -- Actually, this time the vote is only between Fat Albert and School of Rock. So I guess that will be another vote for Fat Albert!