Children's Programme "Fake" Band Smackdown, Round 3A!
(Revisit Round 1 and Round 2)
If you were paying attention last weekend, when I published a backdated Locus Focus post, then you know that I don't plan parties as much as I improvise them. So although I planned to have wildcards to liven up this smackdown party, I've since changed my mind. These posts will continue to be interactive--but only because comments are my energy source and without them I shrivel up and die. You wouldn't want that, would you? (Would you???)
Last week, Fat Albert and the Junkyard Band trounced School of Rock. Which of these next two bands do you think will come out on top after seven days?
Voting for one of these bands today will not get either of them a wildcard slot, but it will get you another entry in the June Giveaway Rafflecopter, which is embedded at the end of this post. [UPDATE: I forgot to add the entry to the Rafflecopter last night, but it's there now!] But first . . .
vs. Jesse and the Rippers vs. Mystik Spiral
A "fake" band doesn't always have to play a big part in the plot of its programme. Sometimes it's just there to flesh out a character some more. I mean, of course Elvis and Beach Boys fan Uncle Jesse of Full House would have his own cover band. And it tells Daria fans a lot about the sarcastic, unimpressed title character that she can be reduced to blushes by the slacker lead singer of a Grunge garage band. (I had a 90s flashback just typing that sentence.) Having had to round out a singer-songwriter character of my own by writing a song for him, I appreciate writers who go the extra musical mile.
The "Fake" Four
Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem . . .
Do you know what my first idea for this year's June smackdown was? A "Muppet Show Special Guest Smackdown"! I dropped it only because I didn't have time to review a decent sample of Muppet Show episodes and wasn't confident in my ability to arrange a bracket of sixteen with nothing but hazy memories and other people's lists to guide me. So now Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem are either making up for that decision or showing me how silly I was to give up even with so much against me. You decide. =P
I confess that I wasn't a very big fan of this "fake" band until I started this blog series. As much as I loved the musical numbers on The Muppet Show, I preferred to see the other Muppets (with or without their human guests) creating skits around well-known songs. Long before music videos were a thing, Jim Henson and company understood how to wed melody and lyrics to visuals and characters, in order to create something that was greater than the sum of its parts. In contrast, The Electric Mayhem were a "straight" house band that usually performed without gimmicks. Now that I've finally paused to ponder that, I "see what Henson was doing there" . . . and I understand that he didn't want anything distracting us from the fact that the puppets in this band are three-dimensional characters and very serious musicians.
Yeah, even Animal. What a drummer!
. . . Jem and the Holograms
You already know that I was a big fan of this band--another one which was all about creating a believable character on stage. And in one of the darker twists children's programming has seen, Jem! also explores what happens when the relationship between creator and creation turns dysfunctional. But you'll only get a hint of that from the songs themselves; the real clues are in the music videos. And it's really the videos that give Jem and the Holograms their legitimacy as a band.
So it's ironic that there's a sense in which the videos are "fake" as well. When most of the world has no idea that Jem and Jerrica Benton are the same person, and the success of the band depends on keeping the secret, then why would they hint at it so baldly in a visual medium? We can consider these videos less an interpretation of the songs than the inspiration behind them--which is also a big deal in modern pop. At least I keep running into fans who like knowing the stories behind their favourite songs. And for at least the past two years I've been hoping to do a "Taylor Swift Songs about Ex-Boyfriends" Smackdown! (ROFLMAO, right? But seriously, yes!!!)
Even with nothing but "fake" videos of Jerrica's inner life, Jem and the Holograms are a great media artefact from MTV's first decade. This Final Four should have probably seen them squaring off against the equally Eighties Kidd Video--but there's a good reason why I decided not to do that, which I'll be sharing in next week's post.
Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem vs. Jem and the Holograms
Winner: Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem
a Rafflecopter giveaway