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Tiaras and Trucks

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Denim Jackets and Pretend Microphones

My friends and I would pretend to be part of their group, imagining ourselves on episodes of the show just like we were playing school or house.

In our minds, our hair was longer, more permed, and much bigger than our own locks when we looked in the mirror.

Our imaginary clothes were fashion-perfect, slouchy socks and oversized tunics and colored Reebok high-tops, perfectly styled by someone other than our mothers.

We would chat casually about the boys in our group, though none of the boys we knew in real life would have been caught dead playing our game, nor would we have ever had the nerve to ask them.

Finally, but crucially, we could all sing and dance better than anyone but Madonna herself. 

We, of course, were the girls from Kids Incorporated.

Like so many kids' shows in the eighties, Kids Incorporated addressed serious issues, like bullying and child abuse, but the hook was the "incorporation" of pop music into each episode.  The music was our focus.  The music and the effortless cool that the group members exuded as they burst into song in the middle of an after school hangout/entertainment mecca.

Playing our game didn't involve much preparation.  Most of it took place in our imaginations, requiring only some item that could stand in for a microphone during our painful performances.  I might not been able to pull my short hair into much of a ponytail, but I could pretend to fling it around while singing and swaying to the music.

We would take turns playing the different parts, switching back and forth between Stacy and Renee, sisters who looked nothing alike. 

We would push up the sleeves of our denim jackets and morph into older, more worldly versions of ourselves, dreaming that our dance lessons were preparation for what was surely a destiny of stardom and success.

Slowly, the game lost its charm.  The cast changed, the actresses outgrowing the parts, the seed planted for the eventual explosion of Stacy Ferguson into Fergie, other stars from the show reaching lesser heights.

As innocent as it seemed at the time, I wonder a little about the show's hesitation to follow its characters past their preteen days.  If the producers were willing to tackle seemingly tough issues head-on, why not tackle the toughest obstacle of all for so many kids - growing up?

Still, I remember my time as an imaginary child singing sensation fondly.

Even if the closest I can get to that reality is turning up the Black Eyed Peas just a little louder on my runs.

the Kids Incorporated girls would have rocked the tutu pajamas
I just know it

This is a response to the RemembeRED prompt:
This week, we want you to think about tv show from your past.
What feelings does the show evoke? What memories does it trigger?

 

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17 Comments:

  • At July 5, 2011 at 9:19 AM , Anonymous naomi said...

    Ok this shows just how out of it I am !  I had no idea that Fergie had a pre-Black Eyed Peas career!

    Writing at TRDC : http://haverecklessabandon.blogspot.com/

     
  • At July 5, 2011 at 11:37 AM , Anonymous Abby said...

    I never got into Kids Inc., but I totally rocked out to "Barbie and the Rockers" and "Jem." 

     
  • At July 5, 2011 at 12:19 PM , Anonymous Elaine said...

    Now, I'm singing the song.  LOVED that show!  Great memories here... :)

     
  • At July 5, 2011 at 12:32 PM , Anonymous Kir said...

    so I told you how much I love the new HEADER right???? WOW.

    and I didn't watch Kids Incorporated, but you took me right back to those days, to those days in mirrors pretending to be someone else, someone older, better, more sophisticated. I loved this...and that picture of Abbey...OMG, does not get any cuter than that. xo

     
  • At July 5, 2011 at 7:32 PM , Anonymous Amy said...

    Ummm.... LOVE THE NEW HEADER!!!! How cute!

    I also loved Kinds Incorporated. One of my favs growing up :)

     
  • At July 5, 2011 at 8:11 PM , Anonymous Katie @ Chicken Noodle Gravy said...

    Kids Inc.!!! Love it! I haven't thought about that show in years...but I definitely watched. It might not have been one of my favorites, but shows like that were hard to turn away from. It was almost like they were brainwashing us into watching. 

    "We would push up the sleeves of our denim jackets and morph into older, more worldly versions of ourselves, dreaming that our dance lessons were preparation for what was surely a destiny of stardom and success."

    Ah, those were the days. If only my dance lessons had led to that destiny of stardom and success...the dreams of youth. :)

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 3:40 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I'm sure if I watched it now, I would be amazed by the appalling badness of it all, but oh I loved it back then!

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 3:41 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Aw, thanks!

    I think girls LOVE pretending to be someone else.  So many of my childhood memories are of playing something pretend like that!

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 3:41 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    See, we could absolutely recreate it.  Everyone wants to see a bunch of moms singing badly in an ice cream parlor, right?

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 3:42 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Well, of course, because Jem was truly outrageous.  Truly truly truly outrageous.  Who didn't want computerized/magic earrings and a shape shifting computer?

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 3:43 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Not out of it!  Maybe just not as pop-culture-obsessed as I am!

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 4:12 PM , Anonymous Lex the Mom said...

    Great post!  I remember Kids Incorporated, too!  It brings back a lot of memories.  I remember wanting to be them, too.  They had it so good in their world.  I wanted my world to be without adults & have nothing but fun!

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 4:27 PM , Anonymous Galit Breen said...

    Nicely done, GF! Now I never watched Kids Incorporated {Love me anyway, mmkay?} but I can, for sure, say that they all would have rocked the pajama tutus! :)

    I love the way you springboarded into a small moment with friends, analyses of the show's topics, a Fergie mention, and also? I lvoe the word "locks." XO

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 8:53 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Locks is such a great word, isn't it?  I should incorporate it more often :)

    And, of course I forgive you for not watching one of the cheesiest tv shows to ever grace the airwaves :)

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 8:53 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Only the cool "token" adult, right?  So funny!

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 11:57 PM , Anonymous Paulette Watson said...

    Oh how I loved Kids Incorporated! Now I feel old(ish) I mean I'm not really that old. LOL! The mental image painted here is just fantastic!

     
  • At July 7, 2011 at 10:28 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Ha ha!  When I wrote this, I wondered, "Will people KNOW Kids Incorporated?"  Should I write about something at least from the 90's?

     

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