Saturday, January 29, 2011

also because I'm trying to forget that I'm on call tonight

OK, I'm holding this pager and I'm too superstitious to go to sleep so I'm just going to unbox this.


The Guys Next Door was (were?) a TV show-based boy band created by NBC to capitalize on the popularity of the New Kids on the Block. I think they were supposed to be The Monkees to NKOTB's Beatles, which is a flawed analogy in may ways in that neither of these 90's analogs had nearly the staying power of either of their 60's counterparts, but perhaps it's accurate at least in the sense of their relative popularity as compared to each other. The Guys Next Door, as self-described, were like The New Kids but with a black guy. (Just like All 4 One was like Boys II Men with a white guy.)

Look, I'm not going to lie and say I didn't watch "The Guys Next Door" religiously every Saturday morning, because I did. And I'm not going to say that I didn't have their one and only album on cassette tape, because I did. And I'm not going to say that I didn't have a favorite Guy Next Door and that I didn't debate the relative merits of the different Guys with my friends, because I DID, and WE DID. (For the record: it was Chris, the long-haired one. My friends preferred Damon and Patrick respectively, but I was like, "Say what?" No one liked Bobby, he was the George Harrison of the group, which is not to say that he was talented and deeply religious, just that he was somewhat homely.)

They Boys Next Door had several skills. One was exuberant dancing whilst wearing overlarge boxy blazers.

The second was sensitive emoting into the camera so as to make you feel like they were your boyfriend.

The third was Charlie Chaplin-esque comic pantomime.

Look, I don't know if you remember being an eleven year-old girl, or if you even want to, but I did and I do, and I just loved that stuff. It was like "Saved By The Bell" except with singing and without Screech and all those annoying girls in it lousing up the works. (Not that I didn't like the "Saved By The Bell" where Jessie, Lisa and Kelly formed that girl band and made that music video in a gym and Jessie got addicted to caffeine pills because OMG THE PRESSURE TO SUCCEED.) I have no regrets or embarrassment about this era in my development--not like I'm over here now, listening to Miles Davis' "The Birth of Cool" and nursing a snifter of brandy or anything--but the only, only point of this entry was to tell people that I, possibly like you, love and miss the youthful, candy-coated exuberance of "The Guys Next Door," as well as the relative naïvite required to fully appreciate them.

How about you? What bands did you love as a preteen, and miss beyond all reason?


  1. when i was ten i was deeply and madly in love with bryan adams. anyone remember the reckless album? i (seriously) thought i was going to marry him. i do not miss him beyond all reason now that he's out of my life, but i would probably have a lot of fun listening to reckless again...

  2. I did not want to marry Bryan Adams (that "Robin Hood" song aside) but I do distinctly remember wanting to make Richard Marx feel less sad all the time. You know, like, HEAL HIM WITH MY LOVE and stuff.

    Then I saw a picture of what he actually looked like, and that feeling went away. The hair! So fluffy!

  3. Agree with the above comment regarding Bryan Adams. I was obsessed. My best friend and I used to jump on my bed with markers as microphones and pretend to be Bryan Adams and his brother. We're not actually sure if Bryan Adams had a brother, but that's really not important.

    Also, Boyz II Men. Ohhhhh yeah.

  4. Boyz II Men all the way! I used to listen to their stuff all the time....fine, it was last night. LAST NIGHT I listened to "Doing Just Fine." Stop judging me.

    Does anyone else remember when they made a cameo on Fresh Prince of Bel Air? They were so. hot. All of them. But, I liked the one with the glasses. I don't know his name, because I was clearly a half-hearted groupie.

  5. I loved, with a passion, Boy George. I thought he was the epitome of beauty, and in year two, when your homework was to write sentences e.g. containing the words "green and "red" I would write sentences about the wondrous colours of his eyeshadow.

    But then I moved on. To Rick Astley and Bros. I've just always had really great taste!

  6. Anonymous12:22 AM

    if you're looking for amusing YouTube videos, you'll love this one. It's Bryant Gumble and the Today Show in 1994 talking about this newfangled thing called the internet... hilarious! reminds me of Wellesley orientation circa 1995 when we were taught how to access the internet:

  7. I loved the Guys Next Door too, and up until a recent garage sale also had their album on tape (which I nearly wore out)! I was a Damon girl. I was a huge NKOTB fan too -- my room was plastered with their posters, which in retrospect I'm amazed my parents allowed. Donny was my favorite.

  8. Now "I'm so excited, I'm so excited, I'm so...scared!" will be playing through my head all day. (Best episode of Saved By The Bell ever.)

  9. Anonymous8:26 AM

    Big fan of pop music (Backstreet Boys, Nsync, etc) Still liking Justin Timberlake!

  10. I was a huge NKOTB fan. I remember always debating over who was best with my friends. We each had our favorite too. Jordan was my man. I was also a big Debbie Gibson fan. I remember taking the cover of her tape to the hairdresser and asking to her to cut my hair just like Debbie's.

  11. This is going to date me but I LOVED Donny Osmond! Did not miss a single episode of the Donny & Marie Show!

  12. That song "Right Here Waiting" was totally written for me about that guy in the 8th grade I had a crush on.

    Overall however, I was more into peppy pop music rather than the boy band stuff. I liked Paula Abdul and Bell Biv DeVoe. I wish I could say I was over that.... but I'm not.

  13. I replied to you on twitter but had to expand here because -- Bobby! Represent! I really liked Chris, but his hair was just wrong- the part way too far or something. And he was short. But very cute in overalls (which is what he wore to the signing. Sweet lord, the crap you remember 20+ years later)

    Bobby had a James Spader bad boy look that I was just waiting to see bubble up to the surface.

    GND were the only boy band I even began to like. It was either 80's new wave (Duran Duran - John!) or metal. And Night Ranger.

    A friend and I actually wrote Night Ranger fan fic with special appearances by Motley Crue. I have no idea now how we made that work but it kinda did. Oh they were international mercs and spies. You can stop laughing now. :)

    Oh the crazy things as kids... GND is still better than the Fresh Beat Band ever will be.

  14. Anonymous3:40 PM

    You have no idea how much joy you just brought to my day. I'll be singing "Bad Hair Day" all day now. (Much to my husband's chagrin.) Thanks!

  15. Ahh, memories! My best friend just sent me this the other day...we were avid Baby-Sitters Club fans.

  16. Christine7:33 PM

    Anyone remember Color Me Badd? You know they were extra cool because they had two "d's" in their name. Loved them in junior high school!

  17. They were badd! Badd spellers!

    (Sorry, I had to say it.)

    I also vividly recall Kriss Kross, who were not only also bad spellers, but wore all their clothing backwards. Insanity!

  18. Tricia10:35 PM

    I have absolutely no recollection of Guys Next Door! Boyz II Men, Color Me Badd, All 4 One - loved them all, had posters on my wall, everything. But Guys Next Door, nothing.

    That Saved by the Bell episode is awesome, by the way. Not just because of the song they sing, but because of this:

  19. Wow. I'm from a totally different boy band era. Goodness, honestly anything earlier than the Backstreet Boys is pretty hazy.

    But yeah, none of these names ring a bell, except Boyz II Men.

    I do, however, remember the strict N'SYNC vs Backstreet Boys fan division. You're either on one side or the other.

    It would get serious.

  20. Rewatching these videos, I have changed my affiliation. I am now Eddie all the way.

  21. Canadian Jenn1:06 AM

    I was a huge NKOTB fan. My friends and I also debated who was the best looking, most talented, etc. for HOURS and watched their videos over and over and over again. Jordan was my favourite (even with that horrible rat-tail hairdo.) I had posters all over my room and I even had a Jordan "action-figure" (aka doll). I was also TOTALLY in love with Johnny Depp on 21 Jump Street...does anyone else remember that show? (BTW, I've gotten over Jordan, but I think Johnny Depp is still pretty hot!)

  22. Anonymous11:37 PM

    Even though Kris Kross were probably a couple of years younger than me, and a crush on either of them would have been unfathomable, every other time I miss a bus that song starts playing through my head...