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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Flopcast 475: The Backs of Life 4 - Jo's Cousin

Yes, we're still examining every "backdoor pilot" episode of The Facts of Life, and we've arrived at "Jo's Cousin," which features, you know, Jo's cousin. She's 14-year-old aspiring mechanic Terry, played by the star of Kornflake's beloved Anne of Green Gables! We also meet Terry's angry father (you know him from Soap and Battlestar Galactica), her goofy brothers (including the star of Meatballs Part II), and their creepy friend (from the creepy classic Hardbodies). Armed with a Laura Ingalls dress and makeup advice from Blair, Terry arrives at her birthday dinner, everybody freaks out, and hilarity sort of ensues. Did this episode launch a successful spin-off series? Of course not. But do we love it anyway? You bet. Also discussed along the way: Jo vs. Amtrak, short-lived Italian family sitcoms (Mama Malone, The Tortellis, The Fanelli Boys), Birdie the Early Bird, mailing your children, and the horrors of early 80s frozen pizza.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Flopcast 474: The Two Words Are... Naked Skating

We'd been meaning to do a roller-skating-themed show for years, and it's finally here, in convenient Top 4 ½ List format! We're listing our favorite roller-skating scenes and characters from movies and TV of the last half century. Plenty of skating humans, of course, but also some goofy Hanna Barbera skating birds, and one big weird wildebeest who is absolutely a zoo animal on wheels. And if you think there's a chance we forgot to include a certain Facts of Life girl, this must be your very first Flopcast. Welcome. Time to lace up those stupid skates, hit your favorite rink, and wander in circles all night like it's 1983. Birthday girl Bonnie Tyler will supply an appropriate soundtrack, and Dazzler (the roller-disco queen of Marvel Comics) has a mutant-powered light show just for you.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Flopcast 473: Muffins for Heatmiser

As a follow-up to our recent look at the Boston music scene of the 80s, let's move on to the 90s! And let's also move slightly south, to Rhode Island! (State motto: We're tiny, but we're also quite odd.) Another special guest is here too: filmmaker (It's a Bash!), podcaster (Gleaming the Tube), and longtime friend of the Flopcast Kevin Cafferty! Kevin and Kevin (this is gonna get confusing) both spent the 90s lurking around the filthy rock clubs of Providence, and recall long crazy nights at places like The Living Room, The Strand, Club Babyhead, and Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel. We saw a million local punk bands, spent time with several soon-to-be-famous performers (Green Day, Joan Osborne, Elliott Smith), and attended some ridiculously 1990s concerts (Spice Girls, No Doubt, Better Than Ezra). Meanwhile Kornflake was a couple of states away, figuring out how to sneak into Barenaked Ladies shows. Also: Late nights at Haven Brothers Diner (serving non-sober Rhode Islanders since 1893); Kevin Cafferty in a John Cafferty music video; Weird Al all alone on a Rhode Island roller coaster; and the mysterious connection between Rob Liefeld, The Aquabats, and Kenny G.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Flopcast 472: Not Fit For Human Listening

If you were a 70s/80s kid who wanted to know what was really going on, you ordered Dynamite magazine through your school book club. Today we're flipping through the December 1979 issue of Dynamite, with Steve Martin on the cover. And hey, Steve's first (and come on, best) movie The Jerk premiered that same month! Which 70s celebrity did Steve enjoy playing horseshoes with? The answer will shock you. Also in this issue of Dynamite: world record grape-catching; disgusting popcorn beverages; Hollywood gossip about Superman, Miss Piggy, Kiss, and Erik Estrada; disco vs. rock; how to levitate with Magic Wanda; an especially lame batch of Dynamite Bummers; and lots more late 70s silliness. Also: The ESO Network's Doctor Geek has a new vaccination PSA, Kevin AND Kornflake are talking science fiction dogs with the American Sci-Fi Classics Track, rare video from the Sid and Marty Krofft theme park has resurfaced, Baby Yoda is a Chia Pet, and Happy Birthday to Paul Bettany (aka Vision in a turkey suit).

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Flopcast 471: The Flop of Boston

Happy Anniversary to us! (If you can hear Barney Rubble singing, our work is done.) We've been Flopcasting for nine long silly years, and we're celebrating with a special guest: Earth Station One co-host (and Tiki Zombie writer/publisher) Mike Gordon! Mike is from Massachusetts just like us, so we discuss growing up around the Boston music scene. Including: Boston radio (the Top 40 of Kiss 108 vs. The Rock of Boston, WBCN); our early concert experiences (were Kevin and Mike at the same concert way back in 1987, and was a giant robot there too?); the 70s Boston bands that conquered the world (Aerosmith, J. Geils, The Cars, and you know, Boston); the 80s music video era (experienced pre-cable through Friday Night Videos, obscure UHF shows, and our beloved V-66); the alt-rock scene of the 90s, when the women took over (Juliana Hatfield, Letters to Cleo, Belly); and our Boston favorites these days (such as Freezepop, Sidewalk Driver, and Carissa Johnson). Also: New stuff in the ESO Network TeePublic store from our sister podcast But First, Let's Talk Nerdy, and Kornflake reminds us that it's a very good idea to drink with chickens.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Flopcast 470: The Backs of Life 3 - The Academy

Our ongoing analysis of every "backdoor pilot" episode of The Facts of Life continues, and we're creeping back to March 1982. "Pac-Man Fever" was on the radio, Porky's ruled the box office, and our Facts of Life girls met the boys at Stone Academy. The plan was to launch a spinoff series set at this military school. That didn't happen, of course, despite a strong cast of young actors from 70s/80s classics like The Bad News Bears, Silver Spoons, James at 16, Soap, Jennifer Slept Here, and Kornflake's beloved Combat Academy. Will one of the boys sneak out of the big dance with Blair and squish into Mrs. Garrett's tiny VW Bug? And then will absolutely nothing happen? Let's find out. Also: Happy Birthday to Facts of Life stars Mackenzie Astin (Andy) AND Kim Fields (Tootie)! (By the way, Tootie's giant fancy dress from this episode deserved its own backdoor pilot.)

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Flopcast 469: Brannock or Panic

Time for some bike talk, because spring is here, and we've taken to the mean streets of Chickentown on our shiny new bikes, like Kevin Bacon in Quicksilver and Nicole Kidman in BMX Bandits. We're not quite as accessorized as Pee Wee Herman, but hopefully we'll find some goofy license plates in our next box of Honey Comb cereal. Also: Our first vaccination appointments somehow involved turkeys and kangaroos; National Cartoonists Day has us pondering the weirdness of Heathcliff; the ESO Network Board of Directors is bored silly about The Love Boat (you're welcome!); and Happy Anniversary to our sister podcast But First, Let's Talk Nerdy, where they've been furious about the Marvel Cinematic Universe for an entire year.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Flopcast 468: Love Boat FlopFight Part 2 - Bunny Boats

Time to wrap up our latest exciting and stupid FlopFight tournament! Only one member of the Love Boat cast shall survive! Your classic Love Boat crew is here, of course, including Isaac the bartender, Julie the cruise director, and Gopher the... whatever it is that Gopher does. A few lesser known characters get to play too, including stars from Happy Days, Spenser: For Hire, and, uh, Blame It on Rio. And because it's a FlopFight, things get a little weird, and the competition also involves superheroes, variety shows, robots, and kangaroos. Once again we're joined by your ship's DragonCon American Sci-Fi Classics Track Director, Joe Crowe! Hey, maybe Joe will favor us with another impression of Tattoo from Fantasy Island! It's the Love Boat, kids, and all your crazy piña colada-fueled dreams are coming true.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Flopcast 467: Love Boat FlopFight Part 1 - Mermaid Mummies

Come aboard, we're expecting you for a Love Boat edition of our ridiculous tournament, the FlopFight! And we're joined by a special guest who knows a thing or two about ridiculous tournaments: DragonCon American Sci-Fi Classics Track Director Joe Crowe! With Joe on board, we'll figure out which Pacific Princess crew member will survive to celebrate on the Aloha deck with a 1970s cocktail from Isaac's bar. Captain Stubing is an easy favorite, of course — a respected commander, despite the silly white shorts. But perhaps the Captain's daughter Vicki can sneak in with a surprise victory. And let's not forget... the Charo factor. Anything goes in a FlopFight, so Gopher only knows what's gonna happen. This week's winner advances to the final round next week. Set a course for adventure and join us. Just don't let any weird celebrity guests into your cabin.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Flopcast 466: Still Preoccupied With 1985

It's another "66" episode, which always reminds us of V66, Boston's late great 1980s music video channel. (You've all seen the documentary Life on the V, right? RIGHT?) This time we decided to party like it's 1985 and watch a bunch of music videos from the V66 era. If you want to jump on YouTube and watch along with us, VJ Kornflake's playlist is: "Obsession" by Animotion, "Invincible" by Pat Benatar, "Live is Life" by Opus (???), "Dancing on the Ceiling" by Lionel Richie, "Goonies R Good Enough" by Cyndi Lauper, and "A View to a Kill" by Duran Duran. Or just relax and enjoy our idiotic commentary. V66 didn't last long; it was soon replaced by the Home Shopping Network, because Bostonians desperately needed cubic zirconia. But we'll keep staring at these goofy videos forever, even if Rowdy Roddy Piper only appears in some of them. Also this week: Comic book trivia with Earth Station One, a DragonCon American Sci-Fi Classics Track panel about rabbits (?), and Happy Birthday to 80s naughty girl Samantha Fox.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Flopcast 465: Here's Johnny and Johnny and Johnny

For no good reason, the name "Johnny" is the subject of our latest Top 4 ½ List. (Has it been a slow week around here? What do you think?) We have characters named Johnny from movies, TV, songs, and even more goofy DC comic books. There might even be a robot on the list, since Ally Sheedy assures us that Johnny 5 is very much alive. Plus: Dueling Johnny songs from Chuck Berry and Men at Work, dueling Johnny songs from El DeBarge and "Weird Al" Yankovic, Greg Brady vs. Johnny Bravo, Charlie the Tuna vs. Mr. Peanut (?), and more. Did we miss your favorite Johnny? Let us know! The best way to reach us is by canal. Just ask Johnny Canal.