Friday, December 12, 2014

The Dancinest Hemisphere of All!

Twenty-five years later, The Simpsons still teaches me about the worst of pop culture from before I was born.

Remember, if you will, Hooray for Everything, the group of “clean-cut young go-getters” that perform during the halftime show in the episode “Bart vs. Thanksgiving.” You only hear a few seconds of their song, but Homer seems to enjoy it enough.

I have had those few seconds of that stupid song in my head ever since. It’s my go-to mental example of the kind of insipid, crowd-pleaser pop you might have heard at a halftime show back in the day. I figured that’s what the Simpsons staff had in mind when they wrote it. But then last night, I caught the end of an FXX rerun of “Goin’ to Praiseland,” the 2001 episode in which Ned Flanders opens a Christian-themed amusement park. Even though the episode’s guest star is Shawn Colvin, that same terrible song plays over the end credits, and you hear more of it than you do in “Bart vs. Thanksgiving.”

“Surely, they just had more of the song left over from when they first wrote it back in 1990,” I told myself. “Surely, no actual song could be so terribly catchy but also so terrible. Surely.”

Then I Shazamed it. It’s real, though I doubt I’m the only my age who had only experienced it via The Simpsons. The song is “Get Dancin’” by a band I’d never heard of, because I would have remembered a name as bad as Disco-Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes. In its entirely,  “Get Dancin’” is even dumber and brighter and bouncier and more annoying than I could have even imagined. It’s worse than “The Hustle.” Hell, it’s seven minutes long.

And now you have it in your head.

That’s not the only appearance of Hooray for Everything on The Simpsons, by the way. They perform a worse cover of a more recognizable song in “Selma’s Choice.”

I’d like to think that the same expert in terrible, impossibly upbeat pop music was responsible for introducing me to Lesley Gore’s “Sunshine, Rainbows and Lollipops” in “Marge on the Lam.” And maybe Homer singing “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy”? And maybe Homer singing “Spanish Flea”?

I was equally surprised to learn that the lyrics Homer was singing weren’t made up for the show, that “Spanish Flea” even had lyrics, and that a recording group ever thought their name should be The Doodletown Pipers.

Someone clearly knew their shit. And their shit was shit music.

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