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What the … New Kids on the Block Hotline?

July 6, 2012

*What the…Friday? is a weekly Friday feature in which I resuscitate a video relic from the swampy pits of Pop Culture Wasteland.*

Today:  What the New Kids on the Block Hotline?

Full disclosure —  I am an Unfrozen Caveman when it comes to modern technology.

My cell phone is old.  I don’t know the number.  My husband wrote it for me on a sticky note and taped it to the back.  That was six years ago and I still don’t know the number.  It does not include a camera.  It does not include a keypad.  It does include a library of five to ten prewritten text messages.  “Meet you there.”  “Hi. Bye.”  “Call me.”  “Stay cool. Never change.”  “Help. Timmy is stuck in an abandoned well.”  “Milk and Bread.”

I don’t own an iPod.  I hear iPods are nice for listening to music.  I don’t know how they work.  I don’t know how the music gets inside there.

I don’t own an iPad.  Oh, wait.  I do.  I mostly use it for taking photos of my cat.

I wrote this post in chalk on a blackboard.  And then I had it transcribed by two elderly retirees I found loitering around a veterans hospital.  Their Shih Tzu uploaded it to WordPress for me.

I don’t have cable TV.  I do watch movies.  But I haven’t watched a commercial since Cool Ranch Doritos contained trans fat.

I do have knowledge of New Kids on the Block.  I do remember them.  I remember they were Really Something.  I remember I hated their guts.  All of them.  Even Joe.  Except that I wanted to have babies with him.

That brings me to this video.

I’ve been told that people no longer talk on phones resembling alarm clocks.

I’ve been told that pop singers don’t say, “Word!” anymore.

I’ve been told that pop singers now have hoods attached to their sweatshirts.

I’ve been told that pharmaceuticals are now advertised on television.  I’ve been told they are marketing a cure for restless leg syndrome.  Or restless shoulder syndrome.  Or restless neck syndrome.  Or whatever it is that Danny is ailing from here.

But what I haven’t been told is this.  Do commercials still advertise 1-900 hotlines?  And, if they do, do people still pay to talk to celebrities on 1-900 hotlines?

Nah.  I don’t believe a word of it.

Well, if they do, if people do still pay to talk to celebrities on 1-900 hotlines, I’m sure today they’re instead talking to a prerecording or a cyborg or a drone or Ryan Seacrest.

Not like the real people we got to talk to back then.

47 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2012 6:49 am

    You and I really are the same person. Except I don’t own a cell phone or an ipad.

    Oh, my gosh! That cordless phone!

    • July 6, 2012 1:50 pm

      I wouldn’t own an iPad if it weren’t for the thoughtfulness of my husband this past Christmas. His iPhone is like his mistress, so he probably felt it was only right that I had a pool boy.

      My cell phone is pretty much useless as I barely know how to operate it. And it never, ever seems to be charged.

      So, yes, we probably are the same person. Except that I’m terrified of turtles after my childhood pet bit my finger. I was trying to feed him raw hamburger and thought I’d get it right up in his mouth for him. Pretty smart of me.

  2. July 6, 2012 6:59 am

    Maybe things were just different back then, but most of these guys were not attractive. Yes, I said it. And if I dare…they also seem like a bunch of tools. Pretty much the same way I’d describe Justin Bieber. I guess some things never change.

    I loved the big yellow letters plastered across the screen. Ah yes, the font of generations past.

    • July 6, 2012 2:05 pm

      Thank you for your candor. NKOTB must be on a top ten list of the most overrated teen idols of all time. I think they’d even out-rank Corey Feldman. I mean, Danny looks like some kind of circa 1988 Frankenstein. And Jordan looks like Squiggy from Laverne and Shirley. And Donnie. Don’t even get me started about that giant dildo.

      Phew. Cathartic!

  3. July 6, 2012 7:22 am

    Wow. Um…don’t phone numbers just have 7 digits? This one had 8. Is that because it’s so dope, dawg?

    My cell phone is…where is it? I really don’t know. I just send that monthly check for the minimal service to Verizon and catch a glimpse of my phone every 4 months or so. I never text, but I like the idea of having prewritten texts handy in case of emergency like when you need to tell someone “LOL”

    • July 6, 2012 1:58 pm

      You are so right, dawg. I never even noticed that extra number.

      I got my first cell phone “for emergencies” in 2007 while pregnant with my daughter. I call it the Fisher Price My First Cell Phone. I can’t ever figure out how to answer it and, by the time I answer it, the caller has been rerouted to voicemail. Too bad that I’ve never retrieved a single message off voicemail. But I can select the text message “Sorry I missed your call.”

  4. July 6, 2012 7:28 am

    If I got rid of cable and my cell phone, I could lease a Mercedes E-Class with the money I saved. But that begs the question: What good is a German luxury car when you have to stop at the Grab N Go with a handful of coins to make a phone call?
    It’s a quandry, that’s for sure…Word!

    • July 6, 2012 2:10 pm

      Word! It is quite a dilemma. I go through this same internal argument when trying to determine whether to spend my hard-earned money on food, shelter and electricity or expensive phone calls to Joe McIntyre.

  5. July 6, 2012 7:30 am

    I have a cell phone! It’s a pay-as-you-go-phone. It’s a little embarrassing because I have to make sure sure SURE there is money on it before someone important calls me. I would probably die of embarrassment if I ran out of money while on a conference call. I am blushing just thinking about it. It is totally likely to happen some day. Also, I wish that shih tzus would upload my posts for me! And also write the alt-text for pictures.

    • July 6, 2012 2:13 pm

      Mine is a prepaid doohickey as well.

      I wish Shih Tzus (or Pomeranians, if they’re available) would figure out how to change the font on my blog. It’s been bugging me for a long time and my Corgi can’t seem to help. She’s much better with big picture problem-solving.

      • July 7, 2012 9:22 am

        Me, three! Me, three! Pay as you go. And since I don’t go anywhere…

  6. July 6, 2012 7:47 am

    Oh, I hated cell phones. I still do, but with a grown up kid, well … We were hiking in a lovely pristine place just yesterday with a few dozen strangers. When my cell phone rang (my son with a problem) and everyone — rightfully — turned to glare at me. So yeah, I still hate cell phones.

    • July 6, 2012 2:17 pm

      Geesh, Elyse — how completely classless of you to bring a cell phone on a picturesque mountain hike. I’m so with them on that. I’d be so pissed! Oh, except for getting lost in the wilderness. Then I’d be your best friend again.

  7. July 6, 2012 8:18 am

    4 of them are still waiting to get your call. You can even reverse the charge at this point.

    • July 6, 2012 2:20 pm

      Yes! So funny! Yes! Oh. Wait — what four of them are still waiting to get my call? Which one isn’t? Is there something you know that I don’t? What happened to the fifth one? Help! Is this because Jon plays for the other team now? Please tell me Donnie is still alive after his motorcycle crash. Oh, God, no! What is happening?

      I think I’m getting cable tomorrow.

      • July 6, 2012 3:40 pm

        Donnie. Donnie’s the fifth. He’s too much of a bad boy to take your call.

      • July 6, 2012 4:02 pm

        Oh yeah, I forgot he was a badass. Since watching Entourage (which you probably know is loosely inspired by Mark Wahlberg’s early life) I can only think of Kevin Dillon’s doofus character “Johnny Drama” when I think of Donnie. I bet Johnny Drama would take my call.

  8. frugalnature permalink
    July 6, 2012 11:27 am

    Oh man…this brings me back…in a terrible terrible (awesome) way!

    • July 6, 2012 2:24 pm

      “Brings you back” . . . to the Hangin’ Tough tour you followed in 1989? Front row, right? Backstage passes, too? I knew it!

      • frugalnature permalink
        July 9, 2012 11:33 am

        If I had been old enough, heeeell yes! ;)

      • July 10, 2012 10:23 am

        Right on!

  9. July 6, 2012 11:47 am

    I was in the fifth grade at the height of their fame and can remember all the girls talking my teacher into letting us watch their concert on the last day of school. We must have had more girls in the class than boys because I can remember the boys complaining very loudly. The boys complaining almost drowned out the sound of the girls screaming (for a VHS video of a concert) with tears running down their cheeks.

    • July 6, 2012 2:27 pm

      That Is Awesome. Donnie, Jon, Joe, Jordan and Danny being wheeled in to your 5th grade classroom — on an audio/video cart? Oh, if this is a dream I don’t want to wake up.

  10. beck16 permalink
    July 6, 2012 1:22 pm

    My cell phone looks a lot like the one Joey is holding in this video.
    NKOTB are still my heroes!

    • July 6, 2012 2:31 pm

      Picture Joey’s phone and then shrink it down to the size of a pack of gum. That would be my cell phone.

  11. July 6, 2012 1:25 pm

    Wow, you are quite a luddite! (I learned this word when someone called me one, during the 10 years when I didn’t watch TV… now I watch it pretty much 24 hours a day.) But YOU make me look like a Modern Woman! And I applaud your ludd-ish ways. I’ll say an amen to this: TV has changed now that there are DVR and TIVOs and such – you can record only the shows you like then fast forward through commercials! So this is the long way of saying, I don’t know if they have those 1-900 ads anymore…they do have liquor ads now and these awful anti-smoking ads that make you gag. (I don’t know if they get people to stop, but they DO halt many a dinner in its tracks around here…)

    • July 6, 2012 2:35 pm

      That is the greatest word of all time. I just looked it up (thank you, Mr. Google sir), and learned not only the urban slang definition, but also the historical reference to a social movement of 19th century English textile artisans who protested the modern inventions of the Industrial Revolution.

      It was so inspiring to read about their push-back against the evilness of mechanized looms. Now I feel like a total freak.

      I’ve heard about those anti-smoking ads. My appetite is still in tact.

  12. July 6, 2012 1:52 pm

    Wow, New Kids on the Block! Is that a new group? They are so stylish.


    I missed this commercial somehow. Didn’t know they took calls. Like, totally, rad!! :)

    • July 6, 2012 2:40 pm

      I know — aren’t they dreamy? I’m thinking that if they were still alive today, they’d give the Bieb a run for his money. But, sadly, I’m certain they’ve all died from excess exposure to aerosol hairspray. About three hours after this photo was taken, in fact.

      Word to yo mutha, MJ.

      • July 10, 2012 8:19 pm

        I take it you haven’t heard about the Boy Band Supergroup: NKOTBSB. I am not making it up– it’s an amalgamation of the New Kids and the Backstreet Boys. They go on tours and play concerts on cruise ships. One of my (former) friends even paid $100 to go see them live! I’m sorry. Jordan Knight was my dream boat when I was 9, but somehow, the magic wore off…

        It’s a good thing I never knew about this hotline when I was in Grade 4. It could have spelled trouble for my parents’ credit card (not like they even had a credit card then. Wasn’t credit a 1990s+ thing?)

      • July 12, 2012 10:31 am

        Yes, I have heard of them! I was too old for the Backstreet Boys so it loses a little something there. And there’s the fact that I loathed NKOTB. So perhaps if you substitute them — for the Nelson Twins teaming up with The Thompson Twins — I’d be ready to jump aboard that cruise.

        I heard credit cards were an old pioneer system of bartering eggs for cotton fabric. I might be wrong about that.

      • July 12, 2012 12:05 pm

        THE NELSON TWINS! I haven’t thought about them in years! Hahahaha, now I’ll be laughing all day. :)

      • July 12, 2012 12:14 pm

        I met them — and, believe me, it was nothing to laugh at.

      • July 12, 2012 1:47 pm

        You MET them? (All I can picture is that album cover with the two dogs on it.) That’s amazing!

      • July 12, 2012 9:49 pm

        Yes. It was awful. Sorry, Dana — this discussion now requires me to force a blog post on you. I hate doing that, but it’s necessary. You can scroll to the very bottom and save yourself most of the reading.

      • July 14, 2012 11:51 am

        Icccckkkk! That cell phone in the pocket comment was more than gross. :P

      • July 15, 2012 8:27 pm

        Yeah. I wasn’t convinced it was his cell phone either.

  13. July 6, 2012 2:48 pm

    This has to be the raddest advertisement out there! I remember wanting to call…but my parents always said “No.” . I guess now if we want we could probably “tweet” them..but I don’t have a Twitter acct..don’t care to have one..nor do I have a Facebook/MySpace/Pinterest account. I only use this account for DIY inspiration.

  14. July 6, 2012 4:22 pm

    You know, I’d be happy to help you put up your posts. For a price. I’m still trying to pay off my calls to ‘NSync. (Actually, it’s a damn good thing the 1-900 days passed by then.)

  15. July 6, 2012 5:20 pm

    Oh my god! You can also call the Grandpa Vampire from the Munsters. Gotta go!

  16. July 6, 2012 8:27 pm

    I don’t know if there are still 1-900 numbers. But I do know that if you let your 10-yr-old play with your new phone (which might still be a crappy flip phone, but most probably the last one you can ever get) that you’ll wind up with a full camera folder of his sister’s goofy up-close face AND $10 of Internet charges just because the kid was curious if he could connect to the Internet while on a trip to Grandma’s. He never actually “did anything.” Pft. I guess that’s kinda like a 1-900 call.

    • July 6, 2012 8:29 pm

      I have no clue who New Kids are. Must have been during my metal phase. Or perhaps my Jimmy Buffet phase. Either way, it was my not-listening-to-main-stream phase.

      • July 6, 2012 9:46 pm

        Omg!! That just sounds crazy ridiculous! not in a disrespectful way at all….but I thought everyone knew NKOTB and their “block heads”
        A block head is a NKOTB fan.
        I am not ashamed to admit I will forever be a block head. Lol

      • July 7, 2012 7:49 am

        Yeah, my sister-in-law went to their concert a couple of years back (I think), and I was like, “Who??” She simply stared at me like I was a dork. I’m guessing she’s a block head too.

  17. July 6, 2012 11:13 pm

    It would be the best prank in the world to call that number and get a sex hotline run by one-legged Russian prostitutes.

  18. July 7, 2012 9:23 am

    What was that monstrosity the guy on the left had in his hand? Was it a mobile phone or a cordless phone? Great giggly wiggly – that sucker was large. Word.

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