In our quest to bring you the best TV content, sometimes we have to look... backwards. That's why we have Thursday TV Throwback, wherein each week our staff of pop culture enthusiasts will be tasked with bringing back some of the best television clips that have been forgotten by time, space and the general zeitgeist. This week, we're bringing back genuine terror: via the characters who assaulted our childhood innocence way back when. Rational or not — here's looking at you, Michael Arbeiter — behold a round-up of the most terrifying offenders.
Shaunna Murphy: Hi, kids — it's me, Face! — an absolutely terrifying, bodiless talking head on acid. I change colors every few seconds, and my only purpose on this earth is to inject terror into the hearts of millions by introducing their favorite TV shows. The truth is that I'm actually an ethereal terrorist from the future sent from the past to collect brainwaves from the innocent minds of children, until their hearty imaginations build a time machine that will send my ruined people back in time to establish a reign of terror on planet Earth! Hee Hee! I mean, enjoy Blue's Clues!
Kelsea Stahler: This little bear was supposed to make you want to wash your blankets and roll around in them, soaking up the freshness. Instead, this terrifying little spokesbear turned a comforting activity into a terrifying one.
Matt Patches: I wasn't allowed to watch MTV growing up — a move to protect me from the heinous, perverted, mind-destroying material flooding the channel at the time, of course — but the pop culture impact of Beavis and Butthead was too strong. I found it... and it scared the crap out of me. I blame it on the lack of laugh track and incessant low-pitch giggling on the part of the idiotic duo. Their voices sounded like evil gremlins. And what the heck was AC/DC?!
Michael Arbeiter: There was nothing inherently scary to me about Grover when I first encountered him on Sesame Street. But the popular puppet earned certain… dark connotations when he began to slip into my nighttime delusions. I was about three or four, struggling to get to sleep, when I began hearing voices coming from my wall. Not coming from behind my wall, but from the wall itself — it spoke to me, and in the highly recognizable voice of Grover. But the voice didn’t bring along with it his chipper, kindly demeanor. I was terrified, and would forever be so whenever I heard Grover speak.
Abbey Stone: The 1985 TV movie Alice Through the Looking Glass was already a few years old by the time I stumbled upon it as a kid, but it was still enough to make me afraid to fall asleep for years. As terrifying as the monstrous Jabberwocky was, he was only the tip of the iceberg. I'm not sure if the psychedelic imagery scared me more, or the abandonment and helplessness tropes the movie played up.
Christian Blauvelt: (The trolls from David the Gnome) It’s one thing for cannibalistic, shag-haired, pupil-less trolls to menace cute little forest gnomes. It’s another thing when they’re menacing a cute little forest gnome voiced by Tom Bosley. Here's a clip where the trolls come in at the 15:30 mark. They actually want to eat a fox! A fox!
Samantha Xu: I'm pretty sure that NASA has disproven the theory of swinging over the bar on a swing set, but after watching this Nickelodeon claymation short as a child, my paranoia of turning into a walking peepshow severely hampered my swinging mojo. I mean, who wants to be inside out? Wouldn't you be really cold all time?
Anna Brand: Pinky was always goofy with his buck teeth and crossed eyes so he seemed harmless. Brain, on the the other hand, was always grumpy and evil-looking, and when he played with his squiggly tail I had to close my eyes. Also, his ears were so enormous I always thought he was hiding creatures in them.
Alicia Lutes: "What is it about Howie Mandel that's so terrifying?" people often ask me. To which I respond: Are you kidding? Is that even a question? Everything about Howie Mandel is terrifying. Howie Mandel is what I imagine all clowns look like on their days off — right down to that weird voice he did in Bobby's World and his general germaphobia. Though I believe my fear may have a bit of a bias, considering I once had a vivid dream as a child where Howie Mandel and my younger brother chased me around the entire state of Connecticut before finding me in my cousin's basement and murdering me. My childhood imagination was very strange.
Aly Semigran: Soundgarten's video for "Black Hole Sun" creeped me out so much that not only would I have to change that channel whenever that terrifying, big-eyed nightmare started on MTV, but still cannot listen to that song without getting a chill down my spine.
[PHOTO CREDIT: Snuggle]
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When you hear the name LeAnn Rimes these days, it is usually surrounded by the words "Twitter feud," "stealing Brandi Glanville’s husband, Eddie Cibrian," "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," and “her boys.” It’s sometimes hard to remember why Rimes was famous in the first place... was she on one of Bravo’s reality shows? Oh wait... she was a famous country and pop singer! Oh wow, totally forgot about that...
In all fairness (to us), Rimes hasn’t been in the news much lately for her music. She’s been making headlines for a long time simply because of her personal issues with RHOBH star Glanville. Rimes stole Glanville's husband Eddie Cibrian, and thanks to Twitter, we have not heard the end of it. I can’t even recall when the last musical performance she gave was... all I can think about is how Glanville claims one of her and Cibrian’s sons ate one of Rimes' laxatives. Poor kid.
Maybe that same thought process occurred to Rimes, because last night she made a surprise guest appearance on X Factor to duet with contestant Carly Rose Soneclar. In case you were wondering what she sounds like after all these years, check out the performance below:
Rimes was a hot mess, and unfortunately for Sonenclar, hooking up with the “celebrity” guest for a duet completely distracted viewers from the actual contestant. We couldn’t tear our eyes away from the total disaster Rimes has become. Did she even rehearse? Was she even speaking the English language? We can’t discern a single word Rimes was singing. This trainwreck is only 30 years old... what happened to her?
It seems like Rimes was trying to make up for lost time, cramming hundreds of musical performances that should have been spread out over years into one duet. How many vocal runs can someone make in one guest spot? Rimes tried to find out!
And the biggest question on my mind: does Rimes even know what a duet is? Unfortunately for our ears, she seems to think it is a battle between two female voices, struggling to overpower each other on each word to be the loudest. Instead of harmonizing and showcasing the young contestant’s powerhouse voice, Rimes was trying to prove herself musically. Listen, LeAnn, you’re not the one competing: Carly Rose is. Let her take the spotlight. You’re just supposed to be supporting her. This is not the vehicle to make your singing comeback.
Was Rimes trying to give us a glimpse into what Sonenclar will look and sound like in 20 years? Because, if so, that’s rough. Poor girl does not have a bright future. Or maybe that was what Rimes wanted to warn her about: take note, this could be you in a couple decades! Turn around, now, before it’s too late!
Or maybe Rimes was trying to steal Sonenclar’s youth and essence. At the end, she seemed to be attempting to absorb the young girl into herself. Stop that, now. You’ve had your time. Let Sonenclar shine!
We will find out tonight if Rimes' duet will negatively impact Sonenclar when X Factor crowns its second season's champion, complete with a $5 million contract. Will it be Carly Rose Sonenclar, Tate Stevens, or the Fifth Harmony quintet? Find out tonight at 8 PM EST on Fox, when U.K. X Factor success story One Direction will also perform.
Follow Sydney on Twitter @SydneyBucksbaum
[Photo Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX]
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Frank Ocean seems to be gaining just as much publicity for his personal life as he is for his professional life these days. Just days after Anderson Cooper casually came out of the closet in a letter to The Daily Beast, the hip-hop artist made some waves of his own after revealing in a letter on his Tumblr that he had a relationship with a man. Since then, Ocean has received overwhelming praise for his brave declaration among his fellow musicians, including none other than Miss Beyoncé herself.
The pop star recently posted an ode to the 24-year-old singer on her blog, celebrating his decision to open up about the situation to the world. "Be fearless, be honest, be generous," begins Beyoncé's free-verse poem. "Be brave, be poetic, be open, be free, be yourself, be in love, be happy, be inspiration." Not only is it great to see other musicians supporting each other in such a powerful way, but this little number also makes us remember just how much we love this fierce singer and miss her dynamic vocals. Can we see another album in the near future? Please?
Speaking of albums, Beyoncé isn't the only one producing lyrics these days. Aside from his personal publicity, Ocean (in a clever business move) debuted his latest album Channel Orange on iTunes Monday night — one week early from its July 17 hard-copy release. And it's already getting rave reviews. The Huffington Post describes the album, saying: "No two tracks on Channel Orange are the same, but all of them are expertly and fully produced.... As a result, the album rings with maturity — even on tracks where Ocean considers his own insecurities. He knows how to let a song breathe (a la Jay-Z) before approaching the microphone."
Complex states that one of Ocean's tracks "Too Many" recalls "Elton John's 'Bennie and the Jets,'" which is most certainly a compliment if there ever was one. Meanwhile, URB sings Ocean's praises by remarking that "the album stands testament as a clear depiction of what it means to be an artist during the current evolution of hip hop and music in general." Even MTV admitted that the album "has certainly lived up to expectations," making his debut tracks a standout hit.
Click here to listen to the full album on Ocean's Tumblr site.
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