In The Parent Crap, Alice Laussade chronicles life as a mom in Dallas. Worried you're screwing up your kid? Tweet questions to @thecheapbastard and she'll confirm that, yes, you're screwing up your kid. See previous entries here.
Other parents had told me the horror stories:
"You just have to avoid it at all costs, or you'll end up on it, too. I remember what my life was like before. It was nice. Now, we have to do it every day. We're addicts."
"Sometimes I do it when my kid's not even around. People tell me that's when you know you've really got a problem. But, to me, it's just fun. I feel like, we had a great day. It was a super way to spend some time together. Nothing could be better."
Still, I never believed it could happen to my kid. My little sweetheart, my joy of joys. My darling toddler would never, ever, in a million years be lured into something that awful, that addictive -- that neon.
But it did happen. On that horrific day, I caught her in the act. My daughter was loving the Fresh Beat Band.
She wasn't just watching it. She was dancing, singing along, mesmerized. She was high on two-part harmony and skorts. This obviously wasn't the first time she'd seen it, either. I tried to be all Supernanny and respond to this televised shitstorm calmly to minimize the damage. "Sweetheart -- what's that on the television that you're watching with your eyes?"
"IT'S THE FRESH BEAT BAND MOM IT'S AWESOME AAAAAAH KIKI ON GUITAR."
(Commence 30-minute Darth Vader Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo.)
In this moment, I panicked. And that's when I made the biggest mistake one can make when one is being introduced to the Fresh Beat Band: I made eye contact. "This actually isn't that bad, once you get past the low rent Jim Carrey trying to pretend he's a real DJ," I started to think. "I mean, it's a good show -- there's a positive message in every episode, right? I have no idea why that other dude is wearing a Mr. Rogers sweater, but this Kiki character actually isn't a bad singer."
"You know what, Fresh Beat Band gets a bad rap. These songs are actually pretty catchyOH MY GOD IT'S HAPPENING NO NO NO NO STOP IT FORGET ANYTHING BAD I EVER SAID ABOUT MILEY CYRUS I PROMISE SHE'S A GREAT WRITER AND SINGER AND SHE CREATES GOOD MUSIC NO GREAT MUSIC and it goes a little somethin' like this! Laaaaaa lalalalalaaaaaa laaaaaa lalalala laaaaa! NO GET OUT OF MY HEAD YOU SIRENS OF SACCHARIN CATCHY KID SHITShout it out! Just like a rock star! MY EARS ARE LITERALLY BLEEDING BLOOD MAKE IT STOPHey Hey Hey!"
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There's no going back once you've heard the songs. You can wish all you want, but those lyrics are never leaving your brain. It's like that Lullaby book by Chuck Palahnuik, where the people read that cursed book and they die, only this has a much cuter intro and the only thing that dies when you hear the songs is your pride and your taste in music.
At some point during your workday, someone will strike up a conversation about Fresh Beat Band and you'll chime in with, "What the hell is the deal with Marina? They totally Aunt Viv-ed us this season with no explanation. What jackasses -- and Old Marina is way better than New Marina." You'll be waiting for your popcorn to pop in the microwave and you'll find yourself humming and when you realize you are humming, "It's time to mooove it, it's time to groove it. Are you ready? 'Cause here we gooooooo!" you will punch yourself in the boob. And you will have deserved it.
Damn you and your electric keyboard riffs and your soul-sucking, educational and totally singable music, The Fresh Beat Band. Damn you.