Focus Group Guy:
"How many of you kids would like Itchy & Scratchy
to deal with real-life problems, like the ones you face every day?"
The Kids: "Oh, yeah! I would! Great idea! Yeah, that's it!"
Focus Group Guy: "And who would like to see them do just the opposite — getting into far-out situations involving robots and magic powers?"
The Kids: "Me! Yeah! Oh, cool! Yeah, that's what I want!"
The Kids: "That's right. Oh yeah, good."
Milhouse: "And also, you should win things by watching."
— The Simpsons
, The Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie
Show (Not a quote from this show, but it fits.)
Long-running (1984-1993) children's musical show which started life in syndication, and ended up on the Disney Channel
The series revolved around a literal Five-Man Band
(the number did inflate to six
for two seasons) of children and teenagers who encountered a very random assortment of plots. Most of these were standard After-School Teen Drama
stories. Every so often, however, they'd face a more outlandish adventure involving Time Travel
, magic robots
, Leprechauns and other, crazier things. Whatever the story involved, it'd always be punctuated by often-Bowdlerized
covers of popular songs.
The show was formulaic in nature: with only a few exceptions (a few all-musical "concert episodes", and once featuring kid break-dancers competing for a Karaoke Machine), each episode began with the band performing a number on-stage at "The P*lace", a local hangout with an illustrious history. (It had once been called "The Palace", and was renamed after the 'a' in the marquee had burned out.) After this, a short scene would set up the plot before the band returned to the stage to perform a second number. As the plot unfolded, two more songs would be performed off-stage, usually one solo number by whichever member of the cast was spotlighted that week (which in almost all cases is a slow ballad or love song), and one song worked into a Dream Sequence
or Imagine Spot
. In the final minutes, the plot would be resolved, and the band would perform a closing number on-stage, sometimes accompanied by a Montage Out
of the guest characters. The third and fourth songs were always
directly relevant to the plot (for example, a cover of "As Time Goes By" during a Casablanca-themed Dream Sequence
), the second and fifth songs were usually linked no more than thematically, while the first number was generally unrelated to the action of the story (The final season dropped the second song for three extra minutes of dialog).
The show's longevity (it predated the Disney Channel's policy of imposing a 65-episode limit), despite being aired during a period when the Disney Channel was a commercial-free premium station, is taken by fans as evidence of the quality of writing and acting, in spite of the crazier episodes being prime Snark Bait
. The show launched the careers of Stacy Ferguson (aka Fergie, of the Black Eyed Peas
), Mario Lopez (of Saved by the Bell
), Scott Wolf (of Party of Five
), Eric Balfour (of 24
), and (Jennifer) Love Hewitt. Note that the cast swapped people in and out nearly every season. So by the time the show ended, the titular fictional band was an entirely different group of people from where they started!
Two platinum-selling albums of cover tracks by the cast were released.
This series provides examples of: