Not many people know this about me, because, well, I don't like to talk about it much: I used to be a Mouseketeer.
But I was chewed up and spat out of the Disney machine faster than an ill-conceived Parisian theme park. I started out on Kids Incorporated, belting out the funky dope jams alongside Jennifer Love Hewitt. Next thing I knew, the brass at Disney promoted me when they realized The Kid had it, if you hear what I'm saying. The focus groups were off the charts. Nearly 100 percent of girls ages five to fifteen — a highly susceptible target demographic that would buy the bird flu if you packaged it right — said they'd do whatever I told them to.
Though I was initially intimidated by the caliber of talent around me — Britney, JT, Xtina — I quickly came into my own. While I couldn't sing and dance as well as the rest, I was blessed with comedic timing. We used to have this amazing ongoing gag. The gang would be on a stoop, shooting the breeze about whatever was topical — Pop Rocks, Max Headroom, the Iran-Contra Affair — and then there would be a pause in the conversation. At that exact point, the sound-effects guy would make the most incredibly loud, wet farting noise, and I would shout out, "Uh-oh! I pooted in my Bugle Boys!"
It fucking slayed.
There were "I pooted in my Bugle Boys" T-shirts and lunchboxes. For a brief period in the late '80s, that and "Eat My Shorts" were the two most ubiquitous catchphrases in America. (I also had another short-lived catchphrase where I would say, "That may be. But just because I haven't seen the inside of a marshmallow factory doesn't mean I don't want to lick it!" — which lasted about a month.)
I rode that high like Timberlake rode the executive producers, fielding whatever offers trickled in, including one from Steve Soderbergh for a role in an early project of his titled sex, lies and betamax. It proved my downfall. The part was way too racy, the critics shredded me, and Disney farmed me out to Nickelodeon, where I worked briefly on You Can't Do That on Television as a sous-chef at Barf's Burgers before eventually being put out to pasture at the ripe age of twelve.
It was the best year and a half of my life.
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Not surprisingly, ever since, I've watched the careers of my co-stars through a prism of jealousy, revulsion and awe. None more closely than Britney's. Because while Xtina and JT actually have some talent, Britney's most impressive skill has always been staring. Initially, I got it. Hot piece of high-school ass in a Catholic schoolgirl's outfit singing, "Hit me baby, one more time." That's about as foolproof as "I pooted in my Bugle Boys!" Why anyone cared beyond the one-hit-wonder nature of that song, though, is beyond me. A talent-less, trashy, record-company creation belts out garbage song after garbage song while being wilted by the Hollywood limelight until she goes crazy? Seen that movie before. It was called My Dinner With Every Child Star Who's Ever Existed.
The outcry over Britney's new track, however, baffles me. The Parents Television Council — which apparently exists — is calling for radio stations across the country to not play her new song from 6 a.m. through 10 p.m. or risk violating the broadcast indecency law. Why? Because it's called "If You Seek Amy." Harmless enough, right? Now say it fast. F-U-C-K me. Fuck me.
First of all, PTC, shame on you for attempting to squash what is hands-down the cleverest thing Britney Spears has ever come up with. And even though some producer probably wrote that line, music has a long history of salacious lyrics, from "Light My Fire" all the way to "Papa's Got a Brand New Fuck-Swing." It's part of the appeal, baby. I understand you may not want your kids to be dropping F-bombs on the playground, but I guarantee they've seen and heard far worse. Instead, when your kids start singing that song, why not pull them aside and explain to them that the star-making machine ruins children? Tell your kids this is not the path they have to take, and protect them from making such horrible decisions in a way that Britney's parents never did. But don't try to force your objection onto the public at large. Because Britney's only got a few more years left where an invitation to fuck her would not be met with revulsion, so let her have her way. If there's one thing the Mouseketeers taught me, it's to strike while the iron is hot. Get your money while the money's there for the getting.
I mean, just because I haven't seen the inside of a marshmallow factory doesn't mean I don't want to lick it.