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My Trip to Strangerville

I had the honor of being interviewed by It Just Gets Stranger‘s Eli McCann about one of my most favorite subjects in the universe: Punky Brewster!

He tried to keep the topic on only the refrigerator episode, but as I harbor deep-seated resentment toward that episode (see link to his post below), I kept trying to steer the conversation to Punky Brewster in general. (He edited that out, and rightfully so).

The whole time I was crazy nervous on this phone interview with him and his cohort Meg, I wondered why we were going to all this trouble for a blog post.

Turns out the interview was actually for his Strangerville podcast. That is right, America. I am now in a podcast.

And it is good I didn’t know it was for a podcast, as I would have been more crazy nervous.

If there is anyone else out there that would like to interview me about Punky Brewster or Growing Pains or my love of Matthew Perry, please just contact me at: jennifer_friess@mrugly-manentertainment.com

Here is the link to Eli’s website and the podcast: http://www.itjustgetsstranger.com/2017/10/the-world-of-spooks.html

Don’t be scared by the title. It isn’t that spooky. I appear in segment titled “Refrigerator Death.” Has a cheery ring to it, huh?

Your past shapes you. It can’t be undone.
ANGRY MACEY
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The Punky Brewster Shoes

MY MOTHER: I bet you still have those nasty Punky Brewster shoes stashed away somewhere.

ME: Why yes, yes I do.

At the height of popularity of the television series Punky Brewster (It couldn’t have been too popular, because NBC cancelled it after only two seasons.), there was much Punky Brewster merchandise available (That right there would have been a good reason to keep it on the air.). I had a Punky Brewster T-shirt, backpack, Punky & Brandon dolls, bead kit, and clay pin kit. I even had a Halloween costume, which was actually very silly because I looked more like her in my normal clothes than in a plastic mask and vinyl suit. But what I liked the best and got the most use out of were my Punky Brewster shoes. They were hightops (that was the popular style way back then).

My Punky Brewster shirt. Sorry it is wrinkled. I keep it in the back of a dresser drawer. A bird pooped on it once, but I have washed it since then.

My Punky Brewster shirt. Sorry it is wrinkled. I keep it in the back of a dresser drawer. A bird pooped on it once, but I have washed it since then.

It always bothered me that, contrary to all reason, they did not actually look like the shoes that Punky wore on the show! On my TV, she wore what appeared to be two totally different colored Converse All-Stars. (I just realized that I originally watched Punky Brewster only in black and white—can you imagine!) Maybe the problem lay in that the contract for the shoes most likely did not fall to Converse for manufacture. Maybe someone was afraid two different shoes would become parted at the store. Unfortunately, the shoes matched each other, but they WERE multi-colored. They said Punky Brewster on them. They must have come with boring laces (As if!), because I quickly replaced them with neon green ones. My son asked me, “Did you color the laces?” I could see where he would be confused. I recently DID color some laces, and the shoes as well. I responded emphatically, “No. It was the 80s, a wonderful, colorful time.” [Rant: Now we live in a time when Simon is trying to remove all color from the world and reduce us all to only black and white, starting with their malls across the country.]

Such a cool box! There is even a pic to color inside the lid and a maze on the bottom.

Such a cool box! There is even a pic to color inside the lid and a maze on the bottom.

My mom bought the shoes very large-2 ½-because they didn’t have my right size. I wore them as long as my feet would fit in them. There was even a big P or something on the sole. But I wore them until it was gone. I loved those dang shoes. I cannot imagine why my mother thought I would actually throw them out when I was done with them. The more she asked, the deeper I hid them in the back of my closet. Sometimes I would bring it up just to spite her. I have brought them with me through three moves. The effect of heat and moisture may be reflected on their deterioration, but they are still a treasured possession.

Anyone willing to pay me big bucks for these very worn but highly collectable footwear? One million? One thousand? Going once, going twice...

Anyone willing to pay me big bucks for these very worn but highly collectable footwear? One million? One thousand? Going once, going twice…

So now, you know if you are ever around me and I mention “Punky Brewster shoes” that I am bragging about my mad hoarding skillz.

Don’t get me started on all the photographs I have, both digital and snapshots, that I am trying to store and keep organized.

For more of my Punky-related posts, please click here: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/?s=punky+brewster

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It THE CONTINUING ROMANCE!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

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My Current Obsessions

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I am currently totally obsessing over Night Court.

What? You expected me to say Game of Thrones or Orange is the New Black?

You haven’t been hanging around here long, have you?

Yes, of course I realize that Night Court is old. I’m old too, and watched it in its original run.

A scene from Night Court.

A scene from Night Court.

If you don’t remember, Night Court is a zany comedy set during the night proceedings of a courthouse in New York City. We have Brandon Tartikoff to thank for green-lighting the show and keeping it on the air when it was still trying to find its footing. I love Brandon Tartikoff. He was the head of NBC during its golden time in the 80s and the birth of Must-See TV. He is also the one who came up with the idea of Punky Brewster, naming it after a childhood friend of his. In turn, Punky’s dog was named after him. And then when I got my Punky Brewster-inspired tattoo, a guy named Brandon did it.

Coincidence?

Tartikoff also allowed Night Court creator Reinhold Weege to hold on tight to his baby and craft the show as he felt it should be, with as little network interference as possible. When there was, Weege firmly held his ground. I think I need to take a lesson out of that for my writing.

I totally need to add Brandon Tartikoff to my list of who I would want to eat dinner with, living or dead. One of my favorite episodes of Night Court even includes Tartikoff when he comes to the rescue of a Nielsen family in court. They never go on dates because then shows get cancelled. My heart aches right along with the woman when she wails, “WE LOST PUNKY!” Of course, I also love the episode guest-starring Michael J. Fox. I can see how tall I would be compared to the other cast members (Mikey and I are roughly the same height). I also love all the episodes with hard-luck couple Bob and June Wheeler. Brent Spiner is so laugh-out-loud funny in that role. I also love the episode where the hurricane hits and they are trapped in the courthouse and must deliver a bunch of babies. Paco is in that episode, who I love. It is also where we learn that Dan’s real name is “Reinhold.” But also that is where I learned what the word “breech” meant, which would come in handy around 25 years later when my son was born.

Bob & June Wheeler & their daughter little Carol Ann. And yes, that is totally the same actor who plays Data (Brent Spiner).

Bob & June Wheeler & their daughter little Carol Ann. And yes, that is totally the same actor who plays Data (Brent Spiner).

Night Court is a show that when doled out in weekly episodes is pleasant and funny. But it is really a show that benefits from binge watching. I realized this when it first hit syndication in the late 1980s. At that time, I could watch it four times a day, five if the prime-time episode was on that night as well. Currently, we own the DVD of season one. And when I binge watch Night Court, I always fall in love with Harold T. Stone.

Or is it Harry Anderson? Hard to tell. I also own season one of Dave’s World that I watch quite frequently.

Part of it may be that the first season episodes contain more “heartwarming” scenes than later seasons. Harry gets to be the voice of reason. Anderson claims he is more of a con man than an actor, but you wouldn’t know it from those episodes.

This sent me on a search for all things Harry. I found a Showtime special featuring his magic tricks and cons from Showtime in 1986 on YouTube. This is one of those times modern technology is great. (Unless you are Harry Anderson, wondering where all your royalties for “Hello, Sucker!” have gone.)

I am eagerly awaiting getting season two, although I realize the show hit its stride and was the best when Markie Post joined on in season three.

Still no Pikachu for me :-(

Still no Pikachu for me 😦

I wanted to mention that I also tried Pokemon Go. I have never ever played Pokemon in my life. But with all the news stories about how dangerous it is and people walking into traffic while playing it and such, it was like an irresistible commercial for it everywhere. (I am the girl who used to go home from drug awareness day at school and see if any of my glue would give me a high, because the school had just opened my eyes to the world of inhalants. Everything works the opposite on me.) I had to try the game. I like it a lot, even though the camera on my phone and the game don’t seem to like each other. I do think it is cool how Google Maps (I assume) is integrated into the game, customizing it to your neighborhood. It is kind of slow. My husband and I walked for up to ten minutes sometimes without a Pokemon showing up. I love that the game is incredibly simple, because I am not good with most video games.

I’m not sure how much I will continue to play it, as I have to actually leave the house. It also eats up the battery on my phone like Cookie Monster at the Keebler factory. I can’t walk my dog while playing it. But I did take two walks yesterday, that I honestly probably would not have without the game.

Here is a fun article about the phenomenon from USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/gaming/2016/07/10/five-things-we-learned-pokmon-go/86928122/

And now I totally can see how people follow their Pokemon right into traffic. I might be playing it right now as I typ tis..

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It THE CONTINUING ROMANCE!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

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What I Learned This Week – 1/31/16

Adult coloring books are all the rage right now. Tiny little lines for intricate coloring. Seems more stressful than relaxing to me. I prefer my Hello Kitty coloring book any day.

This week I learned a new meaning to “adult coloring.”

Get your mind out of the gutter.

My asbestos friend the soon-to-be famous author bought a pair of white tennis shoes and decorated them with words using Sharpies.

Now, I instantly thought:

  1. What a great idea!
  2. What a waste of (a) canvas.

I love to write, but I also love to draw. When presented with a blank canvas and a rainbow of markers, my mind automatically goes to all the cool pictures and designs that I could create.

So, I totally stole her idea and decorated up a pair of shoes for myself. My son urged me to leave some white space, but I just couldn’t do that. I covered them in colorful doodles of whatever fell into my brain. Which, of course included Punky Brewster, the Wienermobile, and the logos for my website and book series.

My decorated shows-the front!

My decorated shows-the front!

My decorated shoes-the back!

My decorated shoes-the back!

I have been daydreaming about living in a little pink shack in Hawaii lately. There is a picture I love by Hawaiian artist Holly Kitaura. I did my own representation on my shoes. (Don’t worry. They are just for me. I won’t sell them or make any money off of them.) I wanted to put Stitch on (as in Lilo &), but I forgot to.

Rainbow Hale by Holly Kitaura

Rainbow Hale by Holly Kitaura

I had many more important adult responsibilities to attend to on a gloomy Sunday, but I was drawn to work on the shoes until they were done. It is very possible that the Universe was sending me a message that I needed to take a breather. I’m glad I did.

My decorated shoes-the insides

My decorated shoes-the insides!

My decorated shoes-the outsides

My decorated shoes-the outsides!

I wonder if anyone would notice if I wore them to work. And would I rather no one noticed so that I wouldn’t get into trouble, or that they did notice because they are that awesome?

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
The Wind Could Blow a BugAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It NEW RELEASE!
Be Careful What You Wish ForANNOUNCEMENT TOMORROW!

The Definition of Punky Power

PUNKY POWER-Punky

I have recently been rewatching Punky Brewster with my 5 year old son. He likes the show a lot, especially the first two seasons where Punky is younger and closer to his age. Margaux is his favorite (there is no accounting for taste).

The show often gives him grandiose ideas that I then have to deal with:

He sees Punky build a treehouse in her backyard, then he wants one. I have to point out that the only tree in our backyard is ending its life and loses another limb with every ensuing storm.

Punky sets up a restaurant in her living room. Next thing I know, the chairs from my kitchen table are moved into the dining room around his play table—never mind that the chairs tower over the table.

Punky has little puppy Brandon trailing her every move. Then he wants a puppy. There is no reasoning with him, although I point out that we already have a dog, with vaguely similar features, who has the advantage of already being trained and broken in.

My sweet Dave dog.

My sweet Dave dog.

*sigh* Kids.

I hope in all this he is soaking up some of the good lessons the show has to teach as well. If you are familiar with the show at all (which you SHOULD be!), you will know that Punky often shouts “Punky Power!” And it is a great catchphrase. It was very handy to throw onto Punky merchandise in the 1980s. But I was pleased, in a Season 3 episode titled “Tons of Fun”, to be given a succinct definition of what Punky Power is actually made up of. Which just reinforces my thoughts that no matter who you are or how old you are, you probably could use a little Punky Power in your life as well…

Punky Power:

  1. Believing in yourself.
  2. Never giving up.
  3. Faith that things are gonna turn out OK.
  4. You can do anything you want if you really try.

I know, I know. I am supposed to be an adult now, and not believe in such gibberish. Some people try their hardest and just never make it. But I look at it as I have lived my life in reverse. When I was a child, I acted more like a tiny adult. I knew my mom struggled being a single parent. I knew we had money issues. I grew up to get a responsible job to pay my own way in life.

And I was miserable.

So, in order to not slit my wrists every morning, I need to believe now in childish things, such as hopes and dreams and that maybe life will get better.

If you would like to see more posts on Punky, please click here:
https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2011/09/27/ode-to-punky-brewster/

https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2012/08/14/you-can-never-get-too-much-punky-brewster/

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
The Wind Could Blow a BugAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It NEW RELEASE!
Be Careful What You Wish For – COMING JANUARY 2016!

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