The Ultimate Driving Challenge

Posted in Dead VCR, VHS, Workbook

In the latest DEADVCR video Craig T. Nelson, Paula Zahn, Hammer, Tim Allen, Scott Bakula, and a host of 90’s celebrities present GM’s The Ultimate Driving Challenge.

Only the Dead

Posted in Dead VCR, TV, Workbook

It’s been some time since my last video. Three months ago, around the time of the mass shooting in Orlando, I began working (You can see a rainbow flag version of the A&E “bug” the network inappropriately ran the days following the Orlando shootings in a few of the clips). Somewhere in the middle of the project the Republican National Convention happened and the video became a direct reflection of Donald Trump’s view of America in his acceptance speech. And that’s one of the main issues people have with the show. It prays on the fears of white America of black crime by misrepresenting homicide crime statistics in America by featuring predominantly black suspects on the show.

The First 48’s formula goes something like this. The close-mic’d narrator:

  • states the time and city
  • narrows down location (side of town, neighborhood)
  • introduces 911 call (911 call plays)
  • “when police and paramedics respond they find” a victim, location, …. “dead”;
    • if the victim(s) are still alive: paramedics rush the victim to the hospital… variations on dying, usually “but he dies” or “where he dies.”

Almost all of the material in the final video come from season 4 and onward when this formula is put into place. There’s always an extremely long pause for the eerie strings build in the background before the narrator really punches “dead.” I originally left in these pauses, but the video ended up around 8 minutes by including them. While the narrator has been with the show since the first season, he doesn’t become a “character” until this fourth season. The voiceover recording quality also has a much deeper and sinister tone. Several episodes are no longer aired after the suspects who were convicted of murder on the show in Miami, Houston, and Minneapolis were exonerated. Cities have ended contracts with show as a result of the interfering with/influencing investigations (New Orleans) or obstructing justice (Detroit).

Hannah Harris Green Reality TV show The First 48 thrives off America’s racist justice system
Luther Campbell The First 48 Keeps Miami’s Inner City Neighborhoods in the Dumps


The Duel

Posted in Workbook


Grantland Visitors!

If you’re looking to get straight to awesomely bad 80’s and 90’s celebrity workout videos, check out my Hard Stars YouTube page. Want some gifs? Check out the Hard Stars Tumblr. Thanks for stopping by.

Link to the Grantland article “Thank You, Jane Fonda: A Brief History of America’s Obsession With Workout Videos” by Carrie Battan


I was honored this week to have Bill Simmons not only include a video from my celebrity workout VHS archive on his Grantland website, but he seems to have given it his full attention, check out his detailed notes below.

Well, I watched it. And it’s glorious. Watch the first 30 seconds just for the horrible editing and the 1980s porn-movie parallels, which are both extensive, confusing and magnificent. I kept expecting to see Ginger Lynn and Peter North. No dice. From there, fast-forward to 2:24 for the important stuff. My favorite parts in order …

2:30 – Todd Christensen’s hair.

2:30 – Todd Christensen’s mustache.

2:40 – Todd Christensen trying to talk and move in rhythm.

3:01 – Check out Phil McConkey! Are we sure he never made an adult film? Are we sure this isn’t it?

3:14 – If CBS announced tomorrow, “We’ve just seen Phil Simms’s aerobics video from 1987, and we’ve decided to release him from his contract,” would you be shocked? Be honest.

3:29 – “Go Phil, you funky guy, you!” What?

3:40 – Comedy equals tragedy plus time, and comedy equals Phil Simms’s aerobics shorts multiplied by time.

3:50 – If everyone ripped their clothes off and started going at it right now, you would NOT be surprised.

4:01 – “Hey, Phil, it’s time for the cool-down, and I’m about to be abruptly and hilariously edited, I’m outta here.”

4:30 – I was alive in the 1980s and none of this seemed remotely strange. You have to believe me.

4:48 – The blonde who just hijacked the video definitely went to her hairstylist and asked for “The Sikma.”

5:02 – CBS just fired Phil Simms again.

5:09 – Please, watch Christensen in the background. I beg you. I double beg you.

5:14 – “I think you’ll find that you’ll look better, feel better and improve your athletic performance, whether it’s tennis, squash, skiing, wind surfing, or any other sport that wealthy white women do.”

5:24 – “ … Or, just chasing some pretty little girl around the room like my friend Eric here.” If it’s OK, I’m passing up all 507 jokes that would have gotten me fired there.

5:37 – CBS just fired Phil Simms for a third time.

Thank you, Internet. Thank you.