I watched a lot of tv in the 90s and one particular brand of programming that was not geared to my Nickelodeon-loving sect of classmates was the talk show. I watched a lot of Ricki Lake and so did my brother. Her shows had the emotional weight of Ladies Night at a bar–lots of “woo!”‘ing and “Girl, you do you!”
One of the perennial themes of these shows was weight loss. While Ricki was more pro-lady with topics like wear that hot dress on your hot body or you should gain weight, you’re having a baby or here’s a makeover, feel better in this outfit from the show Blossom–who doesn’t love a denim babydoll dress and floppy hat with a sunflower growing out of it!
And while Ricki was positive, Sally Jesse Raphael was the biggest douche. She would look over those enormous red plastic glasses, perched on the audience row steps–her hightower from which she could say to the woman who had lost weight and was showing off her body in a cowprint bodysuit, “Do you think you should be so modest?” And Sally Jesse would align with the guest’s family who were on stage, pleading with the audience to see their side–their family member has lost weight and is now all cocky! How dare she wear that suede onesie with the big cowboy buckle! She’s a mom!
And maybe because I’ve lost so much weight this year that these memories are resurfacing and wearing a tight spandex dress is launching me into defense mode of what I would say to Sally Jesse Raphael if she dared question this Amazon.com purchase:
It’s my hot body. I’ll do what I want, Sally J! (And it only cost me 12 bucks so after I make 50 bucks in the Champagne Room, I’ll have some money left over! Fine and fiscally responsible!)
Another talk show talk story: when Japan was hit with an earthquake, Saipan had a tsunami alert and because we lived in the low-lying areas, we were advised to head to higher ground. My mom and I were getting ready to leave and my brother George said he was going to stay behind to watch the house but really, I knew he was just lazy and didn’t want to miss Ricki Lake.
So I asked him, “George, if you die, are you going to die watching Ricki Lake?”
He nodded and said, “Yes, I’ll die watching Ricki Lake.”
And of course, Saipan was unscathed and my brother got to stay home, eat spam soba, talk on the phone and convince his then-girlfriend that the lipstick she found really belonged to his sixth-grade sister, Mona (who only had rootbeer-flavored lipsmackers–the skankiest of the lipsmacker line). And then after eating more bowls of spam-laden soba, he would finish the episode of Ricki and because he had the house to himself, he could join in at whatever volume he wished, nodding his head and cheering along with the jumping crowd: “GO RICKI! GO RICKI! GO!”