Then, it's time for our next lesson, called "Treat Your Mother Right". No, that is not a typo. In T's mind, one of the keys to "being somebody" is treating your mother right. Wierdly, this is one of the few segments where T doesn't yell out the name of the lesson.
On a pretty obvious TV studio set, we see a little black kid and a porcine white girl, and the two are giving each other hard, angry looks. (The black kid is Bumper Robinson, who would actually go on to appear on the UPN sitcom Grown Ups with Tammy Townsend. I swear, this video is like a who's who of twentysomething has-beens and never-beens.)
The girl gets in his face and shouts, "Twelve? You couldn't be more than five!" Bumper retorts, "You're so fat, they have to jack you up to take off your shoes!" The girl screams back, "Yeah, well, you're so skinny, your eyes are in single file!" The kid yells back, "Well, you're so ugly, your ears stick out to get away from your face!"
The girl begins to reply, "Well, your momma is so" And suddenly T bursts in to break it up. See, it's okay if they call each other fat and ugly, but verbally assaulting a person's mother is where T draws the line.
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T says, "Don't bring anyone mother [sic] into this! She ain't here! And if it wasn't for her, you wouldn't be here! So remember, when you put down one mother, you puttin' down mothers all over the world!" The two kids agree, put their arms around each other [!!], and wander off together. Now, if only T could give this same speech to Yassir Arafat and Ariel Sharon, then maybe we'd finally get somewhere in the Middle East.
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"And I'm Marty Culp, and we head up the music department over at Altadena Middle School..."
Suddenly, some synth-heavy music that's a complete rip-off of Rockwell's "Somebody's Watching Me" starts playing, and from out of nowhere, there are three backup singers [!] behind T standing at microphones. T reaches behind his back and pulls out his own microphone, and it's gold-plated [!!!].
The backup singers croon "Treat her right, treat your mother right!" while doing some limp Supreme imitations. Oh, and nice hot background singers you got there, T. They all look at least 40 and remind me of the teachers I had in first grade. Anyway, we finally get a moment that makes sitting through dumb segments like "Creating" worthwhile: T again starts rapping!
Mother! There is no other!
Like mother! So treat her right!
My mother! I always love her!
My mother! So treat her right! Treat her right!
As usual, T's lack of grammar completely confuses the message. Does T want us to treat his mother right? And he's totally reading off of cue cards right now. How pathetic is it when you can't remember to sing the line "treat her right" twenty times in a row? Meanwhile, the first grade teachers in the background awkwardly move around the stage in something approaching actual dancing. T continues rapping, and apparently Ice-T got these lyrics straight off a Hallmark card.
M is for the moan and the miserable groan
From the pain that she felt when I was bo'n!
O is for the oven with its burnin' heat,
Where she stood makin' sure I had somethin' to eat!
T is for the time that she stayed up nights,
And took my temperature when I wasn't feeling right!
H is for the hard-earned money she spent,
To keep clothes on my back and tried to pay da rent!
E is every wrinkle I put on her face,
And every worry that I caused when I stayed out late!
The last letter, R, is that she taught me respect,
And for the room up in heaven that I know she'll get!
Okay, so T is already plotting out his mother's afterlife? That's kind of creepy. They go back to the chorus, and throughout this song we cut to little vignettes where kids are supposedly treating their mothers right.
First, we see Little Diva and her mom walking out of their house, and for some reason Little Diva is eating a jelly donut. Since she's "somebody", she knows to treat her mother right. She kisses her mom and leaves a glop of jelly on her cheek. Comedy!
Then we see a boy walking with his mom until they meet up with some of his Izod-clad friends. She kisses him goodbye but he just wipes the kiss off and starts to walk away. Suddenly, he gets a T-like epiphany and sees the error of his ways. He runs back and gives his mom a hug. That's the way to be somebody!
Then we get a short clip of Martika and her mom cruising past the camera on a double bike [?]. You know those bikes that are like... double bikes? Anyway, then it's back to T, continuing his rap.
She's a queen! Second to none!
Take care of mother, you only get one!
Then we cut to Tammy Townsend helping her mother get into the car and closing the door behind her. Then we see some random curly haired kid rubbing his mom's shoulders [!]. Oddly enough, he's wearing gloves with the fingers cut off [!!] as he does this. Then we see some random mom with Corey Hart hair struggling to get groceries out of the car, when suddenly a kid comes along and takes them away. Either the woman's got a nice son, or we just witnessed a mugging.
Then, and I don't know if what we see enacted here is actually supposed to be a good idea or what, but we see Jimmy, the ugliest kid in the world, as he hands his mom a box of chocolates. She opens it, and some gag spring snakes come flying out and scare her senseless. She gives him a look like she's about to beat the shit out of him, so Jimmy hands her another box, and this one actually does have chocolates in it. Does freaking your mom out really qualify as "treating her right"?
Um, okay, I don't think anyone should treat their mother that right.
And then we go back to T, who sings the chorus one last time. The lesson ends and we cut to Poofy Hair Kelley in close-up long enough for her to tell us to "Be somebody!" And then she flies off into the yellow and purple haze.
Now it's down to the city streets for the next lesson, "Workout". It looks like we're in downtown L.A. again, and T comes strolling down the sidewalk towards us. The first thing anyone with the sense of sight will notice is that he's got on the absolute brightest pair of canary yellow sneakers ever made. In addition, T is wearing a pair of crew socks, and one sock has red stripes and the other has blue stripes [??].
He comes around a corner, and happens upon several of the Be Somebody Players moping on a bus stop bench, with a boombox nearby. As it turns out, they've all got their hands in bags of popcorn and potato chips. Two of the kids start griping about how much they've eaten and how full they are.
Mr. T comes over and has his Outrage of the Week. "This ain't good!" he cries. "You gotta keep your bodies in shape!" One chubby white boy with his hand in a bag of popcorn tries to make excuses, including how he's waiting for a gym in his neighborhood to open up [?]. T cries, "You don't need a fancy gym! And pay all that money! This is a gym right here!" He then picks up the boombox and starts lifting it like a barbell [!].
T tells them all to give it a try, and they happily take turns bench pressing the boombox. That is, until they get to the chubby white boy with his hand in a sack of popcorn. He goes to pick up the boombox and can't even get it off the ground. T facetiously notes, "Yeah, you gettin' there, alright. That's pretty good." Back off, T! I don't need your sarcasm!
He asks the kid to hand over the bag of popcorn. T then balances the bag on his own head and once again starts doing squats [!]. The kids eagerly take turns doing squats with the popcorn sack on their heads, though I'm not sure exactly what benefit this provides over just doing normal squats.
The sack eventually makes it way back over to the chubby white ne'er-do-well. The kid tries to do a squat, but the bag of popcorn immediately slips off his head as he falls down on his ass. Of course, had he paid attention to the Recouping segment, he would have known to immediately turn this into high push-up windmills.
T just shakes his head and declares, "I'm-a have to get you in shape my way!" He picks up the boombox, switches on some awful 80's New Wave music, and tells the kids to come along with him. They all jog off and begin an "exciting" musical montage.
First, we see them all on a playground, and hear an extremely gay singer tell us that "You only feel good when you're makin' your body work! Burn, burn! Sweat! Make your body work! To get wet!" Uhhh... I think these lyrics might be open to different interpretations, personally. Anyway, all the kids and T are on some swings, and somehow, T is suddenly in a red Adidas running suit. They all leap off and run off, but of course the one chubby kid falls on his face as soon as he jumps off the swing.
Honestly, I cannot put into words just how awful the song in the background is. It makes me want to take up prayer just so I can continually thank God that that no soundtrack album was ever released. According to the credits, this song is entitled "Burn" and was "written and produced by DuPont". Well, now it all makes sense. The song was written by a manufacturer of plastics. It certainly sounds like it.
The lyrics continue: "Now is the time to make your body move / Better put on those dancing shoes!" We see the chubby kid trying to climb a pole and having a tough time of it, until T helps him up.
Then we see T coming down a slide. All the kids follow suit, with the last one being the chubby kid, who predictably falls on his ass. Still, by the looks of things, I don't think Chubby Kid had to reach deep within himself to achieve this performance. "Work!" the singer moans. "The body electric! Let's do it, 'til we short circuit!" [??] Again, these lyrics might have several different interpretations. Supply your own.
"Ohhhh," the singer moans. "Burn! Sweat! Make your body work!" We cut to the now-familiar pier where New Edition was singing, and we find T and the kids there. Only, everyone's changed clothes. T is now dressed like a drill sergeant in gym shorts. And he's now wearing one red sock and one white sock [!].
The musical montage continues, and we see T go from kid to kid and belittle them one by one. We see T yell at Chubby Kid to stand at attention, suck in his gut, and keep his feet together. It's boot camp with Mr. T! And this leads toguess what?more squats!
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And yet, these kids would still do better up against Castro than any of the soldiers in Red Zone Cuba.
Anyway, he stands in front of them and begins leading them in jumping jacks. A limp afterthought of a T voiceover comes out of nowhere and yells, "See if you can do what we're doin'!" Uh, yeah, like any kid in his right mind is gonna want to get up and start jumping around after enduring thirty minutes of this brain-deadening tedium. Any kid who's still awake at this point is one of the lucky ones.
"Get on your feet!" T shouts. We see Chubby Kid do jumping jacks, and naturally he's completely off the rhythm of the other kids.
Then the kids all start doing squats again, and Post-Production T tells us to do "Ten knee bends, twenty jumping jacks, five push-ups, running on the spot, every day!" Um, okay, I'll get right on that, T. Then Chubby Kid totally falls on his ass again [!] when he does a squat. Due to self esteem issues, the Chubby Kid later became a Three Strikes offender and is now serving 25 to life in the L.A. County Men's Central Jail.
"Start stretchin'!" T shouts. We then see the kids do more squats against the pier railing. T sees Chubby Kid is not doing his all-important squats and is just staring off into space, so T walks over and gets on his case. We then see T leading them all in a jog along the beach, as the singer repeatedly moans, "Our body rock, it's so hot!"
Painfully, T leads them in some more jumping jacks, and we can now see that the camouflage hat he's wearing has the logo from The A-Team silk-screened on it. Well, at least somebody got some benefit out of this disaster.
Manny got a free smoke, Mr. T got a free plug, and that's the extent of this video's contribution to society.
Then it's time for T to inspect the recruits on the beach. He goes from kid to kid, shaking hands with them, feeling one boy's bicep, then finally getting to Chubby Kid and patting his belly. Then Chubby Kid turns to the other kids and shouts something at them, and this prompts them all to go run into the water while fully dressed [?].
Then, because I guess there's still time left in the song, we cut back to Fey Blonde Shock Kid and the rest of the Electric Boogaloo kids, and FBSK is doing more flips and pops on the sheet of cardboard. Meanwhile, the awful "Work! Sweat!" lyric is repeated mantra-like in the background. FBSK comes out of his flip, blows a kiss at the camera [?] and tells us to "Be somebody!" Well, keep blowing kisses at me and I might just consider it.
Out of the lavender and white muck comes yet another installment in the "Frustration" running gag. T comes out in his tux with his cello, and for some reason he's got big wads of cotton stuck in his ears. This is his solution to his awful playing? He begins playing the cello, and he's still awful and off-key. Suddenly, his upstairs neighbor [!!] starts pounding on the floor and yelling, "Quiet down there!" Look, dude, if you live above a set where they shoot Hustler photo spreads, you gotta expect some noise every now and then.
This pounding eventually causes plaster to fall down on T's head [?]. He instinctively lifts his cello up to shield his head, then runs out of the frame. Yep, this is a running gag, alright. There's the gag. There's the running.