Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"What's Happening!!"

Remember a few years ago when that famous band took a stand against music piracy? Nope, not Metallica vs. Napster. We're talking the Doobie Brothers, who used a two-part episode of "What's Happening!!" to rail against bootleggers.

In 1978's "Doobie or Not Doobie," a bootlegger forces Rerun, Raj and Dwayne (“Hey, hey, hey!”) to tape a concert at their high school, so Rerun smuggles in a giant tape recorder in his ample trousers. After he dances so hard, the recorder pops out of his pants and the concert screeches to a halt. The Doobies dress down the trio ("We thought you were our friends."), and they decide to pay the bootlegger a visit.

The gang learns a Valuable Lesson, and the bootlegger learns that if you rely on a guy with Rerun’s appetite to record a show, all you're going to end up with is a one-way ticket to jail and a tape full of the sound of popcorn being eaten.

Even though these episodes devoted plenty of time to musical performances ("Takin' it to the Streets"), they were still about the "What's Happening!!" regulars, by far the best part of the show. It was 30 years ago, but the characters still hold up:

Bored Dee (in her jumper dress) demanding a quarter. Mama hugging people so hard she almost smothered everybody. Shirley the acerbic waitress. And of course Rerun, who was wearing baggy pants while MC Hammer was still in parachute pampers.

Did you dig "What's Happening!!" and "What's Happening Now!!" as much as we did?

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