Retro Rerun Review: Baby Talk

Hey! Here we are again. New website, new Rerun Reviews, new socks (shout out to Bombas, the best socks I’ve ever irresponsibly spent entirely too much money on), new year, new you. I’m the same old me, though, much to the chagrin of my friends, family and colleagues. Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh, that’s right, an old show! This go round, we’ll be taking a look at Baby Talk! Buckle up, dudes.

The Show: Baby Talk

Ran for: 35 episodes from ‘91 to ‘92

What it’s about: Did you see Look Who’s Talking? This is that, but in TV form.

 My relationship with it: I had no idea this was a thing. Did you? Don’t lie.

 This Episode: “Security,” season 2 episode 3. Originally aired October 4th, 1991. I found it on YouTube complete with original commercials. ORIGINAL COMMERCIALS!

So, the first thing you need to know about Baby Talk is that Tony Danza does the voice of baby Mickey. Yep, that Tony Danza. In Look Who’s Talking, the movie that birthed this show, the baby was MIKEY and he was voiced by Bruce Willis. But like Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr said, “the more things change, the more they stay the same when it comes to things involving talking babies.”

 

Oh, and the next big casting note is that John Travolta’s character James is played by handsome white supremacist Scott Baio.

Bonus fact: George Clooney appeared in five episodes and reportedly called it “a low point” in his career. NIIIIIIIICE.

Anyway, this episode of Baby Talk starts (after some bitchin’ promos for Life Goes On and Saget-era America’s Funniest Home Videos, plus a TDK cassette-tape commercial, PLUS a McDonald’s “Mighty Wings” commercial!) with the intro and it is very, very 90’s. All of it. The clips, the graphics, the god-awful rendition of the already-terrible “Bread & Butter, Toast & Jam” song.

Then some more commercials. (I can already tell that the ads are going to be, by far, the best part of this whole thing.) Here’s one for Lunchables, now featuring pudding cups! Here’s an old couple “robbing” Little Caesars by getting two extra-pepperoni pizzas for $8.98! That’s somehow only $0.50 less per pizza then than it is now, 28 years later! What is wrong with that food!!

Okay, so now we’re back with the show. Mickey and his mom and another lady and her child get off the elevator together. They are talking about a mime they saw outside, because if you have been to New York, you know everyone is a mime. The other mom, a large black lady, does HER interpretation of a flamingo (which is what the mime was doing, apparently), and the lady’s baby is embarrassed. She says so, but in her head. You know, like in Look Who’s Talking. Mickey says, “that’s not so bad,” but in HIS head, in Tony Danza’s voice. Fuck yeah, it’s Tony Danza, y’all.

Anyway, Baby Danz and his mom go into their apartment. But then there’s a shriek from next door. The other lady got robbed! The apartment has been ransacked, as evidenced by couches tipped over and that sort of thing. (I’ve never understood why a robber would tip a couch over, but what do I know, I’m not a robber.)

 

Back at the un-burgled apartment, a shady home security expert is talking to the main lady about home security systems. Then Scott Baio shows up. The next-door neighbor cracks a “people who needs peepholes” joke which barely makes sense even when NOT taken totally out of context. The security sales guy mentions an FBI statistic about homes being burgled every 10 seconds, and so then for the rest of the scene, he looks at his watch occasionally and goes, “oops, dere’s anudda,” and the audience fucking loves it. It’s not very funny.

Scott Baio suggests a tape recording of a barking dog and he plays the one he just happens to have with him. Then a strange boy pops in and says, “did someone get a dog?” and everyone laughs again.

What.

The mom asks the security guy to go check the baby’s room, which, cool, why NOT send the sketchy salesman into your sleeping child’s room? I know I would. Anyway, the guy comes back out, explains that Mickey’s room is the most DANGEROUS room on account of a fire escape, and quotes the lady and Scott Baio (I can’t figure out if he’s a friend? A boyfriend? A well-wisher?) $1,740. Baio suggests putting up a security sticker instead. She buys the system and the guy explains that his men will come back in the morning to install it– “(they) won’t work in dis neighborhood at night, it’s too dangerous.” Laughter abounds.

 

Later that night, she’s putting Baby Danz to bed and talking to him about safety (I’m always talking to my child-daughter about burglars, too, so this is a very relatable scene) and then she leaves his room and pushes a large chest of drawers in front of the front door which is also a reasonable thing to do.

Scott Baio shows up, says he’s Dirty Harry when she asks who it is, and then HE asks for a bar of soap when she lets him in. Get it? This is the kind of humor we’re dealing with here. He offers to sleep on her couch to protect her. There is a lot of back and forth about males being both strong and better parallel parking (?) and it’s all really bad. Then Scott Baio leaves. The lady (I think her name is Maggie) starts hearing a lot of noises and she tells herself it’s just cats, but then she freaks out more and goes in to wake up her baby because she is a.) scared, and b.) good at decision making.

Now it’s a commercial break, the only reason I’m still (barely) hanging on. It’s Wilford Brimley selling me oatmeal! He’s about to chop wood with a random dude named Jim, but first, they decide to eat oatmeal. Hell yeah, they did. And now it’s a commercial talking about how much healthier than Coke or Pepsi Kool-Aid is! Man, 1991 was insane.

Back on the talking baby program, Maggie is calling her mom in the middle of the night, asking for a vegetable soup recipe. The mom, who is asleep, starts telling her the recipe then sits up, startled, because holy shit, it’s the middle of the night. She claps to turn the lights on and the audience eats it up like, well, like vegetable soup. I’m guessing this is because The Clapper was hot shit at this point. Anyway, the mom loses her mind because something MUST be wrong if she’s calling this late, but Maggie assures her everything is fine. And the baby is up, too, and he makes a wise-crack. My soul is weeping for Tony Danza.

They hang up and then someone calls but doesn’t say anything, so she turns on the news and there is a story about escaped convicts because why wouldn’t there be? So she calls James and tells him he needs to come up to fix her refrigerator. So he’s a maintenance man, I guess? And anyway, he shows up in a long bathrobe that’s open so you can see Baio’s Bangin’ Bod. He says, “what’s so important that you interrupted me while I’m writing a song.” He’s a songwriting janitor! Never mind, he’s the super. Oh, and now he’s coming on to her, again, which feels… not OK? He’s telling her that she called because she must’ve been in bed and lonely. Christ, this is creepy. She still asks him to stay over, though, so they go to his apartment to get his keyboard. He says some more perverse, creepy shit to her. We learn that he used to box. I am really getting to know this character and I hate it.

Back at her apartment, they discover that someone is already there. I am praying, though acknowledging that is highly unlikely, that they are all bludgeoned to death in the final act, even the child. James rounds the corner to box the tits off the intruder and they tussle off-screen. The big reveal, though, is that it’s actually just Maggie’s mom. She’s holding a pinwheel and I’m confused. Because this is such an abysmal drunk-driving accident of a show, I assume they won’t explain the pinwheel at any point. (Spoiler alert: I’m right.)

 

The next day, the creepy security salesman is finishing up the install. James comes in with a black eye and an inexplicable shirt and the alarm goes off. The mom comes out of another room with a broken nose. They jacked each other up pretty good. Maggie makes fun of James for beating up a grandmother. He goes to leave and the alarm goes off again. That’s the big funny ending, I guess.

We close, as we began, with the best part—the advertisements. The Pillsbury Doughboy is selling me “Oven Lovin’” cookies, which was apparently a tub of cookie dough. Was this the first time you could buy premade cookie dough? And then hey, what’s this! The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in canned Chef Boyardee form! Then a gum commercial which makes me wonder if gum commercials are even still a thing? I think they are. Maybe? Then there’s a preview for something I don’t remember called “ABC In Concert” and it’s a best of ’91 special featuring Judas Priest, Billy Idol, Phil Collins, Tin Machine and Eric Clapton. I’m not sure who this show catered to, but they really covered a lot of bases. And finally, we end with previews for The Young Riders and The Commish. And I end by wishing I’d never forayed into this nightmare shit-swamp of a show.

Would I Watch Another Episode: I got paid to watch this episode, but, well, you couldn’t pay me to watch another episode. How about that?

 Grade: 2/10

 

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