Win Passes To Hot Tub Time Machine, And Learn Of Strange Things From The `80s

Hot Tub Time Machine takes us back to a simpler time; a time before every nano-second of our lives needed to be tweeted; a time when all a gal needed to fit in with the cool kids was a bitchin' pair of leg-warmers.

Here's a list of some 1980s icons we'd like to see make a comeback. Or maybe it's a list of things that never should have existed in the first place. We think it could go either way.


There were two kinds of cool people in the '80s: those whose futures were bright enough to warrant the wearing the shades, and those whose rapping skills were so widely renowned up and down Venice Beach that you had to don a special pair of UV-blocking spectacles just to enter their orbit. Why did these things disappear? Were people simply not ready for this level of sun protection? We want answers.

Messrs. Hall and Oates

The blonde mane. The registered sex-offender 'stache. The tasty riffs. The eating of men and the list of kisses. Apparently, the dynamic duo are still making albums, and while the new songs might be as good as Beethoven's 9th, no one would ever know, because after you've given the world "I Can't Go For That" and the greatest version ever of "Jingle Bell Rock," the world simply can't handle any more greatness.

Acid Wash Jeans

"Hi, I'm looking to buy a pair of jeans that look like a bunch of elephants splooged all over them." "May I interest you in a pair of acid wash jeans?" "Why, yes, you may."


Very Special Episodes

The '80s was a time where you could actually learn a thing or two from TV, like how old, bald, white dudes who owned bicycle shops liked to touch little black kids who were adopted by old, bald, white dudes who didn't own bicycle shops. You could also learn about uncles who drank too much, sisters with eating disorders, and peer pressure. There was no societal ill that could not be confronted and repaired within the 22 all-powerful minutes of a sitcom. And this Diff'rent Strokes episode is one of the best very special episodes of all time.

And it also ties into our next '80s icon...


Stranger Danger

We're estimating here, but about five kids every year are abducted by complete strangers, and about a million are touched by Uncle Phil. In the 1980s, there was apparently no shortage of ideas about what non-family-members could supposedly do to kids, whether it be pre-school teachers raping kids and sacrificing ponies to Satan in tunnels built beneath the school, or strangers kidnapping kids at Disneyworld and cutting their hair and changing their clothes to smuggle them out. Adults believed some whacked-out shit back then. Thank God people are much more rational today.


Gay Cancer

"The best guess is that some infectious agent is causing it."

Awww, how quaint. This 1982 NBC report on this mysterious ailment affecting a whopping 413 people was probably forgotten the next morning by everyone who watched it. After all, what did some obscure form of cancer affecting mostly gay dudes have to do with most people's lives? Doctors weren't even sure what was going on with this freaky shit they were calling GRID (Gay-Related Immune Deficiency).

In a few years, the public would be told all kinds of things -- like a French-Canadian flight attendant being the "Patient Zero" who spread the virus coast-to-coast -- until the truth was finally carved out of the panic. Eventually, HIV went from a death sentence to a plain old inconvenience, but we think those early days of the '80s when everyone was scared of catching the HIV from a cough were fun times. Fun, ignorant times. We're hoping some super-gay flight attendant comes up with a new disease for us soon.

Want passes to a March 25 screening of Hot Tub Time Machine? Be one of the first 20 people to e-mail [email protected] with "Hot Tub Time Machine" in the header and you'll get a pass good for two people. 

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Contributor Craig Malisow covers crooks, quacks, animal abusers, elected officials, and other assorted people for the Houston Press.
Contact: Craig Malisow