Le Freak, c'est chic:
There's a big TV mounted to the ceiling in the foyer of my school, and the kids who arrive early spend their time gazing transfixed at Sponge Bob videos. Problem is, there are only two tapes with two episodes on each tape, so it's the same episodes day after day. When I realized I could follow along with an entire episode by remembering the dialogue as heard from the teacher's room, I decided it was time for an alternative. So one Friday I brought my trusty lappy to school and showed the kids my favorite childhood cartoon: "Freakazoid!"
I realized a lot of the jokes and dialogue would be over their heads (those Spielberg produced Warner Bros. cartoons of the mid-90's had a lot of under-the-radar comedy aimed at the parents) but watching a red bespandexed weirdo put his hands over his head and pretend to fly by making wooshing noises? That's a cross-cultural kind of funny. Especially with the Ed Asner-voiced Sgt. Cosgrove on hand to take our hero off on a random diversion at a critical plot-point: "Hey Freakazoid, you wanna go out for a mint/see a bear ride a motorcycle/go to the Honey Harvest Festival in Acton/Yakov Smirnoff Film Festival?"
Needless to say, the show was a big hit. Now, much to my delight and amusement, I'll catch one of the kids humming the theme song to themselves on breaks.
After watching the first cartoon, Joey asked me why Freakazoid had a lighting bolt in his hair. Before I had a chance to answer, he had a strange pop culture cross-over epiphany and stood up and asked frantically: "He is Harry Potter's Grandparents!?!?" referring, I guess, to the lightning bolt scar on Harry Potter's forehead. Maybe he's onto something there...
One day this week, Paul found a pair of black wrap around sunglasses on the floor of one of the classrooms. He put them on, took one look in the mirror and one and me and cried "Teacher! I am the Freakazoid!" and wooshed through the hallway with his arms over his head (this time with no intent to spring a "dung-chip").
Impressionable minds must be made the most of, after all.
A Canadian writer teaches English and finds out what it's like to be a foreigner.