Off the clock with The Checkout Girl: 16+16+16 candles

If there is one thing I learned from the 2010 Academy Awards, it’s this: My generation is falling apart. What the hell, Brat Pack? Why so crinkly, mumbly, saggy, and lame? Does desperate narcissism really take that much of a toll on a body?

If there is one thing I learned from the 2010 Academy Awards, it’s this: My generation is falling apart. What the hell, Brat Pack? Why so crinkly, mumbly, saggy, and lame? Does desperate narcissism really take that much of a toll on a body? Or perhaps it’s just being hopped up on cocaine (that’s right, I said it) while shooting scenes about prom, but never having a normal enough life to attend your own. It was as if the zombie apocalypse were starting with teen stars of the 1980s.

As I watched the lovely John Hughes tribute, chock full of those he launched to stardom, I couldn’t stop my brain from asking “Which will be the first to die tragically?” Though, at this point, I wonder if we’re getting old enough that it won’t be tragic to anyone younger than ourselves. After all, when Andrew Koenig recently (and heart-breakingly) chose the Highway to Heaven, I had to explain to my daughter what Growing Pains was. The light bulb only appeared over her head after she asked “Kirk Cameron? Is he related to DJ from Full House?” Because, you know, Full House is timeless.


You know who I guessed? Judd Nelson. You know who everybody in the world guessed? Judd Nelson. That guy looks like he’s been actually living as John Bender, his character from The Breakfast Club, for the last 25 years. Baby, those Transitions lenses (also seen, dishearteningly, on Robert Downey Jr.) couldn’t hide the road map of wrinkles that leads to blood-shot, watery, tired eyes. Also, I’m pretty sure your teeth aren’t real so, um, yeah. Cry not for Judd, though — he’s gone from teen heartthrob to a cartoonbot in Transformers Animated and, truthfully, he makes much more money than you or I. And he can show up to work in his pajamas. Dick.

Speaking of, um, unusual, why so surprised, Molly Ringwald? No, really, Google her. Every current picture makes her look as if she’s seen the ghost of Andrew McCarthy’s career (you guys! Mannequin!!). It’s hard to hate on this girl, though. After all, she WAS us. Whether a perky preteen in Facts of Life, an awkward teen in 16 Candles and Pretty In Pink, the girl who made a few missteps including turning down the leads in Pretty Woman and Ghost, or the mom trying to figure out what to do with an out-of-hand daughter in The Secret Life of the American Teenager, I think all women can relate to her on some level. I’m just disappointed that she chose to get a little help… which looks like it went a wee bit sideways, rather than just aging normally. You know, like the rest of us.

And how disconcertingly different does Anthony Michael Hall look? Instead of the geek that we got used to, he’s been transformed into the stereotypical bully-looking guy that would have kicked that guy’s ass in an 80s movie. He’s Biff from Back to the Future, when he used to be Marty McFly! In an effort to save you some time and a motherfrigging brain explosion, I ventured to Please, for the love of Jake Ryan, DON’T DO IT. From the front page pic of him looking eerily like a bad Vanilla Ice impersonator to his merchandise page (that’s right, AMH merch, people!) it’s an Internet tribute to disappointment and the need to remain relevant. Still, he’s a behind-the-scenes bigwig (okay, mediumwig) in television and he did a made-for-TV movie with Tony Danza. Plus, he earned geek cred by playing Bill Gates pretty brilliantly, so he gets plenty of bit parts where you see just enough of him to say “Did I go to high school with that guy?” The answer is yes. We all did.

Also on hand for the tribute were Ally Sheedy (forever the first girl I, confusingly to a 14-year-old, developed a crush on), Macaulay Culkin (you gotta admire the sticktoitiveness of a guy who’s spent fifteen years trying to distance himself from Home Alone and Richie Rich but still ended up with Mila Kunis and as godfather to Michael Jackson’s children and, well, I didn’t), Matthew Broderick (let’s not forget he killed two Irish ladies before he got his poop in a group), and Jon Cryer (with whom I’d love nothing more than to sit down and dish about Charlie Sheen and his 9/11 conspiracy theories, crazy Denise Richards, and currently cracktastic domestic adventures with Brooke Mueller. Call me, Jon!).

I guess the biggest takeaway from this monumentally radical moment in television history is this: as much as I look in the mirror every day and don’t notice the tiny changes, seeing these people I considered friends in the 1980s after all of these years makes me realize I am getting old. And that kind of sucks. But at least I don’t have Molly Ringwald’s surgeon.

  • error

    Report an error

The Checkout Girl

The Checkout Girl is Jennifer Lemons. She’s a storyteller, comedian, and musician. If you don’t see her sitting behind her laptop, check the streets of Richmond for a dark-haired girl with a big smile running very, very slowly.

There are 12 reader comments. Read them.