The Boneyard will feature the best of Daniel and Sean’s daily email chain twice a week. Yes, we broadened the definition of “best” to make this happen.
Daniel: If you could have had any fictional character show up to your birthday party when you were 5 years old, who would it be and why?
Sean: I have so many different ideas running through my mind right now. I would say Batman, but I feel the second he sees my parents he would get really upset.
Daniel: My first instinct was Superman, but I started to think of all the fictional characters I loved at that age. There would have been way too many choices for my 5-year-old brain to process. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Berenstain Bears, Winnie the Pooh, and Marty McFly from “Back to the Future” would have all been welcome at my birthday bash. However, someone would have had to pick up the mess from my brain splattering across my living room. There isn’t enough scotch guard in the world that would have withstood the amount of times I would have pissed myself if any of them would have shown up (or, you know, existed in the real world).
The choice would have been impossible after I started reading at the breakfast table. I read Garfield anthologies religiously, so I could have easily imagined how cool it would be if the fat, orange cat was cracking wise while torturing my black Lab during one of my birthday parties. I would have even made my mother make me a lasagna-inspired birthday cake. I also read a lot of condensed, illustrated novels like Treasure Island and Robin Hood, so one birthday could have had a pirate/archery theme. And I think the Boxcar Children would have made strong candidates because I read them quite a bit while I was on a Rice Krispies Treats cereal kick. The sugar high mixed with kids having adventures on their own may have made my decision for me.
However, I wore a Superman cape from birth until yesterday, so he’d still probably be at the top of my invite list. And as “I Love Lucy” taught us, he’s available!
Sean: What a minute, are you saying the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Bernstein Bears, Winnie the Pooh, and Marty McFly are not real?
I agree on your list, but I would add in the Ghostbusters as well. If they have pulled up in front of the house in the Ecto-1 I would have wet myself. Dan Ford style.
It is odd that as adults—sadly, that is what we are now—that we still believe in these worlds. I mean, “Ghostbusters” still feels real to me. That world of ghost hunting, wisecracking, and demons still feels real to me that at any moment I believe I could look to my left and see the Echo-1 racing down Commonwealth Avenue.
Do you think any of those fictional worlds will ever fade away and seem less real to us?
Daniel: I can't believe I left out the Ghostbusters. I had a toy “Ghostbusters” firehouse, a toy “Ghostbusters” proton pack (with trap), and I once went to school wearing a “Ghostbusters” armband. My mother let me get away with it because at least I wasn't chasing down her car in the parking lot because I didn't want to go to school. I can't believe she still speaks to me.
And I'd have invited the movie “Ghostbusters” and the cartoon show “Ghostbusters.” I loved that cartoon. There was also an animated version of “Beetlejuice” and “Back to the Future” at one point. I remember McDonald's Happy Meals came with toys from both shows. I was so excited to get a DeLorean toy one day. All I wanted back then was a time machine. My friends and I would actually develop blueprints for one.
To answer your question, no, the worlds we've loved all these years will never fade. It speaks to what you said in our first email chain. Once you make a connection with a book or film, it's really hard to break it. My friend Steve-O and I spent much of last weekend watching episodes of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel.” It was less about the plot and characters this time and more about remembering the times we watch the shows in college when we didn't have jobs or money (at least now we have jobs). They don't fade because they offer an oasis from real life, which to be honest, is a drag.
Sean: You had the trap?!?! I wanted the trap and the fire house so badly. I made my own firehouse with some cardboard.
Yeah, wow, after a stunt like that I would have left you in a parking lot. This is why I am not a parent.
And, yes! There were two versions of the “Ghostbusters” cartoon, one with the original lineup and then another with a new cast, one of whom was in a wheel chair. I remember the intro the both “Beetlejuice” and “Back to the Future.”
I never got the toy from McDonald's. I tried, but I missed it. And I really want to know if your time machine blue prints worked.
"Offer an oasis from real life." That is a perfect metaphor! I love popping on a television show or movie from the past and remember a different period in my life. Some are happy, some are not so happy, and for a few moments I relieve those moments.
What I miss is the excitement of finding a new movie that opens your eyes. I feel like that stage is now gone because we have seen so much. I will never be able to relive the excitement I felt seeing "The French Connection” for the first time. Which I am okay with now because now I can create my own stories that will excite someone else.
Daniel: My younger brother used to come to visit me in New York City and all we'd do is watch "The West Wing." Everyone said, "You're in New York, why not go out and do something you nerds!" Well, for one, we didn't have any money. Good times cost money. And secondly, that's just what we did. We didn't have to say anything or manufacture a bonding moment. It just happened naturally. We'd get breakfast sandwiches from a deli down the street and then watch 12 straight hours of walk and talk.
I also used to watch a lot of "The West Wing" while writing. Something about the tone, the lighting and the subject matter got me in the mood to write. While I certainly can get tired of Sorkin's plots, I will never get sick of his staccato dialogue. It's so rich and fulfilling. People may not talk like that in real life, but they should. There's an energy there that's lacking in day-to-day conversation.
My girlfriend Stephanie—a damn good writer whose work our readers will be raving about in short order—wanted to add something to this chain. Considering our website has more testosterone than a Texas rodeo I figured a little estrogen would go a long way.
Stephanie: Snow White came to my second birthday party. She was pretty legit, but I think Ariel, Flounder and Sebastian would sing a better "Happy Birthday." Or I’d invite the cast of the Muppets, minus Miss Piggy because I don't want a diva pig to be the center of attention at my party. Maybe I’d just invite just Kermit and Fozzie Bear because he's cuddly.
Daniel: Would any of you have invited anyone from “Full House?” A young Daniel Ford might have invited Stephanie because of the huge crush I had on her back in the day. She might bring cocaine though, even at age. Punky Brewster might have also been on my invite list.
By the way, the “Full House reunion on Jimmy Fallon’s late night show recently is awesome. How great is it that Uncle Jessie's fake mullet pales in comparison to the epic mullet he had back then. I guess mullets are forever.
Sean: The Muppets are awesome and I would have them at my birthday as well. I would make Fozzie Bear tell dirty jokes.
Yes! I would have Joey come to the party. He’s not my favorite, but I feel like he would be the most fun, and Stephanie because I had a crush on her too. Have you seen her lately? I mean, considering she battled drug additcion, had two kids, and survived a couple bad breaks up, she good.
Mullets are like the bad guys at the end of horror films: they never die.
Daniel: I spent several minutes (okay, it was longer than that) trying to talk myself out of thinking she was still attractive. But my Google search tells me that you are indeed correct. She does hold up well besides the drug addiction and childbirth. However, she did name her memoir unSweetined. Deducting major points for that. Why not just, How Stephanie Tanner Became a Junkie and Then Grew Up? I'd read that book.
Rachel (Sean’s girlfriend and future Writer’s Bone contributor): I think your website has plenty of estrogen if you ask me.
Daniel: Dynamite drop in.
Stephanie: As far as the “Full House” characters, I think everyone would feel uncomfortable if three guys in their thirties showed up to an unrelated 5 year old's birthday party. Unless they showed up in “Flintstones” attire like this:
That's a game-changer.
Rachel: I'll go with the entire cast of “Full House.” I’d especially invite Comet because when I was 5 years old, I did not have a dog and I used to sit on my parents bed to watch the show and imagine owning a golden retriever who would sit with me and watch it.
Also, I’d invite Mary Kate and Ashley. I know they aren't fictional, but specifically when they were detectives in "The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley."
Also, I’d consider the yellow Power Ranger because when I was 5 years old, I got into a very heated discussion with my next-door neighbor about which one of us was the yellow Power Ranger.
Daniel: Awesome. The yellow Power Ranger choice is very PC. Not many white girls in Boston clamoring to be the Asian female Power Ranger I imagine.
Sean: That actress died in car crash. Sadness.
Daniel: Yeah, just saw that. I had to Google her because I originally thought she was black. Two black people on a television show, what was I thinking?
Sean: Come on man, it was the mid-1990s. That would never happen.
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