Rembert Explains the ’80s: Breakin’

Welcome back to our series Rembert Explains the ’80s. Every so often, we’ll e-mail 25-year-old Rembert Browne a video from the 1980s that he hasn’t seen, he’ll disregard it, and then pick one that he wants for a change because he’s selfish and a diva. Rembert will write down his thoughts as he’s watching the video, then we’ll post those thoughts here. This week’s installment was picked by Rembert: The “Ain’t Nobody” scene from Breakin’. If you have an idea for a future episode of Rembert Explains the ’80s, e-mail us at

Note: This is the last “Explains” of 2012. In 2013, the decade of choice may or may not be clips from the 1880s. Stay tuned.

0:02 “She ain’t no street dancer, she knows nothing about what we do.”

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Oh, Turbo. So emotional. So untrusting. So curl-stricken. So Rawlings.

0:05 Both my “mustache” and “wooden jewelry” Google alerts just went off.

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0:06 “Ain’t Nobody” by Chaka Khan just kicked in, so this video just went up 90 notches in my book.

0:08 “You can teach me.”

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Teach Kelly, Ozone. Look at that face. She’s eager to learn. Look at that haircut. So earnest.

0:10 You’re thinking about it …

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0:12 Turbo: “We’re asking for trouble.” It is at this point that he realizes Ozone is about to go all Sean Patrick Thomas on him and Julia Stiles this whole situation. Poor Turbo.


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I feel like arts and crafts were much more accepted and embraced in the ’80s. Look at the detail with which this simple silver boombox was colored. Shout-out to puff paint.

0:18 Kelly just did a five-hit ballet combo. (1) emerge from behind a curtain, (2) kick, (3) spin, (4) pose …

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Where’s the fifth?

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Ozone can’t believe she emerged from that curtain with so much technical skill but so little swag. “This might take a while but Kelly could GET IT,” said Ozone to himself, in his head, probably. Also, where did Ozone’s shirt go that fast? Answer: ELSEWHERE.

0:20 Turbo, out loud: “Now I know we’re in trouble.” Turbo, to himself, in his head, probably:

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0:25 The next seven seconds will be dedicated to hand gymnastics:

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That was the best.

0:32 We all need to be thankful Ozone looks and is dressed like this.

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Teach her how to Ozone, teach her, teach her how to Ozone.


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She’s so stiff, I can’t even make a GIF out of her. It’s like having a flip book with three pages.

0:38 Ozone just did the arm thing to the knee thing to the crouch thing to the body-roll thing.

0:41 Kelly’s still on the arm thing. Come on, girl.


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She’s starting to get it? There aren’t nearly enough jerky movements in her knuckles, but maybe she’ll get there. Also: Where is her wristband? That’s the first problem.

0:51 Oh, wow — Ozone just did an out-in, roll it up, look over here, look over there, into a self-slap —

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— immediately followed by a body roll, biceps lick, triceps grab, and ending with an “Is that an owl?” Incredible. Kelly?

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She can’t really get past “self-slap.” That’s nowhere near “Is that an owl?” When in doubt, though, she settled for the default “just look cute” move, which has a long history of working in dance battles/life.

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0:58 Was always upset at this point because they continued doing hand gymnastics instead of launching into hand games.

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You know … hand games.

They were in perfect starting position. Just saying.

1:04 Kelly starts to pick up on the pop-and-lock, and then Ozone turns into Final Boss and takes it to another level:

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Sorry, Kelly, but it’s more than just arms and legs and body rolls and self-slaps. Your face has to be able to scream “fear,” “joy,” and “curiosity” at the same time.

1:15 What do you think about her progress, Adam?

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I know, right?

1:16 Six seconds of Ozone and Kelly crotch shots kick in right as Chaka begins her chorus.

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1:24 Looks like Turbo wants to play, too, but with less crotch and more high booty:

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A$$. A$$. A$$. A$$. A$$. A$$. A$$. A$$. A$$. A$$. A$$. A$$. A$$. A$$.

Also, just in case I confused anyone:

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Just want to make sure we’re on the same page.

1:34 Fancy footwork time, which, as we all know, is the best time. We’ve got Ozone’s purple Converses, Kelly’s leg-warmers, and Turbo’s killer Nikes:

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Also, that stance. Killing it.


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Kelly fell. But at least she did it while looking like one of Jem’s Holograms from the waist down. Adam, how do you feel about Kelly’s progress?

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I know, right?

1:53 I think this is would be a great time to bring up the “who’s a better dancer, Turbo or Ozone?” conversation. My two cents: Ozone is a more refined talent, but Turbo is more naturally gifted. Ozone’s the man, but Turbo popped out of the womb and then locked once the umbilical cord was cut.

1:59 The past six seconds were just different shots of Kelly’s pink legs doing a variety of moderately agile things. Also, she finally got a spin and stuck the landing:

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Proud of you, girl.

2:04 So is your once-skeptic mentor, Turbo. They hugged, which is a beautiful moment.

2:05 And now they’re all BFFs.

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Nothing brings people together like cargo pants or dressing like crayons.

2:10 When we come back to Kelly, she’s a full-blown dancer/breaker, mixing her old love and her new love. I’m thrilled with her, because just when it looked like she’d be stuck here:

She pushed through, slowly making here way here:

There’s no higher honor than being compared to this little bit.

2:16 Turbo and Ozone are great, because the way they vogue and the way they would assumedly throw punches in a fight are the exact same. I wouldn’t want to go against them in battle in either instance.

2:25 Again, perfectly cued up, when Chaka goes “first you put your arms around me,” we get this:

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2:31 “Then you put your charms around me,”

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A very charming dip, I must say.

2:32 While this courtship is happening, but a few feet away:

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Oh nothing, just Turbo popping while rocking the KOA campsite shirt. NO. BIG. DEAL.

2:36 Courtship:

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2:38 Oh nothing, just a now-shirtless Turbo, attempting to scratch his neck with his high booty:

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2:49 Foreplay:

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2:52 Oh nothing, just a still-shirtless Turbo, still in the same room, still trying to make that neck itch go away with his behind.

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3:00 T.K.O. IS HERE.

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But it’s so much deeper than the acronym using their first names and those shirts. I mean, at this point, it’s apparent that K and O want to be together and don’t mind getting their swerve on with T in the room. But how necessary is T to a KO, when you think about it? Why not just settle for a knockout — do you really need a “total” knockout? The answer is sometimes yes, but usually no, which means there’s trouble in paradise, T. Or maybe I’m reading too much into this.


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Can you believe it, Adam?

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I know, right?

3:18 I don’t know where Ozone is, but Turbo does not seem to care. I love that about Turbo. He’s all “you can dance with her, but I’m taking off my shirt while you do, you know, just so she never stops thinking about me” and whatnot.

3:20 GET IT, TURB.

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3:21 Best friends. Ha. Yeah right.

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This love triangle is about to turn into a bloodbath of knee-jerk reactions and jerky-knee-filled dance-offs.

3:26 But until then, Ozone and Turbo will have to live with doing the running man together, even though they’re running man–competing for Kelly’s heart.

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3:39 Everyone’s showing off now. Also, Kelly’s now really good at dancing while coordinating her outfit. The three of them are a legit crew. Final thoughts, Adam?

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You sure?

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Thought so.

3:54 There’s nothing better than how this dance/love/betrayal sequence ends:

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Poor Turbo, though. I think, by covering up his face, Kelly made her choice.

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Ozone wins. For now.

Filed Under: Rembert Explains

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

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