Rembert Explains the ’80s: Kids Incorporated

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. Rembert will write down his thoughts as he’s watching it, then we’ll post those thoughts here. This week’s installment was selected by Hollywood Prospectus editor Mark Lisanti: Kids Incorporated.

Rembert note: I feel older and wiser now that I’m 25. Because of that, I expect the ’80s to make perfect sense now. That’s how it works, right?

[Ed. note: This video has embedding disabled, but you can watch it here. Management apologizes for this Internet-era inconvenience.]

0:01 Kids Incorporated. Wow, that sounds familiar. Don’t know why, though, because I have definitely never seen this.

0:04 I have the eeriest of feelings only four seconds in that this is going to be a kids variety show, a la All That. But much worse.

0:09 Pause maybe forever. The first character is introduced, a frizzy-haired blond girl in a jean jacket named “Stacy Ferguson.” I wish I could say that doesn’t mean anything to me, but this pop culture wasteland of a brain I have has reminded me that Stacy Ferguson = Fergie. I haven’t even reached the 10-second mark and I’m scared for what’s to come.

0:11 Character 2 = Black kid with a flat top who I’ve never heard of. I’m so glad to see you. Thank you for not being named William James Adams Jr.; I don’t think I could handle a 12-year-old

0:12 Character 3 = “Love Hewitt.” Wow. This is insane, for so many reasons. When I say “Love Hewitt” I’m not just referring to JLH by her middle and last name as a way of bragging about how close we’ve become, but because in the Kids Incorporated world, a young Jennifer Love Hewitt goes simply by “Love Hewitt.” Whoever made the decision to rename her “Jennifer Love Hewitt” saved her entire career. No way she’s getting elegantly plastered to every third bus stop in Manhattan if she tries to have a career with a name fit for an out-of-work adult film actress.

0:21 Two more characters, don’t care.

0:25 Whoa, they are some sort of five-kid group or something. And their outfits are hideous and perfect.

0:38 It looks like it’s going to be singing and acting. Considering the cast, I am terrified for both. This is like real-life Jem.

0:54 A live studio audience? Interesting.

0:56 They just listed five dancers in the opening credits, who I assume are also about to be kids. This is going to get weird, really fast. All I can picture is a soulless teenage Soul Train, mixed with The Grind, mixed with a bat mitzvah party.

1:10 Yep, my guess was spot on.

1:30 The fivesome and their dancers are performing some horrible song onstage. Fergie’s the lead with the other girl and Hewitt background-dancing and singing. There’s also a band playing. There are like 15 people on stage. It looks like a Wu-Tang concert. Kids Incorporated, more like Wu Incorporated, amirite? No? Yes?

1:56 They’ve got the black flat-top kid “playing” a keytar that looks mildly inflatable. There’s no way that instrument’s even hooked up. Poor kid.

2:06 Love Hewitt finally gets a solo. Classic overacting. She’s also wearing sweatpants. I’m not hating on her for that; she looks much flyer than Fergie.

2:53 Fergie needs to stop singing. She just hit one of the worst notes ever recorded.

3:03 Oh, she just one-upped herself. I’m almost impressed now.

3:05 MALE DANCE BREAK. Poor guy, were he 20 years younger he could have been a lead in Battlefield America instead of settling for a background dancer in Kids Incorporated.

3:26 Thank you. The song’s over. Thank you so much.

3:28 Oh no, I take it back. I so take it back. They’re acting now. Please, give me more songs.

3:45 This is the worst, because I can’t even say “I bet none of these kids made it big.” I’m so mad at Fergie and JLH for existing right now.

3:56 I will say, however, that I’m not surprised the non-Fergie/Love Hewitt girl isn’t a superstar. She’s making Fergie look like Meryl Streep and LH look like JLH.

4:00 As for the two guys, I’m still confused on how I feel about Black Flat-Top Keytar Guy, but the other one is the worst. I hope he gets voted off at the end of the episode, if it’s one of those kinds of shows. Or even if it isn’t.

4:19 I can’t believe this is Fergie. Unreal.

4:20 Fergie looks like she could have been on Saved by the Bell. That’s the nicest thing I’ve ever said about Fergie.

4:40 Yes, more music. Please no more scenes. Please.

4:53 Black Flat-Top Keytar Guy has a solo, but sans keytar. This is a big moment. Don’t screw this up. WE’RE counting on you.

5:06 I’m not sold on this kid. I don’t think he’s actually even singing. He’s looks like a b-side Jesse from Mighty Ducks. Why didn’t they just get Tevin Campbell?



5:58 Where’s the fifth guy? Is he not invited to dance numbers? Strictly an actor? Interesting.

6:18 Why is Black Flat-Top Sans Keytar Guy performing in sweats and a T-shirt? I feel like I’m watching a home movie. Of myself.

7:00 Are these original songs or are they covers? This is like the original Glee, but somehow worse. What a feat.

7:11 Song over, obviously ending with a pose with hands up and heads held high.

7:18 Yes, it cut out before more acting. Thank you, YouTube gods.

This was a sign that I need to finally delete all the Fergie off my iTunes and erase all of my “Jennifer Love Hewitt pouting” searches from my Internet history. Thank you, Mr. Lisanti, for the accidental intervention.

Filed Under: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Rembert Explains

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ rembert