Rembert Explains the ’80s: Learning the Ropes

Welcome back to our series “Rembert Explains the ’80s.” Every so often, we’ll e-mail young’un 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: Learning the Ropes, via an inspired reader suggestion.

0:02 Initial screen: “‘Learning the Ropes’ with Lyle Alzado. 1988 – Canada.” Well, this ought to be interesting.

0:12 Bros being bros in the school hallway. Into it.

0:19 Pretty sure the same set was used for every high school hallway, with a short staircase and trophy display. There’s no way anyone can convince me that Cory, Shawn, Topanga, and Mr. Feeny didn’t hang out on that same set many years later. No way.

0:32 Asking out girls is so hard. Even for bros, as this clip shows. Side note: I have no idea what is going on in this show. And how “” is involved — I can’t even begin to figure out.

0:45 Poor bro, couldn’t even muster up the courage to ask that girl out, even with great power position (cornered her by the open locker door). Sad day for bros.

0:54 Well, hello, new scene, complete with a professional wrestler donning a glitter-overall outfit! What is going on?

1:09 There is a laugh track. Interesting.

1:38 The wrestler’s name is Jimmy, he’s got a girl with him, and has perhaps the worst trash-talk game in wrestling history. Rey Mysterio Jr. would be very disappointed.

1:46 Ever curious about what wrestlers do in the locker room? According to this show, they play chess. My longtime assumption of “not checkers” actually panned out. Super excited about that.

2:12 The wrestler who is set to go against the man they call Jimmy is getting made fun of by other wrestlers. Also, he’s super emotional. Also, why was this show in a high school hallway less than two minutes ago?

2:28 If these guys broke out into a song-and-dance number, I would not be surprised in the slightest.

2:39 Other emotional wrestler: “The Masked Maniac.” Yeah, this is definitely turning into Les Misérables in the ring in about 30 seconds.

2:49 The two wrestlers are in the ring. Please let these two sing “I Dreamed a Dream.” PLEASE.

2:51 Oh great, back to the bros. This show is a roller coaster.

3:10 Bros, giving bro advice about how to talk to girls. So important.

3:26 Helper Bro tells Helpless Bro he needs to practice his “game.” Helper Bro’s suggestion? Helper Bro’s sister. If that’s not a bro sacrifice move, I really don’t know what is. Also potentially important: The sister is the same girl that Helpless Bro got nervous around earlier. But Helper bro doesn’t know that. Uh-oh.

3:36 OH NO. After another failed attempt, Helpless Bro is thinking about giving up. This is depressing me.

3:45 This conversation has never happened in real life:

Helpless Bro: I’m totally hopeless.
Helper Bro: You’re not hopeless, you just need the help of an expert.
Helpless Bro: Ah, you’d help me?
Helper Bro: Well, for the full effect, you’ll need my video.


3:55 The two plots have finally semi-come together. Bros turn on the TV to see the wrestling match. Progress.

4:30 They’ve been showing this wrestling match so long, I forgot the bros were watching it on TV. This show is awesome.

4:33 Wresting clips from the ’80s are great because it always looks like the ring is in a large barn. Love that.

4:44 The Masked Maniac is killing Jimmy. He’s got this one move where he just keeps breaking the guy’s leg. So awesome. With that said, I bet he’s crying under that mask. And singing “I Dreamed a Dream.”

5:12 The announcers seem worried. They seem to be concerned that the Masked Man is actually hurting Jimmy. What I mean by that is they seem to be concerned that this wrestling match is real. Did the Masked Man not get the memo that this isn’t supposed to be real? Did the announcers not get the memo that wrestling actually is real? Have the Masked Man’s emotions gotten the best of him? STAY TUNED, FOLKS.

5:24 Update 1: Jimmy also goes by “Gorgeous.” Update 2: Gorgeous stands up and then the Masked Man kicks him back down. This might be manslaughter.

5:40 Update 3: Gorgeous Jimmy’s girl’s name is “Precious.” Update 4: Gorgeous Jimmy might be dead. STAY TUNED, FOLKS.

5:52 Back to the bros. Helpless Bro wants Helper Bro to focus on his life, not on the wrestling match. Beggars can’t be choosers, Helpless Bro.

5:51 Helper Bro just reached into a box, pulled out some cards, and said another thing that has never been uttered in real life:

“Icebreakers … guaranteed to open lines of communication with the babes.”

Unreal. I can’t even imagine what he thinks “trust falls” represent. Probably something to do with the babes, if I had to guess.

6:25 I used to appreciate Helper Bro, but now I hate Helper Bro. I think he’s mocking Helpless Bro, which is a rude thing to do to Helpless Bro, seeing as that he’s a bro in desperate need of help.

6:34 So most of the cards are blue cards, but there’s also a red card. Helpless Bro tries to grab it, but Helper Bro stops him. And then he obviously says this about the red card:

“Not so fast. When you get to the red card, you don’t need the red card.”


6:55 Oh no, Helper Bro is going to take Helpless Bro to the burger palace for a “test run.” I hope this clip is over before the “test run.” I don’t know if I can watch the S.S. Brotanic sink like this. Too sad. Too real.

7:02 While Helper Bro goes upstairs to get his “killer cologne,” Helpless Bro grabs the red card. Oh no. THE REVEAL:

(To Helper Bro’s sister, a.k.a. his dream girl): “Whenever you’re near, I’m left speechless by your beauty.”

Poor Helpless Bro. Lines never work, bro. Never.

7:17 The girl’s response:

“That’s the most wonderful thing anyone’s ever said to me.”

Shut up. The red card worked. Wow. WOW.

7:23 Helpless Bro, confronted with a new predicament called “success,” just starts reading cards:

Once-Helpless Bro: Look, if it’s all the same to you, I don’t want any kids.
Sister: Neither do I.
Once-Helpless Bro:: Are you feeling the same hunger that I’m feeling?
Sister: Yeah, I am, let’s go somewhere and stuff our faces.


7:49 Helper Bro comes downstairs with cologne to find no one. Shouldn’t have taken so long, Helper Bro; maybe you could have stopped Once-Helpless Bro from MAKING OUT WITH YOUR SISTER. BRO.

8:06 Back to the wrestling locker room. The now-unmasked still-maniac is talking about how his emotions got the best of him and how he can’t believe the way he acted. Why isn’t this guy a drama teacher? Is he a drama teacher? Is he a teacher at the school that the bros go to? These plots better come together in the next 1:06, or I’m about to start making up stuff. And no one wants that … except for me.

8:25 This is starting to look like a “Wrestling Very Special Episode.” Not even I am soft enough to tolerate much of this.

8:37 The Masked Man is calling the hospital to check on Gorgeous Jimmy on some device where the thing you talk into is connected to a box by some kind of rope and you have to put money inside for it to work. Seems complicated.

9:04 Precious just told the Masked Man that Gorgeous Jimmy may never wrestle again. This is too much. Am I tearing up?

9:12 Clip. Over.

OK, so it never came together, but I have a feeling that the emotional basket case of a wrestler lives a double life. I have to assume that the life has something to do with the school, or else that other plot makes no sense. But know that if it doesn’t come together, I’m not mad either. At the end of the day, I just want Helpless Bro to be happy. And by happy, I mean to be a home-wrecker and make out with people’s sisters.

Filed Under: Rembert Explains