Rembert Explains the ’80s: Today’s Special

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 suggested by reader Robyn M.: Today’s Special. If you have an idea for a future episode of Rembert Explains the ’80s, e-mail us at

0:24 A puppet talking to a human. Great start.

0:40 I think the puppet is a bellhop. Or something. His hair looks like McDonald’s fries.

1:04 A puppet rat just turned a mannequin into a real man. Okay.

1:13 This is so public access. But I bet it was on NBC prime time in 1982.

1:29 This is a giant acid trip of a intro. This makes Fraggle Rock look like The 700 Club.

1:40 By the way, this show is called Today’s Special. I’m afraid to find out why.

1:46 “Today’s Special is ‘Records'” Oh no. This is one of those things where they spend 30 minutes talking about a noun. Oh no.

2:05 The guy and girl just danced with mannequins and then stopped and said, “That was fun.” It most certainly was not fun. Why don’t the two living, breathing humans sit the plastic people down and get after it?

2:11 Oh, the mannequins’ names are “Arlene” and “Mister Delmar.” Duh.

2:24 In case you thought you knew how to pronounce “records,” just know that apparently it’s pronounced “REH’KORDS.” Just thought you should know.

2:39 So it looks like the entire premise of this show is the girl teaching the guy about records. So far, he didn’t know there was anything inside the case, and upon taking it out had no idea what to do with it. I’d love to see her explain Bluetooth. Or the Roomba. Or NASA.


3:03 There isn’t anything good about this episode, but the lady does look like she could be a distant relative of Pam Grier. Or a Jackson. Can’t decide.

3:15 Oh, the puppet rat is back. And he’s rhyming. If the end of this clip is a stack of records falling on that puppet rat, I might watch the second half of the episode. MIGHT.

3:30 When prompted, this puppet mouse (apparently not a rat) says that it likes happy songs. This is the softest show ever.

4:04 OK, this is definitely me being hazed. The past 20 seconds were about circles and squares and discussing the difference. I think I’m being punished for turning in my articles late or something. But if I just turn this off, I might be punished further. Must push through. This is miserable.

4:58 The French fry hair puppet is back. You know, CAUSING TROUBLE.

5:09 OK, new guess. I think this lady is Paula Patton’s aunt. Or Telma from Family Matters.

5:39 I have nothing to report. Nothing has happened.

5:52 If I were a 5-year-old watching this, I would have fallen asleep 5:51 minutes ago. Or if not that, I so would have been texting my friends about this horrible show my mom was making me watch.

6:18 Wow. The puppet got the record player to work. The two humans couldn’t, but a puppet figured it out. Wow.

6:25 This music is the worst. What is this? I wanted Hall & Oates.

6:36 I think the potentially fly girl’s name is Jody. She just got prank-called. Easily the best thing that’s happened so far.

6:44 Jordy? Can’t tell. Just trying to know because I want to look her up on Facebook.

7:13 I just learned something. The old record player is called a “Victrola.” I did not know that. That doesn’t make up for the first 7:12, however. And it’s 2012 — I barely remember what a “CD-R” means anymore.

7:57 This puppet rat has a blond Jheri curl. Slightly important.

8:25 This rat is singing a song. I won’t reprint the lyrics. For your sake.


8:59 This is the worst.

9:01 It’s still happening.

9:36 More instructions about the difference between a circle and square.

10:37 There’s a talking computer. The talking computer is talking to the talking puppet. I suddenly miss the rat song.

10:45 The room with the computer has a label on the door. The label says “Computer Room.” I can’t take much more of this.

11:26 They are talking about when records get warped. Or at least I think they are; I just muted it to rewatch the Avengers trailer, because why not?

11:40 I can’t.

12:00 I’m just going to stop. I’ve been defeated. I can’t do it anymore. I’m having a meeting with HR tomorrow for this. HEADS WILL ROLL.

[Editor’s note: You’re welcome!]

Filed Under: Rembert Explains

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

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