Thursday, August 23, 2012

My Illicit Romance with Jason Bateman

bateman hearts
See? Even Spongebob is excited


In second grade, I fell in love.

I mean, I'd loved things before, like my cat, cheeseburgers, and getting to watch She-Ra without my brother complaining that He-Man was better (it wasn't). But this was different. It was true love. With a boy.

I loved David Hogan. Or more specifically, the actor who played him on The Hogan Family, Jason Bateman. I started out watching The Hogan Family casually (you know, back when it was called Valerie), like kids do with TV shows. You know, ALF is over and you just watch whatever comes on next. Pretty soon, I was like, "Shut up already, ALF. My boyfriend is coming on." I would grab the Strawberry Shortcake comforter off my bed, wrap myself up in it, and flop down on the floor in preparation. Week after week, during that time slot it was all about me and my true love. I even imagined him romantically showing up at my school in his Corvette (because, as you know, Corvettes were the epitome of cool in the 80s) and driving off with him to some romantic place like Pizza Hut where we could be alone.

But then something bad happened.

One night there was a very special episode of The Hogan Family. Willie, David's extremely irresponsible horndog younger brother, decided to spy on a female neighbor's slumber party to try to see some teen girls in the nude. Apparently, that episode was the talk of the teacher's lounge at school the next day where my mom heard all about it. That night, she told me "NO MORE HOGAN FAMILY FOR YOU, MISSY." And that was that. I was banned.

Now, before you get the idea that my parents are some kind of lunatics who have nothing better to do than monitor my, and my siblings', television viewing choices, know that this was an extremely rare event at our house. And it was usually the result of a visit from my mom's stepmom, who we will call Vanity St. Elsewhere, for the sake of her privacy. One time Vanity St. Elsewhere came to visit and caught me watching The Golden Girls and immediately reported to my mother that all Blanche and her friends ever talked about was S-E-X, and she was surprised that someone so young would be allowed to watch it. So, my mom suggested (read: insisted) I watch something more wholesome instead. No more Golden Girls. I just knew that Vanity St. Elsewhere's recent visit was the cause of all of the increased vigilance over The Hogan Family.

Of course, as you probably already guessed, all of this only made David Hogan more alluring. Our love could live on, but it must be in secret. And so, I took to sneaking around. If I turned on the kitchen TV while I was doing dishes and kept the volume really low, no one would have to know what was on. Other nights, I would just sit close to the living room TV if nobody else was around and quickly switch the channel if some tattletale walked through. I had ears like a coyote and fingers like a blackjack dealer. This went on for a long time.

And then in 1987, the Hogans' house burned down. It was the most special of all of the very special Hogan Family episodes. (And there were so many "special episodes" back then.)

It was a school night, and I ended up staying awake long after my bedtime thinking about it. The next day in school, I struggled to stay awake, even as our teacher wheeled in the VCR and said, "We're going to watch a video today and then talk a little about fire safety."

My ears perked up.

Our teacher had taped the episode. And so we watched it, and I sat there the entire time, nervous that any moment my mother would burst through the door and shout, "NO! Stop corrupting my child!" But she didn't. I got to spend time with David Hogan, and in school as well. It all felt extremely naughty. My face got red every time David was on screen. Did we even talk about fire safety afterward? It doesn't matter. I had a dirty little secret. I wouldn't even tell my mom about my day when I got home that night, just shrugged my shoulders and put another Brussels sprout into my mouth.

But the tide turned on that day. Willie's roof escapades were forgotten. Parents were praising the show for dealing with house fires and loss in such a brave manner. Eventually, my mom forgot altogether that she had banned me from watching it, and I was free to do whatever I wanted. But by then David had lost his youthful charm and I realized that I had a crush on a full-grown man who was going to college and dating women with breasts. So, I developed a crush on a boy my age instead. And that was the end of my illicit several-year romance with Jason Bateman.

I suppose the best conclusion to this story is that as I was looking for photos to head this post, my face got hot and I had to close the browser. You've still got it, Bateman.

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