I first heard the album probably in the latter part of seventh grade, from a friend who said it was good. I popped the cassette in and gave it a listen. The songs were oddly catchy, and captivatingly odd. The lyrics made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.
I loved it.
As some of you have already guessed (from my riff in the title of this post), the album was Flood, by They Might Be Giants. And when we were in Jean MacCurdy’s office during the L.A. trip, she showed us two music videos from an upcoming Tiny Toons episode — which turned out to be videos of two songs from the album.
I’m pretty sure I was the only one in that room who was already familiar with the songs. (In the episode, they even have Buster quip, “Who are these guys?”) It felt like such an awesome inside joke to have the characters from my favorite TV show doing videos from an album I was listening to constantly. Amy and Sarah and my other friends from that set never got into TMBG as far as I knew, and for my part even I just bought Miscellaneous T later on, liked some of the songs on it, and then kind of lost interest and moved on to other artists and styles.
Still, the album remains a perfect little time machine for a couple years or so of my life, in that visceral way that music can transport you back, and Forty can remember, if only for the space of a chorus, what it felt like to be Thirteen.
Video – Tiny Toons: Particle Man
Video – Tiny Toons: Istanbul
They Might Be Giants – Flood (full album)
Here’s the letter we sent along with our story. (Addresses and phone number there are long since defunct, by the way.) I don’t remember whether I wrote it solo or we composed it together, but I’m betting it was the former, since the letter’s in first person from my perspective. Amy then typed it in the school’s computer room and printed it out for us — those are her initials there at the bottom, in proper secretarial style.
To the question that always comes up of “did we ever think this would be made into an episode,” I think this letter makes it pretty clear that we really weren’t expecting anything much — just that “we would like your opinion,” and even that feels like something of an afterthought to me.
Besides, if you’re aiming to have your enclosed story made into an episode, it would seem a bad idea to misspell the recipient’s name — plus forget to, you know, actually sign the letter. (At least we made an effort to explain the teacher-related inside jokes in the story. Apologies to Ms. Coffey and Mr. Aylor, by the way.)
Two other quick asides: 1) I seriously have no memory whatsoever of that fan club, and 2) The blatant flattery in that last paragraph is so Thirteen.
Honestly, this entire letter is so embarrassing to me now that I try to avoid looking directly at it for long periods of time. So of course, here I am putting it up on the Internet…
Our letter to Spielberg
Here’s a sampling of some of those original notebook-paper pages from our Buster and Babs Go Hawaiian story, in PDF format.
No digs on the art quality, please; Thirteen was having fun. 🙂
TTA original story
When I was a tween (which I think was technically before the word “tween” was used), I loved the Anastasia Krupnik books by Lois Lowry. In retrospect, I think that might have been part of my inspiration for keeping a notebook of some kind or other ever since, as Anastasia has her secret green notebook where she writes down her favorite words and lots of lists. In that first book of the series, every chapter ends with Anastasia’s ever-changing side-by-side lists of Things I Love and Things I Hate.
It’s really no surprise, then, that there’s a set of lists just like that in the first of my Warner Bros. composition book journals.
(Okay, Thirteen, we’ll list the whole thing, and I’ll keep my comments to the footnotes. But I’m putting this behind a cut, and it’s your fault if people’s eyes glaze over and they stop following and nobody reads this blog ever again. Just so you know.)