If you are in my advertising demographic -- 18 to 34 -- the pop culture you loved as a child is terrible. The Power Rangers were terrible, the Transformers were terrible, the Ninja Turtles were terrible. Michael Bay didn't ruin any of it; it came pre-ruined. I loved all of it (I love the memory of it now) and it is really bad, inasmuch as it is impossible to enjoy when you don't have a trip with your parents to Toys R Us lined up, or when you're the one with the credit card.
This doesn't really matter, obviously, because in animated-GIF-sized bursts all of those terrible shows have made BuzzFeed and its readers very happy -- it's not about the Power Rangers so much as it is being reminded you're a '90s Kid. Watching one all the way through is a bad idea, but as an excuse to talk to a friend you don't get to see very often they're fine.
Weird Al is not terrible, which is my best explanation for why we 18-to-34-year-olds have spent the last week sharing his videos and acting as though a dear friend and mentor has come back from the dead. Weird Al is who we wanted to be when we grew up.
The terrible and obvious secret of watching an entire episode of the Power Rangers as an adult isn't that you were fooled badly by a show that, to skirt a contract dispute, sent three superhuman warriors for the forces of good to a Teen World Peace Conference -- it's that you were fooled by a bunch of people who didn't care at all about what they were doing.
After you've had a few jobs you hate, or are bad at, or just don't understand, you recognize your own awful malaise in the writing and acting and overall shoddiness of almost all of it. It's the TV equivalent of spammy SEO copywriting, or telemarketing for Comcast. Somebody had to act like they were really excited to go to a World Peace Conference, knowing that millions of people would see them doing it.
In the end you can't even be mad at them for putting you on the hook for all those action figures that didn't actually do the moves from the commercials: They were as adrift then as you are now, and you couldn't even tell.
But not Weird Al. There might have been a time when you liked UHF and TURBO: A Power Rangers Movie equally, but as an adult it's clear that Weird Al is different. Weird Al is and has always been, of all things, a craftsman.
Continue to page two.
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