Eleven Minutes in Random Television Watching!

Several years back (actually, it was eight years ago), I was dating a guy who “gifted” me portions of his recorded videocassette collection. I had to give them back, but the purpose was for me to dub the material on the tapes to DVD-R discs. It sounds pointless that anyone would want to do this, but as a nostalgia hobbyist (even back then), the most mundane finds on a videocassette are fun.

I’d like to think I would have gotten more from his collection, had I not gone back to work after a winter layoff from my last job, and if we hadn’t broken up a few months after that. That second factor is the bigger reason I don’t have more than the massive collection I already have. The relationship may not have lasted, but the nostalgic gold goes on and on!

One of the tapes consisted of several May 1995 recordings of Home Improvement, a show I never particularly cared for, but what I found within the tape suited my nostalgic curiosity quite nicely. (Please don’t submit hate mail or declarations for that admission. I’ve just never been a big Tim Allen fan.)

My ex-boyfriend’s mother must have had VCR duty on one particular night, because she did something many parents did in the day (and something I’m equally guilty of having done once). In all honesty, she probably forgot she had the VCR recording, and there was a commercial on, because, this happened.

It all started off innocently enough. You’re taping a show, and a commercial comes on, but you forget you’re taping the show and decide to see what’s on another channel. Except you don’t stay on the channel, you decide “hey, what the heck? I’ll just keep clicking!”

So you do!

And then you wind up on the cable access channel…the one that shows real estate listings and plays a rockin’ 90s soundtrack. You feel like 1995 found you and embraced you like a friend.

Dionne Ferris. 1995 one-hit wonder for the win!

I’m not from the area where these houses are listed (but I’ve been through there), and I can tell you with 100% certainty that Washington Township is a nice place to live.


Then there are the real estate agents. It’s like they went to the JC Penney portrait studio and had their pictures taken on the same day.

I particularly love Tom Duffy. Jacket on, jacket slung over shoulder. No way this guy isn’t a total stud.

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Jack exudes confidence as he hits on your through the television screen.


And yes, you are seeing double!


Ex-boyfriend’s mom, proving not to be idle, begins clicking around again. She eventually made her way back to Home Improvement, but she’s not done yet. Oh no, not yet.

QVC, some lady in love with mashed potatoes…


…NJN (a New Jersey local network connected to PBS), UPN, the WB, UPN again, some nature documentary (????), these people…


Whose eyes may actually look like this…

High School baseball, a Philadelphia Phillies game (shudder), random clicking, shoes on the Home Shopping Club 2 (yes, a second Home Shopping Club Channel, remember that?)…

Fifth position in heels, baby!

Fifth position in heels, baby!

…that really good Michael Douglas movie Falling Down (she turned it on during the climactic scene towards the end!), then an extended stop on The Preview Guide.


Remember those days? I swear, I used to LOVE this channel, which is like TV Guide for people who hate to read TV Guide and watch movie trailers and TV promos all day long. I myself loved TV Guide (I read it for the articles). National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1 (remember that?!), some guy ringing a bell, Court TV, basketball, hockey, and finally, Shirley MacLaine on Larry King Live round out this collection of channel surfing.


They wore their best for this interview. He in his suspenders, she in her…finest man’s evening wear. I don’t write this stuff, I just find it.

To be honest, Shirley MacLaine clip was longer than I let it run, but I am only looking to save your sanity. After all, you’re sitting through almost twelve minutes of an old ex-boyfriend’s mom changing channels.

But enough of me telling you about all of this, why not watch for yourself, and revel in the glory of 1990s television yourself?

Uploaded by Allison Venezio

Allison’s tape collection doesn’t jewels jewels as this, but still contains some interesting finds (as evidenced by previous articles). She displays many of these unusual jewels over at her blog, Allison’s Written Words. However, she loves saving the truly unusual for Retroist readers (you’re welcome). If you want, you can follow her blog on Facebook, and drop her a tweet @AllisonGeeksOut.

Thank you, Allison’s ex-boyfriend’s mom.

Also…if her boyfriend hadn’t stolen her heart already, he’d have some stiff competition from Tom and Jack.

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