Monday, February 27, 2006

Electric wha?

Some time back I reported that the Music Box Theatre in Chicago was having late-night screenings of Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo. I started to wonder: why Breakin' 2? Why not Breakin' 1? Would audiences be able to make sense of the sequel without knowing the important groundwork laid in the first installment?

They probably managed. But it's interesting that the Music Box showed the sequel only. Presumably that was to capitalize on the phrase "Electric Boogaloo" itself, which at some point entered the parlance -- or at least the snarky Gen-X parlance -- as shorthand for any second act that is needless, gratuitous, silly or otherwise objectionable.

At this point, though, the phrase is a cliche, a lazy laugh line. It reminds me of how I can tell I'm watching an inferior sitcom if one of the characters utters the "she is dead to me" line.

So I hereby pledge never to use the "Electric Boogaloo" gag in my writing. Unless it's an especially panicked deadline. Here's the work of some journalists who also need to take the pledge.

"I had to make the intellectual leap from Pitfall to Pitfall 2: Electric Boogaloo, or whatever it was called."
-- Jeff Vrabel, Chicago Sun-Times, Dec. 5, 2004

"The sequel to Gone with the Wind is titled: a. Scarlett, b. Tara's Last Days, c. Gone With the Wind II: Electric Boogaloo. (The correct answer is a.)"
-- Laura Robin, Ottawa Citizen, Aug. 21, 1999

"Even in Hollywood's long history of producing implausible sequels, Phil Jackson's return to the Lakers still seems as unfathomable as James Cameron returning to direct Titanic 2: Electric Boogaloo."
-- Michael Lee, The Washington Post, Oct. 6, 2005

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