Debbie’s Choice

We live in a world where Robert Redford’s face exists, radiating light and beauty, Jonathan Frid was Grand Marshal of at least one parade, and, in 1968, twin brothers Robin and Maurice Gibb were contestants on an episode of The Dating Game–and, 45 years later, we are able to watch that episode via the Internet. (Thank you, Chaplinssmile1 for recording your television and uploading this gem! You are a star.) We live in a wonderful, wonderful world.

The gist of The Dating Game is this: There is a single contestant and a panel of three bachelors. The contestant and the panel do not see one another, and the contestant asks each member of the panel individual questions. Based on the answers to these questions, the contestant selects which bachelor she would most like to date, and the show supposedly sends them on a date.

At the start of the show, the host introduces us to the contestants: “There’s no mystery about how The Bee Gees got their name. It was brother Barry Gibb and two other people who supplied the moniker. Now the big mystery this evening is whether our lovely young lady will choose one of the two Bee Gee brothers…or our Olympic Gold Medal winner.”

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Left: Bachelor #1, Maurice “Mo” Gibb, Right: Bachelor #3, Robin “Hunky” Gibb. Not pictured: Bachelor #2, Some Olympian Whose Last Name Is Not Gibb.

I think its no mystery whom I would pick. Ha ha. But who will the contestant, Debbie, pick and what kind of questions will she ask?

The first question Debbie asks Bachelors 1 and 2 is: What do you like most about the dark?

“Well, I love gathering lilacs in an old brown shoe. Basically. In the dark,” Mo answers nonchalantly.

Uh, okay.

Then Debbie asks Bachelor 3 (ROBIN), “If you came over to my house and my mother was playing cards with a tomato and my father was talking on a banana and I was wrestling with a grapefruit, what would you do to fit into the family?”

Ummm….WHAT? I know it was the ’60s and everything, but did contestants not have to pass a drug test to be on this show? Seriously. What the heck, Debbie? You are so weird.

Robin, though, is good-natured about it, and says he would join in. When pressured by Debbie to define what exactly he would do in order to fit in, Robin tells her that it wouldn’t really matter what he did with a family like that–he could do just about anything. You tell ‘er, Robin.

And if that question wasn’t weird enough, Debbie then asks, “If on our first date, you kissed me and I turned into a flower, what kind of flower would I be and what would you do with me?”

This is literally Mo’s face while Debbie asks the question:

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“Get me out of here!” Me too, Mo. Me too.

“You’d be a rose and I’d water you,” Mo replies. Can you believe this guy would one day write “Closer Than Close”? I think Mo must have borrowed Robin’s sass for this show.

Debbie asks some more really weird questions, and then she concludes her interrogation with, “I love soft things, so say the softest thing you can think of to me right now.”

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“Cushion. C-U-S-H-I-O-N.”

(Dear Robin, U-R-A-Q-T.)

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“Butter.”

“Water?”

“Butter. B-U-double T-E-R.”

This girl is so weird. W-E-I-R-D.

Debbie now has 60 seconds to decide which bachelor she would most like to date. Who do you think she will pick? Let’s review. There’s Mo, who has appeared quite disinterested in the whole thing. His answers have bordered on caustic, but since he’s a Gibb, you know there’s no real malice. Then there’s his twin brother, Robin, whose speaking voice even closely resembles that of an angel. His answers have been polite and well-thought-out. And then there’s some other guy but he is OBVIOUSLY not even in the running because what chance does he stand against TWO Gibbs? Zero chance, that’s what.

And Debbie chooses…

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Bachelor #1, Maurice Gibb! He is absolutely chuffed.

Now, there were a few confusing things about this program, like the questions and how anyone thought they stood a chance against Robin Gibb and then how anyone but Robin Gibb was selected as the date, but something that really confuses me is the “date.”

The host tells this story about rocks and how Debbie and Maurice are going to this place where special rocks are discovered–the diamond mines of Johannesburg, South Africa! Okay, never mind that this is a bit over-the-top for a first date, WHY would anyone going on a date with Maurice “Mo” Gibb need to go anywhere but MOTOWN? Honestly. This show is weird.

I’d really like to know if Debbie and Mo ever went on that date to South Africa. Debbie, the world is waiting for your tell-all.

Watch for yourself: Part One | Part Two

Chest hair, medallions, and three-part harmony, oh my!

We need to talk about the Bee Gees.

Because they are amazing songwriters, performers, and artists.

Because they have amazing chest hair.

Because sometimes they wear crazy, cool medallions.

Because they’ve written some of my favorite songs ever. Which actually equates to they’ve written some of the greatest songs ever.

But mostly because I have no other interests right now. Everything else in my life is secondary to the Bee Gees at the moment. When I am not listening to, watching, or reading about the Bee Gees, I wander this planet we call Earth as a Zombie, barely stayin’ alive.

Hardy-har-har.

Anyway.

I remember first being introduced to the Bee Gees one Christmas when I was given Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on VHS. Incurable Beatlemaniac that I was (and am!), I was initially crestfallen that the Fab Four were not the stars of this film–nay, did they appear to have any connection with the film other than the fact that they, you know, wrote all the songs.

But then I watched Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

And then I watched it again. And again. And again. I consider it nothing short of a miracle that the videocassette never gave out. And since then, I have loved the Bee Gees.

Fast forward to this past Fourth of July, a day most people in the United States spend celebrating the founding of our country, watching fireworks, and eating food. I’d tried to do those things and was even tolerating ten-minute commercial breaks during National Treasure just so I could hear Nicolas Cage say, “I’m gonna steal The Declaration of Independence.” Then I decided I couldn’t take it anymore and decided to browse Netflix for something else to watch. In “Feel Good Movies,” I found a winner.

Bee Gees: In Our Own Time. 

Oh, Netflix, you darling genius. I hadn’t felt so good in months as I did watching this documentary again. (Shame on the person who checked out the DVD from the library and never returned it. Why aren’t people like you banned from libraries everywhere? You just plain stink.)

It reminded me of how much I love the Brothers Gibb.

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First, there’s Barry (birth name: Raspbarry “Sweet & Savory” Gibb), also known as Wolfman. At least that is what my younger sister and I christened him while viewing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for the 300th time. You are an animal, ah-oooooo! 

Anyway.

Barry is so awesome. I love Barry’s laugh. It’s like a nervous laugh, the kind of laugh that says (all in one breath), “I-just-said-something-that-I-thought-was-semi-funny-but-I’m-not-sure-if-anyone-is-going-to-laugh-so-I’ll-laugh-just-in-case-and-pretend-I’m-laughing-at-myself.” I love Barry’s soulful voice. I love his falsetto voice, and I love that he just happened to discover that treasure one day in the studio. I love that he, like his brothers, appears to be a balanced, genuine, compassionate person, unaffected by accolades and similarly undeterred by criticisms because he is so passionate about music and believes in what he does. You go Barry, you go. And I love that he is still going.

Oh, and can I just say: Major. Babe. Alert.

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Seriously. I mean, if Barry were a US President, he would be Babe-raham Lincoln.

But my heart will always belong to another Gibb brother.

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Robin. Oh, Robin. Where do I start? That voice? That amazing voice that is so melancholically beautiful? (A song called “I Started a Joke” isn’t supposed to make you cry, is it? It’s supposed to be funny, right? Wrong.) Or how about his articulate, astute opinions on anything and everything? (My favorite: his opinions and perceptions of the music industry.) Or how about the man’s adventurous fashion sense?

He could be cool and understated.

Or he could be studious.

Or he could pull off that look of I-plugged-my-hair-into-an-electrical-socket-for-too-long-but-I-still-look-awesome. Quite the feat!

Or he could pull off that look of…

Er, what would you call this? Never mind. It doesn’t matter. I love that he went through so many fashions, good and bad (and really, really bad). He had confidence! Truly one of a kind. Gone too soon.

Just like his twin brother, Maurice–Mo–Motown.

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On the count of three: One, two, three….Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

And Mo was cute, too, wasn’t he? Just kidding! I actually was aw’ing about Mo, not Robin. But Robin was kind of cute, too. In his own Robin way. Which is the best way.

Okay, let’s get off this Robin detour and back to how much I love Mo. Because I do. I love Mo.

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Mo was often the Man in the Middle, caught between arguments between the polar opposites that are Barry and Robin, and he was the amiable diplomat who mollified their disagreements and helped keep them together. He was an engaging and entertaining interview subject, gifted at recounting anecdotes and offering sincere thoughts and opinions. He was a gifted musician, able to play numerous instruments and even more willing to try and learn another. He was a member of the Beatles fan club (and later became Ringo’s neighbor!) and produced Tin Tin and the Osmonds (and probably some other artists, too, but I’m most impressed by these two). Barry is Barry and Robin is my favorite, but I think it would have been so much fun to hang out with Mo (especially if he could have introduced me to his neighbor with the big neb).

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The Bee Gees are, in some minds, indelibly linked with disco, tight white pants, forests of chest hair, and some John Travolta movie. Those minds sadly forget the great pop music they crafted in the late 1960s and the mellow ballads of the early 1970s before they became a cultural phenomenon. They forget how they stepped out of the limelight after the disco backlash, choosing instead to write and produce chart-topping songs and albums with other artists, and how when they decided to re-enter the music industry as performers, they sailed to the top of the charts again. They forget the critical recognition, well-earned but not needed because the rest of us already knew what took the critics more than 30 years to realize, lavished upon the trio in the 1990s after even more successes, and they forget how their swan song, This Is Where I Came In, wasn’t even supposed to be a swan song but a promising and exciting return to the music world for the Brothers Gibb.

As I sat and watched In Our Own Time, I realized (yet again) how I can’t pick just one song or even an era out of the Bee Gees’ long career and designate it my “favorite.” I literally sat there, exclaiming every time they sang a song, “I love that song!” And I realized (yet again) not only how well-crafted and beautifully sung their songs are but also how timeless they are. “To Love Somebody” does not reek of 1967. It, like its creators, is timeless.

P.S. I babysit two young children a few days a week, and the five-year-old girl has introduced me to this show called Punky Brewster. When she decides that’s what she wants to watch, I try to leave the room and clean up the house, which is exactly what I did when she requested good ol’ Punky on Tuesday. Except I wished I hadn’t once I walked back through the room a few minutes later because…

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“Oh my gosh, it’s Andy Gibb!” The little girl probably thought the house was on fire or something, the way I was screeching and convulsing. I had to explain that this man was a famous singer and had three famous brothers who also sang. (I didn’t mention that I was planning on marrying one of them in the next life.)

In this particular episode, Andy is the host of a “Miss Adorable” contest, and he gives the winner a peck on the cheek.

“I want that boy to kiss me,” my little friend confided. I just didn’t have the heart to tell her that wasn’t possible, but it was sweet. And seeing Andy Gibb in a sparkly black jacket and red leather pants totally made my day! There’s just no escaping the Gibbs. Not that I’d ever want to do that.

P.S.S. Who wants to play Twister on Robin’s sweater?