“Oh this is awful. Let’s put [REDACTED] on it, I guess.”
~AFFotD Editor-in-Chief, Johnny Roosevelt
We don’t necessarily go out of our way to hawk other people’s websites, but every once in a while we have to give a site its credit when they post a video that’s so great we’ll want to discuss it, or so horrible we’ll force our undercover investigator, [REDACTED], to review it. In this case, the blog Everything Is Terrible was more than willing to supply us with, well, one of those terrible ones. Specifically, an awkward, probably 90’s, video of awkward children rap about recycling. You can take a moment to watch it if you like, but we can save you the pain by inflicting it on our poor, abused investigative journalist.
Ha ha, we love to make you suffer, [REDACTED]!
[REDACTED] Reviews The Recycle Rap
Oh great, you guys. This is just fucking great. So I’m pigeonholed in reviewing all awkward white rap videos now? Why, is this just because I watched that Dragnet rap when you asked me to? Dammit. Just, ugh. Dammit.
If there’s anything worse than 1980s/1990s white celebrities releasing novelty rap videos, it’s 1990s children releasing educational rap videos. Children only add value to something if you’re a South Park episode making kindergarteners say terrible things, or you’re casting a Wes Anderson film. Kids are the worst. I’m actively assuming I’m going to give a fake name to, and learn to despise, every goddamn child I see in the next three minutes.
This video starts showing just a normal, everyday classroom in the 1990’s. You know, nine backpacks hanging from the wall, a pink door that’s taller on the left side than on the right, and an oversized doorknob that looks to be made out of construction paper and seems to be right at a child’s eye-level. I’m assuming the knob is that high to give both the parents and teachers of these kids a convenient “no, he ran into a doorknob” excuse for their black eyes, but that’s only because I tend to believe that 1990’s rapping white children deserve to get hit if there’s a chance it will make them stop.
I’m not saying I’d hit a child. I’m saying I’d hit a child in the 1990’s wearing a backwards baseball hat and trying to rap about anything that’s not Carmen Sandiego.
Great, I’m really glad they decided to give us captions. In all caps. Because that’s just what this video needs. So to recap the first six seconds of this already awful video, eight kids just stormed into the classroom as one boy “raps” and I use word quotations there because it sounds exactly how you expect an 8 year old being forced to rap for his freedom would sound.
There’s no way to know who is rapping, by the way. There are nine backpacks on the wall, and eight kids just stormed into the room wearing sneakers that were stolen from the set of Saved by the Bell. So where’s the ninth child? Presumably behind the camera, maniacally rapping about recycling as he forces the rest of his classmates to dance for him if they ever want to see their families again. That is literally the only explanation of this video that would leave me feeling anything but hatred towards everyone on the screen right now.
Speaking of these eight people I have learned to loathe in the six seconds it took them to storm into the room, I’m going to go ahead and tell you all their names and a reason to hate them. You know, so you can keep along with my descriptions later on, ranging from the left to the right of your screen.
Blue-shirt kid: That’s Mikey. In the 1990’s, everyone boy was named Michael, and if a name could be made to end with a “Y” that was their name for their whole childhood. Joes became Joeys, Michaels became Mikeys, and Tylers went by “Ty” until high school, and were always the worst. That said, Mikey himself is still pretty awful. He is way too excited to be here, and he bursts into the room spreading his arms like prehensile wings and bobbing his head forward like a turkey animated by Disney to be a comic relief character. I would totally steal this kid’s lunch money without feeling a twinge of guilt, and I’m a full-grown adult.
Orange-shirt kid: That’s Emily. She’s the one who is most proud of her lunch (oh yeah, I forgot to mention, everyone is carrying a bag lunch, which makes no sense. Where are they coming from if they have their lunches with them? I mean, their backpacks are hanging on the wall, so where were they keeping their lunch, and why are they still clearly full?) and shakes the bag around pretty violently. She was probably remembering that time her Au Pair got arrested back when she was a baby and she wouldn’t stop crying, which at least explains why she’s excited to be in this video. Au Pair abuse awareness is very important.
Pink-shirt kid: If the Power Rangers taught this generation anything, it’s that girls should wear pink to help identify them as girls, unless they were Asian, in which case costume designers were allowed to be comically racist. This is Kimberly! Like the Pink Ranger! She doesn’t watch Power Rangers, though, because she’s not actually cool enough to know what kids her age are into. Her mom has a TV that they lock in a cupboard and only use to watch the news for an hour every night. She slurps her saliva loud enough for people sitting next to her to hear, and even though there were dozens of witnesses, when she was kidnapped and placed in this fake classroom to rap about recycling, no one cared enough to call the police.
Purple-shirt kid: That’s Alyssa, and I actually feel so bad for her. Every black child actor in the 1990’s had to be put in a giant lottery, since casting directors at the time dictated you couldn’t have more than one black child actor on a TV show that didn’t feature Bill Cosby or the cop from Die Hard and Die Hard 2. So clearly her agent called her and said, “You’ve finally been chosen.” She was so excited to be on TV, and then she found out she had to do a rap with all these losers. She was so sad she ate nothing but ice cream for a week. She’s the only one of these actors that grew into a well-adjusted adult. Whoops, spoilers, half of these kids ended up on meth!
Red-shirt kid: That’s Chelsea. It takes you a while to realize she’s a girl, largely due to the fact that she has coke-bottle glasses and wears the baggiest shirt and the baggiest pants in the bunch. Yes she’s a lesbian. She storms in holding dark-green girl’s hand (more on her later) with a death grip. At about four seconds in, dark-green is struggling to free herself, and Chelsea here is holding on for dear fucking life like a cavewoman taking home her newly claimed mate. She totally thought they had something real, but dark-green girl was just in it to snag the last pepperoni from her Lunchables pizza.
Dark-green-shirt kid: Hannah knows how to play the game. She’s rocking the tomboy-pony-tail look, knowing it’ll get her in good graces with Chelsea. I see you, Hannah. You think it’s all fun and games, toying with other girls’ hearts. It’s just a stupid rap video your mom made you audition for because she was once blew a director to become an understudy in an off-Broadway production of Hair and she’s trying to live through your success, right? What could possibly go wrong? Well, wait till Chelsea Single-White-Females the fuck out of you, then maybe you’ll see that your actions have consequences. Full disclosure—next to Mikey, I think Hannah’s my least favorite.
Light-green-shirt kid: That’s Ashley. Chelsea doesn’t like her much because she came in holding Hannah’s other hand when they entered this video. I mean, she let go pretty quickly, but Chelsea gets really territorial. Hannah’s playing a dangerous game, and she doesn’t even fucking know it.
Anyway. On with the rest of the video.
Look at that fucker to the left! There’s the ninth kid! Yellow-shirt kid is Andy. I know this sounds racist, but I’m not sure if he’s Hispanic or African-American. I’m leaning Hispanic. The video quality on this is kind of shit. Either way, Andy is the ninth kid! He’s alright.
Distressingly, this means that the rapper is probably none other than “Recycle Michael,” the awful drawing from the poster on the wall, which terrifies me because he sounds like a human child. No mascot should ever have the voice of a normal human child. It’s unseemly.
The picture on the wall just became animated and started moving, and all the kids are bouncing over to say, “Look! Recycle Michael! He’s alive! Yay!” That’s the complete opposite response any well-adjusted child should have to a poster magically coming to life. “BURN IT!” “RUN!” or “Where the hell is this awful Rap music coming from, and why does my mouth taste like chloroform” are all much more acceptable responses. Either way, Hannah’s especially excited, as she’s jumping up and down like she has to pee real bad. Hannah’s such a bitch.
Oh great. There’s a teacher. So for those of you wondering, “For the love of God, why isn’t there an adult figure who can step in and stop these children from being exploited by this rapping animated figure on a poster, this is child abuse” don’t worry, it’s all under the careful supervision of the worst teacher ever. Yes, you are the problem.
The sad thing is, I suspect that this teacher could be very attractive. You know, if she wasn’t the kind of person to wear a sideways baseball hat, overalls, or make life decisions that would lead her to take a starring role in travesty of an educational video.
The kids all sat down in chairs and started doing a dance together. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “[REDACTED], kill me now before I have to sit through any more of this.” What? No I guess that’s more what I’m thinking. But you’re probably saying to yourself that sitting down in multicolored school desks with dangerously sharp backs is probably one of the worst places for dancing, and you’d be 100% correct. They shot their hands out, move them up and down, point emphatically at the poster, and then touch hands and make circles like they’re trying to perform a séance. I think we’re meant to believe that the kids rap the chorus, which are just the words “Recycle! Recycle, Michael” repeated by a group of children over and over until you notice your hands trying to grab a fistful of sleeping pills.
Anyway I chose this particular screenshot because Hannah looks cross-eyed and buck-toothed and I hate her.
The God awful teacher went around with that yellow recycling bin to collect recyclables from the children. She skips a lot. Some of the items being recycled include regular plastic plates, oversized kitchen utensils the size of the children’s arms, and at one point Chelsea aggressively chucks her lunch in there. While I’m all for the attitude (“fuck your lunch, teacher!”) a sack lunch is totally not recyclable. Shouldn’t part of this rap that teaches you how to recycle include the detail that leftover food isn’t recyclable? That seems like a very big oversight. While Chelsea’s devotion to recycling is spotty at best, her devotion to getting jiggy with it cannot be questioned. Girl is getting it here. She’s giving 150%, which makes up for Kimberly and Mikey in the background flopping around like Louie Anderson on a celebrity diving competition. They’re the most awkward kids in this video, which makes them the most awkward kids on the planet.
One thing I find especially creepy about the whole thing (with Hannah as the worst offender) is that they’re smiling really broadly the entire time, and it’s terrifying. You know when you were, like, five years old, and didn’t really grasp how to smile for a picture, so whenever the person taking a picture would go, “Smile!” you would violently toss your head back and stretch your mouth out as far horizontally as you could while keeping your teeth clenched? That’s the “smile” on the face of every kid in this fucking video. I think I’m watching their souls escape out through their nostrils.
When people tell you a picture says a thousand words, they are absolutely right, because this shot right here is the most succinct description of this video possible. I’ve literally written 2,000 words about it, and I could have just posted this picture, hung up my spurs, and gone home. They finished the chorus, and all of a sudden just start screaming “HELP!” for no goddamn reason. Hannah looks like she’s having a seizure, the teacher looks like one of her students just got dismembered by Recycle Michael himself (perchance to dream), Alyssa looks genuinely terrified because she’s the only goddamn professional actor in this sorry lot, and Mikey apparently assumes that “being scared” should elicit the same physical response was “a gust of wind almost blew off my hat” because he’s the worst.
So after shouting, “Help! Recycle Michael! HELP!!!!” these kids follow the teacher in a circle around the table like she’s the goddamn Pied Piper, and they put recyclables into three terrifying trashcan people with funny hats who bounce around because there is someone inside each one of them making them move. These three guys are designated for “paper,” “plastic,” and “cans.” But the kids list “glass” and “water” as well. Which again seems to do the opposite of teach kids how to recycle. How do you “recycle” water? There isn’t a bin for that shit anywhere.
Also, when they said “Glass” I literally heard it as “Blood” the first five times. And I wouldn’t have been surprised if that’s what they were actually saying. Because Recycle Michael is going to eat us.
Ashley put a plate in the Trashcan-man listed for “Cans.” I couldn’t blame her for putting the wrong thing in the wrong bin because this video is making me forget how to recycle. But before I could say something about it, the Trashcan-man giggles and spits the fucking thing out (it takes two tries, because there’s a fucking person inside there whose job is to make this abomination vomit out a plate) at which point Ashley calmly picks it up and puts it in on marked “Paper.” This seems to appease the recycle monsters, even though the plate is blue and looks plastic as shit. I should point out that this takes up a good ten seconds of the fucking video.
Then everyone sits down in a line, except for Kimberly, Alyssa, and Andy, who are handed giant forks and knives and proceed to dance with them like they’re hoping to take out the eyes of one of their classmates. “RECYCLE! FUCK YOU! KARATE!” After somehow not having one of these deadly weapons fly out of their grasp and impale someone during their wild gesticulations, they proceed to beat the Trashcan-man marked “Plastic” for several seconds while the Plastics Trashcan smiles mutely before they shove these sharp objects into its gaping maw. The more I watch this exchange between the children and the Plastics Trashman, the more I’m almost certain someone had to have died during the filming of this rap.
AGHHHHHHHHHHHHH! OH GOD WHY!
So Recycle Michael just popped out of the poster…while leaving his ghostly visage to remain on the aforementioned poster, and now he’s going around dancing with the kids. I’m pretty sure his hat is an aluminum can with the lid hanging out, and that he’s animated in squiggly lines like he’s a precursor to Home Movies. Trust me, as terrifying as this still looks, it’s nothing compared to the horrors of watching these smiling children follow him around the table until he vanishes back into the poster, removing all trace of himself from your memory and creating a giant “recycle” sign that crushes the life out of all the children in this video.
Ha ha, I’m just kidding. You’ll never forget Recycle Michael, no matter how much you want to. He’ll haunt your dreams forever, and every few years his visage will form on your wallpaper mysteriously out of blood!
It ends with the teacher, now without her awful hat, giving a thumbs up while saying, “Very good, boys and girls” while posing on what looks like a throne from Alice in Wonderland next to an apple the size of two basketballs. The children are all of a sudden suspiciously absent. We all know they’re dead, Mrs. Teacher Lady, don’t patronize us.
And that’s the end of it. It was…pretty much the worst thing ever. Just so, so bad. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be drinking whiskey until the last two days are erased from my brain.