in which 16 year-old me plays Teen Win Lose Or Draw

This is … uh … a thing that happened.

This last weekend at MegaCon in Orlando, I met contestant Keri again, and she reminded me that we did this in 1989 when I was at the Disney Studios in Orlando. I asked her if she had a copy of it, and her husband told me they had it on VHS, but she was embarrassed by it and didn’t want anyone else to see it. He and I communicated in the secret language of husbands, and he risked sleeping on the couch to share it with us. I’m really glad he did, because unlike pretty much everything I’ve seen from this part of my life, I’m not mortified by it*. I think it’s pretty cute, and it’s obvious that we’re all having a whole lot of unselfconscious fun.

BUT! There is a cautionary tale, here: Kids, this is what we looked like when we were teenagers in the late 80s. I keep seeing that some fools are trying to make these fashion trends come back for you damn kids today. LEARN FROM OUR MISTAKES. DO NOT REPEAT THEM. WE WORE NEON SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO.

*except when I’m hollering at 16 year-old me to give the fucking obvious answer you moron!

73 thoughts on “in which 16 year-old me plays Teen Win Lose Or Draw”

  1. That was fun to watch! Oh god the 80’s colors and hairstyles! What were we thinking? You haven’t changed much. Different hair and a beard, but you look a lot like your younger self.

  2. Wow, I am reminded why I have a huge crush on you, starting back then. (Don’t worry, Anne, I only look.) And, the styles, both in clothes and hair?? We thought that was cool?!

  3. Wow. I’d forgotten how dorky kids programs were back then. And as far as things to avoid, I think the hair might rank above neon… yours wasn’t too bad, I guess? But some of the other people there…

    Also, kind of amusing how the boys actually yelled out the overall answer while trying to guess ‘frames’. And then couldn’t get ‘bowling’ later on.

  4. This game is so great. I never watched it before. Keri has nothing to worry about; she looks great and played the game great too. What a wonderful memory to have.

  5. I’m not as freaked out about the clothes as I am the hair. PLEASE do NOT bring back 80’s poodle perm hair. It’s horrible, and the amount of hairspray and gel you go through is horrendous, let alone if you do anything to your bangs. (The side swoop, poofy thing)

  6. You know, all of these fashion trends were still entrenched in rural America (in the Midwest, at least) well into the 90s. I remember telling my cousin somewhere between 1996-1999 that she could stop doing the poodle-perm and look like a real person again.

  7. That’s pretty awesome. I don’t recall ever seeing Teen Win, Lose or Draw on tv though. Must have been on a channel we didn’t get.

  8. Wil you are my hero! I was 21 and I had not had the nerve to have an earring! It took me another 19 years before I had my ears pierced! So, kudos!!!

    That was actually fun and awesome to watch!


    I’ve said this many times. Kids these days don’t appreciate the suffering we went through.
    Those who do not learn from history’s mistakes are doomed to repeat them.

  10. I have to admit, as much as I hated most game shows (most, not all) and as big as the hair is, this was fun to watch.

    On the fashion front, the up side is all those clothes you have in your closet could be worth something again…twenty years later. My wife keeps laughing when she sees some of the “new” and “trendy” shoes that are coming out that are just reproductions of styles from the 70’s and 80’s.

  11. I simply love the “secret language of husbands”.

    Wow, this show brings back fashion memories….

  12. I was surprised that two of you didn’t use the hash mark shortcut representing 5. You know, four lines with a fifth drawn through them. Draw two of those and people will instantly know you mean 10.

    This was fun to watch and no one involved should be embarrassed. I’d love to know if any of the other contestants find this.

  13. Oh my god, the hair! Everybody’s HAIR!

    You and I are almost exactly the same age. Did we really look like that? And why does it simultaneously feel like it happened so recently, and yet so very long ago?

    I think I need a drink. A 2013 drink!

  14. I’m not sure if I ever saw the “Teen” version (I was 3 in 1989), but I remember watching the standard Win Lose or Draw show. I started watching this just to take a quick glance but ended up watching the whole thing… it holds up surprisingly well. I’m not big on nostalgia and I don’t think I’ll go looking for all those old shows anytime soon (I did catch a random rerun of Nick Arcade once a couple years ago) but I enjoyed being reminded of how good-natured and straight-up-fun the TV of my youth was.

    It’s interesting how seemingly innocent TV was at the time (and through the early 90’s as I grew up) compared to today. Even Star Trek TNG (my all-time favorite show) is quite tame and innocent, even when dealing with serious issues. But then we’re reminded right in this show of Stand By Me from just a few years earlier, which dealt with some rather heavy stuff for a movie that a lot of kids watch (whether you consider it a children’s film or not), anyway.

    Now it seems that a lot of TV has caught up with the movies from back then in terms of “heaviness”, and from what I know of children’s TV there isn’t really anything like this that’s pure fun – do they do anything like the countless shows made in Orlando with vacationing kids that were ubiquitous in the 90’s anymore?

    Of course – in today’s world of the internet, there isn’t as much need for TV to provide mindless fun stuff for kids (and one could argue whether or not having so much mindless fun stuff was particularly helpful for us kids in the 90’s). Instead we get mindless reality shows for adults – which kids watch too, of course – that are often negative in tone (if not outright mean-spirited).

    Basically I’m just lamenting the state of culture today, with all of its negativity. We had it way better as kids back then than kids of today do. But then, a lot of people my age are very negative today, so maybe all that goofy stuff from our childhood didn’t have any lasting effect.

    I do think that making TV – even kid’s TV – “heavier” is a good thing (with positive shows like Degrassi paving the way on the kid’s front) in the end, but what I see is extremely dumb kid’s stuff (Disney Channel shows) and very heavy adult stuff (all the gloriously excellent dramas on TV these days) and not a whole lot in between. I’m sure things will improve, we’re just in an awkward phase I guess (…like some of the kids on this show, ba-dum-tish).

  15. OMG, that was amazing! I was 2 in 1989, but you are so cute! You still are, but that is not the point….

    What happened to the earring? Also, did Keri become an attorney?

  16. I’d love to know exactly how Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure was the movie that “rewrote your life”. It sounds as if there could be a story there.

  17. I was on regular person Win Lose or Draw in ’88, and in one of the supreme ironies of my life, a phrase I had to draw was Beam Me Up, Scotty. And I had no clue how to illustrate it, so I started drawing the Enterprise. Needless to say, neither of my celebrities were familiar with Star Trek, so it didn’t work. Sigh.

  18. Im so glad someone asked whether Keri became a lawyer 😀

    Wil, Don’t feel bad about guessing Superman, My son was screaming Doctor Who at the Laptop just now till I pointed out that was a police booth not a phone booth 😉

    PS: How TALL ARE YOU? You look like you were about 6’5″ in that show, at least compared to the other kids 😀

  19. You won some kids a trip to space camp. I mean, how cool is that. Forget all the 80’s fashion bashing, it was the time that it was. Wil, I could see your true enthusiasm for gaming shining through. Your passion for sharing fun games with people was just as evident then as it is now. And, you helped some kids go to the ultimate nerd summer camp! So cool!

  20. Wow, you got to be on a show with Skippy??? You just got cooler.

    Also, Josie Davis did a comedy piano act? I am about to lose the next hour of my life searching for that on youtube.

  21. Like several here, I intended to only watch a minute or so of this, but I found myself entranced by the hair (!) and I couldn’t turn away. And the fact that it ended in a tie three times? Talk about suspense! 😉 What fun this was! I’m glad the secret language of husbands made this happen. Thanks for sharing, Wil and Keri’s husband! Oh, and Keri, no need to feel embarrassed. This was lovely, and I’m sure you had a lot of fun.

    Now, Wil…what’s this about a certain movie transforming your life? Now that’s a story I’d like to know!

    Oh, and yeah…that’s totally the first canon appearance of Sparks McGee.

  22. That was pretty fun to watch. The first thing I thought was “Skippy!”. Your Superman guess was pretty decent considering the clues you guys had got right. I started laughing at the cheesy prizes when they showed the cameras the second place contestants were going to get. Not so much when they said the winners got to go to frickin’ space camp.

  23. Man, what ever happened to Marc? Skippy was one of my favorite sitcom characters of all time.

    Also, I would have loved to show Josie Davis who was really in charge. If ya know what I mean. *

    * – I mean that teen me had a huge crush on her and probably would have stuttered out something embarrassingly awkward if I ever met her in person.

  24. I love everything about this. I love your spiky hair and the other girl’s picked out hair. I love that you pushed your sleeves up every 10 seconds, just like I remember everyone in high school doing. I love that Keri didn’t even flinch when Marc skeeved out on her. I love the non-PC nature of the boys’ introduction. I love the kid in the background wearing fake wayfarers that are almost the size of his face. I love Josie Davis. I love that the kid that didn’t know what a banjo was didn’t put up with Marc ribbing him about his voice. I love the memories. And apparently I love VHS.

Comments are closed.