Schlock stars destroy Dreamgirls


This week’s YouTube treasure is a pop culture horror that bears repeat viewing, and not just to punish yourself for not caring if Hillary beats Obama. A version of the Dreamgirls song “We are a Family” by various NBC stars on a 1986 special to commemorate the network’s 60th anniversary, it’s a slow moving trainwreck of bad casting, fake feeling, and scary singing, but somehow utterly delightful. As the song drones on and the performers fuss with various household chores, take note of (1)Nell Carter‘s insistence on singing “fee-mily” (2) Charlotte Rae‘s off kilter delivery, culminating with a surprisingly bright finish (3) Bea Arthur‘s mannishly Maude-like lack of soul (though she has no lack of shoulderpads) (4) Alfonso Ribeiro‘s cringing when his equally soul-free solo flops (5) Marla Gibbs‘s Star-Trek-via-Labelle outfit and idle chatter with Nell to fill a dead patch and (6) Soleil Moon Frye‘s awkward mugging and sprecht-singing of her cameo role, unable to even TRY to make music out of three little words. Still, this Dreamgirls is a scream, girl, and I live for these B stars—they’re truly my fee-mily.