I try not to live in the past that much. At the same time, as Mufasa once so poetically said: “Remember who you are.”
With that in mind, let’s take a step back to a simpler time when you needed your mother to get off the phone in order to use the internet.
I came up with this idea after listening to last week’s edition of the ‘Touching Base with Post Grad Problems’ podcast. That’s called an unsolicited cross-promotional plug, folks. The cult hit, and by cult hit I mean teenage boy hit, television show Wild On! was mentioned in passing and boy am I glad it was.
Wild On! aired from 1997-03, but I want to talk specifically about the 1999-2001 years. That’s right – the Brooke Burke era. You never forget your first love.
Before Anthony Bourdain became known as the end-all be-all of world travelers, there was Brooke. Wild On! specialized in visiting some of the most exotic locations around the globe. There was only one rule when it came to a destination for Wild On!; it has to be warm enough for Burke to film an entire episode in a bikini. That’s what you call award-winning producing if I’ve ever seen it.
The thing that made Wild On! so great for a teenage boy was its near R-rated material. The show was televised late at night and E! didn’t exactly have much going for them at the time; thus allowing them to push the boundaries a bit with their programming. Burke always surrounded herself with the most beautiful people in the world. A teenage boy’s brain cannot comprehend that many attractive people at the same time; let alone with cleavage that felt like it could poke my eye through the screen. E! was built on the busty adventures of Burke.
With its late night timeslot, sponsors were far and few between. Luckily there was one that stepped up to the plate. Seemingly every commercial break was flooded with Girls Gone Wild infomercials. The TV always felt louder when those commercials came on. They would also make you question whether you locked the bedroom door or not. A boy needs his privacy when he’s watching TV with his girls. We’ll dig deeper into Girl Gone Wild another time…
Nowadays we know E! as the network that introduced us to the Kardashian and other unbearable reality stars. They need to get down on their knees and kiss the sand covered feet of Burke for keeping the network afloat that paved the way for their unwarranted success today.
When it came to Burke’s travels, her number one goal seemed to be to find the late night party spot; the kind of underground clubs that required you to know a guy, who knew a guy, just to get through the door. Well when you look like Burke, you don’t have any issue getting in. These parties all had a common theme: foam. No matter where she was there would be foam coming from the ceiling with barely clothed attendees. I would be on the edge of my bed praying a breeze would come through to blow that foam off of those bare bosoms. I would go as far to say I may have blown at the screen myself on more than one occasion. Thing things we do for love…
Burke would party the night away and sleep all day; barely ever giving us a glimpse into what life is actually like in wherever the hell she was.
Honestly, I didn’t learn a single thing about world traveling from Burke. Do I care? Hell no. What Burke taught me in learning what those funny feelings were during my puberty years were far more valuable than finding out where to eat in some third world country.
Burke has made sporadic appearances in pop culture in the years since, though I would argue she has never been able to match her Wild On! success. You can find her on the current season of Celebrity Apprentice. I had to check it out, if only to get a peek at Burke all these years later. I wasn’t surprised to learn she’s still got it. As for Arnold as the new host – not so much.
Hey Brooke, you wanna go to a foam party? .
Image via 1999