JANUARY-FEBRUARY, 1988 Shocking as it may sound, there was "gossip" before Britney Spears—but generally speaking, it wasn't nearly as juicy. However, in honor of the Mercury's "Best of 1988" issue, we've hit the history books to dig up the stinkiest piles of scandal... many of which are fossilized and currently on display at the Smithsonian. First, we explore the second most enduring institution following marriage, which is of course, DIVORCE. In 1988, not-so-funny man Robin Williams shit-canned his 10-year marriage to Valerie Velardi in favor of the family's nanny. Then Eric Clapton divorced Patti Boyd (who he had seduced away from George Harrison) while rocker Bruce Springsteen dumped wife Julianne Phillips for wiggly backup singer Patti Scialfa—paying a $20 million settlement for the trouble. BUT WAIT... 1988 wasn't just about breaking hearts and crushed dreams, it was also about dreams and hearts that were yet to be crushed. For example, mustachioed Burt Reynolds and busty Loni Anderson were wed in '88 (a then genetically perfect combination rivaling that of Brangelina)—even though they eventually fell into marital disrepair, ending their marriage with suspected extramarital dalliances, and throwing silverware in populated Florida eateries. But nothing... nothing prepared the world for the whirlwind romance, marriage, and physical abuse of 1988's best couple: Mike Tyson and Robin Givens. After a wildly brief courtship, the two were married in February—and quickly descended into the hottest suburbs of hell. Furniture was thrown through windows! Tyson crashed Robin's $72,000 BMW into an inanimate object! Robin tearfully confessed to Barbara Walters how Tyson had made her life "pure hell!" Tyson responded by calling her "slime" which in turn prompted Givens' $125 million libel suit, which again in turn prompted Tyson to liken life with Robin to "living with the Ku Klux Klan." By October, they were divorced... but you know what? Michael J. Fox and Family Ties-co-star Tracy Pollan were also wedded in 1988—AND ARE STILL HAPPILY MARRIED TO THIS DAY. (See, Hubby Kip? There's hope for us yet.) MEANWHILE... Happy birthday to Trail Blazer Greg Oden, born in 1988. Note to everyone else: YOU'RE OLD.
MARCH-MAY, 1988 One of the most annoying and popular songs of 1988 was Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy." However, just try and tell that to little Prince Harry who underwent surgery for "an undescended testicle." Or fall guy Oliver North, who was indicted on charges of conspiracy during the Iran-Contra Affair. And especially don't tell it to the country's leading televangelist of the time Jimmy Swaggart, who inconsolably blubbered to God on national TV, "I have sinned against you, and I beg your forgiveness!" (Sorry, God. He was talking about banging prostitutes in a Louisiana motel—not defrauding millions of naïve Christians out of their life savings. But it's a start, right?) MEANWHILE... As you know, 1988 was an election year, and the Democrats had their own "Barack Obama" named Jesse Jackson who shocked the world by beating frontrunner Michael Dukakis in the Michigan caucuses, thereby becoming the frontrunner for the party's nomination. However, once the Democrats remembered Jackson was black, they nominated Dukakis and went about their business of doing everything they could to lose the election. (We were going to say, "Look how much things have changed!"... but let's wait until November 4, hmmm?) MEANWHILE... Happy birthday Haley Joel "I See Dead People" Osment! Yep, the rest of you are still old.
JUNE-AUGUST, 1988 In 1988, then Surgeon General C. Everett Koop totes pissed off his bosses in the Reagan administration for issuing a report saying that nicotine was just as addictive as heroin and cocaine. Speaking on behalf of the cigarette industry, Joe Camel responded, "Great! So that means we can finally raise our prices!" MEANWHILE... At the National Convention in Atlanta, Democrats were too busy nominating the team of Dukakis/Bentsen to notice actor Rob Lowe banging two girls in his convention hotel room—and one of them was only 16! Luckily for us, Lowe captured his statutory rape on the same videotape that featured clips of his M/M/F ménage à trois in Paris—making Rob the very first star of what would come to be known as "the celebrity sex tape." (Paris Hilton? We hope you're sending Rob a thank-you note. Ahhhh, forget the note. Just break out your night-vision camera and give him a hummer.) MEANWHILE... As it turns out, Christians were a lot touchier back in 1988. When director Marty Scorsese released his controversial film The Last Temptation of Christ—which depicted a totes hot Jesus making love to Mary Magdalene—fundamentalist Christian poop hit the fan. Not only was the film protested far in advance of its showing, religious leaders blasted it from their pulpits, condemning it as "pornographic," while a French Catholic fundamentalist group threw Molotov cocktails inside a crowded theater, injuring 13 people. On the upside, Michael "Arrested Development" Cera, Rupert "Harry Potter" Grint and Rumer "Daughter of Bruce and Demi" Willis were born. Actually, that isn't such an upside, because it means you're old.
SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER, 1988 "Senator, I knew Jack Kennedy. I served with Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy." That's the closest the world of politics has ever gotten to an "Oooooh, snap!" moment, and it occurred when the laughably inept Republican vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle compared his political experience to that of John F. Kennedy's. Needless to say, Quayle's Democratic opponent, Senator Lloyd Bentsen, didn't take that too well, and proceeded to dress down Quayle in front of millions of viewers—and yet? We still didn't win. MEANWHILE... Hubby Kip's been begging us to mention this ever since he first heard about this Very Special Edition™ of One Day at a Time, so here goes (sigh): In 1988, Super Mario Bros. 3 came out in Japan, and it still stands as "probably the sweetest game ever," according to a confidential and enthusiastic One Day source who shall not be named (but, it should be noted, has neither mowed the lawn nor taken out the recycling for two weeks, and had better get busy if he doesn't want to sleep on the couch). MEANWHILE... No one of any interest was born during this time, saving you from feeling old.
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 1988 Back in 1988, Geraldo Rivera was a hard-hitting journalist—or, actually, sorry, a hard-hit journalist. Geraldo, Rivera's trashy TV talk show, made headlines when he brought white power skinheads, black activists, anti-racist skinheads, and Jewish activists together onstage. (What could go wrong, right?) Predictably an out-of-control slugfest broke out, and when Rivera tried to intervene, he got punched in the face and a broken nose for his trouble. Say what you will about neon and legwarmers, but sometimes we miss the '80s. MEANWHILE... George Bush and Dan Quayle handily won the presidential election, easily defeating Dukakis and Bentsen. During George Bush's term, 14.2 percent of Americans lived in poverty, the first Gulf War was waged, and the country suffered through a recession. It's also a fair bet that if it hadn't been for the first Bush presidency, we wouldn't have had a second one. Thanks for nothing, 1988. MEANWHILE... In December of '88, Oprah lost 67 pounds, and celebrated by (brace yourselves, this is about to get disgusting) walking onto the set of her show in size 10 jeans, pulling a wagon loaded with fat. Only problem? Oprah lost the weight thanks to the fantastically unhealthy liquid protein diet. "I had literally starved myself for four months to get into that pair of size 10 Calvin Klein jeans," Oprah recalled in 2005, probably while eating a Twinkie. "Two hours after that show, I started eating to celebrate—of course, within two days those jeans no longer fit!" In 1989, Winfrey regained 17 of those 67 pounds, and her weight has gone up and down like the Challenger ever since. Wait. Too soon for Challenger jokes? MEANWHILE... Happy birthday, Vanessa "Was in High School Musical and Showed Her Bushy Va-jay-jay on the Internet" Hudgens. The rest of you? YOU'RE OLD!