Help, I’m Bobby Brown and I’m Stuck in This VHS Copy of ‘A Goofy Movie,’ by Bill Reick
Sheesh, am I ever glad you showed up! I’ve spent 22 years stuck here in this plastic purgatory, All the way down here at the bottom of the videotape bin in your parents’ basement. I was doing perfectly fine just being Bobby Brown until 1995, when my life-force was drained from my body and stored here, in this VHS copy of A Goofy Movie. Back then I was on a shelf in a Suncoast Video store. Those truly were the golden days (of being a videotape; overall the golden days were definitely when I was in New Edition).
Twenty-two years is a long time to sit and think about what possible reason your essence was trapped and stored within a VHS copy of A Goofy Movie. For a while, I assumed it was the doing of Bell Biv DeVoe, the always-jealous group that spun-off from New Edition. I always knew they were envious of my spotlight, and so I figured they had conspired to exile me to this Disney VCR cassette tape in 1995. But no, it couldn’t have been Bell Biv DeVoe. They were my brothers in harmony, they would never do me like that. It wasn’t until 2009 that I finally worked out the real reason.
With the theatrical release of A Goofy Movie, DisneyToon Studios introduced the world to the character Powerline, a charismatic R&B superstar that dominates the charts in the Goof universe. Unbeknownst to me, the character was created and designed with me in mind. Look at the three-line fade haircut Powerline wears in A Goofy Movie. Does it remind you of a certain lead singer of R&B powerhouse New Edition? And that’s where things truly get interesting.
In 1994, while A Goofy Movie was still being developed by Disney, the animation studio contacted my management firm with an offer to have me voice Powerline in their upcoming movie. Without even consulting me, my management turned down the audience, stating that “kiddy movies don’t fit with Bobby’s image.” This infuriated the all-powerful Disney. Before you could say “My Prerogative,” Disney was on the phone with Tevin Campbell, who eventually did the singing voice for Powerline. But the still-enraged Disney wasn’t happy. That same day, they cast a spell that trapped me in a VHS copy of their soon-to-be-released hit. It was the same spell they used to trap Robin Williams in that lamp in Aladdin.
Which brings us to today. I’m still in here, stuck, and I don’t know any way to get out. It’s been 22 long, stressful years, and I was hoping you’d know how to end it. Could you… smash this VHS copy of A Goofy Movie? I don’t know what it’ll do. It could set me free. It could kill me. Either way, I’d be better off than I am now. So just go ahead and take that dumbbell on the floor over there and just bash this VHS copy of A Goofy Movie to smithereens.
Bill Reick is a stand-up, improv, and sketch comedian from Philadelphia, where he co-hosts the monthly variety show Final Outpost: An Intergalactic Cabaret.