Today, punk rock is a mall costume. (Okay, yes, of course — punk will never die — and so on but let’s be real, cheese-punk is a thing that is easily purchased in a package.) It’s one of those things like “the hippie” that’s been boiled down to a now-harmless set of former signs and signifiers basically stripped of all their meaning.
But in the mid-‘80s, going punk –- even though it was already old by this point –- was still a Legitimate Way To Piss Off Your Parents. Punk still seemed OMGSCARY if you hailed from the 'burbs.
So how else were parents supposed to deal with it but through the helpful explanation of a Very Special Episode?
Behold, the 1987 TV special The Day My Kid Went Punk. Going punk by 1987 was about as radical as going “emo” in 2013, but it still caused some hand-wringing — and some amazing TV moments.
Some kind soul has uploaded all 46 minutes of magic to YouTube. Watch it below, and as you peruse and get ready to LOL, please watch out for my five personal favorite moments:
1. …when teen Terry goes away to work as a hotel’s kids’ activities counselor, and first reveals the content of his secret summer suitcase! Behold! Inside is a punk costume, complete with instruction manual!
2. …Terry’s first big punk fashion reveal
3. …When Terry’s new boss actually wipes after shaking hands with an OMGPUNK
4. …When Terry realizes that the only one who understands him is this stuffed animal
5. …the requisite punk club scene, because every punksploitation movie has one of these
6. …the hot ‘80s fashion mess that is going on here. The girl on the left is actually admonishing Terry for his style, FYI
7. …Terry’s final Grand Announcement that he’s going to stay punk. A former classical violin nerd, over a nice suburban dinner, he tells his family, “For now, I’m going to stick to playing rock.” And fin!
Arielle Castillo is Fusion's culture editor, reporting on arts, music, culture, and subcultures from the streets on up. She's also a connoisseur of weird Florida, weightlifting, and cats.