When does fandom go too far? When is it time for a marketing blitz to stop? When, exactly, did the New Kids on the Block become disillusioned with the whole pop superstar thing?
Today’s book, just by existing, gives us a darned good answer to each question. What can I say? This is one of a series – a SERIES! – of what amounted to authorized New Kids on the Block fan fiction. These books were actually published under the command of the New Kids’ various managers and bosses.
And this is one of those cases where I have to wonder if any of the Kids themselves gave the okay. There’s a ton of truly insane NKOTB merchandise out there, and it includes everything from marbles to slippers to stuffed dolls. I have the damnedest time trying to picture any rational twenty-something male thinking, “yeah, I wanna be immortalized as a plushy!” so at what point did Big Step Productions learn to say no? (Then again, KISS has a licensed coffin…)
Anyway, Workin’ Out actually has a plot. Danny Wood has a friend who lives in Seattle. But he learns that his friend is addicted to steroids, so Danny uses his amazing Boy Band powers to get him to stop. And he does! Just like that! I wonder if he’s related to the grand-dad in “Dragon World”?
All is good until the crazy drug dealer comes after Danny’s friend! Can Danny save him??? Well, yeah. Danny saves the day. Also there is a party for the New Kids’ bodyguard and a girl who’s favorite Kid is Jon Knight. I repeat: SHE LIKES JON THE MOST!!! Nevermind Fanfic, this is a f___in’ fantasy.
The Best Parts:
Page 3 – The girl who loved Jon Knight. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!!
Okay, maybe I ought to explain something here. Everybody I know had a favorite New Kid, even if you were like me and you weren’t one of the drooling obsessed fangirls. Each member of the group had his own pack of obsessed fans, but -and you have to believe me here- NOBODY liked Jon. Come to think of it, I don’t remember Jon ever really DOING anything. He never sang a solo song (that asinine “Happy Birthday” track on “Step By Step” does not count), he looked as uncomfortable as hell in every group portrait, and (and I cannot emphasize this enough) NOBODY LIKED HIM THE MOST!!!
Let me put it this way, and I have to mix metaphors a bit because as far as I know this is unprecedented in the world of Boy Bands, or indeed the popular music world. If the New Kids on the Block were the Superfriends, Jon would be Marvin. I guess that makes Nikko Wonder-Dog. And Tiffany could be Wendy!
Now you know how much useless NKOTB lore I have retained.
Page 8 – Disturbing little trivia about Donnie Wahlberg’s eating habits.
Page 11 – Hooray for product placement! (In a book?)
Pages 16 – YANKEES SUCK!!!
Page 24 – Hooray for product placement!
Page 26 – Hooray for the MA tourism board!
Page 32 – Danny Wood, the walking Public Service Announcement (wait, why does he know so much about drugs?)
Page 45 – (Pounds floor a la Milhouse) WHEN are they gonna get to the Sea Monster House?!?
Page 47 – Lamest. Deus ex Machina. EVER. Well, second-lamest (the flying dog in the “Tiny Toons” movie still wins).
Page 53 – New Kids and the Ferrets.
Page 57 – You mean in the Ferret District?
Page 71 – Gee, I wonder if that rope will play into the plot later? (It didn’t, and I am quite disappointed about that.)
Page 123 – BEST. Deus ex Machina. EVER!!!
Page 131 – The Biscuit Bash!
Page 136 – An advertisement for further books in this series. The next one has a plot summary that sounds eerily like A Civil Action!
“Jonathan had always been Lisa’s favorite New Kid. She liked his quiet, sensitive manner, and the fact that he was interested in animals and gardening.” – Page 5 (The book is full of fun NKOTB trivia like this, but this one looks like an act of pure desperation on the part of our Jonny. Jon is INTERESTED in ANIMALS and GARDENING. “Look at me, I’m a Sensitive Male who Cares about Nature and Stuff! LOVE ME!!!” Ha ha ha!!!)
“I ought to rip your lips off and toss you into Elliot Bay. But that wouldn’t be fair to all the fish, who shouldn’t have to live in polluted water.” – Bill (Danny’s friend) cuts ties with the insane stalking wacko drug dealer on Page 84
~*~ Poetry Corner ~*~
“You’ve got the right stuff, Biscuit.
You’re the reason why we sing this song.
“We just want to tell you that,
Oh, Biscuit, you’re our man.
“Every day you help us out.
We can’t get along without you!” – Everyone singing to Biscuit on Page 132 (Do we get a prize if we can figure out the rhyme scheme?)
Things I Learned from this Movie/Book/Whatever:
* – Performers remember EVERYTHING that happens during a show.
* – Don’t f___ with guys who can sing falsetto.
* – Clowns like ferrets.
* – Having a friend in a boy band can make you want to take drugs.
* – Penguins are an ancient Japanese symbol of doom.
* – Being mistaken for a famous person is twice as annoying if said famous person is right next to you.
* – Spy work is hard if you’re a teen idol.
* – Chasing after insane stalking wacko drug dealers who have an obsessive personal vendetta against you is fun for all!
Things That Can Save Any Movie/Book/Whatever:
Cool Creatures? Exotic Seattle harbor wildlife. And insane stalking wacko drug dealers.
Good Soundtrack? New Kids on the Block!!! Oh bugger off if that doesn’t give you a nostalgia buzz.
Hot Guys? Uhh… Come to think of it, not really.
Pretty Scenery? Please note that this does not apply to books; nor does the soundtrack thing. I have not bothered to think of something else yet.
Nifty Animation/Special Effects/Illustrations? None.
Drinking Game Potential? Anytime there is a Fun Trivia Factoid about the New Kids. This can actually apply to any NKOTB book you find. Have fun!
Head Movie Potential? Drugs are BAD!!!
It seems oddly appropriate to slap a Jon onto this tree carcass. Corr, “I’m sensitive and I like animals and gardening!” GARDENING!!!
New Kids on the Block: the Novels: Workin’ Out by Seth McEvoy and Laure Smith (who should just sit down and think about what they have done). Text and cover art copyright 1991 by Big Step Productions, Inc.
An Archway Paperback published by Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY. 10020