WHY IS IT MOST people born between the years 1960 and 1970 can’t recite the Constitution, but can sing the theme song to “The Jeffersons”?
The answer, of course, is the pop culture paradox. For the generation weaned on the boob tube and MTV videos, it’s not useful facts but useless effluvia (Pac-Man’s ghostly foes were Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde) that’s crammed into the synaptic void like cholesterol in a clogged artery.
With John Sellers’ “PCAT Preparation for the Pop-Culture Aptitude Test: Rad ’80s Version, ” however, those who take pride in their frosted-blond memories will never look at a standardized test the same way again.
Patterned after the Scholastic Aptitude Test, the PCAT quizzes test-takers about fashion, flicks, tunes and tube, from Ocean Pacific T-shirts to Ally Sheedy.
So if you’re one of those who thought “The Wedding Singer” was a poignant documentary, get out your No. 2 pencils and put on your thinking leg warmers for just a few PCAT questions. If your ’80s score is higher than, say, 80 percent figure out the math feel very, very ashamed.
Don’t forget to show your work.
- Fill in the fashion blanks: The ultimate preppie would turn up the collar of his ________ shirt or put on ________: (A) Polo; a Thriller jacket; (B) Benetton, “three-day stubble”; (C) Izod; an argyle sweater vest; (D) “Frankie Say Relax”; a handful of jean-jacket buttons; (E) zippered triangular-patterned; Bugle Boy jeans.
- Choose the answer that does not fit: Rubik’s Products: (A) Chain; (B) Link; (C) Revenge; (D) Snake; (E) Triamid.
- Find the analogy that most closely approximates the original relationship: Sean Penn Madonna: (A) Eddie Van Halen Valerie Bertinelli; (B) Prince Charles Princess Diana; (C) Casey Kasem Jean Kasem; (D) Sylvester Stallone Brigitte Nielsen; (E) Michael Jackson Bubbles the chimp.
- Choose the correct solo Brat Packer film: Andrew McCarthy costars with Kim Cattrall in a movie with Jefferson Starship music. (A) “Class”; (B) “Less Than Zero”; (C) “Mannequin”; (D) “Weekend At Bernie’s”; (E) “Fresh Horses.”
- Name the film in which the following casts starred:
- Phoebe Cates, Nicolas Cage, Eric Stolz, Forest Whitaker: (A) “Private School”; (B) “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”; (C) “Gremlins”; (D) “Valley Girl”; (E) “Platoon.”
- Paul Rubens, Ray Charles, Carrie Fisher, John Candy: (A) “Big Top Pee-wee”; (B) “Under the Rainbow”; (C) “Spaceballs”; (D) “Amazon Women on the Moon”; (E) “The Blues Brothers.”
- C. Joan Allen, Jim Carrey, Helen Hunt, Nicolas Cage: (A) “Earth Girls Are Easy”; (B) “Pink Cadillac”; (C) “Once Bitten”; (D) “Club Paradise”; (E) “Peggy Sue Got Married.”
- Name the actor common to the following movie groups:
- “Endless Love, ” “The Outsiders, ” “Taps, ” “Legend”: (A) Matt Dillon; (B) Emilio Estevez; (C) Ralph Macchio; (D) Tom Cruise; (E) Ricky Schroder.
- “Dream a Little Dream, ” “License to Drive, ” “The Lost Boys, ” “The Goonies”: (A) Kiefer Sutherland; (B) Corey Haim; (C) Corey Feldman; (D) Sean Astin; (E) Jami Gertz.
- Identify the film or song that gave us the following quotes:
- “Orange whip? Orange whip? Three orange whips, please.”: (A) “Fatso”; (B) “Beverly Hills Cop II”; (C) “The Blues Brothers”; (D) “The Stuff”; (E) “Delivery Boys.”
- “Just try to understand, I’ve given all I can.” (A) “A Little Respect, ” Erasure; (B) “Borderline, ” Madonna; (C) “Bette Davis Eyes, ” Kim Carnes; (D) “Don’t Let’s Start, ” They Might Be Giants; (E) “She-Bop, ” Cyndi Lauper.
- Solve the following musical equations:
- If you add the digits of the phone number that Tommy Tutone sang about in its only hit, what do you get? (A) 38; (B) 39; (C) 40; (D) 43; (E) 46.
- Multiply the number of members in the Thompson Twins by 6, divide by 2, and subtract 3: (A) 0; (B) 3; (C) 6; (D) 9; (E) 15.
- C. Add one to the number of Banarama members and multiply the sum by the number of INXS members: (A) 15; (B) 16; (C) 18; (D) 24; (E) 28.
- Identify the television show from the theme song excerpt: “I’m tired of pretendin’, I want a happy endin’, won’t let ’em get the best of me ” (A) “The Powers of Matthew Star” (B) “Mr. Merlin” (C) “Square Pegs” (D) “Gimme a Break” (E) “One Day at a Time.”
- Choose the correct television catch phrase: Those crafty Duke boys eluded Enos again. What will Roscoe P. Coltrane say about this? (A) “Don’t sweat it, Enos; ” (B) “Lay off the moonshine, idjit!; ” (C) “Enos, you dipstick!; ” (D) “Coo coo coo, Enos; ” (E) “Go get Cletus over at crazy Cooter’s and arrest Uncle Jesse.”
Answers: 1. (C); 2. (A); 3. (D); 4. (C); 5A. (B); 5B. (E); 5C. (E); 6A. (D); 6B. (C); 7A. (C); 7B. (B); 8A. (A); 8B. (C); 8C. (D); 9. (D); 10. (C).
This article originally appeared in the Contra Costa Times