Tag Archives: 1980s

“The Americans”: A Great 80s Throwback

If you think watching “Mad Men” is a time warp, you’ve got to watch the FX TV series “The Americans.”

The show, which just wrapped up its third season, is a delight for those of us who came of age in the 1980s.

For the uninitiated, the series’ plot centers on a husband and wife who were recruited as teens in Mother Russia by the KGB and implanted in the U.S. as deep, deep covert spies.

They blend in with the tapestry of American life in a way that no one would suspect they are masters of espionage.

And don’t be fooled.

The lead characters, husband and wife Philip and Elizabeth, are not some Russian spy knock-offs like Boris Badenov and his sidekick, Natasha Fatale, from the “Rocky & Bullwinkle Show” of my youth.

No, they are truly bad ass.

As a couple, they engage in all kinds of counter-intelligence, blackmail and violence. And did I mention – plot twist! – that they have an FBI agent as a neighbor?

But apart from all of the mind-bending turns, suspense and intrigue, the thing I so absolutely love about the show is the way it nails the look and feel of the 80s.

“The Americans” is set during the height of tensions between the U.S. and USSR when Ronald Reagan was president, an anti-missile defense shield positioned in outer space was considered a real possibility and the threat of nuclear holocaust hardly seemed far-fetched.

The show captures that universal unease and brilliantly reflects the styles in clothing, cars and culture of the 80s.

The women are depicted in oversized glasses, multi-colored sweaters and big hair.

The TVs in the series play news segments and commercials of the era.

And the cars! Oh! The cars! These huge tanks are glorious to behold.

But the thing that might have won me over more than anything is when this third season featured snippets from a duo known as Yaz and music from their debut album “Upstairs at Eric’s.”

Yaz and those songs hold a special place in my heart because I saw those performers live at a club called The Ritz in the Village way back when I was in college.

Bottom line: If you want to enjoy great television AND want to be transported back in time, catch “The Americans.”

Throwback Thursday at About Men Radio

In keeping with the spirit of Throwback Thursday, About Men Radio’s Richard Rodriguez reached into the archives and pulled out some vintage photos of the AMR crew circa 1987 in Saranac Lake, N.Y.

As you can see, we were mere lads back then.

But we were rocking the ’80s look hard.

Chris and crew-6
Left to right, Pedro, Gary, Rich and Chris (who either was cold or trying to look all gangsta).

Perhaps too hard. (What the hell is with that Hall & Oats look, Rich?!)

Here too are some of the comments the AMR crew made when Rich shared them with us.


Chris and crew-3
Top left, Gary (doing obscene things to Pedro’s neck), John, rocking that pleather jacket, Pedro and Chris.

* Did we plan on looking like gay hustlers or was that a happy accident?

* Gary looks like he stepped out of a 70’s porno. (Cue up syntho/guitar music track…Boom-cheekie-bow-wow...)

* John, you look like such a hardened soul in this pic.

* I can only imagine what Gary is doing to the back of your head Pedro.

* Chris looks like he just walked of the set of Happy Days.

* That was my favorite pleather jacket….Heyyy

* John looks well hard in that photo. Badass.

* Pedro has an evil Gene Simmons look.

Chris and crew-2
Silvio (fresh off a performance with the Village People), John, Pedro and Rich, who pioneered jazz hands before it was popular.
Chris and crew-4
A camping trip in 1987 of epic proportions — fodder for a blog post in the future. Left to right: Gary, Rich, John (nice legs), Chris (wearing a camo cap AND a plaid shirt! WTF?!) and Pedro.