Crash Test Dummies’ 1993 hit “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” was an anomaly even by the forgiving standards of that musically adventurous era. The verses are about sad misfit kids, two with physical abnormalities (prematurely white hair, prolific birthmarks) and one poor boy whose parents are strict Holy Rollers. Bummer. The chorus has no words at all, just some low humming from deep-voiced lead singer Brad Roberts. If there’s any such thing as a morose novelty song, “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” was it. But it’s the kind of thing that tends to stick in people’s memories for decades. As evidence, 23 years later, it’s the target of a new song parody by Bonecage of “Olive Garden Butthole” renown.
The awkwardly titled “Mmm Mmm 80s (Three Kids)” is a musical tribute to three memorable young movie protagonists from the Reagan era. Book-stealing Bastian from The NeverEnding Story kicks things off, followed by Daniel-san from The Karate Kid, and Chunk from The Goonies to bring it all home. Like the Holy Roller kid from the Crash Test Dummies song, Chunk is deemed to have it even worse than his two counterparts. That truffle shuffle is a killer, man. Over the course of the song, it becomes clear that the 1980s had a lot of movies about weird kids going on adventures. Perhaps a sequel is in order, with verses about Ralphie Parker, Marty McFly, and E.T.’s Elliott.
What would convince a person to write and record a song of this nature, apropos of seemingly nothing? “I don’t care if you like this song, because I got drunk and watched Karate Kid again the other night, and you can’t take away my joy,” Bonecage tells The A.V. Club. The song’s very convincing vocals are provided by iron-lunged guest singer Jefferson Lam. “No way I could have done it,” Bonecage admits, who created the song around Lam’s vocals. That proved a wise choice. Were it not for the telltale lyrics about Atreyu and Mr. Miyagi, this could pass for a real Crash Test Dummies song.