It’s Saturday! Let The A.V. Club briefly make use of the otherwise-wasted hours of your weekend with some pop culture ephemera pulled from the depths of YouTube.
Is Sam Sprocket an angel?
That’s the question lurking at the heart of 1989 VHS beauty Bicycle Safety Camp, an instructional video/rap showcase that’s ostensibly about the dangers of riding a bike without a helmet in a world filled with distracting clowns and men in horse costumes, but which finds itself constantly sidetracked by deeper theological concerns. After all, rap-prone safety instructor Sam—played by Disney TV actor Jim Pirri—has clearly established magical powers, and waves away his charges’ questions with a vague reference to his “connections.” Plus, he threatens the kids—including uber-nerd Arthur, pint-sized fashionista Julie, and the exquisite Rebop—with a sort of endless summer purgatory, threatening to send them back to Bicycle Safety Camp again and and again if they don’t heed his well-intentioned warnings. As far as motivational tools for cheesy ’80s safety instructors go, it’s Old Testament as fuck.
But that hypothesis does raise one troubling question: If Sprocket really did have divine powers, why didn’t he use them to make these kids better rappers? To be fair, it’s not really their fault; some of the rhymes they get saddled with (“You can lose your memory / of everything you’ve done / And be in lots of pain / Does that sound fun?”) by the writers from the video’s sponsors, the American Academy Of Pediatrics, would have defeated MCs with many times their age and natural flow.
In any case, be sure to take your Triaminic Cough and Cold Products, and be sure to stop at every stop sign, lest you—in the words of our good pal Boomer—end up “riding a wheelchair” instead.