The Day My Kid Went Punk, ABC After-School Special

ABC After-School Specials hit their zenith (or nadir) with The Day My Kid Went Punk, a punksploitation show to rival the CHiPS "Rip and Destroy" episode (and yes, that's Bernie Kopell, the doctor from the Love Boat, as the outraged dad).

The Day My Kid Went PUNK


  1. This makes me sigh with nostalgia for my specially handcrafted and illustrated masterpiece from fifth grade: My Brother the Dork. The titular brother was dressed similarly to the “punk” in this afterschool special. He too sported a mohawk…and yet strangely had never listened to the Dead Kennedys, the Clash, the Sex Pistols, NOFX, or the Ramones. Alas for my poor little unpunk of yesteryear. Truthfully, he probably was more dork than punk.

  2. Don’t forget Quincy:

    “I believe that the music I heard is a killer. It’s a killer of hope. It’s a killer of spirit.”

  3. Billy is not [state societal convention for norm here]. Should I…?

    a) Have an intellectual conversation with him about topics in which he is concerned engaging him as as a concerned equal?

    b) Have him committed where he will most likely be put on medication, receive electroshock therapy or be treated in some other way so as to make him be more [state societal convention for norm here]

    May [your deity] be with you.

  4. C.H.I.P.S. had a punk episode? Sure, I never watched the series but it’s the first I heard of it.

    Quincy I saw, I watched that series and it was funny whenever he came close to cracking a case. I would yell “Go Quincy Go!” in response to the over dramatic acting of Klugman.

    The kid in the ad has a faux-hawk, poseur!

    1. Indeed, C.H.I.P.S. had a punk episode, with William Forsythe as an unruly punk criminal. There’s a battle of the bands, and you haven’t lived until you’ve heard the “I Dig Pain” anthem.

      All the punks riot, and then Ponch comes out and sings “Celebration,” which for some reason wins everyone over, and not at all causes more rioting and Ponch-related mayhem, like one would think.

      Also, y’all, that fauxhawk kid is Jay Underwood.

  5. Aaaalwayys i wanna bee with you and make beliiieve with you and live in harmony harmony harmony oh love!!!


  6. I gotta say – so far this special is going pretty well! The punk kid is the sympathetic one, that’s for sure – and EVERYONE in the story seems poised to learn an important lesson about acceptance.

  7. I remember this special very well…..the boy is a preppie on his way to some summer camp or day care as a counselor and in the airport bathroom he makes a complete transformation to punk

    and he is FREE

  8. I saw this as a kid, and loved it. It really complemented my high school German textbook’s “Chapter Six: Die Punks”

  9. Amazine what used to be shocking and scary. Remember when gangs rumbled with knives, bats and chains? How cute was that! Go back and watch “Warriors,” for example. The gangs all look like extras from “Xanadu.”

    At the time, though… oooh (shiver). Terrifying.

  10. “Punk is nothing but DEATH… and CRIME… and the RAGE OF A BEAST!” …I guess I watch too many Linkara reviews because that’s immediately what I thought of.

  11. At least they’re not packing the kid off to a Christian boot camp where he can learn “Godly” ways. There’s nothing in an ABC after-school special to match the REAL options open to some parents for dealing with their unruly kids.

  12. This was released as a print-version too, a Weekly Reader-styled thing for teachers to hand out and discuss with the students, I guess to point out the “dangers” of punk. I think I actually have a copy stashed away with Pettibon comics, should probably dig out and scan it.

  13. I’ve seen that special. It is awesomely condecending. The resolution is that the parents realize that punk is a stupid phase that their kid will grow out of. One day he will be normal and boring and everything will be allright.

  14. Nickelodeon used to show this like once a month on Sunday afternoons in the early 90s. I probably saw it 3 or 4 times. All I remember is the part where the kid gives himself a punk makeover in a public bathroom.

  15. I just watched the whole thing and was really surprised by how realistic it was, rather than sensationalist. It really reminded me of my own glue-hair and safety-pins days. I used to go out of my way to be friendly, and people still treated me pretty much exactly how they treat the kid. The most unrealistic part has got to be the way his mom somehow manages to be a professional psychologist even though she keeps talking about the “punk syndrome”. Yeah, lady, you only look like a fool because of your kid, not the words coming out of your mouth.

    Parents, let your kids have silly haircuts and dress like clowns if they want to, while they still can. Sooner or later almost everybody has to look normal enough to get a job.

    1. Well, that, or the societal definition of “normal” changes, and the next generation of spoiled middle class youth needs to find yet another look to shock their parents. Nobody is shocked to see a professional male wearing a ponytail anymore, and even a mohawk wouldn’t be that bizarre except maybe in those jobs that still require three piece suits.

  16. Yeah. Nickelodeon used to show it during their “Special Delivery” programming block in the early 90s. Not to ruin the ending but his music teacher gives him an ultimatum that leads him to deciding which way to take his punk ways. The strange thing is that I think this was the only ABC After School Special that Nickelodeon picked up. Usually, they would just show Saban-owned Grimm’s Fairy Tale Classics and the odd Canadian-owned After School Special clones like “The
    Paper Route” and “The Wilder Summer” (With J.D. Roth).

  17. Yes, but no. 26, isn’t that what happened to the majority of “punks”? That’s not condescending but cold harsh reality. In fact, if that was the ending, that in itself was pretty damn punk. Rock on!

  18. “A ‘ziggy ziggy sputnik’ look-alike is sitting outside in the lobby waiting for us to hire him as our day care counselor”

    I think she meant “Sigue Sigue Sputnik”. Which is awesome, because why would she know that?

    Thanks for the link, ++

  19. I don’t remember that CHiP’s episode. I do remember the one where there was a secret backwards message on a tape (you had to set it to speed 666 to hear it), I think KISS may have been in that one. I also remember a guy who hated tailgaters, so he would spray oil on their windshields.

  20. Yeah, the boy who could fly develops a bad attitude! I always liked Jay Underwood. I guess he still works a lot, but I always thought people underrated him. He actually played Sonny Bono with a prosthetic nose in a weird made-for-TV Sonny and Cher biopic one time, and he also played Ernest Hemingway on another TV show. That’s range for you.

  21. Even Buck Rogers got in on the whole Music is Evil theme with ‘Space Rockers’. Jerry Orbach and Richard Moll at their finest!

  22. Too bad Rasputina wasn’t around until 1992…”Nuh-UH, Mom and Dad, Melora Creager was a punk AND a classical musician and she turned out awesome!”

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