In 2018, it's sometimes hard to not feel a little deprived when it comes to boy bands. Back in the '90s, the U.S. had the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC, while the U.K. and Ireland had Take That, Boyzone and Westlife. It was a feast—nay, a cornucopia—of hair gel, dance moves, winks and fingers pointed at camera lenses.
The current undisputed boy band kings are BTS, though truthfully, with their trap beats and big hooks, they are significantly cooler than the cheesier boy bands of yore. But one boy band isn't enough to fill the void, so we're left to wish that these parody boy bands from television were real.
Boyz 4 Now, Bob's Burgers
Probably the greatest recurring characters on Bob's Burgers are Boyz 4 Now. With catchy tunes like "I Love U So Much (It's Scary)," "(I Wanna Hear Your) Secrets" and "Coal Mine," Boo Boo, Allen, Matt and Griffin aren't afraid to get real about love, the private things you do in the bathroom and the commercialization of Halloween. Sadly, Boyz 4 Now disbanded in 2016, after Boo Boo left to pursue a solo career, with "Tall Enuff 2 Ride Your Heart." Typical!
"Girl, You Don't Need Makeup", Inside Amy Schumer
Imagine a world in which boy bands got really real with us. Happily, Amy Schumer already did! "Girl, You Don't Need Makeup" is a brilliantly catchy parody that styles itself loosely on One Direction's "Best Song Ever." It pairs all of the beautiful things boy bands tell girls about themselves, with the harsh realities of real-life societal pressures heaped on women. The final result is a very danceable critique of unreasonable beauty standards. Hurray!
Boyz 12, American Dad
"Girl You Need a Shot (of B12)" by Boyz 12 features every single element of 1990s boy band greatness—rapping, overuse of the word "girl," a sweet chorus and every type of boy demographic to maximize appeal. The dizzying array of band members makes you wonder: What would a 12-piece boy band look like in real life, and goshdarnit, why don't we have one of those already?
"I Want It That Way," Brooklyn Nine-Nine
In the world of boy bands, there's always one edgy rebel in the mix, so it's remarkable that no one has thought to put together an entire group of bad boys. Think of the costume possibilities! The stage backdrops! There could be entire concept records about how crime doesn't pay! Sadly, the closest we've come to this brilliant concept is an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, in which Jake makes a line-up of potential murderers sing "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys. Number 3 would be worth the price of a ticket alone.
Party Posse, The Simpsons
Party Posse are "real funky but not threatening," proficient spellers and endorsers of the U.S. Navy. "Recruit my heart," they sing, "Four sweet years of love." Sure, the Village People had a sailor, but wouldn't the world feel a little safer with an entire boy band in uniform? Make it happen, Marines.
No Refunds,Saturday Night Live
In 2000, Jimmy Fallon, Horatio Sanz, Chris Kattan and Chris Parnell played a boy band named 7 Degrees Celsius on Saturday Night Live. The best part about the skit was when they introduced their support band, No Refund. No Refund was actually *NSYNC, wearing fast food restaurant uniforms and singing romantic metaphors about takeout food. If *NSYNC ever reforms and starts touring again, it should be a contractual obligation for Joey Fatone to shout "Hold the pickle!" in everything.
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