Interpretations:Damn Good Times

From This Might Be A Wiki

I think it's about the DDR machine itself, and the really insane japanese characters that inhabit such machines. Vampires because it sucks your quarters, or, the kids are wearing her (the machine) out, and a DDR machine is only so durable. Everybody claps when the japanese-cartoon-loving-geek magnet is finally removed from the store due to damage, mostly because it had taken over their lives with crack-like addictiveness.. Everybody then learns to dance with more than 4 choices for foot placement.--tehbagel 00:32, 25 Apr 2006 (CDT)

Why Do I think that this song is about Robin Goldwasser, Flansburgh's wife? -TitaniumHamster

That's what I thought too. Robin seems like a lively sort of gal... - Thread Bomb (talk) 23:04, 28 June 2020 (EDT)

At a recent show Flans mentioned something about stealing when introducing this song, and I thought to myself that this girl might be distracting the guards and the people in the store with her dancing, and they all applaud as she leaves the store with her pockets full of goodies. :) "She's highly qualified" to be able to pull off this trick. Not sure what verse 2 is about, but if the cops ever found anything and questioned her she might claim to have forgotten to buy those things... ;)

Flans writes a track that can at last rival Linnell, unfortunately the The demo/live version they play on the streamer is the definitive version. On the Spine version the guitars are too heavy and Flans singing is too restrained. Plus it's slightly too slow, which is a really annoying. I love the breakneck speed of the demo! Plus I loathe the ill-advised guitar fade jam at the end of the Spine version of the song. (Mr Tuck)

"As she leaves the store / All the people applaud?" What kind of store has a karaoke machine set up in it? One wonders if this would, perchance, be the same store mentioned in "Man It's So Loud In Here"...

Consider yourself fortunate if you've never walked into Best Buy or some other electronics store that sells Karaoke machines and been victimized by someone trying out the latest, greatest Karaoke megaphone. These places are unfortunately rife with talentless crooners. -BigJohn, a talentless crooner who only talentlessly croons in his car...

Who hasn't been to Best Buy and had to listen to the people who can't sing try? I most certainly have. *shudders*

Also, I don't think it would be the same store as in Man, It's So Loud In Here, as I don't remember anything about karaoke in it. Also, what kind of nightclub-ish store has a karaoke bar? It would probably go out of business, because people don't actually want to listen to the talentless crooners whilst trying to dance or drink or pick up chicks or whatever people that hang out at that kind of nightclub-ish store do. Aurora Hawthorne (who can sing but will kill anyone that asks her to do it front of actual people, because she gets very nervous)

The show she saw sounds like Castaway (although I haven't seen it).

A story about a girl with amnesia. She can't remember much of her life, but she can remember how to dance. Since she doesn't know where she worked (an opera company?) or how she learned, she just dances in stores and even then she's shy about it ("she coughs and she laughs").

I'm more inclined to wonder if that's the same store as in A Self Called Nowhere... if so, you can not only sing karaoke there, you can also try out an electric organ. By the way, haven't TMBG done numerous in-store shows? Maybe the friend is doing one of those.

The reference to the movie where the guy has amnesia and gets off of the island on a helicopter, always reminded me of the movie "Six Days and Seven Nights", the romantic comedy with Harrison Ford. But I don't think they do get off of the island on a helicopter. That does happen at the end of "Jurassic Park", however. But I definitely think they were just referencing some fictional generic movie. I'm more inclined to ask, if she had amnesia and couldn't remember the show she saw, how did she remember that was how it ended?

In my mind this is pretty obvious.. with lines like "She's got keys and a token when she hits the scene" and "As she leaves the store". Its about a girl who goes to an arcade or a video game store for that matter and plays DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) all of the crazy visual stuff prolly signifies the movies on DDR when she is playing. And as for the line that says "She coughs and she laughs" that is her prolly laughing at how bad she is doing this time and the intesity of DDR she is playing. Another hint to this is when Flans mentions the karaoke machine. This may be set in japan because at arwcades in japan there are usually a lot of DDR machines and sometimes Karaoke machines.

<bonks herself on the head> Duh! Why didn't I see this before? I totally agree. I don't know if anyone has ever seen really good DDR players on the machines, but they tend to draw a crowd, not to mention applause. The karaoke line may be something like, "she could sing karaoke or play DDR to connect with this song-related/Japanese(?) side, but she chose DDR. Why?" The next line replies, "Cause she's highly qualified and she's not a joke." (Hmmm, bashing karaoke? ) I can't wait to tell my friend that the song he loves is about a game he hates. <evil grin> -Kazen
Another note... If memory serves, there is a spinoff of Dance Dance Revolution called Karaoke Revolution... which strengthens the fact that this is a subtle nod to the "Revolution" series of games.
The "token" is more likely a Token Back To Brooklyn. -- Thread Bomb (talk) 23:04, 28 June 2020 (EDT)

When I was a young kid I used to break out into spontaneous dancing whenever I passed a radio playing while out shopping with my mom; apparently I always got applause after the song and I were finished. Given the use of the phrases "jumping bean" and "ants in her pants", I'm inclined to think this song is about a young girl who does the same thing, perhaps at a chuck-e-cheese or similar establishment which doles out "game tokens". It sounds to me like a ballad to a daughter (or friend's daughter).

I would agree that the girl really can't be that old, especially considering the sarcastic tone used with "she's highly qualified and she's not a joke" so she can't do karaoke.

Or, mabye the song is about a mentally challenged girl any where between late teens ad early adulthood whos mind functions at the level of a little girl,I can't really remember the name of that disorder (ha,amneisia) right now but that's what this sounds like. Given the fact that she simply "leaves the store" presumably alone,with none of her audience asking about parents. She doesn't really have amneisia,she is just a really hyper little kid and can only be expected to act like one. She is really, really good at DDR though she doesn't realize how much everyone else is wowed,so when a crowd starts to form she "coughs and laughs" like any shy kid. However,she such a "Natural Dancer" that she dances anyway and has a "Damn Good Time".

    -Strong Rad
 Are you thinking of arrested development?

Could the line "When my friend got amnesia/She can't remember the show she saw/Like the one with the guy with amnesia/Who got off from the island on a helicopter" be a reference to the excellent British cult TV show, The Prisoner? (Wikipedia: The Prisoner) --Whistling in the dark 22:50, 28 Jan 2005 (EST)

The guy in The Prisoner didn't have amnesia. -- Thread Bomb (talk) 23:04, 28 June 2020 (EDT)

The "guy with amnesia / who got off of the island on a helicopter" part sounds like the ending of an episode of Gilligan's Island -- guy makes it to the island on helicopter, promises to bring help, leaves, gets amnesia, forgets the stranded crew. Hilarity ensues.

Didn't Flans say this song was about a girl talking too loudly on a cell phone?

Is there anything in the lyrics to justify that? Not as far as I can tell. __ Thread Bomb (talk) 23:04, 28 June 2020 (EDT)

I think that it's about a woman talking loundly on a cell-phone, and then parking in a big city where the HUGE morning rush-hour crowd may sound like applause. She's a jumping bean because she is almost late, and she has keys and a token because she has cash to put in the parking meter and she just got out of her car.

There. Happy?

What's the deal with the vampire-like figures in the video?


I think these interpretations are all wrong. COMPLETELY. A retarded girl? A girl on the cell phone? Do these have anything to do with the song?

I will use the actual lyrics + the video to show what I think the song is about:


>I'm not much of a natural dancer

>But I've got a friend who's a natural dancer

>You could call her a jumpin' bean

>She's got ants in her pants and she's gonna dance

>I know a girl who's a jumpin' bean

>She's got keys and a token when she hits the scene

>Yeah I know a girl who's got a record machine

>She acts like David Lee Roth when he turned 21

OK, this part of the video show this quite literally. The record machine? A sign of her devotion to music. Same with the David Lee Roth comparison.

>I know a girl who's a natural dancer

>With a cape and a hat she's a natural dancer

Stage attire.

>She coughs and she laughs and she makes a lot of calls

She has a lot of friends who she calls and such.

>And all of the people applaud

>As she leaves the store

>As she leaves the store (damn good times)

>All of the people applaud (damn good times)

I think she's not dancing in the store, people just recognize her from TV and such. She's a natural dancer with a lot of friends and recognition.

This part of the video shows the store clerks OGLING her and turning into vampires. They want her. Notice the singer is in the background. He sees the transformation, but she's completely unaware. SHE DOESN'T KNOW THEY WANT HER.

>Can she do the karaoke? Yes she can, but she won't

>'Cause she's highly qualified and she's not a joke

>When it comes to opera, she is ossified

>So all of you operas better step aside

Look, would a retarded girl be ossified at karoke and not a joke? The only way that could apply in an interpretation is in an extremely cruel way, and one I do not appreciate. Same with the cell phone.

This is my favorite verse. She's ossified with opera and have a strong dislike of karoke, because she is "not a joke". She takes music extremely seriously.

Video is literal

>When my friend got amnesia

>She can't remember the show she saw

>Like the one with the guy with amnesia

>Who got off from the island on a helicopter

The show is the Gilligan's island one mentioned. She can't remember that episode about what happened when the guy forgot and left his friends on the island. She's isolating her real friends in the same way. She's caught up in fame. Video: The singer is hypnotizing her. Then on the chorus she turns into a lustful vampire herself, before waking up on a park bench. Matches what I said about getting caught up in herself.

Then during the instrumental, she wakes up and starts running from all the vampires... I think she's running forom her fans, but in a more disturbing way. This is the way people who are GOOD at what they do are treated. They're watched and ogled. She ends up in the arms of the dark coated singer, who appears to be maybe something more than a friend. But it's unknown whether he's good or bad...

Sorry this is so long...


Maybe, just maybe, the real meaning of the song is what he's saying. He's a guy that knows a girl who can dance real well and she does it in stores. Ever thought of that? I like SIMPLE explanations. not one's involoving retarded girls and cell phones. ____________________________________________________________________________________________

yessir, that's what I'm sayin' - the guy who made the overdrawn explanation above yours. ;) ____________________________________________________________________________________________

I feel inclined to agree with a couple of the above interpretations. After listening to the song several times, this is definitely a song about DDR. And vampires. ___________________________________________________________________________________________

When I hear this song I keep on thinking it's about this guy who's asked about his ex-girlfriend. However, the guy has no clue and doesn't even know that much about the girl. So he begins making lies up about her to his friend, starting with "She's a natural dancer" and even referring to her as "Jumping Bean" as an affectionate name. Then the lies get more and more absurd. "Keys and a token" I'm guessing mean transportation, i.e. "She takes the subway to the club but sometimes I drive her there." When he states she can kareoke, but won't, but will opera, he means she can sing very well, and takes her music very seriously (as someone said). Sooner or later he begins telling even more crazy lies about this "ex-girlfriend" like the time she had amnesia or how she is a Gilligan's Island fanatic. Now onto the chorus:

I know a girl who's a natural dancer (first lie he said)
With a cape and a hat she's a natural dancer (she dresses oddly, or possibly is in theatre)
She coughs and she laughs and she makes a lot of calls (pointing out bad things about her, such as how she gave him a cold, laughs at all the wrong parts in jokes and jacks up his telephone bill)
And all of the people applaud as she leaves the store (he means many people know her, she's famous)
(Damn Good Times) (stating that while it was never meant to be, there were many good times)

By the end, I think the sort-of-frightening music is to convey his mind, and by the ending he's been found out.

Its this simple, she dances she sings, she has damn good times.

I agree with whoever made the comment about this song being about a young girl. Here's my evidence:

- The first two stanzas, as the other person said, are a bunch of references to her being young. From "ants in her pants" and "jumping bean" to "David Lee Roth when he turned 21", we see that she is full of energy and is not afraid of showing it. Also, again, these are very kid-like terms. - The first stanze after the chorus - karaoke and opera - shows that she is opinionated even about things she doesn't understand as a young girl may be. She won't do karaoke because she's too good for it and everyone should know that. She obviously doesn't really know what "opera" is - seeing as she thinks operas are types of people - but she talks as if she does. - The next stanza - about amnesia - is another example of her acting smarter than she is to impress people. She saw a show about someone getting amnesia (whatever show it is) and she thinks that amnesia is just being forgetful. So, she tells people she got amnesia because she forgot what show she saw where the guy got amnesia because she has a big word she wants to show off with.

And, as anyone who has been stuck in a store with a young girl who thinks she's a superstar may know, she'll dance around and show off as much as she can and most parents and elderly people will compliment her on what talent she has. Hence why everyone claps as she leaves the store - because she thinks the world is her own private ampitheater. --JiuNoon 23:47, 3 May 2006 (CDT) ____________________________________________________________________________________________

"As she leaves the store

As she leaves the store (damn good times)

All of the people applaud (damn good times)"

My interpretation of this is that since she's such a natural dancer, her everyday coordination and poise are such that even when travelling through a store, it's as though she were performing.

-MC, May 15, 2006

The first part is obvious. Some guy knows a girl who's a natural dancer. In the second part when the girl gets amesia, the guy takes advantage of that (In reference to the video).

I also agree with MC up there about her dancing.

The refrain uses a literary structure known as a chiasmus, where a statement is made from phrases in the form ABBA.

{A} All of the people applaud {B} as she leaves the store.

{B} As she leaves the store {A} all of the people applaud.

There is an internet meme that uses the same chiastic structure. It's an answering machine message in which a woman describes an accident she had that day using a chiasmus:

{A} At the grocery store {B} I SHIT MY PANTS!

{B} I SHIT MY PANTS {A} at the grocery store!

Her use of chiastic structure to describe her unfortunate incident is a well known, and literary websites have used it to teach what a chiasmus is (this can be verified on Google using the search term "I shit my pants chiasmus", or even just "I shit my pants"). You may also notice that this song uses the same tonal pattern as hers, rising to a half-yell for the {B} parts while lower for the {A} parts. It's is easy to see that the TMBG chiasmus used in this song is from spectator's perspective of the incident she described with her chiasmus. Also note the use of a four letter expletive in the songs title, a rarity in They Might Be Giants songs. Yet this song has one, and it's used repeatedly as background vocals during the chiasmus, clearly another allusion to her chiasmus, which also uses a four letter expletive. The "natural dancer" line is clearly her doing the potty dance. There is no dance more natural than the potty dance. "jumping bean," "ants in her pants," and especially "she makes a lot of calls" all allude to her defecating herself then calling a friend and talking about it. The lyrics, the cursing, and the chiasmus all make it clear that this song is a story told from the POV of shoppers watching another shopper defecate herself.

--Burn Chao 09:24, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Enough jokeing around, the line >When my friend got amnesia

>She can't remember the show she saw

>Like the one with the guy with amnesia

>Who got off from the island on a helicopter

is about the ond TV show "The Prisoner" about an exspy who wakes up with amnesia on an island which is constantly under survalence and he is attacked by giant beach balls when he tries to escape, look it up on wikipedia, and in the end he escapes on helecopter. User:Nathanfan

I know that show, and he did not have amnesia. The point was that he refused to say why he had left the spy agency. -- Thread Bomb (talk) 23:04, 28 June 2020 (EDT)
He also never escaped in a helicopter. He used a raft once and a homemade boat another time, and in the series finale he just drove back to London (it's a very surreal show). Blipvert (talk)

Most likely it's a reference to Gilligan's Island. There was a 1965 episode called Big Man on a Little Stick, in which a surfer, played by Denny Scott Miller, is washed ashore with amnesia. Although he eventually leaves the island on his surfboard, the actor returns in a different episode, Our Vines Have Tender Apes, in 1967, where he plays a Hollywood method actor posing as a gorilla. At the end of this episode he leaves by helicopter. Although these two roles aren't really meant to be the same person despite being played by the same actor, someone who was a bit fuzzy on the details (say, because of having amnesia) might have misremembered it that way. Blipvert (talk) 18:10, 20 September 2021 (EDT)