The Darwin Exception

because it's not always survival of the fittest – sometimes the idiots get through

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Stuff I learned on TV

Posted by thedarwinexception on November 28, 2006

This whole week sucks. Between the Thanksgiving flaming turkey disaster, my monitor shitting the bed, the disillusionment with the Santa beat down and everything else that’s going on, I’m really looking forward to Wednesday night and the Hero’s episodes 1-6 repeats on the SciFi channel. That should brighten the week up considerably. And if you aren’t watching Hero’s, well, why aren’t you? And don’t say “Because I missed the first couple of episodes”, because this Wednesday night on SciFi, you can get all caught up. You won’t be sorry. I’m really close to rearranging my “Top 10 TV Show List” and taking “Lost” out of the number one position to replace it with “Hero’s”. I still love “Lost”, but it’s a love/hate thing. I’d give up on it all together, but “Lost” is my personal Iraq. I have so much time and money invested, I can’t pull out now.

Of course, I couldn’t watch Hero’s last night, because Paul was watching football. Some Green Bay/Seattle game that he *had* to see. So I Tivo’d Hero’s and I’ll watch it today while he’s at work. And speaking of the football game, I saw enough of it to know that it was snowing. In Seattle. And you know, I never really though of Seattle as a snowing kind of place. A raining kind of place, but I didn’t know it snowed there. Color me surprised.
I mean, it never snowed on “Frasier”, did it? And I remember that show from when I was a kid – what was
it called? It had Bobby Sherman in it, and it took place in Seattle. Or at least they had that “Seattle” theme song. “The bluest skies you’ll ever see, are in Seattle, and the hills the greenest green are in Seattle”. Now that doesn’t exactly
conjure up images of snowdrifts, now does it? But, maybe you shouldn’t get your climatologic lessons from sit-coms. Probably nothing good can come from that. It’s like the WWII thing.

Everything I know about WWII, I learned on “The Waltons”. The only way I can remember that WWII was the one that had Pearl Harbor in it was because Mary Ellen’s husband was killed at Pearl Harbor (and then he came back not really killed, but that was another season.) 

When I was in college, my “Logic” professor started talking about Vietnam and was shocked that so many of the students didn’t know shit about Vietnam. He started asking questions about major conflicts to gauge our awareness (which
wasn’t really fair, I mean, it wasn’t a history class or anything, and if it was, well, I wouldn’t have been there.) But he asked the question “So, when did WWII take place?” No one said a word, and he finally looked at me and said “Kim, when did WWII take place?” and I said “During the Waltons.” Everyone laughed, and he looked confused and said “During the *what*?” Which kind of made me feel better – I mean, Ok, so I didn’t know the years that WWII took place – but he didn’t know who the fuck the Waltons were, for crying out loud, and that was the number one show at the time! And if he had asked who was President during WWII, well, I would have known that, because they talked about him all the time on the Waltons.

Yes, you can learn all your history on TV – really, how would you ever know there was a Korean War if it wasn’t for MASH? Although that whole thing still confuses me, because it seems like the doctors were friends with the very people they were fighting, but maybe they were just friendly kinds of doctors. And maybe since they were “healers” and not soldiers, they weren’t allowed to kill anyone, so, you know, why not be friends?

But there are pitfalls to learning stuff on TV, one of my biggest pet peeves was “Newhart.” It supposedly took place in Vermont, but not the Vermont I grew
up in, that’s for sure. Number one, there is no “Stratford, Vermont”. It’s not there, don’t go looking for it. And don’t go looking for “The Stratford Inn”, either. Not in Stratford, anyway, it’s really “The Waybury Inn” – and it’s in Middlebury. But what bothered me the most about “Newhart” wasn’t the geographical fuck ups, it was little  hings, like when the maid, Stephanie, said in one episode “Oh, I have to go into town to get my driver’s license renewed.” Ummmm…… not in Vermont, honey. Any Vermonter knows that at that time you could *only* get your license renewed in Montpelier. There was no “going to town” to get it renewed. I always thought that if they were going to go to all the trouble of making up stereotypical “Vermonters” and portraying them as such hicks, well, at least get some of the basic facts of Vermont life down, and understand why the people are such hicks. I didn’t like that show after that.
But, I guess it did a lot for Vermont, anyway. Tourism probably got a boost. The Vermont in the “Newhart” show was portrayed as a beautiful place. Which most Vermonters knew, anyway, we got to see a lot of it when we drove to Montpelier to get our licenses renewed.

Yeah, maybe they never showed snow on Frasier the same way they all drove into town on “Newhart” to get their licenses renewed. I mean, it took me a few years to realize that none of the horses we had as a kid were ever going to talkthe way Mr. Ed did, even though my grandfather kept that fantasy going for a while by convincing all us grandkids that the horses only talked to *him*, the way Mr. Ed only talked to Wilbur. We believed him, and spent a lot of time in the barn trying to convince the horses that we wouldn’t tell anyone if they talked just a little bit. And speaking of cousins, I never had an identical one the way Patty Duke did. I’m still convinced that there was some hanky panky going on in *that* family. And really, could you have survived having three kids in one bedroom the way they did on the Brady Bunch? That would have ended up with a lot of blood on the bedspreads and “REDRUM” written on the mirror in my
house. And as you men probably know, the overweight slob doesn’t usually get the hot chick like on “According to Jim” or the “King of Queens”, so I guess the unreality is still going on.

So, maybe it does snow in Seattle.

There’s a book that compiles some of the best “Stuff we Learned on TV.” You can buy it at Amazon here. Here are some samples from the book. Just so you can’t say you
didn’t learn anything today.

“He who quits and runs away will live to quit another day.”
 — Corporal Agarn, F Troop

“A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but it is by no means the most interesting.”  — The Doctor, Doctor Who

“Due to the shape of the North American Elk’s esophagus. even if it could speak, it could not pronounce the word lasagna.”  — Cliff Clavin, Cheers

“It takes a big man to cry, but it takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man.”  — Jack Handey, Saturday Night Live

“I happen to believe in the sanctity of marriage — no matter how ugly and disgusting it gets.”  — Major Frank Burns, M*A*S*H

“Before all that equality crapola, you was a sweet frightened wife.”  — Archie Bunker, All in the Family

Skipper:  I’m not overweight, I just have big bones.
Gilligan: Yeah, and they’re covered with big meat.
 — Gilligan’s Island

“Life is not all lovely thorns and singing vultures, you know.”  — Morticia, The Addams Family

“Never make fun of a Ferengi’s mother.”  — Ferengi Rule of Acquisition Number 31, Deep Space Nine

“This is a cheap-shot comedy sketch, and I’ll lay you odds the frog wrote it.”  — Miss Piggy, The Muppet Show

“We are more alike than unlike, my dear captain. I have pores, humans have pores. I have fingerprints. Humans have fingerprints. My chemical nutrients are like your blood. If you prick me , do I not… leak?”  — Data, Star Trek: The Next Generation

Big Bird: So where’s Mr. Hooper, I wanna give him this picture.
Bob:      Well, Big Bird… Mr. Hooper died.
Big Bird: Oh, Okay. Well I’ll give it to him when he comes back.
 Sesame Street

“I might as well be dead… Well, I’m going  to bed, son. Good-night.  If I’m lucky I’ll sleep until angel Gabriel wakes me up… If not, I’ll see you at the usual time.”  — Fred Sanford, Sanford & Son

Mr. T: Gimme a cup of coffee!
Waiter: How do you want it?
Mr. T: In a cup, fool!
 The A-Team

“Why do they call it rush hour when nothing moves?”  — Mork, Mork and Mindy

Herman Munster: Dancing’s never been one of my strong points. I guess you could say I have two left feet.
Grandpa Munster: That’s what happens when they put something together in the dark.
 — The Munsters

“You know, medicine is not an exact science, but we are learning all the time. Why, just fifty years ago they thought a disease like your daughter’s was caused by demonic possession or witchcraft. But nowadays, we know that Isabelle is suffering from an imbalance of bodily humors, perhaps caused by a toad or a small dwarf living in her stomach.” — Theodoric of York, Saturday Night Live

And finally, the TV Theme song to my favorite nostalgic daytime show, and my favorite nighttime show. You had to love this crap. Hey, it’s better than that “Who Wants to Marry Some Guy Who Wants to Be A Millionaire” shit we get nowadays.





6 Responses to “Stuff I learned on TV”

  1. I have been digging Heroes. It’s keeping me guessing. However, I think “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World” is the dumbest tagline ever. And a couple of episodes ago, they made the characters say it every five minutes. I’m glad she’s all saved so we can stop hearing it.

  2. Ahhhh….but *is* she saved? We do have a dead cheerleader. How do we know that Jackie wasn’t the cheerleader they were supposed to save? You know, all blondes in red Cheerleader outfits look the same. Especially in cartoon panels.

    I was hoping Hiro would be “back in time” a bit longer – then we could have a new tagline – “Save the Waitress, Save the World…”


  3. Hank said

    The fact that you find so many mistakes in the one show where you know something about the supposed locale should make you very wary about believing any information you pick up from a TV program. Television writers never let the facts get in the way of telling the story.

    Just remember that most shows are shot in LA, so you aren’t going to see much snow. If you do see snow, it was probably shot in Toronto.

    It would be nice to live in a world where the fat slobs get the hot chicks, though.

  4. Hank said

    It’s kind of ironic that the woman who rails about the ignorance and stupidity in Malone can only locate WW II in time as “During the Waltons”, but I like you too much to point it out.

    You probably would have done better with the professor if you’d said “while Roosevelt was President”, since “The Waltons” did get that correct. There were plenty of other things that were not correct, though. Ever try to find “Boatwright University”?

    I have no doubt though, that they’d made Wilson President if it met the needs of a story (note: Wilson was President during WW I, no television shows of note). In fact, they did something nearly like that on a special; they had the barely aged from WW II Waltons reacting to Kennedy’s assasination (beginnings of Vietnam, no notable TV shows, but “Animal House” movie).

    If Malone ever gets a book store, you might consider “Don’t Know Much About History: Everything You Need to Know About American History but Never Learned”, which is an easy read and hits the high spots of American history. HIstory can be fascinating if you don’t get bogged down by dates and other minutiae.

    Remember, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Think how much better off we would be had George W. Bush gotten a degree in history rather than an MBA.

  5. Yeah, I know I suck at history, but that’s the difference – I *KNOW* I suck at history. Real ignorance is sucking at something and not even realizing it.

    And I do have those “Don’t Know Much…” books. I even read the history one – can’t tell you one damned thing that was in it. But I read it. But I’m getting better at history – just through reading different history books (see, I *try*, anyway). Now I can maybe get 2 questions right in a Jeopardy history category.

    And I respect the whole “Those who cannot learn from history” quote. And I even understand it, I just can’t “get” history. I think it has a lot to do with the whole “can’t pick Africa out on a map” thing. If you can’t fix the “places” in your mind, the events don’t stick, either.


  6. Neal said

    Sure, I can only TIVO 4 of the six shows due to conflicts. I’m torn wether to record the 4 I can.

    Thank you for the Greatest American Hero clip. That was IMHO one of the greatest theme songs ever written for a TV show.


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