Television is good for you

Madame Weebles —  April 30, 2013 — 185 Comments

I love television.  I’m not ashamed to admit it.  From my earliest childhood, with  Sesame Street, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Captain KangarooThe Electric Company (the original, not that bullshit remake), Zoom (the original, not that bullshit remake), and a zillion cartoons, that big box has been a huge part of my life.

A lot of buzzkills argue that too much television is unhealthy.  My reply to them is, “Suck it.”  I learned to count to 20 in Spanish thanks to Sesame StreetSchoolhouse Rock taught me about the parts of speech, and I can still sing the preamble to the Constitution.  And raise your hand if, like me, you learned to twirl your arms from watching Bernadette on Zoom.  Now tell me that trick hasn’t held you in good stead all these years.

I have learned much from TV shows over the years.  I’ve also drawn very important conclusions from my recent TV watching habits.  I’d like to share a few of them with you.

  • Life insurance companies should automatically report to the police anyone who takes out extra policies on their spouses.   Per 48 Hours Mystery, Dateline, and everything else that runs on the ID Channel, this should be a no-brainer.  If you take out an expensive policy, you may as well be wearing a sandwich board that says, “I’m about to commit murder!!”  So just go ahead and report these folks to the police and save them some legwork.  (Note to Mr. Weebles:  That million-dollar policy I just took out on you is in NO WAY related to this.)
  • Similarly, people with Crazy Eyes should be summarily reported to the police. Check out the perps featured on the ID Channel.  They ALL have Crazy Eyes.  I don’t care what profilers and psychologists say—ocular creepiness is the most reliable indicator of criminal intent.
These are Crazy Eyes.

These are Crazy Eyes.

These are NOT Crazy Eyes.

These are not Crazy Eyes.

  • No matter what day or time it is, some version of Law & Order is always on.  ALWAYS.  I find this oddly comforting.
  • Any man who tried to call me “Baby girl” would get the asskicking of a lifetime.  Except for Derek Morgan on Criminal Minds.
  • There are a LOT of aliens, chupacabras, sasquatches, and other mysterious creatures around us.  Be careful out there.
  • Most ghost hunters are obnoxious dickwads.  They walk around allegedly haunted places trying to taunt the spirits by yelling, “Show yourself!!”  If I were a ghost, I’d scare these idiots so badly that they’d need diapers for the rest of their lives.  Just because you’re talking to dead people doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have good manners.

Surely, my friends, you have also gleaned crucial learnings from your TV viewing.  Please share.

185 responses to Television is good for you

  1. 

    Law and Order IS on all the time EVERYWHERE!

  2. 

    Weebles, I have learned that if I ever had the ability to go back in time – or travel in time for that matter, I would travel with the 1983 version of the Doctor and totally make it with Tegan Jovanka. That’s a DR. WHO reference if you missed it.

    • 

      Oh honey, believe me, if I had a TARDIS, I’d be making it with a LOT of people from the past. I’d be the cheapest time traveler alive. But none of the Doctors’ companions do it for me. I’d be up for a romp with the 10th Doctor, though.

  3. 

    Thanks for that new insight about ghost hunters, bwahaha!

  4. 

    And, lets not forget all of the arias and classical music which you might never
    have heard had it not been for Bugs Bunny~~~~

    • 

      It’s true!! I know about Flight of the Valkyries, the Barber of Seville, and a bunch of other pieces because of Bugs Bunny. Warner Brothers cartoons are educational, dammit!

  5. 

    See?? And I know of Don Draper thanks to Mad Men. It’s all good. Also, I learned from Dexter that I should have a Murder Outfit and to bring tarps with me. It’s just good sense.

  6. 
    writerwendyreid April 30, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    I hear what you are saying Weebly but I’m afraid that some of the things I watch may give me a false sense of ability when it comes to certain things. For instance, years and years of watching ER has convinced me that I have the ability to do a tracheotomy on a choking victim, with nothing but a pen knife and a straw. I won’t even touch on the skills that watching Dexter has taught me.

    • 

      Mistress, did you ever watch M*A*S*H? Father Mulcahy also learns to perform a tracheotomy using a pen knife and the ink tube from a pen. If he can do it, I have full confidence that you can as well. And Dexter has taught us all many valuable skills, hasn’t he. He’s an American hero or something.

  7. 

    You’re so right! Extra point I want to make, people say that tv and Gaming is bad for you: I learned English from super Mario when I was six. My first ever sentence in fluent English was: “I’m sorry, Mario, but the princess is in another castle.”
    I learned estimating measurements from Tetris.
    I went to Disney land for free by borrowing Disney’s adventures from a friend.
    I got interested in martial arts (and all the related chi and spiritual enhancing arts) from street fighter.
    And i got my business skills and street smarts from grand theft auto :-P

    Because my folks were very absent parents, tv and games were a perfect replacement.

    • 

      You’re right, Daan—video games are also a source of valuable education. And I think it’s both hilarious and awesome that you learned English from Super Mario Brothers. I’m older than you are but I still recall learning to improve my reflexes from Pong, Donkey Kong and Space Invaders. And who hasn’t learned something useful from Grand Theft Auto??

  8. 

    I freaking LOVE cartoons and TV, so I obviously love this. I was watching Sesame Street with C today and the chubby guy from Modern Family (sorry, I don’t know his real name) made a cameo where he referenced the old “A loaf of bread, a carton of milk, and a stick of butter” short from the old Sesame Street days. It made me fill with happy.

    • 

      Holy crap, Emily, I haven’t thought about that “A loaf of bread, a carton of milk, and a stick of butter” bit in YEARS!!!! I still remember the kid’s voice, too, and how she repeats the list over and over on her way to the store. I am now filling with happy too.

  9. 

    Mister Rogers, Sesame Street, and The Muppets = My Childhood.

    Just as Law and Order is always on, something terrible will happen at the beginning of SVU – and still, I watch.

  10. 

    Watching Grey’s Anatomy with my ex-wife taught me not to open random closets at the hospital lest I find a couple of doctor’s fucking in it.

  11. 

    Wait a second now, Zoom (the bullshitty remake) was amazing. When Jared died years later? Me and my friends felt a very serious loss. I learned how to be a Fanny Doolee master.

    • 

      Sorry, Katie. See, I’m an old-timer—I was there for original Zoom, and I’m snotty about it. I will have to check out the remake and keep an open mind. Meanwhile, check out Bernadette, because I think everyone should learn to twirl their arms like her.

  12. 

    Through this Magical Moving Picture Box I have learned that the Cajuns Guys (and Wimmin, too) on “Swamp Men” are bad asses. And they say “Choot ‘em” a lot.

  13. 

    We were just talking about School House Rock today at the lunch table!! I loved it so much I bought it for my son. Conjunction, junction. . .what’s your function?? I rarely watch TV anymore, but I love this post!

    • 

      I’m so glad, FBG! Schoolhouse Rock is a classic. I can still sing all the songs, I just love them. How does your son like it? I wish they still ran it regularly on weekend mornings—I’m sure today’s kids could benefit from it as much as we did, if not more.

  14. 

    I have also learned that children’s toys are alive and move when they think we’re not looking. Which is something I’d really rather not have learned. I’ve also learned countless things from Macgyver… I like to think of myself as Momgyver these days. I can make anything with a paper clip, a pair of sunglasses, and a tweezer.

    • 

      These are valuable skills, Momgyver. You never know when you’re going to need to make an explosive out of Cheese Doodles, rubber bands, and paper towels. And don’t get me started on the creepy children’s toys.

  15. 

    Weebs, I second that TV is good for you. I find it relaxing and comforting. I may even survive the zombie apocalypse because of it. That can’t be a bad thing!

  16. 

    I too have a thing for true crime shows/Keith Morrison’s voice.

    And I know that Dr Phil’s son Jay has a publishing company, because he doesn’t shut up about it.

    I’m sad that Joy Behar has left/is leaving The View, and Judge Judy keeps me in touch with the American judicial system.

    Shall we do lunch?

    • 

      We MUST do lunch next time we’re in the same country. Especially now that we can add Keith Morrison as a subject of conversation. Mr. Weebles and I imitate his over-the-top overdramatized narratives all the time.

  17. 

    I am so with you on Sesame Street and Zoom. The Electric Company made me want to move to WGBH Boston. How was I to know that wasn’t a place but the PBS station’s call letters?
    Love. This. Post. & U2 Madame…Seriously!

  18. 

    I love TV. I love Netflix even more because then I can watch every episode of every season of amazing shows like Cheers, Family Ties, Wings and Frasier. 1984, I’m calling and I’m headed back! I learned that Mad Men means the admen of Madison Avenue.

    Albania, Albania! You border on the Aydreeeatic!

    Duh Ogg…..Dog. Hey you guyyyyyyssss!!!

    Thankfully my 5 year old nephew knows Schoolhouse Rock and I have introduced him to Bugs Bunny and all the Looney Toons folks, the real ones with Mel Blanc, not the bullshit remakes.

    Good one Weebs as always!

  19. 

    Whatever happened to Mr. Green Jeans?

  20. 

    I’m so with you on the life insurance policy thing. That has got to be such a major red flag! When it “reality shows,” though, I think I’d rather be in a room with 50 people running their nails down a chalkboard.

  21. 

    “ocular creepiness is the most reliable indicator of criminal intent”—Hahaha. Ocular creepiness. That’s perfect. That term needs to go into the DSM-V. Not to be confused with Grave’s Disease where the eyeballs pop out to no fault of the individual.

    • 

      Totally agree, Toots. All you need is a differential Dx to rule out Graves. The DSM-V omits a lot of diagnoses from the DSM-IV that they should have left in, but to make up for it, the least they can do is add Ocular Creepiness. It’s the most reliable indicator we have for all sorts of antisocial and criminal behavior.

      • 

        You know your DSM-V! I know there are going to be some pretty significant changes with the autism categories. Some people like that; others do not.

        • 

          What can I say…some people collect stamps or play tennis, I read the DSMs. They’ve made a lot of very odd decisions regarding disorders to include/exclude in this new one, haven’t they.

          • 

            I read the DSMs too. Weird coincidence, no? We have soooo much in common. Blogging, and blurring the differences between types of mental illnesses.

  22. 

    I’ve learned that if you are an avid watcher of CSI, NCIS, etc… that you are far less likely to ever sit on a trial jury – because you’ve grown to expect the “CSI treatment” when it comes to evidence and neither side of the court wants to live up to that standard.
    I’ve also learned that there is always either a Clint Eastwood or John Wayne western on at all times – and that is oddly comforting.
    Finally, I’ve learned that if I ever need help with something I can just ask the Honda people to go ahead and take care of that for me.

    • 

      All excellent and helpful observations, DJ. I was not aware that there is always a John Wayne and/or Clint Eastwood western on, I’ll have to watch for this. And surely a car commercial would never lie. It’s nice to know Honda is there for us.

  23. 

    TV is good. I watched a ton of Law & Order and find it reassuring there is always a rerun on somewhere. It’s how I knew that I was never lost in NYC: if I could just remember what episode was filmed on the street I was on, I knew where I was (and who would end up dead).

  24. 

    Holy shit!! I just spent an hour on YouTube watching clips from ZOOM (which I didn’t know they had a shitty remake of), New Zoo Revue, Great Space Coaster, and The Banana Splits. You know, all of my old babysitters. I loved this post, great stuff.

    • 

      My babysitters too, Bill! I forgot about the New Zoo Revue, that was a good one. I also forgot about Romper Room and Wonderama, neither of which I cared for very much but I watched them anyway. It’s always fun to reminisce about TV shows from childhood. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.

  25. 

    I’ve figured out that if you aren’t being followed around by a camera and crew, it’s not reality! By the way, your TV viewing tastes are very similar to sweet husband’s! lol xoxoM

    • 

      Give that sweet husband of yours a high five for me, Margarita. Mr. Weebs and I say the same thing: if you’ve got a production crew and cameras around you in a completely unnatural setting, then it ain’t reality.

  26. 

    I learned that people in green jeans often have talking moose for friends and that Russian spies want to capture moose and squirrel – does this make Captain Kangaroo a double agent? I have been watching too much of the Americans…

    • 

      Well, Captain Kangaroo first aired during the early days of the Cold War…hmmm…. you may be onto something there, Artsi. I’ve never watched The Americans, is it good? It looks interesting but I’ve already got so many shows to watch, I thought it might not be prudent to add another one at the moment.

      • 

        I like the Americans. It’s retro Reagan era stuff. It’s amazing to imagine that this kind of thing went on. My DVR is so full that I need to take a month off work and focus on it.

  27. 

    I love Criminal Minds except they show really really really gross stuff–as long as I look away at the right times I enjoy this show; I was too old for Sesame Street when it first came out but so enjoyed watching it with my sons along with Reading Rainbow; my truly favourite show was Pinky and the Brain

  28. 

    It’s eerie about Law and Order….sometimes the same episode is on different channels (talk about crazy eyes)
    Mash and Dexter preparation for modern living….
    (Glad you said that about the ghost hunters.)
    Really miss that 3rd Rock from the Sun series.

    • 

      I’ve experienced this L&O phenomenon as well! It’s funny when it happens. I miss 3rd Rock from the Sun too, it was a good show. My favorite episode was the one where Dick discovers cigarettes and thinks they’re healthy.

  29. 

    Just like our taste in hot dead guys, I see we also share similar television tendencies. And while I wouldn’t kick Derek Morgan out of bed for calling me Baby Girl, I find myself to be more of a Spence kind of girl overall. I think it’s the messenger bag.

  30. 

    We used to only have 4 channels in Britain before Satellite TV. Even the shit shows used to get about 20 million viewers because there was nothing else on. Now, the only problem is there is not enough hours in the day to watch the shows I NEED to watch: Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Breaking Bad… and now the bastard Danish are making good TV too.
    I need to find out how Maggie Thatcher used to function on 4 hours sleep per night, for know better reason than so I can watch an episode of True Blood at 2 in the morning without falling asleep in work.

    • 

      I am so glad you’re back—I’ve missed the West Wickle Times greatly! I shall have to catch up on all the local happenings. It’s tough having too much good television to watch, isn’t it? It’s a first-world problem, but that doesn’t make it any less tragic or heartbreaking. I’m not sure how ol’ Maggie did it. Maybe she was on speed?

  31. 

    I get stuck watching childrens television most of the time. I have learnt not to bite my friends, not to eat food off the floor, that small animals never produce poop that needs cleaning up, and mkst importantly that x-ray is quite possibly the only word in the english language beginning with x.

    • 

      Now THESE are important life lessons, Stephanie. Although truthfully, I still eat food off the floor. Five-second rule, you know. And sometimes I bite my friends but only if they ask nicely.

  32. 

    Don’t whack a naval officer on the east coast if you can’t outrun LL Cool J.
    You can build a huge boat in your basement and it will mysteriously wind up at the lake.
    Don’t use a Taser on a guy who has a pacemaker.
    Fairy tales are pretty Grimm.
    The “man in the suit” is one of the good guys. (There’s only two).

    • 

      LL Cool J has some mad skillz, fo’ sho’. Him and Agent Gibbs. We never do find out how he gets that boat out of the basement, do we. But which man in the suit do you speak of? There have been so many in so many different shows. Although most of them are bad men.

  33. 

    “Write Zoom: Z-double O-M; box 350 Boston, Mass; 02134, Send it to ZOOM!” My kids have been raised on this song. And Schoolhouse Rocks series… it’s what’s wrong today, kids don’t have this stuff! And thank God it’s a good thing, because I’ve fallen down a TV hole lately. Sweeet post!

    • 

      I thank you, My Lady. It’s true, what do kids today have? Nothing nearly as cool as Schoolhouse Rock. It’s their loss—and ultimately ours too, I suppose, because these kids will adults one day and it will be a real shame.

  34. 

    The Walking Dead as taught me that Zombies ARE slow and dumb…and not like the wicked fast ones the British would have us believe in. (Silly 28 Days later) It also shows that Hillbillies would be great during a Zombie Apocalypse.

    • 

      You got that right, BroJo—Daryl and Merle are two of the only ones I’d trust to get it done in a zombie apocalypse. Merle might have been creepy and sleazy but he eventually got stuff done. And yeah, what’s with those lightning-fast zombies in the movies? I’m not buying it, and they shouldn’t be selling it.

  35. 

    TV taught me to be very afraid of anyone who looks like Howdy Doody! It also taught me thanks to “The Twilight Zone”, “One Step Beyond”, and “The Outer Limits” That ‎”There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”. And from time to time when I couldn’t afford to go to the movies, it taught me to dream on a small screen and in black and white.

    • 

      Lanier! I’m always so happy to see you, sir. Twilight Zone, One Step Beyond, and Outer Limits are so great. Real mind benders/expanders, aren’t they?? I’d have been afraid of Howdy Doody too…he looked a little too creepy for my tastes…

  36. 

    Am I going to be the first person to bring up how important it is to watch Downton Abbey so that one knows how to properly address ones’ servants?

  37. 

    Jack McCoy is my sexy silver fox, and I love that I can see him any time of day from the comfort of my bed.

  38. 

    Madame, this post is SPOT ON – how much do I love that we’re practically carbon copies for adoring the same shows from our youth?? I just recently mentioned Schoolhouse Rock in a post on Wanderland, even. To this day, I sing ‘The Capital I ‘ song from Sesame Street to my charges (“We all live in a capital I, in the middle of the desert, in the center of the sky…”). During the 80′s and early 90′s, Julia Sugarbaker from Designing Women taught me how a true lady carries herself, while demonstrating the art of having an acid tongue during her memorable diatribes. The Golden Girls taught me how to age gracefully, and that any problem can be eased by eating cheesecake – preferably out on the lanai. :)

    As for ghost hunting shows: I was a ghost hunter myself, with a paranormal group downstate almost three years ago. You are SO right – if one dares contact spirit, one should always use good manners, not to mention taking precaution to psychically shield and recite prayers for protection. Rule #1 was never, but NEVER, provoke. Rule #2 was never, ever go anywhere during an investigation solo – ALWAYS take a partner. Those gits on certain shows are often splitting up and trying to be some sort of maverick, hollering out to incite a response, and generally acting like complete louts. Frosts me no end – gives those who know better a bad name. Grrr.

    • 

      Alice, we were clearly separated at birth. The Golden Girls is still one of my favorite shows. I can still quote most of them from heart. And if cheesecake on the lanai can’t solve the problem, it will certainly help, at least.

      I have done ghost hunting as well, and those idiots on those shows are why people think ghost hunters are out of their minds. Well, they’re *among* the reasons, anyway… (and don’t get me started on people who think that any orb on their pictures MUST be a spirit).

  39. 

    “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly get your adverbs here!” — and “HEY YOU GUYZZZZZZ” are now both stuck in my head! Rattling around so much that it has driven any and all television lessons from my brain.

    i do believe, however, that we are rapidly approaching the level and volume of television programming depicted in “Idiocracy”. Now, go away, lady! I’m ‘batin’…..

  40. 

    First of all, I LOVE Betty White. Secondly, I have decided that most commercials are not written for me (except maybe the Snickers commercial with Betty White). And finally, my favorite show is “Elementary.” Brilliant writing, good acting and engaging stories about a modern-day Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson (Joan Watson, that is, played by Lucy Liu). I love it!

    • 

      Betty White is so cool, isn’t she? I love her in that Snickers commercial. I’ve never seen Elementary, except for a few minutes here and there. I’m not usually a fan of modernized versions of classic characters, but I should give it a try, as I trust your judgment!

  41. 

    You had me at Derek Morgan! I have learnt all I know from Criminal Minds. . .

    • 

      Hello Daile! Welcome! Always a pleasure to meet another fan of the delicious Derek Morgan… Criminal Minds is a great show—sometimes really gory and brutal, but a great show nonetheless.

  42. 

    At the risk of sounding like a snob, I don’t watch much TV at all because I work a Monday through Friday grind. When I’m cut loose I try to write, catch up on my blog reading and commenting. For fun, I like to hang out with my friends and my favorite escapes are seeing films in movie houses or going to the theater. Through volunteer ushering gigs, I get to see a lot of terrific off-Broadway shows for free and as a member of Lincoln Center Theater, I get a pretty deep discount to select Broadway shows. One house manager who’s been particularly generous to me has even begun giving me comp tickets so Milton and I just saw The Testament of Mary on B’way for free. I’m not against watching TV and I think it’s infinitely healthier than, I dunno, shooting heroin or huffing paint, but there just are not enough hours in my day to devote the time to it. My priorities are different plus I have a pretty crummy set. The only show I watch regularly is Mad Men, and I’m not feeling it this season as I’ve had in season’s past.

    • 

      No judgments, V—I’m more of a TV gal than a theater gal, but hey, these differences are what make the world go ’round.

      • 

        After I wrote my comment I remembered that before my salary entered freefall, I could afford to subscribe to premium cable stations. I used to love watching HBO. I think their programming is superior. Of course, “It’s not TV. It’s HBO.”

  43. 

    My father gets angry at those ghost hunters and wants the ghosts to eat their faces. He gets the most mad at the “COME AT ME, BRO!” guy. “I don’t think those ghosts like to be called bro,” he tells me. “Those ghosts should eat that ghost douche’s face.”

    I’m with you on Derek Morgan, although I’d rather have Spencer Reid. I like my dorky sciency guys.

    I have learned from television that if you shout at your backpack in Spanish, it will give you things (Dora) and that if you are rude to people in many countries, you might win a million dollars (The Amazing Race) and even though you’re the most boring show on television, you NEVER GET CANCELLED (60 Minutes.)

    Also, Charlie Manson has the MOST crazy eyes, and once I watched a documentary about him where he was rocking, singing to himself, and clapping on his jail bunk, and I laughed until I cried a little.

    • 

      I’m with your dad—if I were a ghost and some douchenozzle said “Come at me, bro,” it would be ON. I’d open up a huge can of spectral whoopass.

      Spencer Reid seems to be quite popular with the ladies! He’s cute, and it’s a great character, and I love me some dorky science guys as well, but I prefer ones who don’t weigh less than I do. I’d be afraid of breaking Spencer in half, bless him.

      Television teaches so many valuable lessons, doesn’t it?? I’ll have to try shouting at my backpack in Spanish too. Maybe it will give me stuff.

      Also, I just love that your name is lucysfootball.

  44. 

    Every family has a know-it-all daughter and/or a slutty one. Nobody ever has a C-average daughter who gets laid at a normal pace. That’s what I have learned.

    • 

      That’s true—chicks are either know-it-alls, and/or geniuses who bang anything that moves, or they’re idiots who bang anything that moves. No real middle ground there. It’s SO realistic, too.

  45. 

    Since I stopped watching TV when MASH ended, I’ve never had the benefit of this information before, and am now very grateful for what should be some really useful recognition skills. ( I actually thought Frank – as in Mash – had mad eyes)
    I totally agree, being rude to ghosts is bad manners in any language.

    • 

      You’re right, Valerie, Frank Burns did have the Crazy Eyes! That was a great show. And being rude to ghosts just seems to be asking for all kinds of trouble….

  46. 
    The Unbearable Banishment May 1, 2013 at 7:14 am

    Not only crazy eyes, watch out for men who have three names, especially if the middle name is Wayne and they’re from south of the Mason-Dixon line.

    I don’t prescribe to the presence of “mysterious” creatures. Sorry. Have you noticed that since everyone has a smart phone with a camera there have been no UFO sightings? I call bullshit on that whole cottage industry.

    • 

      What IS that, with the killers with the three names? John Wayne Gacy, John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, James Earl Ray, David Parker Ray, etc etc. Granted, there are plenty of maniacs who are known only by two names, but I have noticed this phenomenon too.

      As for UFOs, I don’t believe in them either. I do believe that there must be life on other planets, just because sheer statistics would support that fact. But I like my dad’s reasoning about why all the UFO sightings here are bogus: “Imagine what kind of technology it would take to travel light years to get to Earth. Why would creatures this smart fly all the way over here and then fuck around and play UFO??” He has a way with words, my dad does.

  47. 

    Like you, Madame Weebles, I grew up with Schoolhouse Rocks. I learned my Constitution Preamble and about the amendments from the show and know all my grammar from the amazing rhymes. “Lolly-lolly, lolly get your adverbs here!” It got me hooked on grammar. And I am so glad Law and Order is ALWAYS on. With 200 channels and nothing really on, I can always find my favorite show (L&O) which I did last Friday and Saturday night when i didn’t want to watch any of the other inane stuff that was on but was content to sit with my old favorites. Ah, bliss! But you are correct about the insurance money and the crazy eyes. If you watch Dateline and 48 Hours, you KNOW!

    • 

      It’s reassuring, isn’t it, Mary, to know that even when there’s nothing on any of the other 200 channels, we can always rely on good ol’ L&O. As for Schoolhouse Rock, it’s genius. It got me hooked on history and grammar too. It’s so easy to learn when you can just sing “a noun is a person, place or thing.”

  48. 

    I, too, got most of my early childhood education from PBS — my parents were busy and, well, it was the ’60s!

    Do you remember “Hector Heathcoat”? OMG… loved that cartoon. I am only half-kidding when I tell you that my love of history can be directly traced back to the time I spent with “Hector” — and, basically, “Wishbone” was just a live-action version of “Hector Heathcoat”. (I watched every episode of that one with my daughter when she was younger!)

    I so agree with you on the “baby girl” thing — I can’t think of anyone else uttering that line where it wouldn’t sound creepy, demeaning, or condescending. When Derek Morgan says it, though, it seems so natural and sounds like a genuine and gentlemanly compliment. (I’ve actually given this a lot of thought over the years — because I was immediately struck by his use of the term — I imagine that it’s “his” term and not one coined by the writers.)

    Great post….

    • 

      I know about Hector Heathcoat but sadly, that show was on a little before my time. I don’t think it was on even in reruns when I was a kid—if it were, I definitely would have watched it. A time-traveling scientist? Who could resist? I didn’t watch Wishbone either–that was way after my time.

      As for Derek Morgan, “Baby girl” really does fall off his tongue easily. Whether it’s just a thing for the character, or whether it’s something Shemar Moore says in real life, hell, I’m in. He could say it to me anytime…

  49. 

    I haven’t learned this for sure but I have a strong sense that he never did and never will meet their mother.

  50. 

    If they would just program every show to star Betty White, the world would be a better place.

    The Crazy Eyes theory is so true. They say the eyes are the window to the soul, so if you’re batshit insane on the inside, yep, your eyes will be buggin’ out of your head.

    • 

      Right?? They should start showing Betty White shows on Al Jazeera, it would do wonders for our reputation in Muslim countries. And seriously, Crazy Eyes are no joke. You can’t hide the Batshit Insane because the Crazy Eyes will always give you away.

  51. 

    Amen, baby girl, amen.

  52. 

    I learned that certain knives can cut a tin can and THEN cut a tomato! I mean, dude, how much would you pay for that?

  53. 

    Gotta love cartoons … after all, they’ve given me something to post on Saturdays!

    Advise regarding Law & Order – Never set the DVR to record all episodes.

  54. 

    I too find law and order comforting. i don’t know why. i also like those ‘true murderish’ shows. i don’t know why, but when i want to turn off my brain for a sec, they work. much love, weebs, much love. xoxo

    • 

      Hey Momma!!! I see you and I share the same television viewing habits. So soothing, L&O and all those true crime shows. I think it’s because there’s a reliable formula and pattern to them. Or maybe you and I are just twisted.

  55. 

    “Ocular creepiness” – *snicker!* These days I develop ocular creepiness if I’m forced to watch more than an hour or two of TV. Put me in front of a talk show, and I’ll go psychotic. The last time my step-mom made the mistake of turning one on while I was in the room, the sheer willful stupidity of the host had me on my feet shaking my fist and bellowing obscenities within seconds.

    But I used to love M*A*S*H and Star Trek. Ah, the classics.

    • 

      I can’t watch talk shows, they drive me apeshit. I’m not sure who’s worse, the hosts/guests, or the audiences. But aside from that, and the talent shows, which I find just unbearable, I watch an awful lot of crap. I apparently have a very high threshold.

  56. 

    Thank you for your defense of the not-so-idiot box. I can only remember how to count to 10 in Spanish, but I got it from Sesame Street. And I often sing the Preamble, or about three being a magic number, or some such nonsense. I’ve also learned what not to do if I ever do decide to murder someone, although I only ever want to watch the Logan/Briscoe years of the Mothership. I’ve also learned that private investigators, much like prostitutes, have hearts of gold; and how to make easy ice pops using toothpicks, plastic wrap, and an ice cube tray.

    BTW, if you’re not reading the magazine Mental Floss, you might want to start. Otherwise, you might not get every single question on Jeopardy! right, thus enabling you to tell Alex Trebek to suck it.

    • 

      I don’t read Mental Floss regularly but I really should because I love that magazine. And nothing would give me greater pleasure than to tell Trebek to suck it. And I will always defend television—it’s a much-maligned medium, as far as I’m concerned. Sure, there’s a ton of crap, but there’s a lot of good programming as well, and as you and I already know, there has been much excellent children’s programming. How else would we know about those little ice cube popsicles??? Or grabbing “a hunka cheese”??

  57. 

    UGH…”baby girl”…that should trigger a report to the police, too.

  58. 

    Ooh, I know was risen (spelling?) is because of Breaking Bad.

  59. 

    Haha! I’m not a big tv watcher, but I loved the post! I always enjoyed the classic stuff we grew up with! And ocular creepiness – Spot On!

    • 

      The classics will never die, Chica B. For example, I can still watch I Love Lucy—I’ve seen every episode at least 20 times—and I still laugh out loud. As for ocular creepiness, if you see someone with it, call the cops ASAP!

      • 

        My fav I Love Lucy is where Lucy and Ethel go to work on a candy assembly line and things go beserk and Lucy starts trying to eat all the candy so it doesn’t pile up! There is something about that one that cracks me the hell up!

  60. 

    I learned a lot of Spanish as a kid on Electric Company… and later, how to make furniture and I became a cosmologist by watching PBS.

  61. 

    What about just one crazy eye? Because I’m hopeful that with some drops that thing will clear right up. At some point.
    Also, I like to think I would be a very entertaining ghost. I wouldn’t scare people off with my ghostly crazy eye unless they were being real jerks.

    • 

      Nah, the one crazy eye is okay—that makes you eccentric, not criminally insane. And I think it would suit you as a ghost to have the wacky eye. I’m sure you’d be an excellent ghost. Ghost hunters from far and wide would make pilgrimages to your haunted abode just to get a glimpse of you in action!

  62. 

    I think these days, if you’re an educated person, the safe–almost ubiquitous–quote about television is, “I don’t watch much TV,” or even, “I never watch TV.” I think it’s sort of a brave thing (and I’m not being arch; we have become a society of cowards) for an educated person to admit to watching TV, and more importantly, liking it. Sometimes unironically. It’s like we’re expected to believe that, despite the statistics showing the average person watches a ton of TV, these people lead lives too exciting to watch anything but BBC news (“It’s what’s on when I’m at the gym.”). I don’t think they’re dishonest so much as deluding themselves to the amount of TV they actually watch. “I know everybody else watches, but not ME.”

    Having said that, I’d like to add–a little self-consciously–that I almost never watch TV. This is especially true if you don’t count movies. In the last week I’ve probably watched 1.5 hours of television. Probably about 4 with movies.

    I have watched a lot of TV at different periods in my life, though–I’m not judging. When I was a kid, I would gleefully wake up at dawn on Saturday, and watch cartoons from the time the national anthem started playing until I had to go to Little League around 10 or so. Laff-A-Lympics, Scooby Doo, Godzilla, some Lone Ranger with lasers crap–it was a great time to be a kid.

    Then, right after college, when I had this awful, go nowhere job selling clothes to early-middle-aged men, my buddy and I watched an assload of talk-shows. This was the golden age of Jerry Springer, when you were guaranteed to have a fight on every episode, Sally Jesse Raphael and her nutty glasses, local favorite Wally George (estranged father of Rebecca De Mornay and inspiration for the by-then fallen star Morton Downey, Jr.), Geraldo Rivera and toad-like East Coast import, Richard Bey, with his braying audience of pimply, aggro yahoos, and probably some other freakshows I’m forgetting about. We’d tape all the talk shows and stay up into the wee hours getting incredibly high and wasting our lives on this televised garbage. It was an awesome time.

    • 

      I liken those Morton Downey-type shows to the modern equivalent of Gladiator matches. Painful to watch, obviously inhuman, but so, so entertaining at the right time and place.

      I loved those Saturday morning cartoons. Scooby Doo and Laff-a-Lympics were two of my favorites. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.

      As for TV, I think it gets a bad rap. There’s a lot of crappy programming but these days I think there are a lot more quality TV shows than quality films coming out. And TV is a lot cheaper. And even bad TV is a good guilty pleasure. I will never be ashamed. Never!

  63. 

    You are already on my list of favorites phrases with “recreational organs,” to which I now add “ocular creepiness.”

    The one downside of TV is the day that I am set for open-heart surgery and the doctor says: “Don’t worry at all. I’ve watched open-heart surgery countless times on television.”

    • 

      I forgot about “recreational organs” —thanks for reminding me, Curmudgeon!

      I don’t see why you’re concerned about potential open-heart surgery. With the advent of 3D HD television, it’s practically the same thing as doing it yourself.

  64. 

    We watch a few network shows (Mad Men, Dexter, Archer), but usually discover a show and just go on mini-marathons. We watched seven seasons of Alfred Hitchcock Presents (so good!) and are now going back through Arrested Development. We used to watch Ghost Adventures (because some of the locations were great, but also because the main guy would almost invariably use ‘ironically’ incorrectly once per episode), but I lost interest. His clothes were terrible!

  65. 

    Ohhh two one three four — send it to Zoom! Yes!

    Television has been indirectly responsible for a great portion of what I know today. The Brady Bunch episode about fire safety taught me never to overload sockets or extension cords or something like this. The fireman character in that show I think says that this is called an octopus (?). It sticks in my head to this day so I know never ever to do that.

  66. 

    I am thinking we are close to the same age – I grew up with Sesame Street, Electric Company and the original ZOOM! and let us not forget our friend Bill – from Schoolhouse Rock! Did you watch Fat Albert?

  67. 

    Cookie Monster was and is my original role model. C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me.

    Then there was another show that said if you come face to face with a grizzly bear, stand very very very still and don’t make a sound. Or wait. Was it run away fast? Fuck. I don’t remember. I’m screwed. Unless it likes cookies.

  68. 

    I’ve learned that there shouldn’t be any homicide unsolved, given the number of forensic investigators we have working out there (CSI of all flavours, Bones, Silent Witness, etc) and all the new evidence which turns up for old murders (Waking the Dead, Cold Case, etc). Also that they always catch the culprit, even if it does take a few years and a few extra homicides (which handily gives them a bit more evidence to help in the catching). Also don’t trust anyone on death row; they’re practically guaranteed to escape.

    • 

      You know it, Lou. All that evidence will damn someone in the end, however long it takes. And how many times do people have to learn the hard way that death row inmates are not to be trusted NOT to try to escape?? Also, I’ve learned that forensic evidence can be processed in about 15 minutes. So simple, really.

      • 

        Not forgetting that you can send a text message when your phone has no battery by wiring it into your car, and create oxygen when trapped in a car which has been buried, by using some standard house-hold products!

        Also, that ALL cops are good looking with the exception of the middle-aged fat one who is there to provide a mid-life crisis plotline.

        I think I’ve watched far too much Bones and Cold Case, don’t you?

        I have to say, I don’t blame the chaps on death row for trying to escape. I think if I were on death row (even if it were deserved and I knew it) I’d be doing my best to work out a way out. Sure, when I die I’ll get to meet Jesus face-to-face, but I’d rather it be later rather than sooner!!

  69. 

    I would not kick Derek Morgan out of my bed for anything, including eating crackers or calling me Baby Girl. I did not watch Criminal Minds as a series when it first started, so I love that it is on now & I can catch up on the old episodes I missed. I have been doing the same with different different episodes of Law & Order.

    • 

      That’s the beauty of both Law & Order and Criminal Minds—they’re both on pretty much all the time, so you can always jump in and catch up. And yeah, it seems pretty unanimous that Derek Morgan could get away with pretty much anything….

  70. 

    I am a medical doctor in the line of psychiatry and I have found TV series like criminal minds and the mentalist to be very involving, serving as good motivation for studying. I guess it depends on what you make of ANYthing.

  71. 

    just fyi – i nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award – hope you don’t mind. i love what you have going on over here. :)
    http://versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com/about/

  72. 

    Does knowing about lions count? I watch a lot of those BBC natural world documentaries, Life on Earth, etc.. and frankly now i feel something of an expert on lions. For example, I am pretty sure they are unpleasant to zebra.

    • 

      Hello there, Mr. Henderson sir! Knowing about lions does indeed count. All knowledge is valuable. And if you should find yourself in sub-saharan Africa, you know that you should probably not wear zebra stripes in case you should encounter a lion. It’s just good sense.

  73. 

    hello there M. Weebles, delighted to be in touch again, & despite my in-depth knowledge of lions, would you believe this particular idiot once walked alone across a game park (the QEII park) in Uganda, at night, surrounded by the noise of the lions. Armed with a.. head torch! Could hear the low grunts & occasionally see their eyes glinting in the dark few hundred yards away. Lucky for me, they weren’t hungry. No idea why I did it. Something to do with a sense of the epic and the pre-modern, i think. Oh, and i was drunk, naturally.

  74. 

    I’ve learned a lot about medicine from watching TV:
    If a woman faints, she’s pregnant.
    If a woman vomits, she’s pregnant.
    Women, in general, are pregnant.
    Also, if you have a nosebleed, it means you’re going to die.

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