Things I Learned from Watching Television


Ah, television-- putting the "pow" and "bif" into mind-numbing entertainment options for over half a century! And me, well, I've spent my share of time plunked down in front of the old boob tube.

But for folks who say television has nothing to teach us, I say they're WRONG!

In fact, I think they're SO wrong, I've pulled together just a few absolutely indispensable things (read: useless mind-clutter pushing out the really important stuff in my brain), all of which I've learned over the years from watching TV:
  • Only good-looking people find themselves stuck on deserted islands, as members of any elite team, survivors from a plague, or in the medical profession. If you're in one of these situations and you are not terribly attractive? Brace yourself for a poignant death three episodes into the season. Unless you are funny.
  • The cooler and edgier you are, the more frequently your world will break into unexpected slo-mo, particularly when you're just walking purposefully from here to there. When you feel the slo-mo coming, make sure you've got a long coat handy that can billow in the breeze.
  • When you have experienced the loss of a loved one, sad music in a two-minute montage will begin, interspersed with flashbacks. This is a perfectly acceptable replacement for actual feelings, discussion or facial expressions.
  • No one ever really needs to go to the restroom-- thinking we do is a misconception. Jack Bauer, for instance, has been holding it for at least five seasons. The only acceptable reason for entering a restroom is if the serial killer, who's been stalking you, is hiding in there.
  • You can be a renowned scientist, important professor or highly decorated supercop by age 25. None of your less-alert and middle-aged team members will call you things like "Kid" or "Skippy." And no one will be surprised that you're the one with all the authority at the crime scene. The exception to this is if you are a Rookie Cop who Doesn't Play by the Rules. Then your superiors are obligated to condescend to you. Don't worry; you will humiliate them all later.
  • If you are a female scientist, you are beautiful, but have bad eyesight and haven't heard of contact lenses. Also, no one will notice how beautiful you are until you remove your glasses during casual discussion. Glasses are the number one protective barrier to anyone noticing you are a supermodel.
  • When in a tense forensic situation where a body is being examined, and specialized knowledge is critical-- it's important to make a bad pun each time you leave the scene. That shows how hip, savvy and in-control you are. If you aren't currently good at punning, there are classes to help you hone your skills.
  • If you are a female in a horror situation, and turn to the dark side your hair will look better than it ever has. Being possessed or going evil means suddenly you have your own personal stylist. Yes, the key to ending bad hair days is to get overtaken by a demon and try to destroy the world. End of Life as We Know It? Yes. But super -do!
  • On any level road, two cars experiencing a simple rear-end collision can defy all laws of physics and the back car will run up over the lead car. The back car will then flip, roll down an embankment, and explode. It’s a little-known fact that in the '70s and early '80s, car airbags were filled with rocket fuel for our safety. This is why our insurance rates are so high today.
  • It is impossible to build your own armored car or gun arsenal until 15 to 20 minutes before the show concludes. Don't worry. At the appropriate time, you will find yourself in an abandoned warehouse with scraps of metal and a blowtorch. If no scraps of metal are available, one of your teammates will have to offer up his extensive collection of gold chains, to melt down into appropriate bulletproof protection.
  • All metal is bulletproof. Hide behind any dumpster or self-made tank during a shoot-out, and you will remain unscathed.
  • If you're a bad guy in a chase scene, there is a high probability you will survive a car crash. If you're an '80s bad guy, you will feel compelled to ask your evil cohorts if they're okay. Hardened criminals are always concerned about each other’s safety.
  • Also, if you're considering getting into the Bad Guy career field, never stop for cops, no matter what your driving violation. It doesn't matter if you've got a broken tail light, you blew through a stop sign, or you've jaywalked. You are automatically obligated to become the lead car in a high-speed chase.
Well, those are the main things I've learned over the years from watching TV. What invaluable knowledge has television taught you folks? I'd love to hear about it.

PS- Thanks to those of you who already voted for me for "Humor Blogger of the Year." Much appreciated-- I will be able to show my face around the Humorblogger's forum without my compadres spitting in my drink and, um, trying to give me wedgies.

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31 comments:

Shirley said...

Boy you gave me flashbacks! Hit my brain as I read: A-Team, Soaps, 6 Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman, Love Story, Magyver, and Knight Rider.

I feel old half of these are going into remakes.

Jenn Thorson said...

Shirley- I LOVE that you hit on some of the very programs I was thinking of without my even having to directly list them!

We have so many remakes now-- it's frustrating that no one wants to take a chance on an original idea! PS- I haven't seen it, but I heard the new Knight Rider was terrible.

burning windmill said...

its very rare that people get things stuck in their eyes...

..when it snows, its always lovely snow, never that sludgy rubbish that is more common over here

Jenn Thorson said...

It's true, the only time anything gets into someone's eye is if a potential love interest could help them with it. Or if they're using it for a distraction technique.

And you're right, too-- where's the sludgy snow? And why does no one ever have to go shovel it? :)

Da Old Man said...

That Jack Bauer thing is hilarious. Did you know, according to legend, in one episode, he went to the bathroom? The scene was cut.

He has the strongest bladder in TV history.

And we will still give you wedgies at the humorblogger forum. You are not getting away that easily, young lady.

mwaybob said...

not enough people make jam in real life situation onth telly

Adullamite said...

I remember the brave cowboys who could shoot down an Indian, while both were galloping on horseback, at over a hundred yards. The six-shooters always contained two hundred bullets!

Nobody ever suffers from colds on TV, no-one sneezes, and ugly idiots do not get jobs on the big screen.

I know, I applied often!

Jenn Thorson said...

Da Old Man- I like to think he gets to go on the commercial breaks, poor fellah. And as for the wedgies-- I am going to develop cat-like reflexes to avoid it. :)

Mwaybob- Heh, I suppose it's hard to work it in-- the steam from the pots of boiling berries fogs up the cameras. :)

Adullamite- Oh yes, they always have far more bullets in their guns that is humanly possible. The same with arrows. Somehow they always manage to have enough arrows with them.

Chaotically Calm said...

Um Jenn how could you possibly forget the other reason for using the bathroom which normally only happens during flight, people have the need to get it on. Personally public restrooms give me the skeevies but others seems to think they double as mattresses, go figure.

Tiggy said...

Why do the good guys always win? Just once I'd like to see the hero get hit by a bus in the first five minutes, while the bad guys take over the world and burn things.

I never did pay much attention in my screenwriting class.

Jenn Thorson said...

Tiggy- Well, we'll look forward to your anti-hero reverse screenwriting anti-film film-- hop to it, Tig!

Shirley said...

@Jenn to us old people it is. I do watch it. My oldest has NEVER seen the old one and he thinks Knight Rider is "awesome." In fact he wants a car that can change in to other cars and turn the windshield into a computer. Kitt is that advanced now. I have to say the new Micheal Knight is much cuter than David Hasselhoff too. BTW the new Micheal is the son of the first one. David Hasselhoff even made a guest appearance. It's all cheesy.

Jenn Thorson said...

Faith- Ya know, I should have known better. I mean, I saw previews on BBC America for their show "Mile High," about flight attendants who seemed to do a lot of "Coffee, tea or me" and not so much the serving and safety stuff. :)

I guess I was too worried about the lurking serial killers, to be thinking about the bathroom bongo.

Jenn Thorson said...

Shirley- David Hasslehoff's son is Knight Rider? Oh good grief, you're right-- that's so cheesy. I can see where little kids would think it's terrific, though-- particularly wee boys who love cars. I think I'm okay with myself for not watching it. :) I appreciate having had the warning.

unfinishedrambler said...

The main thing TV has taught me is to turn it off and read a book. Or better yet: read a blog like Of Cabbages and Kings regularly. You'll come out a lot better for it (whatever it is).

ReformingGeek said...

And I thought they went to the bathroom during the commercial breaks, like we do ;-)

If you ever watched Star Trek, it was always the unknown bridge officer wearing the red shirt that you knew was going to get killed by the bad guy/alien. Lesson: Don't wear a red shirt.

And I've learned that even while soaking wet with raining pouring down your face, your make-up never smears.

Jenn Thorson said...

Unfinished Dude- Oh, I firmly believe anything that gets folks really reading is a good thing. Even if it does have the faint whiff of Cabbage. :)

ReformingGeek- Hey, maybe they do. This would explain when we come back to the action, sometimes things aren't quite as we left them. They had to have a pee break and then recap.

The person in Star Trek must be the one they spoof in GalaxyQuest-- the extra "Guy" who gets killed off in the only episode he's ever in.

Jay said...

I almost can't post because I'm laughing too much, but ..

All real women wear full make-up to bed and never, ever, wake up with it smudged.

No bad guy can shoot straight. They always miss nine times out of ten, whereas the good guy shooting back at them will pick off a bad guy with each bullet. Oh, and they have Magic Bullets which can make corpses fly.

Jenn Thorson said...

Jay- Oh, indeed they do always have full makeup on. And they're never surprised by bad guys so they end up fleeing from the house looking like something the cat drug in. Nope-- they always look put together.

The Bad Guys need a special marksmanship course, don't they?

Da Old Man said...

OMG--I'm watching a movie, and Elizabeth Hurley is the glasses wearing doctor. I immediately thought of your observations.

Babs (Beetle) said...

They never, ever use toothpaste when cleaning their teeth, and have it dripping off their chin and running down their toothbrush handle on to their fingers!

Jenn Thorson said...

Da Old Man- Oh gosh, I recall seeing Elizabeth Hurley being a doctor in something like that. Now I can't remember what it was! Too funny in terms of timing, though.

Babs- You know, they don't! Also, if served a beverage, they almost never drink it. They take a sip if anything and then leave the table, wasting their order.

Melanie said...

Laughing my butt off here.

What I learned from television is that no matter how many times you jump a Dodge Charger over creeks and dirt piles and so forth, it will always keep going.

And I also learned on television that you can ride in a convertible or jeep and arrive at your destination with your hair-do intact. I never understood why my boyfriend's convertible seemed to be the exception to this.

Oh, and I learned that the Korean conflict lasted like twelve years!

Jenn Thorson said...

Melanie- It's true-- the suspension on a 70s Dodge Charger has to be AMAZING.

And in Korea, even though the war lasted 12 years and the "supply boy" was actually pushing 35 and getting hair in his ears, no time really had ever passed.

Chat Blanc said...

The lesson I learned is that you can be the author of a weekly newspaper column and still afford a NYC apartment, designer shoes, eating out all the time and outrageously expensive drinks at all the best clubs. I want that gig!

Jenn Thorson said...

Chat Blanc- Oh yes-- real estate in NYC is actually totally cheap. I mean you can have a gigantic two-bedroom apartment with lots of windows, and be a columnist, or a chef or an out of work fashion buyer, heck, NO problem!

JD said...

i learned to skin a deer

wax and eyebrow

and whip up a goulash

all from watching TV

Jenn Thorson said...

JD- Great goulash and oh deer, that's a lotta learnin'! :)

chyna said...

The original KITT made an appearance too I think but sat silently in the background. Like that car never had something to say!!!

I learned that a hopelessly dorky paleotologist can get married to a lesbian, divorced and get one of the cutest roommates yet the wildly cute guy from across the hallway never had a steady stream of girlfriends showing up. Come on dump Ross and go for Joey, those will be some cute kids!

C.B. Jones said...

Going slo-mo really sucks because you can't control it. I've had it happen to me a few times while eating pasta. There was parmesan cheese and meat sauce all over the place!

Jenn Thorson said...

Chyna- I never understood the Ross/Rachel thing. I always rather liked Chandler, but Ross was extraordinarily annoying to me.

C.B. Jones- Good to know-- important safety tip for everyone! :)