why did i go to college? pt 2: i’m thinking about asking umass amherst for a refund because they didn’t teach me any of this shit

23 Jan

Pre-cursor: The first paragraph of this post isn’t going to make a lot of sense because Brian’s website had a completely different set-up. My main page had an info box that I said I went to UMass in, and my twitter feed was posted below it. So, that should really get you all caught up on everything that is happening in the first few sentences of this post. Peace.

So as I’ve previously stated, I recently graduated from college. By “previously stated”, I mean that I wrote it in that little info box on the side of the screen, above my awesome twitter feed (@alainpennylaine. follow me, I’m hilarious). After watching so many “very special” clips, I question my entire education. All of the money and time I spent at school drinking and ignoring my work could have been so much better spent watching 80’s and 90’s television. That’s essentially what I’ve learned from this experience. I would be so much more street-wise and worldly had I just watched continuous television, specifically that focusing on intense 80’s era issues.

Now, I will conclude my two-part investigation into the television world of years past; the lessons taught, the lessons learned, the lessons coming out all confusing and leaving the audience with no idea of how they are supposed to take in what they just watched. I personally like the fact that I have no frame of reference for half of the clips I watched. I think that a true test of how effective a “very special episode” is depends all on knowing nothing about context and then trying to decipher the message for myself. So, here I go again, down that road of “very special” clips.

Side note, as I said in the last post, since a lot of these clips overlap with ones from the last documentation I presented, I’m just going to comment on those that I did not talk about before. Unless a previous one really confuses me still or confuses me more. Then I really can’t not comment on it. I can’t not state my confusion. Being confused about life and what is in front of me is one of the three states of being I can accurately project, along with being bitter and being angry. I’m also really good at being judgmental and condescending. I’m a fun person to hang out with in your spare time.

– Saved By The Bell “Peer Pressure”: So, this is the episode that the Public Service Announcement from the last clip compilation came from. Kelly’s lucky that she was already totally popular, so not smoking a doobie with a pop star didn’t ruin her reputation. Why these “Saved By the Bell” kids were so popular is really beyond me. I was always taught to give into peer pressure and drink and smoke at all times to be cool. At least she wasn’t taking caffeine pills. The only way anyone on that show could be more embarrassing is if they took caffeine pills. Way to go, Jessie Spano. Except Lisa Turtle is cool. Girl only cared about shopping and openly hated Screech. We would have been really good friends.

– Major Dad “Child Abuse”: I have absolutely no idea what the hell “Major Dad” is about, but I can assure that I am in no way interested in finding out. Next.

– Small Wonder “Cigarettes”: Okay, for a show that was about a cyborg girl or something, that clip should have been a LOT cooler. First of all, the girl wasn’t even in the clip. She’s the only reason I’d watch that show and she wasn’t even present for the clip. Second of all, who are these children and where is the cyborg? Oh, I’m sorry, did I just present the same point twice? I don’t care, the show has a robot on it and for some reason they weren’t chronicling every single moment of the robot’s life. They should have had a scene of her smoking cigarettes. That would have been something else.

– Valerie’s Family “Virginity”: Damn, look at young Jason Bateman there. So much hair. What a little cutie. He’s trying to tell me he’s a virgin in this scene? I doubt that. The kid was on “Silver Spoons”. Him and Ricky Schroeder must have been surrounded by eligible bachelorettes when they were like ten. Maybe it’s because he’s wearing that white turtleneck in this clip. That’s never a good choice, Jason. That alone screams “virgin”. Again, I have a problem of separating characters from their actors. And I don’t care.

– Charles in Charge “Fugitives”: I really have no idea what’s happening here. Talk about no frame of reference, huh? Can you let me know what the consequences are? Or why there are consequences? Or why Scott Baio recently had a television show? All valid questions. If he’s not Chachi, I simply don’t care what he’s doing.

– That’s So Raven “Shoplifting”: There is literally nothing in this scene to analyze. It’s just a boy very visibly putting something into his pants. How he didn’t get caught is beyond me, that kid sucks at stealing. Absolutely no form.

– Punky Brewster “Cocaine”: What the fuck? Seriously? How old are these girls? Where did they get any of these drugs let alone all of them? They seriously look twelve or younger. Maybe I was just raised in an extremely sheltered environment or maybe I was just missing out because I didn’t chill in an extremely sweet treehouse like these chicks, but there’s something incredibly off about this scene that I absolutely cannot relate to. Or perhaps I relate to it too well and that’s why I’m trying to play it off as being too unrealistic. You be the judge. (Answer: it really in no way relates to my life. I’m just jealous because I want that treehouse). Also, thanks for saying all the street terms for the drugs, blonde girl.  Also, thanks for having braces and doing coke. You’re really a role model.

– Saved By the Bell “Homelessness”: Okay, this is seriously one of my favorite episodes of “Saved by the Bell” ever. It’s up there with the caffeine pills. The best part about this homelessness storyline is that Zack’s family takes in that homeless girl and her dad who shaves in the bathroom at the mall, and they’re told that they can stay as long as they need to, until the father who shaves in the bathroom at the mall can get a job. Then they’re never seen again. Never seen again, never heard from again, never spoken of again. That’s a tad concerning. I guess Zack’s Aryan family couldn’t handle it and had to kick them out. Also, I really think Zack and that blonde girl, Laura, boned on the reg. No way they couldn’t not have. They were living under the same roof and Zack is a stud. I’m not judging her for that. I think we’d all do the same.

– Mr. Belvedere “Predators”: If I had to choose any episode of “Mr. Belvedere” to watch after the one about Danny having AIDS, it would probably be this one. No one seems nearly concerned enough that this kid was pretty much molested. And that doesn’t sit well with me. Where’s Danny when you need him?

– The Facts of Life “Cerebral Palsy”: Yeah, I’m not going to comment on this one. That’s a little much.

– The Partridge Family “Runaways”: Uh, okay. Should I care about this clip? Who’s this girl? I assume a runaway, but like, who cares? She’s not one of the Partridges and I assume she’ll be gone after this episode, so I am going to invest no time or energy on her. Where’s Danny Bonaduce? That’s really my main concern. I’m afraid he’s off punching transvestite prostitutes again.

– What’s Happening!! “Bootlegging”: God DAMN Rerun!!! You can’t tape record a concert, ESPECIALLY not a Doobie Brother’s concert!! If Rerun wasn’t such a sick dresser, I’d be angrier with him. But you can’t stay mad at that red beret for too long. Especially if he starts dancing. They really should have just put in a clip of him dancing. That’s where the magic is. Look it up. I not only suggest, I insist. Also, I feel like the Doobie Brothers wouldn’t give too much of a shit about having their show tape-recorded. As long as they had their doobies waiting for them, I think they’re all set 😉 😉 😉 :p Get it? Doobies.

– Moesha “Birth Control”: Uh, no girl with that haircut, the pill and the condom will not make you overdose, take a health class. Thanks.

– The Golden Girls “Gambling”: Gambling may be one of the worst subjects for a “very special episode” out there. It’s seriously such a cop out and I am just so not interested in it. I don’t even care to comment further because it’s such a stupid storyline to me. Maybe throw some gambling in between a story about an unwed teenage mother with a learning disorder and an interracial couple who just started doing crystal meth in a small town, and then I’d sing a different tune.

– Step By Step “Dyslexia”: I guess I’m glad to see that the family on “Step By Step” handles the subject of dyslexia a little bit differently than the Huxtables. Don’t get me wrong, jumping up and cheering seems like a completely normal response, but I think people would expect to hear the special soft music come on when sharing information like that. Also, who exactly has dyslexia? I used to watch “Step By Step” and I’m pretty sure it’s not that little glasses kid. Too bad the clip cut off, huh?

– Good Times “VD”: I hate Jay Leno. Thinking about him having any sort of sexually transmitted disease makes me want to cry. In fact, thinking about him having sex in order to get the disease makes me even more upset and disgusted. I don’t know if I can carry on now with those mental images in my mind. At least JJ has that sweet bucket hat on. Funny story, Brian and I have a cousin who calls herself JJ and used to wear bucket hats. My point is that I’m trying to get the image of Jay Leno having sex out of my head and it’s not working. I think I need to try to move on.

– Family Ties “Pills”: I wasn’t aware that people just always referred to pills as “amphetamines”, but okay, dad from “Family Ties”.

– Welcome Back, Kotter “Pills!”: Right, more pills. Clearly an epidemic. Or clearly the most vague category to create a “very special episode” about. Smooth move, television.

– Mr. Belvedere “Pills!!”: I know I talked about this episode in the last post, but really? Pills again? All right, that’s enough.

– Diff’rent Strokes “Kidnapping”: I’ve seen other clips of this episode. This is from that time on “Diff’rent Strokes” when they got rid of some characters and it was really apparent to the audience that there was something seriously wrong with Gary Coleman and he was not in fact “adorable” as time went on, so they threw on some ugly ginger kid and decided to get him kidnapped. No big loss to me, Mr. Drummond. I would have just let the kid figure it out. That’s just my opinion. Also, how unrealistic is this? A ginger kid getting kidnapped? Aren’t people trying to get rid of gingers, not take them in? (I joke, I have nothing against gingers, I just couldn’t not make a ginger joke. That kid, Sam, sucked).

– iCarly “Honoring Military Families”: Boring, this is from like last year, that’s not of interest to me, bring me back clips from the 80’s and 90’s.

– Webster “Fire Safety”: How old do we all think Emmanuel Lewis is here? He has the same thing as Gary Coleman, in that he looked like a child far beyond the age that he actually was a child. At least he was actually cute. And Webster is such an adorable name. Poor little guy, getting caught in a fire. That sentence might seem creepy if he was in his 40’s when this episode was shot.

– A Different World “Adoption”: The episode of “Boy Meets World” when Eric contemplates adopting a kid for some reason unknown to me and everyone else is way better. Try harder next time, “A Different World”.

– Smart Guy “Online Predators”: I was hoping this clip would make the list. “Smart Guy” is such a good show. And this episode was really confusing. I saw this when I was younger and since “Smart Guy” was on the Disney channel and I was a naïve young girl, I had no idea what was happening or why. I just wanted to watch TJ Henderson make fun of people because he was infinitely smarter than them and only like ten or some shit. I didn’t want to see some guy try to take pictures of him in his basement.

– Hannah Montana “Diabetes”: This is really fucking stupid. Recent “very special episodes” of TV shows suck. Stop trying.

– Maude “Abortion”: You go “Maude”! You deal with abortion and show no shame. My only confusion about this scenario is that Maude seems like she’d be well into menopause, so I don’t think it was physically possible for her to get pregnant. But whatever, what do I know? I’m not a doctor.

– Punky Brewster “Illiteracy”: Shit, the kids on “Punky Brewster” have it rough. I’m pretty sure Punky and all of her friends are orphans. That blonde chick was pushing drugs on everyone. That girl was sleeping or dead in the fridge in that clip from the last post. I still have no idea what the answer to that is. No one in that town can catch a break.

– The Fresh Prince “Guns”: It’s no Carlton on speed, but Carlton with a gun is pretty good, too. But I’m a little concerned that he was carrying that into a hospital room. I’ve never seen this episode, so I can only assume he went in to shoot Will because he’d never have his sense of fashion. And that’s really not the way to go, Carlton.

– Silver Spoons “Bullies”: AWWW poor baby Ricky Schroeder with a black eye. Why do bullies always want milk money? Why do kids always seem to have milk money on television shows? I’m pretty sure not everyone buys milk at school. Sucks for the kid who didn’t bring his milk money that day, I guess. I doubt Ricky didn’t bring any though because I’m pretty sure the entire premise of the show is that Ricky is rich or some shit like that. I think his dad was a toy maker. There’s no way in hell Ricky wouldn’t have his milk money. Unless he came to school with a golden goblet encrusted with jewels and filled with milk. In that case, bad day to bring your goblet, huh Ricky?

– Too Close for Comfort “Rape”: Uh, okay, I saw some clips from this episode of this show on a Cracked.com list about fucked up storylines and it was disturbing. This like, slightly mentally handicapped guy is raped by these heavyset women and everyone makes jokes about it. At one point, I’m pretty sure the guy talking in this clip says he’d let it happen again. So that’s just utterly disheartening and I really don’t like the fact this “Too Close for Comfort” show ever existed. I’m uncomfortable now.

– Growing Pains “Drunk Driving”: Nice, a drunk driving storyline. I’d expect to run across more of these through this extensive research, but I guess everyone in the 80’s was too busy on amphetamines to consider drinking. Also, watching this clip just makes me question where Boner, the loveable neighbor, was during all this poor decision making happened. You know a guy named Boner would never let this fly.

– Full House “Eating Disorders”: Another amazing episode. The best part is when DJ says she’ll eat her sandwich but then gives the sandwich to the dog and says she’s fat or something. And then she goes to the gym and passes out. It’s classic sitcom scenario. According to TV, people get eating disorders that involve immediate crash diets that consist of absolutely no eating and incorporating physical activity, and then fainting. Then suddenly, the disorder is gone. Just like real life, huh guys? Television. Always teaching life’s lessons properly.

– Blossom “Interracial Couples”: I just like the roughly four audience members who laughed. I don’t know if they were supposed to or not. And I feel like they didn’t know, either.

– George Lopez Show “School Violence”: I refuse to comment on anything George Lopez is involved with. Not worth my time.

– That’s So Raven “Discrimination”: God, don’t you love it how straightforward people are with their intolerance and racism? Happens on a daily basis, especially in department stores. Good work, “Raven”.

– Mr. Belvedere “AIDS”: DAANNNYYYY!!!!!! My precious angel has returned to my life, warming up my heart and bringing tears to my eyes. I kinda hate that this is the only clip available of the episode, though. I want more Danny, and I want it NOW.

– Sesame Street “Death”: Okay, so this episode was created because Mr. Hooper died in real life and “Sesame Street” saw it as a great opportunity to teach the audience about death. They were right and it is insanely depressing because Big Bird can’t grasp the concept. I don’t feel like insulting this clip, so instead I’ll point out that I just started typing “Big Beard” instead of “Big Bird”. Oh, Alaina. You’re losing it, girl.

– Happy Days “Racism”: Oh ho ho, another scene of the audience laughing at racism. They just can’t get enough of those fiery old racist ladies. So cute and endearing. What a sweetheart.

– Punky Brewster “Refrigerator Safety”: SERIOUSLY this clip. What is this? It still hasn’t been explained. Also, I need to point out that the caption for this is “refrigerator safety”. So I’m going to assume from the caption that this girl didn’t understand that fridges are for food and not for sleeping, and she has to face the consequences for her bad behavior. I really can take nothing else out of what the fuck has been placed in front of me.

– Boy Meets World “Cults”: RIP Mr. Turner (??????????)

– The Facts of Life “The KKK”: Right, so, I’m not given much to go off of here. That’s an extremely loaded clip because of what it means, but also, where do they go from there? What’s the point of saying that? Is it because Blair is friends with Tootie? I actually have no idea who the person she even mentioned is; I assume it’s a family member because Blair is kind of an asshole from the south. I mean, I guess I need to assume it’s a family member. I’m just lost. I don’t understand why that information was shared and I want someone to explain it.

– The Fresh Prince “Dead Beat Dads”: This clip makes me feel awkward. I really dislike when the show’s comic relief is given serious storylines and have to actually act. It bothers me. I feel like I’m supposed to laugh at them because that’s the point of the character, but what they’re saying is in no way funny. Also, I feel like the audience should have cheered Will after that speech, but instead there was just complete silence. That is really unsettling to me. Can we also notice how AGAIN the final clip in one of these compilations of “very special moments” is of “Fresh Prince”? They don’t do intense often, but when they do, DAMN do they hit hard. That Banks family, they just bring the drama. But seriously, I feel like this show usually gets laughs every ten to twenty seconds, so going this long without any sound other than Will screaming chills me and I’d rather it never occur.

All right. So that was that. My extremely in-depth exploratory surgery into the realm of the sitcoms of yesteryear is complete. What have we learned from all of this? The answer is everything. We’ve learned every single thing in the world that there is to learn, because television is a better teacher than I’d ever be, and better than I’ve ever had.

Now I have to spend all week thinking about something different to write for next week since I clearly killed these “very special episodes” analyses. I beat them to death. There’s no need to ever touch upon them ever again. Unless we’re talking about Danny, of course. He’s our nation’s hero. But, yeah. So that’s that. Falcon out.

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