Re: unopinionated laugh track

1

"All time classic"

If you don't piss your pants laughing at this, well.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09- 2-09 10:32 PM
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Cheers deserves our eternal gratitude for giving us the phrase, "this Sam and Diane thing."


Posted by: arthegall | Link to this comment | 09- 2-09 10:38 PM
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I never understood laugh tracks. Really, they have to tell you when to laugh? Things seem funnier if the world is laughing with you?
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I'm sure someone has posted this in an earlier thread, since unfogged was the first thing I thought of when I saw this, but- yay, titties! (NSFW)
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Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09- 2-09 10:47 PM
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The most satisfyingly apt celebrity "spotting" of my life was seeing George Wendt riding the Go-Karts at a tacky little place near Silver Lake, Michigan.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 2-09 10:54 PM
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NORM!


Posted by: OPINIONATED REGULARS | Link to this comment | 09- 2-09 10:58 PM
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When I was at MIT every time a group of us saw Chomsky walking by we'd say, "NOAM!"


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09- 2-09 11:00 PM
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I don't know where laugh tracks originated, but some shows use(d) them because they filmed with a live audience, but sometimes there were problems with the audience reaction (drowning out the lines, stuff like that I guess) so the actual broadcast is a mix of real laugh and laughtrack. No laughtrack would leave odd silences where the audience reaction wasn't used.

Or so I heard on some dvd commentary somewhere.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 2-09 11:00 PM
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so the actual broadcast is a mix of real laugh and laughtrack.

This interview calls it "sweetening."


Posted by: arthegall | Link to this comment | 09- 2-09 11:09 PM
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Things seem funnier if the world is laughing with you?

Yes, they do.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 2-09 11:12 PM
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What if the world is laughing "at" you instead of "with" you?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 2-09 11:17 PM
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Then it's funnier for everyone else compared to just laughing at you as individuals.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09- 2-09 11:20 PM
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SOB!


Posted by: OPINIONATED SYBIL | Link to this comment | 09- 2-09 11:23 PM
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I confess to smirking at 1. My pants remain free of Micturition, however.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 2-09 11:24 PM
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When Cheers was running, I think I was too young to really get a lot of what was going on in Cheers - not just the jokes. I started to understand it around the time Kirstie Alley joined the show. Years later I watched a bunch of reruns of the early episodes - up to the Sam and Diane break-up - and I was surprised at how much more of a drama than a comedy it seemed.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 2-09 11:29 PM
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I hope this post is intended as a follow-up to the "Golf: Maybe someone likes it?" post, and that the third post in the series will be "What's up with apple pie, anyway?"

(Intended as snark, but I actually think that Golf, Cheers, and apple pie are all overrated.)


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:20 AM
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Apple pie is definitely and without question by far the best kind of pie. Also, given pie's uncontestable status as the best type of dessert, and dessert's top rank on the list of all genres of food, it appears that apple pie is the best food there is. Is food the best of all things? To be honest, I haven't given it much thought. Water, air and gravity all are contenders, definitely. But it's right up there, for sure. Yep, apple pie might just be the best thing there is.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:32 AM
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Dearest jms,

While I agree with much of what follows, your very first assertion is an absurdity the likes of which has not been seen for some time in these parts. Not only is apple pie not the best kind of pie, it sits below many other pies. Why, just two days ago, when I was back visiting the ancestral homeland, I had some marionberry pie. It was fucking delicious, and could go head-to-head against any apple pie on offer, I submit. Another awesome pie: raspberry pie. Better than apple pie? Check.

I also question whether pie should be placed atop the dessert hierarchy, but my feelings on this issue are less passionate. I would only urge you to reconsider your certitude regarding the precedence of dessert categories.

Yours,
Otto


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:49 AM
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I had marionberry pie once. It was only okay. It may not have been the finest exemplar of its category, I'll concede; the pie was had at a touristy diner on Catalina. (I remember the day because M, who had never heard of marionberries, was confused. "They're calling the blackberry pie Marion Berry? Let's get out of this fucked up racist place," etcetera.)

Anyway, I doubt the greatness of even the best marionberry pie. This is because true berries don't make great pies -- true berries should be eaten fresh and plain, as God intended. (Blueberries, on the other hand, make pretty good pies.) The idea of raspberry pie has never even occurred to me. I mean, raspberry pie? Words fail.

Pies, in order of greatness:
1. Apple
...
...
[some distance beneath]:
2. Peach
3. Blueberry
4. Fresh strawberry
5. Pumpkin
6. Banana cream
7. Pecan
8. Other pies


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:10 AM
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You are all insane. The true pie filling is rhubarb.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:20 AM
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I mean, raspberry pie? Words fail.

I actually haven't had a raspberry pie for a number of years, but I have very fond memories from my childhood of picking raspberries from our garden, handing them off to my mother, and then eating the pie she made from them that night. Don't try to steal some of my dearest childhood memories with your mockery of our family traditions, jms. You'll fail.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:28 AM
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Any fule kno that pie fillings shouldn't be made from overly sweet fruits, or mushy fruits, or fruits that aren't fruits at all but some kind of minging vomit-inducing barely edible gunk [i.e., pumpkin].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:30 AM
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If it makes you feel better, I do enjoy a good rhubarb pie as well.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:31 AM
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This is because true berries don't make great pies -- true berries should be eaten fresh and plain, as God intended.

That may be how true berries should be eaten, but it doesn't mean they don't also make great pies. It's also not obvious that that's the way true berries should be eaten, according to God's intent; redcurrants are true berries, but they may enjoyed in a variety of diety-approvied ways. Grapes can be made into wine, which we know is sacred to God, and tomatoes can be, for instance, dried in the sun. I don't know if one can eat elderberries fresh and plain.

MOREOVER< raspberries aren't true berries!

BUT, eggplants are!

Anyway, you're wrong both about the primacy of apple pies among pies and that of pies among dessert. And I say this as someone who loves a good apple pie.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:35 AM
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ttaM is talking sense about rhubarb. Another good pie ingredient: lemons.

I have never had a pie that contained strawberries without a rhubarb adjunct.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:37 AM
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I bet an apricot pie would be delicious. Or plum. Why should peaches hog the glory?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:40 AM
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Oh it just figures that you lot of horrible degenerates would prefer rhubarb. I am saddened and disgusted.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:40 AM
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Pies, in order of greatness:

1. Meat and Potato
2. Steak and Kidney
3. Steak and Onion
4. Veal and Ham
5. Pork
...
...
163. Any kind of sweet shit for dessert


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:42 AM
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You don't like rhubarb?!

There's nothing I love more than a fresh, firm, young, tart rhubarb stalk.

TRUE FACT: you should avoid the girthier petioles and prefer the thinner ones.

jms, have you ever sampled a pie incorporating the fragrant and elusive fruit of the quince tree?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:43 AM
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You just try saying that in PA, OFE.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:44 AM
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The one and only time I ever ate a rhubarb pie was at that pie shop on Solano Ave. in North Berkeley, or maybe Albany. (I have a terrible memory for faces, names, facts and dates, but I do seem to remember my pies.) Walker's Pies I think? It's some sort of cafeteria-type place. It was a cooked-strawberry (blech) + rhubarb thing. It was awful. I have never had another.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:47 AM
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That pie shop closed last year, possibly because its strawberry-rhubarb pies sucked. Not like mine, I assure you. Mine rock.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:48 AM
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i like my pies made out of ice cream.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:50 AM
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OK, if I go to PA, I'll order a chicken and mushroom pie, out of consideration for their feelings.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:51 AM
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You're a mensch.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:54 AM
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OT: Around midnight, we notice that there are six squad cars parked at our ordinarily very dull intersection. They must have arrived without sirens, as we did not hear any. The squads have flashing yellow top lights on, which I assume is more of a "hazard warning" light than a "shit is going down" light. For awhile, the primary activity of the cops seemed to be standing in a circle and chatting in front of the building two buildings down. Now there's an ambulance out there, which also arrived without fanfare.

My upbringing was pretty sheltered. Anyone know what the heck could this be about? Domestic incident? Did someone find a dead body somewhere?


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:56 AM
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That pie shop closed last year

I just saw that upon googling. Sad. The pies were not the greatest, it's true. But I liked their popovers.

Not like mine, I assure you. Mine rock.

PROVE IT TO ME NOSFLOW

Seriously, if you know of a place I can get a good rhubarb pie in LA or SF I'm willing to give it another shot. (I'm not willing to go to the effort of making one myself, my past experience having been so poor.)


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:56 AM
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Domestic incident? Did someone find a dead body somewhere?

Six squad cars is an awful lot for a domestic violence situation.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:02 AM
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Anyone know what the heck could this be about? Domestic incident? Did someone find a dead body somewhere?

Dead body's a possibility, but usually that's not a 6 car kind of call. Sounds like traffic and/or crowd control type of stuff requested by a different agency. Gas leak? Industrial accident?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:05 AM
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That's what I thought, too. Still out there at 1:15. Guess I'll go to bed.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:05 AM
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39 to 37.

38: It's a quiet residential street, so no industry. Don't seem to be set up to stop traffic, though almost no one goes down this street at this hour. And now they're pulling away. Looks like there's a dude in the backseat of one the cars. Another non-cop is being escorted over by a cop to talk to backseat guy.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:14 AM
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In my opinion "Cheers" is better than "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" or "Eastbound and Down" which were recommended by commenters here. So tastes vary.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:37 AM
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Seriously, if you know of a place I can get a good rhubarb pie in LA or SF I'm willing to give it another shot.

To be fair, rhubarb pie is OK, but rhubarb crumble is much better. Needs plenty of powdered ginger.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:37 AM
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At one point, Walker's Pie's were actually the greatest, but there was a decline across the board in their food sometime in the 1990s. It was one of my grandmother's favorite places to eat.

Pumpkin pie is great. I've never had rhubarb.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:39 AM
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re: 42

Yeah, it's true that the crumble is the canonical rhubarb serving method. Given a choice between a good rhubarb crumble, with a not overly fine crumble top, and just about any kind of pie, the crumble definitely wins.

Wonder how stem ginger would be in a rhubarb crumble? Might be worth trying.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:52 AM
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Also, I just want to repeat the point that pumpkin is disgusting.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:53 AM
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That translates here, as it does at family gatherings, to more pumpkin pie for me.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:54 AM
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JMS, the best rhubarb pie in Los Angeles used to be at my house, when my grandmother made it, but she's got Alzheimer's so that's no more. Rhubarb pie is a midwestern thing. Du-Par's has a pretty good rhubarb pie, and so does Marie Calendar's, and so does Pie and Burger. Those locations aren't surprising; those super bland relic restaurants are remnants of the old "Iowa Riviera" days of Southern California.

I irrationally hate Stanley for this post. Cheers isn't very funny most of the time, but it's almost always soothing in kind of the same way baseball is. And some of the episodes are very funny indeed; definitely the best of a certain kind of sitcom writing.

On the laugh track thing, I was once part of the live studio audience that "Webster" was filmed in front of.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 3:34 AM
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Wonder how stem ginger would be in a rhubarb crumble?

OK, but it's easier to control the balance with powdered. OTOH, crystalised ginger, chopped fine, with a lot of the syrup, is fantastic with rhubarb.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 3:41 AM
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I remember seeing a rerun of Cheers in college and finding it unwatchable. Haha, make fun of that stupid woman again Ted Danson. That never gets old.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 4:43 AM
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re: 48

Will need to try it. Pretty sure when I've made it I've just gone with rhubarb, sugar and water with a little lemon zest/juice.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 5:39 AM
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You guys ever see the Cheers were Cliff got all fucked up on eggplant pie and committed suicide by cop? Super sad. I don't even know why they bothered with the laugh track.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 5:41 AM
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I wish I had rhubarb and ginger crumble available for my breakfast right now. Of course, I'd also be very happy with a piece of pumpkin pie. As eb says, more for me.

Apple pie is excellent, unless you manage to make it dry and sad, like my old housemate used to do. Blackberry, huckleberry, blueberry, and cherry are also excellent, as long as you don't use too much cornstarch. Strawberry is not really my thing--I'd rather have rhubarb without it. The various "cream" pies I can leave aside forever. More for you, if you like them. Lemon tarts, however, I love.

This concludes today's fascinating tour of My Pie Preferences.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 5:53 AM
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Cherry pie, bitches!


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 6:13 AM
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Huh, were-Cliff.

I never liked rhubarb pie because I felt like it diluted the awesomeness of raw rhubarb.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 6:34 AM
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I made a peach cobbler with fresh picked peaches and it sucked. I found one recipe that said to use canned peaches and thought that was ridiculous, so I found another that used fresh peaches. The end result of cooking the fresh peaches in the cobbler was that they came out tasting like canned peaches.
My apple pie, on the other hand, kicks ass, and it's just about the right time of year.
I would like more details on 6-162 in #27.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 6:41 AM
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I felt like it diluted the awesomeness of raw rhubarb.

Ah, the sweet taste of oxalic acid in the morning!


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 6:42 AM
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55. Likewise never waste fresh apricots cooking them in pies. They end up a sort of generic sweet blandness that might as well be papier mache and sugar.

Eat your fresh apricots, and cook with tinned ones or, better, soaked dried ones.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 6:46 AM
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I have never tasted rhubarb or rhubarb pie, but am rhu-curious.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 6:48 AM
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Eat your fresh apricots, and cook with tinned ones or, better, soaked dried ones, and grind up the pits and feed them to your enemies.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 6:49 AM
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I also have a weakness for the 79-cent frozen microwaveable turkey pot pies, despite their status as the lowest common denominator of food.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 6:50 AM
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Apple pie is a tender delicacy but it pales in comparison to blueberry pie and blackberry pie, especially if the apples are something dull and tasteless from the grocery store. I grew up in a place where apples are easily the main agricultural output and some amazing varieties can be found there but I had blackberry bushes in the yard and all over the ridge. Truly, there is nothing better than a pie of berries that were just outside the front door a little while ago.

Cheers was very funny at the time, to me, but I watched it mainly as a kid. It talked about a lot of things that a lot of other "light" shows only discussed in A Very Special Episode Of: alcoholism, break-ups of serious relationships, infidelity. Considering most sitcoms were aimed squarely at teenagers, old people or both (as "family" programming), it was relatively mature in that it was about sarcastic ex-lovers in a bar. It also feels like it was one of the last of that breed of show filmed using almost entirely one set in one piece, more like a filmed play than a TV show. Still, it wouldn't necessarily be high on my list of random TV to watch.

I was on a week-long tour of schools in the eastern half of the state with my scholarship program when the finale played. I remember packing into a TV lounge at the dorm where we were being housed at UNC-Wilmington and people crying when it was over. I can't for the life of me remember what happened in that episode, though.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 6:55 AM
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58: for most people, taking my advice about raw rhubarb is probably not advisable.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 6:58 AM
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The best part of the finale of Cheers was the live special afterwards, which featured the cast actually drunk. Fascinating!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 6:58 AM
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Empanadas are the one true pie. Cheese empanadas. Get your fruit out of my pie, fruiters.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 7:28 AM
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I watched Cheers habitually through my teenage years, and thought it was funny in the Diane years, not in the Kirstie Alley years. Rhea Perlman is funny, Shelly Long is funny, whoever played Coach was funny, and Ted Danson was a reasonably good straight man. And I personally identify with Cliff -- there have been many occasions in my life where I've caught myself saying something that might as well have been "It is a little known fact that even if a giraffe could speak, due to the configuration of its larynx it would be unable to pronounce the word 'lasagna'."

But I like sitcoms, so I'm an easy audience. Hated it as soon as Shelly Long left, though. Diane went back and forth between being the butt of the jokes and being the comedian herself -- the Kirstie Alley character was uniformly pathetic and abused, and the show just felt mean.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 7:56 AM
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It's a quiet residential street, so no industry. Don't seem to be set up to stop traffic, though almost no one goes down this street at this hour. And now they're pulling away. Looks like there's a dude in the backseat of one the cars. Another non-cop is being escorted over by a cop to talk to backseat guy.

Probably a domestic. Might have initially come in as one of the parties having a gun, or maybe a lot of people on scene, so a bunch of guys swarmed the place.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 8:09 AM
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The Kirstie Alley years weren't all bad, but it did get pretty bad toward the end. There was the humor after Sam lost the bar and it was sold by Kirstie Alley's boss to the hotel owner above.

The evolution of Frasier Crane over 25 years or so was something to behold. I mean, when the show started he was such a prick. (He may have remained one, but he was a noticeable Boston type of psychoanalyst at the beginning.)


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 8:18 AM
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Yesterday, I was at my new job, which is not in the nicest neighborhood of Brooklyn, and we all heard a loud POP. Everyone looked startled and I said, "Oh, tire." Someone ran to the window and someone else shouted, "Never go to the window!" They know better than I do, having worked there longer, but I couldn't help but think it was a bit silly. In my Cleveland neighborhood, we heard gunshots pretty frequently, and they sound different.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 8:25 AM
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"It is a little known fact that even if a giraffe could speak, due to the configuration of its larynx it would be unable to pronounce the word 'lasagna'."

This cracks me up. Is that from memory, LB? Googling it, I only found a variant about moose that isn't nearly as funny.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 8:28 AM
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69: Yeah, and it could be completely garbled. I'd swear to 'lasagna', but not to 'giraffe'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 8:30 AM
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Danson and Long were quite good in the show; in movies, not so much. Danson in Body Heat pre-Cheers may be the exception--for the glasses if nothing else (and actually I thought he was pretty good overall in it).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 8:31 AM
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IF A LION COULD SPEAK, HE WOULD ORDER PIZZA


Posted by: OPINIONATED LUDWIG WITTGENSTEIN | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 8:32 AM
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someone else shouted, "Never go to the window!" They know better than I do, having worked there longer, but I couldn't help but think it was a bit silly.

What, they think someone's out there just waiting for people to come to the window so he can pick them off?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 8:33 AM
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There was a pre-Cheers Henry Winkler/Michael Keaton/Shelly Long morgue attendants/prostitutes comedy that I remember thinking was funny when I saw it on TV, and also funny in that of the three of them, Fonzie was the big star at the time.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 8:33 AM
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To the original post, I love the episode where Cliff goes on Jeopardy so much.

Alex Trebek: "Final Jeopardy question. This person did something [excessively obscure]"
Cliff: "Who is a person who has never been in my kitchen?"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 8:34 AM
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74: Night Shift?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 8:34 AM
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That sounds right.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 8:35 AM
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Ted Danson's ruined for me, if only because his name and 3 Men and a Baby are synonyms in my head.

I have the same problem with Tom Selleck. Magnum P.I.? Hold the mustache. All I hear is 3 Men and a Baby.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 8:36 AM
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I always found the question/answer reversal gimmick to be excessively stupid.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 8:36 AM
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I have collected quite a bit of data over ten years about pie preferences.

THE FACTS:

Apple pie never even places.

Peach pie is often good for second or third.

Strawberry-rhubarb often places.

Berry pie usually wins; sometimes a peach and berry pie wins.

Pumpkin pie is foul and shouldn't even exist, considering that sweet potato pie can do everything a pumpkin pie can do and is delicious.

The standout pie in my ten years of gathering data had a lemon filling with a blueberry topping.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 8:37 AM
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63: I remember that! Didn't Danson pull off his hairpiece?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 8:37 AM
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76: My wife loves to say, "That Barney Rubble! What an actor!"


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 8:37 AM
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Yeah, I definitely associated Ted Danson with Cheers before those terrible movies came out.

I choose to associate John Travolta with Look Who's Talking!", however.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 8:38 AM
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Sweet potato pie is okay, but it does not hold a candle to pumpkin.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 8:38 AM
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80: What's the potential for pecan pie? I make an openfaced pecan tart, firmer and less sweet than a typical pecan pie, with a drizzled chocolate topping that'd break your heart.

Also, pumpkin pie is excellent, you haters.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 8:39 AM
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Last year a savory pie jumped in and took the whole contest, but generally, the fruit pie competition is the real competition. Sometimes the winner of non-fruit will take second or third.

neb, you and your big talk are going to be there this year, right?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 8:42 AM
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I knew someone from Minnesota (a hard-core Lutheran in the music-making and pot luck going sense) who made the most delicious chocolate pecan pie. I wish that I had her recipe. I don't really like chocolate pie w/ pecans on top, and regular pecan pie is too gooey (even the non gooey ones), but this was divine.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 8:49 AM
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regular pecan pie is too gooey

Crazy talk. Use a condom if you have too, but pecan pie is the bomb.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 8:54 AM
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Cheers was also kind of interesting, starting in 1982, in that it straddled the AIDS transition in attitudes toward promiscuity. Sam's 'womanizing' wouldn't have been the same sort of comedy even five years later -- it was a joke and was treated as making him sort of a jerk, but I don't think it would have been a plausible character trait in a sympathetic main character in a more recent network sitcom.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:00 AM
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Fresh berries go in tarts, not pies. just pile the tart shell with the berries and fresh whipped cream or crème pâtissière.


Posted by: Light Rail Tycoon | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:02 AM
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Previously on Unfogged: rhubarb pies.

I'm inclined to agree with jms that apple is the Queen of Pies, but maybe that's just because I've been deprived of rhubarb pie all of my life.

Cheers was funnier than Newhart and funnier than Frazier ever was, too. Norm's entrances still make me smile. Cliff was funny. I still remember that Albania borders on the Adriatic. Kirstie Alley, OTOH, would've been funnier in Vulcan ears.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:02 AM
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I thought a tart just meant a small pie.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:02 AM
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the question/answer reversal gimmick


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:06 AM
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Sam's 'womanizing' wouldn't have been the same sort of comedy even five years later -

I don't agree. What about Joey on Freinds, which is the stupidest name ever for a show? I think TV sitcoms totally ignored changing attitudes from AIDS.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:07 AM
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I haven't watched a lot of Two and a Half Men but I think Charlie Sheen's character gets it on.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:08 AM
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Two and a Half Men is stabby-making in a me direction. God, that show sucks.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:09 AM
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93: Is that the right link? Am I missing something?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:09 AM
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Answer: CIVIL SERVANTS, STAMPS FROM AROUND THE WORLD, MOTHERS AND SONS, BEER, BAR TRIVIA, and CELIBACY


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:10 AM
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89: Also in regards to drinking and alcoholism.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:11 AM
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97: It's not entirely on point, but it's me.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:12 AM
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2 1/2 Men is incredibly awful.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:12 AM
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Yeah, alcoholism used to be a charming quirk (cf. Otis from Mayberry). Damn nanny state.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:13 AM
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94, 95: I'm making a claim about tone. Joey on Friends was supposed to be maybe fifteen years younger than Sam? about? which changes things, and I don't think the womanizing was nearly as emphasized. And I've seen a lot of the first five minutes of 2 1/2 Men, because it comes on after the news, and I'd take it as evidence for my point -- the Charlie Sheen character is (I think) supposed to be kind of loathsome, in a way that Sam wasn't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:13 AM
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Wasn't Coach, teh assistant before Woody came along, a recovering alcoholic?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:15 AM
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96, 101: Yeah, I have pretty high TV inertia -- if it's on, it takes a fair amount to make me change the channel or turn it off. 2 1/2 Men gets me motivated to make it go away faster than almost anything is. It's really horrible; I can't think of another TV show where someone saying "I'm a writer for [X]" would make me think less of them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:16 AM
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104: Sam was supposed to be, but I don't think Coach was.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:16 AM
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The creator, Chuck Lorre, is the same as Big Bang Theory. Which is quite good.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:16 AM
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the Charlie Sheen character is (I think) supposed to be kind of loathsome, in a way that Sam wasn't.

No, I don't think so -- they are both supposed to kind of lovably loathsome. The main thing is that they are cool and winners in contrast to the other guys on their respective shows.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:17 AM
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What about Night Court? Barney Miller? Dick van Dyke? Sitcoms are interesting, because the half hour week after week for years on end is too much, but can produce really nice ensemble work. The Dick van Dyke show is especially interesting for the depiction of TV show politics, a Garry Schandling precursor-- the main character is a sitcom writer. I wonder that there hasn't been serious criticism, it repays repeated viewings.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:18 AM
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108 gets it right.

Oh, that Charlie Sheen! Always raping women and making that fat red-haired servant's life a living hell!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:19 AM
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109: Aren't there scholarly papers out there analyzing sitcoms?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:23 AM
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108: Relative position in the show is the same, but 2 1/2 Men is aiming for a crueler tone than Cheers, and I don't think the womanizing would work, these days, without the cruelty.

Eh, maybe I'm wrong about sitcoms. I developed this theory from mystery novels; the attitude toward casual sex in mystery novels from the seventies and early eighties is way, way different from more current fiction.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:23 AM
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||

My sleep doctor is pro single payer. Mostly, I think it's because she hates the paperwork. She works in a hospital, so she doesn't really do her own billing, but she has to worry about the different levels of coverage for CPAP machines.

|>

I used to love sitcoms, but I don't really watch them. I prefer the hour-length drama shows. The network stuff that I tend to watch is Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Brothers and Sisters, and Medium. I also watch the various Law and Orders. NBC is pissing me off with this new Jay Leno show.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:27 AM
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Can anyone pinpoint the Two and a Half Men / It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia distinction? I never enjoy the former, and sometimes really like the latter, but they both seem to draw on some sort of "really horrible people treating each other like shit are funny!" root. There are lots of stylistic differences, but in terms of why one would be loathesome and the other not, I'm not coming up with anything that holds up to scrutiny.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:27 AM
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114: I'm no good, because I've never seen the other show -- my acquaintance with 2 1/2 Men is purely due to it being on after the news.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:30 AM
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109: yeah, the Dick Van Dyke Show was the Tristram Shandy of sitcoms.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:35 AM
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Contempt for the audience seems often present in small doses in contemporary TV, and exactly which undertones are present matter a lot. I always figured that Jerry Seinfeld and his writers hated their audience, but am greeted with derision whenever I say so. It's possible that I am tone deaf.

Schandling is interesting because he correctly hates the culture that spawned him, is ambivalent about himself, but seems to really respect his audience, does not pander that I can detect. Done right, the contempt shold translate into a punk rock or hip-hop type of sensibility. Maybe horror movies or exploitation, but I don't explore these much.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:35 AM
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k-sky, you in the sense that you would totally say something like "I milked cows and read philosophy at the same time", or you in the sense that that is a clip of you on Jeopardy?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:36 AM
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Did you kick that M.D.s ass backstage? Fuck up his car?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:36 AM
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I find It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia really unwatchable. Same with Arrested Development. Both seem quite forced. I'm pretty alone with these opinions, though.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:36 AM
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Contempt for your audience? How about Hogan's Heroes or McHale's Navy?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:40 AM
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I always figured that Jerry Seinfeld and his writers hated their audience, but am greeted with derision whenever I say so.

I thought he hated New York and New Yorkers (from an insider perspective), and that the success of the show was based on exploiting pre-existing distaste for New Yorkers in the rest of the country. But I may be touchy on this front.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:41 AM
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I'm generally a hater of sitcoms as a form. IMO, they tend towards massive suckage. However, older sitcoms - early Cheers, The Bob Newhart Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, etc. - tended to at least have some elements of drama or character development or social commentary or satire or something to redeem them. The modern exception is of course 30 Rock, which is almost always fantastic. I'm assured that the show about the radio station with Dave Foley, in the '90s, was great. I generally get twitchy at any sitcom filmed in the last, say, 20 years, so I wouldn't really know.

I think I probably would defend the position that Cheers jumped the shark when Coach died and was replaced by Woody as symptomatic of a general shift away from the humor of befuddled exasperation in favor of yuk-yuk idiocy.

Rah has tried to hook me on Sports Night as a show that hearkens back to earlier glories of televised dramedy and/or anticipates 30 Rock but there's a supporting character whose presence on screen makes me bleed from the eyes and ears so I can't enjoy it.

Christ but I watched too much TV as a kid.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:43 AM
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Oh, and needless to say I fucking despised Seinfeld.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:43 AM
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Those weren't well-integrated shows, I think. Klemperer is occasionally interesting in scenes where he is subordinate and frightened. His father was a great conductor, there is real back-story with him. There's a difference between degrading burlesque ordered by an executive and performed reluctantly or absently, and writing/acting where there's some sort of cohesion.

That's an interesting take on Seinfeld-- it explains a lot.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:48 AM
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122: Well, maybe it was about hating New Yorkers, but Seinfeld and Larry David were the New Yorkers. To spell it out, it was about self-hate, which is what all the best comedy comes from.

But, of course, tastes differ.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:50 AM
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122, I meant. 124 could be, if musical or elaborately rhymed.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:50 AM
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Today's reading is from the final chapter of Paul's Epistle to the Sardonians: "Lighten the fuck up, folks."

Master of my domain isn't about NYC, and neither is Vandelay Industries. Or the J. Peterman catalog. Or having a pony growing up in Poland.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:52 AM
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126: There's self-hate, and there's minstrelsy. Early Woody Allen, for example, is funny, and all about the self-hate. But while Woody Allen's a Jew who hates himself, he's not a self-hating Jew, if you see the distinction. Seinfeld felt different.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:54 AM
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,i>Master of my domain isn't about NYC

And yet because of that episode, New York is known around the world as the City of Masturbators.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:54 AM
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I find It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia really unwatchable. Same with Arrested Development. Both seem quite forced. I'm pretty alone with these opinions, though.

I agree.

Also, these descriptions of Seinfeld as a seething cauldron of negativity seem to be based entirely on the last three seasons of the show, which were not the ones that anyone liked.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:55 AM
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128: Eh, if you thought it was funny, it was funny for you. I didn't enjoy it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:56 AM
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But while Woody Allen's a Jew who hates himself, he's not a self-hating Jew, if you see the distinction

I don't see the distinction. And I'm Jewish! And I hate myself! Am I a self-hating Jew? I think so....


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:57 AM
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133: I don't think there are anti-Semites watching Take The Money and Run, and enjoying it because it humiliates Jews, even though it does humiliate the Jewish main character. But it would be possible for a Jewish director to make a genuinely anti-Semitic movie. Woody Allen has plenty of self-loathing, but he's not anti-Semitic.

And my distaste for Seinfeld is overstated here: it's one of those things where trying to get specific about a subtle thing makes it sound much stronger than it is.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:04 AM
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122: the success of the show was based on exploiting pre-existing distaste for New Yorkers in the rest of the country

128: Master of my domain isn't about NYC, and neither is Vandelay Industries. Or the J. Peterman catalog. Or having a pony growing up in Poland.

132: Eh, if you thought it was funny, it was funny for you. I didn't enjoy it.

132 doesn't seem like an adequate rebuttal.


Posted by: Commenter-in-exile | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:07 AM
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I developed this theory from mystery novels; the attitude toward casual sex in mystery novels from the seventies and early eighties is way, way different from more current fiction.

Just to thoroughly spam the thread, the Donald Strachey series of mystery novels by Richard Stevenson pretty explicitly bear this out. The first novel was published in... '80? I think? Anyway, it's very groovy-yeah about casual sex and open relationships in the gay community. As the books progress they include the main character's lover's push for more conventional terms for their relationship, the main character's repeated infidelities, the main character's fear that he might get infected if he keeps fucking around and, eventually, a reviled supporting character in one book who has knowingly spread HIV to others over the course of indulging his many bad habits. All that is to say that at least one mystery series does directly reflect a drastic change in attitudes over that time period for those reasons.

122, I meant. 124 could be, if musical or elaborately rhymed.

Of course I fucking hated Seinfeld, right?
The jokes were mean the people were uptight.
The actors got right on my nerves so bad
Its ending made me actually glad.
If it came back I don't think I would tire
Of fantasizing 'bout him being on fire in a Scottish airport and getting to kick him right squah in the nuts.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:09 AM
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News Radio was excellent

I remember hearing a RadioLab piece on how Fran Drescher had a stalker, so the studio hired a full-time live studio audience for the nanny, and picked people to try to get a mix of really good laughs. They were professional laughers.


Posted by: Lambent Cactus | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:13 AM
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http://radioexchange.org/pieces/23487-radio-lab-show-401-laughter


Posted by: Lambent Cactus | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:13 AM
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Sorry. Never watched much TV after age ten. Still don't. Definitely not sitcoms or mainstream cop/lawyer shows. 30 Rock and even the Simpons are not part of my social vocabulary. Not sure why. Commercials, even with the sound off, completely enrage me. There is a crudeness and coarseness that I find unbearable.

There is a moral/philosophical issue du jour that is inherent in the medium that bugs me. It feels inorganic, isolated, artificial. TV destroys context.

So I have very little. Buffy/Angel. Mad Men. The only way or reason I can enjoy these is because of a broad context and deep texture. Mad Men fans? Google Basket of Kisses. So good a blog the writers and actors use it.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:14 AM
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135: It's not a rebuttal. Largely because 128 wasn't an argument.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:14 AM
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Comedy usually gets old pretty quickly. I thought cheers was pretty funny at the time. It is kind of unwatchable now.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:14 AM
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134: Well, there's hard-core anti-semitic stuff like Portnoy's Complaint , but, of course, I love that too.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:18 AM
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Juvenal's satires are quite good. Not all of them all the way through, but still. Also Aristophanes and some Chaucer.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:20 AM
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I thought you were saying that Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld are billionaires because much of the country doesn't like New Yorkers (122). I took 128 to be saying that the funniest/most popular parts of Seinfeld have nothing to do with attitudes towards New Yorkers. 135 of course is a reiteration that you didn't like Seinfeld.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:21 AM
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Comedy usually gets old pretty quickly.

It often doesn't age well; maybe comedy is more era-specific than other literary forms. Play Lenny Bruce or Richard Pryor for college students today, and they will wonder why the monologues have so few jokes in them. I watch Jerry Lewis and Bob Hope and can't figure out who ever found them even a little bit funny.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:21 AM
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140 -- The show wasn't just successful. I'd guess that more phrases from any single season entered, and have stayed in, the cultural lexicon from any season (except the last 3) of Seinfeld than the entire run of Cheers. And none of that is about hating NYC.

If you hated it because you thought it was about you, as a New Yorker, than it was unpleasant for you. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

(I'm not a great fan, but you can't deny the impact of the thing).


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:21 AM
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The funniest/most popular parts of Seinfeld definitely have nothing to do with them being New Yorkers. Unlike, for example, Woody Allen.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:24 AM
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I don't know, maybe a definition of antisocial is resistance, resistance to being "sold" I will not, cannot be "sold" and I feel every second of TV is trying to sell me something, a product, a consciousness, socialization, an aesthetic, an ethic. Most of the time it is a very "hard sell."

Great novels, movies, the best TV just gives "slices of life" Joyce's "paring his fingernails" There is always an editing and selection, but the art is in making it imperceptible. Judgements are left to the reader/viewer.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:26 AM
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Slapstick is more timless. Roman Comedy and Three's Company hold up pretty well--if you like that stuff. Aristophanes is good, but a fair number of his jokes require a decent knowledge of the background politics of his day. Tragedy benefits from this too, obviously. The difference is that when it takes you a while to figure out the joke, it's less funny.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:27 AM
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I largely didn't find Seinfeld funny.* I know you are supposed to dislike the characters, but at the same time laugh at the fact that a lot of their obsessions/foibles are quite close to your own, but that whole way of existence is so alien to me I might as well be trying to laugh it up at Noh.

* not to say that I _never_ found it funny, it definitely had its moments ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:29 AM
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I still love the Muffin Top episode, Kramer's adventures in washing vegetables in his shower while dating a germaphobe and the time he set up a talk show in his living room.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:31 AM
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It doesn't exactly qualify as a sitcom, maybe, but you know what's really great? Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. I've only just gotten around to watching it, and I think I'm in love with Louise Lasser.

On pie: Nattargrammatt may have an excuse for hating pumpkin pie (his rabid Anti-Americanism), but Megan doesn't. Shame on you, Megan, hater traitor. That said, the pumpkin in pumpkin pie is essentially a vehicle for spices. There's only a vague hint of a suggestion of a nuance of pumpkin flavor about it.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:32 AM
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133

I don't see the distinction. And I'm Jewish! And I hate myself! Am I a self-hating Jew? I think so....

Do you hate yourself because you are Jewish? Do you hate other Jews because they are Jewish?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:34 AM
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ttaM, that was perfect. That was exactly my reaction, about how I couldn't identify with it at all.

'Cept that I _never_ found it funny. 'Cause I'd wander out after two minutes of watching it and confirming that I wasn't the intended audience.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:35 AM
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146: you can't deny the impact of the thing

Wasn't trying to deny its impact -- I had noticed that it was a very popular show.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:37 AM
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120

I find It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia really unwatchable. Same with Arrested Development. Both seem quite forced. I'm pretty alone with these opinions, though.

As I indicated above I agree about Sunny. I have never watched the other.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:42 AM
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I agree about Sunny.

I'm surprised to see this so widely claimed. For my money, there's nothing funnier on television (except maybe the Daily Show, but given the non-sitcom format, I'm giving that one an asterisk). On the other hand, I realize my sense of humor skews away from the median.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:46 AM
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89

Cheers was also kind of interesting, starting in 1982, in that it straddled the AIDS transition in attitudes toward promiscuity. Sam's 'womanizing' wouldn't have been the same sort of comedy even five years later -- it was a joke and was treated as making him sort of a jerk, but I don't think it would have been a plausible character trait in a sympathetic main character in a more recent network sitcom.

I also think this is dubious. Elaine in Seinfeld was pretty promiscuous.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:46 AM
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129: Larry David spells that out himself in one of the very funniest eps of CYE. He's standing outside a movie theater whistling a bit from Siegfried and talking about how he admires it when an acquaintance starts to shriek at him for being a "self-hating Jew." "Oh, I hate myself, all right. But not because I'm Jewish."
I show the "Survivor" ep of that show when we talk about "Can anything be funny?" in my comedy class. It hits both the Holocaust (not just "dumb Nazi" jokes, which have been funny since there have been Nazis) and 9/11.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:47 AM
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122

I thought he hated New York and New Yorkers (from an insider perspective), and that the success of the show was based on exploiting pre-existing distaste for New Yorkers in the rest of the country. But I may be touchy on this front.

Would the show have been much different if it was set in San Francisco?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:49 AM
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160: Well, very different in detail, of course -- Seinfeld was written in a locally grounded manner. Different in substance? Depends on whether I'm right about the underlying hostility I saw it as exploiting, and whether the same sort of thing could be made to work against San Franciscans. I don't think it'd work in the same way, but I could be wrong.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:57 AM
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More random pie thoughts: I was iffy on pumpkin pie until a friend made her variation on it which starts by lining the bottom of the crust with dark chocolate chips. Tasty. Pecan is also quite good.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 10:58 AM
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I'm surprised to see this so widely claimed [about Sunny]

So am I. Every single friend I can think of thinks it's the funniest thing on TV and regards me with suspicion for my "meh" reaction. I think I've somehow become a humorless old boor with regards to television.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:09 AM
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All I hear is 3 Men and a Baby.

I loved that movie as a little kid, but I'm fairly sure I should never watch it again.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:10 AM
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Pres. anonymity is required for this confession:
I like Mad About You.


Posted by: Woodrow Wilson | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:12 AM
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Shit, that should be liked- as with the others discussed above, it didn't age well.


Posted by: Woodrow Wilson | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:12 AM
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I think I've somehow become a humorless old boor with regards to television.

Me too.

On the pie front (oh, I'm sad I missed the active discussion about that) -- I really don't understand the dislike of pumpkin pie, especially by people who like sweet potato pie.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:14 AM
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Eat your fresh apricots

I have never had a satisfactory fresh apricot–eating experience. I always prefer them cooked (nb this still counts as eating them).

PROVE IT TO ME NOSFLOW

It would be my pleasure. But the season has passed.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:17 AM
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Elaine in Seinfeld was pretty promiscuous

I do not recall this to be the case.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:19 AM
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169: I remember her, if anything, being conservative in regards to who she used the precious sponge with.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:21 AM
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Aristophanes is good, but a fair number of his jokes require a decent knowledge of the background politics of his day.

Right, like the great farting scandal of 400 BC.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:21 AM
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Okay, but to get The Frogs and the Clouds you need to know who Cleisthenes was.

The other thing I find difficult about Aristophanes is that he was, for me, hard to translate. By the time I'd figured out what he was saying, it wasn't all that funny.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:26 AM
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169, 170: Well, depends on your standards for promiscuous, which is kinda what I was talking about. She's nothing like Sam from Cheers. On the other hand, she's neither chaste nor in a long-term monogamous relationship, which makes her about as promiscuous as you can get in a 90's sitcom without it looking weird.

It's not as if everyone on TV suddenly stopped having sex in the early 80's -- more that having lots of sex with a random assortment of casual acquaintances stopped being so much a lightheartedly goofy-happy character trait.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:28 AM
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Seinfeld was written in a locally grounded manner. Different in substance? Depends on whether I'm right about the underlying hostility I saw it as exploiting, and whether the same sort of thing could be made to work against San Franciscans. I don't think it'd work in the same way, but I could be wrong.

Seinfeld in Cali would be Curb Your Enthusiasm, no?

To me, the difference between 2 1/2 men and It's Always Sunny is the quality of the writing. And I have a crush on Mack.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:34 AM
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173: Pretty promiscuous for a female in the 90s -- we can't pretend there isn't a double standard, can we?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:36 AM
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173

... She's nothing like Sam from Cheers ...

Possibly I am confused here because I have only watched the first two seasons of Cheers on dvd. Does Sam's character change (or revert) to being more promiscuous?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:37 AM
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153: Shearer, you ask such difficult questions.

I don't hate my own Jewishness, but maybe the fact that I hate myself is actually a Jewish trait.

I don't hate anybody else except myself -- with the exception of my self-hatred I'm pretty much all love.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:39 AM
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My obnoxious aunt mused once that you can't really get Seinfeld unless you live in New York. Not really, like she does.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:40 AM
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I'm remembering watching it first run, twenty-five or more years ago, so don't ask me for accuracy on what happened what season. That said, my recollection of Sam's character was that before and in-between periods of being involved with Diane, the fact that he was screwing around casually all the time was a running gag.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:41 AM
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We've got a bit of Self-hating Jews in my family. (I've mentioned this before.) It takes the form of intense admiration of all aspects of secular-Christian holidays, and general scorn for the bloody mythology behind Jewish holidays.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:42 AM
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And a lot of qualifiers about how much Judaism my family isn't familiar with, compared to how much Christianity we know just because it's so great.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:44 AM
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I do agree with LB in regards to the different approach to promiscuity in the late 70s/80s shows. I'm not sure if it is the pall of AIDs or just simple reactionary backlash to that sort of promiscuity, but it always catches my eye. It's not necessarily that one character is having more sex than another; it is definitely the attitude towards it. It is still something that marks out a man as a stud, and thus done with a wink wink, nudge nudge, aren't I better than you sort of attitude, but it is no longer so loosey-goosey, so charming and without care.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:46 AM
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All the characters on Seinfeld were highly promiscuous, in terms of number of people slept with per year. But it usually appears to be serial monogamy rather than just a bunch of one-night stands, unlike Sam Malone or Charlie Sheen on that horrible show.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:48 AM
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Yeah, I attribute it to AIDS because the timing of the transition seems right, but I don't know that that's the cause.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:48 AM
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If you want to see promiscuity on television series, Showtime's got you covered.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:50 AM
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All the characters on Seinfeld were highly promiscuous

Huh. I don't really remember more than one or two partners for any of them. Not that they were prudes, mind. Just that fate seemed more committed to preserving their chastity than they were.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:52 AM
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186: I think Jerry, George and Elaine all had at least 40 partners. This is a running joke on the DVDs, with popup messages like "George's girlfriend #20: Nancy, the risotto lover" coming up if you turn on the "Notes about nothing" subtitle function.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:56 AM
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180, 181: Along the lines of the Dan Akroyd-character and his wife in Driving Miss Daisy? Do they have bad Southern accents too?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 11:58 AM
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186

Huh. I don't really remember more than one or two partners for any of them. Not that they were prudes, mind. Just that fate seemed more committed to preserving their chastity than they were.

That was true for George, not so much for Elaine.

Kramer didn't seem that interested in women. Jerry had relationships but fewer than Elaine I think.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:01 PM
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the DVDs

Did you mean to add another layer of anonymity? Not that there's anything wrong with this.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:02 PM
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And I have a crush on Mack.

Wow, really? When I tried to get into the show, I had a visceral anti-Mac reaction. Then I looked up the actor, and I was quite surprised to learn he was also the creator of the show. That tempered my reaction, in a sort of well-say-what-you-will-the-guy-wrote-himself-as-the-most-detestable-character-which-takes-some-acting-prowess way. Still, I think he's (intentionally) the jerkiest of them. Uh, based on the like five episodes I watched.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:03 PM
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I have never eaten sweet potato pie. At least I can't remember it.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:04 PM
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Consider Lost Boys, a movie about blood-drinking adolescent vampires living together in a cave just after AIDS was recognized as a threat to gay men.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:04 PM
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192: Me neither. I love sweet potatoes, but the idea of making a pie out of them sounds wrong.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:09 PM
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I desire to eat sweet potato pie.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:10 PM
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I've never made sweet potato pie. Lately, I've been on a sweet potato pound cake kick, though. It's amazingly good.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:12 PM
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Regarding pie, it occurs to me that I've never done the apple-pie-with-cheddar thing and that I really ought to.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:12 PM
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191: The three main guys are co-creators.

You people who haven't eaten sweet potato pie, should.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:15 PM
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177

I don't hate anybody else except myself -- with the exception of my self-hatred I'm pretty much all love.

In current usage self-hating Jews seems to refer to Jews which the speaker deems to have insufficient hatred of Arabs. So you are on thin ice.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:17 PM
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||

I wonder if it's a good idea to skip orientation day. I'm going to the international student one tomorrow. But sessions on "how to be a successful grad student"? How to be a TA" (which doesn't apply to my program, really)? I think I heard enough the first time around. Of course, I dropped out.

|>


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:18 PM
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The three main guys are co-creators.

So they are. Huh.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:19 PM
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Is is department specific, eb, or university wide? If it is the department's, I'd go. Otherwise, skip away.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:20 PM
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Department specific is mandatory and I'm going. This is just for all grad students. Anyway, I'm skipping it right now.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:22 PM
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I have never eaten sweet potato pie. At least I can't remember it.

The first time I made sweet potato pie, I lied and told the family it was pumpkin until after they tried it and declared it better than previous years' pumpkin pies. Grandma's honey knew what he was eating from the first bite, but no one else suspected. (I've used the same approach more recently with respect to collard greens that I served as "spinach.")


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:23 PM
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Well, see, there you go. Hm, I'm supposed to present at my department's. I should check the actual date so I don't miss it.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:23 PM
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203: Good decision!

199: Good point.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:24 PM
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I remember standing in a long line for bland food at the university wide orientation the first time around in grad school. Someone else from my program saw me in line and recognized me from the school visit. We waited for food, then ate the food. That's all I remember. I'm sure everyone finds this fascinating.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:27 PM
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201: And Dennis went to Julliard, which cracks me up. All that careful thespian training at the most selective school in the US -- all in the service of Day Man!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:27 PM
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Woody Allen jumped the shark at the precise moment his hatred for humanity in general eclipsed his hatred for himself.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:39 PM
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You know who is an interesting example of Jewish self hatred? Wittgenstein. At various times, he hated himself for being Jewish, for being gay*, and for being a philosopher. I think he is at his purest when he hates himself for being a self. That was certainly when he got his most interesting work done.

* We can all talk about this freely, now, right?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:45 PM
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You know that Woody Allen quote from his stand-up that LB referenced just recently? The one about him hovering over a 16 year old actress for six months or something like that? I couldn't help thinking that it basically described the plot of many/most of his movies, at least the ones he starred in, not to mention his personal life.

But I do love many a Woody Allen film.

Also: a well-made pumpkin pie is excellent.
Sweet potato pie is also excellent.
Pie in general is excellent.
Arrested Development is excellent.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:48 PM
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M/tch is just full of love.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:52 PM
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And semen.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:52 PM
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I just got back from Maine and can report that blueberry pie is a perfectly delicious kind of pie. Blueberries are better used in pancakes, but you wouldn't want to eat a blueberry pancake after dinner.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:54 PM
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Says you.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 12:55 PM
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159: when we talk about "Can anything be funny?" in my comedy class. It hits both the Holocaust (not just "dumb Nazi" jokes, which have been funny since there have been Nazis) and 9/11.

I distinctly remember the following interesting take on dumb Nazis vs. the Holocaust which really made an impression on me at the time:

Mad magazine #108 (January 1967) parodied the show as "Hokum's Heroes". An additional one-page parody called "Hochman's Heroes" took the show's premise to the next level by setting it in Buchenwald concentration camp.
And in then end, of course, there is Mad getting a meta-laugh out of the whole thing. (And generating some controversy as I recall; it had jokes something along the lines of, Klink character discussing guards v. prisoners baseball game, "Your pitcher was doing so badly you should have sent him to the showers."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:03 PM
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Mmm, pie. Rhubarb pie is indeed the best of all possible pies; strawberry-rhubarb pie hardly bears eating, not because it's intrinsically so terrible but because it makes me sad for the unadulterated rhubarb pie it might have been. Pumpkin pie is good so long as you roast the right kind of pumpkin and use my aunt's recipe for the spices; sweet-potato pie in individual pie tins is ideal for eating on top of a mountain, mid-hike; pecan pie is greatly improved by the reduction of gunge and the addition of chocolate and bourbon.

Time for lunch.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:05 PM
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214: Yeah, great time of year to be there for the berries. Robert McCloskey set Blueberries for Sal (and A Time of Wonder) on the small island he summered on in Penobscot Bay. I mixed him up with EB White when I first thought of that, White had a place on the mainland just a few miles to the east.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:17 PM
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217: strawberry-rhubarb pie hardly bears eating, not because it's intrinsically so terrible but because it makes me sad for the unadulterated rhubarb pie it might have been

GB is clearly from Mars New Mexico.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:20 PM
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Gunge?

Blueberries are better used in pancakes

Absurd.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:27 PM
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118: The latter.
119: I did not. I am not even a Ph.D. The M.D. won. But he admitted that I had him a little psyched out beforehand.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:31 PM
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I also eschew the addition of strawberries to a pie full of rhubarb. Good strawberries are much better eaten fresh, they don't end up adding much in the way of flavor to the pie anyway, and so they're rather expensive to use as basically just a filler ("Rhubarb Helper!").


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:32 PM
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Wasn't Pause endlessly, then go in (8) also a contestant on Jeopardy?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:34 PM
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I recently made use of a bounty of blueberries by putting them into cobbler and pie. Both were excellent, but cobbler definitely had the edge, perhaps because drunk time is not the best time to roll out piecrust.

The gunk on the bottom of the pecan pie is the best part.

Sweet potato pie is good, but it's so similar to pumpkin pie that it doesn't really justify a separate entry in the pantheon of pie.

Strawberries should not be cooked.

These have been my pie thoughts.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:35 PM
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That was a great handle.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:36 PM
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You mean Unfoggetarian: Pause endlessly, then go in (9)?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:36 PM
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226: Yes.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:38 PM
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223 is just his nickname.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:39 PM
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225: You used to have a great handle.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:40 PM
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227 to 213.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:41 PM
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230: Are you offering to help me remedy that situation?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:43 PM
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There are lots of great handles.


Posted by: El Hombre Muy Magnifico | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:43 PM
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220.1: The British support me in email.

221.2: I came in second to a journalist. And beat, I don't know, some guy who was negative at the end of the second round.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:45 PM
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I once beat my two young nephews at Jeopardy, the board game.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:47 PM
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But wow. At least three Jeopardy contestants among the Unfoggetariat.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:48 PM
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235: What is . . . the number of Jeopardy contestants among the Unfoggetariat?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:51 PM
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231: I'm always willing to lend a hand.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:53 PM
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Stanley, I'm not sure we even *have* 235 commenters, much less 235 that have been on Jeopardy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 1:54 PM
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238: Hmmm. Maybe not 235, but I was surprised with how many different commenters there were once I actually started counting them back when I was, um, making a spreadsheet about everyone in order to facilitate writing rap lyrics. Of course that included many no-longer-(very)-active commenters.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:05 PM
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making a spreadsheet about everyone in order to facilitate writing rap lyrics


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:06 PM
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I don't have a comment, there. I just watned to see that repeated.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:06 PM
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They call it lyrical science for a reason, rob.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:07 PM
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There are lots of great handles.

Sometimes, however, a great handle is just squandered.


Posted by: Wry Cooter | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:08 PM
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243: Tell me about it.


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:10 PM
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And some great handles just get retired.


Posted by: Magic Johnson | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:15 PM
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WHAT HAPPENS TO A HANDLE SQUANDERED???


Posted by: OPINIONATED RAISING | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:16 PM
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I HAVE SEEN THE BEST JOKES OF MY GENERATION, RUINED, BY TYPOS!


Posted by: OPINIONATED RAISIN | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:17 PM
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HELP! I'M MELTI


Posted by: OPINION RAISI | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:18 PM
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I got 99 handles, but "That Bitch" ain't one.


Posted by: Jay's Z | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:19 PM
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You can't handle me.


Posted by: The Truth | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:19 PM
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I got, like, 30 goddamned handles.


Posted by: George Washington | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:20 PM
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252

Happens when you're 47 and balding.


Posted by: Love Handles | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:22 PM
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You can call me "George".


Posted by: G. F. Handel | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:23 PM
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254

Have you seen my sister, Grendel?


Posted by: Handel | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:23 PM
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Have you ever looked at your handle? I mean really looked at it?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:26 PM
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Yes.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:27 PM
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How do you handle a hungry man?


Posted by: The Man Handlers | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:36 PM
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I'm one-handled.


Posted by: OPINIONATED COFFEE MUG | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:50 PM
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What's it worth to you to get your pump working again?


Posted by: The Vandals | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:54 PM
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When I tried to get into the show, I had a visceral anti-Mac reaction.... Still, I think he's (intentionally) the jerkiest of them. Uh, based on the like five episodes I watched.

I know, I know, he is a complete asshole on the show. Yet it's the pure glee with which he's a total asshole that I just love. I think Charlie's character is actually the funniest, fwiw.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:55 PM
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Oh, and we meant that about the sandals. Especially with socks.


Posted by: The Vandals | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 2:58 PM
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What do you mean, "on the show"? He's a fictional character!

Also, Ignatius J. Reilly is kind of an asshole, in the book at least.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 3:00 PM
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It's like a heat wave.


Posted by: Martha Reeves | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 3:02 PM
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264

I did not really get much out of A Confederacy of Dunces. It did, however, result in me having to prevent myself, on occasion, from calling things abortions.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 3:02 PM
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What? What??


Posted by: Howie Mandel | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 3:04 PM
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266

Come up to my department. I'll show you my sets.


Posted by: Benoit | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 3:05 PM
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264 contains a terrible error for which I have already castigated myself quite thoroughly.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 3:12 PM
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267: My, my.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 3:13 PM
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For which I have already castigated myself, JP. Don't gloat; it's unseemly.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 3:15 PM
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||

Has anyone here ever seen Pixie Bike Jousting?

|>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 3:46 PM
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271

No more masturbating to these babies.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 4:10 PM
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I'll bet she's finding masturbating a whole lot easier, though.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 5:01 PM
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271: Weren't the nails always already dead? You probably shouldn't have been masturbating to them even when they were attached, AWB. But I absolve you.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 5:03 PM
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People are weird.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 6:43 PM
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IASIP is endearing people gamely acting loathsome, whereas 2.5M is loathsome people gamely acting endearing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 7:14 PM
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The Guinness Book of World Records is bad for people.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 7:24 PM
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Because I am nothing if not a believer in Science, I have procured two slices of rhubarb pie from Pie n Burger, on the recommendation of no less an authority than Rob Halford. I can't eat em yet because I haven't had lunch today, and if there's anything I care about as much as Science, it is Order. They don't look all that promising though, to tell you the truth.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 7:28 PM
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Just be sure to eat them with a mouth unclouded by prejudice.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 7:29 PM
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Also, you could have the pie for lunch.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 7:29 PM
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I had the following conversation with M over the phone just now, while waiting at the pie shop:

J: Do you like rhubarb pie?
M: [immediately] Yes.
J: Really? When have you had it?
M: ....
J : Have you ever had rhubarb pie before?
M: No...
J: Then how do you like it?
M: Well, it's pie, innit?


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 7:33 PM
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Sensible fellow.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 7:41 PM
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280:

J: Well, there's rat pie, rat pudding, rat sorbet or, uh, strawberry tart.
M: Strawberry tart?
J: Well, uh, it's got some rat in it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 7:53 PM
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SLIME PIE


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09- 3-09 9:54 PM
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