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My next-door neighbor around the turn of the century was a staff writer for the meat-and-potatoes sitcom Married With Children.

If you wanted to get her raving, you’d swing the conversation around to her bête noire: the “Harvard Mafia” of highly educated comedy writers who had moved to town with The Simpsons.

But she had a point. In a lot of ways it’s easier to be funny if you don’t know all that much stuff.

For example, “What’s the deal with airline food?”

If your first inclination is to explain that when you stop and think about the physical and logistical challenges of serving a modest variety of broadly appealing meals to tired, crowded passengers, many of them suffering mild hypoxia, the surprising “deal,” as it were, with airline food is that it is, all things considered, a fairly good deal …

… well, then you aren’t by nature very funny. Some people can overcome knowing a lot of information and still be funny, but it’s not that easy.

My son told me an example of how ignorance and being naturally funny go together. Two white comedians on the radio were talking to a third, a Puerto Rican stand-up, about how he needs to be more woke. “Read Ta-Nehisi Coates!” they implored him.

“Who?”

“Ta-Nehisi Coates,” they enunciated.

“Okay, okay, I’ll look him up on my iPad,” said the PR comedian.

The conversation moved on and when the third comedian stepped out of the room, the two hosts looked at what the third had Googled on his iPad:

Tallahassee Totes

Now that’s funny. Knowing how to spell “Ta-Nehisi Coates” is depressing, but hearing “Tallahassee Totes” instead is great.

That sounds like the name of a racehorse, or of a minor mobster in Guys and Dolls who has a hot tip on a racehorse.

 
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  1. Now that’s funny. It sounds like the name of a racehorse, or of a minor character in Guys and Dolls who has a hot tip on a racehorse.

    Or a brand of tote bags your wife takes to the beach in Florida.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Too on the nose.
    , @Bill Jones
    I thought "Coates" was pronounced in the Latin manner- Co Art tes, Needless to say, it's pronounced much at JonesManor.
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  2. Once the Genius announces that he’s always been a female trapped in a Glorious Black Body, and is transitioning to draw increased attention to his work, I’ll be referring to him as Tanya He/She Wrotes.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Gary in Gramercy
    From the Department of Been There, Done That:

    See Greg Tate's groundbreaking piece in the Village Voice, "The Black Lesbian Inside Me," from somewhere in the late '80's/early '90's. I couldn't find the article itself online (although I didn't check the Voice archives; that's another job real Americans just won't do), but it's apparently included in a recently-published anthology of Tate's work: see https://books.google.com/books?id=hvHADAAAQBAJ&pg=PT12&lpg=PT12&dq=%22Greg+Tate%22+%22black+lesbian+inside+me%22&source=bl&ots=p3oG3Vz44Q&sig=cekeh64oQeg2qCDjUtMJrAaUef8&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiCy-XSjPfTAhVEPiYKHW1XB3AQ6AEIJTAB#v=onepage&q=%22Greg%20Tate%22%20%22black%20lesbian%20inside%20me%22&f=false.
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  3. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Was Married With Children considered fairly vanilla in the LA suburbs when it aired? I remember growing up as a kid in my area it was considered to be the worst thing on TV – the most obscene and hypersexualized program on broadcast TV, second only to the softcore porn they would show late at night on some of the extra movie channels on cable. It was sort of spoken about in hushed tones among kids at school and sleepovers because parents were concerned about it and many of them worried about their kids watching it.

    Of course, watching it today as an adult, it’s notable how tame it is relative to the stuff out there now. It’s sort of quaint now. And it wasn’t all that long ago. It’s remarkable how fast it changed.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Germans loved it.
    , @syonredux
    Hey, John Derbyshire reveres Al Bundy:

    Showbiz news. The immortal Al Bundy, impersonated by actor Ed O’Neill, has been given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame . . . outside a shoe store. Richly deserved; but I wish that after that very touching and gentlemanly speech he made, Al had given us a few bars of “Psycho Dad.” My kids grew up hearing me sing that; with what long-term psychological consequences I would not hazard to speculate.

     

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/276061/august-diary-john-derbyshire
    , @anon
    My parents would let me watch (born in '80). Of course, they also sent me to my catholic school in a playboy t-shirt when my green gym day shirt was MIA, so, uhh...
    , @John Derbyshire, @Catholic Philly Prole
    we weren't allowed to watch it either. Born in 1980
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  4. @Anonymous
    Was Married With Children considered fairly vanilla in the LA suburbs when it aired? I remember growing up as a kid in my area it was considered to be the worst thing on TV - the most obscene and hypersexualized program on broadcast TV, second only to the softcore porn they would show late at night on some of the extra movie channels on cable. It was sort of spoken about in hushed tones among kids at school and sleepovers because parents were concerned about it and many of them worried about their kids watching it.

    Of course, watching it today as an adult, it's notable how tame it is relative to the stuff out there now. It's sort of quaint now. And it wasn't all that long ago. It's remarkable how fast it changed.

    Germans loved it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    I know the German humor thing is a cliche and all, but I remember watching TV when visiting Germany and a lot of the comedy seemed to be guy slipping on banana peel type stuff. They seem to like blunt, crude comedy, so I suppose Married With Children would be appealing.

    BTW, there's an entire Wiki section about how controversial Married With Children was at the time:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Married_with_children#Controversy

    In 1989, Terry Rakolta, from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, led a boycott[3] of the show after viewing the episode "Her Cups Runneth Over".[4] Offended by the images of an old man wearing a woman's garter and stockings, the scene where Steve touches the pasties of a mannequin dressed in S&M gear, a homosexual man wearing a tiara on his head (and Al's line "...and they wonder why we call them 'queens'"), and a half-nude woman who takes off her bra in front of Al (and is shown with her arms covering her bare chest in the next shot), Rakolta began a letter-writing campaign to advertisers, demanding they boycott the show.

    After advertisers began dropping their support for the show and whilst Rakolta made several appearances on television talk shows demanding the show's cancellation, Fox executives refused to air the episode titled "I'll See You in Court".[citation needed] This episode would become known as the "Lost Episode" and was aired on FX on June 18, 2002, with some parts cut. The episode was packaged with the rest of the third season in the January 2005 DVD release (and in the first volume of the Married ... With Children Most Outrageous Episode DVD set) with the parts cut from syndication restored.

    "The conservative Parents Television Council named Married... with Children the worst show of both the 1995–96 and 1996–97 television seasons in its first two years in operation.[5][6] In 1996, the organization called the show the "crudest comedy on prime time television...peppered with lewd punch lines about sex, masturbation, the gay lifestyle, and the lead character's fondness for pornographic magazines and strip clubs."[5]
     
    , @Rapparee
    Russians, too- in 2006 a version called "Happy Together" ("Сча́стливы вме́сте") was re-shot with Russian actors and carefully-adapted scripts, and was such an enormous hit that they eventually ran out of American episodes and had to start writing original new ones. It's unsurprising that the land that gave us Vladimir Putin responded well to Al Bundy's macho schtick.
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  5. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    Crazy if true:

    Read More
    • LOL: Trelane, Alden
    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
    This is quite old. Maybe 2015. In fact, it might be part of the reason more refugees haven't been admitted.

    The great thing is that in Japan everyone notices. The last time a US serviceman raped a girl in Okinawa, I looked at the news report showing him loaded into the paddy wagon to see which race (yep, black'un), and I knew every Japanese watching noted the same thing.
    , @a boy and his dog
    Those two had applied for refugee status but not been accepted, and it's unlikely they would have been.
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  6. Achilles says:

    “Read Tallahasee Totes!” they implored him.

    The one that says “Will Golf for food” is very iStevish, and looks like a quality bag.

    Didn’t see any with TNC quotes or Black Panther & Crew characters on them, so perhaps there is an unserved market here?

    Read More
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  7. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Steve Sailer
    Germans loved it.

    I know the German humor thing is a cliche and all, but I remember watching TV when visiting Germany and a lot of the comedy seemed to be guy slipping on banana peel type stuff. They seem to like blunt, crude comedy, so I suppose Married With Children would be appealing.

    BTW, there’s an entire Wiki section about how controversial Married With Children was at the time:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Married_with_children#Controversy

    In 1989, Terry Rakolta, from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, led a boycott[3] of the show after viewing the episode “Her Cups Runneth Over”.[4] Offended by the images of an old man wearing a woman’s garter and stockings, the scene where Steve touches the pasties of a mannequin dressed in S&M gear, a homosexual man wearing a tiara on his head (and Al’s line “…and they wonder why we call them ‘queens’”), and a half-nude woman who takes off her bra in front of Al (and is shown with her arms covering her bare chest in the next shot), Rakolta began a letter-writing campaign to advertisers, demanding they boycott the show.

    After advertisers began dropping their support for the show and whilst Rakolta made several appearances on television talk shows demanding the show’s cancellation, Fox executives refused to air the episode titled “I’ll See You in Court”.[citation needed] This episode would become known as the “Lost Episode” and was aired on FX on June 18, 2002, with some parts cut. The episode was packaged with the rest of the third season in the January 2005 DVD release (and in the first volume of the Married … With Children Most Outrageous Episode DVD set) with the parts cut from syndication restored.

    “The conservative Parents Television Council named Married… with Children the worst show of both the 1995–96 and 1996–97 television seasons in its first two years in operation.[5][6] In 1996, the organization called the show the “crudest comedy on prime time television…peppered with lewd punch lines about sex, masturbation, the gay lifestyle, and the lead character’s fondness for pornographic magazines and strip clubs.”[5]

    Read More
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  8. Erik L says:

    Nonsense. You can just as easily be knowledgeable and hilarious.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Autochthon
    Indeed; erudite humour is indeed it's own niche: Dennis Miller, Eddie Izzard, Patton Oswalt, (to some extent) George Carlin, and similar acts come to mind.

    Agree or not as you will, but Gallagher (of all people!) had a masteful hyperexamination of minutiae which translated into some very funny stuff.

    That said, Steve's point stands: brilliant poeple are more often boorish or overly literal killjoys than clever and engaging in the ways these counterexamples are....
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  9. Ed says:

    Speaking of the devil:

    Read More
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  10. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Laugh Track

    Now that’s funny. It sounds like the name of a racehorse, or of a minor character in Guys and Dolls who has a hot tip on a racehorse.
     
    Or a brand of tote bags your wife takes to the beach in Florida.

    Too on the nose.

    Read More
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  11. Pity Benny Hill likewise. Its all tits all the way.

    Read More
    • Replies: @prole
    Benny Hill was great. The Feminists got his show off the air around 1990.
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  12. Achilles says:

    Top five misheard terms for “Ta-Nehisi Coates”:

    5. Tallahassee Totes

    4. The Mosquito Coast

    3. D’ya need a coat?

    2. Dunno, he’s a ghost

    1. The new ‘easy’ goat (as misheard in the Middle East)

    Read More
    • LOL: Buffalo Joe
    • Replies: @Steve in Greensboro
    Tennessee Toast
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  13. Jefferson says:

    Ta-Nehisi doesn’t sound like a Western name. Is it a Bantu name?

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    Ebonics
    , @Millennial
    Ta-Nehisi supposedly means "land of the black" in ancient Egyptian. Ta's dad was one of those Egypt obsessed Afro-centrists.

    I wonder if Ta would call for the descendants of the Pharaohs (i.e. African-Americans, obviously) to pay reparations to the descendants of their slaves...
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  14. Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres . . . .”

    So too is comedy divided in three parts: lowbrow; middlebrow; highbrow.

    Since the 1960s middlebrow comedy but more so highbrow comedy have fallen flat on their faces, because those two parts of the comedy triumvirate have become increasingly preachy vehicles of smug virtue-signalling to and for adult audiences and Red Guard indoctrination of youngsters into political correctness. When every Official Victim Group has well-policed “safe spaces,” nothing is allowed to be genuinely funny (Mr. Derbyshire has a similar take on foreigners being funny yet being today off-limits from comic approach).

    Most comedy also has a very short expiration date. For example, Antenna TV has been airing old Johnny Carson Tonight Show programs, and the schtick of the comics appearing on them is nowadays almost entirely unfunny (for examples, the output of guys like Freddie Prinze, Robert Klein, David Steinberg). It’s not just the already obsolete technology (telephone answering machines, landline telephones, early car computer voices, vinyl records, cassette tapes, &c.) those routines poked fun at that are not funny, its the bygone targets of past comic routines that fail to tickle today’s funny bone.

    Few comedies or comedians become timeless classics. In that respect I consider the work of the Marx Brothers, a brilliant blend of mime, slapstick and cerebral wordplay, to be the all-time champ (even Groucho’s appearances on the Dick Cavett Show and as host of the earlier You Bet Your Life remain entertaining). The early, pre-WWII Abbott & Costello films are also still funny, but most pre-WWII comedy, especially radio comedy such as Lum And Abner, is today forgotten because its cultural references long ago became alien to later audiences.

    In TV programming, I’d vote the timeless awards to Get Smart and Leave It To Beaver (I could never stand Lucille Ball’s tedious set-ups, painfully slow-pitch slapstick, or her monotonously hammy mugging). A lot of Get Smart is even funnier now than it was during the show’s original run, perhaps because the ubiquity of cell phone video and the internet – alternative media – have since exposed much more of the lunacy of Government apparatchik methods and behavior and of the baleful utopian insanity of “Progressive” political correctness.

    All that said, bear in mind: De gustibus non est disputandum. Except when it comes to “Progressives,” who suck the fun out of EVERYTHING.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AnotherGuessModel
    (Mr. Derbyshire has a similar take on foreigners being funny yet being today off-limits from comic approach).

    Except for Melania Trump.
    , @psmith
    Do you know, there was a massive "the Marx Brothers weren't actually funny" comments thread here not so long ago?

    Surprised me as well, honestly, but here we are.
    , @Autochthon
    Jack Benny's programme also holds up surprisingly well; his humour is often about situational stuff inherent to the human condition and relationships. Stuff like that outlasts observational humour rooted in specific technologies, fashions, politics, etc.; relations among in-laws and the travails of marriage were funny when Aristophanes tackled them and they are funny today when approached cleverly.
    , @James Richard
    Red Foxx (perfect timing) as Fred Sanford and Amos & Andy (both radio and TV versions) are still gut-bustingly funny. So are uber-dry radio pundits Bob and Ray along with the subversive media anarchist Stan Freberg. And this Robert Benchley routine, like most of his stuff, is as funny and relevant as the day it was recorded:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXS55JmtUNM
    , @Mr. Anon
    A lot of what I once found funny, now seems flat. Perhaps just because it is no longer fresh. Nobody is going to laugh at something the third or forth time, but that doesn't mean it wasn't clever or funny at the time, or still would be - to someone else.
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  15. Comforting to know I lack the gift of repartee because I’m too darn erudite.

    Was it the Tracey Ullmann movie This is My Life or the Tom Hanks movie Punchline, both about struggling stand-up comedians, where there was a supporting character with this predicament? A hapless stand-up comedian whose attempted jokes were too steeped in high culture. (Now that I think of it, stand-up comedians in movies often carry such profound sadness. King of Comedy and Man on the Moon too.)

    Read More
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  16. syonredux says:
    @Anonymous
    Was Married With Children considered fairly vanilla in the LA suburbs when it aired? I remember growing up as a kid in my area it was considered to be the worst thing on TV - the most obscene and hypersexualized program on broadcast TV, second only to the softcore porn they would show late at night on some of the extra movie channels on cable. It was sort of spoken about in hushed tones among kids at school and sleepovers because parents were concerned about it and many of them worried about their kids watching it.

    Of course, watching it today as an adult, it's notable how tame it is relative to the stuff out there now. It's sort of quaint now. And it wasn't all that long ago. It's remarkable how fast it changed.

    Hey, John Derbyshire reveres Al Bundy:

    Showbiz news. The immortal Al Bundy, impersonated by actor Ed O’Neill, has been given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame . . . outside a shoe store. Richly deserved; but I wish that after that very touching and gentlemanly speech he made, Al had given us a few bars of “Psycho Dad.” My kids grew up hearing me sing that; with what long-term psychological consequences I would not hazard to speculate.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/276061/august-diary-john-derbyshire

    Read More
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  17. @Auntie Analogue
    "Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres . . . ."

    So too is comedy divided in three parts: lowbrow; middlebrow; highbrow.

    Since the 1960s middlebrow comedy but more so highbrow comedy have fallen flat on their faces, because those two parts of the comedy triumvirate have become increasingly preachy vehicles of smug virtue-signalling to and for adult audiences and Red Guard indoctrination of youngsters into political correctness. When every Official Victim Group has well-policed "safe spaces," nothing is allowed to be genuinely funny (Mr. Derbyshire has a similar take on foreigners being funny yet being today off-limits from comic approach).

    Most comedy also has a very short expiration date. For example, Antenna TV has been airing old Johnny Carson Tonight Show programs, and the schtick of the comics appearing on them is nowadays almost entirely unfunny (for examples, the output of guys like Freddie Prinze, Robert Klein, David Steinberg). It's not just the already obsolete technology (telephone answering machines, landline telephones, early car computer voices, vinyl records, cassette tapes, &c.) those routines poked fun at that are not funny, its the bygone targets of past comic routines that fail to tickle today's funny bone.

    Few comedies or comedians become timeless classics. In that respect I consider the work of the Marx Brothers, a brilliant blend of mime, slapstick and cerebral wordplay, to be the all-time champ (even Groucho's appearances on the Dick Cavett Show and as host of the earlier You Bet Your Life remain entertaining). The early, pre-WWII Abbott & Costello films are also still funny, but most pre-WWII comedy, especially radio comedy such as Lum And Abner, is today forgotten because its cultural references long ago became alien to later audiences.

    In TV programming, I'd vote the timeless awards to Get Smart and Leave It To Beaver (I could never stand Lucille Ball's tedious set-ups, painfully slow-pitch slapstick, or her monotonously hammy mugging). A lot of Get Smart is even funnier now than it was during the show's original run, perhaps because the ubiquity of cell phone video and the internet - alternative media - have since exposed much more of the lunacy of Government apparatchik methods and behavior and of the baleful utopian insanity of "Progressive" political correctness.

    All that said, bear in mind: De gustibus non est disputandum. Except when it comes to "Progressives," who suck the fun out of EVERYTHING.

    (Mr. Derbyshire has a similar take on foreigners being funny yet being today off-limits from comic approach).

    Except for Melania Trump.

    Read More
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  18. Anonym says:

    TNC theme song. I think his son sings it to him on the escalator.

    Read More
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  19. anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Anonymous
    Was Married With Children considered fairly vanilla in the LA suburbs when it aired? I remember growing up as a kid in my area it was considered to be the worst thing on TV - the most obscene and hypersexualized program on broadcast TV, second only to the softcore porn they would show late at night on some of the extra movie channels on cable. It was sort of spoken about in hushed tones among kids at school and sleepovers because parents were concerned about it and many of them worried about their kids watching it.

    Of course, watching it today as an adult, it's notable how tame it is relative to the stuff out there now. It's sort of quaint now. And it wasn't all that long ago. It's remarkable how fast it changed.

    My parents would let me watch (born in ’80). Of course, they also sent me to my catholic school in a playboy t-shirt when my green gym day shirt was MIA, so, uhh…

    Read More
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  20. Bill P says:

    I was once listening to a couple of truckers talking about homemade wine. They seemed to be pretty knowledgeable about the subject, so I interjected that I had an uncle who’s an oenophile.

    After a slight pause, one of the truckers asked me “so when’s he getting out?”

    I thought that was hilarious, and pretty clever.

    I love hanging out with the white working class partly because of the far richer environment for humor. They also have no problem with people who are a bit bookish so long as they can sense that there’s some genuine mutual respect.

    Read More
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  21. iffen says:
    @Jefferson
    Ta-Nehisi doesn't sound like a Western name. Is it a Bantu name?

    Ebonics

    Read More
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  22. @Anonymous
    Was Married With Children considered fairly vanilla in the LA suburbs when it aired? I remember growing up as a kid in my area it was considered to be the worst thing on TV - the most obscene and hypersexualized program on broadcast TV, second only to the softcore porn they would show late at night on some of the extra movie channels on cable. It was sort of spoken about in hushed tones among kids at school and sleepovers because parents were concerned about it and many of them worried about their kids watching it.

    Of course, watching it today as an adult, it's notable how tame it is relative to the stuff out there now. It's sort of quaint now. And it wasn't all that long ago. It's remarkable how fast it changed.
    Read More
    • Agree: Travis
    • Replies: @keypusher
    Regrettably, I seem to recall Ed O'Neill expressing some embarrassment over Married...with Children, while being very proud of his current show, Modern Family, which is well-done, but a storehouse of (modern) conventional wisdom.

    He did have a great quote when he got a Hollywood star, though.

    O'Neill also poked fun at his increasingly younger TV wives.

    "You know, I can't help but think right now that as I'm standing here, it's a bit emotional, that somewhere in the world at this moment, in a hospital, a beautiful little baby girl is being born, and when she grows up she's going to be my next wife on TV and I'm looking forward to that day."


    http://www.dailynews.com/article/ZZ/20110830/NEWS/110839899
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  23. The Z Blog says: • Website

    I’ve written a little on the idea that being stupid is probably an asset for performers. Smart people tend to have greater self-awareness. That’s not an asset when your job is to make a fool of yourself for the amusement of others. Being a bit dull, but craving attention and validation strikes me as an ideal combination for a performer.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Kentucky Headhunter
    Agreed. I would think there would be a lot of actors giving directors weird looks while asking, "You want me to do whaaaat?" if the case were otherwise. Production would grind to a halt.
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  24. Or a blues singer from the 1940′s .

    Read More
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  25. psmith says:
    @Auntie Analogue
    "Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres . . . ."

    So too is comedy divided in three parts: lowbrow; middlebrow; highbrow.

    Since the 1960s middlebrow comedy but more so highbrow comedy have fallen flat on their faces, because those two parts of the comedy triumvirate have become increasingly preachy vehicles of smug virtue-signalling to and for adult audiences and Red Guard indoctrination of youngsters into political correctness. When every Official Victim Group has well-policed "safe spaces," nothing is allowed to be genuinely funny (Mr. Derbyshire has a similar take on foreigners being funny yet being today off-limits from comic approach).

    Most comedy also has a very short expiration date. For example, Antenna TV has been airing old Johnny Carson Tonight Show programs, and the schtick of the comics appearing on them is nowadays almost entirely unfunny (for examples, the output of guys like Freddie Prinze, Robert Klein, David Steinberg). It's not just the already obsolete technology (telephone answering machines, landline telephones, early car computer voices, vinyl records, cassette tapes, &c.) those routines poked fun at that are not funny, its the bygone targets of past comic routines that fail to tickle today's funny bone.

    Few comedies or comedians become timeless classics. In that respect I consider the work of the Marx Brothers, a brilliant blend of mime, slapstick and cerebral wordplay, to be the all-time champ (even Groucho's appearances on the Dick Cavett Show and as host of the earlier You Bet Your Life remain entertaining). The early, pre-WWII Abbott & Costello films are also still funny, but most pre-WWII comedy, especially radio comedy such as Lum And Abner, is today forgotten because its cultural references long ago became alien to later audiences.

    In TV programming, I'd vote the timeless awards to Get Smart and Leave It To Beaver (I could never stand Lucille Ball's tedious set-ups, painfully slow-pitch slapstick, or her monotonously hammy mugging). A lot of Get Smart is even funnier now than it was during the show's original run, perhaps because the ubiquity of cell phone video and the internet - alternative media - have since exposed much more of the lunacy of Government apparatchik methods and behavior and of the baleful utopian insanity of "Progressive" political correctness.

    All that said, bear in mind: De gustibus non est disputandum. Except when it comes to "Progressives," who suck the fun out of EVERYTHING.

    Do you know, there was a massive “the Marx Brothers weren’t actually funny” comments thread here not so long ago?

    Surprised me as well, honestly, but here we are.

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    • Replies: @Niccolo Salo
    Nonsense. The five best Marx Brothers movies (from Animal Crackers to Night at the Opera) still hold up to this day and they are IMO the cultural equivalent of Elvis Presley in the popular culture canon of Americana.
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  26. @Erik L
    Nonsense. You can just as easily be knowledgeable and hilarious.

    Indeed; erudite humour is indeed it’s own niche: Dennis Miller, Eddie Izzard, Patton Oswalt, (to some extent) George Carlin, and similar acts come to mind.

    Agree or not as you will, but Gallagher (of all people!) had a masteful hyperexamination of minutiae which translated into some very funny stuff.

    That said, Steve’s point stands: brilliant poeple are more often boorish or overly literal killjoys than clever and engaging in the ways these counterexamples are….

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    • Replies: @Erik L
    I'd hate to prove your point by demanding someone run the stats :) There is plenty of dumb humor and smart humor and a lot of smart guys make funny by acting dumb and possibly vice versa. I've always felt, with no evidence, that humor reflects a certain intelligence. It requires a lot of thinking ahead and finding patterns.

    Even Steves examples- Simpsons much funnier than Married with Children on average
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  27. Rapparee says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Germans loved it.

    Russians, too- in 2006 a version called “Happy Together” (“Сча́стливы вме́сте”) was re-shot with Russian actors and carefully-adapted scripts, and was such an enormous hit that they eventually ran out of American episodes and had to start writing original new ones. It’s unsurprising that the land that gave us Vladimir Putin responded well to Al Bundy’s macho schtick.

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  28. Of course, Ed O’Neill is now the patriarch of the family on “Modern Family,” which is accepted by the liberal mainstream. Twenty to thirty years ago, on “Married with Children . . .” he played the sole breadwinner of a white suburban middle class nuclear family. He was also a homeowner, and he wore a tie to work. At the time, conservatives regarded this character as beyond the pale . . .

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    I don't find that show funny at all and yet it's won so many awards.
    , @Autochthon
    Even during the nineties, though, it was a bit incredible that a man selling shoes at the mall (he wasn't even the manager of the store) could make enough money to support a family, much leas pay a mortgage. It was all part of Hollywood's (continuing) tendency to handwave how difficult it is for anyone in a mundane job to attain much besides a relativley miserable subsistence.
    , @Jefferson
    "Of course, Ed O’Neill is now the patriarch of the family on “Modern Family,” which is accepted by the liberal mainstream. Twenty to thirty years ago, on “Married with Children . . .” he played the sole breadwinner of a white suburban middle class nuclear family. He was also a homeowner, and he wore a tie to work. At the time, conservatives regarded this character as beyond the pale . . ."

    O'Blue Eyes sang the theme song for Married With Children. You wouldn't expect such a vulgar White trash show to have a Frank Sinatra song as it's theme, because Sinatra was classy he wasn't White trash.
    https://youtu.be/0deJRSu1iTU
    , @Inquiring Mind
    As I recall, it wasn't so much Conservatives in general but one faction in the form of the Religious Right.

    And wasn't this show hosted by the nascent Fox Network with its conservative political alignment? Furthermore, if I am recalling correctly, whether parents were aghast of their kids watching it, it was an immediate cult classic with college students, especially frat culture for the way this show was thoroughly politically incorrect?

    In terms of conservative values, the conclusion of an episode that I will always remember as funny is in the context of Al's recurrent deprecation of the ur-feminist movie that he called "Steel Petunias."

    Al won a contest to appear in a Super Bowl commercial with his heroes, but it turns out that his role was to take a punch or a hit from these greats conducting their respective sports. He is so battered from this experience that he is left to watching for his TV appearance sitting on the couch with his limbs in casts or bandages. His family abandons him to celebrate his newfound celebrity by going out for the evening, but Al tells himself that is OK because he can sit on the couch and watch the Super Bowl.

    Unfortunately for Al, the TV remote falls off the coffee table and the channel flips to, "and now, without commercial interruptions and in its entirety, Steel Magnolias." Al pleads with Buck the family dog to fetch the remote and hand it to Al.

    We then get the narration voiceover of Buck the Dog's inner thoughts about this turn of events and the reason Buck won't respond to Al's pleading, summing up the complete story line of the movie and why Buck the Dog wants to watch it instead of the Super Bowl with "Julia Roberts . . . so beautiful . . . so ill!"

    Tell me that line hasn't held up?

    , @Triumph104
    The problem wasn't so much the character Al Bundy, but the sexual raunchiness of the show.

    Terry Rakolta organized a boycott that if anything helped the show's ratings. Rakolta is a Mormon from Michigan and at one time was G. Scott Romney's sister-in-law.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Rakolta
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  29. Joe Sweet says:

    I see what you’re up to with all the Ta stuff. Pretty soon this site will come up whenever anybody googles anything close to his name. Genius.

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  30. @Auntie Analogue
    "Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres . . . ."

    So too is comedy divided in three parts: lowbrow; middlebrow; highbrow.

    Since the 1960s middlebrow comedy but more so highbrow comedy have fallen flat on their faces, because those two parts of the comedy triumvirate have become increasingly preachy vehicles of smug virtue-signalling to and for adult audiences and Red Guard indoctrination of youngsters into political correctness. When every Official Victim Group has well-policed "safe spaces," nothing is allowed to be genuinely funny (Mr. Derbyshire has a similar take on foreigners being funny yet being today off-limits from comic approach).

    Most comedy also has a very short expiration date. For example, Antenna TV has been airing old Johnny Carson Tonight Show programs, and the schtick of the comics appearing on them is nowadays almost entirely unfunny (for examples, the output of guys like Freddie Prinze, Robert Klein, David Steinberg). It's not just the already obsolete technology (telephone answering machines, landline telephones, early car computer voices, vinyl records, cassette tapes, &c.) those routines poked fun at that are not funny, its the bygone targets of past comic routines that fail to tickle today's funny bone.

    Few comedies or comedians become timeless classics. In that respect I consider the work of the Marx Brothers, a brilliant blend of mime, slapstick and cerebral wordplay, to be the all-time champ (even Groucho's appearances on the Dick Cavett Show and as host of the earlier You Bet Your Life remain entertaining). The early, pre-WWII Abbott & Costello films are also still funny, but most pre-WWII comedy, especially radio comedy such as Lum And Abner, is today forgotten because its cultural references long ago became alien to later audiences.

    In TV programming, I'd vote the timeless awards to Get Smart and Leave It To Beaver (I could never stand Lucille Ball's tedious set-ups, painfully slow-pitch slapstick, or her monotonously hammy mugging). A lot of Get Smart is even funnier now than it was during the show's original run, perhaps because the ubiquity of cell phone video and the internet - alternative media - have since exposed much more of the lunacy of Government apparatchik methods and behavior and of the baleful utopian insanity of "Progressive" political correctness.

    All that said, bear in mind: De gustibus non est disputandum. Except when it comes to "Progressives," who suck the fun out of EVERYTHING.

    Jack Benny’s programme also holds up surprisingly well; his humour is often about situational stuff inherent to the human condition and relationships. Stuff like that outlasts observational humour rooted in specific technologies, fashions, politics, etc.; relations among in-laws and the travails of marriage were funny when Aristophanes tackled them and they are funny today when approached cleverly.

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    • Replies: @flyingtiger
    Amen. I was showing some tapes of the JB show to 20 something and they were laughing their heads off. I didn't have to explain anything. The Lunch counter murder skit seems to universal.
    , @Anonymous

    Jack Benny’s programme also holds up surprisingly well; his humour is often about situational stuff inherent to the human condition and relationships. Stuff like that outlasts observational humour rooted in specific technologies, fashions, politics, etc.; relations among in-laws and the travails of marriage were funny when Aristophanes tackled them and they are funny today when approached cleverly
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3g8RcphOUUU


    Marilyn Monroe. A whole different sex, to quote another commenter...
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  31. Erik L says:
    @Autochthon
    Indeed; erudite humour is indeed it's own niche: Dennis Miller, Eddie Izzard, Patton Oswalt, (to some extent) George Carlin, and similar acts come to mind.

    Agree or not as you will, but Gallagher (of all people!) had a masteful hyperexamination of minutiae which translated into some very funny stuff.

    That said, Steve's point stands: brilliant poeple are more often boorish or overly literal killjoys than clever and engaging in the ways these counterexamples are....

    I’d hate to prove your point by demanding someone run the stats :) There is plenty of dumb humor and smart humor and a lot of smart guys make funny by acting dumb and possibly vice versa. I’ve always felt, with no evidence, that humor reflects a certain intelligence. It requires a lot of thinking ahead and finding patterns.

    Even Steves examples- Simpsons much funnier than Married with Children on average

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  32. peterike says:

    I always found the running joke of Al thinking Peg was horribly ugly very jarring. I mean, c’mon, she was smoking hot and basically always up for nooky. What the hell was wrong with that guy?

    Read More
    • Agree: Autochthon
    • Replies: @Jefferson
    "I always found the running joke of Al thinking Peg was horribly ugly very jarring. I mean, c’mon, she was smoking hot and basically always up for nooky. What the hell was wrong with that guy?"

    Peg was also smoking hot in Sons Of Anarchy, especially for a woman in her 60s.
    , @anonymous
    The problem with the show - and the reason almost nobody ("present company excepted", as I said to my girlfriend that one time I complained about the current rates of obesity) cares about it anymore - is that it was not realistic enough for good situational humor and too crude for good non-situational humor. Nobody who worked as hard in the world of work as Al Bundy would have been as ridiculously bad as a father. His quips against his children were vicious and I found him very unlikeable - actually, a disgusting human being. But I can see why some people find that funny. People in general are pretty nasty when they are in a mood for laughter, as most current comedy shows will confirm. His wife, was, in fact, very hot, and I figured he was sort of mentally ill not to realize that. There was also the creepy "uncanny valley" effect of their total lack of religious belief - were they Protestants and if so why did the wife look so Catholic? Who would want these sad pathetic clowns showing up at a funeral for a loved one? Whereas I would love to have even such antique semi-talents as Belushi or Steve Martin or Goldie Hawn show up at a funeral for a loved one (not at mine, though).
    You may say I take it too seriously. I was also annoyed that this guy who sold shoes and was not even a manager had a nice house with lots of furniture in a good neighborhood and I was working harder than him and could only afford an apartment (in an average apartment neighborhood). I felt personally insulted that Hollywood, with all the time and money in the world to get things right, could not bother to get that right.
    , @Alden
    Married With Children was a great, funny and enjoyable show

    . But the motif, theme, message was that marriage was slavery for men. Peg didn't cook, clean or take care of the kids. She wasn't a wife and partner but a parasite. The kids were greedy.

    I believe Al's impotence was a message that marriage and working to support a worthless family emasculated men no matter how hot the wife.

    I always wondered how the set was always so tidy when Peg never did any housework.
    , @Jack Highlands
    It was precisely because Al continually negged her hotness that Peg was basically always down for nooky.

    'Sometimes, ya gotta feel sorry for women - they only get horny when someone's mean to them.'
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  33. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @For what it's worth
    Of course, Ed O'Neill is now the patriarch of the family on "Modern Family," which is accepted by the liberal mainstream. Twenty to thirty years ago, on "Married with Children . . ." he played the sole breadwinner of a white suburban middle class nuclear family. He was also a homeowner, and he wore a tie to work. At the time, conservatives regarded this character as beyond the pale . . .

    I don’t find that show funny at all and yet it’s won so many awards.

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  34. @For what it's worth
    Of course, Ed O'Neill is now the patriarch of the family on "Modern Family," which is accepted by the liberal mainstream. Twenty to thirty years ago, on "Married with Children . . ." he played the sole breadwinner of a white suburban middle class nuclear family. He was also a homeowner, and he wore a tie to work. At the time, conservatives regarded this character as beyond the pale . . .

    Even during the nineties, though, it was a bit incredible that a man selling shoes at the mall (he wasn’t even the manager of the store) could make enough money to support a family, much leas pay a mortgage. It was all part of Hollywood’s (continuing) tendency to handwave how difficult it is for anyone in a mundane job to attain much besides a relativley miserable subsistence.

    Read More
    • Replies: @For what it's worth
    Yeah, but remember that the show also portrayed Al as poor, and he drove his Dodge until it had over 1,000,000 miles on it. The family ate poorly because of Peg's poor cooking, but also (it was implied) poverty. During today's foodie craze, I'm old enough to remember my mom serving the following in the late 80s/early 90s: Hamburger Helper, La Choy chicken chow mein, tuna noodle salad, hot dogs with Kraft macaroni and cheese, etc. I couldn't force myself to eat that stuff nowadays.
    , @Hapalong Cassidy
    In the pilot episode, as I recall, Al actually was the manager of the shoe store. As was the case with many pilot episodes, the show hadn't found its groove yet. Some other differences: Kelly had short hair and wasn't dumb, and Al happily initiated sex with his wife.
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  35. Jefferson says:
    @For what it's worth
    Of course, Ed O'Neill is now the patriarch of the family on "Modern Family," which is accepted by the liberal mainstream. Twenty to thirty years ago, on "Married with Children . . ." he played the sole breadwinner of a white suburban middle class nuclear family. He was also a homeowner, and he wore a tie to work. At the time, conservatives regarded this character as beyond the pale . . .

    “Of course, Ed O’Neill is now the patriarch of the family on “Modern Family,” which is accepted by the liberal mainstream. Twenty to thirty years ago, on “Married with Children . . .” he played the sole breadwinner of a white suburban middle class nuclear family. He was also a homeowner, and he wore a tie to work. At the time, conservatives regarded this character as beyond the pale . . .”

    O’Blue Eyes sang the theme song for Married With Children. You wouldn’t expect such a vulgar White trash show to have a Frank Sinatra song as it’s theme, because Sinatra was classy he wasn’t White trash.

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  36. @Jefferson
    Ta-Nehisi doesn't sound like a Western name. Is it a Bantu name?

    Ta-Nehisi supposedly means “land of the black” in ancient Egyptian. Ta’s dad was one of those Egypt obsessed Afro-centrists.

    I wonder if Ta would call for the descendants of the Pharaohs (i.e. African-Americans, obviously) to pay reparations to the descendants of their slaves…

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jefferson
    "Ta-Nehisi supposedly means “land of the black” in ancient Egyptian. Ta’s dad was one of those Egypt obsessed Afro-centrists."

    It's always Egypt with these Afrocentrics and never say Somalia for example. Are Afrocentrics ashamed of Somalia?
    , @Buffalo Joe
    Millennial, Ah, yes an Egyptian tie in and land of the black, Tennessee Coates in "Raiders of the Magic Dirt."
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  37. @For what it's worth
    Of course, Ed O'Neill is now the patriarch of the family on "Modern Family," which is accepted by the liberal mainstream. Twenty to thirty years ago, on "Married with Children . . ." he played the sole breadwinner of a white suburban middle class nuclear family. He was also a homeowner, and he wore a tie to work. At the time, conservatives regarded this character as beyond the pale . . .

    As I recall, it wasn’t so much Conservatives in general but one faction in the form of the Religious Right.

    And wasn’t this show hosted by the nascent Fox Network with its conservative political alignment? Furthermore, if I am recalling correctly, whether parents were aghast of their kids watching it, it was an immediate cult classic with college students, especially frat culture for the way this show was thoroughly politically incorrect?

    In terms of conservative values, the conclusion of an episode that I will always remember as funny is in the context of Al’s recurrent deprecation of the ur-feminist movie that he called “Steel Petunias.”

    Al won a contest to appear in a Super Bowl commercial with his heroes, but it turns out that his role was to take a punch or a hit from these greats conducting their respective sports. He is so battered from this experience that he is left to watching for his TV appearance sitting on the couch with his limbs in casts or bandages. His family abandons him to celebrate his newfound celebrity by going out for the evening, but Al tells himself that is OK because he can sit on the couch and watch the Super Bowl.

    Unfortunately for Al, the TV remote falls off the coffee table and the channel flips to, “and now, without commercial interruptions and in its entirety, Steel Magnolias.” Al pleads with Buck the family dog to fetch the remote and hand it to Al.

    We then get the narration voiceover of Buck the Dog’s inner thoughts about this turn of events and the reason Buck won’t respond to Al’s pleading, summing up the complete story line of the movie and why Buck the Dog wants to watch it instead of the Super Bowl with “Julia Roberts . . . so beautiful . . . so ill!”

    Tell me that line hasn’t held up?

    Read More
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  38. anon says: • Disclaimer

    ah, no wonder I’ve always pulled back from using the words proactive and paradigm whenever I’ve been looking for the right word. I must have seen that clip a long time ago when i was young and had it instilled in me not to use those words.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    That's my favorite Simpson's episode: it's got marketing research, buzzwords, comedy writers, everything.
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  39. Jefferson says:
    @Millennial
    Ta-Nehisi supposedly means "land of the black" in ancient Egyptian. Ta's dad was one of those Egypt obsessed Afro-centrists.

    I wonder if Ta would call for the descendants of the Pharaohs (i.e. African-Americans, obviously) to pay reparations to the descendants of their slaves...

    “Ta-Nehisi supposedly means “land of the black” in ancient Egyptian. Ta’s dad was one of those Egypt obsessed Afro-centrists.”

    It’s always Egypt with these Afrocentrics and never say Somalia for example. Are Afrocentrics ashamed of Somalia?

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    • Replies: @Millennial
    I wouldn't say that they are ashamed of Somalia. Somalia's problems, after all, are the fault of European colonialists. Egypt is just more epic.

    Ethiopia, on the other hand, has a certain appeal to the Black Israelite variety of Afrocentrists.
    , @whorefinder
    I have always wanted to tell a black Egyptian-worshiper that he's not Egyptian and he should stop trying to "steal" Egyptian accomplishments as his own. Literally everyone from Europe and the Middle East is closer to being Egyptian than a black American descended from slaves.

    *I would say "culturally appropriate" but I don't want to confuse the slave.
    , @Hippopotamusdrome
    Even ancient Egyptians didn't like Somalians.


    Southern boundary, made in the year 8, under the majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Khekuer, who is given life forever and ever; in order to prevent that any Negro should cross it, by water or by land, with a ship, or any herds of the Negroes; except a Negro who shall come to do trading in Iken, or with a commission. Every good thing shall be done with them, but without allowing a ship of the Negroes to pass Heh, going downstream, forever.
    (Stela from year 8)

     

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  40. Jefferson says:
    @peterike
    I always found the running joke of Al thinking Peg was horribly ugly very jarring. I mean, c'mon, she was smoking hot and basically always up for nooky. What the hell was wrong with that guy?

    “I always found the running joke of Al thinking Peg was horribly ugly very jarring. I mean, c’mon, she was smoking hot and basically always up for nooky. What the hell was wrong with that guy?”

    Peg was also smoking hot in Sons Of Anarchy, especially for a woman in her 60s.

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  41. @anon
    ah, no wonder I've always pulled back from using the words proactive and paradigm whenever I've been looking for the right word. I must have seen that clip a long time ago when i was young and had it instilled in me not to use those words.

    That’s my favorite Simpson’s episode: it’s got marketing research, buzzwords, comedy writers, everything.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Percy Gryce
    And the classic resolution to the Poochie problem:

    https://youtu.be/4tvAjX5ACPo
    , @Rick Smith
    Also a classic example of the show's writers writing themselves into an episode. From left to right you have George Meyer, Josh Weinstein and Bill Oakley.

    And the female network executive character in that scene, Lindsey Naegle

    https://simpsonswiki.com/wiki/Lindsey_Naegle

    is an homage to writer Dana Gould's now ex-wife Sue Naegle, former President of HBO

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sue_Naegle

    Other episodes had Jon Vitti:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5QbcnJHKK8

    And Ian Maxtone-Graham:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWct_KYGRQo
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  42. Married With Children was carried by Ed O’Neill, without him there would’ve been no show. It is all the more apparent when watching the show now that in hindsight, there was a period of time when Mr.O’Neill could sell any of the material they were handing to him, no matter the quality. So with all due respect to Mr.Sailer’s neighbor, even if her general point about Harvard writers carries a bit of truth, she and her colleagues’ brilliance wasn’t being overshadowed by the Simpsons writers.

    What both show had in common was that urge to deconstruct American culture and society. In hindsight, it wasn’t good for us to absorb all this contempt for regular people that both shows had. The Simpsons handled it a bit better, in my opinion, precisely because they were really clever Harvard guys who knew how to insult and lampoon someone or something a bit more deftly and subtlety- I’d say that holds true to a certain extent.

    There is enough testimony out there condemning the Harvard Mafia as a very obnoxious thing. Read enough of them and it’s apparent that a writers’ room of ‘em quickly turns into a contest to prove how clever they are, how dumb you are and at a distant third is the concern to entertain (and communicate with) regular people.

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    • Replies: @donut
    This interview was pretty good I thought .

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gp9Q7WQyLEg
    , @BenKenobi
    O'Neill completely stole Wayne's World in the two scenes he appeared in.

    FWIW I am of the opinion that movie holds up even today.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrOGeua94FM
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  43. I didn’t watch it, but my father liked “Last Man Standing”.

    Cancelled.

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/abc-dumps-conservative-last-man-standing-but-renews-lgbt-promoting-modern-f

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  44. anon says: • Disclaimer

    My next-door neighbor around the turn of the century was a staff writer for the meat-and-potatoes sitcom Married With Children.

    I don’t know about meat-and-potatoes. That show was way ahead of its time, when it wanted to be.

    A lot of it was so surreal that it still hasn’t actually been copied. I remember there was one episode where Al built a little man-cave for himself with this hammer that glowed magically in his hand. His son Bud (who was portraying himself as a gangsta rapper called Grandmaster B, which he did for a whole season) brought a girl into the room, and the hammer, which was tainted with the Bundy curse, fell off of the wall, hit him in the head, and caused him to whine like a young child.

    I don’t even remember how the show ended, except it involved Al threatening Bud with the hammer, as it resumed glowing.

    Say what you will about all that, but it’s not the kind of thing you’d ever see on a other sitcom.

    One time, Bud changed from being Grandmaster B to “Billy Ray Bundy”. This failed, so he went down into the basement, where he kept the costumes of all his other failed personae (like Buderace), and ended up wrestling with another Bud, who was, I guess, his hidden cool side.

    It may not be art, but it’s not exactly a normal sitcom either. Cartoons like The Simpsons and Family Guy did that kind of stuff, but I can’t think of too many live-action ones.

    And the whole thing with NO MAAM, and all their weird masked ceremonies in the woods and stuff like that.

    Plus, whoever thought to cast Christina Applegate when she was fourteen or whatever was a genius, because she turned out smokin’.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, I liked the show.

    Then again, I also liked the show Get A Life, which premiered right around the same time on FOX. The episodes “Spewey and Me” and “Bored Straight” should probably be in some kind of museum.

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    • Replies: @Danindc
    Chris Elliott the original under appreciated comic genius. Colin Quinn has that title today.
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  45. I think Married With Children was implicitly controversial due to the universal tacit understanding that most middle-aged men wanted to bang the teen-age daughter. I exclude myself from this unpleasant fact because I was a teenager myself when the show first came out.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Very very few men want to bang their own daughters, teenage or otherwise. They want to bang the neighbor's daughter.

    And they understand he wants to roger theirs roundly as well. At least, he does if they aren't fat, hideous or total skanks.

    Civilization is about making rules, like your daughters are off limits to me and mine to you, capice?

    The middle aged Middle American man who wants to line up a little young poon in his second childhood at least observes certain common sense courtesies and protocols in doing so. You don't foul your own nest (immediate neighbors are off limits) and don't mess with daughters, nieces or grandchildren of your or your wife's friends, co-workers or business partners. You don't do it in your own house and damn sure not in the marital bed. Best to find someone from out of town and go to a third city where no one knows either of you. The young stud wanting to cougar up also follows certain protocols.........unless you're doing someone so famous it doesn't matter. Then you make an album and tour together.
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  46. @Anon
    Crazy if true:

    https://twitter.com/polNewsForever/status/864100083607982081

    This is quite old. Maybe 2015. In fact, it might be part of the reason more refugees haven’t been admitted.

    The great thing is that in Japan everyone notices. The last time a US serviceman raped a girl in Okinawa, I looked at the news report showing him loaded into the paddy wagon to see which race (yep, black’un), and I knew every Japanese watching noted the same thing.

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  47. anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @peterike
    I always found the running joke of Al thinking Peg was horribly ugly very jarring. I mean, c'mon, she was smoking hot and basically always up for nooky. What the hell was wrong with that guy?

    The problem with the show – and the reason almost nobody (“present company excepted”, as I said to my girlfriend that one time I complained about the current rates of obesity) cares about it anymore – is that it was not realistic enough for good situational humor and too crude for good non-situational humor. Nobody who worked as hard in the world of work as Al Bundy would have been as ridiculously bad as a father. His quips against his children were vicious and I found him very unlikeable – actually, a disgusting human being. But I can see why some people find that funny. People in general are pretty nasty when they are in a mood for laughter, as most current comedy shows will confirm. His wife, was, in fact, very hot, and I figured he was sort of mentally ill not to realize that. There was also the creepy “uncanny valley” effect of their total lack of religious belief – were they Protestants and if so why did the wife look so Catholic? Who would want these sad pathetic clowns showing up at a funeral for a loved one? Whereas I would love to have even such antique semi-talents as Belushi or Steve Martin or Goldie Hawn show up at a funeral for a loved one (not at mine, though).
    You may say I take it too seriously. I was also annoyed that this guy who sold shoes and was not even a manager had a nice house with lots of furniture in a good neighborhood and I was working harder than him and could only afford an apartment (in an average apartment neighborhood). I felt personally insulted that Hollywood, with all the time and money in the world to get things right, could not bother to get that right.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Autochthon
    I take your points, but I always thought the gimmick was that Al couldn't ein for losing: that his wife and children, despite all his efforts, were horrible people, and esepcially horrible to him. He only grew contemptuous of them over time as the hopeless, irredeemable nature of things solidified.

    Note that the whole family still bonded together when serious external threats arose ("Goooo Bundies!") in that "me against my brother, me and and my brother against my cousins..." way.
    , @Alden
    I knew that a 40 hour a week minimum wage person could not afford more than a shabby studio and certainly not a wife and 2 kids. But we have to suspend belief when watching TV. I thought Peg's outfits were supposed to reflect the Hollywood Jews idea of White trailer park trash.
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  48. @Autochthon
    Even during the nineties, though, it was a bit incredible that a man selling shoes at the mall (he wasn't even the manager of the store) could make enough money to support a family, much leas pay a mortgage. It was all part of Hollywood's (continuing) tendency to handwave how difficult it is for anyone in a mundane job to attain much besides a relativley miserable subsistence.

    Yeah, but remember that the show also portrayed Al as poor, and he drove his Dodge until it had over 1,000,000 miles on it. The family ate poorly because of Peg’s poor cooking, but also (it was implied) poverty. During today’s foodie craze, I’m old enough to remember my mom serving the following in the late 80s/early 90s: Hamburger Helper, La Choy chicken chow mein, tuna noodle salad, hot dogs with Kraft macaroni and cheese, etc. I couldn’t force myself to eat that stuff nowadays.

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    • Replies: @For what it's worth
    "tuna noodle salad"

    Er, "tuna noodle casserole." My mom's tuna noodle salad is actually good.
    , @JohnnyGeo
    born in '72 here and my kids are amazed when I tell them we kids had to "make the milk" (i.e. from powdered milk) while setting the dinner table. I think my dad made pretty good money, too.
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  49. @For what it's worth
    Of course, Ed O'Neill is now the patriarch of the family on "Modern Family," which is accepted by the liberal mainstream. Twenty to thirty years ago, on "Married with Children . . ." he played the sole breadwinner of a white suburban middle class nuclear family. He was also a homeowner, and he wore a tie to work. At the time, conservatives regarded this character as beyond the pale . . .

    The problem wasn’t so much the character Al Bundy, but the sexual raunchiness of the show.

    Terry Rakolta organized a boycott that if anything helped the show’s ratings. Rakolta is a Mormon from Michigan and at one time was G. Scott Romney’s sister-in-law.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Rakolta

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    • Replies: @For what it's worth
    Yes, I understand. Still, my point is that most social conservatives, I think, would regard the basic structure of the Bundy family as sound, even if the members were all awful human specimens. Compare that to their view of "Modern Family."
    , @Bill Jones
    {"at one time was G. Scott Romney’s sister-in-law."
    At one time huh?
    I detect a weakening of family values there.
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  50. Danindc says:

    Yeah but Steve that Puerta Rican comedian I’m sure wasn’t the least bit funny and the Harvard writers gave us 10 years of hilarity with the Simpsons. It’s possible I’m missing your point because I Didn’t go to Harvard though

    Thanks for the Poochie the Dog clip- my favorite Simpsons episode. Homer’s line at the end about not asking for nay money is classic…

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  51. MEH 0910 says:

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    • Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican
    That clip basically sums up Married With Children. Derbyshire’s 2003 essay is well written, as usual, but come on—the only reason a straight guy would suffer through that terminally unfunny show would be to watch Christina Applegate act all slutty.
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  52. Danindc says:

    My only criticism of Derb was that Married with Chldren was his favorite show. It was terrible in every respect.

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  53. Danindc says:
    @anon
    My next-door neighbor around the turn of the century was a staff writer for the meat-and-potatoes sitcom Married With Children.

    I don't know about meat-and-potatoes. That show was way ahead of its time, when it wanted to be.

    A lot of it was so surreal that it still hasn't actually been copied. I remember there was one episode where Al built a little man-cave for himself with this hammer that glowed magically in his hand. His son Bud (who was portraying himself as a gangsta rapper called Grandmaster B, which he did for a whole season) brought a girl into the room, and the hammer, which was tainted with the Bundy curse, fell off of the wall, hit him in the head, and caused him to whine like a young child.

    I don't even remember how the show ended, except it involved Al threatening Bud with the hammer, as it resumed glowing.

    Say what you will about all that, but it's not the kind of thing you'd ever see on a other sitcom.

    One time, Bud changed from being Grandmaster B to "Billy Ray Bundy". This failed, so he went down into the basement, where he kept the costumes of all his other failed personae (like Buderace), and ended up wrestling with another Bud, who was, I guess, his hidden cool side.

    It may not be art, but it's not exactly a normal sitcom either. Cartoons like The Simpsons and Family Guy did that kind of stuff, but I can't think of too many live-action ones.

    And the whole thing with NO MAAM, and all their weird masked ceremonies in the woods and stuff like that.

    Plus, whoever thought to cast Christina Applegate when she was fourteen or whatever was a genius, because she turned out smokin'.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, I liked the show.

    Then again, I also liked the show Get A Life, which premiered right around the same time on FOX. The episodes "Spewey and Me" and "Bored Straight" should probably be in some kind of museum.

    Chris Elliott the original under appreciated comic genius. Colin Quinn has that title today.

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  54. @For what it's worth
    Yeah, but remember that the show also portrayed Al as poor, and he drove his Dodge until it had over 1,000,000 miles on it. The family ate poorly because of Peg's poor cooking, but also (it was implied) poverty. During today's foodie craze, I'm old enough to remember my mom serving the following in the late 80s/early 90s: Hamburger Helper, La Choy chicken chow mein, tuna noodle salad, hot dogs with Kraft macaroni and cheese, etc. I couldn't force myself to eat that stuff nowadays.

    “tuna noodle salad”

    Er, “tuna noodle casserole.” My mom’s tuna noodle salad is actually good.

    Read More
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  55. @psmith
    Do you know, there was a massive "the Marx Brothers weren't actually funny" comments thread here not so long ago?

    Surprised me as well, honestly, but here we are.

    Nonsense. The five best Marx Brothers movies (from Animal Crackers to Night at the Opera) still hold up to this day and they are IMO the cultural equivalent of Elvis Presley in the popular culture canon of Americana.

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    • Agree: syonredux
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  56. @Triumph104
    The problem wasn't so much the character Al Bundy, but the sexual raunchiness of the show.

    Terry Rakolta organized a boycott that if anything helped the show's ratings. Rakolta is a Mormon from Michigan and at one time was G. Scott Romney's sister-in-law.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Rakolta

    Yes, I understand. Still, my point is that most social conservatives, I think, would regard the basic structure of the Bundy family as sound, even if the members were all awful human specimens. Compare that to their view of “Modern Family.”

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    • Replies: @Lurker

    Compare that to their view of “Modern Family.”
     
    Is the casting deliberately echoing MWC? We're being trolled.

    The same patriarch with another even hotter wife but his situation is portrayed as essentially happy and secure yet his family represents a smoking crater where civilisation used to be. In deliberate contrast with Al's grim life as Bundy patriarch in a stereotypical nuclear family.

    Of course the fact he was called 'Bundy' was itself another trolling - I'm sure it was meant to call Ted Bundy to mind.
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  57. @Anon
    Crazy if true:

    https://twitter.com/polNewsForever/status/864100083607982081

    Those two had applied for refugee status but not been accepted, and it’s unlikely they would have been.

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  58. Read More
    • Replies: @Harry Baldwin
    The name "Tennessee Coates" was first posted by commenter Svigor on August 21, 2014, according to my search. I recall that Svigor also created several other terms that have become standard at iSteve, though I can't bring them to mind.
    , @Jim Don Bob
    Tennessee Tuxedo comes to mind.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxUaadrxuDk
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  59. syonredux says:

    Interesting. It seems that the Argentine remake of Married…With Children was quite popular:

    Casados con Hijos is the Argentine remake of American television series Married… with Children. It was made in Buenos Aires, Argentina, by Telefe and Sony Pictures, during 2005 and 2006. This television series follows the Argento family and their lives.
    Main roles were portrayed by famous Argentine actors such as Guillermo Francella, Florencia Peña, Darío Lopilato, Luisana Lopilato, Marcelo de Bellis, and Érica Rivas. The first season started on April 12.
    The success of the series earned the television broadcast a second season. Starting on August 14, 2006, the show gained a 33,3 audience rating, securing the largest audience of the year for a broadcast sitcom.
    The series has, in total, 215 episodes (140 chapters of the first season and 75 chapters of the second).
    The success of the series trascended the borders of Argentina, being also issued by local channels in Uruguay, Paraguay, and Peru,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casados_con_Hijos_(Argentina)

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    • Replies: @syonredux
    Here's an ep of Casados con Hijos:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ku3uneo41Q
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  60. “That sounds like the name of a racehorse, or of a minor mobster in Guys and Dolls who has a hot tip on a racehorse.”
    A history of the totalisator.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tote

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  61. @Steve Sailer
    That's my favorite Simpson's episode: it's got marketing research, buzzwords, comedy writers, everything.

    And the classic resolution to the Poochie problem:

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    • Replies: @william munny
    I always loved Roy in that episode.
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  62. Alden says:
    @peterike
    I always found the running joke of Al thinking Peg was horribly ugly very jarring. I mean, c'mon, she was smoking hot and basically always up for nooky. What the hell was wrong with that guy?

    Married With Children was a great, funny and enjoyable show

    . But the motif, theme, message was that marriage was slavery for men. Peg didn’t cook, clean or take care of the kids. She wasn’t a wife and partner but a parasite. The kids were greedy.

    I believe Al’s impotence was a message that marriage and working to support a worthless family emasculated men no matter how hot the wife.

    I always wondered how the set was always so tidy when Peg never did any housework.

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  63. syonredux says:
    @syonredux
    Interesting. It seems that the Argentine remake of Married...With Children was quite popular:

    Casados con Hijos is the Argentine remake of American television series Married... with Children. It was made in Buenos Aires, Argentina, by Telefe and Sony Pictures, during 2005 and 2006. This television series follows the Argento family and their lives.
    Main roles were portrayed by famous Argentine actors such as Guillermo Francella, Florencia Peña, Darío Lopilato, Luisana Lopilato, Marcelo de Bellis, and Érica Rivas. The first season started on April 12.
    The success of the series earned the television broadcast a second season. Starting on August 14, 2006, the show gained a 33,3 audience rating, securing the largest audience of the year for a broadcast sitcom.
    The series has, in total, 215 episodes (140 chapters of the first season and 75 chapters of the second).
    The success of the series trascended the borders of Argentina, being also issued by local channels in Uruguay, Paraguay, and Peru,
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casados_con_Hijos_(Argentina)

    Here’s an ep of Casados con Hijos:

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    • Replies: @Kentucky Headhunter
    Argentina Kelly is mas caliente than Anglo Kelly Bundy. Muchas mas.
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  64. @anonymous
    The problem with the show - and the reason almost nobody ("present company excepted", as I said to my girlfriend that one time I complained about the current rates of obesity) cares about it anymore - is that it was not realistic enough for good situational humor and too crude for good non-situational humor. Nobody who worked as hard in the world of work as Al Bundy would have been as ridiculously bad as a father. His quips against his children were vicious and I found him very unlikeable - actually, a disgusting human being. But I can see why some people find that funny. People in general are pretty nasty when they are in a mood for laughter, as most current comedy shows will confirm. His wife, was, in fact, very hot, and I figured he was sort of mentally ill not to realize that. There was also the creepy "uncanny valley" effect of their total lack of religious belief - were they Protestants and if so why did the wife look so Catholic? Who would want these sad pathetic clowns showing up at a funeral for a loved one? Whereas I would love to have even such antique semi-talents as Belushi or Steve Martin or Goldie Hawn show up at a funeral for a loved one (not at mine, though).
    You may say I take it too seriously. I was also annoyed that this guy who sold shoes and was not even a manager had a nice house with lots of furniture in a good neighborhood and I was working harder than him and could only afford an apartment (in an average apartment neighborhood). I felt personally insulted that Hollywood, with all the time and money in the world to get things right, could not bother to get that right.

    I take your points, but I always thought the gimmick was that Al couldn’t ein for losing: that his wife and children, despite all his efforts, were horrible people, and esepcially horrible to him. He only grew contemptuous of them over time as the hopeless, irredeemable nature of things solidified.

    Note that the whole family still bonded together when serious external threats arose (“Goooo Bundies!”) in that “me against my brother, me and and my brother against my cousins…” way.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Anon

    Note that the whole family still bonded together when serious external threats arose (“Goooo Bundies!”) in that “me against my brother, me and and my brother against my cousins…” way.
     
    Now that you mention it, an Afghan version of Married With Children would be an interesting idea.
    , @anonymous
    I can't argue with that. I am not a parent and I don't have any direct understanding of how responsible good or bad parents should feel when their children stupidly mock them, and vice versa. But the whole idea of people who live together not liking each other very much just kind of creeps me out. There weren't shows like that when I was a kid - for example, when I was a kid , even in a show about life in a Nazi POW camp (a "situation comedy", as they called those things) the prisoners, even the Soviet dude, all liked each other, and even kind of liked the bumbling prison guard Schulz: and even in monster shows like the Addams Family and the Munsters everyone was fond of each other. And the most cynical show I remember was Hollywood Squares, and even there the show-biz "degenerates" , as they used to be called, all seemed to enjoy each others company.
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  65. Alden says:

    When I see the name ta neshi Coates I always think of Nehi soda as in Nehi orange, Nehi cherry, Nehi coke. I’ve never read his garbage.

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  66. Whiskey says: • Website

    Your neighbor had a point, Steve. Harvard grads were good at getting into Harvard, and not much else it seems. Their level of accomplishment is not very high; its just a nepotistic old boys network.

    That it has infested TV writing is a sign of decline, of nepotistic networks everywhere producing revolt. People are risk averse, and fear downsides more than they want upsides. Now its all downsides, there’s not even a hope of getting into TV writing unless you got your ticket punched at Harvard.

    Leno I think was the last late night guy who paid for jokes, and even he stopped doing it late in his run. From what I read, it used to be that dudes could break into comedy selling jokes, if enough were bought they could be offered a staff writing job on some late night show, which churned through writers, and from then onwards could make a halfway decent living.

    An extremely atomized society is one in which nepotistic networks are everything. There are walls outside society or everywhere inside them.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Alden
    Woody Allen was selling jokes for TV and live comics when he was in high school. He made more money in high school.with his jokes than his father did in a decent middle class job

    I don't get Allens humor at all but he is one of the most successful comedians around.
    , @Mr. Anon

    Leno I think was the last late night guy who paid for jokes, and even he stopped doing it late in his run.
     
    They all have a writing staff. Which means they all pay for jokes.
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  67. Alden says:
    @anonymous
    The problem with the show - and the reason almost nobody ("present company excepted", as I said to my girlfriend that one time I complained about the current rates of obesity) cares about it anymore - is that it was not realistic enough for good situational humor and too crude for good non-situational humor. Nobody who worked as hard in the world of work as Al Bundy would have been as ridiculously bad as a father. His quips against his children were vicious and I found him very unlikeable - actually, a disgusting human being. But I can see why some people find that funny. People in general are pretty nasty when they are in a mood for laughter, as most current comedy shows will confirm. His wife, was, in fact, very hot, and I figured he was sort of mentally ill not to realize that. There was also the creepy "uncanny valley" effect of their total lack of religious belief - were they Protestants and if so why did the wife look so Catholic? Who would want these sad pathetic clowns showing up at a funeral for a loved one? Whereas I would love to have even such antique semi-talents as Belushi or Steve Martin or Goldie Hawn show up at a funeral for a loved one (not at mine, though).
    You may say I take it too seriously. I was also annoyed that this guy who sold shoes and was not even a manager had a nice house with lots of furniture in a good neighborhood and I was working harder than him and could only afford an apartment (in an average apartment neighborhood). I felt personally insulted that Hollywood, with all the time and money in the world to get things right, could not bother to get that right.

    I knew that a 40 hour a week minimum wage person could not afford more than a shabby studio and certainly not a wife and 2 kids. But we have to suspend belief when watching TV. I thought Peg’s outfits were supposed to reflect the Hollywood Jews idea of White trailer park trash.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Pericles
    In retrospect, it seems to me that certain parts of Married were exaggerated for effect.
    , @Yak-15
    Funny you mention Peg's outfits. They were essential items in the wardrobe of many mothers in my heavily Jewish, Chicago suburb when I was young.
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  68. Alden says:
    @Whiskey
    Your neighbor had a point, Steve. Harvard grads were good at getting into Harvard, and not much else it seems. Their level of accomplishment is not very high; its just a nepotistic old boys network.

    That it has infested TV writing is a sign of decline, of nepotistic networks everywhere producing revolt. People are risk averse, and fear downsides more than they want upsides. Now its all downsides, there's not even a hope of getting into TV writing unless you got your ticket punched at Harvard.

    Leno I think was the last late night guy who paid for jokes, and even he stopped doing it late in his run. From what I read, it used to be that dudes could break into comedy selling jokes, if enough were bought they could be offered a staff writing job on some late night show, which churned through writers, and from then onwards could make a halfway decent living.

    An extremely atomized society is one in which nepotistic networks are everything. There are walls outside society or everywhere inside them.

    Woody Allen was selling jokes for TV and live comics when he was in high school. He made more money in high school.with his jokes than his father did in a decent middle class job

    I don’t get Allens humor at all but he is one of the most successful comedians around.

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  69. @MEH 0910
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JtADjU4UH4

    That clip basically sums up Married With Children. Derbyshire’s 2003 essay is well written, as usual, but come on—the only reason a straight guy would suffer through that terminally unfunny show would be to watch Christina Applegate act all slutty.

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  70. Married…With Children was just henpecked husband-as-poor-slob schtick done with remorseless coarseness: it’s lowbrow/middlebrow, like the risqué Blackpool postcards (some examples here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2043065/Oo-er-missus-The-1-300-postcards-saucy-seaside.html ) that Mr. Derbyshire likely remembers fondly (and that Americans got a somewhat slenderer taste of from the now defunct Spencer Gifts chain stores). Al Bundy was just a much coarser version of the 1930s genre of the henpecked husband exemplified by Edgar Kennedy, Leon Errol and, most prominently, W.C. Fields. The wife character Peggy was supposed to be a hottie, that was the built-in incongruous joke to Al’s revulsion from her, so Peggy was a departure from the unattractive old battleaxe wife type of the 1930s’ henpecked husband genre.

    While on a business trip to Los Angeles one of my old shipmates in the TV biz got me in to see a taping of Married…With Children. The taping ran over two hours, as the cast gave forth more muffed lines than a charter boat with its rails shoulder-to-shoulder with amateur anglers. As the taping wore on and on, for the studio audience it became more of an ordeal than an entertainment.

    The show had, for me, the same on-or-off appeal as The Three Stooges have – I just have to be in the right mood to find those two offerings funny, or in the wrong mood to find them insufferably unfunny.

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    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Auntie, ...."more muffed lines....." funny.
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  71. @Jefferson
    "Ta-Nehisi supposedly means “land of the black” in ancient Egyptian. Ta’s dad was one of those Egypt obsessed Afro-centrists."

    It's always Egypt with these Afrocentrics and never say Somalia for example. Are Afrocentrics ashamed of Somalia?

    I wouldn’t say that they are ashamed of Somalia. Somalia’s problems, after all, are the fault of European colonialists. Egypt is just more epic.

    Ethiopia, on the other hand, has a certain appeal to the Black Israelite variety of Afrocentrists.

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  72. @Auntie Analogue
    "Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres . . . ."

    So too is comedy divided in three parts: lowbrow; middlebrow; highbrow.

    Since the 1960s middlebrow comedy but more so highbrow comedy have fallen flat on their faces, because those two parts of the comedy triumvirate have become increasingly preachy vehicles of smug virtue-signalling to and for adult audiences and Red Guard indoctrination of youngsters into political correctness. When every Official Victim Group has well-policed "safe spaces," nothing is allowed to be genuinely funny (Mr. Derbyshire has a similar take on foreigners being funny yet being today off-limits from comic approach).

    Most comedy also has a very short expiration date. For example, Antenna TV has been airing old Johnny Carson Tonight Show programs, and the schtick of the comics appearing on them is nowadays almost entirely unfunny (for examples, the output of guys like Freddie Prinze, Robert Klein, David Steinberg). It's not just the already obsolete technology (telephone answering machines, landline telephones, early car computer voices, vinyl records, cassette tapes, &c.) those routines poked fun at that are not funny, its the bygone targets of past comic routines that fail to tickle today's funny bone.

    Few comedies or comedians become timeless classics. In that respect I consider the work of the Marx Brothers, a brilliant blend of mime, slapstick and cerebral wordplay, to be the all-time champ (even Groucho's appearances on the Dick Cavett Show and as host of the earlier You Bet Your Life remain entertaining). The early, pre-WWII Abbott & Costello films are also still funny, but most pre-WWII comedy, especially radio comedy such as Lum And Abner, is today forgotten because its cultural references long ago became alien to later audiences.

    In TV programming, I'd vote the timeless awards to Get Smart and Leave It To Beaver (I could never stand Lucille Ball's tedious set-ups, painfully slow-pitch slapstick, or her monotonously hammy mugging). A lot of Get Smart is even funnier now than it was during the show's original run, perhaps because the ubiquity of cell phone video and the internet - alternative media - have since exposed much more of the lunacy of Government apparatchik methods and behavior and of the baleful utopian insanity of "Progressive" political correctness.

    All that said, bear in mind: De gustibus non est disputandum. Except when it comes to "Progressives," who suck the fun out of EVERYTHING.

    Red Foxx (perfect timing) as Fred Sanford and Amos & Andy (both radio and TV versions) are still gut-bustingly funny. So are uber-dry radio pundits Bob and Ray along with the subversive media anarchist Stan Freberg. And this Robert Benchley routine, like most of his stuff, is as funny and relevant as the day it was recorded:

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  73. Apparently it was also quite popular in Poland.

    I was living in a small town in the US at the time, though, that used to get two broadcast TV channels, with one of those being PBS. Then we got a Fox station… “Married With Children” and “In Living Color”. Those had a lot with shaping my worldview.

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    • Replies: @Stan Adams
    Your worldview was shaped by In Living Color? God help you.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGuKAngMH3c

    That being said, I shudder to think of the fate of folks whose minds are being warped by the tripe now being shoveled out on prime-time TV.
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  74. Al Bundy isnot a fan of the French. It’s truly astounding the amount of energy, time and passion that Americans dedicate to hating a country roughly the size of Texas, and that most of them have never visited…

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    • Replies: @Alden
    It's because of the British heritage. Then there is the pro British WW1 and 2 propaganda that the brave Britons fought on while the French abjectly surrendered and waited for our brave boys to drive the Germans out.
    Never is mentioned the fact the Germans never invaded Britian but did invade France.
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  75. Pericles says:

    hearing “Tallahassee Totes” instead is great.

    In his defense, those are actual words.

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  76. Pericles says:

    Please let your neighbor know that one of your readers, at least, thoroughly enjoyed that long, conservative roast of atomized American middle class society.

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  77. Pericles says:
    @Alden
    I knew that a 40 hour a week minimum wage person could not afford more than a shabby studio and certainly not a wife and 2 kids. But we have to suspend belief when watching TV. I thought Peg's outfits were supposed to reflect the Hollywood Jews idea of White trailer park trash.

    In retrospect, it seems to me that certain parts of Married were exaggerated for effect.

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  78. Scripted years before the term of art was coined, millennials can yet profitably study Al Bundy to learn the content and style of a consummate neg. Significantly, these occupy most of some eight minutes of these Greatest Hits.

    Interesting your neighbor was a woman, Steve. I find it difficult, but not impossible, to believe that she wrote many of Al’s lines, for those who know the difference between what they delight to hear and what they are told delights, are vanishingly few.

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  79. donut says:
    @justwonderingaboutbaseball
    Married With Children was carried by Ed O'Neill, without him there would've been no show. It is all the more apparent when watching the show now that in hindsight, there was a period of time when Mr.O'Neill could sell any of the material they were handing to him, no matter the quality. So with all due respect to Mr.Sailer's neighbor, even if her general point about Harvard writers carries a bit of truth, she and her colleagues' brilliance wasn't being overshadowed by the Simpsons writers.

    What both show had in common was that urge to deconstruct American culture and society. In hindsight, it wasn't good for us to absorb all this contempt for regular people that both shows had. The Simpsons handled it a bit better, in my opinion, precisely because they were really clever Harvard guys who knew how to insult and lampoon someone or something a bit more deftly and subtlety- I'd say that holds true to a certain extent.

    There is enough testimony out there condemning the Harvard Mafia as a very obnoxious thing. Read enough of them and it's apparent that a writers' room of 'em quickly turns into a contest to prove how clever they are, how dumb you are and at a distant third is the concern to entertain (and communicate with) regular people.

    This interview was pretty good I thought .

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  80. @peterike
    I always found the running joke of Al thinking Peg was horribly ugly very jarring. I mean, c'mon, she was smoking hot and basically always up for nooky. What the hell was wrong with that guy?

    It was precisely because Al continually negged her hotness that Peg was basically always down for nooky.

    ‘Sometimes, ya gotta feel sorry for women – they only get horny when someone’s mean to them.’

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  81. British comedy has gone down the tubes over the last decade as well. The last funny UK shows were the IT Crowd and hit and miss Mitchell and Webb Look. Pretty obvious why – just about all decent humour is sexist, trans phobic, homophobic, ethnocentric and at least mildly racist.

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  82. Lurker says:
    @For what it's worth
    Yes, I understand. Still, my point is that most social conservatives, I think, would regard the basic structure of the Bundy family as sound, even if the members were all awful human specimens. Compare that to their view of "Modern Family."

    Compare that to their view of “Modern Family.”

    Is the casting deliberately echoing MWC? We’re being trolled.

    The same patriarch with another even hotter wife but his situation is portrayed as essentially happy and secure yet his family represents a smoking crater where civilisation used to be. In deliberate contrast with Al’s grim life as Bundy patriarch in a stereotypical nuclear family.

    Of course the fact he was called ‘Bundy’ was itself another trolling – I’m sure it was meant to call Ted Bundy to mind.

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  83. Just how does one pronounce that fool’s name?
    Me, I pronounce it like ‘tain’ easy kotes
    But then, I never could speak Ebonics.

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  84. krak says:

    Knowing how to spell “Ta-Nehisi Coates” is depressing, but hearing “Tallahassee Totes” instead is great. That sounds like the name of a racehorse, or of a minor mobster in Guys and Dolls who has a hot tip on a racehorse.

    there was a 30s era bluesman named “Tallahassee Tight”

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  85. @Percy Gryce
    And the classic resolution to the Poochie problem:

    https://youtu.be/4tvAjX5ACPo

    I always loved Roy in that episode.

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  86. Norm MacDonald on smart comedians:

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  87. Yak-15 says:
    @Alden
    I knew that a 40 hour a week minimum wage person could not afford more than a shabby studio and certainly not a wife and 2 kids. But we have to suspend belief when watching TV. I thought Peg's outfits were supposed to reflect the Hollywood Jews idea of White trailer park trash.

    Funny you mention Peg’s outfits. They were essential items in the wardrobe of many mothers in my heavily Jewish, Chicago suburb when I was young.

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    • Replies: @Alden
    Skokie, the Shetle transplanted to Illinois?
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  88. Black bodies emit radiation,
    And physicists make their notation.
    Ta-Nahesi emits
    Fit fodder for wits:
    “More laughter by less education.”

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  89. @Autochthon
    Even during the nineties, though, it was a bit incredible that a man selling shoes at the mall (he wasn't even the manager of the store) could make enough money to support a family, much leas pay a mortgage. It was all part of Hollywood's (continuing) tendency to handwave how difficult it is for anyone in a mundane job to attain much besides a relativley miserable subsistence.

    In the pilot episode, as I recall, Al actually was the manager of the shoe store. As was the case with many pilot episodes, the show hadn’t found its groove yet. Some other differences: Kelly had short hair and wasn’t dumb, and Al happily initiated sex with his wife.

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  90. @Millennial
    Ta-Nehisi supposedly means "land of the black" in ancient Egyptian. Ta's dad was one of those Egypt obsessed Afro-centrists.

    I wonder if Ta would call for the descendants of the Pharaohs (i.e. African-Americans, obviously) to pay reparations to the descendants of their slaves...

    Millennial, Ah, yes an Egyptian tie in and land of the black, Tennessee Coates in “Raiders of the Magic Dirt.”

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  91. @Auntie Analogue
    Married...With Children was just henpecked husband-as-poor-slob schtick done with remorseless coarseness: it's lowbrow/middlebrow, like the risqué Blackpool postcards (some examples here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2043065/Oo-er-missus-The-1-300-postcards-saucy-seaside.html ) that Mr. Derbyshire likely remembers fondly (and that Americans got a somewhat slenderer taste of from the now defunct Spencer Gifts chain stores). Al Bundy was just a much coarser version of the 1930s genre of the henpecked husband exemplified by Edgar Kennedy, Leon Errol and, most prominently, W.C. Fields. The wife character Peggy was supposed to be a hottie, that was the built-in incongruous joke to Al's revulsion from her, so Peggy was a departure from the unattractive old battleaxe wife type of the 1930s' henpecked husband genre.

    While on a business trip to Los Angeles one of my old shipmates in the TV biz got me in to see a taping of Married...With Children. The taping ran over two hours, as the cast gave forth more muffed lines than a charter boat with its rails shoulder-to-shoulder with amateur anglers. As the taping wore on and on, for the studio audience it became more of an ordeal than an entertainment.

    The show had, for me, the same on-or-off appeal as The Three Stooges have - I just have to be in the right mood to find those two offerings funny, or in the wrong mood to find them insufferably unfunny.

    Auntie, ….”more muffed lines…..” funny.

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  92. I prefer to call him Tennessee Coates. It sort of fits, in a banjo-sounding way.

    In other, OT news: The state of Connecticut has discovered that minority students lag behind whites in the rich towns with the “good” schools, just as they always lag as a group in their own city areas.

    So, the so-called quality of the school does not cause the non-white kid to do any better than he would anywhere else. (We can be sure the “disparate impact” will be blamed on some kind of racism.)

    Nevertheless, the governor has taken this as a reason to call for more money for … black city schools! Where is the logic? Let’s see: Non-white kids do poorly in both non-white schools and white schools, so let’s put more money into non-white schools. Yeah, that’ll bring them all up.

    Part of his tax plan includes taxing over-the-counter medicines. So every time we buy aspirin for the headaches caused by this bullshit, we will be subsidizing yet more efforts to change inescapable, natural reality.

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    • Replies: @Alden
    The city of New Orleans plans to add a balcony tax to the existing property taxes.
    I'm sure a door tax and the old British window tax will follow.
    , @CCZ
    "Seattle Mayor Proposes Soda Tax To Fight White Privilege"

    http://reason.com/blog/2017/05/05/seattle-mayor-proposes-soda-tax-to-fight

    Determined to silence local critics who have suggested he isn't America's most progressive mayor, Seattle's Ed Murray has packed so much conflicted social justice into a simple soda tax no one in the Emerald City is quite sure what to make of it.

    After it was suggested to him his proposed two-cents-an-ounce tax on soda sweetened with sugar would be borne disproportionately by the poor and people of color, Murray lowered the levy and included all sweetened drinks, incuding diet soda.

    Diet drinks, Hizzoner reasoned, were more likely to be consumed by "upper middle class white people." It had become for him "an issue of equity," a way to tackle "white privileged institutionalized racism.
     
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  93. Travis says:

    I remember watching the first episode of Married with Children. It was almost shocking to see such a TV show about a family in 1987. Remember the 80s had many successful sitcoms about families…such as The Cosby Show , Family Ties, Growing Pains, Silver Spoons, Full House, Little House on the Prairie…

    compared to the other shows about Families, Married with Children was revolutionary for TV. Showing a miserable Father, with a a slutty daughter, horny wife…No established network would have had such a show.

    The FOX network basically took over a local VHF channel in Philadelphia. It was not really expected to succeed. When the network premiered, Fox decided to air its two shows back to back and repeated their airings twice consecutively. in 1987 they only had 2 original TV programs, Married with Children and the Tracy U;man Show. They aired Married with Children every hour on Sunday Night. 7 PM, 8 Pm , 9 PM while The Tracy Ulman show was on at 7:30 , 8:30 , 9:30

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  94. @Percy Gryce
    Meh. My vote is for "Tennessee Coates":

    http://www.unz.com/isteve/marvel-cancels-ta-nehisi-coates-comic-book-after-two-issues/#comment-1872387

    The name “Tennessee Coates” was first posted by commenter Svigor on August 21, 2014, according to my search. I recall that Svigor also created several other terms that have become standard at iSteve, though I can’t bring them to mind.

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    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    All credit goes to Svigor for the very effective label, "Tennessee Coates." I knew I'd seen it somewhere here.

    Also, my point above about non-whites in CT schools could be written more clearly. It is a perfect, natural, social experiment that shows that non-white kids do less well academically than white kids -- even when they are in the same schools. This is in the affluent part of Connecticut, where no resource is lacking and practically everyone is a rich, blue-state, SJW. This is hard evidence, even admitted to by our own, liberal governor, that the school does not change the genetic ability of the student.

    , @Mr. Anon
    Tennessee Coates............will not fail!
    , @Percy Gryce
    Credit where credit is due.
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  95. @Harry Baldwin
    The name "Tennessee Coates" was first posted by commenter Svigor on August 21, 2014, according to my search. I recall that Svigor also created several other terms that have become standard at iSteve, though I can't bring them to mind.

    All credit goes to Svigor for the very effective label, “Tennessee Coates.” I knew I’d seen it somewhere here.

    Also, my point above about non-whites in CT schools could be written more clearly. It is a perfect, natural, social experiment that shows that non-white kids do less well academically than white kids — even when they are in the same schools. This is in the affluent part of Connecticut, where no resource is lacking and practically everyone is a rich, blue-state, SJW. This is hard evidence, even admitted to by our own, liberal governor, that the school does not change the genetic ability of the student.

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  96. whorefinder says: • Website
    @Jefferson
    "Ta-Nehisi supposedly means “land of the black” in ancient Egyptian. Ta’s dad was one of those Egypt obsessed Afro-centrists."

    It's always Egypt with these Afrocentrics and never say Somalia for example. Are Afrocentrics ashamed of Somalia?

    I have always wanted to tell a black Egyptian-worshiper that he’s not Egyptian and he should stop trying to “steal” Egyptian accomplishments as his own. Literally everyone from Europe and the Middle East is closer to being Egyptian than a black American descended from slaves.

    *I would say “culturally appropriate” but I don’t want to confuse the slave.

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    • Replies: @Jefferson
    "Literally everyone from Europe and the Middle East is closer to being Egyptian than a black American descended from slaves."

    The average modern day 21st Century Egyptian has some Sub Saharan African admixture, hence why Egypt is a 3rd World country it's because they are not pure White.

    Most of that Sub Saharan admixture in Egyptians comes from their southern neighbor Sudan. Not a lot of Black Americans are descendants of the Sudanese. Most of them are descendants of Africans on the West Coast of the continent.

    I have read about Triracial Pardo Latin Americans who go to France and are mistaken for Egyptians and other types of North Africans.

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  97. whorefinder says: • Website

    It’s the “out of the mouth of babes” all over again.

    Many physical comedians and self-deprecating verbal comedians who achieve success reach a point where they start to question whether people are laughing with them or at them. Jerry Lewis is a good example of someone who started to question whether his goofy Jewish boy falling down schtick wasn’t just people wanting him emasculated, so he branched out into other roles.

    Black comedians who make fun of black people hit this level as well. When Dave Chappelle abruptly cancelled his show, he stated it was because he thought a white crew member was laughing too hard the wrong way at one of Dave’s signature racist sketches. Similarly, Chris Rock stopped telling his “black people v. ni***ers” bit when he realized whites were getting a kick out of it a bit too much. Both went back to just insulting white people.

    Comedians who make fun of others don’t have this problem. For example David Cross never wonders whether his jokes are on him, because he’s always with the audience making fun of anyone who isn’t a left-wing-atheist-turd-ferguson-who-hates-happiness. Of course, he’s so rage-filled and self-loathing that any attempt poking fun at him, even playfully, would likely elicit an over-the-top rant-attack against you. I’m guessing Cross’s unbelievably and parody-worthy hatred of Larry the Cable Guy stems from a perception by Cross that Larry might have mildly made fun of Cross once.

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  98. Yak-15 says: • Website

    The Simpsons take on MWC is great.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8JtADjU4UH4

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  99. Mr. Anon says:
    @Auntie Analogue
    "Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres . . . ."

    So too is comedy divided in three parts: lowbrow; middlebrow; highbrow.

    Since the 1960s middlebrow comedy but more so highbrow comedy have fallen flat on their faces, because those two parts of the comedy triumvirate have become increasingly preachy vehicles of smug virtue-signalling to and for adult audiences and Red Guard indoctrination of youngsters into political correctness. When every Official Victim Group has well-policed "safe spaces," nothing is allowed to be genuinely funny (Mr. Derbyshire has a similar take on foreigners being funny yet being today off-limits from comic approach).

    Most comedy also has a very short expiration date. For example, Antenna TV has been airing old Johnny Carson Tonight Show programs, and the schtick of the comics appearing on them is nowadays almost entirely unfunny (for examples, the output of guys like Freddie Prinze, Robert Klein, David Steinberg). It's not just the already obsolete technology (telephone answering machines, landline telephones, early car computer voices, vinyl records, cassette tapes, &c.) those routines poked fun at that are not funny, its the bygone targets of past comic routines that fail to tickle today's funny bone.

    Few comedies or comedians become timeless classics. In that respect I consider the work of the Marx Brothers, a brilliant blend of mime, slapstick and cerebral wordplay, to be the all-time champ (even Groucho's appearances on the Dick Cavett Show and as host of the earlier You Bet Your Life remain entertaining). The early, pre-WWII Abbott & Costello films are also still funny, but most pre-WWII comedy, especially radio comedy such as Lum And Abner, is today forgotten because its cultural references long ago became alien to later audiences.

    In TV programming, I'd vote the timeless awards to Get Smart and Leave It To Beaver (I could never stand Lucille Ball's tedious set-ups, painfully slow-pitch slapstick, or her monotonously hammy mugging). A lot of Get Smart is even funnier now than it was during the show's original run, perhaps because the ubiquity of cell phone video and the internet - alternative media - have since exposed much more of the lunacy of Government apparatchik methods and behavior and of the baleful utopian insanity of "Progressive" political correctness.

    All that said, bear in mind: De gustibus non est disputandum. Except when it comes to "Progressives," who suck the fun out of EVERYTHING.

    A lot of what I once found funny, now seems flat. Perhaps just because it is no longer fresh. Nobody is going to laugh at something the third or forth time, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t clever or funny at the time, or still would be – to someone else.

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  100. Mr. Anon says:
    @Harry Baldwin
    The name "Tennessee Coates" was first posted by commenter Svigor on August 21, 2014, according to my search. I recall that Svigor also created several other terms that have become standard at iSteve, though I can't bring them to mind.

    Tennessee Coates…………will not fail!

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  101. Mr. Anon says:
    @Whiskey
    Your neighbor had a point, Steve. Harvard grads were good at getting into Harvard, and not much else it seems. Their level of accomplishment is not very high; its just a nepotistic old boys network.

    That it has infested TV writing is a sign of decline, of nepotistic networks everywhere producing revolt. People are risk averse, and fear downsides more than they want upsides. Now its all downsides, there's not even a hope of getting into TV writing unless you got your ticket punched at Harvard.

    Leno I think was the last late night guy who paid for jokes, and even he stopped doing it late in his run. From what I read, it used to be that dudes could break into comedy selling jokes, if enough were bought they could be offered a staff writing job on some late night show, which churned through writers, and from then onwards could make a halfway decent living.

    An extremely atomized society is one in which nepotistic networks are everything. There are walls outside society or everywhere inside them.

    Leno I think was the last late night guy who paid for jokes, and even he stopped doing it late in his run.

    They all have a writing staff. Which means they all pay for jokes.

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  102. Mr. Anon says:

    I thought Married With Children was pretty funny for the first five seasons. But, as with most anything, it got stale and predictable after awhile. Seinfeld is the only sit-com I’ve seen that got better with time, and went off the air before it got stale.

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    • Replies: @dcthrowback
    I disagree. The show was still good after Larry David's departure, but seasons 4-7 were epochal.
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  103. Mr. Anon says:
    @Autochthon
    I take your points, but I always thought the gimmick was that Al couldn't ein for losing: that his wife and children, despite all his efforts, were horrible people, and esepcially horrible to him. He only grew contemptuous of them over time as the hopeless, irredeemable nature of things solidified.

    Note that the whole family still bonded together when serious external threats arose ("Goooo Bundies!") in that "me against my brother, me and and my brother against my cousins..." way.

    Note that the whole family still bonded together when serious external threats arose (“Goooo Bundies!”) in that “me against my brother, me and and my brother against my cousins…” way.

    Now that you mention it, an Afghan version of Married With Children would be an interesting idea.

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  104. I hate Married with Children with a passion, but I think part of why the show didn’t make sense is that they started out will Al’s life not sucking, but just being a disappointing coda for a once star athelete. But they kind of moved off that for just a general this guys life sucks as the show went on.

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  105. also the more you know about the world, the less funny it is.

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  106. BenKenobi says:
    @justwonderingaboutbaseball
    Married With Children was carried by Ed O'Neill, without him there would've been no show. It is all the more apparent when watching the show now that in hindsight, there was a period of time when Mr.O'Neill could sell any of the material they were handing to him, no matter the quality. So with all due respect to Mr.Sailer's neighbor, even if her general point about Harvard writers carries a bit of truth, she and her colleagues' brilliance wasn't being overshadowed by the Simpsons writers.

    What both show had in common was that urge to deconstruct American culture and society. In hindsight, it wasn't good for us to absorb all this contempt for regular people that both shows had. The Simpsons handled it a bit better, in my opinion, precisely because they were really clever Harvard guys who knew how to insult and lampoon someone or something a bit more deftly and subtlety- I'd say that holds true to a certain extent.

    There is enough testimony out there condemning the Harvard Mafia as a very obnoxious thing. Read enough of them and it's apparent that a writers' room of 'em quickly turns into a contest to prove how clever they are, how dumb you are and at a distant third is the concern to entertain (and communicate with) regular people.

    O’Neill completely stole Wayne’s World in the two scenes he appeared in.

    FWIW I am of the opinion that movie holds up even today.

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    • Replies: @anon
    O’Neill completely stole Wayne’s World in the two scenes he appeared in.

    I always thought so too. I also always felt like Ralph Brown stole Wayne's World 2, where he played the exact same character he did in Withnail & I.

    That always seemed like a weird choice, but I liked it.
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  107. @Anonymous
    Was Married With Children considered fairly vanilla in the LA suburbs when it aired? I remember growing up as a kid in my area it was considered to be the worst thing on TV - the most obscene and hypersexualized program on broadcast TV, second only to the softcore porn they would show late at night on some of the extra movie channels on cable. It was sort of spoken about in hushed tones among kids at school and sleepovers because parents were concerned about it and many of them worried about their kids watching it.

    Of course, watching it today as an adult, it's notable how tame it is relative to the stuff out there now. It's sort of quaint now. And it wasn't all that long ago. It's remarkable how fast it changed.

    we weren’t allowed to watch it either. Born in 1980

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    • Replies: @Catholic Philly Prole
    Oh, and I forgot it was on immediately following the Simpsons which we did watch religiously so it was always a game between us kids and our parents to turn off the TV before MWC came on.
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  108. @Achilles
    Top five misheard terms for "Ta-Nehisi Coates":

    5. Tallahassee Totes

    4. The Mosquito Coast

    3. D'ya need a coat?

    2. Dunno, he's a ghost

    1. The new 'easy' goat (as misheard in the Middle East)

    Tennessee Toast

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  109. @Catholic Philly Prole
    we weren't allowed to watch it either. Born in 1980

    Oh, and I forgot it was on immediately following the Simpsons which we did watch religiously so it was always a game between us kids and our parents to turn off the TV before MWC came on.

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  110. keypusher says:
    @John Derbyshire

    Regrettably, I seem to recall Ed O’Neill expressing some embarrassment over Married…with Children, while being very proud of his current show, Modern Family, which is well-done, but a storehouse of (modern) conventional wisdom.

    He did have a great quote when he got a Hollywood star, though.

    O’Neill also poked fun at his increasingly younger TV wives.

    “You know, I can’t help but think right now that as I’m standing here, it’s a bit emotional, that somewhere in the world at this moment, in a hospital, a beautiful little baby girl is being born, and when she grows up she’s going to be my next wife on TV and I’m looking forward to that day.”

    http://www.dailynews.com/article/ZZ/20110830/NEWS/110839899

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  111. Alden says:
    @Buzz Mohawk
    I prefer to call him Tennessee Coates. It sort of fits, in a banjo-sounding way.

    In other, OT news: The state of Connecticut has discovered that minority students lag behind whites in the rich towns with the "good" schools, just as they always lag as a group in their own city areas.

    So, the so-called quality of the school does not cause the non-white kid to do any better than he would anywhere else. (We can be sure the "disparate impact" will be blamed on some kind of racism.)

    Nevertheless, the governor has taken this as a reason to call for more money for ... black city schools! Where is the logic? Let's see: Non-white kids do poorly in both non-white schools and white schools, so let's put more money into non-white schools. Yeah, that'll bring them all up.

    Part of his tax plan includes taxing over-the-counter medicines. So every time we buy aspirin for the headaches caused by this bullshit, we will be subsidizing yet more efforts to change inescapable, natural reality.

    The city of New Orleans plans to add a balcony tax to the existing property taxes.
    I’m sure a door tax and the old British window tax will follow.

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  112. Alden says:
    @Yak-15
    Funny you mention Peg's outfits. They were essential items in the wardrobe of many mothers in my heavily Jewish, Chicago suburb when I was young.

    Skokie, the Shetle transplanted to Illinois?

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    • Replies: @Yak-15
    Deerfield
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  113. Alden says:
    @DerProfessor
    Al Bundy isnot a fan of the French. https://youtu.be/TUrezmW1EPI It's truly astounding the amount of energy, time and passion that Americans dedicate to hating a country roughly the size of Texas, and that most of them have never visited...

    It’s because of the British heritage. Then there is the pro British WW1 and 2 propaganda that the brave Britons fought on while the French abjectly surrendered and waited for our brave boys to drive the Germans out.
    Never is mentioned the fact the Germans never invaded Britian but did invade France.

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  114. @Harry Baldwin
    The name "Tennessee Coates" was first posted by commenter Svigor on August 21, 2014, according to my search. I recall that Svigor also created several other terms that have become standard at iSteve, though I can't bring them to mind.

    Credit where credit is due.

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  115. JohnnyGeo says:
    @For what it's worth
    Yeah, but remember that the show also portrayed Al as poor, and he drove his Dodge until it had over 1,000,000 miles on it. The family ate poorly because of Peg's poor cooking, but also (it was implied) poverty. During today's foodie craze, I'm old enough to remember my mom serving the following in the late 80s/early 90s: Hamburger Helper, La Choy chicken chow mein, tuna noodle salad, hot dogs with Kraft macaroni and cheese, etc. I couldn't force myself to eat that stuff nowadays.

    born in ’72 here and my kids are amazed when I tell them we kids had to “make the milk” (i.e. from powdered milk) while setting the dinner table. I think my dad made pretty good money, too.

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  116. @Autochthon
    Jack Benny's programme also holds up surprisingly well; his humour is often about situational stuff inherent to the human condition and relationships. Stuff like that outlasts observational humour rooted in specific technologies, fashions, politics, etc.; relations among in-laws and the travails of marriage were funny when Aristophanes tackled them and they are funny today when approached cleverly.

    Amen. I was showing some tapes of the JB show to 20 something and they were laughing their heads off. I didn’t have to explain anything. The Lunch counter murder skit seems to universal.

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  117. dcthrowback says: • Website
    @Mr. Anon
    I thought Married With Children was pretty funny for the first five seasons. But, as with most anything, it got stale and predictable after awhile. Seinfeld is the only sit-com I've seen that got better with time, and went off the air before it got stale.

    I disagree. The show was still good after Larry David’s departure, but seasons 4-7 were epochal.

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  118. @Steve Sailer
    That's my favorite Simpson's episode: it's got marketing research, buzzwords, comedy writers, everything.

    Also a classic example of the show’s writers writing themselves into an episode. From left to right you have George Meyer, Josh Weinstein and Bill Oakley.

    And the female network executive character in that scene, Lindsey Naegle

    https://simpsonswiki.com/wiki/Lindsey_Naegle

    is an homage to writer Dana Gould’s now ex-wife Sue Naegle, former President of HBO

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sue_Naegle

    Other episodes had Jon Vitti:

    And Ian Maxtone-Graham:

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  119. Nice find on the blues dude “Talahassee Tight “, Krak . That tune had that rural blues sound to the core . A lot of Robert Johnson in there – or maybe he was around first .

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  120. Jefferson says:
    @whorefinder
    I have always wanted to tell a black Egyptian-worshiper that he's not Egyptian and he should stop trying to "steal" Egyptian accomplishments as his own. Literally everyone from Europe and the Middle East is closer to being Egyptian than a black American descended from slaves.

    *I would say "culturally appropriate" but I don't want to confuse the slave.

    “Literally everyone from Europe and the Middle East is closer to being Egyptian than a black American descended from slaves.”

    The average modern day 21st Century Egyptian has some Sub Saharan African admixture, hence why Egypt is a 3rd World country it’s because they are not pure White.

    Most of that Sub Saharan admixture in Egyptians comes from their southern neighbor Sudan. Not a lot of Black Americans are descendants of the Sudanese. Most of them are descendants of Africans on the West Coast of the continent.

    I have read about Triracial Pardo Latin Americans who go to France and are mistaken for Egyptians and other types of North Africans.

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  121. @Jefferson
    "Ta-Nehisi supposedly means “land of the black” in ancient Egyptian. Ta’s dad was one of those Egypt obsessed Afro-centrists."

    It's always Egypt with these Afrocentrics and never say Somalia for example. Are Afrocentrics ashamed of Somalia?

    Even ancient Egyptians didn’t like Somalians.

    [MORE]

    Southern boundary, made in the year 8, under the majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Khekuer, who is given life forever and ever; in order to prevent that any Negro should cross it, by water or by land, with a ship, or any herds of the Negroes; except a Negro who shall come to do trading in Iken, or with a commission. Every good thing shall be done with them, but without allowing a ship of the Negroes to pass Heh, going downstream, forever.
    (Stela from year 8)

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  122. @Cattle Guard
    Apparently it was also quite popular in Poland.

    I was living in a small town in the US at the time, though, that used to get two broadcast TV channels, with one of those being PBS. Then we got a Fox station... "Married With Children" and "In Living Color". Those had a lot with shaping my worldview.

    Your worldview was shaped by In Living Color? God help you.

    That being said, I shudder to think of the fate of folks whose minds are being warped by the tripe now being shoveled out on prime-time TV.

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    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
    Stan Adam:

    With regard to "In Living Color" it never ceases to amaze me with what the bros got away with in those benighted times!
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  123. CCZ says:
    @Buzz Mohawk
    I prefer to call him Tennessee Coates. It sort of fits, in a banjo-sounding way.

    In other, OT news: The state of Connecticut has discovered that minority students lag behind whites in the rich towns with the "good" schools, just as they always lag as a group in their own city areas.

    So, the so-called quality of the school does not cause the non-white kid to do any better than he would anywhere else. (We can be sure the "disparate impact" will be blamed on some kind of racism.)

    Nevertheless, the governor has taken this as a reason to call for more money for ... black city schools! Where is the logic? Let's see: Non-white kids do poorly in both non-white schools and white schools, so let's put more money into non-white schools. Yeah, that'll bring them all up.

    Part of his tax plan includes taxing over-the-counter medicines. So every time we buy aspirin for the headaches caused by this bullshit, we will be subsidizing yet more efforts to change inescapable, natural reality.

    “Seattle Mayor Proposes Soda Tax To Fight White Privilege”

    http://reason.com/blog/2017/05/05/seattle-mayor-proposes-soda-tax-to-fight

    Determined to silence local critics who have suggested he isn’t America’s most progressive mayor, Seattle’s Ed Murray has packed so much conflicted social justice into a simple soda tax no one in the Emerald City is quite sure what to make of it.

    After it was suggested to him his proposed two-cents-an-ounce tax on soda sweetened with sugar would be borne disproportionately by the poor and people of color, Murray lowered the levy and included all sweetened drinks, incuding diet soda.

    Diet drinks, Hizzoner reasoned, were more likely to be consumed by “upper middle class white people.” It had become for him “an issue of equity,” a way to tackle “white privileged institutionalized racism.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ragno
    Two cents an ounce tax - on soft drinks! - is both a new low in regressive 'sin' taxes.....that's an added heart punch of SIXTY-FOUR cents a quart!....as well as a sinister road marker to Where We Are Inevitably Headed.

    Until the even-more-inevitable societal collapse, and live-fire skirmishes, that will characterize the War of All Against All that's about the best we can hope for in what no one will be tempted to characterize as "the other American Century".
    , @Jefferson
    " a way to tackle “white privileged institutionalized racism"

    Do privileged rich smug White limousine liberals disproportionately consume a lot of sugary soft drinks? How will this hurt their pockets?

    Half of these affluent SWPL Crooked Hildabeast lovers are vegans or vegetarians. They are not consuming soft drinks, burgers, steaks, fries, pizzas etc.
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  124. @The Z Blog
    I've written a little on the idea that being stupid is probably an asset for performers. Smart people tend to have greater self-awareness. That's not an asset when your job is to make a fool of yourself for the amusement of others. Being a bit dull, but craving attention and validation strikes me as an ideal combination for a performer.

    Agreed. I would think there would be a lot of actors giving directors weird looks while asking, “You want me to do whaaaat?” if the case were otherwise. Production would grind to a halt.

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  125. @syonredux
    Here's an ep of Casados con Hijos:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ku3uneo41Q

    Argentina Kelly is mas caliente than Anglo Kelly Bundy. Muchas mas.

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  126. prole says:
    @anony-mouse
    Pity Benny Hill likewise. Its all tits all the way.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epKqu_VHbQU

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqN9XJopsag

    Benny Hill was great. The Feminists got his show off the air around 1990.

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  127. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Malcolm X-Lax
    I think Married With Children was implicitly controversial due to the universal tacit understanding that most middle-aged men wanted to bang the teen-age daughter. I exclude myself from this unpleasant fact because I was a teenager myself when the show first came out.

    Very very few men want to bang their own daughters, teenage or otherwise. They want to bang the neighbor’s daughter.

    And they understand he wants to roger theirs roundly as well. At least, he does if they aren’t fat, hideous or total skanks.

    Civilization is about making rules, like your daughters are off limits to me and mine to you, capice?

    The middle aged Middle American man who wants to line up a little young poon in his second childhood at least observes certain common sense courtesies and protocols in doing so. You don’t foul your own nest (immediate neighbors are off limits) and don’t mess with daughters, nieces or grandchildren of your or your wife’s friends, co-workers or business partners. You don’t do it in your own house and damn sure not in the marital bed. Best to find someone from out of town and go to a third city where no one knows either of you. The young stud wanting to cougar up also follows certain protocols………unless you’re doing someone so famous it doesn’t matter. Then you make an album and tour together.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    Your analysis only applies to YT.
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  128. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Autochthon
    Jack Benny's programme also holds up surprisingly well; his humour is often about situational stuff inherent to the human condition and relationships. Stuff like that outlasts observational humour rooted in specific technologies, fashions, politics, etc.; relations among in-laws and the travails of marriage were funny when Aristophanes tackled them and they are funny today when approached cleverly.

    Jack Benny’s programme also holds up surprisingly well; his humour is often about situational stuff inherent to the human condition and relationships. Stuff like that outlasts observational humour rooted in specific technologies, fashions, politics, etc.; relations among in-laws and the travails of marriage were funny when Aristophanes tackled them and they are funny today when approached cleverly

    Marilyn Monroe. A whole different sex, to quote another commenter…

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  129. @Percy Gryce
    Meh. My vote is for "Tennessee Coates":

    http://www.unz.com/isteve/marvel-cancels-ta-nehisi-coates-comic-book-after-two-issues/#comment-1872387

    Tennessee Tuxedo comes to mind.

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  130. anon says: • Disclaimer
    @BenKenobi
    O'Neill completely stole Wayne's World in the two scenes he appeared in.

    FWIW I am of the opinion that movie holds up even today.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrOGeua94FM

    O’Neill completely stole Wayne’s World in the two scenes he appeared in.

    I always thought so too. I also always felt like Ralph Brown stole Wayne’s World 2, where he played the exact same character he did in Withnail & I.

    That always seemed like a weird choice, but I liked it.

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  131. Dan Hayes says:
    @Stan Adams
    Your worldview was shaped by In Living Color? God help you.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGuKAngMH3c

    That being said, I shudder to think of the fate of folks whose minds are being warped by the tripe now being shoveled out on prime-time TV.

    Stan Adam:

    With regard to “In Living Color” it never ceases to amaze me with what the bros got away with in those benighted times!

    Read More
    • Replies: @Cattle Guard
    Yeah... Damon Wayans as Farrahkan. That was great.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXtvdwZgU-U
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  132. @Anonymous
    Very very few men want to bang their own daughters, teenage or otherwise. They want to bang the neighbor's daughter.

    And they understand he wants to roger theirs roundly as well. At least, he does if they aren't fat, hideous or total skanks.

    Civilization is about making rules, like your daughters are off limits to me and mine to you, capice?

    The middle aged Middle American man who wants to line up a little young poon in his second childhood at least observes certain common sense courtesies and protocols in doing so. You don't foul your own nest (immediate neighbors are off limits) and don't mess with daughters, nieces or grandchildren of your or your wife's friends, co-workers or business partners. You don't do it in your own house and damn sure not in the marital bed. Best to find someone from out of town and go to a third city where no one knows either of you. The young stud wanting to cougar up also follows certain protocols.........unless you're doing someone so famous it doesn't matter. Then you make an album and tour together.

    Your analysis only applies to YT.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Blacks and steezers deliberately defy the rules, because the laws are held by fools.

    Which is why black and mestizo countries are trainwrecks.
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  133. Yak-15 says:
    @Alden
    Skokie, the Shetle transplanted to Illinois?

    Deerfield

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  134. @Alden
    It's because of the British heritage. Then there is the pro British WW1 and 2 propaganda that the brave Britons fought on while the French abjectly surrendered and waited for our brave boys to drive the Germans out.
    Never is mentioned the fact the Germans never invaded Britian but did invade France.
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  135. anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Autochthon
    I take your points, but I always thought the gimmick was that Al couldn't ein for losing: that his wife and children, despite all his efforts, were horrible people, and esepcially horrible to him. He only grew contemptuous of them over time as the hopeless, irredeemable nature of things solidified.

    Note that the whole family still bonded together when serious external threats arose ("Goooo Bundies!") in that "me against my brother, me and and my brother against my cousins..." way.

    I can’t argue with that. I am not a parent and I don’t have any direct understanding of how responsible good or bad parents should feel when their children stupidly mock them, and vice versa. But the whole idea of people who live together not liking each other very much just kind of creeps me out. There weren’t shows like that when I was a kid – for example, when I was a kid , even in a show about life in a Nazi POW camp (a “situation comedy”, as they called those things) the prisoners, even the Soviet dude, all liked each other, and even kind of liked the bumbling prison guard Schulz: and even in monster shows like the Addams Family and the Munsters everyone was fond of each other. And the most cynical show I remember was Hollywood Squares, and even there the show-biz “degenerates” , as they used to be called, all seemed to enjoy each others company.

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  136. @Dan Hayes
    Stan Adam:

    With regard to "In Living Color" it never ceases to amaze me with what the bros got away with in those benighted times!

    Yeah… Damon Wayans as Farrahkan. That was great.

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  137. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Jim Don Bob
    Your analysis only applies to YT.

    Blacks and steezers deliberately defy the rules, because the laws are held by fools.

    Which is why black and mestizo countries are trainwrecks.

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  138. @Intelligent Dasein
    Once the Genius announces that he's always been a female trapped in a Glorious Black Body, and is transitioning to draw increased attention to his work, I'll be referring to him as Tanya He/She Wrotes.

    From the Department of Been There, Done That:

    See Greg Tate’s groundbreaking piece in the Village Voice, “The Black Lesbian Inside Me,” from somewhere in the late ’80′s/early ’90′s. I couldn’t find the article itself online (although I didn’t check the Voice archives; that’s another job real Americans just won’t do), but it’s apparently included in a recently-published anthology of Tate’s work: see https://books.google.com/books?id=hvHADAAAQBAJ&pg=PT12&lpg=PT12&dq=%22Greg+Tate%22+%22black+lesbian+inside+me%22&source=bl&ots=p3oG3Vz44Q&sig=cekeh64oQeg2qCDjUtMJrAaUef8&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiCy-XSjPfTAhVEPiYKHW1XB3AQ6AEIJTAB#v=onepage&q=%22Greg%20Tate%22%20%22black%20lesbian%20inside%20me%22&f=false.

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  139. Alden is 100% correct. In fact, the one day out of the year – Labor Day – that Peg did work around the house, Al was indeed very horny for her.

    MWC was the first red-pill show. It wasn’t a sitcom. It was a documentary. There is NO WAY IN HELL that show could ever get on the air today. You cucks who pan the show really ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

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    • Replies: @anonymous
    Don't call people you don't know cucks, it makes you sound stupid and like the type of guy who thought Sammy Davis was cool in 1985 because he still called everything he liked groovy. Or like some Ivy Leaguer in a biker bar talking about how nobody there really understands the essence of (muh) masculinity. Don't say muh, either, by the way. I can say it, you can't.
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  140. Ragno says:
    @CCZ
    "Seattle Mayor Proposes Soda Tax To Fight White Privilege"

    http://reason.com/blog/2017/05/05/seattle-mayor-proposes-soda-tax-to-fight

    Determined to silence local critics who have suggested he isn't America's most progressive mayor, Seattle's Ed Murray has packed so much conflicted social justice into a simple soda tax no one in the Emerald City is quite sure what to make of it.

    After it was suggested to him his proposed two-cents-an-ounce tax on soda sweetened with sugar would be borne disproportionately by the poor and people of color, Murray lowered the levy and included all sweetened drinks, incuding diet soda.

    Diet drinks, Hizzoner reasoned, were more likely to be consumed by "upper middle class white people." It had become for him "an issue of equity," a way to tackle "white privileged institutionalized racism.
     

    Two cents an ounce tax – on soft drinks! – is both a new low in regressive ‘sin’ taxes…..that’s an added heart punch of SIXTY-FOUR cents a quart!….as well as a sinister road marker to Where We Are Inevitably Headed.

    Until the even-more-inevitable societal collapse, and live-fire skirmishes, that will characterize the War of All Against All that’s about the best we can hope for in what no one will be tempted to characterize as “the other American Century”.

    Read More
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  141. Ragno says:

    Incidentally, Married vs Simpsons is the wrong line in the sand to draw.

    Married was ten years or so of unceasing, wearying toilet humor and crotch-tugging; the Simpsons, whatever its faults these past ten years, was – during its first fifteen (?) – notable for skewering a culture largely built on such ‘comedy’….and unlike all the other prime-time cartoon comedies that followed in its wake, took pains to avoid LCD yocks (while still being hilarious). Best of all, the Simpsons almost single-handedly weaned America off the laugh-track teat it had been force-fed for decades previous.

    I’m sure it’s begun descending from its peak a while ago, but that’s to be expected after damn near thirty years on the air.

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  142. Jefferson says:
    @CCZ
    "Seattle Mayor Proposes Soda Tax To Fight White Privilege"

    http://reason.com/blog/2017/05/05/seattle-mayor-proposes-soda-tax-to-fight

    Determined to silence local critics who have suggested he isn't America's most progressive mayor, Seattle's Ed Murray has packed so much conflicted social justice into a simple soda tax no one in the Emerald City is quite sure what to make of it.

    After it was suggested to him his proposed two-cents-an-ounce tax on soda sweetened with sugar would be borne disproportionately by the poor and people of color, Murray lowered the levy and included all sweetened drinks, incuding diet soda.

    Diet drinks, Hizzoner reasoned, were more likely to be consumed by "upper middle class white people." It had become for him "an issue of equity," a way to tackle "white privileged institutionalized racism.
     

    ” a way to tackle “white privileged institutionalized racism”

    Do privileged rich smug White limousine liberals disproportionately consume a lot of sugary soft drinks? How will this hurt their pockets?

    Half of these affluent SWPL Crooked Hildabeast lovers are vegans or vegetarians. They are not consuming soft drinks, burgers, steaks, fries, pizzas etc.

    Read More
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  143. anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Al Bundeee
    Alden is 100% correct. In fact, the one day out of the year - Labor Day - that Peg did work around the house, Al was indeed very horny for her.

    MWC was the first red-pill show. It wasn't a sitcom. It was a documentary. There is NO WAY IN HELL that show could ever get on the air today. You cucks who pan the show really ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

    Don’t call people you don’t know cucks, it makes you sound stupid and like the type of guy who thought Sammy Davis was cool in 1985 because he still called everything he liked groovy. Or like some Ivy Leaguer in a biker bar talking about how nobody there really understands the essence of (muh) masculinity. Don’t say muh, either, by the way. I can say it, you can’t.

    Read More
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  144. @Laugh Track

    Now that’s funny. It sounds like the name of a racehorse, or of a minor character in Guys and Dolls who has a hot tip on a racehorse.
     
    Or a brand of tote bags your wife takes to the beach in Florida.

    I thought “Coates” was pronounced in the Latin manner- Co Art tes, Needless to say, it’s pronounced much at JonesManor.

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  145. @Triumph104
    The problem wasn't so much the character Al Bundy, but the sexual raunchiness of the show.

    Terry Rakolta organized a boycott that if anything helped the show's ratings. Rakolta is a Mormon from Michigan and at one time was G. Scott Romney's sister-in-law.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Rakolta

    {“at one time was G. Scott Romney’s sister-in-law.”
    At one time huh?
    I detect a weakening of family values there.

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