As we all rigorously master the Western canon of visual art, music, literature, and philosophy, we soon realize that there is surely one discipline missing from this list, one that we are perhaps best at studying for: television. But, because Bwog has a shorter attention span and more of a penchant for solipsism than that girl tweeting next to you in 209, we decided that truly great television started around the time that we began watching it. So, take a look at the study guide to the first semester of the Masterpieces of the Western Television, the TV we watched as younglings.
Cribs is a show you watch when you think it’s “tasteful” to have an abstract sculpture, cigar box, and lightsaber replica as part of your living room display. Watching every douchey/outdated celebrity show off their “pad” was like homeowner porn for early teens. Highlights from each episode include each celebrity showing off the fridge (you can learn so much about someone through what they eat), the whips, and the master bedroom through a combination of obligatory sex jokes.
Kenan & Kel
Abbott & Costello slapstick meets the modern metropolis of Chicago. This show taught us that it was alright to be absolutely off our rockers and obsessed with orange soda. The two broke the fourth wall often and sometimes laughed along with the ridiculous laugh-track. But we didn’t mind. Aww here it goes.
We didn’t get most of the jokes back when were kids, but we laughed anyway. We get the jokes now, and maybe all we feel is nostalgia… Either way, we thought we knew Monica, Chandler, Ross, Phoebe, Joey, and Rachel like the back of our hands. We identified with at least one of them and, at the very least, we saw them all make out with each other. Here’s to a lot of television and a lot of our childhood.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Must we say anything?
This show was every LitHum Professor’s dream, transforming and parodying the epic tradition of cartoons. Doug Funnie, the lovable kid from Bluffington was a quieter Popeye; his writing and banjo playing were his proverbial spinach and his never-ending love for Patti Mayonnaise (the modern day Olive Oyl) was all-too endearing. But before we get annoying, look at how cute he was.
Socially awkward but smart, Steve Urkel was kid Bwog’s kindred spirit. And those suspenders—goddamn, he looked good. Urkel made it seem easy to transition into our super sexy selves when the time came, and taught us how to handle our roommates when they find us coming home drunk from Koronet.
In fourth grade, we were all Helga: in love with the shrimpy kid who had a good heart, but just could not figure out his own hair situation. Seriously what was up with it? How did it ever achieve such gravity-defying heights? Gel product speculation aside, this football head and his smooth-operator friend, Gerald, made us want to explore the mean streets of our cities, or maybe just cuddle up into our couches on Saturday mornings. Either way, we definitely learned a thing or two about how fifth-grade relationships worked and they sure are complicated, it appears.
I Love the 70’s/80’s/90’s
I Love the 70’s/80’s/90’s are to pop culture history what the Oxford World Classics are to literature. There is nothing like sitting through a 10 part episode on a Saturday in your pajamas with the morning’s cereal still on the table. And that wasn’t even the best part; telling your friends how cool you thought Studio 54 was and seeing their subsequent look of confusion is like referencing Marx in seminar— you feel awesome at the time until you mature and look back on it with endearing nostalgia at your douchy precociousness.
The Amanda Show Moody’s Point. Enough said. It was like SNL junior the way it satirized 7th Heaven and Dawson’s Creek.
Many of us didn’t realize we were witnessing a revolution on May 1, 1999. When Spongebob first gets a job at the Krusty Krab during the pilot, Stephen Hillenburg opened up a world of underwater absurdity for us to enjoy for years to come. Amidst the ripped pants, randomly French narrator (why was he French?!), and jellyfishing, there was nothing more fun than following Spongebob approach life with his hallmark innocence and excitement. Also, it’s still funny now!
Awwwwwww here it goes!
cribs > pimpmyride
do the Carleton
I want to live in Hey Arnold's pseudo NYC
Jim Jarmusch makes a cameo in Spongebob
Masterpieces of Western Television
Patrick may have been mentally disabled
who loves orange soda?
why was Skeeter purple?
why was the narrator French?
yo home to Bel-Air!
Have Your Say
"she sure does wear a lot of mustard yellow" i'm LOLing