There are some television comedy shows I can watch over and over and not ever tire of them. These are the shows from which I still have zingy one-liners memorized. I can’t remember what I did yesterday or what my son’s phone number is but, dammit, I can pull lines from television shows (and movies and songs) from the recesses of my addled brain like some idiot savant.
This mania began, I think, when I started watching Cheers when I was 14. Ask my family members how many lines I remember from that show and recount regularly. I will start singing, “Albania, Albania, you border on the Adriatic,” courtesy of Coach Ernie Pantuso, for no reason at all. I remember many one-liners Norm delivered after he walked into the bar and was asked about his day, but “It’s a dog-eat-dog world, Sammy, and I’m wearing Milk Bone underwear” is my favorite. Then there’s one of the best exchanges between Carla and Cliff, when Cliff tells Carla how you wouldn’t find any girlfriend of his leading him around by the nose and Carla replies, “No. But you might catch her sunning herself on a rock.” I also regularly yell out lines from Friends, such as “Joey doesn’t share food” (when someone asks for a bite of my meal) and “Pivot!” (when hubby and I are moving anything at all). I quote Michael Scott from The Office, too: “I’m not superstitious. But I am a little stitious.” And just this weekend we were talking about Curb Your Enthusiasm and I popped off with a lisping “Lo siento.” So wrong, but so funny.
One of my favorite comedy shows to rewatch is Parks and Recreation, which was originally brought to me by my then 9 year old son, Luke. There are too many great lines in Parks and Rec to recount, but I do often run around singing Andy Dwyer’s song about falling into the pit. Then there’s “Right to jail” from when the ministers of parks from Boraqua, Venezuela, visit. Or this gem, from when Chris gets the flu and is staring in the mirror at himself and says, “Stop pooping.” I’ve repeated Donna and Tom’s rallying cry of “Treat yo’self” ad nauseam, as well. But one of my favorite episodes of Parks and Rec is the one with the end of the world, where we hear a member of the Reasonabilist cult tell Chris, “Well, this morning at dawn, you will take a new form. That of a fleshless, chattering skeleton when Zorp the Surveyor arrives and burns your flesh off with his volcano mouth.” I walked around for weeks after watching that episode talking about Zorp and his volcano mouth. That line still makes me laugh for absolutely no reason. Hail Zorp!
I have favorite lines from so many shows, now that I really think about it. Like when Sheldon, on The Big Bang Theory, says, “I’m not crazy. My mother had me tested!” Or on Scrubs when J.D. keeps moving their taxidermy dog around to scare people and he chastises it by saying, “Rowdy, NO!” And I have watched the first three seasons of Arrested Development enough that “There’s always money in the banana stand” is a mainstay in my vocabulary, along with “I don’t understand the question and I won’t respond to it” and “I’ve made a huge mistake.” Oh, and when GOB responds to his brother calling his work a magic trick and he corrects him by saying, “Illusion, Michael. A trick is something a whore does for money…[sees children]…or candy.” That was genius
As I’m sitting here reflecting on the plethora of television knowledge I pulled up for this post, I’m becoming aware that perhaps I’ve watched a little too much television in my life. Certainly, I can’t be the only one, right? There must be dozens like me. Dozens! And while I suspect my excessive sitcom viewing may have significantly reduced my ability to carry on an intelligible conversation at a serious dinner party, it might just pay off some night at DJ Trivia. At least, that is what I tell myself to make myself feel better.