Obscure characters in TV shows

Discussion in 'Now Playing - TV Show Talk' started by Steveknj, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. Jul 27, 2011 #81 of 130
    murgatroyd

    murgatroyd Don't stop believin'

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    Isn't it kind of arrogant to assume that other people don't know something, and you have to explain it to them, otherwise they won't get it?
     
  2. Jul 28, 2011 #82 of 130
    Polcamilla

    Polcamilla -b±√(b^2 - 4ac)/2a

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    One upon a time, I visited CalTech, where a friend was going to school, and he invited us down into the (fairly famous) steam tunnels.

    Scrawled on a pipe down in the bowels of the campus was the phrase "CE'NEDRA S--KS C--KS!" :eek:

    It would've been MUCH less funny if the graffiti was "CE'NEDRA* S--KS C--KS!"

    "*http://www.amazon.com/Belgariad-Vol...6327/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1311843556&sr=8-1"

    The thing about cultural literacy is that it's NOT uniform, and it's the similarities and differences that define us to each other. Even in preschool, I see kids start the year, some of whom watch TV and movies and others who don't and they spend months talking about what each other has seen and read and likes and doesn't like. They influence each other as they try to find a common ground they can interact from. My 4 yr. old, who plays NO computer games, drew a picture of "Angry Birds" that looks exactly like the game and no one in our home/family owned a copy of Angry Birds at the time. But she's at the age where one forms ones identity by comparing and contrasting yourself to your peers. Eventually, you move on past that stage and accept that different people have had different experiences (and some common ones with you).

    And then, after years of this stuff, you climb down into a steam tunnel and see a message scrawled on a pipe with no explanation and the fact that you "get" it sends you a much stronger message----that there's a person out there that you've never met who has never met you but who is like you and understands you and appreciates what you appreciate. 17 letters and you've formed a bond with a complete stranger and instantly know what to expect from that person. There's an instant level of trust formed on commonality.

    Dogs sniff each others' rears. Humans exchange small, dense, coded packets of information. The result is the same. It allows you to make a much quicker judgement about whether you can trust the stranger and, for pack animals (which both dogs and humans are) the ability to trust another individual can be a life-or-death difference in some situations. Yeah, as modern humans we don't use it that way so much, certainly not in the case of sci-fi in-jokes, but it happens because it's something we're biologically hard-wired to do as pack animals.

    (Spouse and I make so many unexplained references, not in-jokes per se because we're not trying to be funny, that people who are with us sometimes can't follow the conversation at all. Of course, we don't talk TO the people who are with us that way (that would be rude), but when we fall into this kind of talk, we're trying to communicate with each other very quickly and it's just more efficient and it's not really important that the other random person with us understand it, because we're not talking to them.)
     
  3. Jul 28, 2011 #83 of 130
    Amnesia

    Amnesia The Question

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    That's pretty gaunt...
     
  4. Jul 28, 2011 #84 of 130
    markz

    markz Well-Known Member

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    I think you mean goth.
     
  5. Jul 28, 2011 #85 of 130
    Turtleboy

    Turtleboy Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    It seems like the definition of obscure is "something I don't know."

    The fact that it is in response to a major character from a long running TV show on an internet forum full of nerds and dedicated to TV is even more bizzarre.
     
  6. Jul 28, 2011 #86 of 130
    balboa dave

    balboa dave well rounded

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    Your problem is that only you know what your level of ignorance of popular, or by your words, obscure, culture is. Whatever you know is OK to discuss, but if someone knows something or someone you don't, you expect them to cite a reference, as if they would know your level of ignorance. It's a ridiculously arbitrary and unfair request.

    I get probably get more than 95% of the references on MST3000 (and yes, I abbreviated that on purpose). But most of my friends don't, so I need to pause it a lot to explain the joke, as I'm laughing and they're not. (I get a similar amount of the references in Dennis Miller's jokes, but he stopped being funny after 9/11. But I still get the references.) The trouble with explaining the references is, although someone may now get the context, it's almost never funny to them. The joke part has passed.

    I have a friend that I enjoy going to the movies with, as we both get the same jokes. There were many parts in many movies where we were the only ones laughing, as no one else was getting the references. What, we're not supposed to laugh?

    It's different on the internet, as many others have already pointed out, because if you don't get it, it's ridiculously simple to look it up, and maybe even educate yourself a little. Oh, the horror of expanding your horizons.

    I cite obscure references all the time in my posts. If only one person in 200 gets it, I'm OK with that, as I know I made a stranger smile, or even once in a while laugh, when they were least expecting it.

    BTW, John Doe was Dominic Purcell.
     
  7. Jul 28, 2011 #87 of 130
    Vendikarr

    Vendikarr New Member

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    Who?
     
  8. Jul 28, 2011 #88 of 130
    Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

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    But you're taking this as if it's JUST about Sci Fi. I'm talking in general. Notice the title? It's not about Wesley Crusher and SciFi shows in general. This was Wesley Crusher guy is just the example I'm using. I get your point, that in a thread about a SciFi show, it's ok to talk about OTHER SciFi characters (although if I wanted to be a stickler about it, I could say...I never saw the show, it's an untagged spoiler.)

    I find it funny how it seems that this has become a personal affront to all the SciFi geek's street cred.

    I guess I'm not a SciFi geek, but enjoy the odd SciFi show :)
     
  9. Jul 28, 2011 #89 of 130
    Turtleboy

    Turtleboy Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    (1) But how do we know what references youget and which ones we don't?

    (2) Explaining allusions ruins writing.
     
  10. Jul 28, 2011 #90 of 130
    Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

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    Again, I'm not asking you to EXPLAIN anything, just put in the show he's from. How is that EXPLAINING anything?
     
  11. Jul 28, 2011 #91 of 130
    loubob57

    loubob57 Cancer sucks! TCF Club

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  12. Jul 28, 2011 #92 of 130
    Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

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    I guess I'm wrong about Wesley Crusher as I didn't realize he was a major character....my bad.
     
  13. Jul 28, 2011 #93 of 130
    Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

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    You assume they don't get it and go from there.

    Whatever, i guess I've been beat up enough on this. I guess typing a show title next to an obscure character (not named Wesely Crusher), is just a bad idea.
     
  14. Jul 28, 2011 #94 of 130
    Amnesia

    Amnesia The Question

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    I think part of the problem is that how do you determine how obscure a character is? Wesley certainly wouldn't qualify in my book--he was a major recurring character on ST:TNG. If you watched ST:TNG, you would know who he was. And if you didn't...well, then all the characters might seem equally obscure.

    In my mind, if a character is really obscure, then the author will know to put a reference or else no one will understand...for example, there's a big difference between saying something like "Wesley saves the day again!" and "That ought to be one of Lefler's Laws"... If we weren't already talking about ST:TNG, I wouldn't expect anyone to get the second reference...
     
  15. Jul 28, 2011 #95 of 130
    Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

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    I get that, and I tend to forget, since I'm NOT one, that the majority of folks here are SciFi geeks. Eureka or Warehouse 13 or Falling Skies is about as deep into SciFi as I care to ever get. So yeah, a mention of a character in a Eureka thread from another show seems obscure to me, just as if you aren't a baseball history buff like I am, mentioning Cap Anson in a general thread about baseball will also have the masses running to google to find out who he is (He was a player for the late 19th Century Cubs...he's in the Hall of Fame). But in a thread about BASEBALL HISTORY, most people would know who he is. So lets say I'm in a general baseball thread, and I say so and so hits like Cap Anson did. I could clarify with a few words like I did here, and save those uninterested the time it takes to Google, or I could leave it at that, and leave many of the posters scratching their head, and letting them google it on their time. I'm just trying to be nice by the little few word reference.

    I guess for a show like Eureka, the majority of viewers are Sci Fi fans? I'm not sure about that, but apparently here that is the case. That's fine. I mistook my audience. I figured maybe it would just be nice to save some time for your fellow TCFers. I'll go back to posting "who's so and so" again and I won't ask this anymore.
     
  16. Jul 28, 2011 #96 of 130
    JoBeth66

    JoBeth66 Temp

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    But again, to people who watch a particular show, Person X may not BE an obscure character - and to someone who's never watched ANY episodes of even a highly popular show, /every/ character on that show is 'obscure'. How do we know where any person participating fits?

    IE - I know who Wesley Crusher is. But when references to 'Samantha's men' started popping up, I had NO clue what it was about - because I have never, ever watched a single episode of 'Sex in the City'. It was really easy to look up and move on. So - if you were writing a comment in a thread about someone who was like a character in a show that was immensely popular, on for years, and you enjoyed - would you think you had to explain it? IE - would you expect someone to put a reference to 'SITC' next to 'Samantha' in the above context?

    You did the same thing with 'George Costanza' earlier - you didn't explain the reference, because you assumed we all know who that is - why did you assume that? I know people who have never watched an episode of Seinfeld. Same with Ross & Rachel - plenty of people never watched Friends, and would have no clue.

    I hated Buffy. I watched a few seasons of it 2 years ago because someone got it for me for Christmas, but it was awful. I hated The Wire. Never watched an episode of CSI in any iteration. Or House. Or Gray's Anatomy. Or Lost. Or Bachelor/Bachelorette. Or Survivor anything. Or The Amazing Race. Or ER. Those are all /incredibly/ popular shows. The fact that I'm not interested in them doesn't mean that anyone should assume that if they are going to make a reference to them in a thread for another show, I should expect that it is their responsibility to clue me in.

    It's much easier for people to look things up if they need an explanation than for the person who is writing a post to try to explain everything in the post.
     
  17. Jul 28, 2011 #97 of 130
    LoadStar

    LoadStar LOAD"*",8,1

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    Or you could just highlight, right click, select "Search with Google," read the search results, and go "oh, that show."
     
  18. Jul 28, 2011 #98 of 130
    Lori

    Lori Social Defective

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    It ruins the flow. It sounds dorky.

    Can you not see how "Don't make me go all Terminator on your ass" and "Don't make me go all Terminator (a super-violent cyborg assassin from a series of sci-fi films) on your ass" sound different?
     
  19. Jul 28, 2011 #99 of 130
    Cearbhaill

    Cearbhaill Garden obsessed

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    You've gotta explain cyborg, too.
     
  20. Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

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    Nah, I'm probably not going to do that....takes too long. Easier to write "who's that?" and let you guys explain :D
     

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