Hark! I present another addition of Reader Emails!
Son of Feeney:
I have noticed a marked absence of new posts lately. Your performance is shameful and a complete disgrace. You should be flogged in a public square.
Good day sir!
It is true that I have been letting you down, kind reader. But in my defense, this country is in the middle of a crippling recession. As you can probably imagine, this dire economy is particularly hard on a self-employed media scholar focusing on the under-appreciated sitcoms of the 1990's. Unfortunately, the grant money has run dry and the Son of Feeney has been forced to return to his day job as a claims adjuster for a national insurance conglomerate. There, your faithful reviewer is forced to work under the oppressive regime of the manager Bob Ewbanks. Mr. Ewbanks is a man who finds nothing comical about his own name because he and the game show host "spell our last names differently." Apparently, pronunciation is of little value to our fair Ewbanks. Worse, this particular operation has a rather restrictive Internet policy that prevents this reviewer from carrying on his more important tasks in this blog while at the office.
It is this unfortunate situation that lately has kept this reviewer from fulfilling what is obviously his destiny - providing long overdue analysis of important television programs. If anyone out in reader land has the power to rectify this sad state of affairs, please email solutions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Son of Feeney
Speaking of the recession -
From Earl Johansson:
Son of Feeney:
You were spot on in your mailbag when you addressed the living situation of the Tanner family. There is no way the Tanner clan could afford that house. I mean, how much money could Joey and Jesse contribute from heir radio gig? How do you think the mortgage crisis impacted the Tanner household?
You are spot on. I am guessing Danny talked his way into some kind of 15 year ARM and then when the crash hit, was buried underneath his horrible financial planning. I am guessing he looks back at his decision in the episode "A House Divided" with deep regret. In "AHD," Mr. Bond, a wealthy industrialist, wants to buy the Tanner house because it is the house where he grew up. He offers a sizable amount of money and the entire extended family is excited about an impending move. All except Michelle that is. Michelle wants everyone to stay under one roof and refuses to let go of the obviously cramped arrangement. She, therefore, employs her gang of friends to play tricks on Mr. Bond to make him believe that something is wrong with the house. Mr. Bond is not fooled by their chicanery but Danny is moved by Michelle's devotion to the house. Danny foolishly calls off the sale.
Of course today Michelle would have long since left the house. But now Danny is upside down on a house he can no longer afford. Worse, the bank may have foreclosed.
Your question also raises the interesting question of whether the sitcoms studied in this blog may have facilitated the mortgage crisis. Certainly Danny Tanner could not afford his home. But neither could Carl Winslow. Carl lived in a large two story house in a good neighborhood in Chicago on a police officer's salary. In Boy Meets World, the Matthews lived in a large three bedroom house in a nice neighborhood in Philadelphia on a grocer's salary. Clearly these fictional households raised the expectations for an entire generation of Americans. That generation followed in the footsteps of Carl Winslow and Alan Matthews and bought similarly outsized homes. With these role models, it was only a matter of time before we achieved market failure in the real estate sector.
From William, Bethel, CN:
Dear Son of Feeney,
Don't you think you were a little harsh on Peter Engel? He may be misguided at times but I would hardly call his empire a "hate machine."
I disagree rather harshly. The only way that Engel could have possibly risen to the top of Saturday morning is if a number of NBC executives shared your apologist attitude. Peter Engel spewed forth hateful rhetoric on a regular basis. My recent column is merely the tip of a very large ice berg. Seeing that you apparently need convincing feast your eyes on this hateful display:
Clearly Engel is making a strident attack on the homosexual community. Not only do Slater and Zack each use a derogatory slang, but they direct the slur towards Screech. As discussed in this blog, any comparison to Screech is an insult standing alone.
Furthermore, this reviewer is disgusted by the fact that Engel's hateful rhetoric toward the homosexual community certainly served him well at at Pat Robertson's Regent University. The whole thing is a travesty.
While I enjoy your analysis of bad sitcoms, have you ever considered analyzing music?
As an initial note, I must dispute your categorization of the programs addressed in this oeuvre as "bad." Clearly these shows express a rich tapestry that works on levels you have not considered.
More importantly, however, I will admit to dabbling in some amateur analysis of popular music. For instance, the other day I was traveling with a co-worker, Gayle, to investigate a car accident so I could do some groundbreaking claims adjusting. Gayle insisted on driving and further insisted on playing an easy listening radio station. At one point during the trek, Gayle's interesting story about her sick cat was interrupted by the song "Torn" by Natalie Imbruglia. Gayle squealed with delight, declaring that she "love[d] this song." I then sat as Gayle performed her own admirable rendition of the vocal track along with Miss Imbruglia. At the end of the song, Gayle stated that she believed the song was "about lost love" and asked what your faithful reviewer/claims adjuster thought that the song was about.
"Gayle, it is fairly obvious that the song is about lost love," I stated. "More precisely, however, the song is a tale of an unchaste woman who pursued a relationship with a puritanical suitor. While the narrator of the song was fully aware that her puritanical suitor believed her to be unsullied in the ways of love, she never told him the truth until it was too late."
"What does that mean?" queried Gayle.
"It means the girl lost the guy because he thought she was a virgin and she wasn't. OK, Gayle?"
But it was not OK with Gayle and she pushed the issue, insisting that I was wrong. Gayle then refused to talk with me for several hours, though occasionally she accused me of having a "filthy mind." Honestly this arrangement suited me fine. But, in order to prove my point, I present the bridge and chorus of Torn with my analysis in brackets:
There’s nothing where he used to lie [He's gone - obviously]
My inspiration has run dry [Pointless filler]
That’s what’s going on, nothings right, I’m torn [Crudely put, nothing is right because her hymen is torn. The guy took off, her inspiration has run dry, etc. It sounds like a pretty bad day and all because she is not a virgin]
I’m all out of faith, this is how I feel [The puritanical nature of her suitor makes her question her religion and faith when he dumps her]
I’m cold and I am shamed lying naked on the floor [Note that the narrator is feeling a lot of shame while naked. Once again pretty obvious stuff here]
Illusion never changed into something real [Her suitor's illusion that she was a virgin could not undo her promiscuous past]
I’m wide awake and I can see the perfect sky is torn [Unlike the suitor, who operated under an illusion, the narrator sees things clearly - her hymen (the perfect sky - a rather forced metaphor) is torn]
I’m all out of faith, this is how I feel [addressed above]
I’m cold and I’m ashamed bound and broken on the floor [Now she is bound and broken. An allusion to her licentious past]
You’re a little late, I’m already torn [The narrator's bitter words of parting to her lost love. The guy is too late. She had already fornicated with several men prior to the suitor in question's arrival]
From John Wilkes Poof:
So is Screech the most pathetic character in television history?
This question got me thinking. Screech hangs out with the cool kids, is almost always included in the gang's activities, and even scored Violet. There are definitely more pathetic characters. The question is who. Therefore, over the next few months, the Son of Feeney will present a countdown and analysis of the most pathetic characters in history.
With that, I must close this edition of Reader Emails. The Son of Feeney will be attending a conference for the rest of this week so posting may be sparse over the next few weeks.