WHAT WE THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT.
Do you remember that episode of WKRP in Cincinatti where Venus Flytrap has to get a kid to understand atoms in order to get him to stay in school and stay out of gangs? So he makes up a story about a neighborhood and three gangs called the “pros,” the “nuboys,” and the “elected ones.”
Well, I did a lot of presentations last week. One was an advertising presentation to a room full of master tool makers. The other was a presentation about the economic theories of pricing to a room full of advertising people. It’s started to dawn on me that all this advertising stuff is really about teaching. And teaching is really about writing stories on the fly and telling them well.
So, do you remember how that episode ended? Johnny Fever is crashed behind the sofa, unbeknownst to Venus, and pops up just as Venus is finishing the story and the kid is deciding to stay in school. Johnny is so jazzed by Venus’s teaching style that he says, “Cool, man. Can you teach me how magnets work?” It was really funny when Fever said it. Not so much with me.
Anyone remember the episode of Taxi where Jim cuts his van apart and reconstructs it as a sheet-metal castle in Elaine’s apartment, to prove there is still romance in the world. I love that episode, especially one line: “I write better than I look; I write better than I am.”
Hey, while we’re on sitcoms in the golden age, remember the Barney Miller, where Chano accidentally kills the kid. And Barney comes to Chano’s house to reassure him. And he tells the story about how the largest animal on earth, the great white whale (I think) has a tiny esophagus, and lives on a diet of nothing but microscopic plankton.
“Now why do you suppose that is?” says Barney.
“I don’t know, why is that?” says Chano.
“Cause that’s the way it is.”
I love those old shows. Those cats could write. Oh well, running long.
Good night “Shoebooty.”