I fully expect that this will not make sense to anyone under the age of 30. Maybe 28. Sorry, that's just the way it is when it comes to this sort of thing, that shared cultural experience. Maybe you catch the occasional documentary, some retrospective thing... Like those endless "look back" shows where we're extolled to be "wild" about a given decade on music channels that haven't been about music since one of the decades that they regurgitate to us in conveniently digestible chunks... but I digress.
penguin_goddess and I were in the TV room watching the usual set of shows... the latest ER (what can I say, it's like crack... you still feel the need to watch even when you've soured on the whole experience), Family Guy (which somehow I missed the first go 'round, but hey... now I get to munch on it nightly and it's ALL new to me!), and Futurama (which I didn't like when I first tried to watch it, but now seems to work for me). When we finished tickling our eyeballs with our mostly commercial free viewing experience (all hail, TiVo™!), somehow we wound up landing on Nick At Night's showing of the final episode of Murphy Brown.
It was kind of weird to watch, as I had stopped watching the show the last few years it was on. I don't know why... maybe it had progressed to the point beyond which even a form of interest inertia finally ground into heat death. It might have been pushed (as opposed to jumping) thanks to a competing show conflicting with it (wow... another reason the 'Net and the aforementioned wonder of video time shifting is changing what we watch, and when). Or maybe it was that schedule tango that seems designed to put struggling shows out of their misery, a sort of corporate denial tactic when faced with an old favorite past time to be put down out back with a shotgun. Hell, sometimes when the end comes even little Jimmy is begging for the chance to pull the trigger.
We started talking about that, and thinking of the shows hey-day, that pinnacle that I think every show should try to reach at least once... a defining, iconic display that lingers long past it's gone. In Murphy Brown, of course, it's the show where Murphy gives birth to her son as a single mother.
We were there for that season, when a woman saw no conflict between pro-choice and pro-life. While defending the right for a woman to choose for herself when to have children, she chose to have one outside of the traditional framework where it was written that a family shall be one man marrying one woman, and he would father children with her, Amen.
It didn't help that season inspired a speech so insipid that it most likely would have vanished into the mists of even the most obscure academic circles, a long shot card in some political science geek's version of Trivial Pursuit. Except...
Danforth Quayle. Buried in some box in the crawl space behind the kitchen I still have the button with a picture of a bird and a shrub, complete with the mandatory red circle slashed at a 45 degree angle through the middle. A Quail and a Bush. We won that time.
I honestly could not tell you what that speech was about. If you offered me anything... Money, power, even the chance to see anyone lost to me who was dearest to my heart -- I could not quote a single other thing he said that day. Heaven help my poor fried synapses if they asked me who the speech was delivered to!
So he railed against Murphy Brown about "glorifying" single motherhood. And thus the whole season went, as the kids call it these days, "viral".
So that final episode of that season, as a haggard and exhausted woman holds her newborn son and sings to him the words "You make me feel like a natural woman" (never implying that this was the only thing that validated her existence) it was the biggest "Aw, go fuck yourself" ever perpetrated.
Dan Quayle. It was just another dumbass statement from the man who made Gerald Ford look like a pre-9/11 Dennis Miller. The same guy who, with the media there (including, god help him, video), who corrected a young girl (what was she... 10?) when she spelt "potato" correctly, insisting it should have an "e" on the end. I sometimes wonder what happened to that girl, and if she could ever shake the feeling that the VP was playing some sort of sick, twisted adult joke on her.
One of the first net videos I ever saw was a wonderful news story openly mocking his bizarre word choice and outright errors. I think the main reason Bush Senior lost after that first term is that we we're terrified that this man would become our president in the event something happened to King George the First.
Then that thing happened. You know, the thing that struck me so hard I thought my feet would explode from the blood rushing downward in my body. Hey, that's how it feels.
As dumb as a post as Quayle was, he was still several times smarter than W.
Excuse me, I think I need to get some sleep now.