No one likes having to talk to someone who says, “Well, I don’t even have a television” when stuck in some horrible conversation about the latest “Mad Man” or “Game of Thrones” while at a party. Sure, bad television can rot your brain, but mistakenly snooty people are missing out on a world of great television that not only is entertaining, it is educational.
So the rules this week: TV shows meant to educate and entertain, not necessarily for children. As always for the Kommenters, try to let a few others make their picks before you make your second selection.
And if you have the time? I highly recommend you watch Old James’ first round selection.
Eric Sollenberger: Cosmos
I want to turn it off at least twice an episode because the implications of some mind blowing fact they just presented freak me out too much.
Trevor Risk: James Burke’s Connections
If there had to be a Mount Rushmore of *heavy eye roll* celebrity scientists *pukes in own mouth* then James Burke has got to be Lincoln, or whoever’s the most important on Mount Rushmore. I dunno. Anyway, if aliens (presumably reasonable ones who speak the Queen’s English) were to finally visit us, you would sit them down and show them the entire Connections series to catch them up to speed on the entire planet, human race, and environment and how it all works. Carl Sagan gets all the love from people trying to seem interesting, or writing lyrics for At The Drive In, but James Burke has a better, drier sense of humor and reminds me of my dad. There’s a Connections 2 (The New Batch?) that ran on TLC before the network became all WWE with their programming, and it’s okay, but the original is the finest.
Sarah: My dad would love to hang with you based on your pick, Trevor.
Trevor: I think your old man and my old man should hang out. My dad’s book references Connections about a hundred times.
Johnny Sugar: Bill Nye The Science Guy
Pretty much the only educational videos that I actually looked forward to watching in school. Worth noting, the older I got, the more I looked forward to it. In 3rd grade, it was like “oh whatever, this beats an actual lesson I guess,” but in 8th grade, I’d be FUCKING THRILLED. I think we watched one my senior year of HS just because our teacher didn’t want to do much that day, and it made my fucking week.
Big Sandy: The Universe
I’ve always loved space stuff. And the new round of space shows use fantastic graphics and computer animation to give a pretty life-like simulation of what it’s like in space. Also, the talking heads they use are super smart people who have a specialty in dumbing down high-minded concepts about time, space, and relativity and other things my Neanderthal brain has a hard time comprehending.
Old James: The Joy of Painting
Before he found his eternal niche as ambient sound for stoners, my man Bob Ross was actually trying to teach folks how to paint. Dare I say people forget that?
Anyway, the talent oozing out of the man was incredible. I’d always zone out for a few seconds and suddenly a blob of green was a detailed array of conifers. Which is exactly why I always thought a good SNL sketch would be videos of random viewers trying to paint along with him and flipping the fuck out.
Sarah Sprague: Nova
We weren’t allowed to watch much TV when I was growing up, but we’re always allowed to watch Nova with my dad every week even though it was on past our bedtime because he thought it was important for us. And it was, details about space and nature were drilled into our heads long before we got to them in science class in school.
I still watch it from time to time and still love that it goes deep on topics I know nothing about, like recently when I couldn’t turn away from the episode on the zeppelin battles of WWI:
PFT Commentator: Real Sex
Litrally taught me everything I know about boobs.
(Editor’s Note – NSFW clip here. This particular one is like a dirty “Portlandia” episode.)
Christmas Ape: Jeopardy
I learn stuff AND I learn how little I know about stuff! I also learn that most people are too scared to try a true Daily Double.
StuScottBooyahs: Bill Nye the Science Guy! Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill!
Ape: Already off the board
Big Sandy: Yeah, SSB, what are you, the Vikings?
StuScottBooyahs: Goddamnt, how did I miss that?
I’m going to go with Square One, if only for the epic early 90s theme song opening. (It’s on YouTube I’m sure)
Trevor:This is Square One’s finest moment:
Trevor: I’m embarrassed to admit, I was SO scared of MathMan as a kid. When that segment would come on, I would run screaming out of the room.
SSB: Me too. Tornado guy is scary. When he eats Mathman it’s traumatizing.
Trevor: Tornado guy is fucked up. Hate his stupid voice.
RobotsFightingDinosaurs: VALUE PICK ALERT Magic School Bus
Remember that episode where they go to space and Arnold takes his helmet off and freezes solid? That shit gave me nightmares.
RobotsFightingDinosaurs: Osmosis Jones
Not actually educational. Also not actually a TV show. But I probably watched it like, 10+ times in school on days where my science teacher had a hangover or something, so I feel that it merits mentioning.
Christmas Ape:You Pokemon’d the draft once again.
StuScottBooyahs: Wild America
I used to love that show as a kid. Even though it later emerged that he had probably staged a bunch of scenes, including ones that involved animals killing each other. That’s how we do nature shows in ‘murica.
Christmas Ape: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
Ape: “SING IT, ROCKAPELLA!”
Eric: FUCK YOU APE.
SSB: I remember getting an autograph from the host of Carmen Sandiego when I was like eight when he came to our mall. It was the first moment I was ever starstruck.
PFT Commenter: Hard Knocks
Theirs nothing more educatonal then seeing what nfl players do of the field besides getting arrested and goign to clubs.
Big Sandy: I’m surprised PFTC didn’t choose ESPN’s “Playmakers”.
Sarah: Victory at Sea
Perfect for watching with grandpa at the holidays while the turkey is in the oven.
Big Sandy: So we’re skipping Wes since he’s on a plane which means I’m up and need a ruling.
Does Degrassi Jr. High count as “edutainment” for the purposes of this draft? A google search shows it’s sometimes considered as such. But I want to make sure the rules committee of KSK agrees. If not, I do have another choice.
I await the league’s ruling.
Sarah: UGH. No. Because if Degrassi counts then eventually Trevor’s taking Sweet Valley High or something.
Trevor: Even though it covered every issue plaguing youth in the eighties (aids, homosexuality, abortion, killing yourself for being a drama geek who looked like he raided the wardrobe department) i would still consider it a drama, and my vote should count more for being Canadian.
Big Sandy: FINE. 3-2-1 Contact
Not quite the hame hipster/Gen X appeal as The Electric Company, it’s still delightfully retro and fascinatingly so. And, no, I don’t recognize the latter day reboot. If it aired after 1986, I don’t wanna know about it.
(Editor’s Note: Unable to embed this link Big Sandy also sent along.)
Trevor: FUCK YOU BIG SANDY.
Big Sandy – Whatves, Trevs. You know you love some MOOG.
Johnny Sugar: Schoolhouse Rock
Because I’m surprised it’s still on the board, and because without it, we never get “I’m An Amendment To Be,” which is one of the 20-or-so funniest Simpsons moments ever.
Trevor Risk: The Edison Twins
That theme song still gets stuck in my head. Plus, they ride around in a sweet jeep and bully that kid, Paul through every episode, probably because of his stupid hat.
Eric Sollenberger: Drugs, Inc. on National Geographic
Even though I’ve never tried them I can tell you exactly what it feels like to use GHB, ketamine, heroin, DMT, and huff acetone. Pretty great show. I always like the drug dealers they interview who wear half a bandana and sunglasses and proceed to narc on the Sinaloa cartel thinking that they’re unrecognizable.
Old James: Reading Rainbow
Butterfly in the SKYYYYYY…
I can go twice as HIIIIIIIGH…
Take a LOOK
It’s in a BOOK
Of rea-DING RAIN-booooooow
That’s right. I. Can. Be. ANY-thing. So I pick Reading Rainbow. Enjoy having this stuck in your head the rest of the day.
(I can’t believe no one picked this.)
I want more like this!
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