Top 5 Series That Have Forever Ruined How I Interact With Girls

Being a blogger, it’s almost expected in clear “racist against bloggers” fashion that I’d be expected to avoid the holiday that is Valentine’s Day, or at the least bash it to death with a Mario-style mallet. On the contrary, while my feelings for Singles Awareness Day are neither here nor there, I felt like the “holiday” at the least was opportunity for me to make another List entry. So here we go, in typical blogger fashion, I shall be blaming my “one is the loneliest number”-ness on my top 5 series that have forever ruined how I interact with girls.

5. Disney Movies

Yeah, I’m starting things a little vague here and figured I’d get into particulars later on. Unlike most children (wow, if that didn’t sound like something spoken in a rehab clinic…) I didn’t grow up on your standard Disney movies. My sister’s a good five years older than me, so I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that my entire life, I’ve always had the option to pop in any ol’ Disney movie from our collection into the VHS player. And yet when I think back on the movies I remember watching, two of the five or so I remember come to mind that apply to my list: 101 Dalmatians and Robin Hood. With your typical American female growing up on the prince charming delusions brought to you by the folks at Disney, it makes one wonder just what exactly they’ve done to equally jade young impressionable boys throughout the world through their animated musicals featuring anthropomorphic animals in the main leads.

Robin Hood basically worked as a male version of a Disney Princess story, telling it from the perspective of the male lead instead, with the two leads pretty much destined to end up together. 101 Dalmatians takes a different approach, not really being classified as a guy meets girl story, even though that’s what gets the movie started.

Opening scene of the movie, male Dalmatian Pongo leads human owner Roger to the park so he may conveniently bump into female Dalmatian Perdita and her human owner Anita. After some bits of dog-dragging-owner-here-and-there scenes, the two couples finally meet, in what has become one of the most overused movie methods for guy meeting girl: falling into a lake together. The two couples laugh off the incident and are next seen getting married. From my perspective, there are two things Disney is trying to tell me here: 1) Pongo going for a dog of the same breed suggests that interracial (“interbreedal?”) relationships are out of the question and 2) Marriage is as easy as one comedic yet heartwarming instance of guy meeting girl—no questions asked.

5. The Adventures of Pete and Pete

In Nickelodeon’s heyday, live-action shows actually meant something more than a money-grab via some kind of soundtrack tie-in (though ironically enough, this was the only live-action Nick show to have a soundtrack). Pete and Pete told the story of two red-headed brother, both of who go by the name of “Pete.” While the younger Pete has offbeat adventures, the older Pete tends to either go along with them or have his own side-story, usually involving a “flavor of the week” girlfriend.

Oddities of the show aside, I thought it strange for some series to carry along a strict continuity between episodes, while other didn’t. In the case with P&P, characters remained consistent, but their relationships with each other were certainly not set in stone. In particular, the relationship with platonic female friend Ellen was covered multiple times throughout the series’ three season run. However, as was mentioned by the creators in the first season DVD release, older Pete and Ellen tended to fall in and out of love as the episode’s story called for it. So as offbeat and well-written as the series was, it was that same offbeat-edness that made my own awkward years growing up that much more awkward.

4. Boy Meets World

Nothing even has to be said about this series, but for those reading this probably born past 1995, BMW was your classic coming of age story told in a sitcom-style format, spanning from main lead Corey Matthew’s years in the 6th grade to his college years. While the series was able to go strong for the bulk of its 7 season run, you wouldn’t be able to tell that from its first season alone. The show started off humbly enough with standard stories from the 6th grade told in classic sitcom fashion with appointed bullies, jocks, nerds and the like. It wasn’t until its second season that writers found something to milk with the relationship that was Corey and female lead Topanga. The complete polar opposite of older Pete and Ellen, Corey and Topanga’s relationship practically made the series for a majority of viewers to the point that writers must have been pressured to maintain their relationship its entire run. This resulted in the Corey and Topanga power couple: a force so ridiculously unstoppable that any characters that even made an attempt to mess with their relationship were quickly done away with. Nobody past, present, or future will ever have the same relationship-might that was Corey and Topanga, so why even bother?

3. Doug

While it never got as big as Rugrats or Ren & Stimpy, Doug has a right to stand tall with its fellow Classic Nicktoons for making a respectable name of itself (at least until Disney acquired rights to it) even though its main lead was a dull as an eraser head. Sure, the series had a handful of notable episodes, but at the end of the day, you just spent 30 minutes watching the trials and tribulations of a pre-pubescent boy with nothing all that interesting about him, but just happens to have substantial enough people surrounding him that you were fooled into thinking such.

Of the handful of notable things about title character Doug, one most people would remember was that he constantly wrote in his journal about his everyday mundane life—including his super secret crush on Patti Mayonnaise—you know, the one that he would constantly bring up, no matter what the situation. You know those overly chatty guys that can’t help but brag about having a girlfriend? Now imagine that except he doesn’t even have anything to brag about, leaving nothing but long rants about longing and the like from an 11 year old. I only hate the kid more when I realize I’ve gone through such a stage myself.

2. Bakemonogatari (Ghostory)

Okay, heading into more obscure turf now. Released in 2009, Bakemonogatari, based on the light novels of the same name, would be considered a harem-genre anime if it weren’t for the fact that it’s so self aware of the fact that it takes on certain aspects of said genre and taking it in a slightly more dignified manner… well dignified in that you only get an average of one panty-shot per episode.

The story revolves around a recently-turned-vampire-then-turned-normal-again human, Araragi, who finds that a number of females around him have developed what he refers to as “oddities,” usually based on a type of old-school ghost curse. Every female in question always seems to be around our lead character at the most convenient of times that at one point the character himself asks if the sudden obtainment of a babe magnet was from his previous encounter with a vampire. It’s that kind of self-aware writing that makes the series for me… though also kills my perception of reality when I look up and am at an odds as to what to think when I realize I’m the sole guy in a study room full of girls.


“You wanna throw everything away and come with me?”

Okay, so my previous entries might have hinted at this. Like many have said before, this series calls for multiple viewings to even begin to understand what it’s about, but once you begin to piece things together and realize that it’s the basic story of guy meets girl at its core, it makes all those viewings worth it.

Comprised of only six episodes, the series revolves around 12 year old Naota, who’s become incredibly bored of his town and everything that happens in it… until a certain inciting incident in the form of female Haruko literally slams him in the face with something to talk about. Through the short series, you’re led to question Haruko’s true intentions with Naota and whether or not Naota’s decisions are actually right or not. In the end, you’re still unsure as to who would be classified as the series’ heroes and villains, but that’s what makes things that much more interesting and relatable. Of course, leave it to the most bonkers series out there to make the most sense when applied elsewhere.


Top 6 TV Show Episodes Based on Schoolyard Games

With school starting for me next week, I thought I’d do something a little different and combine two of my favorite past-times—TV and Top (Whatever) Lists.

Being the man-child I am, I’ve watched my fair share of cartoons and shows relying on adults that watched cartoons back in the day. And while there are plenty of unique and interesting shows out there, I have noticed something of a trend among the episodes I’ve enjoyed the most—they revolve around simple schoolyard children’s games. Besides the charm of creating an entire episode based on a game you used to play when you were younger, each of the following episodes does an excellent job of either wrapping everything up nicely, fleshing out the characters and how they interact with each other as a unit, or giving a ridiculous enough conclusion that viewers have no choice but to accept it.

So without further ado, here are my Top 6 TV Show Episodes Based on Schoolyard Games.

6. Salute Your Shorts- Capture the Flag (Season 2, episode 10)

In its short two-season run as one of the first handful of live-action shows on Nickelodeon, Salute Your Shorts is easily one of my favorite shows falling under the category of “those ragtag kids.” For the uninitiated, it’s based on the book Salute Your Shorts: Life at Summer Camp (similar to how Little Rascals stemmed off of Our Gang), and as you’d expect, covers life in summer camp from an all-boys cabin and all-girls cabin as they team up and go on ‘90s style adventures under the nose of clueless authority figure Kevin “Ug” Lee. Like most shows of the time, the main cast consists of your typical tweenage stereotypes—jock, pretty girl, trouble makers, book-nerd, eco-nerd, and straight man—pitting them together under a common setting to find out what happens when they stop being polite and start getting… oh wait.

As typical as the show is, I enjoy it for its on occasion quirky episodes. This time around, the gang plays a game of capture the flag, with stereotypical fat kid Donkeylips (one more reason to watch this show) disgruntled by the fact that the crew chose him along with his other less physically inclined companions to be on guard duty while the rest of them take the offensive and hunt down the opposing team’s flag. I honestly cannot count the number of times this has happened to me in my childhood and enjoy how the episode continues from there, with the offensive team all ending up captured and the others taking it upon themselves to save them and win the game. Predictable, yes, but oh so satisfying.

5. Rocket Power- Capture the Flag (Season 2, episode 15A)

Although most shrugged off this creation from Klasky Csupo Productions about a group of ragtag kids into extreme sports, the series did have at least some redeeming qualities.

The sibling rivalry between brother Otto and sister Reggie Rocket was one of the more major driving forces of the earlier episodes, with Otto always wanting to be the best at whatever sport he takes on, with his sister acting as the killjoy. Similar to the Salute Your Shorts episode of the same name, this Rocket Power episode takes the game of capture the flag, pitting not just the main cast, but some of the supporting cast, against each other when they run out of time during recess to finish the game and continue it to take place on the entire pier. Otto is glad to continue the game on a bigger playing field, until he falls prey to the sacred rule of being out until counting to ten in “real Mississippi seconds.” Besides being a great idea to follow through on your own, the episode stands out from the series, being one of the few to make use of all the kid characters in the show outside of the main cast. Sure, its premise comes off more as an excuse to use those characters more than anything else, but their interactions are much welcome.

4. Community- Modern Warfare (Season 1, episode 23)

For those losing faith in television sitcoms, watch Community. It takes the standard “those ragtag kids” genre and boosts the average age of the characters to their early adulthood. What is especially intriguing about the series is its writing. While every main character isn’t an exact archetype of what you’d expect, you forget that entirely due to the character Abed, who is in essence a troper, leading to a great majority of the dialogue being self aware, something that more shows would be better off being.

While the series hasn’t even started its second season, most will agree that Modern Warfare is a fan favorite… even though the story itself has been told numerous times before in other shows. The community college has become a warzone as everyone has entered a paintball competition with the grand prize being every college student’s dream: priority registration for classes. Besides the horrors of war being depicted in an unexpected form, the episode also plays up the dynamic of the cast as a unit, seeing if deception and manipulation will be enough to break them. But, as always, what ultimately makes the episode is Sr. Cheng.

His presence alone makes me wanna run off to Kinkos and make a poster-sized copy of this.

3. The Weekenders- Pudding Ball (Season 1, episode 7B)

The Weekenders was basically Disney’s Recess except taking place on the weekends, which turned away most viewers while it aired during the latter run of Disney’s One Saturday Morning cartoon block. But while the show was of the “those ragtag kids” type, it was far from your standard one, and like Community after it, was incredibly self aware. On one occasion, the cause of everyone’s problems was actually solved by merely analyzing a TV show episode with a similar plot and acting accordingly—definitely not your run-of-the-mill show.

The name of the game is “Pudding Ball,” which is basically paint ball using leftover pudding from the soon out-of-business pudding-filled hot dog company. The game starts off simply enough, with the group unwillingly split into two competing amongst the entire community. And while the game’s prize isn’t as cherished as priority registration, that only makes their obsession over the game worse. The chemistry between each of the characters is great to say the least, which makes it that much more disheartening once you see it diminishing with each pudding ball throw.

And of course the one to suffer the most from this pudding ball obsession isn’t any of the kids, but the unwillingly stuck-in-the-middle Coach Colson as voiced by none other than Phil LaMarr (Futurama’s Hermes among other roles).

2. The Office- Office Olympics (Season 2, episode 3)

I’m not the most avid viewer of The Office; it’s not like I don’t enjoy the show or anything (I use dry humor in my everyday vernacular), but I just feel like I can’t fully appreciate the show unless I’ve experienced a mediocre life in a cubicle firsthand—it’s the same reason I don’t normally read Dilbert.

Of the handful of episodes from the series I’ve seen, this episode always seems to be on… not that I’m complaining. Steve Carrell’s character and his sidekick of sorts, Dwight, leave the office for the day to house shop. The entire workplace unattended, the office workers decide to go all-out and have an Office Olympics, consisting of all the menial games they get away with doing while working minus the fear of actually being caught.

From what I’ve seen of the series as a whole, focus is clearly more on certain characters over others, so I really enjoyed this episode for making use of the full cast, having everyone interact with everyone else. Not only that, but the way the Office Olympic’s story ties together with Carrell’s House Shopping story works out so well that you can’t help but smile at the end of the episode. Golden yogurt lids for everyone!

1. The Boondocks- The Red Ball (Season 3, episode 3)

Aaron McGruder’s newspaper-comic-gone-TV-series has always faced an uphill battle in that a majority of the content was just too controversial for television, resulting in only a handful of good episodes in the series’ first two seasons. With cancellation looming near, though, it seems as if McGruder’s finally hit his stride with season three, finally covering the perfect balance between entertainment and political/race commentary.

The merry little suburb of Woodcrest is in economic crisis as all its money is gambled in a game of kickball between its sister city, Wushung China. That said, a (you guessed it) ragtag team of misfits in basically all the main and supporting cast of the series is brought together to take on the incredibly skilled Wushung kickball team. Even ignoring the nods to anime action scenes during the actual game, the episode excellently makes use of every character in the series, each of them making use of their shtick when the plot calls for it making even the most despicable of characters enjoyable in their moment of truth. Oh, and I guess there’s something in there about how world leaders take advantage of their people in meaningless scuffles, too.

But who could pay attention to morals when a gust of wind is summoned from a kickball?

%d bloggers like this: