Archive for February, 2011


Research Before You Speak

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Last night, I was watching an old South Park episode while trying to fall asleep, and a few particular lines stuck out to me. Richard Dawkins started talking to Mrs. Garrison about flying spaghetti monsters. And I thought to myself, “Hey, wait a minute. Didn’t Futurama have an actual flying spaghetti monster in their episode about the evolution debate? I remember it saying something like, ‘I am a flying spaghetti monster. Do you mean to say that I evolved from some kind of manicotti?'” I thought it was too much of a coincidence that two shows with episodes about the evolution debate would feature something as particular as flying spaghetti monsters, so I started thinking that Futurama (the newer episode) had ripped off South Park.

I love both of those shows, so this was a startling realization for me. I started writing this big comparison between the two episodes in my head, until I then switched to the idea of making a YouTube video out of it. I’ve never uploaded a YouTube video before, so I was getting excited thinking about how I’d make it. I would use low quality screenshots and audio instead of full clips, to make it as fair use as possible, and I’d record some narration for it. Thinking about all of this greatly reduced my tiredness, so I decided I’d at least take some screenshots and make some notes while I was up and it was on my mind.

First I searched around the web to make notes about the two episodes, and to see if anyone else had already pointed this out. And in the process, I discovered that “flying spaghetti monster” wasn’t just a throwaway term from South Park. It was around well before that episode, and is a pretty widespread argument in the evolution debate. In fact, while reading about it, I realized I had heard about all this before, but I guess it slipped my mind at some point.

So, obviously, Futurama didn’t steal the concept from South Park. I would have felt pretty stupid if I’d made a whole big comparison project out of it and (re-)learned all this later. Crisis averted, I guess. But I am kind of disappointed that I no longer have an idea for my first YouTube video, and I won’t get to talk to myself on a microphone. Maybe some other day I’ll have my chance to be on YouTube.

Chuck Season 4, Episodes 11-15

Monday, February 21st, 2011

American TV has come back from a winter break, and so have I, apparently. Chuck‘s fourth season has been a little weak compared to the previous ones, but I still enjoy the show, and hope it doesn’t get canceled for real this time. Here I will say some things about the most recent episodes in barely complete sentences. I assume there are spoilers, but I am writing this paragraph after the below stuff and haven’t proofread it yet, and I forget what I said. But just to be safe, you should also assume there are spoilers.