The 126th episode² of Perfect Strangers, which aired³ on Friday, 1991⁴ November 1⁵, at Eastern Standard Time 9:00 post meridiem⁶ on ABC⁷ during its TGIF⁸ programming block, is titled⁹ “The Gazebo”¹⁰.
The episode begins at the rental house¹¹, where Mary Anne¹² Spencer is joined by Jennifer Appleton¹³, ten feet¹⁴ away from the house’s rear wall¹⁵, to gaze into the backyard¹⁶. The Cousins¹⁷, Larry Appleton¹⁸ and Balki¹⁹ Bartokomous²⁰, are partially finished constructing a wooden²¹ gazebo²². Larry estimates²³ aloud the time to completion²⁴ of their project as <24 hours, after which point in time they will sip²⁵ lemonade²⁶ ²⁷ inside²⁸ the gazebo. It is quickly made clear, when Larry asks as to the purpose²⁹ and terminal placement³⁰ of a particular board³¹, that he, that is Larry, previously turned down an offer of facilitation of paid professional building services³² from a hardware store³³ clerk³⁴. (Later internal evidence confirms the presence of unconsulted blueprints³⁵ ³⁶.) Great show is made of turning with the overlarge board³⁷, setting the stage³⁸ for the brand of comedy³⁹ featured in this episode as it hits Cousin Larry⁴⁰ in the face⁴¹.
The aforementioned women, presumed girlfriend⁴² and confirmed wife⁴³ of the Cousins, now watch⁴⁴ from a position just inside the open rear door⁴⁵ of the house and discuss⁴⁶ whether the men⁴⁷ resemble others⁴⁸, specifically other pairs⁴⁹.
Mary Anne⁵⁰ is put in mind⁵¹ of Laverne and Shirley⁵². Jennifer offers stern, corrective rebuke⁵³, citing a similarity to Laurel⁵⁴ and⁵⁵ Hardy⁵⁶ ⁵⁷, comedic film actors whose career as a team⁵⁸ spanned 35 years⁵⁹ and 106⁶⁰ films⁶¹.
A ripple dissolve⁶² is utilized⁶³ as Balki and Larry transition⁶⁴ along two axes⁶⁵: from color to black-and-white⁶⁶ ⁶⁷; and from their selves⁶⁸ to the actors in costume⁶⁹ ⁷⁰, mannerisms⁷¹, and vocal patterns⁷² of Laurel and Hardy⁷³, respectively⁷⁴. The angle of the dissolve shot⁷⁵ indicates that the following action is imagined by Jennifer⁷⁶ as she continues to watch her husband and his cousin⁷⁷. The signature music⁷⁸ from many Laurel and Hardy films, “Dance of the Cuckoos”⁷⁹ begins to play as part of the soundtrack⁸⁰ ⁸¹. Hardy decides to divide the project’s labor⁸² into construction of the gazebo and laying concrete⁸³ ⁸⁴ for a walkway⁸⁴.
The physical layout of the gazebo, concrete path and ramped⁸⁶ ⁸⁷ walkway is such⁸⁸ that concerted⁸⁹ effort towards completion of both tasks simultaneously⁹⁰ leads to disastrous⁹¹ consequence⁹². Laurel removes part of the ramp to allow delivery of concrete from trough to walkway⁹³, resulting in Hardy’s fall, breaking⁹⁴ a wall panel with diagonal lattice-work⁹⁵.
After demanding explanation from Laurel⁹⁶ and receiving only fumfering⁹⁷, Hardy steps on the blade of a hoe⁹⁸ ⁹⁹, launching its handle on a collision course with his face¹⁰⁰
Iris wipes¹⁰¹ are used to transition from this scene to the next.
Laurel sits atop the ramp and, with the shovel¹⁰² ¹⁰³, pretends to row a boat. The ramp gag¹⁰⁴ is repeated¹⁰⁵, with variation of the escalated¹⁰⁶ type: Hardy falls into the concrete¹⁰⁷ ¹⁰⁸ ¹⁰⁹.
As Laurel slowly and unidigitally¹¹⁰ removes concrete from the bib¹¹¹ of Hardy’s overalls¹¹² ¹¹³, the beating of a timpani¹¹⁴ drum is heard on the soundtrack¹¹⁵.
Laurel douses Hardy with a garden hose¹¹⁶; Hardy utilizes a carpenter’s¹¹⁷ folding rule¹¹⁸ to facilitate the pouring of concrete down the inside of the front of Laurel’s overalls¹¹⁹, the seeing through of which¹²⁰ Laurel resigns himself to; and Laurel once again propels¹²¹ water at Hardy, in this instance directed at his backside¹²²; all of which bring the episode to its halfway point¹²³.
The viewer¹²⁴ is offered re-establishment¹²⁵ of setting¹²⁶, characters¹²⁷, and premise¹²⁸ before returning to the primary radius¹²⁹ of action¹³⁰. Jennifer and Mary Anne discuss their upcoming flight¹³¹, expressing uncertainty about the continued safety¹³² ¹³³ of the Cousins in an unobserved¹³⁴ state as well as their own, that is Jennifer and Mary’s, safety, if they remain at home¹³⁵ ¹³⁶; and the aforementioned return, that is, scene-wise, to the Cousins, who stand looking at the completed gazebo, occurs¹³⁷.
Hardy once again divides the labor¹³⁸. Laurel, believing his shovel’s blade to have stuck in the as-yet unused¹³⁹ trough of concrete, searches within, dredging up a pair of ladies’¹⁴⁰ shoes¹⁴¹.
The focus then switches to Hardy¹⁴² uncoiling¹⁴³ the water hose and extending it toward the gazebo¹⁴⁴ along the walkway, culminating¹⁴⁵ ¹⁴⁶ in the accidental spillage of concrete on the lawn¹⁴⁷.
An exchange in reference to clumsiness and its acquisition¹⁴⁸ ¹⁴⁹ takes place¹⁵⁰.
Laurel’s efforts to remove the spilled concrete are complicated by the seeming disappearance of his pail¹⁵¹, poor spatial and other senses¹⁵², and the recently reduced friction¹⁵³ between his shoes¹⁵⁴ against the ground¹⁵⁵ in the immediate vicinity¹⁵⁶. After mugging¹⁵⁷ at the “camera”¹⁵⁸, Hardy again steps on the blade of the unwisely-laid hoe¹⁵⁹.
In the final black-and-white sequence¹⁶⁰, Laurel niggles¹⁶¹ with a tape measure¹⁶², during which time Hardy consults blueprints¹⁶³. Hardy, anticipating imminent mistake on Laurel’s part¹⁶⁴ ¹⁶⁵, attempts to intervene and is bludgeoned¹⁶⁶ with a wooden-headed¹⁶⁷ mallet¹⁶⁸.
Extended physical buffoonery¹⁶⁹ is carried out, slowing¹⁷⁰ the overall¹⁷¹ work effort.
Finally¹⁷², upon realization of the completion of their work, Laurel and Hardy debate the relative merits and demerits of gluing versus nailing¹⁷³ a “WELCOME” sign¹⁷⁴; the manner in which they resolve this mooting¹⁷⁵ is one periodically employed¹⁷⁶ by Larry to demoralize his cousin Balki¹⁷⁷ ¹⁷⁸. Hardy nails the sign to a front-facing¹⁷⁹ side of a front-facing¹⁸⁰ post of the gazebo, at which point the upper part of the gazebo, that is everything above the lower fascia¹⁸¹ and adjoining steps, tumbles to the lawn¹⁸².
Laurel adds a second finish¹⁸³, adjusting the sign¹⁸⁴. Hardy looks at the “camera”¹⁸⁵ and seems to beg the audience understand his opportunity to, and even desire for, violence against his partner¹⁸⁶.
A ripple dissolve transitions us to reality¹⁸⁷ ¹⁸⁸, revealing the Cousins in repose atop a wooden bench near the completed gazebo and concrete walkway¹⁸⁹, which latter the women, in full flight attendant uniform¹⁹⁰ ¹⁹¹, evince no hesitation¹⁹² in their decision to tread upon¹⁹³.
They express honest¹⁹⁴ awe at its apparent stability. Jennifer further divulges her previous¹⁹⁵ skepticism of the Cousins’ achievement of the Cousins’ goals, prompting inquiry from Larry as to its, that is the skepticism’s, underlying operative reasoning¹⁹⁶.
Jennifer and Mary Anne kiss their respective confirmed and presumed¹⁹⁷ men, and leave having not seen the men’s predicament: that the Cousins have managed to anchor themselves in the concrete walkway¹⁹⁸ ¹⁹⁹.
“Dance of the Cuckoos” begins to play once more as the cousins strive to reach some freedom-giving²⁰⁰ implement.
Under the credits²⁰¹ ²⁰², an additional scene of Laurel and Hardy anticking²⁰³ with their hats is shown, immediately after which the Perfect Strangers episode “The Gazebo”²⁰⁴ ends.
Join me next week²⁰⁵ for “Citizenship, Part 1”!
1. Despite the statistical probabilities that his readers’ history with weblogs has not begun with this post, nor even with this particular weblog, whose, that is the probabilities, approach to certitude over presumed future time can be described by asymptotic functions, the author is duty-bound to recognize the multitude of temporalities experienced by them, that is the readers, in regards to this post. One major principle of communication theory is that the problem of transfer of (new) information without sharing some common set of knowledge is insurmountable, and the author wishes here to ensure this common ground: to wit, that even if the reader has experienced the past few days as a continuous fugue of Perfect Strangers Reviewed reviews, the notion that they can be welcomed back retains validity. Every click or scroll requires some mental interrupt in the thought flow, the general and specific avoidance of which is a major factor in web design (such as the “three click rule”).
2. Or 130th, if one prefers to follow filming order. Hulu watchers may have experienced “The Gazebo” as their 127th episode.
3. Younger readers (or, to be more precise, readers who, prior to 2009 June 12ᵃ ᵇ, could have been classified as “pre-language”) who have ever wondered at the origins of such English phrases as “hang up the phone” or “close but no cigar” may be interested to know that “to air” has its beginnings in the era of radio (first recorded printed use 1993 February 27, per the Oxford English Dictionary), when programs were broadcast, as well as received, via signals passed through the predominantly nitrogenic troposphere of Earth. Imagine if we referred to the current array of digital means of transmission in like fashion!
a. The sequence, if not the display format, of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO; this initialism might lead the reader to assume a European-language origin and accompanying set of words in this order; however the organization selected the Greek word ίσος (isos, meaning “equal) to overlay meaning) is used here.
b. The cutoff date for analog broadcasts in the United States
4. Appropriately, if coincidentally, the year of the goat/sheep (羊) per the Chinese Zodiac; and November 1 corresponding to Scorpio in the Western zodiac. According to Halesᵃ, the goat is a “peace-lover”, “vulnerable to criticism”, and can “obtain their own way by wearing their partners down”. According to the Llewellyn Encyclopediaᵇ, “The best quality of Scorpio is resourcefulness.ᶜ The worst quality is the ability to cause trouble.ᵈ”
a. In Hales, Gill. (2001). The Practical Encyclopedia of Feng Shui. London: Hermes House.
b. Llewellyn Worldwide. (n.d.) Scorpio. The Llewellyn Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://www.llewellyn.com/encyclopedia/term/scorpio
c. i.e. “I have a plan”
d. i.e. “Oh God”
5. All Saint’s Day
6. Meridiem, the accusative form of the Latin term merīdiēs, lit. “midday”
7. American Broadcasting Company
8. Originally “Thank God It’s Friday” in the common parlance, utilized here by ABC as an offense-avoidant backronym intending “Thank Goodness It’s Funny”.
9. Not typically known to home viewers, owing to the fact that neither TV Guide, nor most television programs themselves, provided information on episode titles.
10. Not to be confused with belvederes (whose sole intent is to provide a vantage point from which to take in a particularly noteworthy scenic view), porticos (an (often-colonnaded) covered porch situated at the main entrance of a large building), rotundas (a round building), follies, pergolas (a shaded walkway), or pavilions (differentiated by its nature as a complete building; the reader is welcomed to consider gazebos a subset of pavilions), a gazebo is most similar in layout and intent to the original Persian kiosks; that is, before various Sultans discovered it as yet another outlet through which to express their opulence, borrowing the style for what were essentially mini-palaces). A gazebo is an out-of-doors semi-enclosed, often freestanding, round (generally octagonal) structure intended for relaxation, shelter, entertainment, and/or enjoying scenery. Etymologically, the word “gazebo” is believed to date back to the 18th century and to have borrowed the Latin future active indicative tense ending –abo/-ebo, perhaps in imitation of such words as “lavabo” (a handwashing ewer; literally “I shall wash”), which would render “gazebo” to mean “I shall gaze” and thus the word appears to intend a place/object utilized for gazing. There are, this author thinks, too few words ending in -bo which do not have each their own individual etymological pathways to refer to “bo” as a cranberry morpheme, but further discussion is encouraged by more knowledgeable minds.
11. The premise begs three assumptions on the part of the viewer: that the terms of the rental lease for this property allow the construction of permanent structures; that the characters in Perfect Strangers have filed the proper paperwork for permitsᵃ, and received them; and that said bureaucatic process was not in itself a sufficiently humorous (or otherwise worthwhile) premise for an episode.
a. Speak of the devil and he doth appear, as the saying goes: “permit” is a good example of a cranberry morpheme; though “mit” derives meaning from the Latin mittere (“to give”), it has no unique independent meaning or function in English.
12. Sagittarius; portrayed by Rebeca Arthur (b. 1960 March 17), a Pisces.
13. née Lyons; there is roughly a 2-out-of-3 chance she is an Aries. Jennifer Appleton is portrayed by Melanie Foy Wilson (b. 1961 October 14), a Libra.
14. That Mary Anne’s initial vantage point is further from the “action” than the one utilized in later shots suggests that she may have superior visual acuity relative to that of her longtime friend.
15. That is, the wall furthest from the front door; though, regrettably, no photographs are extant (at least, not in a digitized form) of the full soundstage built for the ground floor of the house, various camera angles (in other episodes, notably season 7, episode 4, “Weekend at Ferdinand’s”) establish the linear continuity between living room and kitchenᵃ.
a. In the kitchen of danger you can feel like a stranger
16. What is later revealed–a doorway–is here successfully permitted to be presumed through director Judy Pioli’s adherence to the 180-degree ruleᵃ.
a. The 180-degree rule allows the viewer the ability to construct a mental map of the space depicted in visual media such films, television, and comics by establishing axes connecting two characters/objects (or two camera angles).
17. Some discussion is worthwhile here. Larry and Balki may not be cousins in the direct, first-cousin sense most often meant with the term; in fact, it was immediately established that they are not. In the first episode of Perfect Strangers, “Knock Knock, Who’s There?”, Balki says this: “My fifth cousin Filo, three times removed, is the step-uncle to your father on my mother’s side.” If one makes the (perhaps generous) assumption that Balki’s grasp of English was at this point full enough for his statements to be trusted, then one must make the conclusion that Larry and Balki are only related by marriage, that is, they have no recent common ancestor, which word, that is recent, is acknowledged problematic by the author in face of terminology used in the biological and genealogical disciplines. It is assumed that, both human, Larry and Balki share the same “most recent common ancestor” with most of humanity; though that erstwhile young stud was at least 3,000, and at most 200,000 years, their forebear.
18. Lawrence Gunther Appleton, per a discarded scene from another season 7 episode, “Car Tunes”. If the reader will permit me liberties to the “tune” of tying episode airdates to a program’s internal chronology, Larry’s birthday is close to the date of April 29 (the airdate of “Happy Birthday Baby”); and in “See You in September”, Larry says that his birthday is in May. We may with some confidence posit that Larry is a Taurus. Larry Appleton is hereᵃ played by Mark Linn-Baker (born Mark Linn Baker, 1954 June 17), a Gemini.
a. The author, hoping–as all authors must–for his words to persist in perpetuity, allows for the future possibility of other actors taking on the mantle of Larry Appleton.
19. Pure dumb luck allowed the creators of Perfect Strangers to offer its star character a given name that appeared foreign without being tied to any historogeographically-situated etymology. “Balki” was the nickname given to the Pinchot family dog (“Balcony”) by Bronson Pinchot’s sister Jennifer “Gigi” Pinchot.
20. Balki Bini Bartokomous, most likely a Taurusᵃ ᵇ ᶜ, is portrayed by Bronson Alcott Pinchot (b. 1959 May 20), also a Taurus.
a. per season 4, episode 22, “Wedding Belle Blues”, airdate 1989 May 5
b. Though neither cousin is Gemini, one cannot help but wonder if airdate chronology may be, if not thrown out the window, then shifted slightly, as the lower sash of a double-hung window, to see unimpeded some deeper truth of their relationship and combined nature. Gemini, “the twins”, has as its main attribute changeableness, which can manifest positively (versatility, adaptability) as well as negatively (volatility, insecurity). The reader may well have preceded the author here in thinking of sitcom stories where twins switch places, and the author encourages this line of thinking.
c. cf. the author’s prior (and thus unaware of the Cousins’ zodiac signs) likening of the Cousins to the Dioscuriⁱ season 5, episode 6 “Poetry in Motion”
i. Castor and Pollux
21. Wood decomposition occurs at a much higher rate than that of stone, posing difficulties to the archaeologist in determining the history of its use in construction of shelters, homes, etc. However, there is evidence of neolithic peoples utilizing timber for such purposes, and the earliest of these currently known date back to ~6,000 BCEᵃ, and appeared in Central Europe, built by early farming communities.
a. The author prefers BCE (Before Current Era) to the Dionysian system, as this notation avoids conflicts among records as to the birth year of Jesus of Nazareth.
22. Does this suggest some dissatisfaction with what the house itself can offer in terms of ways to spend one’s leisure time? Perhaps. But perhaps also it suggests that the house, though rented, permits Larry a sense of permanence, a sense of “having made it”, and now wishes to gaze upon a vista decidedly unspectacular when considering its surrounding neighborhood and miniature relative size, but meaningful to Larry as his own symbolic “conquered” land. This leads to a third possibility: that there exists some human drive in relation to which we are merely individual conduits and which impels us towards creation and order, towards making the external match the internal. An alternative which proves difficult for this author to countenance, is that Larry is unwittingly adding value to a home the ownership of which he has no vested interest in.
23. The articulation of, and communication of to team members, of a timeframe is a necessary, but not a sufficient, aspect of good project management.
24. The assignation of a state of permanence to a minimalist structure exposed to the elements, and thus subject to a need for maintenance, is puzzling.
25. In addition to the bare semantics of the word “sip” (its denotation), there is an associative (connotative) aspect to the word. Whereas water is gulped, beer is chugged, and medicine is choked down, “sipping” carries imagery of free time, of not only one’s basic needs (surviving) but one’s higher needs (thriving) being met as well.ᵃ
a. See Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs”. Maslow, A.H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50(4), p.370-396.
26. The reader’s pardon is begged if the author does not delve into the eminently fascinating history of lemonade (the written record gives us the first mentions of lemonade around the end of the first millennium BCEᵃ in Egypt, with somewhat later records indicating that the 13th-Century Jewish community in Cairo both drank and sold qatarmizat, a sugared lemon juice) to skip ahead by 900 years to discuss its place in 20th-Century American culture. This author’s mental associations of the drink with summer, tropical climates, and the Southeastern United States, may have everything to do with the author’s unexamined identification with his home state (Georgia) as well as its depiction in popular culture. Though lemons are grown in Florida, as of a 2004 USDA Economic Research Service report, <600 acres in South Florida were dedicated to the crop, compared with 45,000 in California and 13,500 in Arizona. It is likely that the Country Time brand, which by legal terms is a drink mix and not itself lemonade, in its usage of plantation-style homes in its early commercials (not to mention barrel-evocative use of wood in its logo), is the main driver of these associations. The author also feels he would be remiss if he did not cite the tradition of the lemonade stand as the quaint first foray into capitalism for the United States child.
a. See supra note 21 sub.
b. as cited in Crane, J.H. (2010). Lemon growing in the Florida Home Landscape. University of Florida IFAS Extension EDIS Publication #HS1153. Retrieved from http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs402
27. One might well wonder at what color lemonade Larry Appleton envisages in his mental idyll. In no less prominent an episode as our first introduction to Larry Appleton, in “Knock Knock, Who’s There”, and at the very moment at which he meets his Cousin Balki, Larry had only just reclined on his bachelor’s sofaᵃ to enjoy a pitcher of pink lemonade.
a. I am the clouds, I am embroidered
28. Inside and outside must be considered relative terms here, and it is at precisely this point, where Larry visualizes leisure inside the gazebo, that its function as a symbol suggests itself. As discussed elsewhereᵃ, Larry and Balki serve as a division of the human condition into, respectively, internal and external aspects. The gazebo may imply an unwillingness to directly engage with nature, but the act of creation itself betrays a desire to make an abstraction of some part of oneself. If Larry will find peace at the end of this project, we can say that he is creating an ideal he wishes to aspire to: a union of internal and external, which he cannot accomplish without taking labor–and thus some part of the self–from his Cousin Balki. Speculation aside, Larry need not build a gazebo for any direct physical purpose, and we can at least deduce that he constructs meaning alongside, within, and with, this gazebo.ᵇ
a. see season 3, episode 5, “Your Cheatin’ Heart”
b. Further possibilities merit discussion. Larry Appleton suffers oftenⁱ from finding himself in a keyless state; and the gazebo is a building for which ingress and egress are continually possible without keys. The gazebo may also function as a middle ground of specialized containers from which environmental settings may be enjoyed; in season 2, episode 19, “Snow Way to Treat a Lady, Part 2”, a mountain cabin proved too inescapable, and in season 4, episode 7, “Up a Lazy River, Part 2”, an inflatable raft had little enough inside volume to function as shelter from the environment.
i. Various episodes
29. None is suggested by Balki.
30. Only recriminations are offered by Balki.
31. A full list of tree species used in building construction would be tedious, counter to the purposes of this review, and moreover moot as the vast history of woodworking has likely encompassed endeavor related to every species of plant that can be cut or otherwise felled and transported. Yet, lumber used for everyday construction, even at the time of this episode’s filming, had undergone decades of market and elemental (that is, atmospheric) forces to have been whittled (excuse the pun) down to a limited range of types which this author assumes optimises availability in forests, cheapness to the wholesale buyer, and durability, those types being referred to in general in woodworking as “SPFᵃ lumber”.
a. Spruce, pine, fir; all ranging in color from white to pale yellow, and displaying tight knots, as the pieces in this episode do; and which can encompass the following species: Black spruce (Picea mariana); Red spruce (Picea rubens); White spruce (Picea glauca); Jack pine (Pinus banksiana); Balsam fir (Abies balsamea); White spruce (Picea glauca); Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmanni); Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta); Alpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa)
32. One must consider the possibility that Larry’s “manly” refusal was given to obscure a depressed personal economic state
33. Can the 20th-Century local hardware store, and thus Larry’s purchase of materials from it for a do-it-yourself project, stand, in contrast to the North American practice of earlier centuries of barn raising, in which unpaid community participation was required, as an example of the larger trend towards individualism in the United States? This author thinks so.
34. Politeness theory (referring to Penelope Brown’s and Stephen Levinson’s late 20th-Century work, building on the 19th-Century introduction of “facework”ᵃ by Erving Goffman to the Western academic community from its origins in China) predicts that any admission of fault, or weakness, by anyone, ought be accompanied by an apology that help is required. The interaction between Larry and the hardware store clerk can be understood in these terms. The clerk, in offering assistance to Larry, hopes to assist Larry in saving face by not letting Larry be in the position of asking; however that act, the offer, is still perceived as a threat by Larry. This treatment may be brief to the point of disclarity, and the author encourages further study at the reader’s leisure.
a. “Face” is the public self-image that each individual strives to maintain in their various communities; face can be “lost” or “saved”ⁱ.
i. Don’t wanna mess your face up, or we won’t know if it’s you
35. It is possible that Larry, with of course the fullest possible knowledge of having purchased and brought home blueprints, was paying his Cousin Balki a compliment by asking his advice on where various pieces were meant to be placed. That his questions were met with insult doubtless lessens the likelihood that Larry will continue such magnanimous behavior.
36. Though now referring to any type of plan, for construction or otherwise, blueprints were initially blue in color, with white lines depicting the plans to be carried out. Sir John Frederick William Herschel, 1st Baronet (b. 1792 March 7 (a Pisces); d. 1971 May 11) was a photographic pioneer, having published his invention of the cyanotype process in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London in 1842. This was a low-cost method of producing copies of drawings. Reproduction of shades of grey, the author feels compelled to mention, were not possible with the cyanotype process. Technological advances in reproduction and printing have long since rendered cyanotype obsolete, though “blueprint” is still the preferred nomenclature for any such visual plan.
37. There are two such boards seen throughout the episode, and unless the Cousins were expected to cut these down to some other size, there appears to be nowhere for them to go on the gazebo.
38. As this action physically took place on a soundstage, the metaphorical sense is meant.
39. Physical comedy, also referred to as slapstick.ᵃ As with many comedy tropes,ᵇ slapstick has its origins in commedia dell’arte (“comedy of the profession”), a form of theatre in 16th- through 18th-Century Italy. The batacchio (lit. “clapper”) consisted of two slats of wood which, when used to strike another actor, produced noise from the two wood pieces hitting each other sufficient that the actor need not be hit hard–or actually–to create the intended aural exaggeration.
a. That Larry Appleton is hit in the face with a piece of wood is a more than fitting first salvo for a slapstick sequence.
b. The hallway chase scene, involving running in and out of doors in ways that often break laws of continuity and/or physics, often seen on, and associated with, animated cartoon programs such as Scooby Doo, Where Are You!, may have been invented by Carlo Osvaldo Goldoni (b. 1707 February 25 (a Pisces); d. 1793 February 6) for his 1746 play The Servant of Two Masters (Il servitore di due padroni).
40. Despite his earlier attempts, Larry has symbolically “lost face”.
41. Having no batacchio to hand, Mark Linn-Baker relied on a scarcely-hidden tool–the hammer Larry happened to be holding aloft at the moment–to simulate the impact of wood upon cartilage. Perfect Strangers, ever straddling the line between slapstick and real-world concern, invites comparison here to the world of professional wrestling and its tradition of kayfabeᵃ. Even this early in the episode, before the Cousins’ transition to their black-and-white counterparts, Perfect Strangers is bringing to the surface questions of “reality”, or “truth”, and what constitutes either.
a. The discussion of the etymological roots of “gazebo” and “Balki” may have given the reader the impression that this author finds such pursuits rewarding; however nothing is further from the truth in cases such as this, where definite origins, or even those of a “most likely” variety, are impossible to know due to the nature of a domain’s lack of an historical record, which is certainly the case for early professional wrestling practice.
42. Does one swallow a summer make? Do 80 kisses a girlfriend make? Perfect Strangers is mute on the subject in this entry. Are the Cousins’ constant presence at each others’ sides a mitigating factor in understanding the relationship between Balki Bartokomous and Mary Anne? in regards to this third question, this author thinks so.
43. See season 7, episode 2, “The Wedding”
44. Reversals abound! That Jennifer and Mary Anne have found their own gazebo-locus tells us that the Cousins’ efforts may be in vain; the question is begged whether these men understand that they themselves are the only objects worth gazing upon in this immediate vicinity. The house, as it were, contemplating its own navelᵃ, the birth of structure. The women returning the voyeuristic male gazeᵇ, which in pre-electric eras would have involved the scopophilic scoundrel lurking nocturnally outside the lady’s window, hoping to catch a glimpse of forbidden flesh through that lighted squareᶜ.
a. Omphaloskepsis (from the Greek ὀμφᾰλός (omphalós, literally ”navel”) and σκέψῐς (sképsis, literally ”viewing”)), it may delight the reader to know, is an centuries-old philosophical and religious practice wherein the adherent gazes literally upon the navel in search of some enlightenment or connection with the infinite.
b. It pains the author to have neither the space nor the time to delve into the origins and import of this term; though the reader is enjoined to consult Mulvey, L. (1975). Visual pleasure and narrative cinema. Screen, 16(3), p. 6-18.
c. The predominant modern counterpart–pornography as viewed on the computer screen–should be obvious.
45. The reader will recall that this episode has an airdate of 1991 November 1; and the author’s statements to the effect that characters’ birthdays may responsibly be tied to airdates; and justifiably question why a sufficient number of details evident in the script and action of the episode run counter to those previous statements. The author has no intent in mind to dull the edge of William of Ockham’s famed razor by proposing some Indian summerᵃ, or by some mangled timeline whereby the months intervening between the season 6 finale and the season 7 undergo abbreviation relative to the timeline experienced by the original home viewing audience, and must simply guess that the writers thought the story worthwhile enough to make trifles of concerns of chronology.
a. The author can understand the longevity of terms such as “blueprint” (and, by extension, such more recent anachronisms as the “hanging up” or “dialing” of a phone) insofar as substitutions for these phrases (“plans”; “disconnecting”; “selecting a number”) are less linguistically distinct (not to mention impossible to enforce); however the persistence of a racist–not to mention historically inaccurate–appellation must at some point be rejected in favor of some other phrase. Numerous examples in other languages, unladen with connotations of such lamentable history, abound.
46. The author uses this term generously.
47. The Cousins
48. Conditions for resemblance are often unsatisfactorily–if at all–discussed. The author must admit first a trepidation to tread where his scientific and philosophic knowledge measures less than his personal knowledge. The author must ask that the reader draw from their own well of experience and see–if the reader permits a joke–what resemblances exist between the two. For the one, one axis–color, height, weight, purpose, construction, creator, age, design, etc.–may be sufficient to claim resemblance. A rose is a rose is a rose, as the saying goesᵃ; while for another, one axis is necessary but not sufficient, and may require 1+n other aspects evince similarities. Whether these differences can be attributed to variable depths or breadths of experience, or due to the variable absence or presence of intervening mental processes between initial recognition and final assessment and/or verbal expression of such, the author declines to guess, lest he appear elitist. Suffice it to say that greater skill at differentiation is possible with a familiarity across a multitude of examples (consider the spectrum’s opposite end: that all members of a race different from one’s own “look alike”), and that the psychological literature offers evidence that facial affect is processed more deeply when subjects observe faces resembling their own. Perhaps familiarity, as the old saw goes, breeds contempt; but perhaps it has better reasons to feel that way. However, no less a mind than Ludwig Wittgenstein celebrated a gut reaction to questions of resemblance.ᵇ
a. Socrates’ theory of forms is an appropriate philosophical background to this discussion, though the reader should take caution against argumenta ad absurdum, that is, all groups of two persons resemble all other groups of two persons.
b. From his Philosophical Investigations:
Consider for example the proceedings that we call “games”. I mean board-games, card-games, ball-games, Olympic games, and so on. What is common to them all? — Don’t say: “There must be something common, or they would not be called ‘games’ ” – but look and see whether there is anything common to all. — For if you look at them you will not see something that is common to all, but similarities, relationships, and a whole series of them at that. To repeat: don’t think, but look!
I can think of no better expression to characterize these similarities than “family resemblances“; for the various resemblances between members of a family: build, features, colour of eyes, gait, temperament, etc. etc. overlap and cries-cross in the same way. – And I shall say: ‘games’ form a family … And we extend our concept of number as in spinning a thread we twist fibre on fibre. And the strength of the thread does not reside in the fact that some one fibre runs through its whole length, but in the overlapping of many fibres.
49. Jennifer, though she leaves this unstated, and thus ought be prepared for whatever unconsidered response her friend gives, means pairs of male comedians.
50. Mary Anne quite possibly breaks here the fourth wallᵃ ᵇ, drawing attention to the television viewer’s own level of gazing from some indoors into an outdoors.
a. In addition to however many walls are present in this episode, or if considering multiple episodes, present in this house altogether; and despite that the 180-degree shots have established that there is no wall here, rather a continuous backyard stretching behind the audience’s vantage to the not-yet-completed gazebo; the camera’s angle and location are always considered in the sitcom to constitute a fourth wall, for the sake of simplicity in language.
b. Then they work the wall
51. That Mary Anne is able to name any other pair of comedic characters is remarkable, given that Perfect Strangers has, unfailingly and explicitly, made clear that Mary Anne would think that one would not resemble something unless they had failed to semble it properly the first time.
52. Laverne and Shirleyᵃ were the titular characters of Laverne & Shirley, a television program which, coincidentally, aired on the American Broadcasting Corporation during, and between, the years 1976 and 1983. The program was known for its regular use of physical comedy (comparisons in this case being to Lucille Ricardo and Ethel Mertz of I Love Lucy), but not, as a cursory glance at episode synopses listed in Wikipedia indicates, for its focus on construction of freestanding outdoor structures.
a. Portrayed, respectively, by Carole Penny Marshall (b. 1943 October 15 (a Libra)) and Cynthia (Cindy) Jane Williams (b. 1947 August 22 (a Leo)).
53. Was Mary Anne incorrect in which duo it reminded her of? Perhaps this is simply habituated response on Mrs. Appleton’s part, though one might wonder what truths she, that is Jennifer, sees.
54. Stan Laurel (Arthur Stanley Jefferson, b. 1890 June 6 (a Gemini); d. 1965 February 23)
55. Often stylized Laurel & Hardy
56. Oliver Norvell “Babe” Hardy (born Norvell Hardy 1892 January 18 (a Capricorn); d. 1957 August 7)
57. Despite any notion or desire by the reader that Perfect Strangers had existed in a vacuum, the program was far from the first to make this explicit comparison. Of the extant published writings contemporary with the original broadcast of the first two seasonsᵃ, the earliest comparison to Laurel and Hardy is by Mark Linn-Baker in the 1987 January 7 edition of USA Today. The quote (“And it [Perfect Strangers] turned into–hopefully–a classic comedy team along the lines of Burns and Allen or Laurel and Hardy”), speaking only to intention, says nothing of receptionᵇ by any audiences, lay or professional. If one accepts the aphorism that one is one’s own worstᶜ critic, one can perhaps be convinced of a metaphorical epicenter of critical strength/value, with the self serving as both epicenter and hypocenter in this metaphor, and with the deterioration of seismic waves corresponding to the strength/value of criticism as it, that is the criticism, arises at points ever farther from that epicenter. That is to say, the ultimate viewer of such a program as Perfect Strangers, if offering critique of any of its efforts, may be the least valuable source of it; and that those somehow closer (in this tremorous metaphorical sense) to the program, say television critics, actors, writers, comedians, etc., may be better poised to gauge its actual effect; that is to say, to get at the truth of the matter. If one accepts this aphoristic accretion, then there can be no better first source for critical engagement with Perfect Strangers than that same source which first mentioned it in comparison with Laurel and Hardy: Cracked Magazineᵈ, specifically the 1987 Octoberᵉ issue #231.ᶠ The curious reader may consult Appendix I for the satire in full; the reader already familiar with Cracked Magazine, and thus predisposed to feelings of disappointment at its mention, may take delight in knowing that MAD Magazine too featured a satire of Perfect Strangers in its 1987 Aprilᵍ issue #270ʰ, which is reproduced in full in Appendix II.
a. Some consider the first six, that is episodes, to be sample episodes.
b. See infra note 204
c. This author is amused to think that both meanings of this word are intended.
d. Often stylized Mazagine
e. Per longstanding newsstand standard of distribution of magazine periodicals 1-2 months ahead of their cover dates, the reader ought understand this cover date to mean an availability to consumers sometime in August or September; most likely September, as this would have coincided with the program’s return to television in 1987 September.
f. Pages 41-44, “Imperfect Strangers”, written by Joe Catalano and illustrated by Wally J. Brogan.
g. So, February or March
h. Pages 40-44, “Perfectly Strange”, written by Dick DeBartolo and illustrated by Angelo Torres. Comparisons are made, not to Laurel and Hardy, but to Louie and Latka from Taxi, as well as to Mork from Mork and Mindy and The Odd Couple.
58. The author finds this designation curious. No doubt the Three Stooges or the Marx Brothers may be rightfully considered a team; but does a duo constitute–or even resemble–a group? Again, comparisons to wrestling, here to tag teams specifically, may be made.
59. The timeframes from various sources standing in disagreement one with another, the author has taken the most reasonable timeframe, that of 1927 (their appearance as a team in the film The Lucky Dog) until 1955 (their appearance on the program This is Music Hall).
60. By some counts 107. The author longs for the arrival of the day when all such petty questions of canon are resolved and fans of visual comedy may together enjoy their entertainments of choice in full harmony one with another.
61. Some 34 silent shorts, 45 sound shorts, and 27 full-length sound feature films.
62. Generally utilized for dream or memory sequences in film and television; appearing here as waves from an epicenter, elsewhere (cf. Wayne’s World) as a series of vertical wavy lines.
63. The author here, as throughout this review, employs utilize to mean “used to attain an end”; no evaluation is intended.
64. No immediate sense should be inferred from this; the Cousins do not undergo some transformation before (so to speak) our eyes. The transition is achieved entirely through video effect.
65. The author intends every mathematical usage of the word the reader can conjure: rotation, symmetry, and even as spectrum analog.
66. Noise is a key concept in communication theory, and is not limited to its original aural sense. Whenever communication is attempted through a medium, there may be various factors which impact its accurate transmission from source to destination.ᵃ Noise may arise at any point in the communication model, from psychological, environmental, physical, or semantic origins (a speaker may have biases; the speaker may be competing with the sound of a passing train; the speaker may have a frog in their throat; the speaker may be employing language of an exceeding specialized or affected nature). Permutations may occur, as here, in this re-”broadcast” of “The Gazebo” available on Hulu, which underwent some forms of remastering, as evidenced by a handful of seconds post-ripple dissolve appearing in faded hues before then switching to a full black-and-white palette. At the risk of waxing didactic, the author offers this caution: if knowledge of reality involves the transfer of accurate, impartial information between persons, one must be aware of the “noises” which may exist across any communication system.
a. The reader’s patience–in having not navigated away from this page in disgust at the author’s failure to provide terminology or definitions of communication in the earlier mention of communication theory–is cherished. Communication is the transfer of information, originating in a source, encodedⁱ into some message, given out as a signal by a sender, through a channel (medium), reconstructed by a receiver, and then finalizing in a destination. Source → message → sender → channel → receiver → destination. The author’s brain → this review → the author → a system consisting of both our computers, the Internet, and the entirety of the infrastructure supporting it, not to mention the English language → the reader’s eyes (potentially ears) → the reader’s brain.
i. They live by a co-co-a-co-a-co-co-a-code
67. That the Laurel and Hardy short film Helpmates was, in 1984, digitally colorizedᵃ (one of the first of its kind, that is, black-and-white films, to be subjected to the process) and released in 1986, precisely the same year that Perfect Strangers premiered to television audiences, invites, not irony, but perhaps a mirroring, a reversal, some meta-aspect of 20th-Century nostalgia crystallizing.ᵇ
a. The process is beyond this author’s ken and as such will not be discussed here.
b. This author is put in mind of nothing so much as the climax of the 1990 Michael Verhoeven film Das schreckliche Mädchen (The Nasty Girl), where a town’s eventual celebration of–after protracted bureaucratic and psychological warfare against–a schoolgirl’s quest to discover her town’s participation (revealed to be far more actively complicit than tacit acceptance) in the Nazi regime’s programmatic pogrom against the Jews takes the form of a bust of the selfsame girl; the message being that all postwar German memorial coalesces in the form of the tombstone, that remembrance can be externalized and never encountered again.
68. If ever there were something which could be considered fair ground for serious discussion of Socrates’sᵃ theory of forms, actors, and perhaps more to the point, characters played by multiple actors is it. As the reader is no doubt familiar with the allegory of the cave, we may dispense with its reconstruction (in short: everything physical that we humans see is likened unto shadows on a wall, shadows of things from a truer reality that exists on some other plane) and move to more pertinent aspects of its applicability here.ᵇ The true “form”, the ideal form, at play here is the mental concept that you and I have of Laurel and Hardy. Though it is true that these characters are the creation of two (or more) actual human beings, that there have been numerous independent sets of comedy pairs exhibit some signs of convergence, this author finds it at the very least tempting to contemplate whether there exists some perfect form of this nature, trying serially to find its expression through human matter.ᶜ If this is the case, then hylomorphically, actors are the matter that make characters, and any number of equally competent actors could take on a character without difficulty. However, the discussion supra note 66 becomes relevant here; if characters originate in some muse or other, then any noise introduced in their communication must lie either in the receiver/destination (audience) or channel (actor).
a. Well, okay, Plato’s
b. Balki’s fixation on shadow puppets, as the reader will eventually remember, need not be taken as anything more than cosmic coincidence.
c. Terry Pratchett’s 1990 Discworld novel Moving Pictures deals with this humorously and extensively.
69. The author finds himself at the point of hesitation to refer to this simulated Laurel and Hardy as actors in costume, while having no qualms not doing so when making reference to Balki and Larry; but making the change before the audience’s eyes (so to speak) gives away the game of acting.ᵃ
a. Why did the traffic light turn red? Everyone saw it changing.
70. As Socratesᵃ asked us to look to the city to understand the man, we too may find explanation for larger cultural trends (the shift from men wearing hats in the early 20th Century to men not wearing hats in the late 20th Century) by understanding culture as a superorganic entity.ᵇ That is, humans are the matter that culture (or societies) is made of, and the channel through which forms create their appearances. Symptoms of conditions are merely the outward appearance of internal changes, and societal forces such as the development of the hardhat (beginning 1919) obviating the need for hats to protect from injury in labor situations, improved capabilities for climate control allowing more varieties of work to take place indoors, the increasing cost of employing hat-check girlsᶜ, the rise of automobiles resulting in a decreased reliance on public transportation, wider availability of hygiene products, and other such factors, all combined to render the fashion outdated.ᵈ
a. Well, okay, Plato
b. See Kroeber, A.L. (1917). The superorganic. American Anthropologist, 19 (2), p. 163-213.
c. The tradition of the jazz discharge party hats
d. The interested reader may consult Neil Steinberg’s 2004 monograph Hatless Jack: The President, the Fedora and the Death of the Hat for a fuller picture.
71. Bronson mumbles, trails off during explanation, and cries, all in imitation of Stan Laurel’s character. Lest the author take the insulting, and thus the easy, way out and state simply that Mark Linn-Baker simply has more adipose tissue about his person, it is worth noting that he, as a channel, does appear to constitute some level of noise in this respect: despite frowning, demanding explanation from his companion, affecting a superior tone and posture, and becoming frustrated, Mark Linn-Baker misses one crucial, perhaps signature aspect of Oliver Hardy’s portrayal, namely the two-handed, splay-fingered chest-thumping used when referring to himself, which simultaneously indicates a) that Hardy believes he is speaking to an idiot who cannot make distinction between himself and others and b) that Hardy is a big-headed jackass.
72. Mark changes his voice and cadence to an extent sufficient that his costume and the surrounding context do the rest of the work; it must be said that Bronson has more practice with mimicking voices.
73. The characters are meant
74. That is, Balki portrays Laurel, and Mark Hardy
75. See supra note 16 sub.
76. Their essential duplication, and the fact that Mary Anne lacks mental capacity to the extent that she would anticipate dissolve shots only occurring if one were to watch a mystery film in reverse, notwithstanding, it is safe to say that the imagining does not take place in the minds of both women.
77. If arguably not Larry’s cousin in any strict sense of the term, even less so Jennifer’s, despite Balki’s constant reference to her as suchᵃ.
a. “Cousin Jennifer”
78. Analogous to a sitcom’s theme or theme song
79. Copyrighted as “Ku Ku” and originally played on Hal Roach’sᵃ studio radio station, and composed by Marvin Hatley; first used for the 1930 Laurel and Hardy short film Blotto.
a. Harold Eugene Roach, Sr. (b. 1892 January 14 (a Capricorn); d. 1992 November 2); one wonders if Mr. Roach, at the age of 99, watched this episode, and at what he may have thought of it.
80. Soundtrack is the rare workman’s term which seemingly passed through no marketing guru’s hands before reaching the consumer masses. Some cursory history is due here. Prior to the late 1930s, audio recording was achieved by the mechanical process of acoustic energy from aural sources (voice, music, environmental sound) being transferred to a mastering lathe, which would cut grooves into wax (sometimes metal) discs or cylinders.ᵃ The advent of magnetic tape as a storage medium allowed versatility of recording and playback; each individual length of tape consisted of one audio channel, or track (later developments would allow multiple tracksᵇ). The sound track, as it came to be known, was made up of a dialogue track, a sound effects track, and a music track. Film houses, having up to then employed live orchestras, benefitted from the ability to playback recorded music on a medium similar to that of the films themselves; and this technological development lowered the barriers to filmmakers being able to provide their own scores. And then (the reader will excuse the author’s gross compression of an entire decade of social and scientific change), once particular music was associated with a particular film, movie companies began offering these soundtracksᶜ for sale to the public.ᵈ
a. When someone refers to cutting a record it (much like “airing” broadcasts, supra note 3) harkens back to this older process.
b. The older reader may be familiar with the commercially-available 8-track tape.
c. In actuality the music trackⁱ only ⁱⁱ
i. I’m suffering with the click track right now
ii. A counterexample springs to mind: there exists, to the author’s knowledge, no available copy exists of the song “Sword of Damocles” from the film The Rocky Horror Picture Show which includes the vocal track heard in the film without the accompanying sound effects (and vocals not part of the song).
d. The reader may–as the author does–feel the weight of time when considering that, in the span between The Finishing Touch (see infra note 88) and “The Gazebo”, so much rapid technological change had occurred that the word was not yet in existence when the former film was created.
81. Contemporary movie soundtracks, that is contemporary with this review’s writing, often employ orchestral score as well as integration of popular songsᵃ. Had The Finishing Touch (see infra note 88) been produced in recent decades, the author imagines that popular songs, presumably ones with building themes, may have been added to its soundtrack. “The House that Jack Built” (Aretha Franklin); “Build Me Up Buttercup” (The Foundations); “If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)” (The Weavers); and “We Built This City” (Starship)ᵇ are all likely candidates.
a. Quite often by musicians under contract by the selfsame companies who produce these movies.
b. The author would like to here inject (and hopefully not presume upon the reader’s patience by doing so) a personal note, that is, of enjoyment of parodical music by musicians and singers such as Peter Schickele, Tom Lehrer, Allan Sherman, and Alfred (“Weird Al”) Yankovic and, as this episode deals with ineptitude, to suggest one such song parody of his own: “We Built This Shitty”.
82. Hardy assigns himself the easier of the two tasks: putting together the pre-fabricated kit with instructions. Hardy assigns to Laurel the harder of the two: pouring concrete, which involves far more thought and physical exertion. It is with world-weary cynicism that the author notes that, here and in the real economic world, such divisions tend to be suggested by thoseᵃ not required to labor at all.
a. Plato was the child of a wealthy political family; and one wonders if suggestions in his Republic–that divisions of labor are suggested by naturally occurring inequalities among humans–were indeed those of Socrates, formerly an Athenian hoplite.
83. The author wishes to offer polite correction to those who employ the terms “concrete” and “cement” interchangeably. Cement may be utilized on its own for building projects, but may quickly crack and degrade in short time; but as a binding agent, with water and other aggregates (like sand or gravel), becomes concrete, which may last centuries.
84. As the presence of an open trough of concrete indicates, the Cousins are utilizing concrete containing non-hydraulic cement (often made from calcium hydroxide or “slaked lime”), which hardens through prolonged exposure to air. (Hydraulic cement hardens in contact with water.)
85. At this point in the episode, there is a layer of concrete already inset (one assumes by a few inches) into the ground leading from the house’s back door to the gazebo’s raised base; and later in the episode it is shown that a long concrete step has been added roughly equidistant between house and gazebo. While Larry may only have been able to choose from various gazebo designs, depending on the kits available; the walkway’s design may be his very own choice. If this is the case, it is quite a brutalist choice. The author means this in both the architectural senseᵃ as well as how he treats what he considers his possessions. The author assumes the purpose of a walkway in one’s own yard is simply to protect a regularly-used stretch of grass from absolute destruction; Larry has chosen to ensure it will not be gradually eroded to an unattractive chemin du désirᵇ by destroying it all at once.
a. From the French béton brut, “raw concrete”
b. Literally “pathway of desire”
86. The ramp, and one might assume that this occurs in the fantasy as Jennifer has ceased processing the tangible activity in her immediate field of vision, consists in part of the two overlarge boards the purpose of which her husband was previously unaware. As the audience never sees Larry or Balki use these boards, it is impossible for us to conclusively know their true purpose.
87. The assumption here is that Hardy needs this ramp to transfer the remaining latticed wall panels, posts, beams, rafters, roof pieces, latticed frets, fret curves, as well as an assumed hub/cupola; the set directorᵃ, by all evidence, has traded logical workflow and sense of space for immediate visual apprehension, that is, of the gazebo’s final form, and for set-up of the action soon to occur. That is to say: many of these pieces have not only been transferred to the raised platform, but themselves raised and fixed in place, all without apparent incident.
a. Bonnie Dermer-Brockliss
88. Of the 106 (or 107) titles in the Laurel and Hardy filmography, “The Gazebo” takes as what we shall for the sake of rapid disposal of this lucubration term its inspiration The Finishing Touch (released 1928 February 25ᵃ). Its plot, not entirely dissimilar to the episode currently under review, involves Laurel and Hardy (the characters) performing work on a house whose owner is eager to have completed quickly and which is situated quite near a hospital. Much of the action is concerned with the multitude of tasks which Mrs. Laurel and Hardy both attempt and fail; and the remainder on the duo’s struggles with the hospital’s head nurse (who wishes only quiet) and a local beat officer who enforces the head nurse’s wishes. Of the methods whereby construction materials (bricks, handsaw, lumber, nails, glue, shingles, windowframes, carrying materials indoors, buckets, measuring) are translated into physical comedy (falling, general difficulty, a seemingly-endless piece hefted at both ends by Laurel, swallowed by Hardy, poured on the police officer, stuck on the police officer, falling apart during attempted placement, falling through a shoddy ramp, misplacing the bucket by way of its unrealized accidental placement on the handle end of a shovel, failing to do so properly) in The Finishing Touch, only the three final of these are borrowed for “The Gazebo”, despite the latter having a longer duration. This author is puzzled at the traversal of such a great distance–of time and format–for so few appropriations. One hopes that the lack of exploit–similar to that of The Finishing Touch–of the overlarge boards signals an inability to overcome the physical limitations of a studio soundstage, as well as the action taking place before a live audienceᵇ, rather than any deficiency in those who wrote this episode.
a. Before the composition of “Dance of the Cuckoos”
b. The author here intends the common use: not that other audiences are no longer among the living–though this may well be the general case if one were to compare viewers of these two films in their initial presentation to general audiences–but that the audience is immediately seated in front of the soundstage, and that the laughter heard on the soundtrack was directly caused by the action seen. The author regrets not having made this distinction supra note 80.
89. The author wishes to offer polite correction to those who use “concerted” and “redoubled”, in combination with “effort”, interchangeably. To do something “in concert” means to do it with others; one cannot exact concerted effort alone.
90. While the author does not wish to suggest any widespread knowledge of–and thus implicit plot-driving reference to in such works as The Finishing Touch–the Gantt chart in either 1928 or 1991, though its applicability here stands as a testament to the notion that theory and models are but formalizations of regular human reasoningᵃ, as the action simply would not function as comedy at all if the viewer did not feel that they could accomplish the job more efficiently and with less injury than the characters. In short, the Gantt chart, invented by Henry Gantt (b. 1861 May 20 (a Taurus); d. 1919 November 23), and often crucial to project management, creates a breakdown of all tasks involved in a project, and distributes them across a timeframe, making clear not only what sequence of events must take place, but which tasks are chronologically or otherwise dependent on others.
a. The author does not wish to denigrate any academic writing on any subject. To be sure, mathematics and logic must be formally and systematically exercised to surmount everyday misconceptions, faulty heuristics, and non-intuitive concepts (examples too numerous to mention in what this author intends as a brief review, though the reader is invited to consult various “psychology sidebars” in other of this weblog’s entries).
91. The author uses this term for effect, with full recognition that each reader’s concept of disasterᵃ might fall on various points along a spectrum ranging from mishap to apocalypse.
a. This show is a disaster, Rhonda!
92. Per the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s MMWRᵃ, from 2004 through 2007, injuries occurring inside or outside the home accounted for 54% of all female injuries, and 42% of all male injuries (with an average of 33.5 million injuries per year).
a. CDC. (2010)ⁱ. QuickStats: Percentage Distribution of Injuries,* by Place of Occurrence, Among Males and Females — National Health Interview Survey, United States, 2004–2007. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 59(4), p. 109.
i. While in apparent contradiction to the ISO standard, the American Psychological Association’s citation format for bibliography¹ dictates solely the use of publication year.
1. The author stands ashamed before you to have so brazenly mixed citation styles.
93. At this point the author wonders how, and how far, from each other the actions by Laurel and Hardy and the actions by Balki and Larry have diverged, as Laurel is preparing to place concrete on a stretch of walkway not flanked by (the author estimates 4”-high) supports seen in subsequent scenes. A guess that Laurel is incognizant of the necessity of such would certainly be well-supported; however we must remind ourselves that this is taking place in Jennifer’s mind.
94. And broken by
95. In the current Internet climate of high drama surrounding the premature disclosure of information relating to the climax of a piece of visual media, and though the reader’s enjoyment of “The Gazebo” is presumed to be unspoilable by such revelation, the author wishes all the same to alert the reader to a “spoiler” in this note: that the gazebo in the final scene of the episode, that is to say the “real” gazebo, is not missing any lattice-work panels. This no doubt confirms that Jennifer’s imagination is not simply overlaying well-known characters onto what she sees. But the question remains: what is she doing? Why does she translate one set of actions into another? The author has elsewhere made light of Jennifer’s taste and choice in choosing Larry Appleton over any other suitor, especially those in her leagueᵃ, surmising that there may be less neuronal activity occurring in her mind than in that of her friend, Mary Anne; though we may put those questions aside for this moment as we strive to determine whether she has some purpose in envisioning her husband and his cousin as Hardy and Laurel, respectively.
The author has two possibilities in mind.
The first and doubtless lesser of these is that Jennifer is simply creating amusement for herself. While these four people have dwelt in this house for anywhere between a few days and a few months, no concrete evidence has been yet offered that they own–much less watch–a television. One might extrapolate, from Jennifer’s known experience, that she spends the majority of her time either as stewardess on a plane or otherwise out of eyeshot of the occasional antics in which her husband and “cousin” are engaged, that she regularly exists in an entertainment-poor state. This proposition, however, constitutes an argumentum ad ignorantium (literaly “argument from ignorance”), confronted in the current vernacular by the phrase “the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence”.
The reader may find the author’s other supposition infra note 136.
a. If desirability can be quantified in terms of physical attractivenessⁱ, income, race, ethnicity, and education, and measured additionally through number of messages received through online dating sites, then “leagues” can be considered–though not in any sense of a set number of leagues–to exist. Such is the implicit finding of Elizabeth E. Bruch and M.E.J. Newman in a recent article.ⁱⁱ The explicit finding is that most people tend to pursue potential mates who are roughly 25% more desirable than themselves; this is not, the author thinks, to say that most people seek out those out of their league, rather that a desirability gap of more than 25% would constitute a difference in leagues.
i. I’m a beautiful guy, you know what I mean?
ii. Bruch, E.E. and M.E.J. Newman. (2018). Aspirational pursuit of mates in online dating markets. Science Advances, 4(8). http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aap9815
b. “The Gazebo” was not aired, relative to the other episodes in season 7, in the same order that it was filmed. Though airing sixth, it was filmed tenth, between “Wild Turkey” (aired ninth) and “Car Tunes” (aired eleventh).
96. Quite absent any singular uniqueness compared to other such dialogue in this episode, this interchange scarce deserves mention; as the author’s goal is accuracy and completeness, the reader is asked to consider this one exemplary of the others.
97. Were it not for a first extant recorded use of the word “embiggen” in 1884, the author would express surprise that it found a place in the Oxford English Dictionary, but not fumferᵃ, which appears in the season 18 episode of The Simpsons “Yokel Chords”.
a. A word of Yiddish origin, meaning to mutter evasively
98. Etymology per the OEDᵃ: < French houe (12th cent. in Hatzfeld & Darmesteter: houë in Cotgrave) < Old High German houwâ (in Middle High German houwe , modern German haue ), hoe, mattock, pick-axe, < houwan to hew v. The spelling hoe (due to the falling together of -ōw, -oe, in pronunciation, as in flow, floe) appeared in 18th cent., and became the ordinary form c1755. How, hough, are still dialectal; the Scots is howe/hʌu/, /hou/, rhyming with Scots pronunciation of grow, knowe, etc.
a. Hoe. (n.d.). In The Oxford English dictionary (online). Retrieved from http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/87558
99. The author does not wish to try his readers’ patience with any lengthy discussion of types of hoes. While it is true that there do exist mortar hoes for the express purpose of mixing up cement; and while it is indeterminate whether the hoe used in this episode fits the physical description of a mortar hoe (two circular holes in the blade); the author considers it far more likely that a garden-varietyᵃ hoe was sufficient to the set director.
a. The author hopes his wordplay is met with both comprehension and merriment.
100. At the end of its arc, it connects.
101. Also referred to as an iris shot, or an iris slow, this method of closing a scene was typical of the silent film era, and used as well in homage to it by Warner Bros. in their Road Runnerᵃ cartoons, this technique involves a closing/shrinking circle surrounded by a black field, with focus maintained on a subject until the circle has closed (somewhat counterintuitively referred to as iris out), or this in reverse if employed as an opening shot (iris in).
a. Avis latinus iocus
102. Etymology per the OEDᵃ: Old English scofl feminine corresponds to North Frisian skofel digging shovel, Middle Low German, Low German schuffel , shovel, weeding hoe, Middle Dutch schofel , schoffel shovel (modern Dutch schoffel weeding hoe, whence scuffle n.); the Middle Swedish skofl , skofwel (Swedish skofvel ), Danish skovl , Norwegian skufl , are probably < Low German; parallel forms with long root-vowel are Old High German scûvala (feminine) (Middle High German schûvel , modern German schaufel) shovel, early modern Dutch schuivel , dialect schoefel shovel; the Germanic type *skūflō is apparently < the root *skūf- , *skūƀ- of shove v.
a. Shovel. (n.d.). In The Oxford English dictionary (online). Retrieved from http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/178718
103. Again, no discussion of of shovel types is necessitated save to indicate that Laurel holds what appears to be a round point shovel.
104. For a discussion of the variability in recognition of patterns/resemblances, see supra note 48.
105. That the upper portion (board) of the ramp is–unbeknownst to Hardy–removed.
106. Depending upon the readers’ like or mislike of this play on words, the author either accepts or shoulders the reader’s praise or ire, respectively.
107. The gags vary sufficiently enough to refer to the replay as insult in relation to the prior injury.
108. The author is compelled to note at this point that, of the three gags borrowed from the “Finishing Touch”, this one is carried out twice.
109. The author feels further compelled to note that in the season 6 episode “I Saw This On TV” (in which Mark Linn-Baker and Bronson Pinchot portray Ralph Kramden and Edward Norton), no rights attribution for those characters, that is Ralph and Edward, is given during the episode’s end credits. In “The Gazebo”, copyright for the characters of Laurel and Hardy is attributed to Larry Harmon Pictures Corporation, leading the author to wonder whether Larry Harmonᵃ personally profited from this episode.
a. See infra note 202 sub
110. The author is unafraid to affirm the humor deriving from using one finger instead of a whole hand, or some other method.
111. There appears to be a fascinating (if unconfirmed) linguistic pathway for this term: quite possibly deriving from the Latin bibĕre (to drink; preserved in the English “imbibe” and “bibulous”), one would assume that the bib was literally meant to catch liquid falling from the mouth of someone of such physical uncoordination that they could not manage drinking without incident; and once the term was associated simply with extra material worn at the chest to protect other layers of garment from stain, was then used to describe the abdominal portion of overalls.
112. The author exhorts the reader to consider that forgeries across decades (or even longer periods of time) may often be betrayed by the materials used. Processes and technologies to produce paint mixtures, or paint hues, for instance, can undergo tremendous change in short periods of time. The author should qualify himself, as he in no way seeks to ascribe forging intent to the episode before us; rather, the author contends that all pieces of media meant to evoke bygone eras have their tells, proverbial flies in the proverbial ointmentᵃ ᵇ. Homages to 1970s “grindhouse” cinema are typically more cohesive, better-paced, and better-written than their source material. The audiophile’s ear can detect shades of difference in production, and even recording equipment, across eras. The author here wishes to double back to discussions of noise in communicating information, conceptual or audiovisual: certainly with all forms of media involved in capturing some that did take place (music, writing, film, television, painting), there is some true, some ideal that happened, that is, what took place. What took place, then, quite aside from whatever distance it stands from authorial intent, can be said to be its own source (per the communication model supra note 66 sub); modes of capture of the source’s message inevitably produce their own noise. Film captures motion at various frames per second, while the human eye (so far as is known) detects motion perhaps as continuously as our concept of time itself. All processes of conversion from analog media to digital media involve either sampling rates or compression algorithmsᶜ, meaning that “information”, as it were, is lost.ᵈ Even attempts to reproduce some piece of media on its original performance instrument, or with era-appropriate recording equipment, will inevitably suffer on the bases of those instruments and equipment having been subject to the ravages of time, or by the simple fact that the person overseeing the reproduction has imperfect knowledge of the knowledge held by those making the original recordingᵉ. Take, for instance, the recent phenomenon of vaporwave music, or more specifically, the visual material made to accompany them; such visuals often incorporate attempts to reproduce noise, in this case VHSᶠ degradation lines and static; however this author, having experienced such degradation firsthand, finds the reproductions far too regular and consistent compared with legitimate tapes. Consider also that some noise, rather than being unfortunately endemic to a piece of media, can be utilized to create an effect itself: not only did British space rock group Pink Floyd, on their 1970 album Atom Heart Mother, utilize the LP record’s inner groove repeating at the end (so to speak) of a side to create an endless loop of the sound of a sink faucet dripping, but MAD Magazine employed a randomizing effect in the middle of a groove on their flexi disc “Meet the Staff of MAD”ᶦ. One wonders what tweaks or overhauls to, say, the MP3 format, would allow for full reproduction of these effects.
The author admits to having made some digression from his point here, which is that, no matter how much effort the crew working on this episode of Perfect Strangers may have made, or may have been able to make with unlimited funds, complete and accurate reproduction of the type of overalls worn by Stan Laurel in The Finishing Touch would be impossible.
a. Battery leaks could nearly cost her a quarter
b. Not “flaw in the ointment”, as some erroneously reproduce the phrase
c. The compression algorithm for the MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer III), developed some time in the early 1990s by Karlheinz Brandenburg, famously heavily relied on the 1984 Suzanne Vega song “Tom’s Diner” for its parameters, the song having had a history of use among audiophiles to test speaker systems as it was an exemplar of “warm” (favoring midrange and bass frequencies, with vocals taking center stage) sounds.
d. The author recalls his first job working in libraries, as a serials assistant while taking undergraduate courses. One task of processing new magazines and journals for an academic library is to place Tattle-Tape™ (a magnetized, adhesive strip of metal manufactured by 3M; removal of a long strip of green plastic would disclose the adhesive side of the metal; however this motion, that is removal, would ionize the strip of plastic, granting it a sufficient amount of static cling which would, were the worker more concerned with efficiency than vanity, cause it and all others to cleave to the worker, and on heavy mail days could render his or her overall look similar to that of an inverted Easter basket) sufficiently deep into the margins so as not to render the text unreadable; the author was instructed never to place the Tattle-Tape on a page wherein a photo extended all the way to the staple (or furthest margin), as this would constitute a loss of information (yes, even for advertisements). This made some commercial magazines particularly difficult to process, most noteworthy among them Jet, which not only was slightly shorter than the Tattle-Tape itself, but regularly offered only one (if that many) margins where the Tattle-Tape would not occlude “information” in this narrow sense.
e. Or imperfect environmental recording conditions. The reader is encouraged to seek out a humorous (fabricated) example of this on PDQ Bach’s (that is, Peter Schickele’s) “Traumarai for unaccompanied piano” from his 1967 album Report from Hoople: P.D.Q. Bach on the Air.
f. Video Home System
h. A thin, flexible vinyl sheet
i. Included in the “Second Annual Edition of the Worst From MAD” (1959)
113. In The Finishing Touch, Oliver Hardy did not wear overalls.
114. From the Greek τύμπανον (tumpanon, lit. “hand drum”)
115. Let it never be remotely suggested that it was not the case that every single crew member contributed to this episode in some substantial way.
116. Given the discussion supra note 112, the reader’s worries that rubber hoses and metal nozzles did not exist, or were not yet available commercially, during the late 1920s may be quickly allayed, as they did, and they were.
117. No specific carpenter is meant; this refers to carpenters generally
118. That is, a flat wooden ruler, six feet in its full length, though divided into twelve sections of slightly over six inches apiece, joined by metal hinges, allowing for compact storage.
119. Given the amount poured, and the fact that, when wearing overalls, a shirt is worn, but not pants, underneath them, we may make the safe assumption that the concrete not only reached past Laurel’s waist, but also to whatever undergarments he wore, soaking them and perhaps even lowering the local temperatures to such an extent that Laurel (as well as Bronson) experienced an evolutionary response designed (the author uses this term quite loosely) to maintain an environment for sperm roughly that of a few degrees less than core body temperature.
120. The span of time over which this gag is carried out is longer, proportionally, than other gags in this episode.
121. The author doubts that the intended humor of this gag derives from the fact that Laurel would be the one to reap the most benefit from a stream of water applied to his groinal area, as this would increase the solubility of the non-hydraulic cement.
122. An author unconcerned with taste, accuracy, and prevailing social mores might capitalize on this opportunity to engage in coarse humor, such as jokes relating to homosexuality or enemas.
123. Strictly in the sense of the episode’s running time, which includes both the opening and ending credits; not necessarily in the sense of story, nor in regards to the length of this review.
124. That is, the homeᵃ viewer; one assumes that the exterior shot of the house was presented to the studio audience
a. The reader is asked to understand this term being used with a stretched definition, with the author’s acknowledgment that, thanks to the advent of mobile devices, this episode could now theoretically be watched in any place, in- or out-of-doors where the device’s functionality is not hampered.
125. Certainly an earmark of media that was originally broadcast in a environment where competition for viewers’ attention was crucial. Though the reader may have viewed this episode by use of a DVDᵃ, or a digital copy not tethered to a piece of (mobile) physical media, or through such online video delivery platforms as Huluᵇ, etc., the original broadcast was interrupted by commercialᶜ advertisements. It was common at that time for viewers to, during these breaks, seek relief, sustenance, or something more fascinating to view. A viewer hoping to find Perfect Strangers and instead coming upon a black-and-white program may have felt emotions ranging anywhere from mild confusion to mild anger, and moved on to some other programᵈ. As the author has no concrete evidence one way or the other whether or not this is some admission on the part of those involved with the production of Perfect Strangers that a Laurel and Hardy homage would fare less well in competition with other programs than would its, that is Perfect Strangers’, other episodes, the reader may draw their own conclusions.
a. Digital video disc; alternately digital versatile disc. The author favors the latter.
b. A different algorithm appears to be employed by Hulu for determining how often (and where) commercials ought be shown during a ~23-minute episode of a sitcom. For its copies of Perfect Strangers episodes, additional breaks are added with fades -in and -out; as no break was originally intended at these pointsⁱ, we may consider these changes to be a form of noise.
i. The author sees no need to strike out on such an unnecessary byway as detailing where Hulu has added these breaks
c. Strictly commercial
d. Such as The Carol Burnett Show, The Ultimate Challenge, or Flesh ‘n’ Blood; others if the viewer owned a cable box or satellite dish.
126. The rental house
127. This term is used loosely; Jennifer and Mary Anne
128. This term is used loosely; that Jennifer and Mary Anne are engaging in extended observation and discussion of Larry and Balki’s construction of a gazebo.
129. This term is used loosely; the author is cognizant that a soundstage is not a circle
130. This term is used loosely; the author begs the reader allow him some license
131. The flight mentioned will depart that very day, meaning a near-certainty of an absence of more than 24 hours’ duration. The reader should integrate this knowledge with supra note 28 to better understand what constitutes an ideal relaxative state for Larry Appleton.
132. If we take at face value the near-total absence of bruises, lacerations, missing or broken limbs, or other dermal-level indicators of injury in the “world” of Perfect Strangers, this uncertainty is not misplaced.
133. As the gazebo now stands completed, we may with certainty proclaim that many of the events portrayed in the earlier black-and-white scenes did not take place; and further that the women have had no cause up to this moment to intervene or provide any ameliorative aid.
134. The author would like to offer this as an ethical counterpoint to the concept of the Hawthorne effectᵃ in physics. The Hawthorne effect (commonly known as the observer effect) describes the phenomenon whereby what is observed changes simply by being observed. The effect has been noted in many fields, social sciences (esp. psychology), physics (esp. quantum physics), and information sciences among them. One example from the information sciences would be that, if a process uses a log file to record its progress, the energy expended on the log file could slow down the rest of the process. In other words, one might say that the nature of the message’s sender creates an inevitable type of noise for the information it wishes to send.
If it is true that observing some thing changes it in some way, and if this effect is widespread or even universal, and if the measurements or benchmarks that exist were generated using tools that unavoidably caused this type of effect, then not observing something has potential of equal magnitude to cause a change relative to the benchmarks, even if the absence of observation produces an unchanged result in an absolute sense.
In this case the women are right to consider how, if they were to not travel to the airport that day, events may play out differently. After all, they have been largely absent from the Cousins’ lives, and grave injury has not befallen either Cousin yet.
a. Named for the Hawthorne Works factory, by coincidence near Chicagoⁱ; Henry A. Landsberger wished to determine if changing the lighting in the factory would improve productivity. Worker productivity did improve, but this was determined to be the result of the workers’ knowledge that they were under observation.
i. The author blushes to realize that this is the first mention in this review of the fact that the action here takes place in Chicago, Illinois.
135. The reader may wish to compare their attitude here with their hasty exit in the previous episode, “Fright Night”.
136. Jennifer’s fear here indicates, perhaps, another possibility for why she imagines her husband Larry and his cousin Balki as Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel, respectively. The episode provides evidence that the men resemble Laurel and Hardy to her. Jennifer’s apparent physical and emotional distances from her husband do not demand that we assume a mental distance; rather, Jennifer Appleton may well be an active participant in her own knowledge. This author posits that Jennifer is evincing the process of assimilation. All successful transfer of new information necessitates that it fit somewhere into the receiver’s current mental landscape of information; and it has long been held that memory of new information is improved if it can be explicitly connected to already-held knowledge. This theory of active engagement is referred to as constructivismᵃ ᵇ, which holds that all humans seek to make meaning of their experience. Jean Piaget (b. 1896 August 9 (a Leo); d. 1980 September 16) is with good reason most closely identified with this school of thought, and his model of constructivist learning includes stages of cognitive developmentᶜ, mental schemasᵈ, and adaptation processes; and it is with this last part that we will concern ourselves. The adaptation processes identified by Piaget are assimilationᵉ, accommodationᶠ, and equilibriumᵍ. Jennifer’s mind contains a few identifiable concepts (schemasʰ) at this point: 1) her husband and his cousin are prone to accident, 2) the only prior experience she has of anything resembling two–and only two–men engaging in construction work is the Laurel and Hardy film The Finishing Touch. The new information–her husband and his cousin are constructing a gazebo–is undergoing Jennifer’s attempt at assimilation by comparison. She anticipates that the men will suffer injury; and further, given that she has yoked herself to Larry Appleton for life, she assigns meaning: that this is what she will experience regularly. She is engaged with the question of whether she and her husband are compossible.
Those readers who are themselves active participants in their own knowledge building will have beaten me to the punch: that this model of knowledge- and meaning-building/-creation can generate its own form of noise. This, then is the trade-off: would we rather believe that the human mind creates a meaningless perfect copy of the world, or that the human mind contains an imperfectᶦ yet meaningful copy of the world which it has a stake in and can impact?
a. For the purposes of this short review, the author employs the term in both the psychological and educational senses simultaneously. At this broad stroke level, ignoring applications, the theoretical definitions are similar enough to do so.
b. As opposed to associationism, which holds that connections are formed automatically.
c. Sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operationalⁱ
i. The author wishes to facilitate the reader’s own meaning-making by drawing attention to the fact that the mental process described here, that is Jennifer’s, depend dually on concrete¹ operational thinking as well as formal² operational thinking
1. That is, dealing with physical objects, including the non-hydraulic concrete standing at the ready to be poured
2. That is, dealing with abstract concepts, including the ideal forms of Laurel and Hardy
d. Discussed at various points throughout this weblog
e. Linking new information to previously-held schemas (that is, you already know what a tree is; the information that some trees are small, or that some lose their leaves gradually, does not threaten the concept of “tree”)
f. Occurs when an existing schema cannot, as it stands, find a place for the new information (your initial concept of “tree” was that of a plant that has bark and leaves; as you grew, you began to understand trees as a resource (for building gazebos, say), a commodity, a property marker, and can even have political value)
g. Equilibrium is, perhaps, the Nod to assimilation and accommodation’s Wynken and Blynken, as it describes a drive to quickly overcome accommodative processes so that the mind can spend the majority of its time on assimilation.
h. Well, okay, schemata
i. Though not imperfect as a result of being incomplete in this instance
137. The author wishes to address the reader’s anticipated concern at this point: that only the first half of the episode concerned itself with the construction of a gazebo; and the other half primarily with the pouring of the concrete walkway. The gazebo is the unmistakable locus of activity, physically and conceptually; the walkway, on its own leading to some unremarkable spot on the lawn, is subordinate to the gazebo.
138. He directs Laurel to finish pouring concrete for the walkway, citing “more important matters” (see infra note 163) which demand his personal attention.
139. Most varieties of mass-produced commercially-available concrete harden fully in roughly 24-48 hours’ time; the reader need not worry that Laurel tarried too long in his task.
140. As this non-sequitur must be attributed to Jennifer’s mental processes, the author must perform his own assimilation/accommodation to account for it. Though the author’s own mental associations involve mafia imageryᵃ, the “gag” here has more of a dreamlike quality to itᵇ and the sinister footwearᶜ may simply be caused by unknown mental associationsᵈ.
a. That is, if we are dealing with Jennifer’s fears, do the shoes stand for some other female from her past, someone to whom she did wrong?
b. That is, if we are dealing with Jennifer’s fears, are the shoes hers? Does this prefigure the final reveal of the episode? Is she cemented to these men?
c. Lead-filled snow shoe
d. The author will neither advocate for nor rule out the possibility that Jennifer thinks of the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe’s appearance in the 1934 Laurel and Hardy film Babes in Toyland
141. This author claims no substantial level of personal familiarity with women’s footwear, at least not one sufficient to identify maker or brand of shoe; however the articles in question may be referred to as pumps, possibly of the ankle strap variety.
142. Though such indicators are scarcely necessary at this point in the analysis, the change of camera angles offers further evidence that Jennifer is not continually watching or interpreting immediate action through some mental lens.
143. The reader may enjoy a diverting digression here into the domain of physics, specifically a 2007 Physical Review Letters articleᵃ discussing the “natural” coiling of elastic ropesᵇ (when dropped from a height to a flat surface) due to force balances and eigenmodesᶜ.
a. Habibi, M., Ribe, N. M., & Bonn, D. (2007). Coiling of elastic ropes. Physical Review Letters, 99(15), 154302.
b. A class of materials encompassing fiber ropes, electrical cables, DNA; no mention is made of garden hoses in the article, though this author feels no compunction here about assumption.
c. The reader is doubtless better off not asking
144. The author cannot guess at Hardy’s purpose, and must simply attribute the hose’s presence to Jennifer’s mental associationsᵃ.
a. He’s got a rubberized bag and a hose on his arm
145. By way of Hardy’s and Laurel’s posteriors’ forceful collision.
146. See supra note 122
147. As some sort of artificialᵃ turf is assuredly used here, the author will not waste his or the reader’s time by hazarding any guesses as to what variety of grass it is meant to simulate.
a. Don’t be shy
148. This exchange, in comparison with others in this episode, most closely captures the feel of early 20th-century comic dialogue.
149. A strain of educational philosophy holds that nothing can be taught, and that all knowledge is learned. Before we progress further down this argument’s implications, establishment of some several definitions is called for, and this author looks to Nicholas L. Henry’sᵃ DIKW hierarchyᵇ or “pyramid”: data, information, knowledge, and wisdom. Data, per henry, are “merely raw facts, or per Jennifer Rowley: “discrete, objective facts or observations, which are unorganized and unprocessed and therefore have no meaning or value because of lack of context and interpretation”ᶜ. Informationᵈ, then, is packaged data which was found to be useful or meaningful, that is, worth packaging and encoding (see supra note 66 sub). Knowledgeᵉ emerges from packages of information being put into conversation with one another (see supra note 136). Wisdomᶠ is meaningful, purposeful, effective application of knowledge.
Socrates, in Plato’s Phaedrus, argues that knowledge cannot be fixed (as in, set down “permanently” in a text); rather, that knowledge is the product of conversation, and the definitions per the DIKW model appear to support this. The author has no qualms about playing Devil’s advocate long enough to ask: how much back-and-forth between actors constitutes conversationᵍ? Let us take the current text as example: if the author publishes this, and the reader does not respond, has knowledge been created? If the reader does respond, but the author offers no further response, has knowledge been created? When does a “conversation” end?
The author, holding out some hope, returns to the communication model. If knowledge arises from the interplay of information in the mind of the individual, then new knowledge must depend on new information from some external source. Even if the “teacher” (source) effectively (without excessive noise) demonstrates a connection between two or more informations, this connection is simply more information, and becomes knowledge once again if the message can be successfully received (that is, without noise) in the destination (the mind of the “student”). The author then holds that both teaching and learning are individually necessary, but not sufficient, and sincerely hopes that this discussion solves the Gordian knotᶦ.
a. Henry, N. L. (1974). Knowledge Management: A New Concern for Public Administration. Public Administration Review, 34(3), 189-196.
b. Though no direct crosswalk of concepts is suggested, the reader is strongly encouraged to make close comparison between this and Socrates’ hierarchy of matter and forms.
c. Rowley, J. (2007). The wisdom hierarchy: representations of the DIKW hierarchy. Journal of Information Science, 33(2), 163-180.
d. Information is not knowledge
e. Knowledge is not wisdom
f. Wisdom is not beautyⁱ
i. Beauty is not music¹
1. Music is the best
g. cf. the sorites (“heap”) paradox
h. The reader is asked to pardon how the author’s language begins to resemble duct tape as it fastens theories together.
i. An apocryphal (legendary) tale of Alexander the Great in which he “untied” a complicated knot by slicing it in two with a sword.
150. And a larger duration of time (through some repetition) than other dialogue exchanges in this episode
151. Unbeknownst to Laurel, it hangs from the handle of the shovel
152. References to a “sixth sense” are limited in that those who propagate the phrase have never considered what other informationᵃ they personally take in. Laurel may suffer here from a lack of kinesthetic sense (awareness of one’s muscles), equilibrium (balance, awareness of “up”)ᵇ, and baresthetic/barognostic sense (ability to evaluate weight) as he is unable to detect that the pail hangs from the handle of the shovel
a. Possibly data; any sense information brought into awareness may be automatically packaged, so to speak, as information
b. These two together may be considered “position sense”
153. The force which resists the relative motion of, among other things, surfaces
154. There exists the possibility that these shoes were once owned by Stan Laurel (the actor) himself. The story was published (the original source unavailable to the author at the time of writing; the source was published no later than 2012) that Larry Harmonᵃ loaned Bronson Pinchot a pair of shoes which Laurel used in at least one of the films he starred in as the character of Laurel. And, as Laurel was known to remove the heels from his shoes for the filmsᶜ; and as the shoes worn by Bronson Pinchot in the black-and-white scenes have no heels; this story (or at least that Bronson was well-informed, perhaps by Harmon, of Laurel’s practice) has credibility.
a. See infra note 202 sub.
155. Floor covered with artificial turf
156. That is, the area covered with concrete
157. Despite the absence of an entry in the Oxford English Dictionary for the verb mug in this sense (to comically and silently address the camera dually acknowledging one’s situation as well as seek commiseration from the audience), it doubtless derives from the noun mug, meaning 3 in the OED, “A face, esp. an unattractive one.”
158, Again, though a real camera is present, Hardy (the character) looks not at it, but at the Jennifer’s mind’s eye
159. Possibly the most-utilized tool in the comedian or comic actor’s repertoire, repetition of a joke depends first (that is, in the first repetition) on surprise and thereafter on expectation. Lest the reader feel later let down by the episode, the author suggests the reader derive as much enjoyment of the repetition at this moment as they may, as, though the gag returns for a third time, the author sees no need to make explicit sequence-bound mention of its occurrence.
160. Within the ordered sequence of black-and-white scenes
161. Per the OED’s second verb definition for niggle: “To do something in a painstaking, finicky, fussy, or ineffective manner; to trifle, fiddle; to waste effort or time on petty details.” The author does not wish to insult the reader’s intelligence with this clarification; doubtless the reader is well read enough to not need the definition so explicitly laid out. The author merely wishes to ensure the reader not assume, given that Laurel later places the tape measure on Hardy’s posterior, that the first verb definition (“to have sexual intercourse with”) was intended.
a. Niggle. (n.d.). In The Oxford English dictionary (online). Retrieved from http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/126948
162. Here a spring-return pocket tape measure; though a modern example is utilized, the device was patented in the United States in 1864 by William H. Bangs Jr., and is no anachronism here.
163. The author assumes that Hardy prepares himself to place wooden steps at the gazebo end of the concrete walkway.
164. Laurel was in the act of nailing the cartridge portion of the tape measure to the floor of the gazebo’s raised base.
165. Given that Laurel was recently assigned the task of pouring concrete, and as this task is not yet completed, one wonders why, as the width of the walkway is already determined (and a base layer already laid), he felt the need to measure the open section of the gazebo at all.
166. This term may feel to severe to the reader, the occurrence being one of accident and not purpose; yet the author overlooks the “as a weapon” clause of the OED’s definition of “bludgeon” to convey the force with which it impacts Hardy’s face.
167. The author intends an entendre, in reference both to the mallet and to Hardy’s head
168. Though typically smaller than a hammer, the term “mallet” refers as much to shape of head and proportion of head to handle as it does to size
169. Etymology of buffoon per the OEDᵃ: < French buffon, bouffon, < Italian buffone buffoon, < buffa a jest, connected with buffare to puff; Tommaseo and Bellini consider the sense of ‘jest’ to be developed from that of ‘puff of wind’, applied fig. to anything light and frivolous; others, e.g. Littré, refer it to the notion of puffing out the cheeks as a comic gesture. (In 17th cent. accented on first syllable.)
a. Buffoon. (n.d.). In The Oxford English dictionary (online). Retrieved from http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/24337
170. To the viewer, the same amounts of time have passed in “real life” (Larry’s and Balki’s efforts) as have in Jennifer’s internal depiction of Laurel and Hardy; yet the author must draw attention to the fact that the amount of time Jennifer took to create this mental depiction does not correspond to the duration of the Cousins’ work, nor would one expect it to correspond to the amount of time she spent thinking about it. Certainly, even if Jennifer had spent this amount of time in reverie, it would have lasted still less time than the actual work done; yet the author wishes to refer to it as an example of what many would term decompressed storytelling.
The author can think of no better way to describe the lack of conversation between the fields of literature/film and comics, in regards to terms utilized to critically discuss storytelling tropes and methods than lamentable. Surely there are comics creatorsᵃ whose works demonstrate clear influence by prose literature; and there are prose authors who recently have explored comics as a literary mediumᵇ; yet prose authors on the whole (and, by extension, those engaging in critical analysis of literary and filmic texts) appear not to be looking to comics for any inspiration along the lines of storytelling methods or analysisᶜ. To wit: decompression as a term for the storytelling tool its describes is found only in comics analysis. It refers to a practice wherein an author will choose to imbue a scene with emotional weight by increasing the space it takes up proportional to other scenes. Space in comics, both in terms of panel size and number of panels, is an indicator of time. Holding the “camera”ᵈ in place on a particular scene or character has the effect of telling the comics reader to slow down and perhaps become aware of the passage of time, or of some internal action, or to understand the weight and size, so to speak, of an event, or a focus, in the mind(s) of the character(s). That is, a scene is decompressed in an attempt to capture some aspect that cannot be conveyed through the text or a single drawing (or the content of that single drawing) alone.
That is to say, there is a form (the story itself) and the matter (what is used to encoding that story into a message, in the above cases the matter of comics), a hylomorph. The author may well display a break from Socrates here in saying the mental concept of the story (as devised by the author) is itself a hylomorph, that is, a combination of the story (and its parts: plot, character, setting, affect, tone, purpose, philosophy, encoding of knowledge, etc.) and the matter of the mind it resides in.
It stands to reason, then, that creation is an act of transhylomorphic effort, and that decompression is but one tool that can achieve equivalent transhylomorphism. If a creator wishes to manipulate the pace of a story to convey emotion, this author would consider it affect-equivalent transhylomorphism. The reader is invited to build on this terminology, though the author’s main point here is that decompression is too narrow a term and thus perhaps unlikely to be soon adapted by those studying literature or film.
This concept need not be limited to the act of fixing some created story elements into a text; it may refer to the capture of some real events into some textual formᵉ. Immediately concerns of accuracy arise, and not without reason. Is mere record of events and persons involved sufficient? What are the boundaries of an event? Should affect be conveyed? Can a complete replica be recorded (associationism, see supra note 136 sub) or must the person devising the transhylomorph assign meaning to certain connections (constructivism)? Does a spectrum exist ranging from capture of reality to creation of fiction, or are there lines of demarcation between the twoᶠ ᵍ?
The author must regrettably leave these questions’ answers to the reader’s continued interest in and study on them.
However, it is worth applying these concepts to Jennifer’s experience. “The Gazebo” is the sole time in 150 episodes of Perfect Strangers that a perspective other than the Cousins’ is given any prominence. That it is allowed to take up an entire episode is even more significant; in fact, it may be the most significant event within the span of Jennifer’s life that the viewer is shownʰ. Jennifer herself, and on a higher level, the show, is engaging in equivalent transhylomorphism. The Cousins are not Laurel and Hardy, but Jennifer’s imagination renders them as such to capture some quality of their nature; Jennifer’s mental process likely does not last nearly 20 minutes, and perhaps does not even take the visual form of a Laurel and Hardy film, yet Perfect Strangers captures some fundamental aspect of its magnitude in her life by depicting it in this mannerᶦ. If her imagination is indeed engaged with questions of fear of her husband’s safety, and fear of non-compossibility between her and her husband, then 1) dangerous activity by 2) her husband and someone else 3) in a visual style (black-and-white) decades removed from her own existence are artful depictions of her inner state.
a. Dave Sim, author of Cerebus; Alan Moore, author of Watchmen; Craig Thompson, author of Good-bye, Chunky Rice; Will Eisner, author of The Building; Art Spiegelman, author of Maus; Daniel Clowes, author of The Death-Ray; Neil Gaiman, author of The Sandman; Dash Shaw, author of BodyWorld; David Mazzuchelli, author of Asterios Polyp; Charles Burns, author of Black Hole; Chris Ware, author of Jimmy Corrigan: the Smartest Kid on Earthⁱ
i. The author has chosen those works most obviously evincing such influence, and is regrettably limited by his own breadth of reading choices.
b. Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club 2 (2015/2016) is a contemporary counter-example; the author hopes it is not the last of its kind.
c. Quite separate from movie studios mining comics properties as a way to inspire their bank accounts
d. The author is confident that the reader had prior to this word already called to mind their own examples of films employing this method
e. Film, novel, biography, comics, sculpture, painting, drawing, etc.
f. For a humorous treatment of this question the reader may seek out Sergio De La Pava’s 2018 novel Lost Empress, specifically chapter 50, which describes the short career of one Sylvester Scarpetti
g. Nor need this concept be limited to acts of setting down stories real or created; the author offers equivalent transhylomorphism as a way of describing any translation of existing story from one medium to another that manipulates the storytelling tools of the target medium to convey some otherwise untranslatable aspect of its original hylomorph; and affect-equivalent transhylomorphism as a way of describing any author’s method of conveying their emotional (and (thus) mental) experience of any thing
h. Somewhere between six and eight years
i. cf. Jaka’s Story as told in issues 114-136 of Dave Sim’s Cerebus, where explicit use of affect-equivalent transhylomorphism (though not termed such there) is made in reference to the novel-within-a-comic.
171. In the sense of “inclusive”, not in reference to Laurel and Hardy’s clothing
172. Including the opening credit sequence, this moment occurs at the 18:17 mark
173. Hardy, advocating nailing, wins the argument, however many carpenters use both methods for some applications, with nails providing a temporary hold until the glue sets. Assuming Laurel would have suggested a quickly-setting adhesive relatively impervious to the elements, the options may be considered to have equal value.
174. Those reading this sign preceding, or during, their ingress into the gazebo, will by necessity have already entered the property boundaries, perhaps even have traversed the inner length of the house. The reader may consider whether welcome in specifically the inner radius of the gazebo is still extended to the trespasser.
175. Oral argument
176. Though not a catchphraseᵃ, this is a rapid back-and-forth dialogueᵇ: “how many gazebos have you built”, “well, I…”.
a. That no catchphrases are uttered in this episode merits mention
b. The reader may create their own knowledges in regards to what, if any knowledge is generated by this conversation; though salient to the author are: Laurel has built no gazebos, and Hardy is unwilling to engage in serious discussion of merits, lest his own lack of knowledge be revealed, and his claim to power over his companion dissipateⁱ
i. Hardy unfairly shifts Laurel into a context where prior knowledge of gazebo-building is necessary to have wisdomic intent in ideal application of accessories, though both exist in a moment where possession of prior knowledge appears to have made no difference at all.
177. That Jennifer has first overlaid observation with a prior informationᵃ, and now interjects what must be a common occurrence between her husband and his cousin, is indication that she is generating knowledge by placing these informations in conversation with one another.
a. See supra note 149; information defined as “a package of data”
178. One might well ask where values fit into the DIKW model, as Jennifer appears to make no comment on whether this was okay for Larry (as Hardy) to do. The author in nowise wishes to denigrate any value system, or the possession of one, by saying that values can be understood as both knowledge and wisdom.
179. If one takes the entrance of the gazebo to be its front
180. Relative to the gazebo’s assumed front, see supra note 179
181. The base of the gazebo
182. Knocking the jockeys off the lawn
183. The author playfully intends this as woodworking wordplay
184. Composer and musician Frank Vincent Zappa (b. 1940 December 21 (a Sagittarius); d. 1993 December 4) made occasional reference to the conceptᵃ of “putting the eyebrows on”; the author finds no fixed definition but may make a few inferences from secondary sources. Zappa sought to bridge some gap(s) separating composition as it reads on the page and its interpretation in performance. Certainly some sense of expression is embedded in the phrase, with eyebrows having given primates evolutionary advantage, allowing silentᵇ communication at a distance. The author’s own associations, that is of defacement of photographic depictions of important personages in, say, poster form, lend the phrase a sense of the comical; and the implication that the eyebrows are some final detail layered on an existing piece strengthens these associations. The eyebrow may be smallᶜ, and is not strictly necessary, but transforms music and lyric (the matter of song) into some interesting and meaningful expression (imbuing song with the form of some (combined) mental state as it converses both with itself and the song). The author, however, must consider his words mere (and perhaps inexact, and certainly in terms resulting from assimilation into the preceding discussion of information conversations) condensation of Zappa’s own words on the subject (all emphases as they appear in the original textᵈ):
“Songs written with one idea in mind have been known to mutate into something completely different if I hear an ‘optional vocal inflection’ during rehearsal. I’ll hear a ‘hint’ of something (often a mistake) and pursue it to its most absurd extreme.
The ‘technical expression’ we use in the band to describe this process is: ‘PUTTING THE EYEBROWS ON IT.’ This usually refers to vocal parts, although you can put the eyebrows on just about anything.
After ‘the eyebrows,’, the ultimate tweeze inflicted on the composition is determining The Attitude with which the piece is to be performed. The player is expected to comprehend The Attitude, and perform the material with The Attitude AND The Eyebrows, consistently, otherwise, to me, the piece sounds ‘wrong.’
Since most Americans use a personal version of eyebrowsage in their conversational speech, why not include the technique as a ‘nuance’ in a composition?ᵉ”
The preceding is offered as necessary background for the reader to understand the author’s claim that this particular strain of blitheness in response to calamity is one minor form of comedy eyebrow, a final riff on a final event.
a. What is your Conceptual Continuity?
b. Though not without noise
c. The reader will doubtless find meaning in comparing this concept with that of comics artist and writer Will Elder’s “chicken fat”
d. Zappa, Frank. (1990). The real Frank Zappa book. London: Picador.
e. An implicit understanding of transhylomorphism
185. Again, Jennifer’s mind’s eyeᵃ
a. Don’t fool yourself, girl, it’s blinkin’ at you
186. The reader’s attention is directed towards the setᵃ of Hardy’s eyebrows
a. How he holds them for his facial expression; not simply that he possesses two of them
187. Jennifer is revealed to have been absent for the previous scene, as the raised portion of the walkway was not present there as it is here. That she correctly guessed the exact look of the steps, down to identical placement of individual pieces of wood, need not hint that this set of steps is some perfect (noiseless) example of the form of steps; it is more likely that she saw them on the blueprints, or that the steps had already been constructed, but not placed, and visible to her at some previous point but not seen in most of her internal imagery.
188. That is, the external reality shared by Jennifer, Mary Anne, Larry, and Balki.
189. The reader may well have noted that the bench did not previously sit in this spot, in either the color or black-and-white scenes; its mention here is for completeness as well as to assist the reader in encoding the information.
190. Though certainly not genuine examples of flight attendant uniform, the two, that is the genuine examples and these worn by Jennifer and Mary Anne, are closer in make than are Laurel and Hardy’s overalls to those of their early 20th-century counterparts.
191. Uniforms in this navy blue shadeᵃ are most closely associated with United States airline company Delta Air Lines, though necklines this deep, that is extending at all below the ucipital mapilary, had not been standard since the middle of the 20th Century. Pumps were, and still are, required for female flight attendants (Delta permits flats and “sensible heels”ᵇ). The pin worn by both Jennifer and Mary Anne upon the left breast of their jackets was not, so far as this author can determine, associated with any United States airline past or present, and resembles on the whole (globe flanked by laurelsᶜ and topped by the British royal crown) the heraldic crest of the Corps of Royal Marines.
a. The remastered episodes of Perfect Strangers, for their re-release on Hulu, have undergone some method of color adjustment which, aside from any questions of whether they are more accurate to the actual colors of the objects filmedⁱ, differ from other available (and admittedly) low-quality copies. Though their outfits may appear to have a greenish hue on Hulu, in other copies they appear navy blue.
i. The author acknowledges that even the reader may have had his or her fill of discussions of noise at this point.
b. Delta Air Lines. (n.d.) Flight Attendant Positions. Retrieved from https://delta.greatjob.net/jobs/JobListingAction.action;jsessionid=991453617ED3080C5F39D9961CD0CA00?jobCategory=&PSUID=e0826423-4828-477f-9f42-93c85d66f220
c. Entirely coincidental with the name of the character borrowed for this episode
192. Compare this with their stated fears per their second conversation in this episode
193. The author begs the reader’s patience as he once more offers his own associations, which hopefully are meaningful enough to reward it, that is, the patience. The walkway, the flight attendant uniforms, the flight to Asia, the hasty (and perhaps shoddy) construction, all in service of a goal of relaxation, put the author in mind of the concept of the cargo cult. In brief: thanks to colonialism, many remote and previously undeveloped societies (generally in Melanesia) began, in the 19th and 20th centuries, to experience contact with persons from Western countries to and to sometimes receive supplies from same, and this contact was achieved through airplanes and necessitated such things as air towers and runways. Some persons from these societies, perhapsᵃ not understanding the reasons for the appearance of material goods from afar (or from “gods”), constructed their own runways in hopes of making airplanes appear and bring them goods.
Contrast this behavior with that of Larry Appleton, who places the locus of relaxation external to his self rather than internal.
a. As with all anthropological study, simply assuming that tribespeople are clueless misunderstands the depth and type of their knowledge of their own worlds
194. If tactless
195. Jennifer, having worked herself over the course of the afternoon into an imaginary frenzy, appears to add one final piece to her personal construction of meaning: the gazebo’s structural constancy negates some aspect of the conclusions of the previous black-and-white scene. But which–the conclusions or the nature of the relationships as she has come to understand them? Does she assimilate or accommodate this, or any other information, she has received? Was she able to gain any new knowledge at all without being in conversation with the persons she was observing? (Were the Cousins aware of her voyeurism and did it affect their behavior?) Did this author gain any new knowledge without being in conversation with the episode? (Did the creators of this episode anticipate any later critical analysis?) Did the reader gain any new knowledge without being in conversation with the author? Do any or all of us possess too much psychological noise to know if we received the information sent? Has Larry gained face in her eyes? Have her (or Mary Anne’s) fears been assuaged?
Perhaps all of these; perhaps none of these. Perhaps she knows the end is near. Perhaps she has realized at last that imaginary Laurels and imaginary Hardies exist only in the imagination of the imaginerᵃ.
a. And, ultimately, who gives a fuck anyway?
196. If comedy, as is often suggested, derives humor from incongruities, then Jennifer’s short statement regarding her extended contemplation (“past performance”) must be considered the funniest joke in this episode, which also, that is the statement, functions on two more levels, as one can dually consider the performance of her husband and his cousin as well as that of the original Laurel and Hardy.
197. The reader may benefit from some differentiation of terms; to presume is to guess based on evidence (or statistical probabilities); to assume is to guess without these
198. See supra note 139. The neglect displayed in not mentioning prior to this late point that no trough of concrete was seen in any of color scenes is a sin that the author begs the reader to forgive; the possibility exists that Jennifer was not aware of any differentiation of cement into non-hydraulic and hydraulic typesᵃ.
a. The episode itself leaves this question unanswered other than a comment from one of the Cousins in reference to “quick-drying cement”.
199. The disclosure of this predicament, accomplished by moving items out of the way of the audiences’s perspectives, fails to maintain continuity of perspective from any other angle: the women, while kissing Larry and Balki, were in position to notice their feet ankle-deep in the concrete. Whether this troubles Jennifer’s conclusions supra note 195 is a concern with which the Perfect Strangers writers are totally unconcerned. Perspective of action and frame of reference have been returned to the audiences, and any further processes of Jennifer’s are not deemed worthy of mention.
200. No sense (mental, spiritual, sexual, economic, class, genetic) other than the immediate physical one is intended
201. As the two-dimensional displays of both credits and action have no absolute positions, and exist relative to each other as well as to whatever surface used to display them, the author considers “under” to be as good–and as bad–as any other term.
202. 46 named personsᵃ were credited as being responsibleᵇ for the creation of this episodeᶜ.
a. Mark Linn-Baker, Bronson Pinchot, Rebeca Arthur, Melanie Wilson, James O’Keefe, Tom Devanney, Terry Hart, Paula A. Roth, William Bickley, Michael Warren, Alan Plotkin, Dale McRaven, Judy Pioli, Thomas L. Miller, Robert L. Boyett, Barry O’Brien, Cheryl Alu, Michael J. Morris, Tom Amundsen, Miles Kristman, Connie Garcia-Singer, Robert Altshuler, Pam Marshall, Tony Askins, Lynn Griffin, Barbara Miller, Joanne Koehler, Steven Chesne, Jesse Frederick, Bennett Salvay, David Pomeranz, Bob Squire, Gina Trikonis, Bonnie Dermer-Brockliss, Marilyn Bagley, Joe Hailey, Gail Rowell-Ryan, Dominic Belmonte, Erik Emi, Walter Baker, Gregory Sill, Thomas J. Huth, Rick Himot, Sam Black, Andre Caporaso, and Robert H. Raff.
b. The reader may consult sources such as IMDB.com for their respective responsibilities.
c. Though Larry Harmon is not directly named, Larry Harmon Pictures Corporation is credited as the copyright holder for the characters of Laurel and Hardy. Harmon acquired the rights to Laurel and Hardy in 1961, as well as the rights to Bozo the Clown; and presumably was involved in the production of this episode (see supra note 154).
203. The authorᵃ stands by this choice of term even as this may be the only instance where it, that is “anticking”, is utilized to describe action undertaken slowly and while seated.
a. Casey Roberson (b. 1984 December 19 (a Sagittarius))
204. “The Gazebo” received a Nielsen rating of 10.6 HH, meaning that this episode is estimated to have been viewed in 10.6% of US households; the previous week’s episode, “Fright Night” received a rating of 12.5.
205. See supra note 1
10 thoughts on “Season 7, Episode 6: The Gazebo”
I can honestly say that was the best episode of Impy and Chimpy I’ve ever seen.
In another example of the two dissimilar TV shows colliding, the main characters of “Friday the 13th: The Series” were also once described as “cousins by marriage.” This isn’t an arrangement that actually exists, or in the vernacular, “cousins by marriage” isn’t a thing. I might have a cousin in common with my cousin, because my aunt is married to his uncle, but that doesn’t make that other cousin my cousin.
I have a quibble with your purported date of the last analog broadcast. Having worked at a TV station at the time, I have a distinct memory of completely re-doing our entire system and airing crawls for days at a time indicating that the last day of analog broadcast was in February, 2009.
On November 1, 1991, I was huddling with other University of Iowa students, discussing the campus shooting that had taken place ealier in the day. This incident is discussed in the powerful piece “The Fourth State of Matter,” an essay in the The New Yorker by Jo Ann Beard, a person who was much more personally affected than I had been. One wonders if the broadcast of this episode was preempted on Eastern Iowa’s ABC affiliate, KCRG TV, by ongoing coverage of that event.
Our informations are not in disagreement! February 17, 2009 was the original cutoff date. Your TV station was doing its job correctly, but it sounds like about 64% of other stations were dragging their feet.
I sure am glad we solved the problem of school shootings in the early 90s instead of waiting a quarter-century, aren’t you? I’m sorry you had to go through that, and I wish like hell no one would ever have to again.
“Cousin” used to just be a generic term for “member of my extended family”. You see it basically in Shakespeare and in TV shows that want to justify two people having some vaguely familial bond.
It took me a week to read this whole thing but it was worth it and you have to talk about Mama next so I think I’m the winner here.
It’s even better the second time through.
[…] have distinguished them from Abbott & Costello as a kid. I watched a few of their shorts for my review of the Perfect Strangers episode “The Gazebo”, but nothing in those grabbed me enough to watch others. I’ll never be a Laurel & Hardy […]
Just watched this episode. 0% chance I am reading about it for longer than it took to watch it. I’ve suffered enough.
Like the episode is not meant to be watched, the review is not meant to be read.
This is a breathtaking accomplishment. Probably the furthest I’ve ever seen anyone go for a joke. Will definitely be featured in the life-flashing-before-my-eyes montage.