(Long Island, NY) I dated a woman once who, on an otherwise ordinary dinner date, suddenly went into a long tirade about her sister’s parenting skills. “And to top it all off,” she exclaimed towards the end, “she lets her kids watch…FAMILY GUY!”
I’d never seen the show before, being basically a workaholic writer with a million different projects going on at once. I remember telling her once that I was so busy that I hardly had time to be a decent Uncle to my sister’s kids. I like kids, but rarely have a chance to grab a free day to make the trip south to see them.
“What’s so bad about a cartoon on television?” I asked her. Her eyebrows went up a full two inches as though I had just suggested that she do a striptease for the waiter while I poured champagne down my underpants.
“That show shouldn’t even be ON television! It’s just about being gross for grossnecities’ sake!”
I tried to let it go, I really did, but after about three seconds, I couldn’t take it.
“Darling, I don’t think that’s a word, at least not according to a strict interpretation of the dictionary.”
I saw right away that I wasn’t scoring any points. Her eyes narrowed, she leaned forward and put both palms on the table like she was going to do an Olympic vault.
“I would NEVER let MY kids watch that rotten show, no way in a million years. It’s just plain…RUDE!”
I had two immediate concerns, the most important of which I addressed first. “How can you say that after watching—and enjoying—ANY movie directed by Kevin Smith?”
She opened her mouth to answer, but she knew I’d backed her into a corner.
“Sweetheart, what’s wrong with being gross?” I mean, come ON, now. Gross humor is the very foundation of America. On one end of the spectrum, Bill Cosby used to do standup about smearing jello on the kitchen floor, and on the other end of the spectrum you have British comedian Rik Mayall doing a sketch where he tries to kill himself with laxative pills. It’s one of our national pastimes! Besides which, she was basically advocating censorship over something, I helpfully pointed out, that she did find to her taste.
She tried to come back with some lame excuses, but she knew she basically didn’t have a leg to stand on. I told her that I had never seen an episode of Family Guy up to that point, but I was VERY interested in seeing an episode NOW. In fact, I bet I could probably rent a DVD collection of the early episodes and watch them right after our date at the Symphony the following week.
She cringed at the very idea. All that highbrow culture followed up by barf and poop humor. Sounds GREAT to me, after all, I am a man of extremes. I can enjoy a bit of Beethoven one moment, and watch Kevin Smith’s latest four-letter frenzy film with equal gusto the next. Who doesn’t enjoy a fine wine and a cheap hamburger?
I think I was just too weird for her, because we didn’t see very much of each other after that. Of course, it could always be the second line of questioning that I put to her after we agreed to disagree on Family Guy. We made our truce over the TV cartoon with me saying that no, it didn’t sound appropriate for her kids to be watching, or her sister’s kids. I waited a moment for propriety’s sake before asking my next question. I am an old softie, and have never had an issue with anybody’s kids, ever. Still, I guess I am also old fashioned, and like people to be who they are, and not pretend they are anything but.
“How come you never mentioned before that you have kids?”
She was so embarrassed at this stage, that we pretty much had to end the evening. I tried to explain my position; I would love to do things with her and her kids. Pretending to be single was completely unnecessary. I needn’t have bothered, really. I could sort of tell that we weren’t going to be dating much after revealing an interest in both classical music and lowbrow TV cartoons. It was just too weird for her to handle.
Still, not as weird as pretending to be single. I’ll never understand that one as long as I live, but it doesn’t bother me too much. I’ve got my DVD player warmed up and ready for another Family Guy marathon. I’ll always remember that lady, because she got me into one of my now-favorite shows. Thanks, hon.
The moral of the story is probably two-fold. One, don’t let on that you like BOTH crapola culture and the sophisticated stuff. It makes the opposite sex think that you can’t make up your mind whether you’re a cretin or a snob. Two, the more protests there are about how rotten something is, the more enjoyable and fun it will be once the rest of us get around to savoring the awfulness.
Now I’ve got PLENTY of awfulness to watch.