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Topic: When Classic Lit Meets TV Sitcoms

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Subject: When Classic Lit Meets TV Sitcoms
Date Posted: 5/3/2009 2:19 PM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2008
Posts: 340
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I just read Heart of Darkness for the first time.  As I read the climactic lines of the book (I want to avoid spoilers), I was immediately thrown into a scene from Seinfeld.  Mr. Kurtz is now J. Peterman (or more correctly, John O'Hurley) for me.  It actually took something away from the story.

When I was a kid watching Head of the Class, Howard Hesseman's character was lamenting that Emily Dickinson's poetry was ruined for him, because someone told him it could all be sung to the tune of a well-known song.  I won't mention the song.  Thanks, now it's ruined for me too.

Has anything similar ever happened to you?


(Edited because Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Emily Dickinson are not interchangable names.)

Last Edited on: 5/8/09 2:51 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/5/2009 6:39 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2007
Posts: 6,490
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Well, not exactly.  But on Friends Rachel made Joey read Little Women, and then they gave away a pretty big spoiler.  Fortunately, I'd already read the book.

Date Posted: 5/6/2009 6:57 AM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2008
Posts: 340
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I wish TV shows would give spoiler alerts.  It happens in other books too.  I forget what I was reading that gave away the ending of Lord Jim before I had read it.  Of course when that happens, no matter how hard I try to forget it, I can't.  The funny thing is, now that I have read Lord Jim, I barely remember what it was about.

Date Posted: 5/7/2009 9:14 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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When a television film version of Conrad Richter's trilogy about the first white settlers in  the "Northwest Territory" (present-day Ohio) was made, with Hal Holbrook as Portius Wheeler, the well-educated lawyer from Massachusetts, and Elizabeth Montgomery as Sayward Luckett, daughter of a woodsman averse to society, the whole thing was RUINED for me by two words.  How the dialogue coach ever let the Judge (the learned JUDGE Wheeler) twice use the word "hopefully" in his speech, I have never been able to fathom.  (And Edwin Newman, author of Strictly Speaking and A Civil  Tongue probably had a conniption, if he was watching the show at those two points.)

(The current usage that grates on my ears is "like", as in "I'm, like, sitting there minding my own business, and, like, this strange person comes up to me and, like, says . . . ."     I think I hate it more than "you know", you know?    It's, like,  linguistic sawdust, y'know?