Open Thread for April 29, 2011

The Hanna Soundtrack Bad Parenting contest: Whoever wins, the children lose.

This Thread’s dilated, mama – time to Open it up to some comments!

First, is there anything more important happening than Overthinking It Live at ImprovBoston’s Geek Week V? Highly doubtful! Remember – we’ve got shows at 11:00 PM on Friday and 7:30 PM on Saturday. Presentations never before seen on this site, new music videos and a special live bit of improvised Overthinking that you won’t want to miss.

In lieu of the Comment of the Week, how about we pick the comment that won our Hanna soundtrack contest? We asked you to give us some child-rearing advice that would turn a baby into a killing machine and, wow, you did not disappoint us. Ha ha ha! Stay away from our families.

Anyhow, we put your suggestions in the randomometer and a winner emerged: Eric, whose surprisingly detailed parenting strategy might have been a front runner even the contest hadn’t been judged by a random number.

But when we emailed Eric, he informed us that he is off to boot camp in less than a month, where a ton of swag featuring an adorable girl assassin and music by The Chemical Brothers will be worse than useless. He urged us to “re-roll.” Eric, we thank you for your valor and sacrifice…of the prize package. And in return, we pledge to send you a custom OTI care package as soon as you finish basic. Overthinkers, feel free to wish Eric well in the comments.

So we fired up the old random number generator and the algorithm, cold and heartless as Hanna herself, picked a new winner: Genevieve, who provided truly one of the more horrible entries…about pets. So it is with a growing queasiness that I declare her the queen of bad parenting.

We want to highlight a couple other entries, though, picked by the OTI staff. Call them “dishonorable mentions.”

Ben has a strategy that sounds somehow familiar:

First, I would spend the first eight years of the child’s life instilling the Christmas spirit in him. Then, I would invite my huge family to go on a vacation to Florida over Christmas, but accidentally leave the child at home, being sure to do so at a time when I know that violent criminals will be breaking into houses in the neighborhood. If I can convince the child that he himself is directly responsible for the rest of the family’s disappearance, all the better.

Fill the house with various deadly weapons, and leave the child to fend for himself against the burglars. If I can ensure that he believes the police will not help and the neighbors are all madmen, then once again, all the better.

One year later, just as the emotional wounds are starting to heal, I would get the family together for a trip to France, but then abandon the child in the airport, leading him to believe that we have all boarded a flight to New York. I would ensure that the same violent criminals will find him there, and drop a few hints about my brother’s abandoned house, which is undergoing renovations, being open. It, of course, will also be filled with weapons.

But for maximum pop cultural savvy in the smallest space, you can’t beat Rob, Big Pun himself, who advises:

I want to say one word to you. Just one word. Are you listening?


Are you coming to see Overthinking It Live at ImprovBoston? If you are, sound off in the comments, for this is your … Open Thread.

13 Comments on “Open Thread for April 29, 2011”

  1. Mark #

    I finally watched ‘Poltergeist’ a few days ago, and for the first part of the movie all I could think was “is this coming up going to be the ‘Ghost Ship’ moment?”

    I’ll make sure to catch Overthinking It Live when the traveling company comes to Europe.

    Good luck in boot camp, Eric. Stay safe, and don’t try to overthink too much, at least not out loud; they frown on that.


    • Gab #

      What would you say is the GSM? I honestly am not sure, since I feel like the people in that movie are actually rather smart about everything. I can think of a couple candidates, but none scream out to me. :(


      • Mark #

        Yeah, I felt the same way. The two parents are abnormally quick (for movies) to accept the reality of their situation. The GSM for the mom is when she sees the chairs stack themselves, and she immediately asks the daughter “is it the invisible TV people?” or something like that. That’s also the point where the movie lost any scariness-potential and became almost a comedic parody of itself.

        The clearest GSM in the movie is for the trio from the university, when they’re chatting about previous minor encounters and then the dad opens the door on the haunted room. That scene makes it seem like the filmmaker is conscious of the GSM concept and is deliberately trying to milk it.


        • Gab #

          You know, I think maybe I’m just totally gullible. I mean, I really like that movie and don’t think it’s all that cheesy, but I don’t know anybody else that feels the same. Maybe I first saw it when I was young enough to be scared of it, and that original fear gets tapped when I see it now. I dunno… ::rambling::


  2. Gab #

    Since the comments on the assassin contest are closed, I’ll say it here:

    MICHELE: Thanks for getting the joke. I was afraid that particular reference would be too obscure, but the whole thing was a slew of references to fictional bad parenting.

    Congrats to the winners!!!

    There’s a wedding going on today…


  3. Brian #

    Picking by random is kinda lame, especially when you had those two good ones by Ben and Rob, I mean it did say it was a contest not a raffle. But a good time was had by all and imma let yall finish congratulatin, but Ben had the best bad parenting advice of all time!


  4. Eric #

    Ach, much obliged for the props, Overthinking it people. Just think- in ten or twelve weeks when I complete basic, I’ll be able to come back here and Archive binge on all the posts I missed.

    And since this is an Open thread, a military-themed (longish) joke:

    Once upon a time, there was a war on, between America and another country. A young private and his squad, having been airdropped behind enemy lines, are ordered by their sergeant to seize an enemy hill.

    The defenders are stubborn and numerous, but the private’s squad, after several hours of intense fighting, manages to knock them off the hill and entrenched themselves. At which point, the sergeant tells them to withdraw.

    “But Sarge,” the private asks, “why are we retreating? We just fought so hard to take this place.”

    The sergeant smiles grimly. “Oh, lad,” he says, “you have to understand; this is just one small piece of the picture. The officers above us, they see the big picture, so sometimes they give us orders that make little sense to us. Because you and I don’t see the big picture.”

    The private, of course, was forced to accept this, and went on the fight well throughout the campaign. But this incident created a powerful desire in him to understand why exactly he was told to abandon the recently captured hill. So he works hard, studies, and over a few years makes noncom, and then he goes off to OCS to become a 2nd Lieutenant.

    Once he gets his gold bar, he realizes that he still doesn’t see the big picture. He approaches his Captain for clarification.

    The Captain smiles grimly. “Oh, lad,” he says. “You and me, we’re just lowly officers. No one below the rank of colonel actually sees the big picture. Our job is to lead to men to the objective- others above us decide what that objective is.”

    So of course, the 2nd Lieutenant studies hard, fights well, and eventually is promoted to Captain, then to Major, then finally Lieutenant Colonel.

    And he discovers that only the Generals formulate strategy. The Colonels only pass on orders from those who see the big picture.

    So he studies hard, bucks for Brigadier General, makes it. With one star on his chest proclaiming to the world that he is in position to understand the big picture, he walks confidentaly into a war meeting with the other Generals.

    By this time, America is at war with a different country, and every Genral in the room is helping formulate strategy on how to win. The Brigadier General who was once a private on a hill discovers a plan to take an enemy stronghold and then withdraw again hesitantly raises a hand.

    “I note that we plan to take this city and then abandon it,” he says. “What for?”

    The other Generals laugh uproariously. One General, a Three Star, approaches him to explain. “Oh, lad,” he says, “We’re just army generals; what do we know? The politicians back home assure us that we need to capture this town for at least 4 months, but we can’t afford to stay there beyond that point. You see, it’s the politicians who see the big picture, the ebb and flow of international politics. Our job is to do what they require of us.”

    Two days later, the Bridgadier General resigns his commission and returns home. After studying politics for a year, he runs for Congress. It’s a easy win- he’s a distinguished war veteran, he’s moderate on most issues, and his predecessor was caught alone in a hotel room with call girls and blow.

    In a state of the union address, he hears the president assure all of America that capturing a certain town for exactly 4 months was vital.

    The congressman couldn’t see how- he still remembered how pointless capturing that hill had been so long ago. But now, he saw clearly- it wsn’t the members of congress who understood the big picture, it was the President!

    In the next election, the congressman secures the nomination of a major party, and wins in a landslide.

    In his first meeting with his staff, the President’s advisors tell him that he needs to send in troops to seize a cetain moutnain village and hold it safe from the enemy for at least a year before they could withdraw.

    The President, as you might imagine, was not pleased to hear this. “What for?” he asked suspiciously.

    His advisor smiles grimly. “Oh, sir,” he says, “it’s our job to understand what going on in the world. Then we tell you what your options are, and which one is the best choice. Your job is to lead the nation, and how can you do that and moniter every section of the world at the same time?”

    Ah, the President thinks to himself. So it’s the advisors who see the big picture.

    In the next election, the President cuts a deal with a politician from his opposing party- the President agrees not to run if his opponent will accept him as part of his cabinet. The opposing politician agrees.

    In the new President first meeting with his staff, one of the Presidental advisors starts to talk about how they must take a certain hilltop and then withdraw again. The former President leaps to his feet.

    “Why!?” he howls. “Why do we keep taking objectives and then abandoning them? What’s the big picture? Huh? Why can’t I see the big picture!?”

    An awkward silence descends on the room. Finally, the new President steps towards the trembling man whose outburst had stopped the proceeding.

    The new President hesitantly asks, “Jesus Christ, you mean to say that YOU were on that freaking hill too?”


    • Rob #

      Amazing joke. Wish the last couple of Presidents had known it… maybe you can get it to rise through the chain of command?

      Congrats, and good luck in basic training!


  5. Marmaduke #

    In line with the ‘how to cultivate child assassins’ topic, (this is considerably late but just for fun) I feel like following the path of Ender in Ender’s Game would do the trick. Following his second murder he should have been taken to the major’s office and shown how his first kill merited his admittance into his prestigious military academy and that his second kill would be justly rewarded with a promotion to command school. Subsequent murder of his peers would earn him brief communication with his family, most of which would be voice actors or dropped calls. Of course we’d have to get rid of that pesky conscience too so lets wear him down physically until exhaustion takes away all possible reasoning and moral evaluation. All that’s left is instinct, which has been finely honed to thirst for blood. Then you let him loose on your target, explaining to him that it’s just a game with highly advanced simulations. Once you’re done using the kid, let him know it was all actually very real and he’s responsible for the deaths of a multitude of people. This will either destroy him or send him after you. If you’ve done your job right, it’ll be the former.


  6. Trevor #

    Royal wedding, hello? Overblown TV coverage of a ceremonial-only monarchy based around lucky German hemophiliacs which simultaneously costs the subject people millions and yet attracts tourists to their country? Where’s that discussion?

    Michael Scott’s exit from “The Office” was near-perfect, despite the presence of Will Ferrell as his replacement (he’s the rebound manager for the show, with the real new face of Dunder-Mifflin showing up soon). Sadly, the Paul Reiser Show is no more, I thought the two episodes that aired were okay and there was room for growth. Alas, I was wrong.


  7. Caroline #

    It’s got potential for OverThinking (if it’s not in its own way an act of OverThinking) – the two male stars of the current Broadway production of “The Importance of Being Earnest” put out five 1-2 minute videos of their performance of various lines/exchanges from The Jersey Shore in the style of Oscar Wilde. They are fantastic! The humor in some of the bits comes from just how jarringly the style and the dialogue contrast each other, but frequently the two line up surprisingly well. They’re on YouTube, titled “Jersey Shore Gone Wilde,” Link to part 1:


    • Rob #

      I was actually hoping they would do it the other way around, and choose Wilde quotations to be delivered by Jersey Shore characters, as his epigrams are so well-suited to their cast.


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