TV

What Useful Fact or Skill Did You Learn From TV?


The university of television has bestowed great knowledge upon us all.

The casts of Friends, Breaking Bad, Fawlty Towers, The Simpsons, The Office (US)
Photo: Getty, NBC Universal, AMC, FOX, BBC, Hasbro

We all absorb lessons from our environment, and if you grew up in the 1980s or 1990s, that environment was more likely than not, television. Forget parents – for good or for bad – TV is what raised you into the person you are today. 

It wasn’t only the shows that were aiming to teach that imparted their wisdom. Schools programming and nature documentaries played their part by explaining Oxbow lakes and why, if you’re an antelope, it’s a really good idea to not fall behind the pack come lion-o-clock, but the real lessons came from elsewhere. From sitcoms and kids’ cartoons and dramas that made us inwardly say ‘huh, new fact’.

Here, we give thanks to the invaluable education provided to us by TV.

The Correct Ingredients of a Waldorf Salad

Learned From: Fawlty Towers

Celery, Apples, Walnuts, Grapes. CELERY, APPLES, WALNUTS, GRAPES. It’s repeated like a mantra (as far as I remember) in the 1970s BBC sitcom Fawlty Towers episode entitled… “Waldorf Salad”. In it, a British woman and her American husband arrive late to the Torquay hotel run by Basil Fawlty, and attempt to bribe the chef to stay late. In classic Towers style, Basil ballses things up and has to cook for the couple himself. The man orders a Waldorf Salad, Basil doesn’t know what that is, hilarity ensues. 

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