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03
19
07
Topical Events Explained Using Childhood Arguments over Television Shows, part 1


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Evolution versus Intelligent Design

Next door at the Saunders house, I walked into a feverish argument, held on their sloping asphalt driveway, about Fantasy Island. They were debating the machinations of the island, how it all worked. Todd's little brother, Anders, about six years old, insisted Mr. Roarke was some sort of devil and all the amazing happenings that occurred on the island were carried out by ghosts, that were in league with him, or at least held in thrall by his command. (One of the ghosts, thankfully, was Barbie Benton.)

Todd, who was eight (same as me) insisted Anders, like usual, had come up with a silly idea, that it was not the work of ghosts that made Fantasy Island tick. It was Mr. Roarke, who was a masterful magician, and the island and all its trappings was an illusion he'd conjured. Tattoo, maybe, was a demon familiar-like creature Mr. Roarke used for difficult tasks. And besides, Todd added, his younger brother stole butter out of the fridge, so what did he know about anything.

My thoughts were that neither one of those theories had any basis that could be gleaned from the show's narrative, that the island clearly had a wealth of working actors, extras, and construction crews on hand, and, anyway, the people who came there were often delusional to begin with. I did concede that early in the series, Mr. Roarke was much more sinister and vengeful. I also reminded them there was a writer's strike, which was when every episode became about Burt Convy getting his confidence back.

The argument not really over, Anders ran around the yard eating a stick of butter, shouting "De Plane, de plane!" Todd chased him with a clump of red dirt and threw it at his bare legs, and I went home and drank a tall glass of sweet iced tea, from the pitcher my grandmother had left steeping on the kitchen counter.


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post #179
bio: john ball
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3/19/2007
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