Pop Culture Mystery of the Week


Pop Culture Mystery of the Week – Is it Possible to Still Be a Fan of the Cosby Show?



TO: Bookshelf Q. Battler, PCM Webmaster

FROM: Delilah K. Donnelly, Lead Counsel for the Bookshelf Battle and Pop Culture Mysteries Blogs

POP CULTURE MYSTERY: Is it Possible to Still be a Fan of The Cosby Show?

Mr. Battler,

As 2015 wanes to a close, the latest news reports are that legendary comedian Bill Cosby has been criminally charged with sexual assault.

Your 3.5 readers want to know whether or not it is ok to still be a fan of Mr. Cosby’s show.

What will you tell them?


Delilah K. Donnelly, Esq.

Hello 3.5 Pop Culture Mysteries Readers.

The Cosby Show.  Growing up, my fellow Generation Xers and I were captivated by this show.

Why? Three reasons off the top of my head:

  • It was the first TV show that portrayed a successful, accomplished black family. Cliff (Bill Cosby) was the neighborhood ObGYN, familes of all different backgrounds trusting him to deliver their babies. Clare (Phylicia Rashad) was a high level attorney. They had five kids, ranging from Sandra, the eldest who was in college when the show began to baby Rudy, thus young viewers from 4-22 had someone just like them to connect with on the show.
  • In the 1950’s, white viewers tuned in to get fatherly advice from Ward Cleaver, father of Beaver Cleaver. In the 1980’s, white people tuned in to get fatherly advice from Cliff, father of Theo.  It was a sign of progress that in the lexicon of 1980s’pop culture, a black man was looked to as “America’s Dad.”
  • It was a really good show! Everyone has their favorite episode. Mine is the one in which Cliff and Theo argue over whether or not Theo should go to college. Cliff teaches Theo how tough life is by doling out some monopoly money to his son, only to take it all away as he lists off one expense after another. Theo, like most kids, was used to being taken care of by his parents so the hard knocks of life had never dawned on him.

But now, our happy memories of a TV show that made us happy when we were kids are tarnished, aren’t they, 3.5 readers?

Is it necessary to get into the details of the allegations?  You’ve all heard about it by now. Women with claims about drugs and Cosby doing…well…ok just go ahead and crack a joke already.

“So you see, you’ve got to put the pills in the New Coke and then you take out your pudding pop and…

Pudding pops. Damn it, those were delicious. Do they still make those? Someone find out and tell me. I need me one of those.

No seriously, they were frozen hunks of pudding on a stick.  Pure bliss.

Kodak film, frozen pudding, I’ll tell you New Coke was the only product the Coz steered us wrong on.

Anyway. Yes. This is certainly a sad situation. He brought us all a lot of happiness and now its like our pop cultural dad had this whole other side to him.

But is it possible to still be a fan of the Cosby Show?

Well, let me put it this way.

You liked the show when you were kid. If you think about your favorite episodes and still laugh, there’s nothing wrong with you.

But at the same time, it is understandable that various media outlets, from television to streaming media, are removing The Cosby Show from their offerings.

No one wants to be associated with…well…you know.

Its unfortunate because there were a lot of good lessons for young people on that show but at the same time, its impossible to separate the show from Bill’s “other side.”

So the short answer to this “Pop Culture Mystery” is:

  • If you still like the show, there’s nothing wrong with you. It was a major pop cultural phenomenon that touched the hearts of a lot of people. Also, the rest of the cast, i.e. those kids we grew up with who are adults now, never did anything wrong so its unfortunate for them that the show they worked on has been so badly damaged.
  • But, if you want to still be a fan, you’ll have to do so inside your head because understandably, no one wants to carry the show anymore and it’ll become more and more difficult to find.
  • If you loved the show but now you can’t watch it without thinking about all the bad stuff…you’re normal. I liked that Cliff and Theo exchanging the Monopoly money scene, but I can’t watch it now without thinking about everything that’s been in the news lately.

In summation, if you still like the show, it’s ok. If you can’t stomach it now, it’s ok too.

And either way, it’ll be harder and harder to find an outlet to watch the show on.

Thanks for reading, 3.5 readers and if you have a Pop Culture Mystery, be sure to share it in the comments.


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Pop Culture Mystery of the Week – Was Clark Griswold Really in That Much Financial Trouble in Christmas Vacation?


For Bookshelf Q. Battler’s 3.5 Readers’ Eyes Only

TO: Bookshelf Q. Battler, PCM Webmaster

FROM: Delilah K. Donnelly, Lead Counsel for the Bookshelf Battle and Pop Culture Mysteries Blogs

POP CULTURE MYSTERY: Was Clark Griswold Really in That Much Financial Trouble in Christmas Vacation?

Mr. Battler –

Delightful to be in touch this joyous yuletide season. Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase is a perennial holiday favorite season, especially for your 3.5 readers, who enjoy good humor but for some reason, visit your websites regardless.

In this classic, Mr. Griswold puts a deposit down on an in-ground swimming pool but fears he will find himself in financial ruin when it appears his Christmas bonus will not be coming through from his company.

Pardon my suspicions, but something is amiss, is it not? Was Mr. Griswold ever in that much danger with his finances?

Happy Holidays to You and a Splendid New Year,

Delilah K. Donnelly, Esq.

Merry Christmas to you to, Ms. Donnelly, and even though Jake hates my guts, wish him well for me just the same.

What a timely Pop Culture Mystery!

I love Christmas Vacation. I watch it every year. So many fantastic quotes:

  • “The shitter was full!”
  • “Can I drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?”
  • “Hey Griz, you’re not doing anything productive, go get my stogie!”
  • “Grace? She died thirty years ago…”

Tell me your favorite quote from this movie in the quotes. Meanwhile, I’ll carry on with the mystery Ms. Donnelly has laid out for me.

You remember the scene, don’t you?

Clark’s niece, little Ruby Sue, is sad. She fears she will get no presents because she didn’t get any the year before. Her drunk, dimwitted, unemployed war veteran with a plate in his head father has no money and the whole family lives in an RV.

So naturally, Clark whines that he’s going to be in deep doo doo because he put a $7,500 deposit down on an in ground swimming pool and if his Christmas bonus doesn’t come in, he won’t have enough money to cover the check he wrote.

Does that situation suck? Yes.

Could it cause him some financial woes?  Sure. The pool company will likely want the money anyway as a deal’s a deal. He doesn’t have the $7,500 handy in his account. There will be an overdraft fee. A debt collector will harass him until he coughs up $7,500 big ones.

But really…at worst, he’ll be out $7,500.  Is that a lot? Hell yes it is. I’ll bang my head up against the wall for hours if I ever lose $7,500.

Is it going to put Clark on the verge of bankruptcy?

Doubtful. Consider:

  • From the “kiss his ass, kiss my ass” scene we know Clark is a mid-level executive. There are some asses he must kiss and some people who must kiss his ass. So he makes a decent salary.
  • He owns a large suburban home, so grandiose in size that it fits his and his wife’s extended family.
  • He has money to burn on things like a hockey jersey, personalized with his name on the back.
  • He is able to buy presents for his kids and Eddie’s kids.
  • The extraordinary electric bill that must have come from all those lights on his house was never a concern for him.

All in all, Clark’s not rich, but he’s not suffering either. Losing $7,500 because his employer screwed him on a bonus caused him understandable agitation, but he’d bounce back from it.

At the end of the day, he’d probably have to take out a modest loan to pay the pool company the sum of the bounced check, then suffer with a hole in his back yard until he saves enough to have the pool actually installed.

Stop freaking out in front of your family, Clark.  Actually, don’t. It’s funny and your boss really was a sack of monkey sh$t.

Wheres the tylenol?


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Pop Culture Mystery of the Week – Why Does Captain Kirk Like Sabotage?



TO: Bookshelf Q. Battler, PCM Webmaster

FROM: Delilah K. Donnelly, Lead Counsel for Bookshelf Battle and Pop Culture Mysteries

RE: New Star Trek Beyond Trailer

Good day, Mr. Battler. Paramount has released a trailer for the upcoming film, Star Trek Beyond. Featured prominently is the rap song, Sabotage off of the Beastie Boy’s 1994 album, Ill Communication.

I dare say your 3.5 readers are in an absolute dither. I’m receiving inquiries such as “Does it make sense for a 1990’s song to appear in a film set in the future?” and “How would Capt. Kirk even know about this song?”

I’m simply much too attractive to feign an interest in science fiction, Mr. Battler, so I shall leave this matter in your capable hands.


Delilah K. Donnelly, Esq.

Thank you, Delilah.

And welcome, 3.5 readers, to the very first “Pop Culture Mystery of the Week.”

Jake Dashing can’t solve them all and when he does, he usually gets longwinded and more concerned with himself than the actual answer.

So once a week I hope to take on a pop culture mystery of my own, without the hardboiled noir talk, as fun as that is.

When this site officially kicks off  later this year, I’m going to hand this responsibility off to a trusted associate, a shadowy information broker who goes by the name of “Informant Zero.” Nothing could go wrong there, I’m sure.

And 3.5 readers, if you’re a writer who is into pop culture, I might even assign you a week to solve a pop culture mystery of your very own. I know. Try to contain your excitement.

First, let’s take a look at that trailer Delilah was talking about:

Star Trek Beyond – Trailer (2016) – Paramount Pictures

Ahh, the Beastie Boys. What rebels they were and Sabotage was certainly a rebel anthem. Why, even a young BQB was known to walk around playing a Beastie Boys cassette tape on his Walkman with the Sabotage part worn out.

Kids, there was a time when not every song was instantly downloadable so you had to go to a music store and buy actual, physical cassette tapes. They were these plastic rectangles with information printed onto this material wrapped around spools and…no. You know what?  That’s a pop culture mystery all by itself.

Capt. Kirk is a character from the future.  He’s the main star of a science fiction franchise. How the heck does he know about Sabotage? Why would he be a fan of it? Why would he play it for his crew?

Simple. 3.5 readers, let’s look at Star Wars.  That series is set a universe that’s a mix of sci fi and fantasy. If Earth exists within it, it doesn’t have a place in the storyline. It’s not mentioned at all. Accordingly, it would make no sense for Luke Skywalker to dig a 1990’s rap.

Star Trek, on the other hand, is set in the 23rd Century (that’s the 2200’s for you people that don’t know your centuries) and Earth exists!

And if Earth exists, then Earth’s history exists as well. Holy Crap, I bet to a person from 1770, we 2015 people would come across as futuristic space weirdoes. They’d have no idea what to do with us.

But you know about Beethoven, don’t you? He was born in 1770 yet there are people in 2015 who know enough about his music that they can appreciate him today.

Think about the songs, books, music, and movies you enjoy today.  All of this stuff that seems new and exciting will one day be looked on as classics to future people.

Beyonce? Classic artist. Kanye? Classic artist. Fifty Shades of Gray? Classic work of literature. Whodathunkit?

While the 2200’s seem far away from us (none of us will live to see them), they aren’t that far off when the totality of human existence is taken into consideration.

Space exploration is still relatively new in the Star Trek universe and what is Starfleet’s mission? To boldly go where no man has gone before. Kirk and his crew are space explorers, pushing the limits of a new frontier the way that explorers like Magellan did on our planet years ago.

What’s my point? If it’s not unusual for a classical music enthusiast to sit back and relax with some Beethoven in 2015, then it won’t be unusual when someone in the 2200’s, say the Captain of the Enterprise, for example, wants to get freaky with a Beastie Boys hit.

It makes sense that Kirk would love the Beastie Boys. They were the musical rebels of their day, as Kirk and co. are the space voyaging bad asses of theirs.  Mike D, MCA, and Ad-Rock pushed the rap game to new heights, while that mischievous Kirk is always pulling an end run around his superiors in the Starfleet high command.

Hell, I hope future people will dig the stuff I enjoyed when I was growing up. You know, I envy today’s kids. They can watch new movies and there’s still a whole plethora of awesome movies from the 1980 and beyond for them to discover.

You know what my parents’ generation had to offer me when it came to movies?

Well, to be fair, they had some pretty sweet noir cinema, which inspired this blog. Although if we get into semantics, noir might really be my grandparents’ bag.

Anyway, the baby boomers had some good stuff to offer but to me, a kid who grew up in the 1980’s and 1990’s, most of that just came across as old black and white nonsense, and I’m not going to lie, a whole metric sh%t ton of it involved singing cowboys. Singing cowboys!!!

Meanwhile, flash forward to my heyday. The Rock with Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery. Face Off with Nicolas Cage and John Travolta. Terminator 2: Judgment Day. 

I can take some of the best action movies of the 1990’s and make an argument that they compete with what’s out today.

I didn’t have that when I was a kid. I had my parents’ black and white singing cowboy mumbo jumbo.

That’s why I envy todays kids and that’s why I REALLY envy the people who will come along in Capt. Kirk’s day. They’re going to have so many selections to choose from when it comes to their entertainment.

It boggles the mind to think about it and not to be macabre on a lighthearted site but I get sad to think about all the future stuff I’m going to miss out on.

So kudos to you, Capt. Kirk, for your great taste in music, and more kudos to you, JJ Abrams, the first nerd in history to be at the helm of Star Trek AND Star Wars AND be able to understand why Sabotage would kick ass in Kirk’s world but confuse people in Luke’s.

I hope you enjoyed this very first Pop Culture Mystery of the week, 3.5 readers. Technically, this site doesn’t really launch until April, but I’ll do my best to get out one post like this per week regardless.

May the force be with you and live long and prosper.

Also, I can’t stand it, I know you planned it, I’mma set it straight this Watergate…

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