Lowest Common Denominator
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Thread: Lowest Common Denominator

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007

    Default Lowest Common Denominator

    I happened to see the Jaywalking segment that Jay Leno does the other night. This is where he goes on the street and asks random people simple questions that everyone should probably know, but they don't - Like 'who is the President?' or 'Is the Earth round?' or stuff like that.

    Anyway, this made me realize another one of the reasons/explanation I like Malcolm is that the writers of the show don't assume that the audience watching the TV are morons. The writers of Malcolm ussually just assume the audience has a basic understanding of cultural refrences, how society works in general, even science and psychology. There are many things that are not explained in the show, it is left up to the audience to either already know or figure it out. Most stuff on TV would never do this. Jokes and the plot will be spelled out as if the viewers are morons. Not only is it annoying but that slows down the pace of the show to the Lois common denominator.

    I have some examples of things that are not explained. You as the audience simply have to know what they are or figure it out or you would miss the joke. Probably no one knows them all from the whole series so you might miss a few a jokes. I think the point is just that it is refreshing that the writers didn't assume we are idiots who know nothing, which is really how you the audience is treated on most tv shows.

    Happy Days
    John Lennon
    Wuthering Heights
    Quentin Tatantino
    Pam Grier
    Donny Osmond
    Pearl Harbor
    Rain Man
    Flux capacitor
    Mamma Mia!
    The Sims
    Frank Miller
    Wilima Shatner
    Geroge Takei
    Sleepless in Seattle
    JFK and the missle crisis
    Yoko Ono
    The Flinstones
    Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers
    Meow Mix

    thats all I can think of but there are tons

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005


    Excellent point! Actually I've researched a few of those after they aired the first time!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Gold Coast, Australia


    Krelboyne is explained:

    Lois: Malcolm. He's a genius. He's going to a special

    Malcolm: What?

    Hal: Malcolm's special? Where do you think that came from?

    Lois: They have a special program for gifted children. They have advanced textbooks and devoted teachers and all sorts of good things they don't want to waste on normal kids. You start on Monday.

    Malcolm: Mom, no. I don't want to.

    Lois: What are you talking about? Of course you want to.

    Malcolm: No. I want to stay in my own class. I don't want to be a Krelboyne.
    When he says "I don't want to be a Krelboyne", viwers would think that must
    be the name of his class.

    Same with the Buseys. First we see Dewey entering the class, and then we
    see him at home where Malcolm goes "they put you in with the Buseys?"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007


    Amigo22, that classes are are explained and become aparent in the show, but see you have missed the "joke" if you didn't already know that Gary Busey is a Hollywood actor who has become known for drunken whacked out rants and other crazy or possibly mentally defective behavior! Dewey's councilor officially called it the "special needs" class. it was everybody else who called it that.

    That's my point, it possible to watch Malcolm and not even realize that some of the dialouge that just seems like mundane lines actually has jokes in there. Other shows don't do that. They say mundane lines that build into one punchline at a time and thats it. In Malcolm almost every line can be joke, and there can be more then one at a time and everyone might not even get them all on the first viewing.

    Like when Hal tries to convince Lois to go to Las Vegas he says he has money from outsourcing Flux Capacitors. The audience automatically knows he is lying based on the previous conversation with Malcolm. But is this just a mundane line to move along the plot or is there a joke in there? You have to have seen the classic "Back to the Future" to get it. And beyond just having seen it you have to understand that Flux Capacitor has become a part of the culture as a quintessential mad scientists creation from a beloved B rate movie. I think it is perfectly hysterical and in character that Hal and the boys would know what that is and Lois would have no clue.

    I saw "Charity" multiple times before I even noticed the amusing line about Stevie wanting Pam Grier memorabilia that he has to hide from his parents.
    Jackie Brown, great movie

    I love that stuff
    Last edited by MalcolmFun; Oct 23, 2007 at 02:21 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Los Angeles, CA


    "Lois" common denominator was such a geeky and ridiculous nickname. xD

    And yes, I adore watching old episodes and listening very closely to the lines being said to catch any quick jokes.
    you wanna follow the laws of man?
    bloody apron, leg of lamb.
    it's so hard to win...
    when there's so much to lose.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    I love that nickname for some strange reason. Then again, it is geeky.
    Malcolm(to Lois):You can't ban Christmas!!!!!!
    Reese:Yeah!!!! This is the last year Dewey'll believe in Santa!!!!.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007


    Cool. Any other amazing discoveries?


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