Report: Mankind's Knowledge Of TV Trivia Doubling Every Three Years

Top Headlines

Recent News

Most Likely Candidates For Clinton’s Cabinet

If elected president, Hillary Clinton will have the opportunity to nominate up to 15 cabinet members, each advising her on executive departments. Here are the most rumored choices for Clinton’s inner circle.

Man Votes Early To Get Week Bragging About It Out Of Way

SCOTTSDALE, AZ—Saying he had been looking forward to casting his ballot and didn’t want to wait until November 8, local man David Keene, 36, reportedly voted early Thursday in order to get a week of bragging about it out of the way.

Most Likely Candidates For Trump’s Cabinet

If elected president, Donald Trump will have the opportunity to nominate up to 15 cabinet members, each advising him on executive departments. Here are the most rumored choices for Trump’s inner circle.

Cake Just Sitting There

Take It

CHICAGO—Assuring you that there was nothing to worry about and not a soul around who would see you, sources confirmed Tuesday that a large piece of chocolate cake was just sitting there and that you should go ahead and take it.

Siblings Each Hoping Other One Will Take Care Of Aging Parents Someday

CLEVELAND—Explaining that they simply didn’t want to have to deal with the immense time commitment and emotional exhaustion, sisters Katie and Ellen Cattell each privately admitted to reporters this week that they were hoping the other sibling would someday be the one to take care of their aging parents.
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next

Report: Mankind's Knowledge Of TV Trivia Doubling Every Three Years

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ–According to a report released Monday by Rutgers University's Center For Media Studies, mankind's collective knowledge of TV trivia is increasing at an astounding rate, doubling every three years.

Culture Watch

"Our species' familiarity with the details of specific I Love Lucy episodes is 16 times what it was during the show's ratings peak in 1955," said Dr. Timothy Klennert, director of the Center For Media Studies. "For example, 80 percent of Americans are able to name the bogus health tonic that got Lucy drunk during the episode 'Lucy Does A TV Commercial,' compared to 5 percent the day after the program's original airing."

Klennert attributed the trend to the rise of such rerun-driven cable networks as Nick At Nite and TV Land, as well as the increased availability of classic TV episodes on home video. Also cited was the proliferation of Internet sites offering TV-trivia quizzes and books crammed with statistics and factoids about the history of the medium.

"In today's media-rich environment, a person pretty much has to live in a cave not to be exposed to TV trivia," Klennert said. "There are infants who haven't even watched television who can name all six Brady kids. It's practically genetically encoded."

Klennert praised the dedication of U.S. television viewers, who have "tenaciously studied and absorbed TV trivia in the face of so many other forms of information competing for their attention."

"In 1987, only 16 percent of Americans could sing the entire Family Ties theme song, including the 'Sha-la-la-la' ending, compared to the 67 percent able to sing the Friends theme today. If we continue at our current pace, it is not inconceivable that by 2010, there will be a TV theme song that achieves 100 percent saturation."

Some of the once-obscure TV shows that a majority of today's Americans can easily identify.

Some complain that the TV-trivia explosion has come at a cost, contributing to a general decline in interest in such subjects as math, science, and history. For others, however, the trade-off has proven enormously profitable.

"I have no idea what a proton is," said Who Wants To Be A Millionaire contestant John Carpenter, who won $1 million for correctly identifying the U.S. president who appeared on Laugh-In, becoming the subject of a TV-trivia factoid in his own right. "Fortunately, the million-dollar question had nothing to do with such basic scientific knowledge."

According to Mark Bennett, author of TV Sets: Fantasy Blueprints Of Classic TV Homes, not only are more Americans trivia-savvy than ever before, but the quality of the trivia itself is increasing.

"It's no longer all that impressive to know that two different actors played Darrin on Bewitched," Bennett said. "To impress these days, you'd have to know that there were two Mrs. Kravitzes. Or two Louise Tates. Or that Jerry Seinfeld was on the first season of Benson."

Pondering the future of TV trivia, Bennett said: "One day, I envision a world in which every American knows that Happy Days was a spin-off from a 1972 Love, American Style episode. A world in which the phrase 'No whammies!' is instantly associated by all with the '80s game show Press Your Luck. A world in which the importance of TV trivia is as universally undisputed as the greatness of the first three seasons of St. Elsewhere."


Sign up For The Onion's Newsletter

Give your spam filter something to do.

X Close