So there I was, sitting around, enjoying my new "Facts of Life" DVDs, just like I told you.
And I get to this episode that I totally don't remember, in which Blair runs for student-council president against some girl, Cynthia (not tomboy Cindy), who was never on the show before and never will be again. Cynthia's dad is some diplomat and she's lived all over the world and rubbed elbows with the rich and powerful, even more than Blair. And she wins and gets the job, and then the plot just goes WHACK-A-MOLE. Because she KILLS HERSELF by taking pills in her Eastland dorm room, and one of the girls finds her and Mrs. Garrett doesn't even bother to call an ambulance or run upstairs to see if she is in fact dead for an excruciatingly long period of time and then the girl dies offscreen and Mrs. Garrett deals with final fatal news with the exact calm she might have if the vending-machine guy was calling to tell her he was going to be a few minutes late restocking the Hostess fruit pies.
I kept thinking "She can't be dead! Since when did they kill off students on 'Facts of Life'? I don't remember this AT ALL. And also, if they had to start murdering the cast, couldn't they begin with that annoying Sue Ann?"
It all got me thinking: Remember when Tara and Sarah wrote an article for me at MSNBC.com in which they invented the concept of the Ziering, referring to the one actor in an ensemble cast who will never work again?
Well, I want to invent a term for the one episode in a beloved series that you see decades after the show went off the air and you think: The HELL? Where did THAT episode come from, and how did I see every other episode of this show eight million times and never once see this one?
For me and "Facts of Life," it's the Cynthia suicide episide, which is actually called "Breaking Point." For me and "The Brady Bunch," it's "Out of This World," a truly weird episode about astronauts and UFOs and where Bobby has an excruciatingly long dream sequence and there are midget aliens named Herlo and Shim from the planet Kaplutis. Therefore, I nominate that all such episodes be dubbed "Kaplutis." (Hey, it's better than calling them "Cynthia Suicide Episodes.")
"Kaplutis" are not a bad thing -- it's kind of like finding a new episode of a favorite show that ended forever ago, or like discovering that your favorite author wrote a sequel you never knew about.
The episodes themselves, however, are usually not real strong, since if they were, we would have remembered them -- or at least they would have found their way into the show's pop-culture history canon, a la the "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!" episode. I mean, even if you didn't ever see that episode, it can never really be a Kaplutis, because you heard a line from it so often it's almost like you saw the whole thing. Am I making sense here? It's kinda late...
So now you can say to your friends "The heck? I watched the entire second season of "The Cosby Show" on DVD this weekend and I was completely Kaplutised by that weird one where Cliff's doctor friend confesses that he has a daughter who's a coke addict (real episode, by the way)."
Or: "You know, I thought I was addicted to 'Quincy' as a kid, but I had no idea they staged a D.B. Cooper ripoff episode. Kaplutis Central Station!"
You and your friends may have different Kaplutises, and then you can lord over them that you had 25 years of knowing about the "Emergency" episode where Roy gets electrocuted before they ever discovered it. Kaplutis One-Upmanship!
*Note: Turns out it was "Kaplutis," not "Klaputo," making it even more obvious how unfamiliar I am with this episode.