Friday, May 12, 2006

Introducing the Kaplutis

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.

18 comments:

nicole said...

It's funny you should mention that episode as I never watched Facts of Life religiously, but I do recall seeing that one. It was quite strange from what I remember too.

Tom said...

Gael, it wasn't "Kapluto," it was "Kaplutis." (or "Kaplutus," I don't knopw about the spelling. We'd have to ask Sherwood Schwartz for sure I suppose.) Great idea, though.

Mcgee said...

I am so with you on those "lost" episodes. I don't remember that Facts of Life one either.

My example is of A Different World episode with the "new kids" (Lena et al.) and they were at some man's house and Billy Dee Williams was there. So confusing. I think this was a summer burnoff episode. Still.

Thought Criminal said...

Ah, see, my "Lost" Cosby Show episode (other than the coke addict daughter one) is the one where Denise has a friend who thinks she has an STD. That one came on a while back and I was like "What?"

Anonymous said...

Just a bit of Brady Bunch trivia: the two actors who played the Kaplutis aliens in that episode were the stand-ins for Mike Lookinland and Susan Olsen when they were shorter.

Kathryn said...

Mine is an episode of Three's COmpany I have seen one time only, and I had thought I had seen every episode of that crappy show. It involved a blind war veteran friend of Jack's visiting, and that's all I remember. I think it was during the "Chrissy" years.

sage said...

That's so funny to me because that UFO one was always my favorite "Brady" episode. I think the strangeness of it all was appealing for some reason.

Carrie said...

My lost episode is from Beverly Hills 90210 in the first season (I think), where Jim and Cindy agree to let a Hispanic girl use their address so she can attend West Beverly. Then Brandon falls for her and she is "not all that she seems." Where did this episode come from? I am convinced it didn't air in the original run and only airs in syndication! Hee.

I did notice that they used this SAME Hispanic actress in the episode where Scott shoots himself, but she is playing a different character. So even the creators forgot the episode existed, I think.

Rebecca said...

I've been thinking about this entry all day, trying to figure out which episodes fit this description for me... I know there are plenty, but by now, I've seen all my old favorites in syndication so many times over that even the Kaplutis are familiar to me.

But tonight, I saw an episode of Roseanne--which I've watch like 6 times a day, every day, for the last 6 months--that I swear I have NEVER seen before. Roseanne and Jackie go over to a competing diner and leave rotting fish and Roseanne gets stuck and Stomp! makes an appearance... And I had no idea this episode existed until now.

GoBetty said...

This entry and THESE COMMENTS are so funny. Thanks Gael.

Anonymous said...

Is that the one where Jo utters the wonderful line, "Ah, you're born, you move on, you die, that's life."? If so, I remember it, because I've been repeating that for over 20 years.

Kathryn said...

There is a Brady Bunch episode I have only read about (in Barry Williams' book). It's about a new family that lives next door, The Kellys. I believe the episode was meant to launch a possible spin-off? Has anyone actually seen this episode?

Jen said...

There is one episode of the X-file that is like this for me. I was so excited that I ran downstairs to tell my husband that there was one left, and it was on now!

He knows me well, and pointed out that maybe I shouldn't watch it, but save it. Because I like knowing I've got one left to watch I still haven't seen it, and have even managed to completely forget the description that came up when I hit info.

Of course, it would have been something helpful like "Scully seems ill, while information about aliens leads Mulder to a mystery." But at least I've got one lone episode left to enjoy!

Gael said...

Kathryn: I've seen that one with the Kellys a LOT. They adopt three boys of different races, one is Mike Lookinland's real-life little brother. It's a really odd episode, the Bradys are hardly in it.

Adam875 said...

Just this weekend I caught a Knight Rider involving pirate treasure and a sniper trying to kill a boarding school girl on horseback. Because all good boarding schools have Free Equestrian Period. Even for Knight Rider it was a little wtf.

lefty said...

i do remember the kellys. my. kelly was played by ken berry.

for me, though, it's the CHIPS episode involving a mason family-like cult that tries to kidnap a satanic rock star, played by donnie most. it stuck for me because the manson guy's name was "simon," and all of his minions would chant "simone, simone, simone..."

jay said...

I've been watching The Facts of Life on Comcast's On Demand service for quite some time. The suicide episode, which I remember clearly, was for whatever reason omitted from the episode list.

Hmph.

I'm up to season 4.

Anonymous said...

Someone asked if the suicide episode is where Jo says, "Ah, you're born, you move on, you die, that's life." That's actually the famous "painting" episode. The girls are trying to stay mad at each other after moving out, and Jo says it when they're starting to reminisce about their first night together in the room. As for the suicide episode, I saw it On Demand, but it was hard to get past how bad the actress was (the worst of all FOL time, I think)