News of the Week: Emoji, ’90s Nostalgia, and One Really Scary Sitcom Statue

Words vs. pictures, Uncle Jesse’s return, and angry Lucille Ball fans in this week’s dose of pop culture.

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Should Grown Men Use Emoji?

Short answer: No. Long answer: No no no no no no no no no no no no no no.

(Shutterstock)
(Shutterstock)

If you don’t know what emoji are (is?), well, I envy you. They’re the little smiley faces and other faces or symbols you see replacing words online, sort of like really fancy emoticons. The New York Times is asking if grown men should even use them or, you know, stick to words. And it’s not a sexist thing, if you’re wondering. Women use emoji more. Though, as Columbia University linguist John McWhorter says in the article, that might be changing.

I’m not going to use emoji unless they start to replace letters on the keyboard. I don’t care how much they’re beginning to infest the online world. I’m not even used to semicolons yet, even if I do use them in the next story.

Attack of the Lucille Ball Statue!

I love this trend of installing statues of classic TV characters around the country. TV Land has several of them, including a Mary Tyler Moore statue in Minneapolis; Andy and Opie from The Andy Griffith Show in Raleigh, North Carolina; Bob Newhart in Chicago; and Samantha Stephens from Bewitched in Salem, Massachusetts, not too far from me. There’s also a statue of Lucille Ball (which TV Land doesn’t have anything to do with), and it’s completely freaking out fans of the actress.

The 400-pound bronze statue was actually installed in Ball’s hometown of Celoron, New York, six years ago, but efforts to either fix or replace it have really picked up steam recently. There’s a Facebook page called We Love Lucy. Get Rid of this Statue! — and if you listen carefully you can even hear Lucy Ricardo’s famous “WHAAAAAAAAAAAAA.”

The artist is now apologizing and says in a letter to The Hollywood Reporter that he’ll fix it. But the mayor of Celoron, Scott Schrecengost, wants someone else to fix it.

It’s not that it doesn’t look like Lucille Ball. It’s just that it looks like Lucille Ball’s corpse, arisen from her grave a la The Walking Dead.

’90s Nostalgia Has Gotten Out of Hand

(Shutterstock)
(Shutterstock)

For some reason, NBC is bringing back Coach, the Craig T. Nelson sitcom that ran on ABC in the late ’80s to mid-’90s. Fox is bringing back The X-Files. Arrested Development is already back on Netflix, Boy Meets World (only this time with a girl) is currently on Disney, and Bob Odenkirk and David Cross are even going to do a Mr. Show-ish sketch comedy for Netflix. But the biggest news for people whose knowledge of pop culture doesn’t go past 1994 is that Full House might be coming back! I’m using that exclamation point sarcastically!

The update, called Fuller House, will focus on characters DJ Tanner and Kimmy Gibbler. John Stamos, Bob Saget, and Dave Coulier will all make appearances but don’t count on seeing the Olsen twins. Slate has a three-minute video that will tell you all you need to know (and then some) about the show.

You can thank ’90s nostalgia on the Web for this. Soon there will be an entire TV network based on BuzzFeed listicles and GIFs.

RIP, Pillsbury Doughboy and Pet Rock Creators

Here’s more nostalgia, but not in a good way. The creators of two pop culture icons have passed away. Rudolph Perz was an advertising executive who invented the Pillsbury Doughboy for General Mills in 1965. He died at the age of 89 on April 1. And Gary Dahl, the inventor of the 1970s fad Pet Rock, passed away in March. He was 78.

I never owned a Pet Rock. I’m assuming having a rock as a pet must sound awfully confusing to 10-year-olds who have their own smartphones, but it was silly fun. You can actually still buy them. I do have a Pillsbury Doughboy figure somewhere in the house. In the latest TV commercial, someone finally buys him some pants.

Choosing A College? Use Instagram

tulpahn / Shutterstock.com
tulpahn / Shutterstock.com

I realize as I get older, many of my sentences start out with “When I was young…” or “When I was in school…” but when I was in school, we didn’t have the Internet to help us pick a college. We had to use pencils and typewriters and snail mail and our cars to research colleges. We didn’t have websites and Wikipedia and all of the fancy Googles and Tumblrs and Meerkats that kids have these days (oh sorry, Meerkat is already soooooo early 2015 — it’s Periscope now).

Now students are actually using Instagram to see what their colleges are like. Since they can’t actually go to every college campus to see what they’re like (well, they can, but they can’t), kids are looking at the official Instagram accounts for the schools to see what the campuses look like and what student life is like there.

One day, probably not too far from this very moment, people will be able to get their college degrees without ever leaving Facebook. Your GPA will be based on the number of Likes you have.

April Is National Grilled Cheese Month

(Shutterstock)
(Shutterstock)

I went on a health kick a few years ago and tried to find smart and healthy alternatives for the foods I loved to eat. One of the things I tried was making a grilled cheese without grilling it. Instead I put the bread in a toaster and quickly put a few slices of low-fat American cheese on the bread while it was still hot. Let’s just say it wasn’t the same. The bread wasn’t the same without butter, and the low-fat cheese tasted like cheese-flavored envelopes.

So let’s celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month by using our stovetops. There are more variations on the classic than you think: Food Network has 50 grilled cheese recipes and All Recipes has several too. You can also check out the Grilled Cheese Academy. As the site says, it’s not a culinary school or a school of higher learning, they just love cheese (from Wisconsin, to be exact).

Upcoming Anniversaries and Events

Thomas Jefferson born (April 13, 1743)

Read what Jefferson and other great Americans had to say about free speech.

President Lincoln shot by John Wilkes Booth (April 14, 1865)

I bet you don’t know what happened to Booth after he shot the president.

Titanic hits iceberg (April 14, 1912)

Read more on the inevitable tragedy of the great ship.

Charlie Chaplin born (April 16, 1889)

Here’s one of the very first covers that Norman Rockwell did for The Saturday Evening Post titled Charlie Chaplin Fans.

Record Store Day (April 18)

Remember independent record stores? Visit one today so they’ll stay in business!

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Comments

  1. Another interesting column this week Bob, but I’ll just comment on one. The Lucille Ball statue is an absolute fiasco, without question. I can’t believe Lucie Arnaz would have approved of it, but would rather talk about my replacement idea rather than discussing that one any further.

    Since Lucille Ball can’t have her say in this, I’d like to think she’d be the most pleased with one that depicts her as herself first and her ‘Lucy character’ second, yet in reality combines both. She was especially beautiful and still youthful as ‘Lucy Carmichael’ circa 1966 in color on her 2nd series. Visually it blurred any distinction between her character and herself off screen otherwise, making it a perfect choice I believe she and most fans would love.

    A great example of a statue done right is the one of Ronald Reagan at the entrance of the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Ca. Perhaps his design team should be consulted. Lucille Ball certainly deserves one equally as great, and I hope will get it.

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