Sunday, May 26, 2013

What would I have made a mistake about? 5 Things Arrested Development got wrong. (WRONG!)

WRONG! is a new feature here where I take something from pop culture and debunk it.  And since today is Arrested Development Day! I'm taking a cold hard look at the facts...?... of that series.

1.  The Securities Exchange Commission does not have boats.

In the pilot, the Bluth family boat is chased down by SEC boats, kicking off the premise of the entire series.  But nothing could be further from the truth!  The SEC does not have boats, as explained by this actual quote from the actual head of the actual SEC in the actual 2006 Vanderbilt  address about what the SEC is like:

 I became convinced that the SEC had gone mainstream when it was featured on the Simpsons a couple years ago.1 Homer unwittingly gets caught up in a company gone bad. The SEC swoops in and arrests him, and he gets sent to prison. But, unlike the depictions on this and other shows, we do not carry M-16s, chase down yachts of inside traders in SEC police boats, or parachute James Bond style into illicit corporate board meetings. It is much tamer than that. We don’t carry guns; we have no boats; we have no planes. We do not even have authority to arrest people.

If you are disillusioned by the fact that your favorite TV series began with a lie, take heart by remembering that you can still get a job at the SEC, where your complete lack of power is offset by having a job in which you apparently spend all day watching The Simpsons.

2. They DO have bars in hospitals.

"This is why people hate hospitals," Lucille tells Michael when Michael breaks it to her that she can't wait in the hospital bar.  ("Key Decisions, Season 1, ep. 4).

Michael is wrong, at least according to this 2011 article about a proposal to put a bar in the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, and why not put a bar in a children's hospital? Do parents have to be dedicated and responsible and loving and not drunk ALL THE TIME? COME ON!

Looking over the site for the actual hospital, it appears that the bar is not in the hospital.

 But they do have a 2-story aquarium and a collection of 9 meerkats.

All jokes aside, that is pretty awesome.

3.  The first frozen banana stand in California was NOT built in 1953 on Balboa Pier.  

It was built in 1940, on Balboa Pier.

Most sources you read say that the idea of a frozen banana on a stick began with the 1933 World's Fair.  That was the fair that followed up on 1893's "White City" World Exposition -- that 1893 one being the one with all the murders.

Not so in 1933, which was filled with fan dances by Sally Rand, Judy Garland and the Andrews Sisters performing at a mock Moroccan nightclub,  and a "midget city" which had sixty live babies in incubators.

No, really.

They really did that.  There was even a helpful booklet, "Your Questions About Midgets, Answered."  Which is ridiculous because nowadays we would never put up with the commercial exploitation of babies.

or women.

Why everyone says the frozen banana idea came from the 1933 thing, I don't know.  There were lots of other cool things at that fair -- which, coincidentally (?) began on May 27, 1933, almost exactly 80 years ago -- such as the fact that they used the light from the star Arcturus, shone on a photoelectric cell, to flip the switches, turn on the lights, and officially kick off the Fair.  

As for the banana thing? The Smithsonian a few days ago did a whole blog about the story, detailing how the first guy opened his stand on Balboa Pier in 1940, and then had another stand open directly across from him in 1963, and especially how Mitchell Hurwitz actually worked at one of the stands. (The second stand may not have opened until the first was closed by the health department.)

4.  Lawyer is NOT "Latin for liar,"

as GOB tells Michael in Season 1, episode 17, while he's trying to convince Michael to have a one night stand with someone.  But lawyer doesn't mean liar, except in real life whenever the word is used.  It means "person who laws," according to the Online Etymology Dictionary:

late 14c. (mid-14c. as a surname), from Middle English lawe "law" (see law) + -iere. Spelling with -y- first attested 1610s (see -yer).

So from the 14th through 17th centuries, there were laweiers.  There were also attorneys, who were too dumb to know how to spell the word that described what they did.  The word "attorney" comes from French, atorne, which means "to appoint," so an "atorne" is someone you appoint to do stuff for you.  As that same online dictionary points out:

The double -t- is a mistaken 15c. attempt to restore a non-existent Latin original. 
"Mistaken" being a polite way to say "you were trying to be all fancy, and you failed."

5. Someone is already planning to build a city on the water.

Part of the third season revolves around Michael's relationship with Charlize Theron

who wasn't mentioned here just to show that picture of Charlize Theron.  She was mentioned here to show this picture of Charlize Theron:

but also was mentioned because she had the idea to build a city on the water, which sounds so crazy it just might work, if you are a Japanese corporation thinking of growing a city on the water.

The Green Float Concept is an idea being developed by the Shimuzu Corporation.  It is a city built on lily-pad like "cells" that would house a central tower and outlying lower townhouses, and would float around and/or join up with other floating cities to form countries, countries which could simply drift to whatever shoreline they want and hang out there for a while, not unlike Cousin Eddie.

Since most of the technology needed to make a Green Float city doesn't exist,  yet, the company's got a way to go, but they're shooting for a 2025 opening day.


Pat Dilloway said...

Floating cities are probably a good idea for when the water rises from global warming and all that.

Andrew Leon said...

Well... until a hurricane. Or, on that side of the world, a typhoon. -I- wouldn't want to live on one.

Briane P said...

In the article, they point out that the cities would be on the equator, where there are few (?) tropical storms. Also, they'd have some sort of 20-foot tall edge that would "minimize" the impact.

Of course, it's not like Land Cities are immune to troubles. Earthquakes, blizzards, tornadoes, Hurricane Sandy, and the general area of Detroit all argue for maybe giving Sea Cities a chance.

Andrew Leon said...

I would go for an undersea city, I think.