Apr 30th 2014 08:07 am What’d you expect from a studio audience?

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Remember when “America’s Funniest Home Videos” was a sensational new show? It can be very telling to go back through older Arlo & Janis strips and unexpectedly be exposed to enormous, if sometimes puerile, shifts that occur in our culture. Cameras that recorded action on VHS tape were becoming common in homes in the early 90s. They were expensive and bulky and obtrusive, but the YouTube genie was out of the bottle. We just didn’t know it yet. I’m not even going to waste my time or yours trying to enumerate the differences in home videography then and now. (Contestants had to send in a video cassette by mail!) I just wanted to invite you to recall what a big splash that silly now-shop-worn program made on television. We should have known it was going to lead to something huge. And they never picked the funniest video to win.

Posted by jimmyjohnson / Vintage A&J

38 Responses to “What’d you expect from a studio audience?”

  1. Ghost Rider 6 on 30 Apr 2014 at 8:43 am #

    Friends in South Alabama report near historic rainfall and flooding in the area overnight. The Intercoastal Waterway left its banks between Gulf Shores and Orange Beach in Alabama. I-10 was closed at the AL-FL state line overnight. Widespread home flooding, road closures due to high water, and water rescues from Mobile to Pensacola. One person drowned in the Pensacola area when she drove into flood waters that submerged her car. This was from hurricane-class rainfall totals, people.

    Actually, more rain than fell in all Hurricane Ivan, I read. — JJ

  2. emeritus minnesota biologist on 30 Apr 2014 at 9:28 am #

    Rick: /“A History of God,” by Karen Armstrong: Don’t think I’ve seen that one. I’ve read at least one of her books, about Islam, and found it informative, with some tendency to whitewash.

    Have also seen/heard her on various talking-head videos: seems very tense, a difficult person to watch.

  3. Doug From Franklin, MA on 30 Apr 2014 at 9:38 am #

    Even today, they still do not get the “Funniest” videos correct

  4. Canuckguy on 30 Apr 2014 at 10:06 am #

    It’s always been one of my favourite shows. Still is. I had other favourite shows on my list but none had the staying power of “Funniest …
    Survivor, American Idol, Amazing Race, and Glee have come and gone from my Favourites List. Seinfeld was and continues to be (as reruns) on my list. Modern Family(new and reruns) is a new addition which I discovered when I got an upgraded cable package last year. Sports has no place in my viewing time. I still get a big charge out of The Big bang Theory. Also I regularly tune into the first 10 minutes of the Ellen DeGeneres Show. I avoid watching stuff on the Internet with the exception of any videos in YouTube brought to my attention. I also watch news regularly, too much sometimes. But I don’t consider myself a couch potato, I am(retired) and out of the house early most mornings at the gym and serving as a volunteer later in the morning.

  5. John in Richmond Texas on 30 Apr 2014 at 10:20 am #

    I watch weird old stuff on youtube, like Ford in-house training promotional films for Edsel or a Buick sales training film with George C Scott as a customer, or “Twenty Years an Esso Dealer”. Recently to relive some childhood I’ve watched entire episodes of Cannon and Bracken’s World. I’ve found street scenes of downtown Houston from the 1920′s, and if I start loking at clips of music I like, everything from Dusty Springfield to Danny and the Juniors, I can stay glued all day

  6. sandcastler™ on 30 Apr 2014 at 10:43 am #

    Interesting that Jimmy can spot trends in their infancy. Someone might want to start an A&J mutual fund, investment criteria being if JJ parodies it, invest in it. We can get a daily chuckle and a long term dividend.

  7. Lilyblack on 30 Apr 2014 at 10:56 am #

    Good morning, Villagers. Sorry about the S. Alabama flooding, we used to go down to Pensacola every summer, so I know that area well. We used to stay at Navarre Beach, but it pretty much got wiped out in a couple of hurricanes. Cured me from ever wanting beach property!

  8. emeritus minnesota biologist on 30 Apr 2014 at 11:42 am #

    In MN, SD, ND, and Manitoba, there’s lots of beach property guaranteed hurricane-free, on the shores of Lake Aggasiz.

  9. Sandy on 30 Apr 2014 at 11:47 am #

    My family has a long tradition of watching America’s Funniest Videos every Sunday evening. It’s one of only a small handful of shows that will get our teenage daughter off her computer and spending time with the ‘rents. I wish there were more shows like it on TV. It’s just too bad that even after all these years the funniest videos never win.

  10. Lilyblack on 30 Apr 2014 at 12:32 pm #

    emb: That would be called lakefront property here in Texas. I have no objection to that. But I’m not gonna leave Texas, good Lord willing and the crick don’t rise. “I’m Texas born and Texas bred, and when I die, I’ll be Texas dead”. :D

  11. Blinky the Wonder Wombat on 30 Apr 2014 at 12:44 pm #

    Howdy, y’all (Southern is the official language of the Village, right?) I’ve been off line for a couple weeks due to a well-deserved Italian vacation and I am trying to catch up on the recent postings.

    Lots of rain here in the Delaware Valley though fortunately no where near as bad as things down South. We have our share of lousy weather but seem to be located in a sweet spot that rarely gets really severe weather events. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

  12. sandcastler™ on 30 Apr 2014 at 1:43 pm #

    emb, darn you for letting the secret out. I have always thought the northern lakes the best and best keep secret vacation sites. Please don’t advertise, there are far too few jet ski free zones left, silence is truly golden.

  13. Nodak Wayne on 30 Apr 2014 at 1:50 pm #

    sand, you won’t see any jetskies on Lake Aggasiz.

  14. sandcastler™ on 30 Apr 2014 at 2:25 pm #

    Nodak Wayne, climate change will likely reverse the drying up. ;-)

  15. emeritus minnesota biologist on 30 Apr 2014 at 2:57 pm #

    Lily et al.: You should do a search for Lake Agassiz [note corrected spelling]. emb

  16. James Riendeau on 30 Apr 2014 at 3:29 pm #

    AFV is still on the air: http://afv.com/ I was forced to watch it regularly a year ago. It’s not bad, I would just rather be reading. I’m sure you can now submit your videos as youtube links.

  17. James Riendeau on 30 Apr 2014 at 3:30 pm #

    Did I say reading, I meant watching Tosh.0. Sorry.

  18. Mark in TTown on 30 Apr 2014 at 4:24 pm #

    Lilyblack, you and your employer might be interested in this article:http://consumerist.com/2014/04/30/hackers-stole-doctors-tax-refunds-by-breaking-in-to-payroll-software/

  19. Ghost Rider 6 on 30 Apr 2014 at 5:07 pm #

    Things seem to be rapidly approaching the point where it is unsafe to entrust anything important or sensitive to a networked computer. With the recently announced major (and still unfixed) Internet Explorer security breach, I have finally given up on IE, which it seems should have been named Internet Exploiter. It’s like a cruise liner company building their flagship vessel with a hull that won’t keep the water out. So no more IE browsing for this boy.

  20. curmudgeonly ex-professor on 30 Apr 2014 at 5:12 pm #

    Anyone know if any damage occurred in NC at Cary or at New Bern?

    I don’t bank online at all for security reasons. Oddly enough, my financial institution is in the middle of a push towards forcing all clients to receive statements online!! If we refuse, we are charged an extra fee each month for each account. That fee feels like blackmail….

  21. sandcastler™ on 30 Apr 2014 at 5:24 pm #

    Be weary of the Luddites, for the times they are a-changin.

  22. Bryan on 30 Apr 2014 at 5:31 pm #

    I’m flabbergasted, nay dumbfounded, that AFV is still on television.
    Considering the absolutely atrocious “reality” shows that now infest every corner of the airwaves I shouldn’t be surprised.
    I’m with James R. – I’d rather be reading (and usually am). Or painting. Or listening to music. Or out walking the mesa tops. Or cooking. Or heck, just about anything instead of most television.

  23. Nancy in Bucks County on 30 Apr 2014 at 5:54 pm #

    Curmudgeonly, folks in New Bern report not much problem in River Bend.

  24. Lilyblack on 30 Apr 2014 at 5:55 pm #

    Mark, all our payroll is done by my boss’ accountant. She says that when she got her last tax refund, “Dallas” was still the #1 show. :D

    Bryan: me too

  25. Jackie Monies on 30 Apr 2014 at 7:29 pm #

    Ex-Professor, we just heard from one of our boat builder/designer friends who is based just out of New Bern, NC and they did not mention the tornadoes or damage. We asked if they had been damaged or had tornadoes after we saw it on tv as it was apparently hitting there live on weather channel. It looked like it was right on top of them actually. Beautiful area, we were there last October for about two weeks and loved it, stayed just outside Oriental and wandered around blissfully.

    My friend would know as she is active with county emergency/fire/disaster/relief, so if you want to know anything specific, I can ask her.

    Love, Jackie Monies (Isn’t it strange, the internet makes disaster so personal now?)

  26. Rick in Shermantown, Ohio on 30 Apr 2014 at 7:36 pm #


    As I mentioned, it’s a superb book, and I strongly recommend it.

    I’ve neither seen a photo of her or heard her voice, so I cannot comment upon any tenseness.

  27. Granny Carol on 30 Apr 2014 at 8:00 pm #

    Ex-professor, New Bern and Cary are fine. Other parts of eastern NC have not fared so well the past few days.

  28. Jeff in Ann Arbor on 30 Apr 2014 at 8:13 pm #

    emb – I caught your reference to Lake Aggasiz immediately with a chuckle and wondered how many others would. There is also, of course, Lake Maumee, whose shores are not far south of me. No jet skis there, either.

  29. Jeff in Ann Arbor on 30 Apr 2014 at 8:15 pm #

    PS – Love Janis’ attempt to mollify Arlo with a kiss!

  30. emeritus minnesota biologist on 30 Apr 2014 at 8:19 pm #

    Jeff: I thought it was just a “there, there” air-kiss.

  31. curmudgeonly ex-professor on 30 Apr 2014 at 9:38 pm #

    Thanks to Nancy, Jackie, & Granny for the good words. I have a former student in each place (they were our babysitters, too) with families, and was concerned. Now they are about old enough to retire – makes one feel one’s years. In those days, students could become friends; nowadays, I imagine too many people would disapprove. I remember driving 730 miles each way, solo, just to attend the wedding of one of them (and saw the other en route)!

  32. curmudgeonly ex-professor on 30 Apr 2014 at 9:41 pm #

    Jeff & eMb: I thought Janis was giving a facetiously sympathetic “tsk, tsk”. (Anyone note the special character of one of the words used in that first sentence?)

  33. emeritus minnesota biologist on 30 Apr 2014 at 9:49 pm #

    c x-p: You mean facetiously? Why special?

  34. curmudgeonly ex-professor on 01 May 2014 at 1:16 am #

    Yes. It’s one of a very few English words to contain all the vowels once each, and in order. Another such is “abstemiously”.

  35. Robb on 01 May 2014 at 5:21 am #

    Like all “reality” shows today it quickly became scripted. A man is filling his gas tank and his pants fall off. Now why was someone filming him to start with? Any projectile of any sort moving with any velocity always hit a male in the groin, rule one of “reality”.

  36. TruckerRon on 01 May 2014 at 8:07 am #

    I always assumed the reason for certain situations recurring during that show was someone in the editorial staff thought those were the funny ones. And that raises some questions: What’s truly funny? What portion of the population agrees? How do they select audience members and are they representative of the general population?

    Since the show rarely awarded winning status to the videos I liked, I quit watching during the first season.

  37. Trapper Jean on 01 May 2014 at 8:28 am #

    I can truthfully state that I have never watched any of the so-called “reality” shows, from Funniest Home Videos to Survivor or The Great Race., including any of the ones that require a group of people to share a house. I have enough reality on my own time, thank you, and with a few notable exceptions (Cosmos) prefer to be entertained by the boob-tube. And no, I’ve never watched Seinfeld, either.

  38. Lilyblack on 01 May 2014 at 10:47 am #

    Jean, you and me, both some friends send me clips now and then and, like Queen Victoria, I am not amused.

    Robb, it’s an ancient Vaudeville saying: “When they aren’t laughing, drop your pants.” :D