The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0271  Wednesday, 30 January 2002

From:           Brian Willis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 29 Jan 2002 20:34:35 -0800 (PST)
Subject:        Shameless Shakespeare Comparisons

Lying in bed Monday night, I was watching a repeat of Conan O'Brien that
originally aired around Thanksgiving. Conan made a point about the
airing of Shakespeare in Love on NBC the previous evening which I did
not watch. He pointed out how disturbed he was to find that at the
commercial breaks, Al Roker (NBC morning show weatherman) would
basically advertise for NBC shows by stating "facts" about Shakespeare
and then COMPARING NBC shows to the plays. He wasn't joking.

I was amazed to learn that Shakespeare wrote 43 plays and that he was
responsible for such great theatrical moments as the reunions of Antony
and Cleopatra, Hamlet and Ophelia, and Romeo and Juliet. I hope the
second one was a genuine slip up, but how do we complain about the
obviously unresearched first "fact"?

Conan very wittily joked about the whole ridiculous comparison by coming
up with the Oxford list of top 5 literary works of all time. I
approximate it to something like this:

   1) Friends: episode where Ross and Rachel get together
   2) Friends: episode where Ross loses the monkey
   3) Hamlet
   4) Frasier: episode where Niles and Daphne get together
   5) tie - King Lear/Saving Silverman final episode

Obviously, Conan knows that such assumptions are ridiculous. I was just
shocked at the audacity of NBC to project knowledge and facts of
Shakespeare with some shoddy research. Didn't they know that a simple
call to one of us would have sufficed? Or do they not know how to reach
us, the "reclusive" academics? :)

Brian Willis

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