Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A (Parenthetical) Word To the Wise Is Sufficient

Twenty-five years ago this week John Lennon topped Billboard's Hot 100 Charts with "(Just Like) Starting Over."

I'll admit it. I'm a sucker for parentheses. I always wonder why a writer chooses to use them. Why did she use parentheses instead of dashes? What's so important about the text in parentheses that she included it even though her words aren't important enough to be part of the main thought?

TV writers often use parenthetical text for ep titles when they add words to a well-known phrase. These extra words are banished between brackets, just like the title for this entry.

Here's a short list of TV ep titles with clever parentheticals:
  • Anna (Palm) Springs into Action (''The Anna Nicole Show,'' 5/11/2003)
  • Baby's Got (Flash) Back (''All of Us,'' 4/26/2005)
  • Best (Mis)Laid Plans (''Atomic Betty,'' 3/20/2005)
  • Breaking Up Is Hard to Do (in 22 Minutes) (''Full House,'' 10/6/1989)
  • Cute First (Ask Questions Later) (''Animaniacs,'' 10/11/1997)
  • Dog Day Afternoon (and Morning, Too) (''Fire Me...Please!,'' 6/28/2005)
  • Every Dream Has Its Price (Tag) (''Beverly Hills, 90210,'' 10/18/1990)
  • Games (Married) People Play (''The Debbie Reynolds Show,'' 1/6/1970)
  • It's Beginning to Look a Lot (Less) Like Christmas (''The Golden Palace,'' 12/18/1992)
  • Life Goes On (and On and On) (''Life Goes On,'' 5/23/1993)
  • Like a Virgin (Kinda) (''What I Like About You,'' 10/9/2003)
  • Love Stinks (Sometimes) (''Less Than Perfect,'' 2/10/2004)
  • Nicki Tells Her Parents (Off) (''Reunited,'' 12/29/1998)
  • One Step (Parent) Backward (''Once and Again,'' 3/18/2002)
  • Stand (Up) and Deliver (''Beverly Hills, 90210,'' 3/7/1991)
  • Sweet (and Sour) Charity (''Will & Grace,'' 4/4/2000)
  • The King Is (Un)Dead (''The Chronicle,'' 3/8/2002)
  • The Party's Over (Here) (''Moesha,'' 9/6/1999)
  • You Must(ang) Remember This (''Dave's World,'' 9/27/1995)

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