Ozzie and Ozzy

I was talking with Dad tonight on the phone and, in that way that things go easily from one topic to another, we got to something like the world today (we had been talking about Google getting sued by people whose businesses were losing money by being listed low after having “tricked” Google into listing them high for a while, but I’m not sure how we got to where we got).

Anyway, Dad said, “Yeah, well, Ozzie and Harriet was a lot better than …”

I was praying for Dad to say the right thing …

Married with Children.”


“Dad! You missed it!”

He knew he had, but wasn’t exactly sure how.

“You were supposed to say ‘Ozzy Osbourne’.”

Dad immediately recognized his error. Yet I had missed it too, but not by so much.

Of course, we got onto the subject of knowing your audience and independent redundancies and the undeniable fact that although Married with Children does present a very different vision of family life from Ozzie and Harriet’s, it did not meet the requisite parallelism or literariness. What’s more, it was obvious that, given the availability of The Osbournes, one simply had to choose it. It was there in the air waiting for a connection such as this. We also decided that, assuming one’s audience is familiar with Ozzy Osbourne’s familial makeup, the best rendering of the above quote would be:

“Ozzie and Harriet were certainly more appropriate than Ozzy and Sharon.”

Thus we achieve a neat parallelism with the Ozzies (neat, also, that they both pluralize into “-ies”), the ands, and their wives’ names, and the Ozzy and Sharon half is cutely allusive. You have to be “in the know” to get it (Dad, by the way, did not know Ozzy Osbourne’s wife’s name, but thinks he would have gotten it anyway). This also clears up any possible genre-crossings. It is now obvious that we are not talking about Ozzy Osbourne the man, not about his music, but about his television show, which is in the same category as Ozzie and Harriet, also a television show. That both shows deal with real families using their real names is an added bonus.

Boy that was too much explanation. But it should be obvious why Dad and I had to go through this winnowing to get to the almost certain independent redundancy we’ve presented here.

PatrickConnections03/01/03 0 comments

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