Saturday, January 7, 2012

"The Raven" in Popular Culture: TV

The Simpsons episode "Treehouse of Horror" parodies the poem in its third segment as Lisa reads the story to Bart and Maggie. In the animated segment, Homer serves as the protagonist, Bart takes the raven's form, Marge appears in a painting as Lenore and Lisa and Maggie are angels. Bart sometimes complains as to how the poem isn't scary, and at one point, being that he plays the raven says his catchphrase "Eat my shorts" instead of "Nevermore". Homer provides the spoken dialogue for the narrator; his thoughts are voiced by James Earl Jones. Some of the poem is cut for time (the 5th line in stanza 3, stanza 5, the last 2 lines of stanza 6, the first two lines of stanza 8, stanzas 9 through 13, 15 and 16). The story culminates (after the last two lines of stanza 17 are repeated again) with Homer chasing the Bart-raven around the study before the last stanza. After the poem, Bart says he didn't think the poem was scary and Lisa suggests that people may have been more easily scared in 1845. The scene cuts to Homer, who has overheard the recitation, who is seen shaking, shivering and frightened.
 Night Gallery, hosted by Rod Serling, featured a brief, humorous story entitled "Quoth the Raven." It featured Poe, portrayed by Marty Allen, being constantly maligned by a talking raven (voiced by uncredited Mel Blanc) on a bust of Pallas as Poe is trying to write the original "Raven" poem.

Garfield and Friends parodied the poem in the form of a U.S. Acres short titled "Stark Raven Mad", in which Orson narrates, to the tune of the poem, guarding the harvest against Roy's attempts to steal it. Lenore is featured as Orson's old girlfriend, who moved away after a scuffle with Orson's brothers. This flashback prompts Orson to save Roy from his brothers when they show up to steal the vegetables themselves.

The Histeria! episode "Super Writers" featured a sketch in which a Peter Lorre-esque Poe attempts to pitch his poem to Sammy Melman, who wants a brighter poem with a happy narrator and a bunny instead of a raven. This frustrates Poe to no end and eventually drives him to publish the poem independently. Later in the episode, in a sketch featuring Poe as a villain, the raven serves as his sidekick.

Tiny Toon Adventures parodies the poem, with the character Sweetie Pie playing the role of the raven while Vincent Price does the voice-over for the narrator.

The Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain episode "The Ravin!" parodies the poem, with the Brain narrating and Elmyra using a phrase repetitively.

In the TV show The Addams Family, Morticia uses "The Raven" as a bed-time story to her son Pugsley, reciting it as a nursery rhyme. (Episode 1.2 "Morticia and the Psychiatrist", original air date: 25 September 1964)

The 1960s sitcom The Munsters featured a cuckoo clock with a wise-cracking raven (who had named himself "Charlie") instead of a cuckoo, which would emerge and say, "Nevermore, Nevermore" - usually as a comic foil for Herman Munster.

The animated series Beetlejuice featured Poe as one of the eccentric residents of the Nietherworld. Poe mourns his "lost Lenore" (presumably the same from "The Raven") until it is revealed that she has just been staying with her mother.

In 1979, Roto-Rooter Plumbing and Drain Cleaning Service created an animated television commercial entitled "The Raving," in which the protagonist faced a blocked drain rather than a lost love. The commercial's raven recommended the drain service.

An episode of Teen Titans entitled "Nevermore" follows two of the main characters, Beast Boy and Cyborg, as they use a magical mirror to enter the mind of their friend Raven.

In the Cartoon Network show My Gym Partner's a Monkey, in the episode "Gorilla of my Dreams," Principal Pixiefrog has a girlfriend named Lenore, and a raven flies into the window.

During five's late night NFL coverage, colour analyst Mike Carlson wrote and performed a complex parody of the poem to a game report involving the Baltimore Ravens.

In the kids' show, Cyberchase, the episode, 'Frogsnorts', Sharry's dodo speaks in rhyme, and when trying to tell Hacker that he did not get invited to Frogsnorts, Dodo says, "Don't be sad, don't be sore, quoth the Dodo, nevermore!"

In the Gilmore Girls episode, "A Tale of Poes and Fire," "The Raven" is recited by two men dressed like Edgar Allan Poe for a Poe convention.

In episode 3 of season 4 of Alton Brown's Good Eats ("Fry Hard II: The Chicken") on Food Network, Brown's prologue to the episode shows him rummaging through his cookbooks ("forgotten lore") looking for chicken recipes accompanied by a voice-over of him reciting a parody of the first few stanzas of the poem, during which a plastic chicken, taking the raven's place, perched on the bust of Julia Child and repeatedly says "Fry some more".

The DuckTales character Poe De Spell is a raven who often says "nevermore".

The Gothic cartoon series Ruby Gloom based on the apparel franchise of the same name features three ravens named Edgar, Allan and Poe, being Poe the most prominent one.

In the show King Of The Hill Bill's ex-wife, who is only shown on screen once, is named Lenore, and Bill is often seen pining for her, going so far as to cry out her name in desperation and anguish over her leaving him on Christmas Eve years before.

In one episode of "Bullwinkle's Corner" from The Bullwinkle Show, the poem parodied is "The Raven". The bird which comes into Bullwinkle's "chamber spooky" is a woodpecker instead of the expected raven. Bullwinkle pursues the imposter bird with a fireplace poker and ends up hitting himself on the head. The narration concludes "Now the room is round me wavin'/ feels like I've been in a cave-in/ When will next I read "The Raven"?/I can tell you...nevermore!"

In the 11th episode (called 'Nevermore) of television series Warehouse 13, many Poe poems feature, including The Tell-Tale Heart and, of course, 'The Raven'.

In the Disney series "Phineas and Ferb", a raven flies into one of the characters, Doofenshmirtz's, window and starts tapping and yelling "nevermore!" to which Doofenshmirtz replies "Oh it's just that raven again."

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