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Knope-Newport and 6 Other Memorable TV Elections

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Image credit: Knope2012.com

Tonight's season finale of Parks and Recreation will feature one of the most hotly contested elections since Truman defeated Dewey. While we wait to see whether Leslie Knope trumps Bobby Newport for a seat on the Pawnee City Council, here are some of our other favorite TV election episodes.

1. Cheers

After Boston City Councilman Kevin Fogarty wins the support of the Cheers gang after a few mindless clichés ("I'm a hard worker, and I take a stand...on the issues of the day...the things that concern you and your family the most."), Dr. Crane bets them that he could get a trained monkey on the ballot and win 10% of the vote. With no simians handy he instead collects signatures and gets naïve bumpkin Woody Boyd into the City Council race. Woody unwittingly aces an interview with a reporter who misinterprets his farming anecdotes as clever political analogies. (Frasier's prescient advice: Just "say the word 'change' about 100 times.") Woody goes on to win the election, and every time Frasier closes his eyes he has visions of a bumbling President Boyd pushing the Big Button and starting World War III.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgEIDGk8JhY

2. Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Uncle Philip Banks is running for Circuit Court Judge, but his opponent – incumbent Judge Carl Robinson – is running a smear campaign, calling Uncle Phil “soft on crime” in TV commercials. But Phil refuses to fight dirty and resolves to stick to the issues. The womanizing, slightly sleazy Robinson (played by the inimitable Sherman Hemsley) wins by the largest margin in recent history. All is not lost for Uncle Phil, however, as Robinson soon keels over from a heart attack and Banks is appointed to the bench as his replacement.

3. The Dick Van Dyke Show

During the Camelot years of the early 1960s, Rob and Laura Petrie were often described as the John and Jackie Kennedy of television. That point was reinforced by the writers of The Dick Van Dyke Show in the episode entitled “The Making of a Councilman.” Rob had reluctantly entered the race for a seat on the New Rochelle City Council (“reluctant” because he felt he wasn’t well-versed on the issues) and found himself the toast of the local media and influential women’s clubs strictly due to his good looks and ready wit, as well as his beautiful, elegant wife. His opponent, played by nerdy Wally Cox, possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of everything from local high school athletics to urban redevelopment.

After a press conference, Rob began to suspect that he was running on his “smile,” especially since the most probing question he was asked by the media was a fawning “How tall are you?” Morey Amsterdam even worked in a sly mention of Richard Nixon, further solidifying the Kennedy connection. (Spoiler alert: Rob won the election. But the TV announcer continually mispronounced his surname.)

4. Designing Women

Who doesn’t relish a good Julia Sugarbaker “Terminator”-style rant? And it was obvious throughout her debate with incumbent councilman Wilson Brickett (in “The Candidate” episode) that she was spoiling for a major eruption. Conservative Brickett thought that taxpayer dollars in his school district were wasted on “petticoat sports” and “screwball curriculums (sic)” such as dance and other fine arts. Add that to his pro-gun stance and there wasn’t one of Julia’s buttons he didn’t manage to push. Her classic meltdown was insightful and entertaining, but it cost her the election, of course:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy8Ebvunt58

5. Frasier

Frasier Crane had no better luck with elections after he moved to Seattle (and his own series). Having twice lost his bid as president of his condo board, he got the bright idea of having his father, Martin, run in his place. Martin was an affable chap, well-liked by the other residents of the Elliott Bay Towers, and if he got elected then Frasier could effectively use him to get his own policies in place. Martin did win the election, and Frasier worked out a careful series of hand signals with him to guide his responses when dealing with tenant complaints. But power went to Martin’s head and he ignored Frasier’s signals and his advice and started implementing his own ideas instead. Or, as Frasier succinctly put it, “Well, well, well - the puppet thinks he’s a real boy!”

6. Green Acres

Oliver Wendell Douglas has had it up to here (my hand is under my chin) with the deplorable road conditions in Hooterville. Come to think of it, there are many other services supposedly provided by the State that are woefully inadequate, in his opinion. Being the civic-minded citizen he is, Douglas does some research to find out exactly who his State Representative is. Turns out it's Ben Hanks, who stops by Hooterville once every four years (right before election time) to pass out official Ben Hanks crab legs, balloons, toupees, enchiladas, gold watches, baby cribs, you name it. Everyone in Hooterville supports kindly, big-hearted Ben Hanks and they very vocally denounce Mr. Douglas (while munching on their Ben Hanks cotton candy) when he finds out that Hanks has padded the State payroll with a host of his relatives and attempts to blow the whistle during a town meeting (held just prior to election time).
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Tell us about these and your other favorite TV Election Day memories!

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science
6 Radiant Facts About Irène Joliot-Curie
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Though her accomplishments are often overshadowed by those of her parents, the elder daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie was a brilliant researcher in her own right.

1. SHE WAS BORN TO, AND FOR, GREATNESS.

A black and white photo of Irene and Marie Curie in the laboratory in 1925.
Irène and Marie in the laboratory, 1925.
Wellcome Images, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 4.0

Irène’s birth in Paris in 1897 launched what would become a world-changing scientific dynasty. A restless Marie rejoined her loving husband in the laboratory shortly after the baby’s arrival. Over the next 10 years, the Curies discovered radium and polonium, founded the science of radioactivity, welcomed a second daughter, Eve, and won a Nobel Prize in Physics. The Curies expected their daughters to excel in their education and their work. And excel they did; by 1925, Irène had a doctorate in chemistry and was working in her mother’s laboratory.

2. HER PARENTS' MARRIAGE WAS A MODEL FOR HER OWN.

Like her mother, Irène fell in love in the lab—both with her work and with another scientist. Frédéric Joliot joined the Curie team as an assistant. He and Irène quickly bonded over shared interests in sports, the arts, and human rights. The two began collaborating on research and soon married, equitably combining their names and signing their work Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie.

3. SHE AND HER HUSBAND WERE AN UNSTOPPABLE PAIR.

Black and white photo of Irène and Fréderic Joliot-Curie working side by side in their laboratory.
Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Their passion for exploration drove them ever onward into exciting new territory. A decade of experimentation yielded advances in several disciplines. They learned how the thyroid gland absorbs radioiodine and how the body metabolizes radioactive phosphates. They found ways to coax radioactive isotopes from ordinarily non-radioactive materials—a discovery that would eventually enable both nuclear power and atomic weaponry, and one that earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935.

4. THEY FOUGHT FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE.

The humanist principles that initially drew Irène and Frédéric together only deepened as they grew older. Both were proud members of the Socialist Party and the Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes (Vigilance Committee of Anti-Fascist Intellectuals). They took great pains to keep atomic research out of Nazi hands, sealing and hiding their research as Germany occupied their country, Irène also served as undersecretary of state for scientific research of the Popular Front government.

5. SHE WAS NOT CONTENT WITH THE STATUS QUO.

Irène eventually scaled back her time in the lab to raise her children Hélène and Pierre. But she never slowed down, nor did she stop fighting for equality and freedom for all. Especially active in women’s rights groups, she became a member of the Comité National de l'Union des Femmes Françaises and the World Peace Council.

6. SHE WORKED HERSELF TO DEATH.

Irène’s extraordinary life was a mirror of her mother’s. Tragically, her death was, too. Years of watching radiation poisoning and cancer taking their toll on Marie never dissuaded Irène from her work. In 1956, dying of leukemia, she entered the Curie Hospital, where she followed her mother’s luminous footsteps into the great beyond.

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Live Smarter
You Can Now Order Food Through Facebook
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iStock

After a bit of controversy over its way of aggregating news feeds and some questionable content censoring policies, it’s nice to have Facebook roll out a feature everyone can agree on: allowing you to order food without leaving the social media site.

According to a press release, Facebook says that the company decided to begin offering food delivery options after realizing that many of its users come to the social media hub to rate and discuss local eateries. Rather than hop from Facebook to the restaurant or a delivery service, you’ll be able to stay within the app and select from a menu of food choices. Just click “Order Food” from the Explore menu on a desktop interface or under the “More” option on Android or iOS devices. There, you’ll be presented with options that will accept takeout or delivery orders, as well as businesses participating with services like Delivery.com or EatStreet.

If you need to sign up and create an account with Delivery.com or Jimmy John’s, for example, you can do that without leaving Facebook. The feature is expected to be available nationally, effective immediately.

[h/t Forbes]

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