46 Comments

  1. Best I can come up with is that it seems as if her Grandparents have a whole bunch of TVs but it is the same old stuff on each one. Frazz only makes it worse reminding her (us) that the Hallmark holiday movies are on the way (also all the same, but worse!)

  2. I knew a family of 5 that had 8 TVs. But 57 is really excessive.

    It’s particularly weird that not only do the kid’s grandparents have so many TVs, but that the kid can’t even specify the number better than this very wide range.

  3. “Between 13 and 57” is expressive hyperbole. That grandparents have a lot of TVs, probably about 5 or 6. The girl thinks that’s a lot and exaggerates. That’s all. That’s not weird at all. It’s an extension beyond the usual “My grandparents have a million TVs” which is an obvious exageration. But “between 13 and 57” is humorous because by being specific and only being 1 or 2 degrees of magnitude of what is reasonable and gives the illusion of being realistic for the sake being humorous but is still beyond the pale. It’s a “weirdness is the new normal” type humorous exaggeration.

    Anyway the joke is between 13 channels of trash and 57 channels with nothing her grandparents could at least have different things on the different TVs as the surely have a lot of TVs.

  4. I suppose now you could claim that every laptop and smartphone can count as a “TV,” but even with that, it’s hard to get to 57.

  5. “I would have assumed that the grandparents would be more likely to have just one TV.”

    That’s one type of grandparents (my mothers parents— between 0 to 1 at various times– in the house they’ve always lived in, which hasn’t been updated since your parent was in high school– which they almost never watch at least not while you’re visiting… but when the do watch everything must shut down and be silent and pay rapt attention.). The other type of grand parents (my fathers parents— will have several… which are always on even though they never pay attention to them… with the windows closed and the lights … in a condo or tract house the retired to 7 years ago).

  6. Remember that the kid is in elementary school – it’d be a mistake to compare her grandparents to the grandparents of the adult readership of CIDU. Her grandparents could be anything from their mid-40s (assuming they and her parents were both young upon having kids and she’s an eldest child) to early-60s (If one set were late having kids, or if she is a younger sibling) without being exceptional situations.

  7. (Also, the ’13 to 57′ isn’t meant to be either literal, or random numbers – it’s the number of TV channels mentioned in the songs mentioned in the first two panels.)

  8. KN: I get that the 13 and 57 are from the first two panels, but this still doesn’t make any sense to me, regardless of whether the grandparents are in their 40’s or their 60’s.

  9. TV in the living room, TV in their bedroom, TV in the kitchen, TV in however many guestrooms they have, one in Grandpa’s den and/or workshop, one in Grandma’s sewing room…

  10. Works well enough for my children’s grandparents (although my kids are college-aged, rather than elementary-school-aged)– TVs in bedrooms, kitchen, basement, living room, and family room. That’s 6 TVs for two people (13 and 57 are hyperbole), and that’s not counting the giant projection TV in the garage…

    And yes, this time of year, they mostly are used to watch the Hallmark channel.

  11. Woozy, good descriptions. We are the 1st type. We do have 3 TVs, but the 2 small ones are very rarely turned on, and when the big one is on, it’s something we REALLY want to watch, so everyone had better keep quiet!

  12. Even if, as WW said, every laptop and smartphone can count as a TV, why would her grandparents in particular have dozens of them? Are older people known to own more electronic gadgets than other people?

  13. “Her grandparents could be anything from their mid-40s… without being exceptional situations”

    50s to 70s is more likely than 40s to 60s.

    If she’s in Mrs. Olsen’s class she’s 8 or 9. 45 – 9 = 36. That means an average age when giving birth for mother and grandmother of 18 (meaning they were likely pregnant at 17). Certainly not unheard of, but at least somewhat exceptional.

    On the other hand, 32 + 32 + 9, gets you to 72. And that’s not exceptional at all.

    Furthermore 36 + 36 + 9 gets you to 81, and that’s significantly more likely than 18 + 18 (at present, a mother is roughly 3X more likely to be 35-39 than under 20).

    The average age of a first-time mom in the U.S. is now about 27 years old. More women give birth in their 30s today than in their 20s. And fathers are, on average, a couple years older.

    Assuming a median maternal age of 27 for a mother in 2009, and 25 for a mother in 1984, we get 62 as the most likely age for the girl’s grandmother. Her grandfather is most likely about 64.

  14. “Are older people known to own more electronic gadgets than other people?”

    Not electronic gadgets but TVs. And Barkaloungers. And 18 inch white flocked Christmas trees. And having all TVs on all the time to the same channel in varying volumes half of them mute and no-one watching them. And with the lights off and curtains drawn. And wall to wall shag carpeting.

    It’s a stereotype. And IMO a pretty nasty and offensive one. But, yes, it recognizable and common stereotype.

  15. The average age of a first-time mom in the U.S. is now about 27 years old. More women give birth in their 30s today than in their 20s.

    First of all, these two points are in contradiction of each other. If 27 is either the mean or the median (it appears to be median), the only way that more actual values can be in the 30s than the 20s is if there are also more teen mothers than 20-something, which I’m pretty sure we both agree is by far the least likely case. (If it’s the mode, it’s not really possible to make an assumption on that point, but who the heck uses the mode for these purposes?)

    Second, the median in 2009 (assuming this is a 9 year old, despite no indication that she’s one of Mrs Olsen’s and not Ms Plainwell’s, or a kid in one of the other classes with teachers who aren’t such major characters in the strip) is 25, not 27. (Actually, these are Canadian numbers, but they’re unlikely to be significantly different from the American ones.)

    Third, assuming the mother was 25 in 2009 that means she was born in 1984, when it was 23.

    Meaning the absolute median average for gramma’s age would be 57.

    Assuming both the mother and grandmother were 20 at the time of birth, which is young, but no more exceptional than 32, and she’s a kindergartner, that makes 45.

    If she’s 11 (about to graduate to junior high, assuming this is a 3 level system), that’d make the average…well, I can’t find an average for 2007, so let’s go with 2009’s 25…meaning her mother’s mother would likely to have been 23 again, so that makes 59.

    Giving an unremarkable age for the grandparents of the school as a whole (with the same caveats for the extreme ends as I made in the earlier post) from the mid-40s to the mid-60s (so I did underestimate the upper bound, but not by much). Early-to-mid-70s would be remarkable but there are probably a few in the upper couple grades unless it’s a really small school (and, actually, that’s likely to reduce the chances of the system using junior high, so increases the age of the oldest students, and thus their grandparents).

  16. “If she’s in Mrs. Olsen’s class she’s 8 or 9. 45 – 9 = 36. That means an average age when giving birth for mother and grandmother of 18 (meaning they were likely pregnant at 17). Certainly not unheard of, but at least somewhat exceptional.”

    You’re forgetting to take into account the fact that her parents and/or grandparents may or may not b e married to their original spouses, and may or may not have been the same ages as their spouses when married.

    As a general rule, the age of women when delivering their first child has been rising in recent decades, but so has divorce and remarriage giving people “instant” parenthood of children.
    So… even if this girl is 10, her “mom” may be 20. Her “grandma” may be 20.

  17. Seems unlikely to me that an 8 or 9-year old would know all that much about Pink Floyd or Springsteen lyrics. Especially since the Floyd lyric quoted is a bit vulgar, hence the parenthetic substitution. It’s possible her >parents< weren't even born when those songs came out. Well, at least the Pink Floyd one.

  18. Kamino Neko, you’re assuming a bell curve. What if 40% of moms are in their teens, 10% in the twenties, 40% in their thirties, and 10% in their forties? The median would fall at 29-30, but more would have babies in the thirties than their twenties, yes?

  19. Nobody has commented on an eight-year old referencing music released 30 years and 18 years before her birth from artists that are generally not relevant to the kids today. These aren’t even the top-hits tracks from these artists that casual exposure to classic rock stations would likely expose you to. The joke is rather forced.

  20. carlfink: I believe that sort of scenario is already covered by KN’s “the only way . . . is if there are also more teen mothers than 20-something, which I’m pretty sure we both agree is by far the least likely case.”

    The statement KN quoted isn’t strictly mathematically impossible, but it doesn’t seem easy to meet with any realistic distribution.

  21. Singapore Bill, that’s always been a premise of the strip, hasn’t it? That the students are freakishly well educated. Anything Mallett knows, whether literature, history or whatever, the kids and Frazz know.

  22. The high school I worked in for 30+ years also housed the Pregnant Teens and Infant Lab programs – we had SOME girls who were, I swear, barely out of puberty. Like 13 and 14, some on their SECOND child.

    I will ALWAYS remember one girl being asked why she didn’t marry the man with whom she’d already had three babies: “I’m not sure if I love him”.

  23. Kamino Neko – those are two different populations. One is first-time mothers, the other is all births. And bear in mind that teenagers don’t count as “in their twenties”, but will have an effect on lowering what counts as the average age for first birth.

    Andréa – I’m torn between being glad that the girl understands the difference between being in lust and being in love, and finding that case more disturbing than my previous record of the 16-year-old who “wanted to keep the baby this time”. (I’ve lived a sheltered life)

  24. The irony was that I loathe pregnancies, babies, and little kids. So where do I end up for 30+ years? In the school district’s “preggers” program. Karma of a kind, I guess ‘-)

    BTW, the girl’s name was . . . wait for it . . . Precious. She was a student of hubby’s in his elementary school, then had to move to my school.

  25. Andrea, what did you do that was so horrible that you feel you have to punish yourself by staying in a job you hate? (I’m assuming that there’s aspects you like, despite it sounding so wrong for you.)

    And I’ve never known a wellfare programme that didn’t encourage that. Straight-up welfare isn’t as bad for it (the reduction in payments is balanced by savings in rent etc, but I do know people who are maintaining separate households because they can’t afford the cuts to their disability payments if they lived with their SO.

  26. Luckily, I had the best boss in the world, and I really didn’t see ’em all that much . . . which is why I stayed there for all those years. I don’t like change (similar to canines); ‘better the devil you know than the one you don’t’, was my mantra.

  27. Let’s hope the grandparents never get to Weird Al…

    “83 channels of ecstasy” – Cable TV, 1985
    “I hooked up 80 channels, and each one stunk.” – I Can’t Watch This, 1992

  28. Contents: One Poorly Remembered Joke:

    “Back home I got me a TV satellite that gets 200 channels. I stay at a hotel in New York City, I can only get 12 channels. And they call ME a hick!”

  29. For me this brought to mind a nursing home. Not the good type, but the type where they scatter TVs all over the place rather than encourage the residents to interact with each other.

    Unfortunately the previous day’s comic (linked by James) ruined that by placing her grandparents in their own house.

  30. For Frazz’s last comment – I discovered Hallmark Movie Channel a couple of months ago. It had a good collection of series (I didn’t find the movies noteworthy) up until November 1, when it became the 24/7 Christmas channel.

    So someone is bingeing on Christmas entertainment in early November. I can’t imagine who those people are.

  31. @Kamino Neko
    As Christine noted, it was two different populations: women at first birth, vs women over all births. Obviously, the latter has to be higher than the former.

    Yes, I did mix medians and averages and may have mis-labeled something as a median that was an average or vice-versa (I looked at multiple sources), but I don’t think my numbers are unrealistic. Furthermore, if you look at
    https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-630-x/11-630-x2014002-eng.htm
    It would appear that the average of a mother at childbirth in Canada in 2009 was very close to 30. Thirty years earlier, it was a little over 27, 30 + 27 + 9 = 66. Even for a kindergartener, we are over 60 for an average grandmother.

    @James Pollock
    I did not forget divorces and remarriages. However, I was focusing on mothers, and the person whom an elementary student refers to as his/her mother is going to be the woman who has raised him/her. The most likely candidate is the biological mother, with a mother who adopted the child as an infant as probably the second most likely. First-time mothers through adoption are almost certainly older than first-time birth mothers.

    Furthermore, over 85% of US marriages are between people with an age discrepancy of less than ten years, and it is far more likely that the older parent is the husband and not the wife. A 20 year-old “mother” of an elementary student would be an unusual case regardless of if the mother were the birth mother or a stepmother. And 80+ year-old grandfather of an elementary student is far less unusual.

  32. >Woozy, isn’t that Frazz in a nutshell? All I’m so much superior to you for reason? So sick of the smug.

    Not sure what this is response to. I dumped on Frazz in the other thread. I figured I’d let him be in this one.

  33. They leave all the TVs on in the house set to the same channel so that as they walk through the house they can keep watching.

    Hallmark Channel starts their Christmas movies in July with a Christmas in July campaign, then returns to regular programming until the start of November. Robert is so miserable that we don’t have Frasier to watch late night (early morning) while having snack and going to sleep due to Hallmark Channel doing this, he ordered the set of DVDs of same today. I, myself are a bit sick of it as they run it in 2 sequences – one on weekends and the ones during the week are at a different point in the story line.

  34. ” I, myself are a bit sick of it as they run it in 2 sequences – one on weekends and the ones during the week are at a different point in the story line.”

    A current trend in syndication appears to be running 2 episodes of the same show back-to-back, but the second one is not the one that follows the first one, but rather several seasons later (or earlier). Sometimes that’s not really a big deal, and sometimes it’s really jarring. (The main actor in “The Goldbergs” has had a bit of a growth spurt over the course of production.)

    There’s also several different channels to pick from that have law & order reruns, and many of them seem to choose to run 6-10 episodes back to back.

  35. James Pollack – What they are doing (presuming it comes back after Christmas) is running a 2 hour block (maybe even longer) which go in order. However the week days series may be at a point in the 6th season (for example) and the weekend series might be in the 3rd season (again, example). It is not even (not that one is in season 1 and one in season 6 so the second set are halfway away from the first) so that the episodes to one set of what they are showing has been on the other set fairly recently.

    I am not really sure why he is suddenly stuck on Fraiser, but then again he watches Star Trek Next Generation every morning on some channel (or the Roku – not sure, I sleep through it) and he would not watch same when it first was shown or later showings of it for some time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s