From: Parks and Recreation
Who said it?: Ron Swanson
The story behind the quote: This week’s quote from the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation. The show generally revolves around the small town of Pawnee, Indiana. Specifically, the tiny Parks Department of the town.
The quote comes from Sweet Sixteen, the 16th episode of the 4th season of the show. Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poelher) is running for City Council and, because of all the work and campaigning she’s been doing, forgets one of her officemate’s birthday. Claiming she has everything under control, Leslie hastily organizes a birthday party but, in her rush, forgets to invite the celebrant. Ron Swanson (played by Nick Offerman) then tells a tale when he was in middle school and had two jobs but it was just too much for him. He closes the parable with the quote.
Geek wisdom: In this hectic world, people say that we should be able to multitask. However, when we do, we tend to cut corners and lose focus. It’s usually much better to focus on one task at a time and give it your all then rather that split your attention on several tasks and risk messing things up.
From: Entourage and The Office
Who said it?: Ari Gold and Michael Scott
The story behind the quote: It may seem odd that there are two sources for the same quote but there are some people who do think the original quote comes from one of them and may not be familiar of the actual source of the quote. So, I’m putting both entries here.
The first time the quote is mentioned is from the HBO comedy, Entourage. It comes from the second episode, entitled The Review. In the episode, a negative review is given to Vincent Chase and Ari Gold (played by Jeremy Piven) calls him and Eric, one of Vincent’s friends and his manager, for a meeting. After Vincent leaves, Ari Gold tells Eric to distract Vincent from the review. Seeing that he’s upset, Ari delivers the quote to Eric to show that they’re okay.
The second time the quote is used, and where some people thing the quote first showed up, is from The Office, specifically the third season episode titled The Coup. Dwight Schrute talks to one of the higher ups and say he can be a better boss than Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell). Word does get back to Michael Scott and he eventually confronts Dwight after making him think he was made the boss. Dwight then pleads for forgiveness (in a hilariously over dramatic manner) and this is when Michael delivers the quote.
It’s important to note that Entourage’s The Review was aired on July 2014 while The Office’s The Coup was aired on October 2006. This does mean that the original quote, at least in TV, came from Entourage.
Geek wisdom: You may run into disagreements with your friends and family and that’s normal. The terrible thing is to be stubborn and not try to resolve your differences. Always try to find common ground and make up with your friends and family.
From: Breaking Bad
Who said it?: Mike Ehrmantraut
The story behind the quote: This week’s quote comes widely acclaimed AMC television drama, Breaking Bad. The show has received rave reviews from both critics and audiences alike for the stories and also for the acting, especially for Bryan Cranston’s performance as the anti-hero, Walter White.
The quote comes from the 3rd episode of the 5th season, Hazard Pay. Walter White had just eliminated his former “boss,” Gustavo Fring in the previous season and is now finding a new way to make his signature blue crystal meth. He comes up with the idea of using houses that are being fumigated as no one would look there. He calls Mike Ehrmantraut (played by Jonathan Banks) to set up the deal. While Mike does come true, Walter realizes his cut is much smaller than when he worked with Gus. This is when Mike delivers the quote.
Geek wisdom: Just because you beat the top man, that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get the recognition that you’re now the best. That still needs to be earned through hard work and, more importantly, consistency on being the best.
From: The Office (US)
Who said it?: Andy Bernard
The story behind the quote: This week’s quote comes from the US version of The Office, which ran from 2005 to 2013. It was adapted from the BBC comedy show of the same name. The Office is essentially a mockumentary that takes place in the Scranton branch of the fictional company called Dunder Mifflin, a paper supply company.
The quote comes from the finale of the show. The entire staff is brought together after the documentary has aired and everyone reminisces about their time working at Dunder Mifflin. One such person, Andy Bernard (played by Ed Helms), has moved on and now works at Cornell University. Even so, he still thinks of his time at “the office” as some of the best years of his life.
Geek wisdom: We all have good memories of our past. Even though they may have been filled with hardship, we can still remember the good times and feel melancholic about not appreciating those times when we actually are experiencing them at that moment. Always cherish the now.
From: The Simpsons
Genre: Cartoons, Television
Who said it?: Homer Simpsons
The story behind the quote: This week’s quote comes from the longest running animated series in the United States, The Simpsons. The show has been on for 29 straight seasons and counting and is a general smorgasbord for quotes.
The quote comes from the 18th episode of the 5th season, Burns’ Heir. In the episode, Mr. Burns has a near death experience and decides to hold an audition for all the kids in Springfield to become his heir. The Simpsons has their kids, Lisa and Bart Simpson try out but they fail to pass the audition. The kids are heartbroken and Marge asks Homer Simpson to cheer his kids up. Unfortunately, he doesn’t do a good job…
Geek wisdom: Homer Simpsons’ reaction is probably one we’re all familiar with. We try something once and, when we initially fail at whatever it is, we give up. This isn’t the way to get better at anything. If anything, this is a call for us to pick ourselves up and try again to get better at whatever it is.
Oh, and because of this “pep talk,” Bart Simpson pulls a prank at Mr. Burns house, which does get him signed as the heir apparent.
From: Cosmos: A Personal Journey
Who said it?: Carl Sagan
The story behind the quote: This week’s quote comes from the 1980 13-part documentary series, Cosmos: A Personal Journey. The show was hosted by astronomer and scientist Carl Sagan. In the show, Carl Sagan teaches the viewers about numerous scientific lessons, such as the theory of evolution, how time slows down when someone moves close to the speed of light as well as the origins of the universe, all while using his “spaceship of the imagination.” The show was incredibly popular when PBS aired it in 1980 and it is still currently the most viewed PBS television program today.
The quote comes from the very first episode of the show, The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean. In his opening monologue, Carl Sagan talks about the cosmos and all of the mysteries it holds and that mankind is desperately trying to understand the inner workings of the universe while trying to understand ourselves at the same time. It is during this monologue when he delivers the quote, as he tells us that we long to explore and return to the cosmos.
Geek wisdom: We are all connected. We may not really feel that connection but we are in some way. Whatever we do affects all of us in the future, even in minute ways. But there are times when we do things that cause harm to ourselves because we do not truly understand what we are. It is better to not pretend we know everything and keep plodding ignorantly along. Rather, it would be in all our best interests to learn what we can from each other so we can determine what actions will benefit all of us.
From: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Who said it?: Captain Jean-Luc Picard
The story behind the quote: This week’s quote comes from the Captain of the NCC-1701-D, AKA the Enterprise, Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Unlike his predecessor, who had a habit of charging in full force into trouble, Picard (played by Patrick Stewart) is a more calm and strategic thinking, preferring to take a more logical and level-headed manner to resolve issues.
The quote comes from the closing moments of the Season 1 episode entitled “Coming of Age.” One of the stories in the episode deals with Wesley Crusher taking the entrance exam for Starfleet Academy. He does not get in but not for lack of trying. Wesley is disappointed with himself and apologizes to Picard for letting him and the entire crew of the Enterprise down. Picard tries to comfort the boy by asking him if he tried his best. This is when he delivers the quote to encourage him.
Geek wisdom: People tend to take too much stock in how people think of them or how they stack up against each other. We try to compare ourselves with others and then ask ourselves how to outdo what they did. In actuality, the best way to do better in life tomorrow is to try to outdo what we are today.
From: Person of Interest
Who said it?: Root/Samantha Groves
The story behind the quote: This week’s quote comes from the show, Person of Interest. The show ran from 2011 to 2016. Person of Interest was about how a brilliant entrepreneur named Harold Finch (played by Michael Emerson) develops a machine that is able to predict terrorist threats by surveilling communications chatter. However, after giving The Machine to the government, Finch programs in a “backdoor” as The Machine also can predict murders but the government won’t stop them as they are considered “irrelevant.” Finch then recruits former Special Forces soldier John Reese (played by Jim Caviezel) and some other people to prevent these murders.
The quote actually comes from a former foe of the group, Root/Samatha Groves (played by Amy Acker). She encounters Harold and expresses her admiration for The Machine as it is “perfect” and far better than humans because humanity is ultimately flawed…
Geek wisdom: No matter how you cut it, people are flawed being. We’re prone to do bad and stupid things. However, unlike machines, we have the ability to go against our “bad code” and learn from our mistakes. We can evolve and go beyond what we originally are and become better versions of ourselves.
From: South Park
Who said it?: Uncle Jimbo
The story behind the quote: This week’s quote comes from the incredibly successful Comedy Central cartoon, South Park. The show is usually focuses on four children, Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Kenny McCormick and Eric Cartman, and their adventures in the town of South Park. Created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the show usually focuses on topical topics and parodies them in some (absurd) way.
This week’s quote comes from Stan’s Uncle Jimbo. As an avid hunter, he is displeased that there are laws that protect certain endangered wildlife. However, he has found a loophole regarding the law as it is permitted to shoot anything as long as you’re about to be attacked by any creature. As such, he says the quote before each time he shoots and kills something.
Geek wisdom: There will always be bad people who will try to find ways to skirt the rules or common decency as long as it will suit their purposes. They will search for excuses to get away with bad behavior or justify what they do. It may be difficult but we have to stand our moral ground, even when times are tough.
From: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Who said it?: Q
The story behind the quote: This week’s quote comes from Star Trek: The Next Generation. A worthy successor to the franchise, The Next Generation introduced a new cast of characters taking control of a new USS Enterprise as they boldly go where no man has gone before.
This week’s quote comes from the 6th season episode, Tapestry. In the episode, Captain Jean-Luc Picard (played by Patrick Stewart) is shot in his artificial heart. Ironically, if he has his normal heart, he wouldn’t be dying. The god-like being Q (played by John de Lancie) gives him an opportunity to return to that bar fight that made him lose his original heart in the first place. Picard does so but, when he is returned to his original time, he is no longer the Captain of the USS Enterprise, but a simple junior officer. He confronts Q about his current situation and Q explains that, because he never had that brush with death in the bar, Picard never took the risks that made him a daring captain in the first place.
Geek wisdom: It seems easy to take no chances. While you may leave a comfortable life by doing this, the only way to really get ahead is to seize opportunities when you can and take risks. It may seem difficult but the most successful people in life have taken the more perilous route to get where they are. The gamble may be risky but the payout is high.