Sunday, December 29, 2013

War & Peace in Pop Culture

I've been wanting to write this post all year but I kept hoping I'd stumble across more War & Peace references in pop culture...but I didn't, lol. So here are two TV shows that used the similar predicament of having to read the book quickly over a short period of time. One of them (Cheers) is part of the reason I wanted to read it and the other one I watched shortly before reading it! This post is for the War & Peace carnival.

I watched the first season of Cheers on this fun and goofy dare and I actually ended up enjoying it a lot! I started the second season, but liked it less. I think the tension between Sam and Diane and waiting for them to get together was half the fun, I don't know. I just...laughed less during the second season. But I did watch long enough to see the episode where Sam quickly reads War & Peace so that he can appear educated/intellectual when he goes to dinner with Diane and her ex-fiance (a professor of literature)

It all starts when Sam realizes that Diane thinks he's not "smart enough" for her friends. He guilt trips her into inviting him along for a dinner she'd previously kept secret from him.

After she agrees to have him along, he realizes he is actually going to struggle for conversation. While talking it over with the regulars, Cliff suggests he reads the greatest novel ever written--War & Peace. "They say the first 800 pages are slow but it shoots off after that." (lol false? like the interesting parts were interspersed imo!) Sam is worried...he only has five days after all! How long is it really? About 3 1/2 pounds paperback...or 4 ounces a day. Sam decides that if it's the best book ever written, he's going to read it!

Sam is committed and so he reads. And reads. And doesn't sleep. And reads some more.

He finishes in time! The nick of time! And as they leave for dinner, he casually drops how much he's looking forward to discussing War & Peace with Sumner. Who is quick to say after teaching a Tolstoy seminar for six years he vowed never to discuss War & Peace again! "It is the most overanalyzed novel," Diane agrees.

All is not lost, though! Diane finds out that Sam read the book for her and finds it romantic! In fact, she's quick to say the only thing more romantic than Sam reading the book for her is having him read it to her. <3

The other show is Happy New Year, Charlie Brown. What a perfect time to watch it! (also it's expiring off Netflix on the third so get it in now!)

Charlie Brown thinks he's about to get off on a great vacation when his teacher assigns War & Peace at the last minute. Vacation is ruined!

But he dutifully begins reading the book. And takes it with him to a party. Even though he almost topples over from the weight of it.

He falls asleep outside of the New Year's party reading War & Peace and misses seeing the little red haired girl :(

He turns his paper and his teacher smartly observes that it reads like he wrote it after midnight on the last day of Christmas vacation. Charlie Brown then finds out their next assignment is to read Crime & Punishment by Dostoevsky.

I'm so glad I didn't have to read War & Peace over a matter of days! Even taking a year to read it felt like a burden in some ways. I'm glad to have read it, though, and really did enjoy some parts!


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