In today's day and age, filled with 90% reality shows on television it is hard to believe a show like "Smart Guy" ever existed. In the 90's there was a long line of family oriented cheese ball sitcoms, that were absolutely awful but beloved at the same time. Every episode I have ever seen of "Smart Guy" was absolutely pitiful. The idea of a genius kid put into wacky situations is so awful that while reading synopsis' of the show I was laughing just based on how bad the write ups were, and possibly I can get a hold of some Smart Guy DVDs to make this an ongoing theme on my blog.
However, I was looking for one episode in particular. "Strangers on the Net," because it is in my opinion the only legitimately funny episode of "Smart Guy" that exists. Every family sitcom in the 90's had at least one "very special episode" that is supposed to have a profound impact on your life and teach a lesson. "Strangers on the Net" is that episode for "Smart Guy."
With the Internet gaining popularity in 1997, this episode of "Smart Guy" was supposed to make us aware of the dangers of children surfing the net. Smart Guy himself T.J. begins pirating games from a friend he met online in an Internet chat room. T.J. is really enjoying the games, and his friend tells him that he has a new great game, but unfortunately they have to meet in person to make the exchange. T.J. thinks nothing of it, and goes with his best girl friend (whose name escapes me) to the guys house to pick the game up. They get there, and to T.J.'s surprise, his online friend is a middle aged man. Yes, this storyline is as amazing as it sounds.
So T.J. is a little thrown off and weirded out, but his new friend assures him he is cool and to come in for some milk and cookies and to play some games. T.J. who is supposedly a genius goes into the apartment with his friend to engage in some cookie and milk action, amongst other things. Things are going great, free cookies, free milk, free games, and best of all his new friend is a video game developer and wants T.J. and his friend to be in the game. How awesome!
The game is a surfing game, and T.J. and his friend get on surf boards in front of a green screen. Things are going great, T.J.'s new friend is digging the new footage, and can't wait to feature them in his new blockbuster hit! We all know how popular surfing games were in 1997! There is only one problem, who the hell surfs with their shirts on!! T.J.'s new friend tells T.J. and his friend that things are looking great, but they are going to have to show a little skin to get the authenticity of surfing going. T.J. and his friend are really weirded out about this because they are stick n' the muds so they tell their new friend they don't think it is a good idea. However, Mr. I have an answer for everything, saw this one coming. Their new friend said, hey wait up guys, a lot of kids felt like you guys do right now, check out my sweet photo album of kids I have cast in games! So he pulls the album out, and T.J., the genius he is, points out that his new friend told them they were going to be the first real people to star in his games.
This prompts T.J. and his friend to run out of the apartment, and then go tattle like little babies to T.J.'s dad. The video game buff is then arrested for inappropriate behavior with minors. As far as I can tell there are a few lessons to be learned here:
-T.J. is actually pretty dumb.
-T.J. is a world classes tattler.
-Child molesters are extremely easy to evade.
-Creepy guys like this are awful in real life, but hilarious on terrible family TV shows.
Anyway, obviously child molestation is a very serious issue, but family sitcoms probably shouldn't try to tackle serious issues. However, on the other hand if every "Smart Guy" tried to tackle some serious real life issue, it probably would have been the greatest show ever.