The value of undervalued things.

When Becky asked me last week, in reply to Legendary Ladies of Literature, whether I had known any of those women prior to working on that post I vaguely commented that I had heard of Sappho when I was younger. But the vague comment hid the flood of memories that came cascading into my mind as I thought about the first time I heard Sappho’s name. Now this might come as a shock to you but it was not in a book or in a documentary or even in school. I was introduced to her via a…kids’ cartoon.

Now granted there are many animated shows aimed at children which incorporate elements of classical history and ancient folklore which I suppose could be deemed educational in a sense but this cartoon was different. I will go so far as to say that it was probably my favourite show as a teen although nowadays I’m never eager to admit it. Why? Well because the show was not as famous as it should have been.

Years ago, at university, during the first tutorial of a semester, for orientation we were asked to introduce ourselves and state what our favourite show was (amongst other things) in an attempt to get to know one another. I mentioned this cartoon as being one of my favourites only to receive reactions of weird looks and furrowed brows. Nothing is worse than speaking about something you love only for it to be unappreciated because nobody knows what the hell you’re talking about. Just because something is not well-known, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not good.

For the record this cartoon I’m harping on about was called Histeria (yes, that is the correct spelling). It was a Warner Bros production, ran for only two years but was cancelled due to issues with the budget. Not surprisingly, it was created for the purposes of edutainment, quite similar to Terry Deary’s Horrible Histories series, but it didn’t seem to catch on in the viewership rankings.
In History and English I attribute a lot of what I know now to Histeria, rather than my lessons at school. And that is no exaggeration. When knowledge stays with you years after the lesson has ended – THAT’s real education.

Yes, the humour was juvenile but famous names and places stuck with me. In one memorable episode I found out who Emily Dickinson, Moliére , Basho and Sappho were. In the very same episode I learnt what a haiku was and got to know a bit more about the life of Mark Twain.
Aaaaaaand…guess what? You gotta love Youtube. I actually managed to find a clip from that very episode for you! Quality’s not very good but better than nothing. For the life of me I cannot understand why this show was not as popular as it should have been. Of course I’m known for being terribly bias…

What about you? Was there a not-so-famous show or movie that made an impact on you or your life? Or perhaps you read a really inspirational book but it never quite made it to Eat, Pray Love-status? Tell me, always love to hear from you…

NM   🙂

21 thoughts on “The value of undervalued things.

  1. Nisha, I think you are very right. When I was younger I watched Watership Down, then telling people about it even today I still get the odd glance or weird face. But you are right, things that mean so much to someone should not be judged. I am glad you have something like a cartoon that you loved. It brings back the childish side and the love for something no one else understands! 🙂

    • Nisha says:

      That’s strange people giving you odd looks about Watership Down. It was a popular book/movie.

      The only reason people were giving me looks about Histeria was because they never heard of it, not because it was a cartoon (I don’t think they didn’t realise it was a cartoon). Either way, you are correct, nobody should judge. I consider myself lucky to have seen the value in something so educational when nobody else did… 🙂

      • There are lots of people who have never heard of Watership Down before, therefore the explanation of it brings about weird looks 🙂 When I was a child not many kids knew about Watership Down

  2. DebE says:

    “Ernest Hemmingway” sounds as though he is voiced by Adam West … I can’t understand why this wasn’t more popular, either. It is quite similar in style to Animaniacs. Perhaps there was just too much competition.

    • Nisha says:

      Thanks for commenting Deb! It’s from the same people who brought us Animaniacs so hence the similarities. I also cant understand it, it just seems anything educational never makes the grade. 😦

  3. I think people sometimes give strange looks in situations like this so that they don’t feel uncomfortable themselves. It doesn’t make us feel very good at the time though.

    • Nisha says:

      Very good point Michelle. But it almost seems like condescension to me, just wish people would keep an open mind and actually listen before brushing it off. 🙂

      • I agree, there are so many closed minds around, it’s frightening. Will adored Horrible Histories so I think that he would have like your programme as well. Hope everything is okay with you. Hugs Michelle

      • Nisha says:

        I LOVE Horrible Histories! I listened to the audiobooks a few years back and even being an adult I was hooked! Everything is good, will email you… xox

      • Nisha, us too! We had all the books and went to the live shows. When we met Terry Deary, he was fantastic, so was his editor – they spent ages chatting to us in the corner of a museum, of all places. I’m so relieved everything is good, I was worried but wanted to give you space and didn’t want to seem to be poking my nose in.

  4. nelle says:

    Any show what mentions Sappho, patron saint of us dyke types, has to be a worthy watch. 🙂

    While also a damn good book, Fried Green Tomatoes had a big impact on me. Probably the one what really knocked me arse over heels was One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest. Louise Fletcher, who played Nurse Ratched, lives a healthy life because she avoided theatres showing the film. Whew, was I a bit north of miffed, rofl.

    • Nisha says:

      Ha ha, oh Nelle, “She wasn’t too found of boys!” Hilarious! 😀

      Did you check my previous post on Legendary Ladies? Never read Fried Green Tomatoes, was this the one that was made into a movie years back? Cause I remember watching it…

  5. Great post, Nisha. “The Big Picture,” by Douglas Kennedy is one of my favorite books. I found a ratty old copy at a used book store and read it with crazy vigor—and I’d never heard of the guy. Just goes to show… Bestsellers aren’t necessarily the “best” in everyone’s eyes.

    • Nisha says:

      It’s absolutely amazing what gems you can find at used bookstores. And so true, just because something wasn’t a bestseller doesn’t mean its not good… 🙂

  6. jenniferneri says:

    You know the one childhood book/ show that influenced me the most is (was?) so popular I’m almost embarrassed by it! Anne of green gables.
    I can’t think of anything beyond that & the tv show little house on the prairie. Funny!
    Only when I was older did I begin getting into more obscure stuff.

  7. beckyday6 says:

    OHHHHH, so that’s what the Tweets were about!

    Ha ha haa this clip is hilarious!! 😀 Especially Poe and the Raven and Emily Dickinson lol. I can see why you liked it, a real shame it didn’t last longer. It’s amazing what our childhood brains remember and process. Was Histeria always about literature? Or was it just this one episode?

    I’m just trying to reach into the deep depths of my brain and think of some shows/books that helped me learn things….I’m positive there are some but I just can’t think. Hmm… I watched several different versions and takes on Anastasia (and the Romanov’s) I was very surprised in history class when no-one knew who she was or about the mystery around her death and etc! The Land Before Time films taught me about dinosaurs, I loved those films, they were the best!
    I also found out about pheromones from some form of book/TV and I felt very brainy in Psychology class when nobody knew the answer to the question, and I got to explain all about them. 😛 I read a children’s version of the Bible at some point too which turned out to be pretty useful for R.S class! 🙂

    • Nisha says:

      Ah, finally! LOL. 😉

      Every episode of Histeria dealt with an event/theme in history. It was just the one episode that featured great writers, although I do remember one show dedicated to Shakespeare. Usually they do ‘renactments’ of great wars, which were hilarious. Youtube has some great clips, if you ever get bored 😉

      I never watched any films pertaining to Anastasia, although I did read up a lot on Rasputin and the Czars when I was younger. I’ve learnt never to take for granted what you know, cause there are many other people who won’t have the same knowledge you have and they could learn a great deal from you! 🙂 Humility aside, it is fun to be a know-it-all sometimes, he he 😀

  8. Barb says:

    Sorry, I’m late arriving to the literary party. Of course, I love Scout Finch, as you know. And I’m starting to lean toward some of the Austin characters. It took some spunk to be that outspoken in those times.

    • Nisha says:

      Better late than never Barb, besides I’m always (fashionably) late! LOL. 😉

      Ahhh, yes, when you think of how these teenage girls go on about Bella Swan, yet there was a far superior character in young Scout which unfortunately they will never understand… 🙂

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