TV Fake-Out: A Cheat Sheet to Today's Popular TV Shows

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Recently I received a surprise package in the mail. When I opened it, I was thrilled to find a mini-stuffed Li'l Sebastian horse courtesy of my husband. What an amazing gift for a huge Parks and Recreation fan. I posted a picture on Facebook and got lots of "likes" and then quite a few "what is that?" What! You don't know the tale of Li'l Sebastian? After my immediate shock, I took a step back to remember that I watch WAY too much television, and not everyone is capable of consuming the often dangerous and life-sucking amount of TV that I do. But in my defense, I get paid to watch the boob tube and I also really like it.

Everyone keeps saying we are in the golden age of television, and maybe this fact leaves you overwhelmed thinking about the sheer volume of good television you're being told you must watch. Just maybe, and this sounds crazy to me, you don't have 15 hours on Sundays to watch entire seasons of Justified, getting up only to empty your catheter bag. Well, you don't have to. I have made you a TV cheat sheet. Just toss around a few of these phrases and wow your coworkers with your immense knowledge of America's favorite pastime.

Game of Thrones

Do you feel totally out of the loop when your bros talk about how hot Khaleesi is? Did your recent grad son tell you that rather than a real job he's going to apply for a job with the Brotherhood without Banners? Has someone recently compared you to King Joffrey and you took it as a compliment? You need some Game of Thrones knowledge dropped on you. First things first: At all company meetings, when asked for feedback, mumble to yourself... "What does it matter? Winter is coming," in a very morose voice. While waiting for the microwave in the break room, casually say out loud that you are on Team Stark, as if anyone had asked you either way. And if you are out with the boys, refer to Khaleesi as "Dany," because you are on a nickname basis with her and make offhanded comments like, "I'd like to have some dragons with that one!"

Arrested Development

Okay, you've never seen an episode of the cult sitcom phenom

Arrested Development

and you thought you could get away with this fact except it has returned to taunt you -- the new season kicks off on Netflix this coming weekend. This show is filled with classic lines that you need no back-story to use in your own daily existence.

"I've made a horrible mistake." Say this all the time about anything dumb that you've done such as butt-texting your ex, eating an entire bucket of KFC, or sleeping with that girl you picked up at Poison Girl.

"Who would want to R (rape) her?" Use this phrase when talking about your female supervisor, professor or mother.

"Daddy horny." Say this to your children, please. And tape their reactions and send them to me.

When you do something amazing, like win a hot dog-eating contest, get married or save Japan from an underwater siege, put your arms up high over your head and scream out, "Steve Holt!"

Sneak up to your coworkers at their cubicles and start massaging their shoulders and whispering "Hey brother" creepily into their ears.


Perhaps all you know about the HBO show


is that someone in New York City is naked on it a lot and yadda yadda yadda, Emmy award. The long and short of the show is a bunch of twentysomethings live in NYC and face adulthood through the eyes of a yadda yadda and she's naked a lot.

The most quotable "girl" on the show is certainly Zosia Mamet's Shoshana. Shoshana's most recognizable passages consist of abbreviated (abreves) words and sentences. To pretend you're an avid Girls fan, call everything you encounter "amaze" and when someone asks you if you watch the show, look at them coldly and say, "obvi!"

Parks and Recreation

I understand, you won't touch NBC with a ten-pole stick, and no one blames you for that, but

Parks and Rec

is a shining star in a sea of poor programming. While I suggest you spend your entire Memorial Day weekend binge-watching the show while eating Ben and Jerry's new flavor, Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz, which will help keep you both wide awake and fat, you can fool people into thinking you're a fan quite easily. Literally, find a way to use the word literally, while litr-ally emphasizing the first part of the word, in literally every sentence you speak, and call your band Mouse Rat.

Breaking Bad

You haven't seen

Breaking Bad

yet? No judging, but you are missing the best show on television and you should crawl in a hole until you've seen it and become a useful part of society again. There are three surefire ways to fake it until you make it with

Breaking Bad

. 1. Get a black hat and sunglasses and start calling yourself Hiesenberg. 2. Start collecting rocks but yell at anyone that calls them rocks because they're minerals, G.D.-it. 3. Use the word "bitch" after every single sentence you utter.

Mad Men

You've seen an episode of

Mad Men

here and there and you are more than aware of J

on Hamm's junk from all the publicity it's gotten

, but you really don't have any idea what the show is about; don't worry, no one does. If you find yourself trapped at a party with a group of people chatting about Don Draper's latest self-destructive behavior, wait for a temporary lull in the conversation and say, "I hate Pete Campbell." You will instantly make friends and influence people.


The second season of the Shonda Rhimes thriller about the political crisis management exec turned liability just concluded. Whether you have read about the show here and there or have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about, it's quite simple to pass as someone who follows the program religiously. Anytime anyone mentions


your immediate response should be, "Holy shit, Scandal!"

The Office The Office is over and you will never have to worry about it again. Let's all just pretend that it ended two years ago. If anyone asks if you saw the finale, say you gave up on it ages ago. No one will make you feel bad about that.

Saturday Night Live SNL has had a few winners this past season due to the strength of its new cast members. But it's late and you can't stay awake past 9 p.m.; I feel you, brother. Talk up any one of these three skits and you will have everyone fooled that you are a night owl/not lame-o.

Stefon -- You can pretend to be Stefon by covering your mouth with your two hands to stop yourself from laughing at your own jokes.

The Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started a Conversation with at a Party -- Ask people who they think they are, tell them they should be ashamed and make up names of countries while frequently checking your cell phone.

The Swarovski Crystal/Moët Ex-Porn Stars -- "One time I got banged to death for five minutes and then I got banged back to life, thanks crystals!"

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