Recently I have started re-watching some old Dr. Quinn episodes. I used to love Dr. Quinn. I remember the day my friend Kellan Rankhorn introduced me to the show, and we would watch it together at her house as Dr. Quinn saved the townspeople and sometimes the ones traveling through. It was glorious.
However, as much as I have enjoyed the memories, a few things have stuck out to me that are both odd and hilarious. Which brings us to my great new word: Oddarious.
The first oddarious thing is Sully and his self-translation. He speaks the language of the Cheyenne, the feisty and often-genocided Native American tribe that lives near the town. But instead of using other devices to clue us in on the conversation, like, I don’t know, one of the townspeople asking what he said, he just says the English translation out loud to everyone. “Me gusta mi estomago… … I like my stomach.” It’s weird. At first I thought, okay, we can reasonably assume that he is just translating it because he knows none of the townspeople get it. But then he did it to just the Native Americans. He spoke to them in their native language. And then said it again in English. …why did you do that, Sully? Do you need me to ask it in a different language first for you to answer me? TELL ME WHY YOU’RE DOING THIS.
The next facet of oddariousness is Dr. Quinn and her whispering. She whispers all the time. Maybe it’s for dramatic effect; maybe she has chronic laryngitis. Whatever it is renders her almost mute on my speakers, causing me to turn them up high and then jump fifty feet in the air when someone else speaks at a normal volume, or heaven forbid, shouts something. I seriously considered trying to find a way to close-caption the Youtube videos. I just don’t understand why she whispers. She seems totally fine as she says: “Children, let’s talk about what we learned today.” Then, right as she is about to make her point, her voice drops to a breathy British whisper, and says quietly, “Violence is never the answer.” You’ve got some valid points, Dr. Quinn, but none of us can HEAR YOU. Speak up, sister. How she and Sully manage between him saying everything twice and her whispering an answer back, I’ll never know.
My favorite oddarious thing is the stupid, stupid townspeople. I don’t like using the word stupid, and I reserve it only for the most deserving things. Trust me, this is one of those things. These people have got to make up the dumbest population in the world. In the beginning of the episode, the shop owner/barber/saloon guy is racist. Then, Dr. Quinn/Sully/Dr. Quinn and Sully give a stirring speech (twice, and whispered) about how we’re all equal. The townspeople are appropriately remorseful and vow to change their ways. But then the next week they’re right back where they started, trying to beat up or steal from the Native Americans/black people/. They were convinced that joining the KKK would be a “fun group for the men to join.” They let a guy who beat up a girl continue to run his brothel. THEY HAVE A BROTHEL. That ain’t right.
So if you want to watch Dr. Quinn but just can’t find the time, let me sum up the series for you:
- Someone is sick.
- This person is also ostracized for
- Dr. Quinn doesn’t care – she helps them anyway.
- Dr. Quinn gives a dramatic speech to the townspeople.
- The townspeople grump and humph and start to see the error of their ways.
- A dramatic event occurs to truly show them how wrong they are.
- The townspeople say they’re sorry to the ostracized person.
- This apology will cause the ostracized person to forget all insults, rock-throwing and barn-burning previously inflicted on them.
- Everyone is friends.
Next week on Dr. Quinn: Someone is sick.