In October 2007, a British woman named Beth Cordingly was feeling like shit, if that shit was very, very sick. She had persistent headaches and drowsiness and couldn't stop throwing up. Her only solace was watching her favorite soap opera, Hollyoaks, in between throw-up sessions.
The title card actually shows much more than you need to know.
Hollyoaks, for those of you who are a little dusty in your British soap opera knowledge, is one of the U.K.'s most popular soaps. It's kind of like Saved by the Bell: The College Years, in that the stories revolve around the mischief-making of young students at a community college. If Community and Melrose Place had a drunken one-night stand, Hollyoaks would be their unwanted bastard baby.
What Did a TV Show Have to Do With This?
As Cordingly was lying on her sick bed, Hollyoaks aired an episode in which the following completely plausible scenario occurred:
- Spoiled rich girl Jessica needed her boiler fixed.
- An inexperienced repairman fixed it by stuffing newspaper into the boiler, because he's also inexperienced in tthe ways of paper and hot things.
- Jessica threw a house party, presumably to celebrate her newly repaired boiler.
- Everyone got sick from carbon monoxide poisoning.
As the episode wore on, Cordingly began to notice that the symptoms of the drunken revelers mirrored her own, minus the makeout sessions and slutty dancing.
She headed to the hospital to get a check-up, where nurses probably laughed off her concerns that she had "the thing from the telly." But when the doctor checked her out, he discovered that she most definitely had carbon monoxide poisoning. The kicker? Her doctor said that had she stayed in the house another 24 hours she'd be dead.
In the wake of the story, doctors informed the public that soap operas are still not a good source of medical advice and that they should continue to use WebMD.com when diagnosing themselves with something life-threatening.
"Oh God, it's AMNESIA!"
Do you know what's fun about playing in the lake? Being a five-year-old kid and wandering out until the water is over your head. And by fun, we mean "crap-pantsingly horrifying." If the kid who does the wandering is your son, and you're not so good in the water yourself, it can be fun for the whole family. Which was exactly what happened to one New Jersey mom. One minute her son Andrew was sculpting the sandcastle Grayskull, the next minute he was out in the deep end struggling to stay afloat. She tried to go help him out, but panicked when she lost her own footing in the six-foot-deep water.
Fortunately for Andrew and mother, their 8-year-old neighbor Reese had the guts and swimming skills that a grown-ass woman did not, plus a repository of SpongeBob SquarePants episodes under his belt.
More evidence that television raises kids better than we can.
What Did a TV Show Have to Do With This?
In the episode titled "SpongeGuard on Duty," a lobster named Larry saves the life of the titular sponge when he begins to drown at the beach (Yes, the sponge who lives underwater starts to drown.)
Also, lifeguards are muscley sex-magnets and not high school students working to pay for their cough syrup habits.
In the episode, SpongeBob admires Larry the lifeguard lobster, so he applies to become a lifeguard himself. If your suspension of disbelief isn't already hovering near the ceiling, get ready. Not only does SpongeBob inexplicably get the job despite his inability to swim, he also tries to keep all the swimmers out of the water with promises of free ice cream. Naturally, SpongeBob finds himself drowning in the water, and Larry the Lobster has to go out to save him.
Apparently Reese paid attention to this episode because when he saw his buddy drowning, he went into Larry the Lifeguard mode and mimicked the lobster's strokes, expertly adjusting for his lack of giant claws. He made it out to Andrew and put his arm around him just as he had seen Larry the lobster lifeguard do with SpongeBob, and began the one-armed paddling trek back to shore.
No word on whether he wore his official SpongeBob thong bathing suit.
So kids, let this be a lesson to you: If your mom tells you to quit watching SpongeBob and get ready for school...she's trying to KILL you.