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'Drunk History' recap: Guess who's coming to dinner

Season 2 | Episode 5 | “Charleston” | Aired July 29, 2014

This week, Drunk History sails into Charleston, South Carolina, a city of palm trees, old buildings and civil rights movements. The people of Charleston have faced canings and cannons to stand up for equality, and we could all learn a lot from them.

1. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do.

Narrator Seth Weitberg asks creator Derek Waters whether he should start his story with, “Hello, today we’re going to talk about Charles Sumner,” “Hello, we’re going to talk about the caning of Charles Sumner,” or, “Hello, today we’re going to talk about Charles Sumner and Preston Brooks.” Waters recommends the first option, so Weitberg looks right into the camera and proudly introduces the caning of Charles Sumner.

friends i regret nothing

2. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but first it almost kills you.

In the mid-1800s, the territory of Kansas was still determining whether it would be a slave state or a free state. Charles Sumner (Patton Oswalt) was an anti-slavery senator who put himself at the heart of the debate. In a speech called “The Crime Against Kansas,” Sumner leveled a series of personal attacks on local senators like Andrew Butler of South Carolina, whose second cousin, Representative Preston Brooks (Johnny Knoxville), wanted revenge. Brooks didn’t think that Sumner was gentleman enough for a duel, so he beat Sumner with his cane 30 times on the floor of the senate.

The event galvanized both sides of the slavery debate. The North was outraged, while people in the South were so proud of Brooks that they bought him a new cane with the inscription, “Hit him again.” Sumner, suffering severe trauma and back problems, eventually wound up in Paris for treatment. Four years after the caning, he returned to the Senate with a rousing speech called “The Barbarism of Slavery.” Sumner argued that we could more easily claim to own the moon or the stars than a person, because the human soul lives on even after the stars burn out. Weitberg says that the moral of the story here is that you should fight for what you believe in. I would add that you should use words and not a cane.

drunk history patton oswalt sumner

3. Friends who dine together change federal laws together.

Waties Waring (Rich Fulcher) was a Charleston judge in the 1940s who caused a local scandal when he left his wife to marry his mistress, Elizabeth Hoffman (Busy Philipps). Elizabeth noticed that Waties’s court cases were biased in favor of white people, which Waties didn’t find all that odd. It was just the way things had always been. Elizabeth didn’t particularly want things to stay the way they’d always been, so she told Waties that they were going to get dinner with a black couple. The first dinner was awkward. (“Just like, ‘Hey, what did you do today?’ And they were like, ‘I don’t know, several people people threatened my life.’”) After a few dinners, though, they developed a friendship, and Waties started to recognize the subjugation that black people faced every day.

Waties shook things up in his courtroom. He integrated seating, ruled that black teachers and white teachers deserved equal pay, and gave black people the right to vote in primaries. The people of Charleston lashed out against the Warings, but they refused to leave. In 1951, Waties was a judge in Briggs vs. Elliot, in which Thurgood Marshall tried to prove that segregation did not lead to equal education for black kids. Waties was outnumbered by two judges who ruled segregation legal, so he wrote a 20-page dissent that could basically be summed up with, “Hashtag be nice.” The Warings moved to New York, but three years later, the Supreme Court used his dissertation to rule in Brown vs. Board of Education. They believed that he had proven the inequalities in the education system. That essay changed history. Hashtag stay in school, kids.

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4. If you act like you own a man, don’t expect his loyalty.

Robert Smalls (Brian Mganga) was a slave and the child of his plantation owner, Henry McKee (Derek Waters). When Smalls was 12, McKee sent him to Charleston, where Smalls spent seven years on the crew of various vessels, including a Confederate ship called the CSS Planter. The soldiers entrusted him with the ship while they were gone, so Smalls stole it and sailed toward freedom.

5. Dream big.

Smalls (Brandon T. Jackson) used the Confederate code book to sail past checkpoints, but people eventually got suspicious. With Confederate cannons aimed his way, Smalls realized that he was sailing toward a Union ship that might mistake him for an attacker. He flew a sheet as a white flag of surrender, and the Union ship welcomed Smalls, his family and the remaining crew members aboard. Lincoln awarded Smalls $1,500 and asked for his help in recruiting soldiers, and Smalls enlisted 5,000 black people in the Union army. After the war, Smalls served five terms as a U.S. Congressman before returning to McKee Plantation and buying it. He went from being owned by the landowner to owning the land. You’re killing it, Smalls.

drunk history robert smalls

This cast was great across the board: Patton Oswalt wrings every last bit of drama out of Sumner’s speeches, and Busy Philipps plays a delightful life of the party. Shutting down segregation looks good on her. Were you familiar with these stories before? How great was Robert Smalls’ success story? Let’s talk about it!

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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