Mental Floss

Sitcom Aliens

Miss Cellania
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The bedrock of comedy is an aberration of the normal. There's a reason we say "that's funny..." when something is odd, even if it's not really comical. The fish-out-of-water scenario is an easy platform for a TV comedy series, and who could be more out of their element than an alien? They come from far away, knowing as much English as they need to communicate, but can see the absurdities in our culture because it's foreign to them. And they are so foreign to us that anything they do fits into the format.

My Favorite Martian

My Favorite Martian was the first regular TV sitcom featuring an alien from outer space, in 1963. Tim O'Hara (Bill Bixby) took in a stranded Martian (Ray Walston) as his roommate. "Uncle Martin," as the Martian was called, had all kinds of super powers. He was telepathic, he could turn himself invisible, he could rearrange molecules to change objects, he could levitate at will. He even built a time machine! But he couldn't repair his ship and go back home -at least not during the three-year run of the show. You can see the pilot eppisode in five parts on YouTube.

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More funny aliens, after the jump.

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