Avocado Reference Desk – September 18, 2023

Hello all! Welcome back to the Avocado Reference Desk. This is intended to be a weekly thread where people are able to get answers to questions that may require a bit of thought or research and that might otherwise be left unanswered on the rapidly moving Open Threads. Although it originally focused specifically on pop culture questions, it eventually expanded beyond those bounds.


How does it work? When posting at the Avocado Reference Desk, you have two main options – ask a question and/or answer a question. Here are the three main types of questions that the Reference Desk is intended for:

  • A question you have (related to pop culture, science, history, politics, etc.) that may not be easily answered in just one or two short sentences or off the top of one’s head.
  • A request for the name or identity of a piece of pop culture (movie, TV show, book, etc.) that you only partially recall.
  • A request for a particular recommendation that you may not have had luck receiving on one of the other threads (Couch Avocadoes, Book Nook, Weekly Movies Thread, etc.).

These are just general guidelines – questions do not necessarily have to fall into one of these categories. Just be sure not to ask anything that might create some legal liability like legal advice, health advice, or anything that might get you injured or killed.

Above all, be respectful to others. Do not mock another person’s question and do not intentionally feed them a wrong or irrelevant answer. Similarly, if you know someone’s answer is incorrect, be considerate when pointing it out. We all make mistakes.

Archive of Requests

To access an archive of all of the requests that have been submitted since the reopening of the Reference Desk, click here. There are separate tabs of unresolved, potentially resolved, and resolved requests. If you would like to take a crack at answering one of the unresolved requests, go ahead! Just be sure to tag the original requestor (if possible) so that they can determine if you are correct or not.

The distribution of requests as of the time of writing this is 7 unresolved, 5 potentially resolved, and 12 resolved. If we combine the potentially resolved and resolved requests, that is a success rate of 71%!

Unresolved Request of the Week

Each week I will post one unresolved request chosen at random (via random number generation). If you are able to successfully fulfill the request, I will give you a shout-out in the following week’s header and we will see about pinning your comment.

Requestor: Sir Guy

Date of Thread: September 4, 2023

Request: “I tried this a while back, but got nowhere. It was a sitcom in the mid 80s, most likely a pilot that never got picked up. (They used to burn off rejected pilots in the summer rather than completely bury them.) All I can remember is that the Father had died, but his mind lived on as the computer that ran the house. It really freaked me out as a kid as I had never considered the possibility that my Dad could ever die… And no, it wasn’t that Katey Segal Disney Channel movie. That was much later and I remember that unlocking my memories of the sitcom in the first place.”

Incorrect Guesses: Automan, Smart House, Read All About It, And You Thought Your Parents Were Weird

In any case, have at it! The intention is for these threads to remain open and available all week, so if you asked a question don’t forget to check your Disqus notifications in case it has been answered.