TV or Not TV

TV or Not TV

Infobox Television episode
Title =TV or Not TV
Series =The Honeymooners

Caption =Ed (in the Captain Video helmet) and Ralph fight over who gets to watch what.
Season =1
Episode =1
Airdate =October 1, 1955
Production =n/a
Writer =Marvin Marx and Walter Stone
Director =Frank Satenstein
Guests =
Episode list =
Prev =
Next =Funny Money
"TV or Not TV" is the first episode of the standalone TV series, "The Honeymooners". Ralph and Norton try sharing a TV, only to have it be more trouble than it's worth. The title is a pun on Shakespeare's "Hamlet" quote of "To be, or not to be".


Norton has a problem. His TV is on the blink again, and he can't afford to buy a new one. Ralph doesn't have money for a new TV either (Alice thinks he does have enough; he's just being too cheap to buy one - or anything else electric), but he figures that if he and Norton pool their money together, they can buy a TV and share it. When the question of where the shared TV would stay arises, Ralph proposes a coin toss to Norton: "Heads, I win; tails, you lose." (which would mean Ralph would win either way) When Ralph tosses the coin, it turns out to be tails and Norton loses.

Once the new TV is in the Kramden apartment, it quickly becomes clear that Ralph and Norton have different ideas of what to watch. Ralph wants to watch a thriller film, while Norton wants to watch Captain Video (a reference to not only the show itself, but the many similar 'outer-space' shows geared towards children at that time). {Ralph does a classic "double take" when he spies Norton in his plastic helmet!} In addition to space shows, Norton also watches cartoon frolics, westerns and puppet shows. Eventually, the two decide to compromise and watch a wrestling match they both will find interesting. However, when they start watching, they notice that the picture is fuzzy. Norton hands Ralph the TV antenna, telling Ralph to move to different positions until the picture becomes clearer. When Norton has successfully tricked Ralph into standing in the hallway with the antenna, Norton quickly locks the door, puts on his Captain Video helmet and watches his show.

Late at night, Norton comes over to watch another crime movie. The noise of the gunshots from the TV awakens Ralph who starts arguing with Norton. When Alice comes out, she gets wind of how Ralph conned Norton into having the TV in their apartment (with Ralph retorting to Alice, "Don't look at me like that; you used that same trick on me to get me to marry you!"). Alice points out that Ralph should have just bought a TV for himself at full price instead of scamming Norton in helping him buy one for half-price. She adds that they don't have trouble when they bowl or shoot pool; why should this situation be any different? She concludes that they stop behaving like babies. The two settle on a film to watch and settle down in front of the television set. However, they quickly fall asleep. Alice walks out, covers them both with blankets and sighs, "For once, Ralph, you were right. We "never" should have gotten a TV set."


Alice: "(to Ralph)" You're out all day and I'm here all alone to look at that stove, that icebox, that sink and these four walls. Well, I don't wanna look at that stove, that icebox, that sink and these four walls! I wanna look at Liberace!!

Norton: "(reciting the Captain Video pledge)" I, Edward Norton, Ranger Third Class in the Captain Video Space Ranger Academy, do solemnly pledge to obey my mommy and daddy, to be kind to dumb animals and old ladies in and out of space, not to tease my little brothers and sisters, to brush my teeth twice a day and to drink milk after every meal.

Ralph: "(to Norton)" I've seen some babies in my day, but you are the champ.

Alice: You want lemonade or milk or juice?
Ralph: Let me have what you're drinking; I wanna get loaded, too!

Norton: Official Space Helmet off, Captain Video, wherever you are!

Alice: You comfy, sweetums?
Ralph: Who is "sweetums"?
Alice: "You're" "sweetums".
Ralph: You're nuts.

Ralph: Whatever happened to the sweet unspoiled girl I married before? Alice, you know what you said to me on the day we got married? "Ralph, I'd be happy to live in a tent with you."
Alice: I'm still willing. In fact, I think it'd be an improvement.
Ralph: "(clenches fist)" Do you wanna go to the moon? Do you wanna go to the moon?!
Alice: That would be an improvement, too.

Ralph: Look, you, let's have an understanding. We've had this set for three nights, and for three nights, I've listened to nothing but space shows, westerns, cartoon frolics and puppet shows. Tonight, I'm watching a movie, and if you dare to make a sound while the movie is on, I'll cut off your air supply!

Norton: Well, I guess for the next two or three months, I gotta live without television. Boy, I'm gonna miss it, too. It couldn’t have come at a worse time! Do you realize that tomorrow afternoon, Captain Video takes off for Pluto?!

Ralph: (about Norton) I got one thing that he hasn't got. (places hand on hip) I got it here.
Alice: (placing hands on hips and stomach) You got it here, you got it here and you got it here.

Alice: Gotta admit it, Ralph. Once in your life, you were right: we "never" should've gotten a television set.

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