A...is for Attitude
Connie is convinced that having a positive attitude will enable her to overcome any problem.
Connie has had it with studying. She turns on the television for background noise and hears positive-thinking expert Dr. Vincent Van Schpeele on the Opera Geraldohue show. Dr. Van Schpeele is promoting his new book, Happiness Is a State, but You Can't Get There from Here. In his book, he theorizes that performance is directly tied to attitude - good attitude results in good performance, and bad attitude results in bad performance.
Connie falls for this philosophy hook, line, and sinker. She immediately applies it to her life-starting with her geography test. She also begins spreading the gospel of positive thinking, convincing her friend Cheryl McCormick that she should try out for the school glee club - even though she's never sung before. Connie also tells Jimmy Barclay and Ben to let attitude win their next basketball game and encourages Peter Dillon to conquer his fear of heights by crossing the train trestle at Miller's Ravine.
Needless to say, none of this works: Cheryl makes a fool of herself, Jimmy and Ben get creamed, and Peter ends up frozen with fear at the top of the trestle. Whit and Connie race off to rescue Peter, which Whit does just before a train runs them down! And Connie winds up with a "D" on her geography test. She has learned that it's foolish to rely on positive thinking rather than on the Lord.
- This plot section is too short and should be expanded. »
- Why did Connie think Dr. Van Schpeele’s book would help her?
- Is there anything wrong with positive thinking?
- When does positive thinking present problems?
- Why should you never, ever walk across a train trestle—or even on train tracks, for that matter?
Heard in episode
VERSION DIFFERENCE: [view] The broadcast version starts with Chris about to give blood to a blood bank. When filling out a form, under "age" she puts "Not Available." She meets a fellow donor who is extremely nervous and tries to calm him down. In the closing wrap, the donor reveals that he's a medical doctor.
- Early versions of this episode featured references to Dr. Vincent Van Schpeele. They were possibly removed to avoid any conflict with Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, the author of The Power of Positive Thinking, which this episode seeks to debunk.
- The "Opera Geraldohue Show" is a spoof of the "Oprah Winfrey show," with the host's last name also being a reference to talk-show rivals Geraldo Rivera and Phil Donahue.
- Jimmy's quip about "building a bridge" is a spoof of the same line spoken by Sessue Hayakawa in the 1958 comedy film The Geisha Boy.
- The climactic scene on the train trestle is a reference to a similar scene in the Rob Reiner film "Stand By Me."
- The train trestle in this episode is the same one that would feature much later in #412: “A Lesson From Mike”.
- The USSR is mentioned when Connie Kendall is studying for a geography test.
- AIO Update: Read
Connie Kendall: Goodbye, geography! Hello, attitude!
Connie Kendall: Now I want you to repeat after me. "I can do it, I can sing, I can sing most anything!"
Fred Zachary: They kept making these, whatchacall, dumb plays. Like those passes you kept throwing to Jimmy, Ben.
Ben (b): He was always open!
Fred Zachary: He was on the bench! Didn't it strike you as a tad strange that, uh, that, uh he was sitting down?!
Ben (b): I thought he was tired! Sorry.
Fred Zachary: Something, whatchacall wrong?
Chris Anthony: I just think it's funny that there's a loose connection between "B Positive" and "being positive."
Doctor at blood bank: Heh, heh, heh. I don't think that's the only loose connection around here.