Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Amnesia is one of the most common psychiatric disorders on television. Usually caused by a head trauma, it can cause characters to forget weeks, months, or years of their lives, or—often—their entire identities. Example: On ALF, ALF gets bonked on the head and thinks he’s an international spy, and not, in fact, a space alien in hiding. In real life, amnesia is a genuine medical condition, but it’s quite different from the way it’s depicted on-screen. It is caused by head trauma, but memory loss is usually limited to a few moments before or after the accident; normal memory function returns in a few hours or a few days. Cases of people permanently forgetting whole sections of their lives—let alone their personalities—are rare.
QVC’s top-selling item in its first year (1977): a helmet that held two cans of beer, with a straw.