Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: A 'Dear Abby' advice column was pulled because it included a letter taken from an episode of The Simpsons.
Origins: One attribute we here at snopes.com have in common with advice columnists is that we both receive a fair amount of rather bizarre mail — most of it sent in earnest, but some of it sent by pranksters trying to see if they can trick someone into publishing their bits of inventive fiction. We probably have a bit of an advantage over the advice columnists in that the false and the apocryphal are as much our stock in trade as the true and genuine — we deal with the kinds of things people believe to be true; whether or not folkloric tales are actually true is usually irrelevant. Columnists, on the other hand, generally prefer not to be doling out advice to readers seeking answers to phony, contrived problems.
The bogus biographical bug bit advice columnist "Dear Abby" in
(Despite Universal Press Syndicate's having rescinded the column, a few newspapers chose to run it anyway.)
In a column entitled "Wife meets perfect match after husband strikes out," Abby proffered advice to a woman who signed her letter "Stuck in a Love Triangle." Mrs. "Stuck" described herself as a 34-year-old woman with three children who had been married for
But "Stuck" decided to spite her selfish husband by keeping the ball and learning how to bowl, leading to her meeting Franco
Abby's solution was for "Stuck" to admit her infidelity to her husband: "To save the marriage, he might be willing to change back to the man who bowled you over in the first place."
"Stuck"'s dilemma may sound so familiar to some readers — it was taken directly from the plot of a first-season episode of the animated TV series The Simpsons ("Life on the Fast Lane," also known as "Jacques to Be Wild," first aired
This wasn't the first time a prominent advice columnist had been tripped up with a recycled plot. In 1994, a mischievous reader (all right, I'll confess — it was me) sent Abby's sister, Ann Landers, a letter based upon a well traveled
Last updated: 29 June 2007
This material may not be reproduced without permission.
snopes and the snopes.com logo are registered service marks of snopes.com.