Monday, September 21, 2015

Cult-TV Theme Watch: Toilets

A toilet -- as we all know -- is a sanitation device utilized for the disposal of human waste.  Found in bathrooms, and sometimes known as a “throne,” toilets, for many years, were not shown in TV of any type, let alone cult-television.  

This fact often led to fan questions about the layout of the starship Enterprise on Star Trek (1966 – 1969).

Where exactly is the head?

Joss Whedon’s Firefly (2002) famously de-romanticized the space opera genre by featuring, in its very first episode, a look at the toilet on Captain Mal Reynold’s (Nathan Fillion) ship, Serenity.  The message was that we are not in fantasy land here, but in a gritty world where human desire, urges, appetites and biological functions are all part of the storytelling.

The X-Files (1993 – 2002), an earthbound science fiction TV series, was never shy about showing toilets, either.  The third season episode “Teso Dos Bichos” features a disgusting look at toilets teeming with rats in a museum rest room. 

The second season story, “The Host,” meanwhile, finds the Flukeman hiding in, if not a toilet, then an out-house.  Darin Morgan’s “War of the Coprophages” features a death on a toilet, originally believed due to killer cockroaches, but on analysis revealed to be related to…straining.  Another grotesque scene involves a toilet in an airport bathroom in the (unforgettable) episode “Badlaa.”

Grotesque (or at least unsanitary…) toilets have also featured of late in American Horror Story (2011 – present) and Orphan Black (2013 – present).


  1. You know John, I'm beginning to think these recent posts are taking this blog right down the... well, you know. : )

    1. Hi SFF! Yes, you're right! I saw that "toilets" were up today, and I was thinking "oh no," why'd I do that? 300+ cult-tv faces of, and you eventually get down to cult-tv toilets, alas! :)