Full disclosure, either this post is going to be a vague and poorly researched stand alone, or a jumping off point into a mystery I've been fighting not to become obsessed with. Either way, it is destroying me and there is not a single other person who possibly cares about this.
Why Do So Many Sitcoms Say Jagoff?
(chiefly in western Pennsylvania) a stupid, irritating, or contemptible person.
I lived all my life just 45 minutes north of Pittsburgh, Jag Central, and had never heard anyone use the phrase until my mother fell in with a group of city friends surrounding a collective distraught over the destruction of iconic hockey stadium and once home of the Pittsburgh Penguins The Igloo, aka the Civic Arena, and the unrelated firing of DVE host Jim Krenn. Fans of the later commiserated online and supported his new venture, a podcast, and through this my mother befriended writer of the blog and later podcast, Ya Jagoff. This was my humorous but unremarkable introduction to the colloquialism. A word so Pittsburgh is barely expands past the city limits. How then, did it end up on my non-local tv?
According to an article by the A.V. Club "celebrating" the term being added to the Oxford English Dictionary after years of campaigning, its introduction to pop culture was by Pittsburgh-native and beautiful human being Michael Keaton in 1982's Night Shift (I work a night shift, the connections multiply as I unravel), and again in 1984's Glengarry Glenn Ross, aka the movie where Alec Baldwin makes a speech about closing and enforces unethical coffee restrictions. But in the same article, they quote a representative of Merriam-Webster, who explained the term was not "universal" enough to be added to their dictionary. So why do non-Pittsburgh actors playing non-Pittsburgh characters continue to say it?
According to my own logs (tweets), the term has been used on NBC's The Good Place, NBC's Community and Adult Swim's Rick and Morty. But I only began tweeting these examples when I noticed the trend this fall. The Community character who said jagoff was played by Cleveland-native Drew Carey so maybe that's just a word he uses in his real life, but as for everything else, what the hell is going on?
I don't have the answers and I'm not sure this is even a question. And while I am seriously considering working my way through every piece of television created to catalog jagoff usage, I understand that is insane and probably impossible. So if you're out there asking the same questions, perhaps in a more reasonable tone, and happen to watch something where someone says jagoff, tweet it at me, I'm 100% serious. I'm @jayaitchmac maybe use a hashtag like #JagoffConspiracy or a better hashtag. Or if you're the tv person who through your influence and body of work has done this to me, show yourself, and let the healing begin.
[End of Part 1: The Search For An Easy And Straightforward Answer, "Maybe It's Also A Chicago Thing And That City Has A Larger Influence On Comedy And Culture," Eluded]