Scared of spiders? I can understand being scared of snakes, but spider? They are so cool. Of course, television would not necessarily have you believing that. The cameo appearances by spiders on TV over the years has definitely contributed to the number of Americans who have an irrational fear of the arachnids. How could you not develop a fear of spiders after watching these memorable appearances by the eight-legged creatures on TV shows over the decades?
The Brady Bunch
When it comes to cameo appearances by spiders on TV shows, who can possibly forget “The Brady Bunch.” It was all Bobby Brady’s fault, of course. If Bobby just hadn’t found that evil idol, the big, hairy, ugly monstrously large spider would never have crawled into Jan’s purse and made into the hotel room in which the boys were sleeping. If only Peter Brady hadn’t worn the idol, he would never have woken up with the tarantula sitting creepily on his chest. And if a big scary spider had not situated itself on Peter Brady’s chest in the paradise of Hawaii of all places, you might not be so afraid of spiders today.
The Wild Wild West
What looks like a giant spider is really smaller than the one that took on Peter Brady. “The Wild Wild West” may have been a western in theory, but it was science fiction in execution. A precursor to the steampunk movement. And one of the weirdest science fiction plots on “The Wild Wild West” had shrinking powder as an essential element of the plot. Shrunk down to a very small size, even the original Captain Tightpants–Jim West–would be afraid of spiders. Because, you see, they looked like giant spiders. And what’s worse than spiders? Giant spiders.
Stephen King’s IT
Only Stephen King would dare to trade on your fear of clowns and spiders within the same show. Heck within the same character within the same show. Pennywise the Clown is the iconic figure from the miniseries version of Stephen King’s sprawling novel, “It.” But Pennyise the Clown is just an illusion. The real evil that terrorized children, adults and viewers over the course of the two nights that the miniseries originally aired is so abstract and beyond the human capacity to understand that it is forced to take on shapes we identify with being scared. We’re scared of clowns. We’re scared of spiders. You have to wait until the end to get a view of Pennywise as the spider, but in this case we’re talking about an actual giant spider.
Land of the Giants
Science fiction is again responsible for instilling and enlarging our collective fear of spiders. “Land of the Giants” tells you with its title that you should expect giants. So why not giant spiders? In an episode appropriately titled “The Weird World” viewers are treated to a plot involving a giant tarantula. Imagine growing up watching television in the 1960s as a kid. Giant spiders everywhere from the old west to a futuristic vision of a world where humans must escape giants. And giant spiders. Seriously, no wonder you are scared of spiders.