This deadpan*, humorous synopsis of "The Wizard of Oz" was written by Rick Polito, "penned for the Marin Independent Journal [Marin County is in northern California, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco] and named by the LA Times as TV Listing of the Week when it was written in 1998."
The article goes on to say:
"Polito jokes with Jim Romenesko in an interview, 'That line is going to follow me to the grave. It was just on Leno, it was a clue in a
crossword puzzle, it showed up in Playboy, and people use it as their
email sigs. Someday I’m going to walk down the street and see it on a T-shirt and punch the person who’s wearing it.'”
The real question is, why are so many TV Guide and newspaper synopses also so deadpan and hilarious in their listings? At least we know Polito was intentionally trying to be funny, but what about all the others? Is the job of creating TV and movie listings so interminably boring that the writers have to throw in zingers like this in order not to lose their minds?
*A site called Educalingo includes this definition of deadpan:
Deadpan is a form of comic delivery in which humor is presented without a change in emotion or body language. It is usually spoken in a casual, monotone or cantankerous voice, and expresses a calm, sincere or grave demeanor, often in spite of the ridiculousness of the subject matter.