Mathman

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Mathman
MathmanTitlecard.jpg
Mathman Titlecard.
Genre Education, Comedy, Humor, Animation, Cartoon
Created by Jim Thurman
Presented by Jim Thurman (as the unseen Introduction Announcer)[1]
Starring Mathman
Mathdog
Mr. Glitch
The Announcer
Country of origin  United States
Original language(s) English
Production
Producer(s) Francesco Garri Garripoli[2]
Running time 1 to 2 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel PBS
Original run January 26, 1987[3] – November 6, 1991[4]

Mathman is a video game segment on the PBS show Square One TV.

Segment Format[edit]

A parody of Pac-Man, Mathman was a fictional arcade game starring a character of the same name. Mathman's objective was to run around a Pac-Man-like maze board (the traditional dots were replaced with + and - signs) and eventually encounter a number or polygon. He would then have until the count of three to determine if that number/polygon was consistent with a given category (see examples below), and if so, eat it. If he made a mistake, his enemy Mr. Glitch would eat him, ending the game in a disaster.

During the later seasons, the format of the game was changed so that Mathman would have to decide if a certain statement (read aloud by the game's announcer) was true or false, and then eat the letter T or F. He would then have until the count of seven to make his decision. These were usually general-knowledge statements about math rather than questions that required actual problem-solving skills. For example, "True or False? Mathematics and arithmetic are the same thing."

If Mathman was able to eat all the correct numbers/polygons or answer his questions correctly, he was awarded a free game. However, Mathman accomplished this feat only a handful of times. On at least one such occasion, a giant Mr. Glitch ate Mathman as soon as the free game began.

Occasionally, Mathman did not play the game himself, making Mr. Glitch the contestant. If he answered incorrectly, he would be eaten by Mathman (or on one occasion, Mathman's dog Mathdog). Interestingly, on one occasion, Mr. Glitch got away with an incorrect answer, but on the second incorrect answer, he was eaten by a giant Mathman.

Characters[edit]

Mathman (left) and Mr. Glitch (right).

Mathman[edit]

Mathman was a green, Pac-Man-like character with a big mouth, a winged football helmet patterned after that of the University of Michigan Wolverines, and a single foot on which he walked around the game maze. When he moved around the maze, he would repeat the phrase "Mathman, Mathman, Mathman," similar to Pac-Man's familiar "wakka-wakka-wakka".

Mathdog[edit]

Mathdog was Mathman's pet dog and wore a football helmet like that of Mathman. When he went around the maze, he would say "Mathdog, Mathdog, Mathdog."

Mr. Glitch[edit]

Mathman's nemesis was Mr. Glitch, a cranky tornado who was always described with a different adjective ("the 'inconsiderate' Mr. Glitch," "the 'ill-tempered' Mr. Glitch," "the 'fiendish' Mr. Glitch," etc.). He would appear whenever Mathman had to make a decision. If Mathman ate an incorrect number or polygon, answered a question incorrectly, or used up too much time, Mr. Glitch would "power up" (with lightning bolts and thunder crashing), chase after Mathman, and then eat him.

The Announcer[edit]

At the beginning of each sketch, an off-screen voice told either Mathman or Mr. Glitch what his mission would be. Then, a warning was issued to the playing character stating, "He will eat you if you are wrong." He also congratulated Mathman and awarded him a free game if he finished the game perfectly.

Common categories used in the game[edit]

References[edit]

Various recorded tapes of Square One TV programs used for educational purposes.

External links[edit]