As the authors of such seminal columns as "Cars Crashing Through Walls in Sitcoms" and "The Ten Grossest Hollywood Thumbs-Into-Eyes," we end up at Wikipedia a lot. Sometimes you want to research one thing, perhaps a rogue intergalactic smuggler, but for some reason Wikipedia sends you to an article about something with the same name that's significantly less important. Here are five egregious examples we've come across in our travels.
SHOULD BE: Star Wars character and space scoundrel Han Solo
IS: Species of trilobite Han solo
Type the name of the universe's most famous Nerf Herder and you won't be whisked to a galaxy far, far away, but to Chinese rock formations where the slug-like trilobite Han solo can be found in fossil form. It's surprising that George Lucas, who's spent the last 20 years systematically tailoring every last insignificant detail of his Trilogy with CGI, hasn't logged a complaint on the Wikipedia discussion forums. Perhaps he's relying on fans to correct the error a mistake, since all the truly passionate Star Wars fans go straight to Wookiepedia.
SHOULD BE: Oregon Trail the computer game
IS: Oregon Trail the trail
There was a time when entertainment meant picking something from three networks, four radio stations, or, God forbid, reading a book. Everyone enjoyed everything, because there was so little to enjoy. However, once we discovered the Internet, we divided ourselves into sub-sub-genres and take pride in enjoying things other people haven't discovered yet. We no longer share anything most people don't enjoy either America's most popular song or our #1 TV show, much less both (Jay Sean's "Down"and Mark Harmon's "NCIS," respectively). What's the one thing we all still have in common? The educational computer game Oregon Trail. It's been around since 1974, which is earlier than most people believe computers were invented. Not everyone in the 1800s decided to adventure West, but everyone born since 1980 has at some point sat down to play this game. That's why, somehow, Oregon Trail the computer game is more important than the historical events on which it is based.
John Paul Jones
SHOULD BE: Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones
IS: Revolutionary War hero John Paul Jones
This one's a tough call, but let's look at the facts: Yes the legendary Revolutionary War naval captain John Paul Jones is credited as the father of the American Navy, but multi-instrumentalist John Paul Jones was in Led Zeppelin. Yes the 1770's John Paul Jones has not one but two Destroyer-class ships named after him, but the 1970's John Paul Jones was in Led Zeppelin. Pretty close match, but as always the tiebreaker goes to the guy who played the bass line on Black Dog.
SHOULD BE: Popular '90s Tim Allen sitcom Home Improvement
IS: The actual act of repairing and modifying your house
Okay, home repair may be something your average Internet user may need to know about at some point, but we guarantee that person will never be the same kind of individual who enjoys researching 10-year-old shows co-starring Family Feud's Richard Karn. Note to Wikipedia: If we cared about where we lived, we wouldn't have spent our paychecks on the Season 2 DVDs instead of our gas bills. Notably, the Wiki page for the TV show is meticulously well-kept, while the page for actual "home improvement" is full of missing citations and other problems. Hmm, if only there was some overzealous repairman who could go to work under Wikipedia's hood.
SHOULD BE: The X-Man Wolverine
IS: The weasel subspecies wolverine
The X-Men franchise has a long and distinguished history of stealing famous names and giving them to a much-cooler mutant: Storm is a cooler than an actual storm. Cyclops is cooler than an actual cyclops. Magneto is cooler than an electrical generator (maybe). But no mutant ran off with his moniker more than Logan, who stole the namesake of an entire North American species because it kind of went along with his cool metal claws. So why not make it official and have Wikipedia's "wolverine" page be that of Marvel's genetically advanced superhuman, instead of some marmot whose talons aren't even indestructible? Worst-case scenario: a generation of zoology students grow up convinced Canada is infested with Hugh Jackmans in leather jackets.