Wednesday, March 16, 2005


Last week we looked at the (possible) genealogical link between 'Boston Legal' and 'Law & Order: Trial By Jury' - that two characters played by Candice Bergen were in fact twin sisters.

This week, we're riding that same theme train. This time, the current character whose roots we're researching is "Clown", the dying funnyman who has an ironclad lease to live in the closet of Marni Fliss on 'Committed'.

But his twin isn't on any current show. In fact, his twin no longer resides anywhere in Toobworld. Unlike his lookalike, this Poston role has moved beyond "dying".

Back in 1993, a book editor named Martin Tupper was making a videotape of his son Jeremy. But he didn't realize at the time that he was also recording an oral sex transaction in an alley between a prostitute and and an older man named Sidney Barish.

Barish was better known to the public as "Uncle Bouncy", a beloved kiddie TV show host.
Tupper tried to do the right thing and give the tape to Barish, but the low-rung celebrity treated him like dirt, spewing him with a foul-mouthed tirade.

Understandably, Martin decided to get even by selling the tape to his best friend, talk show host Eddie Charles who eagerly featured it on his program. But on the day that the show aired, Sidney jumped to his death.

You can pretty much guess the "IRONY": Uncle Bouncy didn't bounce. It probably made a great 'Deadline' headline for the New York Ledger.
['Dream On']

Now, crackpot conspiracy nuts 'The Lone Gunmen' might have claimed at this point that "Uncle Bouncy" wasn't dead; that in fact he had faked his suicide.

But there was a body, you say. The daughter of Sidney Barish showed up and identified it, and then sued Martin Tupper for causing her father's death. But if he did fake it and then went into hiding, it would certainly explain why he was now living in a closet.

Even so, where did he get the body? Well, let's say he had a twin brother...... Okay, that's about enough of the "Dead Ringer" rip-off.

Let's say he did have a twin brother; someone who also became a clown for a living and even had his own TV show. But his twin brother's name was Fred Tobolowsky. ('The Lone Gunmen')

Famous siblings with different last names? We have Real World precedent: James Arness and Peter Graves, and Olivia DeHavilland and Joan Fontaine.

The original family name most likely was Tobalowsky. And Fred probably found fame first, adapting the family name for his moniker of "Cap'n Toby". Sidney, not wanting to reside in his brother's shadow, changed his name to Barish.

(Perhaps it was their mother's maiden name; and then perhaps a family tie to the Barishes of 'Flying Blind'?)

Fred Tobalowsky had his own run-in with the law; being accused by the government to be a spy for the Chinese. (It didn't help that his wife was of Chinese descent.) But thanks to the perseverance of long-time fan Langley, his innocence was proven. ('The Lone Gunmen')

It could be that the incident caused a decided strain on his marriage and so he and his Chinese wife soon after divorced in 2001. Still bearing the pain of his twin brother committing suicide nearly a decade before, it could be that Fred Tobalowsky decided to turn away from the world at large after his divorce.

Dropping all mementos of his former life - including his own name, - he now became only known as "Clown" and took up the hermitic life in the closet of Marni Fliss.

There are a lot of other Tom Poston characters in the TV Universe, but the rest of them would most likely be victims of "urichosis" - they just happen to look alike to us, but not to each other (as a juror once said on 'All In The Family').

One of these would be Cliff "The Peeper" Murdoch who was an old college buddy of Dr. Bob Hartley of Chicago. ('The Bob Newhart Show') He turned out to be the inspiration for a character (George Utley) in a very extended dream sequence that Dr. Hartley had after eating Japanese food. ('Newhart')

But there is one other Toobworld character of Tom Poston's we should mention: The Capital City Goofball. He was a minor league baseball team mascot found in the Tooniverse.

It just might be that when we met the Goofball in an episode of 'The Simpsons' back in 1990, he was in fact either Fred Tobalowsky or Sidney Barish, making a few extra bucks as an anonymous team mascot who ended up in a scuffle with Homer Simpson.

It might seem like I put waaaaay too much thought into all of this, but then... I'm a big fan of Tom Poston. One might say I'm even a disciple of Tom Poston, a description for which a "sniglet" has been coined:


If I made a movie of my life as of right now, I'd like Tom Poston to play my Dad. Of course, sadly, it would have to be a fantasy, as my Dad's been gone from the Real World since 1993.

But then in the TV Universe, everybody's life is a fantasy, so why not mine?


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