Sunday, July 10, 2005


I don't think I'll ever make up my mind (what's left of it!) as to whether or not individual sketches on comedy/variety shows should be included in the TV Universe as part of the Toobworld "reality".

I can't very well just dismiss them out of hand. If I did that, I'd have to toss out 'Mama's Family' as well, which grew out of a series of sketches on 'The Carol Burnett Show'. 'The Simpsons' can be considered one of the hubs of the Tooniverse, but they began as blackout sketch cartoons on 'The Tracey Ullman Show'. And we would lose the Conehead Family from 'Saturday Night Live' who went on to establish their presence in the Tooniverse as well as in the Cineverse.

So here's how my "rules" stack up... for now:

1] Impersonations of celebrities and TV/movie characters automatically disqualify the sketch from being considered as "real". As funny as those "Celebrity Jeopardy" sketches were, it wasn't Alex Trebek and Sean Connery but 'SNL' players Will Ferrell and Darryl Hammond. And the fact that the real Alex Trebek showed up in the last sketch to pay tribute to the departing Ferrell seals the sketches as just that - comedy bits and not Toobworld's "inner reality".

2] Even if an actor recreates one of his roles (TV or movie) in a sketch, it could count, so long as no other characters from the same production are recreated by the comedy show's performers.

I'm reminded of a sketch on 'Saturday Night Live' that spoofed "Reservoir Dogs" with John Travolta playing his Vinnie Barbarino from 'Welcome Back Kotter'. The sketch also had surprise appearances by 'SNL' regular Michael McKean and by David Landers as their characters Lenny and Squiggy from 'Laverne & Shirley'.

Had it just been the three of them in the sketch, I'd be fighting for the right to include that sketch as the link between both of their shows, in much the same way I consider the 'SNL' sketch of Jerry 'Seinfeld' interacting with the 'Oz' inmates to be a legit link. And I'd counter any opposition to linking 'Welcome Back Kotter' and 'Laverne & Shirley' with a well-reasoned argument in keeping with the situation: "Up your nose with a rubber hose!"

But since Mr. "Kottair" and his other sweat-hogs were played by members of the comedy troupe, the sketch has to be left behind within 'Saturday Night Live' as just a sketch and not a viable component of the TV Universe.

Aside from the usual suspects like the Kramdens, the Coneheads, and Mama's family, there are other "skitsos" whom I want to see as naturalized citizens of Toobworld. Among these would be Miss Swan and Stewart of 'Mad TV'; Debbie Miller, Chico Escuela, and Fred Garvin (male prostitute) of classic 'SNL'; and Mary Catherine Gallagher and the singing group Gemini's Twin from the more recent years of the series.

Geraldine Jones ('Flip!'), Fred Scuttle ('The Benny Hill Show'), Crazy Guggenheim ('The Jackie Gleason Show'), and Mr, Pither, the Minister of Silly Walks, and Teddy Salad (the spy disguised as a dog) from 'Monty Python's Flying Circus'.

They should all be included as well.

After all, if we turned them away, we'd have to turn away 'The Honeymooners' as well. They began life on 'Cavalcade of Stars' and went on to their own series whose episodes are known as "the classic 39". And where would the TV Universe be without Ralph and Norton and Alice and Trixie?

If they hadn't become so integral to the make-up of Toobworld, then we might never have seen a movie about them starring Cedric the Entertainer.

Hmmmmmmmm. On second thought..........


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