Friday, February 18, 2005


The prime times, they are a-changin', and in forty years much of the TV landscape has been altered to reflect the times portrayed.

And yet the framework for certain situations remain constant.....

Here's an episode from 'Leave It To Beaver'.....

Wally is throwing a party and is successful in getting Beaver out of the house, who is planning to spend the night at Whitey's. However, on the way to Whitey's house, him and Beaver get into an argument over a billboard that is advertising for soup and this leads to Beaver falling into the giant soup bowl mounted at the top of the billboard.

And this is one of the most recent episodes of 'Malcolm In The Middle'.....

When Lois catches the boys vandalizing a trashy billboard for a strip club, Malcolm alters the vandalism into a women's rights protest, which sparks a colossal media circus. In no time, feminists, conservative religious groups and national new reporters descend on the scene. After Hal grants a TV interview, a woman from his past turns up at the faux protest; and Reese, inspired by the giant billboard stripper who comes to life in his dreams, gives an impassioned speech about the objectification of women.


Thursday, February 17, 2005


Referring to a recent episode of 'NCIS','s wonderful "TV Gal" reported:

On 'NCIS', Kate asked Gibbs who Duckie looked like when he was younger. Gibbs answered "Illya Kuryakin," which was, of course, the name of David McCallum's character on 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.' Thanks to TV Gal readers Mitch and Mary for catching this clever reference. It's true. We live for this stuff.

David Bianculli of the New York Daily News would call this an Extra. That's an in-joke designed to give a little something extra to the loyal fans and television fanatics. (And to give the writers a reason to keep on plodding/plotting away.)

I've sent in plenty over the years to Mr. Bianculli. But in this case, being the Toobworld Caretaker and all, I didn't see it as an in-joke. For me, it's verification that 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' and 'NCIS' (and by extension 'JAG' and 'First Monday'*) exist in the same TV Universe.

If that scene played out right, Gibbs never mentioned that Illya Kuryakin was only a TV character in a classic 60s spy series. He simply stated that Dr. Mallard looked like Illya Kuryakin. This seems to me to imply that Gibbs knew that Illya Kuryakin was a real person in Toobworld.

And it would make sense that the former Russian agent for the United Network Command for Law Enforcement would be well-known to people outside the shadow realm of espionage. After retiring from the service, Illya wasn't whisked off to some remote "Village" to be questioned. Instead, he became a fashion designer.

And although he must have become famous, he wasn't happy in the profession. And that's why he was more than willing to chuck it aside and return to work for U.N.C.L.E. again, fifteen years after he resigned.

One of Gibbs' ex-wives may have been a slave to fashion, and that's why he knew about Kuryakin.

As to why Dr. Mallard looked almost exactly like the legendary spy? Accelerated cloning is a possibility; it would certainly work for a spy format that had plenty of off-the-wall concepts - like reanimating the corpse of Hitler. Or experimental plastic surgery during Dr. Mallard's medical school training, as part of some dark, secret government sponsored program. It was during the Cold War after all.........

But unlike 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.', 'NCIS' is mostly rooted in reality. So let's keep the splainin simple.......
Ducky and Illya had the same Daddy, who was dipping his wick around the globe.

On second thought, I like the Cold War plastic surgery splainin better. Makes for more interesting fanfic!


* 'NCIS' is a spin-off from 'JAG'. And Dean Stockwell's character of the Navy Secretary was carried over from the short-lived 'First Monday', which was about the Supreme Court.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Tonight, (Wed 2/16 @ 10 pm EST), 'Law & Order' will once again be ripping one off from the headlines with the episode "The Sixth Man". And it's an episode that can be considered one of Toobworld's missing links; those theoretical crossovers with another show that can't exactly be proven.

In the show, a pro basketball player lays down on the scorer's table where he gets hit by a beer tossed by a fan in the stands. The player, Silas Enwood of the Philadelphia Cannons, charges into the stands and fights the riled-up fans. Soon all hell breaks loose and his other team-mates get caught up in the mini-riot.

Sounds just like what happened during the Pistons-Pacers game back in November. Except in that case, the fan didn't sue the player for 20 million bucks, only to end up dead with his neck broken.

And thus we have that 'Law & Order' touch to distinguish it.

I haven't seen the episode in advance, but I can't see how they can pass up this opportunity - a copy of the New York Ledger (THE paper in the 'L&O' corner of the universe) with the blaring headline of "LOOSE CANNON!"

I don't know if the other team gets involved in the fight, but that's where my interest lies: the Philadelphia Cannons are playing the New York Empires.

Already in Toobworld, there has been a team known as the New York Empires. But they're a baseball team, (to be found in the short-lived CBS series of this past year, 'Clubhouse'), not a basketball team.

Still, it's not unheard of for two teams to bear the same name; for example, there are the San Francisco Giants and the New York Giants (who should be required by law to carry the name of the Jersey Giants if they're going to play in the swampland across the River).

The two teams of Giants are owned by different interests, and they don't seem to have any problem with the existence of the other. But as these two Empire teams are in the same town, I would think some kind of trademark infringement problem would have arisen.

Unless, of course, they both had the same owner.

The Empires baseball team was established back in 1904. Had an upstart basketball team come along decades later and tried to use the same brand name, the owner of the baseball team would have raised holy hell to protect his franchise's rights to the name. But if both teams were owned by the same guy, maybe he'd want to extend his empire, so to speak, by making sure both teams bore the same kind of logo, modified just enough to delineate which sport was being represented.

So that's my theory. The New York Empires basketball team ('Law & Order') is owned by the same guy (Tom Bettleheim, as played by Larry King) who owns the New York Empires baseball team ('Clubhouse').

Of course, this all depends on whether or not we meet the owner of the basketball team tonight in the episode. And if we do, I'm already with my alibi for that as well.

They could have both belonged to the same owner years before, but finally the basketball team had to be sold off. And due to poor negotiations, nobody thought to add a clause in which the new owners would have to come up with a new name for the team.

And still I would have the missing link crossover. Ta da!

It wouldn't be the first time 'Law & Order' had such a crossover. Do you remember that episode in which there was a shooting at the piers where a singles cruise was docking? The trail led the detectives to the Sunshine Cab Company, where the Arab driver said that had he wanted to kill Jews in New York, all he had to do was run a red light.

The Sunshine Cab Company was the central location for one of the best ensemble comedies of all time: 'Taxi'.

And then there was an even more trivial missing link crossover when the manager of a comedy club (played by Larry Miller) was suspected of shooting his wife. She ended up in a 'Coma' at Manhattan General Hospital.

Manhattan General is a great standby for a fictional hospital in the TV Universe. It even can serve as a link between the movies and TV since it was used in the movie "The Velvet Touch", which I contend is the precursor to 'Columbo'. (See it!)

But sticking just to TV, Manhattan General was used in 'Naked City' in at least one episode, when Sgt. Frank Arcaro was shot by a crazed Ozark rube in broad daylight.

More importantly, it was the main location for 'Kay O'Brien, Surgeon', a character who was mentioned in an episode of 'St. Elsewhere' as having left St. Eligius to work in NYC. And in one doctor's opinion, she probably wouldn't have lasted thirteen weeks there.

Based on the run for her series, that doc was right!

So with all of those missing links, look what we get: 'Clubhouse' tied to 'Law & Order' (and with all of the shows in its franchise!), and added goodies like 'Kay O'Brien, Surgeon', 'Naked City', and the hub of all crossovers, 'St. Elsewhere'.

And don't forget all the shows that get added to the mix because of the involvement of Detective John Munch on 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' -
'Homicide: Life On The Street', 'The X-Files', 'The Beat', 'Chicago Hope', 'Homicide: The Movie'......

It's no wonder I feel like shouting out an abandoned catch-phrase for David Letterman: "I'm moist!" This is going to be the capper to the new night of "Must See TV" - 'Lost', 'The West Wing', and 'Law & Order'.

I am one tele-visiologist who'll be happier than Arnold Ziffel in a sty full of bleep!



Here's a snippet from a Yahoo! News item:

"Lost, meanwhile, will look to build on its already big season with the upcoming offing of a familiar prime-time face."

I'm not one who likes to get involved with all of the theories flooding the internet about this show. I'm just happy to be along for the ride. And I trust the creators of the show enough to believe that anything the fans come up with, their eventual answers will be better.

But I can't help myself. I find myself playing the guessing game as well.

I'm assuming the above quote means that Robert Patrick of 'The Sopranos' and Tje X-Files' and "Terminator 2" will be killed off in tomorrow night's flashback from Sawyer.

John Terry, the guy who played Jack's father is listed as a guest star for tomorrow night, so that might be the connection between Jack and Sawyer. Did Sawyer have a hand in the death of Jack's Dad?

But the "familiar primetime face" could mean somebody who's now become familiar to America because of 'Lost'. Or somebody on 'Lost' who already was familiar.

To me, that means two people - Matthew Fox (Jack) or Terry O'Quinn (Locke). The producers have said that one of the major characters will die by the end of the first season. And I think it will be one of those two.

For some time, I was thinking it would be Jack. The producers wanted to kill off his character in the pilot episode and even thought of casting a major player like Michael Keaton in the role to give it more of an oomph.

They were talked out of doing it then, but who's to say they don't still harbor thoughts of doing a kevorkian on the good doctor?

However, I vacillate easily. And often. I'm now leaning toward Locke. The secret will be totally revealed to him once he breaches the hatch and off he goes since he knows too much.

And it's usually at this point in any back and forth discussion of 'Lost' theories where I once again toss in the towel and say, "Que sera, sera."


Tuesday, February 15, 2005


The Ced-man cancelled himself out with two Bud Light commercials. The first one about his desert island daydream/nightmare wasn't so much sexist as it was disturbing. In his revised dream, he was relaxing on a desert island with a grill and a tan Labrador retriever.

Considering that his first daydream with the two babes was sexually oriented, I couldn't help but wonder what that poor dog would have to endure before being put out of its misery as hot dogs.

But the second one was better, and made a believable scenario for the sitcom way of life as espoused on UPN. Cedric is using hand signals to tell somebody on the other side of a dance floor that he can't drink Bud Lights that night because he was the designated driver. Pretty soon all of the dancers have picked up on his moves and are busting a groove by doing the Designated Driver Dance.

In my book, anything that makes the Designated Driver cool is A-OK.

Remember what I said about celebrities being so desperate to reclaim their stardom that they would sink to any level of ridicule in these commercials? Didn't Hammer realize the audience would be cheering for him to be thrown back over the fence? He's gone from "Can't Touch This" to "Catch And Release".

And who would have guessed that the scariest thing on TV that night would be Hammer's pants?

The people who make commercials try their best, but they sometimes just can't equal Nostradamus for predicting the future. At the time this ad was made, it must have seemed like a good idea to hire the Virgin Airways billionaire - and certainly less expensive than luring the Donald.

But 'The Billionaire' went belly-up and all this blipvert accomplished was to add to Branson's Toobworld life (which also included a cameo on 'Friends'.)

I doubt there's any great clamor to find out whether Branson survived his spaceship's re-entry, but it would have made for a great tagline: "Should've Used The Volvo"......

Maybe this kid is a phenom on the basketball court; I wouldn't know as I'm not a fan of the game. But it takes more than skill to make it as an advertising spokesman; you need a distinct, telegenic personality.

Michael Jordan had it in spades. Charles Barkley comes close. They keep trying with Shaq, but I think that's a lost cause.

Lebron comes off looking smug and too cool for the room; not exactly a selling point. And even then, his face is covered in gum too quickly - he hasn't been around long enough to be instantly recognizable.

I think this blipvert was only fifteen seconds long, but even that made me feel it was trying to sell Eternity by Calvin Klein.

There's another celebrity fad out there besides driving Diet Pepsi trucks - getting shrunk down to six inches in height.

It might have been done to promote Verizon's technology, but it had to be the machinery of the infamous Dr. Shrinker which accomplished the deed.

The ad put me in mind of the long-running 'Celebrity Jeopardy' sketch on 'Saturday Night Live'. No matter which celebrities were being lampooned (and Sean Connery was a constant), the premise remained the same: celebrities are stupid.

And trying to live life at six inches tall is the perfect way to show it. Maybe somebody adapted that 'Twilight Zone' formula to shrink all the evil people so that it worked on stupid celebrities instead.

There had to be some reason the theme of former Chicago footballers proclaiming themselves as Diana Pearl rather than as Da Bears was interrupted by the presence of Dennis Rodman.

Perhaps it was all part of the eventual alien invasion by Rodman's people. It was established on an episode of 'Third Rock From The Sun' that Rodman was an alien that only appeared to be human... and with every new sighting of the former basketball player, it's obvious he's losing that ability.

I'm just hoping Rodman didn't agree to pose nude in that tub o' bubbles just to cement his place in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame. Ugh!

Trust me, you freak, - with 'Third Rock', 'Double Rush', and 'Baywatch' (among others), you're already in!

And I guess we have you to blame for making sure 'Listen Up!' became part of Toobworld......

I've seen a lot of strange things happen to celebrities in Toobworld. And I'd say Gladys Knight as a rugby player would have topped them all - if it hadn't been for the late Lloyd Bridges as his own cross-dressing, cursing, kleptomaniac Neo-Nazi self on 'Ned & Stacey'.

But nice try, Gladys. Seeing you on the pitch was a pip!

Even those celebs whose commercials were banned from the Super Bowl aren't that lucky to escape my perusal......

Rooney's bare bootie. That should be 'nuff said. But do a Google image search for the words "Mickey Rooney Airborne" and check out that lump in the middle of his chest.

That's what people should be concerned about, not his less than Golden Age of Hollywood heinie. It looks like the Alien is about to burst out of his sternum!

She didn't have to even show up to have an impact on this year's Super Bowl. And not even the commercial got air time during the game. But, like the Airborne ad mentioned above, the ad still got broadcast during a report on 'Good Morning, America' and so it has been given life on Toobworld.

With this blipvert, History was altered to create yet another difference between Toobworld and the Real World. We went behind the scenes backstage at the 2004 Super Bowl to learn the real splainin as to why Janet had a wardrobe malfunction. Blame it on a techie who used her costume to pop open a bottle of Bud Light!

I would've thought the metallic nipple collar would have worked far better as a church key........



Cindy Crawford first made her blipvert presence known with a sexy Diet Pepsi ad in which she was ogled more for her can of soda than for her can of bootie.

Now, many years down the road, she's still got it, but Cindy's the one doing the ogling. And she's not alone - every woman on the street is mesmerized by the young stud who's drinking the Diet Pepsi.

And it isn't only women - another Carson, this time Carson Kressley of 'Queer Eye For The Straight Guy' is also ensnared by the stud.

(I know I'm seeing the guy with a different eye than Kressley, but I just didn't pick up what elevated this Diet Pepsi chugger to be worthy of Lucky Vanous-level veneration. All I kept thinking was - Why the knit cap on such a warm, sunny day? Does he have greasy hair?)

Carson Kressley as the commercial's capper puts him in a tie with his fellow Fab Fiver Tom Filicia for blipverts under their belts. All of the 'Queer Eye' Guys are in an American Express ad and they've also appeared on the sitcom 'Good Morning, Miami' to insure that they are officially over-exposed. But only Filicia really had struck out on his own as a commercial figure, with his work for Pier One.

Maybe Kyan, Ted, and Jai could start hawking Ikea..........


Let me just say right off the bat that I dislike Pepsi. I don't like the taste. There is a marked difference between Pepsi and Coke; I'm told one has a lemon base, the other an orange-y influence.

But its the advertising for Pepsi that I truly HATE; there's this smug, superior attitude they've taken over the last twenty years.

Remember the ad with the archaeology professor of the future at the split-level ranch dig site? He had no clue what an ancient Coke bottle was.

The guy should have turned in his license to be a teacher. The Coke bottle was, is, and shall always be one of the most - if not THE most! - recognizable bottle shapes ever in world history.


P. Diddy aka Puff Daddy aka Sean "Puffy" Combs is late for an award ceremony, his limo broken down out in the desert. Along comes a Diet Pepsi truck whose driver is nice enough to give him a lift right up to the red carpet.

(Didn't he have a limo driver? Wouldn't he have been surrounded by his entourage? Since his break-up with JLo years back, has his cachet as a celeb lost some of its worth in bling-bling?)

P. Diddy must still be worth something on the A-List market, because soon after his novel arrival at the event, everybody wants to be seen with a Diet Pepsi truck as their vehicle of choice.

Eva Longoria seduces the parking valet in order to insure that her truck won't get scratched. Xzibit of 'Pimp My Ride' tricks his out to be a portable partai-mobile. And Carson Daly just cements his dorkiness by following suit with a Diet Pepsi truck equipped with monster truck rally wheels.

Mary Richards ('The Mary Tyler Moore Show') once remarked that a person could be influenced by someone with a more assertive personality. Apparently this type of influence leads one to be with-it by picking up the same kind of rig as larger-than-life impresarios. (Diet Pepsi missed a chance to be topical by proclaiming itself "Suge-Free".)

I guess we should be glad P. Diddy didn't get a ride to the event in a truck smuggling aliens into the country.......


As a future member of the TV Crossover Hall of Fame in the League of Themselves wing (for both dramatic and commercial portrayals of himself), Burt Reynolds is an old hand at the schill game. He's pitched in the League for such products as Kodak Max film, White Diamond perfume, Maaco's auto body repair (a classic!), and most recently for T-Mobile.

And if there's any celeb who's had a healthy sense of his own importance (and a lack of respect in regards to it), it's "Mr. Burt". He knows how to send up his own image without coming across as a washed-up star hoping to rekindle his fame by poking fun at himself. Not many can claim to do that.

That's why the FedEx/Kinko's blipvert about the rudiments of a successful Super Bowl ad campaign works so well. In anyone else's hands, the mishmosh of ingredients (talking, dancing animal, cute kid, classic hit song, pretty girls, and the always dependable groin kick) would have been mishegas.

But Burt pulls it off because you know he's in on the joke and so far above it that he could get a nose-bleed. (Not good for selling a product, by the way; always stick with the groin kick. Or with flammable horse farts.)

So Burt Reynolds gets high marks from me for this commercial and let me tell you, that was no easy thing. Only recently I had a very bad experience with FedEx which ended up costing me 160 dollars on a package that never even reached its destination! 68 bucks of that money went towards me paying a ransom to FedEx just to get the package back out of their incompetent hands.

(The Post Office had no trouble sending the package, by the way.)

And despite all of that, I still enjoyed their commercial. And that was all due to the work of Burt Reynolds.

Would never use that company ever again though, but still........


In a spot directed by his "Fight Club" director, the soon-to-be former Mr. Jennifer Aniston risked the perils of the paparazzi to go out for some brewskis.

The shutterbug swarm of "locusts" gave chase, but apparently they were only after the Heinies.

At least that's what we were told was happening in press releases. The commercial didn't make that clear, since it appeared that they were fanatically interested him before he set off in search of the suds. The ad's payoff should have been better defined.

The Big Question was the identity of the person Pitt phoned to pick him up. Was there going to be a reconciliation with "Rachel"? An assignation with Angelina? Or a sit-down with Soderbergh about another stupid sequel for "Ocean's Eleven"?

The company said that the commercial would only air once. Yeah, right. They said the same thing about the '1984' ad for MacIntosh, but it keeps popping up in yearly retrospectives for commercials.

But that was a visionary classic. This was a guy who hasn't had a hit film of his own for years whoring himself for possible divorce settlement money.


It wouldn't have been a Super Bowl without an overdose of star power in the commercials. So for the final entries in my Super Bowl Blipvertalooza, I'm going to take a quick look at the spectrum of celebs from A-List to Zzzzz.......

Monday, February 14, 2005


Among the most popular of the ads shown during the Super Bowl was the trilogy. It had a running storyline about the schlub who worked for a corporation which was otherwise "manned" by chimpanzees.

Three commercials, broadcast on TV.... It should be considered a part of the basic TV Universe then. But even though Toobworld is filled with reality-busting concepts - 'Mr. Ed', 'My Mother The Car', 'The Apprentice' - I don't think there's room for a chimpanzee corporation (with the un-palindromic name of "YEKNOM") on Earth Prime-Time.

But luckily, there is a place for it in an alternate dimension. Earth Prime-Time/Ape has been in existence since at least the first episode of 'Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp'. And it recently came back into vogue with a series of mock movie previews on TNT. Those proved to be so popular that a TV series was spawned called 'The Chimp Channel'.

In all of those instances, we understood what the chimps were saying as they were speaking in English. That's because we, as the audience viewing at home, were seeing everything from their point of view. But for the blipvert, we were allied with the human's P.O.V.

Apparently, he was not a native to that world, or he would have spoken their language. (He may have been gifted with telepathy which would be how he understood what they were conveying in their dialogue.)

By the third commercial, the human was still stranded in his job at YEKNOM. Even though the ad's Voice-over was touting that one should contact the website of, this guy was unable to do so. The internet company was back on Earth Prime-Time... and of course, on Earth Prime.

So how did a lone human end up on Ape-Earth, trapped in a world he never made?

One possibility would be 'Sliders' technology. Another would be a rogue wormhole similar to the type that plagued those 'Twilight Zone' characters who woke up in their own beds but unrecognized by their loved ones.

Or it could be a case of cosmic transference. Remember that episode of 'Star Trek' in which four members of the Enterprise crew ended up in the evil mirror dimension while their savage counterparts ended up in the main TV Universe?

Perhaps there was some similar exchange - that guy ended up on Chimpworld, while his simian doppleganger ended up over on Toobworld.

And whatever happened to that primate? I think we saw him in another commercial. He obviously had lost his mind, and thought that he could re-establish contact with his homeworld by talking into a banana. He'd take a few steps, talk into the banana, and then proclaim the Chimpanese equivalent for the word "Good."

That's right. He was the chimpanzee counterpart to that dork who works for Verizon!

Can you hear me now, Bonzo?


Sunday, February 13, 2005


So with all of the attention paid here on the Super Bowl commercials, it stands to reason that the Crossover of the Week would be found -#

Sorry, Blipverties. It was found in 'Lost'.

This past week's episode, "Homecoming", was a Charlie-centric flashback. In it, Charlie was deep in his heroin addiction and working with a criminal named Tommy, charming and romancing rich women whom he could then rip off.

One of these ladies was named Lucy and she brought him back to the mansion where she lived with her very rich father.

When Charlie asked after the whereabouts of her Dad, Lucy said, "I don't know. I think he's buying a paper company in Slough."

This, of course, would be Wernham-Hogg, the Slough paper company where manager David Brent and his employees were the subjects of a documentary that was filmed right there in 'The Office'.

This marks the second crossover for 'Lost' in about a month. If you remember an earlier Crossover of the Week, the one hit song from Charlie's band DriveShaft ("You All Everybody") was playing in the background at a party on an episode of 'Alias'.

Since both crossovers were connected to Charlie Pace, it's my decision that eventually the rocker will be inducted into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.



So, as I was saying, not all the blipverts aired during the Super Bowl had to have cosmic significance for Toobworld. Some of them helped expand the boundaries of the TV Universe simply by showing new aspects in its everyday life.

The two ads produced for Ameriquest, the mortgage people, would fall into this category. I already mentioned one in which the husband is caught by the wife holding a large knife and their white fluffy cat, and they're both splattered with tomato sauce. It's sick (but safe) guilty pleasure and the funniest ad in the bunch.

The other ad they showed had a guy in a convenience store whose cell phone conversation is mistaken for a stick-up announcement. The store owners go medieval on his ass, Kwikee-Mart style. (It would have been fun to see Apu ('The Simpsons') doing this ad, but hey! You can't have everything in Toobworld. Jack Lord knows I try!)

The ad touting tourism in Las Vegas continues the theme of their catch phrase "What happens here, stays here". A dazed boxer is checked out by his trainer and it's obvious the fighter is "Lights on, nobody's home". But with his negative reply to the trainer's most important question, ("Do you remember what I did last night?"), the trainer is overwhelmed with relief and is more than happy to let the press in to see the boxer in such a state.

Well, at least he didn't get his head completely ripped off in his last six fights like Mr. Gabriello's Champ! ('Monty Python's Flying Circus')

Where did the cops find the car with the steamed-up windows, only to discover that the occupants weren't lovebirds, but a couple of slackers eating hot Subway sandwiches? Was it New York?

If so, who's to say they weren't assigned to either the 15th Precinct ('NYPD Blue') or the 2-7 ('Law & Order')?

The ad for Bud Light, in which a pilot jumps out of a plane without a parachute in order to rescue the six-pack of brew seemed like the set-up for an episode of any one of the series in the 'CSI' franchise.

And the other Bud blipvert, in which the guy at the game saw on his cell phone that he lost his girl Sharon ("Oh, she's sharin' all right!")..... As I said, it's the type of ad that just expands that sitcom feel of the TV Universe to every aspect of Life. It was a situation that could have easily played out in the early years of 'Friends' - picture Ross and Chandler at the game, Joey back home with Rachel......

Considering the weird things I've seen for sale on eBay, (a bar of soap for fans of Phish, a Star Trek themed apartment, somebody's soul), I could easily buy into the concept of bidding for a French fry that looked like Abraham Lincoln. And McDonald's was able to avoid offending anybody's religious sensibilities since there was recently a grilled cheese sandwich that was sold in an online auction which had the image of the Virgin Mary on it. Yet in the space of that ad's thirty seconds, you didn't have time to be reminded of it.

Oh - and nice crossover with Yahoo!'s online auction service, rather than the overexposed eBay. This might have been chosen for the actual Crossover of the Week if an actual scripted series hadn't topped them. Oh well. Them's the commercial breaks.

Degree for Men helped to expand the TV Universe by introducing the new line of action figure toys - Mama's Boy. It's probably a toy that Niles Crane ('Frasier') and Ralph Drang ('Dear John') might have played with as little boys. Pretty disturbing use of magnets for both the Mama's Boy doll as well as for Mama herself, though.....

Hey guys! How about the girl in the Tabasco ad, wearing the Tabasco bathing suit? It moved a little too slowly and had a payoff that didn't really grab everybody's attention. (You know only the droolers had their eyes glued to the tube!)

But even so, what a payoff! Now there was a commercial that deserved to be pay-per-view so that we could see how much of her hot body had been sunburned underneath that Tabasco bathing suit! Aye caramba!

Finally, having summoned the image of the Talking Heads song "Life During Wartime" with my heading, there was the Anheuser-Busch salute to the troops. The ad showed soldiers either returning home or just heading out to Iraq and Afghanistan.

In a way, it could be argued that it was cynical, manipulative, and had nothing to do with the product. But there's no denying the troops deserve our appreciation and support, no matter where we stand on the reasons for their deployment. (In case you're interested, I was against the invasion of Iraq - at least it should have been held off until we captured/killed Bin Laden.)

Someday, future Tele-visiologists will collect all of the many TV episodes and tele-flicks which dealt with all aspects of the aftermath of 9/11 for the study of how our artistic community chose to depict the American experience. And hopefully, this blipvert will be included in that mix; perhaps even as its coda.



Not all the blipverts aired during the Super Bowl had to have cosmic significance for Toobworld. Some of them helped expand the boundaries of the TV Universe simply by showing new aspects in its everyday life.

First off, I'd like to mention another banned ad which would have fallen into this category. Ford was hoping to introduce the Lincoln Mark LT truck with a little story in which a clergyman found a set of keys in the collection plate.

The minister (priest?) goes outside and discovers that the keys belong to the aforementioned truck and although he may not actually worship the vehicle as a false idol, the reverend does experience the deadly sin of Lust. Only then does he find out that the keys were dropped into the collection by a little girl who didn't know any better and so he gives the keys back to her father.

Some victims of clergy sex abuse complained that it made light of their problem. Before Ford pulled the ad, a spokesman thought that perhaps because of their traumatic experiences, these critics were seeing something that wasn't there.

I agree. I saw the ad after hearing about it getting yanked from the schedule and I still didn't feel it had any connection to the problem.

But hey, that's me. I could be wrong. Alls I know is that I got out of the growing up in the Catholic school system (reasonably) A-OK. I can't speak for those who had to endure such a hardship as being abused by someone in a position of trust.



With another credit card commercial, this time for MasterCard, some of the all-time great blipvert VIPs gathered for dinner: the Gorton's Fisherman, Count Chocula, Charlie the Tuna, Mr. Peanut, Chef Boyardee, the Vlasic Stork, and the Morton's Salt Girl.

On the table itself, and crossing over into his fourth blipvert (at least!) for another company, was the exemplary Pillsbury Doughboy.

Outside the window was the Jolly Green Peeping To- er, Giant. He had to be down on his hands and knees in order to peer into the window.

And in the kitchen? Mr. Clean was doing the dishes.

I had no trouble seeing animated characters side by side with the live action Fisherman from Gorton's. But as some of them were talking animals - and anthropomorphic goobers and dough - then I have no choice but to relegate the ad to the wonder world of the Tooniverse.

But it was definitely one of the high spots for me this Super Bowl. I just wish it had aired earlier in the game so that it might have made more of an impression on the other viewers. (Not many of the reviews I've seen have mentioned it.)

I certainly would have liked to have seen more of this theme than the one from Napster!



It's a dark, deserted parking lot late at night. A woman cries out for help.

And a slew of super-heroes from Marvel appear, all ready for Clobberin' Time - Captain America, Thor, Spiderman, Wolverine and Storm of the X-Men... plus a few others I couldn't identify.

But when they learn of the woman's dilemma, they all groan in exasperation: her Visa Check Card was missing! All of the super-heroes know that if your card lost or stolen, you won't be held liable for any purchases made by anybody else and the card will be replaced by the next day.

Even Captain America carries one.

It was a great opportunity to see a Marvel Team-Up, TV Style.

But this wasn't exactly Toobworld. It was more like one of those nexus worlds where characters from different dimensions end up meeting, because they certainly weren't all from the TV Universe, no matter which dimension.

Thor? Thor has been represented several time in Earth Prime-Time, most notably in episodes of 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys' and in a showcase pilot. So it doesn't matter too much that the details of his physical appearance might have altered slightly - after all, he's a "god"; he can do what he wants.

Wolverine, Storm, and the others - they are certainly not the superheroes from the Cineverse; they're definitely not Hugh Jackman or Halle Berry. And they're not the versions found in the Tooniverse either. Although usually we pass off cartoon characters as the artistic representations of real life people, there's something about these versions that doesn't quite fit. More than likely, they're from one of the alternate versions of Earth Prime-Time, and for alls I know, they're probably from the evil mirror universe.

Captain America? This tele-version is probably from Earth Prime-Time Delayed. There was a Captain America who appeared in prime time already about two decades ago, maybe more. Not being immortal, he would have been aging all this time and this cowled crusader was too young to be the same guy. And too much of a wise guy to boot - you could tell by the facial expression he made.

Then there's Spiderman. Here's another of Marvel's Mightiest who appeared in Toobworld decades ago. He'd be in middle-age by now if this was the same guy. And based on the vocal impersonation when he told the lady to "read my lips" (great line/visual, by the way), it's apparent that they were going for the Tobey McGuire sound.

And that makes him the Spiderman from the Cineverse, the movie universe explored by a sci-fi writer in a trilogy several years back.

Finally, one last super-hero showed up, but not from the Marvel line-up. There was no need to fear, for Underdog was there! And as such, he must have arrived there from the Tooniverse, where humans and humanoid animals co-exist.

(I hope someday to find out who provided the voice for Underdog in this commercial. It's my hope that they used the original soundtrack from the 60s cartoon, so that it would pay homage to the late, great Wally Cox.)