Saturday, December 31, 2005


Here are most of the crossovers - at least the ones I knew about - that occurred during 2005... presented in no particular order save by grouping.

Alias - Lost
Lost - The Office
Law & Order: Criminal Intent - Exiled
Third Watch - Medical Investigations
The Young & The Restless - As The World Turns
What I Like About You - Living With FranBoston Legal - Boston Public
Passions - Las Vegas
Enterprise - Star Trek: The Next Generation
Law & Order: Trial By Jury - Law & Order & Deadline & Special Victims Unit
Cheap Seats & Mystery Science Theatre 3000
Enterprise - Star Trek's Evil Mirror Universe (also Hercules: The Legendary Journeys)

Queer Eye For The Straight Guy ----> Queer Eye For The Straight Gal
One On One ----> Cuts

Firefly------> Serenity

Law & Order - Clubhouse
Blind Justice - CSI: NY
Stacked - Batman

Amazing Race & Survivor: All-Star Edition
Hope & Faith - Wife Swap
Joey - The Tonight Show
Las Vegas - Fear Factor
Doctor Who - Blue Peter
Less Than Perfect - Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Cheez-It - Maytag
7-Up Plus - Sex And The City
Comcast - 10,000 Pyramid
Chrysler - Seinfeld
Alka-Seltzer - Everybody Loves Raymond
The Apprentice/Domino's Pizza - Papa John's Pizza

Veronica Mars - The X-Files
Crossing Jordan - CSI: MiamiNCIS - The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Lost - Curb Your EnthusiasmThe Inside - Angel
Battlestar Galactica - Firefly

Justice League Unlimited - Batman Beyond & Static Shock
The Simpsons - Futurama
GEICO - Speed Racer

All My Children - Extra

Larry King Live - Primetime Glick
Passions - Nanny & The Professor

BCnU Next Year!

Friday, December 30, 2005


Now that we've reached the end of the calendar year, but not the end of the TV season, I'd like to salute those shows and characters who made the best contributions to the TV Universe.

They aren't necessarily recognized for expanding the universe through the means of spin-offs and crossovers, but because they enriched - or as they say in 'The Simpsons', embiggened - the possibilities and various aspects of Toobworld.

This year, I wanted to give this li'l tribute a catchy name, like the Oscars, the Grammys, the Emmys, etc.

I considered the Toobies, but I didn't want to get the twoppers in a snit. And the Toobins were pushed aside since I didn't want to give CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin a swelled head. You take one look at that guy and you can see his head is already of an odd shape.

So I settled on Toobits, and here's what I like about it - I'm giving out my two bits. See? I amaze even myself!

As you'll see, there was one show that dominated my interests in 2005....

I've divided this into two parts - one for for the characters, and this one for the shows.......

COMEDY: 'How I Met Your Mother'
DRAMA: 'Bones'
What the two shows have in common are casts that are well-meshed and yet individually are lot of fun to watch. It's their interactions, and not the plots, that keep me focused on each episode.

But it's also their contributions to Toobworld - Barney's catch-phrases on 'HIMYM'; fictional companies and products found in 'Bones'. And then there is the crossover potential. 'HIMYM' is set in NYC, as is CBS' 'The King of Queens' and 'Still Standing'. And 'Bones' could easily do a two-parter with 'House', which follows it on the sked.

Many of my favorite movies have televersions - 'The Wizard Of Oz', 'The Lord Of The Rings', 'Star Wars', even 'Blazing Saddles'. I would have loved an opportunity to spend more time in that small Scottish fishing village of 'Local Hero', but Cicely, Alaska, was a nice substitute for a community of lovable eccentrics.

Now there's a Toobworld version of "The Poseidon Adventure". And best of all, it serves a very important purpose in the TV Universe. As a mass grave underwater, it can be a repository for those TV characters for whom we need a splainin as to why they no longer appear on TV. I had a field day with this concept two months ago; check it out in the archives!

'Doctor Who'
There were only three series this year which had me antsy for a week waiting for the next episode - 'Lost', 'Slings & Arrows', and 'Doctor Who'. After a sixteen year wait, the series returned fully revamped and turbo-fitted for the 21st Century.

Thanks to a brilliant splainin for whatever new actor came along to play the role, the Doctor himself was always ready for the Times - which should be expected from a Time Lord. But the pace of the show, the sophistication and complexity of the stories, and especially the image of the Doctor's Companion all shook off the spectre of moribundity and made the series the freshest, most exciting sci-fi series on the air.

Too bad most of America isn't getting the chance to savor it!

'The West Wing'
With the focus split three-ways (between the campaigns of Democratic nominee Matt Santos, Republican Arnold Vinick, as well as back in the West Wing itself), the thrill of political wonkiness returned in a spectacular run to the end of last season and which didn't miss a beat despite the break for the summer.

Sadly, the real-life death of John Spencer, who played former Chief of Staff and current Dem. Veep candidate Leo McGarry, has added a whole new dimension to the drama. Now we're all waiting to see who will be chosen to replace him.

'Slings & Arrows'
This series came out in Canada in 2003; otherwise, I would have had it eligible for so much more. What a show! What a cast! And a production of 'Hamlet' had me as much on the edge of my seat as did the fate of the raft in the season finale of 'Lost'. Plus, it added a town, a movie, a soulless corporation, and an action star to the Toobworld roster.

It totally served the Toobworld concept in those last ten minutes. As Claire drove away to seek her future in New York City, we were treated to a montage of scenes showing the future final fates for all of the main characters from the show. It was rich in details that revealed themselves on multiple viewings and was scored so beautifully that it might not have even mattered if you knew who these people were or not. It stood alone as a music video tribute to the driving force behind the series.

It's quite a juggling act to not only create these rich tapestries of flashback stories for each of the main characters. But then the producers and writers have to work in the connections to all of the other characters as well. And to add a few more balls into the air, they re-told the entire first 48 days on the island from the point of view of those passengers who had been in the tail section of the plane.

It is inspiration from the gods that keeps them from dropping the whole shebang in a spectacular crash-and-burn.

A close runner-up: Larry David's near-Death flashback as his Life passed before his eyes... all of it showcasing the worst aspects of his nature, and yet he saw nothing to confess at the end.

The third episode, 'The Unquiet Dead', took a chapter from the life of Charles Dickens - the final year of his life and his unfinished, unsolved mystery of Edwin Drood, and added its own unique twist. The series began as a look at Earth's history, not as the monster of the week show which it eventually became, but this episode combined both aspects perfectly.

Had I been able to invest the time in 'Rome', I might have made a different choice... from what others have told me.


I had to go to the movies to find the best example for this category, and I approached it as someone who had never seen the TV series. I had my opportunities once it went into repeats and syndication, but by then I had heard about the movie. So I wanted to see if it would work for somebody unfamiliar with the show. And it delivered.

(I'm now making up for lost time with the series.)

On the DVD's commentary track, creator Joss Whedon says, "We'll never make 'Firefly' again, because that was a thing that existed and is now gone. And 'Serenity' isn't 'Firefly'." But to my mind that just means it was a concept that was evolving, a living thing not stuck in stasis. That's all part of the Toobworld concept.

I chose this only because it was a case of overkill for the original concept. It's just a shame I can't pick 'Joey' again because I'd really like to do my part in driving a nail into its coffin.

The TV movie "Exiled" was our last encounter with classic 'Law & Order' detective Mike Logan, but nobody can stay away long from the Dick Wolf franchise - even if they are banished to Staten Island. And his appearance in one episode of 'Criminal Intent' last season has brought this popular character back in a major way, as he'll now be shouldering half the 'CI' season to take some of the burden off Detectives Goren and Eames.

This crossover was great only for Nikki Cox's character Mary Connell, as it adds to her credentials for eventual induction into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame. But if this had been set in the Montecito, the creator of 'Las Vegas' would have every right to sue. The set was pure soap opera cheesiness and cheapness, and the storyline that purported to link the two shows together had the vibrancy of molasses, not Sin City.

But like I said, kudos for Nikki Cox. The show's set may have been lacking, but hers never is!

And on that note.......

BCnU Next Year!



Now that we've reached the end of the calendar year, but not the end of the TV season, I'd like to salute those shows and characters who made the best contributions to the TV Universe.

They aren't necessarily recognized for expanding the universe through the means of spin-offs and crossovers, but because they enriched - or as they say in 'The Simpsons', embiggened - the possibilities and various aspects of Toobworld.

This year, I wanted to give this li'l tribute a catchy name, like the Oscars, the Grammys, the Emmys, etc.

I considered the Toobies, but I didn't want to get the twoppers in a snit. And the Toobins were pushed aside since I didn't want to give CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin a swelled head. You take one look at that guy and you can see his head is already of an odd shape.

So I settled on Toobits, and here's what I like about it - I'm giving out my two bits. See? I amaze even myself!

As you'll see, there was one show that dominated my interests in 2005....

I've divided this into two parts - one for for the shows themselves, and this one for the characters.......

Joining the new Doctor and Rose for the last five episodes of 'Doctor Who', this omnisexual adventurer from the 52nd Century broke down barriers, sure. But more importantly, he broke the restraints that chained space-faring characters in to a picardesque propriety.

There was only one way to keep this um.... man's man from completely taking over the show, and that was to kill him..... Only to resurretct him and then reward him with his own series - 'Torchwood' which will premiere sometime next year.

ROSE TYLER, 'Doctor Who'
The tradition of the Doctor's Companions is a long one of characters who provide the normality of the audience's point of view, and who could be potential victims before the Doctor's last-minute rescue. At best they serve as the sounding boards for the Doctor a la Watson to Holmes. At worst, they are gnat-like annoyances who should be jettisoned from the TARDIS like so much refuse.

But there's never been one like Rose, who time and again not only saved the Doctor's life for a change, but ultimately saved the entire planet.

Not too shabby for a chip-loving shopgirl. And being named "Tyler", it's easy to theorize familial relationships with characters from other shows.

BARNEY, 'How I Met Your Mother'
Toobworld is more than just the crossovers and spin-offs which link shows together. It is the characters, locations, props, and other trivial effluvia which can enrich the TV Universe. And that includes the litany of the catch-phrase. And no one brought more to the tele-lingo than Barney.

I knew he was the right call when I learned that my dear dear friend Ivy hated him. He was obviously doing something right.

She's cute, perky, sweet, and as daft as Gracie Allen could be. And as much of a will o' the wisp as she can be, Maggie is an anchor in the life of her friend Andy Millman. (Here's hoping that by the end of this series, they finally realize they belong with each other.)

And by working in the movie business as an extra, she has the opportunity to interact with plenty of famous people caught in the act of being themselves.

'How I Met Your Mother'
Hopefully by next season, this show will no longer be pegged as a copy of 'Friends'. I remember when 'Friends' used to be unfairly compared as 'Seinfeld' with two extra people. (So does that make 'HIMYM' a 'Friends' with one less?)

But this is a great, refreshing spin on established character types

JABE, 'Doctor Who'
In her one appearance, Jabe proved to be entertaining, enticing, and - Dare I say it? I dare! - "entriguing" and "entoxicating".

Why such words to describe her? She was the 'Doctor Who' version of Tolkien's tree-folk, the Ents, only several millennia into the Future.

Jabe and her people from the Forests of Cheem were descended from the trees of Earth. (Her particular ancestors came from the great rain forest of South America.)

These tree-folk held all the promise of evolution for the Ents if there ever would be a Toobworld version of Middle-Earth. Middle-Earth does exist in the Tooniverse; we can only hope it does in the pre-history of Earth Prime-Time as well. At the very least, there are the sentient trees of Narnia in the live-action universe of Toobworld.

Sorry for the pun, but the seeds for the concept of the tree-folk of Cheem were planted in "The Mark Of The Rani", a 'Doctor Who' adventure featuring the Sixth Doctor. Through her meld of science and magic, the Rani transformed humans into trees. And that new strain of DNA jump-started the evolutionary process that (again, sorry) bloomed with the Forest World of Cheem.

In much the same way as Ensign Ro Laren sparked interest in the culture of Bajor on 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' (to the point where that world served as the backdrop for 'Deep Space Nine'), it could be that Jabe's brief time with the Time Lord might lead to an eventual visit to the Forests of Cheem in some upcoming episode.

And I would love to see Cheemi tree-person travel back in Time to become a member of the 'Torchwood' team someday, preferably female-ish. (Hey! I'm only human!) This would make for an interesting alien element to show's look in the "modern" world of Cardiff.

I had to drop the word "NEW", as this marked Simon Callow's third appearance in a Toobworld production as the Great Man. As such, he will be the face of the author in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame Gallery.

His performance was full of playful nuance that knocked the stuffiness out of any preconceived notion of Dickens, and made me interested in reentering the world of his writings without the forced high school command to do so.

"THE VISA-GOTHS" of Capitol One
There was just something endearing about these unwashed, violent barbarians as they tried to adjust to the modern world when their pillaging skills are no longer needed. Now that so many people were switching to Capitol One (supposedly), they were no longer of any use to the remaining credit card companies to enforce their high rates. And so they had to find other means of employment.

I'm including the next category here because of the Dramatis Personae.....
'MasterCard' - Gorton's, Count Chocula cereal, StarKist Tuna, Planter's Peanuts, Chef Boyardee, Vlasic Pickles, Morton's Salt, Pillsbury, Green Giant, and Mr. Clean.
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.

It wasn't just the fact that as "background artistes" Andy Millman and Maggie fit into the world of these real-world celebrities, but that that these people playing themselves were not afraid to show themselves in the worst possible situations. Funniest of all was Patrick Stewart in the season finale, and Kate Winslet in the first episode was a close runner-up. But it was comic Les Dennis whom I found impressive, for laying bare his soul (literally) in a riff on his own real-world troubles. That took bravery!

TEDDY 'T-BAG' BAGLEY, 'Prison Break'
Whereas Captain Jack Harkness displays the liberating sunshine of 52nd Century omnisexuality in 'Doctor Who', T-Bag mires it in the repugnant slime of his soul and in prison society. He's repellent and yet you just can't look away; and until such time as he's removed from the break-out team (for which there will be no regrets), he remains a fascinating character.

The visual concept of the last human on Earth being no more than a stretched-out piece of skin with lips and eyes was striking enough; Zoe Wanamaker's evil purr of her condescending attitude put Cassandra over the top. She was so good, even Death couldn't keep her away from the TV screens for long - Cassandra will be back in the second season of 'Doctor Who'.

But best of all, of course..... she's an O'Brien. Family looks out for family.

BCnU Next Year!


In a terrible attempt to compliment/hit on 'Veronica Mars', Duane the convenience store clerk said, "But if we've been getting a lot of Munsters in here, I'd say that you're the Marilyn, hon, 'cause you're pretty."

I don't think we have to worry about this being a Goth Zonk! because in the nearly forty years since Toobworld first gave us 'The Munsters', it's more than likely the world at large knows of their existence. They never hid themselves from public view - so many businessmen, politicians, law enforcement agents, crooks, and utility workers visited their home at 1313 Mockingbird Lane over the years, that I wouldn't be surprised if FBI Agent Fox Mulder showed up there as well eventually.

Besides, since the series ended, "People" magazine came along, and eventually everybody with a human interest story and at least the slightest visual quirk will find themselves profiled in its pages.

How could they ever have resisted a story in which the head of the family looked like Frankenstein's Monster, his wife and father-in-law were vampires, and his son was a werewolf?

And the fact that Marilyn was the pretty one would probably be the angle they'd end up using for the article. Of course, once the issue came out, hilarity would ensue as the rest of the family would keep it hidden from Marilyn's sight, so that she wouldn't feel upset at being singled out as the "oddity".

Working in the convenience store, Duane would probably have whiled away the hours by reading that particular issue of "People"; and so he would have known of the existence of 'The Munsters'.

(Being Toobworld, it didn't have to be "People". It could have been "Glitter" or "The National Inquisitor" as well.)

No Zonk! this time.


Thursday, December 29, 2005


Speaking of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'.....

According to the New York Daily News, Larry David's wife in the Trueniverse, Laurie David, will be appearing in the Jan. 11 episode of daytime soap 'The Bold and the Beautiful'.

Laure David founded the Stop Global Warming Virtual March and she will appear as herself to discuss the perils of global warming with Massimo Marone IV and his son Nick Marone.

This causes a problem for Toobworld because - according to 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' - Larry David's wife is Cheryl David. And as played by Cheryl Hines, she doesn't look like Laurie David.

Thanks to the League of Themselves, 'The Bold & The Beautiful' is definitely in the same universe as 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'.

'The Bold & The Beautiful' - Bob Barker approved the use of Forrester fashions on 'The Price Is Right'
'The Nanny' - Bob Barker appeared when Fran Fine talked a child star into quitting show business.
'The Nanny' - Martin Mull appeared as one of the celebrity squares during the same 'Hollywood Squares' tapings as Maxwell Sheffield.
'The Larry Sanders Show' - Martin Mull offered to guest host while Larry was on vacation.
'The Larry Sanders Show' - Hank Kingsley talked his assistant Darlene into appearing in a layout for Playboy Magazine when Hugh Hefner was a guest on the talk show.
'Curb Your Enthusiasm' - Larry David switched smoking jackets while visiting Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Mansion.

There's no way I want to shunt either 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' or 'The Bold & The Beautiful' to some alternate TV dimension to avoid the Zonk!, especially the soap opera - because that would mean I would have to banish 'The Young & The Restless' as well. And my Mom would never forgive me for that!

I suppose it will all depend on what Laurie David has to say on 'B&B' in regards to her husband. She'll probably make matters worse by referring to 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' as a TV show. God knows 'Curb' causes enough problems as it is when it comes to Zonk!s.

But right now I'm leaning toward a really off-the-wall scenario. In the TV Universe, Laurie David is a woman who fantasizes that Larry David is her husband in much the same way as Condoleeza Rice once referred to George W. Bush as "my husb-#" before quickly correcting herself and talking about him as 'the President'.

Why someone would fantasize about Larry David as spousal material, I don't know. It must be the money from 'Seinfeld'........

But like I said, this will be a wait and see situation. She might not mention Larry at all.



Billy Gibbons of ZZTop celebrated his birthday on December 16th. That same week, he appeared in the Christmas episode of 'Bones' as Angela's father ("The Man In The Fall-Out Shelter"). He's credited at the as "Angela's Dad", so we don't know what his character's name actually is.

Dialogue doesn't help, because we weren't privy to it. Everybody at the Jeffersonian Institute had been quarantined by a possible viral contamination, so all of their holiday visitors had to stay behind the Plexiglas to "be" with their loved ones. And each visit was seen but not heard in a montage overlaid with music (the current pet peeve for so many televisiologists).

But we were given a rather strange clue as to his identity by Angela when she said that her Dad was famous, but please don't make a fuss over him.

As his own self, Billy Gibbons is certainly recognizable, even to those who aren't really familiar with ZZTop. (Although it wouldn't be unbelievable if "Tempe" Brennan didn't have a clue to what ZZTop means.) If he was that famous that Angela had to warn her jaded coworkers not to make a fuss over him, then couldn't it be possible that he was appearing as himself?

One argument against that might be that Angela's last name is Montenegro.

So? Jennifer Jason Leigh's father was Vic Morrow. They don't share the same name.

Couldn't it be that Angela was the result of one incredible hot night with a ZZTop groupie of Asian background? (The actress, Michaela Conlin, is of Chinese/Irish heritage; but if she was like me, she'd just name the state where she grew up whenever asked where her people came from. I just tell those nosy bastids "Connecticut - that's as far back as I take it.")

And this Billy Gibbons of TV Land did the right thing - so far as he could - by making sure he took an active enough role in her upbringing.

The reason I include the League of Themselves as actual TV characters is because those real-life celebrities have been fictionalized to fit the story. In the Trueniverse, Art Linkletter was never trapped on a disabled flight with a little girl robot; Tim Russert is not related to a Baltimore homicide detective; and Sammy Davis, Jr. never planted a big wet one on Archie Bunker while visiting his home in Queens. But those scenarios were seen on 'Small Wonder', 'Homicide: Life On The Street', and 'All In The Family', respectively.

This past season we had a major case of fiction when it came to the show 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' - for Larry David spent the entire year dithering over whether or not he should donate a kidney to real-life comedian Richard Lewis.

By the final episode Larry even died and went to Heaven. (Of course, he didn't stay there long, but that's because the spiritual Host can control who they hang out with. It is, after all, Heaven.)

It's not like real-life celebrities haven't done the Toob-Steak Boogie with Toobworld characters in the past. Ellen DeGeneres had a one-night stand with the host of 'The Larry Sanders Show', and you can ask Vince Chase's 'Entourage' all about his relationship with Mandy Moore.

And even though we never saw it happen, who's to say Mae West didn't play a little "Catherine The Great" with 'Mr. Ed' during the commercial breaks when she was a guest star?

I know. Ewwwwwww.

So until such time as a future episode clears this up, I'm going to stick with the assumption that Angela Montenegro is the daughter of the televersion of ZZTop member Billy Gibbons, born outside of marriage.

I'm not sure if this means that 'Bones' can now be linked - for the time being - to Ellen DeGeneres' sitcom 'Ellen'. ZZTop performed in the episode "The Pregnancy Test" on November 20th, 1996. But that was during the opening title sequence which was always outside the insular world of the rest of the episode. In fact, when Ellen appears in those sequences as well, it's o'bvious she's doing so as Ellen DeGeneres and not as Ellen Morgan.

So maybe ZZTop appeared not as their human selves, but as that ghostly trio in their music videos......


Wednesday, December 28, 2005


This was a big year for the inter-relations between Toobworld and "Cyberia", the Internet world. 'CSI: MIami' had an extended ending for an episode available at; an alternate ending for an episode of 'Veronica Mars' was up at AOL to be voted on by its fans; The Carver of 'Nip/Tuck' had his/her own blog at; and the 'Children In Need' short featuring the Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler (which bridged the finale of last season's 'Doctor Who' and the recently broadcast special, 'The Christmas Invasion') could be seen online for awhile by those fans (i.e. - the deprived Americans like myself!) who didn't have the chance to watch it during the charity telethon.

But this is not to say that everything from "Cyberia" can be absorbed into the TV Universe of Toobworld. As it was for the "Cineverse" (the universe of movies), you have to pick and choose.

Thanks to Ryan Budke, a leading blogger over at, I'm thinking it's time to sever the online version of Barney from 'How I Met Your Mother' from his counterpart in Toobworld.

Ryan has published an essay on how the Blogger Barney's "Get Psyched" music mix list is radically different from the supposedly same list by Toobworld Barney, which could be seen in freeze-frame in an episode of the TV show.

You can read Ryan's splainin here:

My one regret about the whole thing is that Blogger Barney was my friend Ivy's first exposure to the character and to the show. After hearing me rave about it, she decided to check out the link before the next episode came around. She found the attitude of Blogger Barney repugnant - but then she wasn't reading it with the necessary Barney attitude echoing in her head.

By the time the show aired again the following week, the damage was done. She couldn't stomach the show.

After checking out 'Committed' last spring based on my rave for it (due to my love for Jennifer Finnegan), and with our disagreements over 'Surface' (she likes it) and 'Threshold' (I liked that), I think Ivy will no longer trust my judgement when it comes to TV shows.

So damn you, Blogger Barney! Darken not the Toobworld door!

[Thanks to for bringing this to my attention.]


In the "Idiot's Delight Digest" (, my Iddiot brother huitclos has been looking back at the Digests from our first year of existence - 1995.

And in today's installment, he mentions that Iddiette Brunella "wonders why the Post or Daily News neglected Jerry [Garcia] as an important death during the year."

Perhaps it was because they knew something that was being kept secret from the rest of the world?

In the TV Universe, Jerry Garcia apparently isn't dead. In fact, he even picked up former writer John Hemingway and his son and daughter in a beat-up van while they were hitching a ride down near St. Louis.
('The John Larroquette Show')

However, over in the Sketch dimension, Jerry is definitely dead. His ghost haunted a guy in a comedy sketch on 'Saturday Night Live'.

Okay..... maybe I burned out a synapse or two thinking inside the Box as much as I do!



According to reports from TV Guide Online and, theproducers of 'Alias' are trying to keep the show alive, possibly with a spin-off.

Executive producer Jeff Pinkner and creator J.J. Abrams have kicked around ideas, including a show that revolves around the villains Sark (David Anders), Peyton (Amy Acker) and Sloane (Ron Rifkin).

It seems like an intriguing idea, but I'm not on the 'Alias' bandwagon, so I couldn't say for sure. But I read a lot about the show (That Rimbaldi mystery fascinates me.), and I know Sark is definitely a fan favorite.

But I'm not sure a show focused on the bad guys would work on the general stage of Toobworld. This concept has worked in comic books - the Joker and Lex Luthor have had their own titles, - but it hasn't always worked for TV shows. Fu Manchu didn't survive his attempt to headline a series; and Harry Lime of 'The Third Man' had to be totally re-conceived to make him palatable for the general audience. And once that happened, what was the point in keeping him as Harry Lime?

Fans of HBO dramas would argue the point, using as their example 'OZ', 'The Sopranos', and 'Deadwood'. And technically, I would agree with them.

But in each of those cases, the main characters were operating within their own worlds, and for the most part not in comparison to the supposedly better morals of society at large.

Also, those three shows burst fresh into our awareness; they didn't first arrive saddled with the pre-conceived notions of the audience. That's the disadvantage Sloane and Sark have - the audience already knew them as villains, and may not want to follow them on a weekly basis as the protagonists.

Then again, the committed fan base may not care, so long as they can still wallow in that corner of the TV Universe.

Of course, if their loyalty was all that was needed, 'Alias' itself wouldn't be getting canceled.....


Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Michael Vale has passed away.

First, let me list a few of the theatrical movies he appeared in:

Marathon Man (1976) .... Jewelry Salesman
A Hatful of Rain (1957) .... Cab Driver

Impressive films, to be sure. Maybe not memorable roles, but he was still involved in their making.

Now, here are some of his Toobworld credits:

Seasons in the Sun (1986) (TV) .... Bernie

"The Cosby Show" playing "Mr. Lee" in episode: "Calling Doctor Huxtable" (episode # 3.17) 12 February 1987
"3-2-1 Contact" playing "Soapy Suds"
in episode: "Your Body: Twins" (episode # 7.6) 17 October 1988
in episode: "Near/Far: Space Travel" (episode # 1.44) 6 March 1980
in episode: "Food/Fuel: Animal Food" (episode # 1.26) 4 February 1980
in episode: "Noisy/Quiet: Production and Processing of Sound" (episode # 1.1) 14 January 1980
"East Side/West Side" in episode: "The 5.98 Dress" (episode # 1.14) 13 January 1964
"Car 54, Where Are You?" in episode: "The White Elephant" (episode # 2.16) 6 January 1963
"Car 54, Where Are You?" in episode: "142 Tickets on the Aisle" (episode # 2.13) 9 December 1962
"Car 54, Where Are You?" playing "Al Cooper" in episode: "Thirty Days Notice" (episode # 1.10) 19 November 1961

[I'm not sure if he played Al Cooper in all three episodes.]

But still, I'm sure you're wondering why I felt it necessary to dedicate a "Hat Squad" post to Michael Vale.

Here's why - Michael Vale is best known for providing Toobworld with two of its advertising icons........

TV commercials for Dunkin Donuts, as Fred (1982-present)
TV commercials for Breakstone, as Sam Breakstone

By his family's estimate, Michael Vale appeared in over 1300 commercials over his career. But it will be those in which he played Fred and Sam that will be of the most importance.

Who can forget the Dunkin Donuts commercial where poor Fred had to get up everyday at 4 am because it was "time to make the doughnuts"? Only to finally meet himself as he was coming home.

Obviously there was some kind of temporal rift in his neighborhood.

And I don't think you can picture Sam Breakstone without the little Jack Russell terrier nipping at his pants leg.

Within the reality of Toobworld, it's entirely possible that the fictional Sam Breakstone was an ancestor for Fred the Baker.

2005 is going to go down in the books as a year in which we lost so many iconic figures of Toobworld - The Riddler, Ernest T. Bass, Gilligan, Maynard G. Krebs, Scotty, and Miss Ellie. And Michael Vale was responsible for bringing us two of the great tele-citizens.

Here's to you, Mr. Vale. Godspeed.



Larry McMurtry will work with CBS on a miniseries based on his book "Comanche Moon," which is a prequel to the epic "Lonesome Dove."

McMurtry and writing partner Diana Ossana, who co-wrote the Golden Globe-nominated script for "Brokeback Mountain," will adapt McMurtry's novel, which follows Texas Rangers Woodrow Call and Augustus McCrae in the years between the events of "Dead Man's Walk" and "Lonesome Dove."

"Comanche Moon" finds Call and McCrae joining up with a Ranger troop to track three outlaws: Comanche chief Buffalo Hump, horse thief Kicking Wolf and a Mexican bandit. The two men also find their lives with their women, Maggie and Clara, growing increasingly complicated.

It looks to me as though both Call and McCrae will be eligible for induction into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame with this mini-series.



Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck has made a major contribution to his membership in the League of Themselves by opening his latest restaurant at the Montecito Resort & Casino which is the location centerpiece of NBC's 'Las Vegas'. As part of the deal, he and his restaurant will be featured on the show beginning January 9.

Puck's company helped finance the cost of building a real-life restaurant for the show which already features a casino floor, lounge, club, sports book and reception area for the Montecito.

"Wolfgang Puck is the man who originally brought world-class cuisine to Las Vegas, revolutionizing dining in sin city," said the show's creator, Gary Scott Thompson. "Wolfgang's restaurant is the perfect dining destination for the characters of 'Las Vegas.' "

On the January 9 episode of the show, Puck will be featured in a story line about the grand opening of his restaurant. "He'll be opening Wolfgang Puck at the Montecito, which is his seventh Las Vegas restaurant," Thompson said. "What really benefits us is that it's a real restaurant and he's a real person." He added that Puck and his restaurant would be featured in numerous "Vegas" episodes.

They should do a TV movie where disaster strikes and the only real humans left were working on the Montecito set and they have to survive on the massive soundstage and fend off the mutant cannibals.

Really got to lay off the peyote buttons this early in the morning......


Monday, December 26, 2005


Tonight is the last night for the broadcast of 'Monday Night Football' on ABC. Next season, it'll be sliding over to ESPN. And to celebrate the end of its 36 year run with the Alphabet network, Frank Gifford and Don Meredith will be returning for tonight's finale. (I wouldn't put it past Howard Cosell to rise from the dead to be there as well.)

Some people might not realize what a great impact MNF had on the sport and on Television itself. And it propelled its three big stars to a stardom usually reserved for major movie stars. It even spawned a television movie about the actual show, 'Monday Night Mayhem'.

If it wasn't so powerful in its time, do you think Howard Cosell would ever have been given a chance to host his own variety show?

Its three stars, and Keith Jackson who was the play-by-play announcer in its first year, all went on to use their celebrity in beefing up their credits in the League of Themselves.

Actually, Don Meredith's credits in that regard are pretty non-existent save for variety show appearances. But he certainly has quite a roster of characters in Toobworld including cops on 'Police Story' and as Banjo Hackett.

Howard Cosell
Fighting Back (1980) (TV) .... Himself
"Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell" (1975) TV Series .... Himself
The Connection (1973) (TV) .... Himself
The 500 Pound Jerk (1973) (TV) .... Himself

"The Fall Guy" in episode: "Win One for the Gipper" (episode # 2.10) 5 January 1983
"The Odd Couple" playing "Himself" in episode: "Your Mother Wears Army Boots" (episode # 5.15) 16 January 1975
"The Odd Couple" playing "Himself" in episode: "Big Month" (episode # 3.2) 22 September 1972
"The Partridge Family" playing "Reporter" in episode: "Whatever Happened to Moby Dick?" (episode # 2.6) 22 October 1971

Frank Gifford
"Spin City" playing "Himself" in episode: "An Affair to Remember" (episode # 1.17) 18 February 1997
"Coach" playing "Himself"
in episode: "You Win Some, You Lose Some" (episode # 9.8) 18 December 1996
in episode: "The Tight End" (episode # 8.13) 19 December 1995
in episode: "The Day I Met Frank Gifford" (episode # 7.20) 28 February 1995
"The Adventures of Pete & Pete" playing "Himself" in episode: "Rangeboy"
"Life Goes On" playing "Himself" in episode: "Corky Witnesses a Crime" (episode # 1.9) 26 November 1989
"Webster" playing "Himself" in episode: "You Can't Go Home Again" (episode # 2.7) 9 November 1984
"The San Pedro Beach Bums" playing "Himself" in episode: "The Shortest Yard" (episode # 1.2) 26 September 1977
"The Six Million Dollar Man" playing "Himself" in episode: "The Bionic Boy: Part 1" (episode # 4.7) 7 November 1976

[This next show is before 'MNF', but I wanted to include it, to show that 'Hazel' can now link to Toobworld via Gifford.]
"Hazel" in episode: "Hazel and the Halfback" (episode # 3.15) 26 December 1963

Keith Jackson
"Coach" playing "Himself" in episode: "If Keith Jackson Calls, I'll Be at My Therapist's" (episode # 2.5) 19 December 1989



Vincent Schiavelli has passed away in Italy at the age of 57. For movie audiences, he'll be best remembered for taking on the Dark Mentor role in "Ghost". His subway dwelling phantom taught Patrick Swayze's character how to utilize his ghostly talents, and left audiences with unsettling questions as to what his own story was all about.

He also appeared in such movies as "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest", "Batman Returns", "Amadeus", and one of my favorites of his, "The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai: Across The Eighth Dimension". (That's a movie I wish was officially part of the TV Universe. In a way it is, as there have been mentions of its overthruster in at least one TV series. And if I'm not mistaken, it was memorialized with a plaque used on the bridge for one of the 'Star Trek' starships.)

But here we pay tribute to his work in Toobworld. Schiavelli was one of those character actors for whom there would have had to have been a law forcing them to be actors if they weren't so inclined. He didn't just have a unique look, but he also was a very talented man who will be missed.

Of particular note would be his role as Peter Panama, a theatrical set designer who frequented 'The Corner Bar'. I can remember the flamboyance of his character, but I'm not sure if Peter was openly gay; it was certainly overly implied that he was. Peter Panama was definitely one of the first gay characters with a regular presence in Toobworld.

A tip of the hat to you, Mr. Schiavelli.

"The Eddie Files" (1997) TV Series .... Vincent
"Fast Times" (1986) TV Series .... Mr. Hector Vargas
"Likely Stories, Vol. 4" (1983) TV Series
"The Corner Bar" (1972) TV Series .... Peter Panama (1972)

Bambina dalle mani sporche, La" (2005) (mini) TV Series .... Silva Roibes

Maximum Surge Movie (2003) (TV) .... Hellman
Ferrari (2003) (TV) .... Mr. Paradise
Snow White (2001) (TV) .... Wednesday (Yellow)
The Pooch and the Pauper (1999) (TV) .... Willy Wishbow
Back to Back (1996) (TV) .... Leonardo
The Whipping Boy (1995) (TV) .... Cutwater
Escape to Witch Mountain (1995) (TV) .... Waldo Fudd
Brothers' Destiny (1995) (TV) .... Davisport
The Courtyard (1995) (TV) .... Ivan
Bride of Boogedy (1987) (TV) .... Lazarus
Lots of Luck (1985) (TV) .... Skinny
Miss Lonelyhearts (1983) (TV) .... Sick-Of-It-All
Nightside (1980) (TV) .... Tom Adams
White Mama (1980) (TV) .... Medic
Escape (1980) (TV) .... J.W. White

Death to Smoochy (2002) .... Buggy Ding Dong
The Ratings Game (1984) (TV) .... Skip
The Gong Show Movie (1980) .... Mario Romani

Hey Arnold! The Movie (2002) (voice) .... Mr. Bailey
"Family Guy" playing "Dr. Seuss Character" (voice) in episode: "A Fish Out of Water" (episode # 3.10) 19 September 2001
"Hey Arnold!" playing "Mr. Bailey" (voice) in episode: "Arnold's Christmas" (episode # 1.19) 14 December 1996
"Hey Arnold!" playing "Vincent" (voice) in episode: "Spelling Bee/Pigeon Man" (episode # 1.14) 1996
"Aaahh!!! Real Monsters" playing "Lapin Perdido" (voice) in episode: "Call ME Crazy?!" (episode # 2.7) 24 December 1995
"Batman" playing "John Zatara" (voice) in episode: "Zatanna" (episode # 1.50) 2 February 1993

Rescue from Gilligan's Island (1978) (TV) .... Dimitri

Heat Vision and Jack (1999) (TV) .... Frank/Paragon

"Dead Last" playing "New York Tourist Guide" in episode: "Heebee Geebee's" (episode # 1.2) 21 August 2001
"Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" playing "The Pastor" in episode: "Salem's Daughter" (episode # 4.17) 3 March 2000
"Dharma & Greg" playing "Mr. Carter" in episode: "Dharma's Inferno" (episode # 3.3) 5 October 1999
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" playing "Uncle Enyos"
in episode: "Innocence" (episode # 2.14) 20 January 1998
in episode: "Surprise" (episode # 2.13) 19 January 1998
"Perversions of Science" playing "Scientist" in episode: "Planely Possible" (episode # 1.6) 25 June 1997
"Baywatch Nights" playing "Game Master" in episode: "Nights to Dragon One" (episode # 2.14) 15 February 1997
"Bone Chillers" playing "Hyde" in episode: "Fitz and Hyde" (episode # 1.4) 1996
"The X Files" playing "Lanny" in episode: "Humbug" (episode # 2.20) 31 March 1995
"M.A.N.T.I.S." playing "Michael Angelides" in episode: "Progenitor" (episode # 1.16) 20 January 1995
"Melrose Place" playing "Orderly" in episode: "In-Laws and Outlaws" (episode # 3.3) 26 September 1994
"Matrix" playing "Mr. Kahn" in episode: "Death and Taxes" (episode # 1.1) 1 March 1993
"Highlander" playing "Leo Atkins" in episode: "An Innocent Man" (episode # 1.2) 5 October 1992
"Eerie, Indiana" playing "Dr. Eukanuba" in episode: "The Retainer" (episode # 1.2) 22 September 1991
"Parker Lewis Can't Lose" in episode: "Future Shock" (episode # 2.4) 8 September 1991
"Tales from the Crypt" playing "Robert" in episode: "Mournin' Mess" (episode # 3.10) 31 July 1991
"Married People" in episode: "Who You Gonna Call?" (episode # 1.8) 31 October 1990
"Miami Vice" playing "Lawrence Fowler" in episode: "World of Trouble" (episode # 5.18) 14 June 1989
"Knots Landing" playing "Mr. Keener" in episode: "Birds Do It, Bees Do It" (episode # 10.20) 23 March 1989
"Star Trek: The Next Generation" playing "Minosian Peddler" in episode: "The Arsenal of Freedom" (episode # 1.21) 9 April 1988
"The Bronx Zoo" playing "Mr. O'Connor" in episode: "Truancy Blues" (episode # 2.3) 24 March 1988
"Matlock" playing "Julian" in episode: "The Gambler" (episode # 2.7) 10 November 1987
"Shell Game" playing "Casper Hall" in episode: "The Upstairs Gardener" (episode # 1.4) 29 January 1987
"MacGyver" playing "Lyle" in episode: "Soft Touch" (episode # 2.13) 19 January 1987
"Head of the Class" playing "Herman" in episode: "Ode to Simone" (episode # 1.14) 14 January 1987
"Cagney & Lacey" playing "Mongoose" in episode: "DWI" (episode # 5.14) 20 January 1986
"Remington Steele" playing "Leon Pulver" in episode: "Steele on the Air" (episode # 4.10) 7 January 1986
"The Fall Guy" playing "Arnold Rogison" in episode: "October the 32nd" (episode # 5.6) 7 December 1985
"Shadow Chasers" playing "Theo Goldberg" in episode: "Spirit of St. Louis" (episode # 1.3) 21 November 1985
"Who's the Boss?" playing "Motel Manager"
in episode: "It Happened One Summer: Part 2" (episode # 2.2) 1 October 1985
in episode: "It Happened One Summer: Part 1" (episode # 2.1) 24 September 1985
"Moonlighting" playing "Rodney Dillon" in episode: "Next Stop Murder" (episode # 1.5) 26 March 1985
"Hardcastle and McCormick" playing "Fix Henderson" in episode: "The Birthday Present" (episode # 2.18) 25 February 1985
"Otherworld" playing "Pango" in episode: "Village of the Motorpigs" (episode # 1.5) 23 February 1985
"Night Court" playing "Peter DeMarco" in episode: "Harry on Trial" (episode # 2.7) 15 November 1984
"Faerie Tale Theatre" playing "Priest" in episode: "Pinocchio" (episode # 3.3) 14 May 1984
"Trapper John, M.D." in episode: "Aunt Mildred Is Watching" (episode # 5.22) 6 May 1984
"Taxi" playing "Reverend Gorky"
in episode: "A Grand Gesture" (episode # 5.23) 25 May 1983
in episode: "Scenskees from a Marriage: Part 1" (episode # 5.4) 21 October 1982
in episode: "The Wedding of Latka and Simka" (episode # 4.21) 25 March 1982
"Cagney & Lacey" playing "Obie" in episode: "A Cry for Help" (episode # 2.21) 2 May 1983
"Young Maverick" in episode: "Half-Past Noon" (episode # 1.8) 30 January 1980
"Hart to Hart" playing "The Beret" in episode: "With This Gun, I Thee Wed" (episode # 1.10) 4 December 1979
"WKRP in Cincinnati" playing "Don Pesola #1" in episode: "The Contest Nobody Could Win" (episode # 1.11) 29 January 1979
"Charlie's Angels" playing "Freddie" in episode: "Angel Blues" (episode # 2.21) 8 February 1978
"Starsky and Hutch" playing "Weeze" in episode: "Murder Ward" (episode # 3.4) 8 October 1977



Ed Maslow, senior vice president and senior creative director at the New York office of BBDO, said that they were considering remaking other well-liked Alka-Seltzer commercials from the 60's and 70's.

There are o'bvious choices for the next recreations:

"Try it, you'll like it"
"Magadini's Meatballs"
"Groom's First Meal"
"The Unfinished Lunch"

For that last one, it would be the perfect showcase for Jeffrey Tambor once 'Arrested Development' is officially off the air. His Bluth patriarch could lead the luncthime prison riot as the great character actor George Raft did in the original.

For the others? I can visualize Jerry Stiller as Arthur of 'The King of Queens' doing the "Try it, you'll like it" routine. ("So I tried it..... Thought I was going to DIE!" he would scream.)

And how about Matt LeBlanc taking over for Jack Somack in the fake commercial for Magadini's Meatballs? With any luck, his execrable sitcom will be canceled soon, so Joey Tribbiani could use the work.

As for the newlywed wife's hapless attempts to pick out new recipes (like poached oysters and my favorite - marshmallow meatloaf), I'd like to see Allyson Hannigan and Jason Segel play the young couple, as they do on 'How I Met Your Mother'. But then again, seeing the type of food his family regularly packed away at dinner back in Wisconsin, maybe Marhall wouldn't be so intimidated by Lily's giant dumplings.

Or going back to the source for 'Joey', how about using Ross and Rachel of 'Friends'? She once made a dish in which she combined beef with banana pudding, and which Ross thought tasted like feet.

If you've got any ideas as to which classic TV characters should appear in the possible remakes, why not share them with me. Post a comment!

Try it; you'll like it!

Plop plop fizz fizz!



In hopes of getting the Crossover of the Week re-aligned, we're publishing the next installment practically on top of the last edition. The Crossover of the Week put up on Christmas morning was for the week before last; this entry is for last week.

Everybody got that?

Last week, Alka Seltzer broke a national campaign to celebrate its 75th anniversary. Their parent company Bayer and their ad agency BBDO Worldwide have re-created a 1972 spot for Alka-Seltzer known as "I Can't Believe I Ate the Whole Thing."

But this time, the remake features Peter Boyle as the husband and, as the wife, Doris Roberts. Although it's not stated, it's obvious that they're supposed to be Frank and Marie Barone of 'Everybody Loves Raymond', which ended its nine year run on CBS back in May.

Instead of saying "You ate it, Ralph.", or changing it to "You ate it, Frank.", Doris Roberts (who keeps her back to the camera the whole ad) says, "Where have I heard THAT before?"

This doesn't have to be considered a Zonk!, as she's only referring to the original commercial for our benefit. Within her own reality, she's probably talking about the fact that this wasn't the first time her husband said those very words.

It's a shame Alka Seltzer didn't do something similar 25 years ago for their 50th anniversary. Then they could have used the exact same script for the advertisement, including the name of the husband, by casting the blipvert with Jackie Gleason and Audrey Meadows as the "Battling Bickersons of Bensonhurst", Ralph and Alice Kramden.



Reality shows make my ears bleed. I will not deny I was caught up by the first season of 'Survivor', but then only after being dragged into it by the fifth episode kicking and screaming; but after that, it was been there done that.

Still, they do play a part in the TV Universe, especially when fictional characters end up appearing on them. And so when there is some kind of crossover/spinoff news about them, I will mention it here.

And it's appropriate to mention the bleeding out, since this time around the news centers on the Gotti family. 'Growing Up Gotti' has been canceled, but A&E is showing interest in the family's next venture for reality TV.

The daughter of the Teflon Don, Victoria Gotti, said that "We've been kicking around different ideas. One is about the boys being grown up."

So this time, the show will be a work of fiction?

Ohhh, I'll be wearing the ce-ment shoes for that one....


Sunday, December 25, 2005


I apologize for the lateness of the Crossover of the Week. Apparently, every so often I really am required to have a life. This past week there was the transit strike, the drudgery of writing out Christmas cards, and an early Christmas celebration in Connecticut with the family. Plus I had another project to finish - the thirteen part "Christmas Cracker" story for the Idiot's Delight Digest group on

Nevertheless, there was a crossover to celebrate the week before - a sequel actually, - and it's appropriate to make note of it now on Christmas morn.

On Dec. 17th, Hallmark showed "Meet The Santas" which was a sequel to "Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus". That TV movie was the netlet's highest-rated original movie ever.

In the new TV movie, Nick Claus and his intended, Beth Marshall, struggled to get married before Christmas Eve. (Apparently, it's some sort of by-law stipulation.) But complicating matters was Beth's tight-assed mother who almost ruined the festivities.

The idea that Nick's parents are the retired Sand and Mrs. Claus ties in nicely with the concept that there are many Santas serving in succession. This was also seen in the TV movie "Call Me Claus", but also "The Night Of The Meek", an episode of 'The Twilight Zone'.

Not that this version of the Santa story is to be actually linked with those stories. Santa Claus is a lot like Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, or Marilyn Monroe - every time you turn around, there's a new version on the Tube. So there are plenty of Santas to go around for all of the alternate dimensions.