Monday, May 15, 2006


David Bianculli, TV critic and columnist of the New York Daily News, wrote another column of TV Extras in-jokes and I was singled out for VERY special mention:

Champion class Extra hunter Toby O'Brien of New York City scores another one, thanks to the finale of "Arrested Development" on Fox, which featured a guest appearance by Richard Belzer as undercover officer John Munch.

"This marked Munch's ninth appearance in the TV Universe," O'Brien wrote, which, as he notes correctly, makes Belzer the easy record-holder of Actor Appearing in the Most Series as the Same Character.

O'Brien's impressively chronological tally includes "Homicide: Life on the Street," "Law & Order," "The X-Files," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "The Beat," "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" and "Arrested Development." He reaches nine by including "Homicide: The Movie," but that's a bit of a cheat. The No. 9 is reached, though, if you add in Munch's cartoon appearance, with Belzer providing the voice, in a guest spot on "The Simpsons."

Okay, so I hope everybody read that right. I did not say that he appeared on an episode of 'The Simpsons'. If he did, that's great for me; gives me a future blog entry about Munch and the Tooniverse. But if he didn't - and I can't find anything saying that he did appear on 'The Simpsons', - I don't want to take the rap for that statement.

I'm thinking that maybe Mr. Bianculli might have made the same error that my intrepid bellman did this morning. Richie went to Wikipedia's entry on Richard Belzer and pointed out the mention of 'The Simpsons'. But had he read the line correctly, it was a reference to the appearance on 'The Simpsons' made by George Wendt and John Ratzenberger as their 'Cheers' characters. Norm Peterson and Cliff Clavin are the two TV characters who come closest to Munch's record number of appearances.

But Richie is also convinced that he has seen Munch ("black suit and yellow face") on the long-running animated hit.

I'm thinking he got hit in the back of the head by an American Tourister bag tossed around by one of the other Magilla-like bellmen.

If anybody knows for certain, please contact me and let me know. Thanks!

Can't wait to see what kind of fallout comes of the statement. He's had two in-joke references in the past get shot down by the faithful readers. So if it happens again, I'll be doing a bit o' the ol' duck and cover!

But I do really appreciate the "Champion class" designation.



Ruth said...


I think you're right and Bianculli's wrong. This listing of Simpsons guest stars, which includes one unaired show in this season and several from next season, doesn't include Belzer.

OK, back to work.


Toby said...

Thanks, Ruth!

I certainly trust Wikipedia more than (although both need some kind of full-time fact-checking squad), but IMDb doesn't have him listed either.

J Rob said...

Simpsons Geek here. Seen every episode ever made, many dozens of times. I am 100% positive Belzer has not appeared on the Simpsons as Munch.

Robert Wronski said...

I can't find any evidence of the crossover.