Saturday, February 25, 2006


In Toobworld, there is quite an international echo when it comes to certain TV shows. One could go to England and meet junk dealers Albert Steptoe and his son Harold; and then travel to Los Angeles where it would be like looking in a "mirror darkly", so to speak, [ahem!], when you encounter Fred Sanford and his son Lamont working the same trade.

Hop a flight back to the Netherlands to meet up with the proprietors of 'Stiefbeen & Zoon' and it's deja vu all over again.

Their situations, their lives all parallel each other.

The best example of this would be the adaptation of the British sitcom 'Till Death Us Do Part' to become the Americanized 'All In The Family'. That proved to be a cultural juggernaut, but many such adaptations fail to translate satisfactorily. Only twelve episodes were ever made of 'Fawlty Towers', but it set a gold standard that 'Amanda's' and 'Payne' couldn't even reach, let alone match.

A few years ago there was a news story about certain American TV shows being remade down in South America; taking the original scripts and tailoring them to fit the new locale, but basically remaining the same. The shows cited were classic prime-time soaps like 'Dallas' and 'Dynasty', I believe; shows that would fit the populace's love for tele-novelas.

Last summer, it was announced that there would be a French version of 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent' produced, and now they're working on the Gallic edition of 'The Office', to be called 'Le Bureau'.

And of course there are all the variations on those stupid "reality" shows like 'Survivor', 'Big Brother', 'Who Wants To Be A Millioinaire', and 'Idol' (Pop, American, or something else).

Bleep! We've even seen the far-flung future of 'Big Brother' in an episode of 'Doctor Who'!

But now a current cultural phenom here in the USA is going to be reborn with several incarnations in South America, three in Spanish and one in Portugese.....

'Desperate Housewives'.

Each version will have its own cast and cultural references, but they will all be filmed on the same set in Buenos Aires. For Toobworld purposes architecturally, I guess this would be an example of the influence from one particular urban planner; an international Moses or Levitt.

The Spanish versions will be produced for Argentina, Colombia, and Ecuador, while the Portugese adaptation is obviously meant for Brazil.

The story format will remain the same, (although more closely resembling telenovelas), so I guess there will be four more suicides to kick off the storylines. But there will be some alterations to reflect the cultural differences of each country.

Fernando Barbosa, senior vice president of its Latin America division, said:

"In the US version there's a plumber (actor James Denton) in that neighbourhood. In Latin America, a plumber is very unlikely to live in such type of neighbourhood, so we'll have to switch that profession."

Here's another change: The Hispanic couple (played in the US version by Eva Longoria and Ricardo Antonio Chavira) will reflect permanent immigrants in each community. In the Colombian version, for example, the couple will be from Ecuador.

Actresses have already been cast in the Argentine version, with Araceli Gonzalez playing Gabriela (Gabrielle in the US version), Gabriela Toscano as Susana (Susan), Carola Reyna as Elisa (Bree) and Mercedes Moran as Lia (Lynette).

I suppose there are several variations on the 'CSI' theme around the world by now. But I'm wondering if any other country will attempt to make their own version of 'Lost'.......


Friday, February 24, 2006


Phil Brown has passed away. He was most recognizable to modern audiences for playing Luke Skywalker's uncle, Owen Lars, although he only appeared in the first "Star Wars" film for a handful of scenes. He in fact had a long and successful career in New York, Hollywood, and Europe.

A Stanford University graduate (class of 1937), he joined the Group Theatre of New York in 1938 before moving to Hollywood in 1941 where he quickly came to be cast in a series of roles as “the guy who didn’t get the girl.” He soon took to directing as well.

Unfortunately, Brown fell victim to the Red-hunters of the ’50s and was blacklisted in 1952, despite his claims to never have been a Communist. This prompted a move to London for Brown and his family, where he stayed until 1992 and was able to act and direct on the West End as well as in television and films.

The success of "Star Wars" also allowed Brown to join the convention circuit for many years.

Maneaters Are Loose! (1978) (TV) .... Kevin Pennington
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1978) (TV) .... Jeremiah Cobb
Roast Goose and Walnut Stuffing (1959) (TV) .... John Sloan
The Offshore Island (1959) (TV) .... Captain Charles

"The Fortunate Pilgrim" (1988) (mini) TV Series .... Supervisor F/O
"Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years" (1981) (mini) TV Series .... Lord Beaverbrook
"Oppenheimer" (1980) (mini) TV Series .... Strauss
"The Martian Chronicles" (1980) (mini) TV Series .... Mr. Black (Capt. Black's father)

Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming (1999) .... Council Elder
Star Wars (1977) .... Uncle Owen Lars

"The Professionals"

- Take Away (1980) TV Episode .... Callahan
"Tales of the Unexpected"

- Edward the Conqueror (1979) TV Episode .... F. Milton Willis
"The Protectors"

- It Was All Over in Leipzig (1972) TV Episode .... Adam Markos
- The Night Virginia City Died (1970) TV Episode .... Wade Tucker
"Journey to the Unknown"
- Stranger in the Family (1969) TV Episode .... Charles Wilson
"The Troubleshooters"
- Operation Saigon (1966) TV Episode .... Harry Tobin
"The Four Just Men"

- The Bystanders (1960) TV Episode .... Albert Peterson
"Interpol Calling"
- The Money Game (1959) TV Episode .... Brownley
"Dial 999"
- Extradition (1959) TV Episode .... Vic Brady
"White Hunter"
- The Inside Story (1957) TV Episode .... Sherman Wick
"The Scarlet Pimpernel"
- Thanksgiving Day (1956) TV Episode .... Rawlingson
"Colonel March of Scotland Yard"
- Present Tense (1956) TV Episode .... Gordon
- The Sorcerer (1956) TV Episode .... Brian Hayes
"Sailor of Fortune"
- The Million Dollar Rose Tree (1956) TV Episode .... Clayton
"The Vise"
- Never Let Me Die (1955) TV Episode
- The Corpse in Room Thirteen (1955) TV Episode
"Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Presents"
- My Favorite Aunt (1953) TV Episode

[Thanks to the]



Of the commercials that premiered during the Super Bowl, the ones that seemed to be most reviled were the Diet Pepsi twofer - both starring Jay Mohr as the televersion of Bob Sugar from the "Jerry McGuire" movie, and with P. Diddy in one and Jackie Chan in the other.

Despite the buckets of bucks he must have made, Mohr looked like he was squirming in his seat; like he should have been cast in a Preparation H blipvert instead!

I think the main complaint was that the premise was idiotic - that a soda can was alive.

But I didn't find it idiotic; that can was definitely alive. On cue it popped its top to lay down its "brown & bubbly" sound to P. Diddy's track; and it popped that top again as if was a Kung Fu move for the Jackie Chan movie.

I had no trouble believing that. I couldn't buy into the idea that Diet Pepsi would be so popular that it needed an agent.

[Full disclosure - I used to drink Coke. I hate the taste of Pepsi. Also, I hate anything connected to Tom Cruise because of the blasphemy committed against my memories of the TV version of 'Mission Impossible'. As he was one of the producers, Cruise could have done something to change a key plot point.]

Maybe all of the people complaining are fans of Diet Coke as well, not Diet Pepsi, because they don't usually complain about inanimate objects coming alive in TV commercials. For years, people thought nothing of conversing with a maple syrup bottle or chatting up a walking talking pile of cookie dough.

Perhaps if the Diet Pepsi can had fully articulate arms and legs and a smiley face?

But then again, nobody said "Boo" about the Bud Bowl......

Currently, Toyota Rav 4 is running two blipverts in which inanimate objects have come alive, and without the benefit of faces, arms, or legs.

In the first, a shopping mall parking lot is besieged by packages run amok. They scurry and flip and even climb trees; maneuvers that would stymie the drivers of anything but a Rav 4.

In the other, the Rav 4 is pursued by a relentless horde of orange traffic cones, but the driver is able to outthink them and leave them in his wake.

In the various sites I visit which deal with TV advertising, I don't see anybody making a big deal over these. Maybe they're not inanimate objects of affection, but nobody's calling for the torches and pitchforks either.

As the Faithful might expect, I have a splainin for both.

The packages are obviously a ploy by the evil megalithic corporation which runs that shopping outlet to keep its customers under its thrall. But somehow the microchips or whatever that was implanted in their purchases was triggered too early, when it was supposed to attack the owners once they were home. (This would have made a great newspaper story for 'The Chronicle', if it had only been still around.)

As for the orange traffic cones, they are made of plastic and serve the will of the Nestene Consciousness. This alien aggregate has finally smartened up and decided that its latest component should land in some other country besides England, to avoid a certain time-traveling Doctor.

The guy in the Rav 4 could be a member of 'Torchwood' working in America without letting the FBI or UNIT know that he's there. And as such, he's probably leading those possessed traffic cones into a trap so that they could be brought back for study at headquarters in Cardiff......

Just because we have to wait about a year for 'Torchwood' to premiere, that doesn't mean they're not at work already in Toobworld!



Former 'LA Law' star Corbin Bernsen will appear on February 28th episode of 'Boston Legal'. Unfortunately for those of us who are fans of TV crossovers, his character's name will be Eli Granger, not Arnie Becker.

Had Arnie been a character that David E. Kelley created when he worked on 'LA Law', perhaps he might have had the muscle to get the right to bring the character over from another network, as he did with Chi McBride's character from 'Boston Public'. But he joined the Bochco-Fischer production when it was already in progress and Arnie was already established.

Some fancy maneuvering and sleight-of-hand writing skills might be able to come up with a proper reason why we should assume Arnie Becker was now working in Boston under an alias. After all, 'LA Law' has been off the air for over a decade. Look at your own life - lots of things have happened to you in ten years, am I right? (Me? Nah, my life's frozen in amber.)

Perhaps he was forced to go into the witness protection program because he represented (and eventually bedded) the ex-wife of a powerful mobster. To keep it topical, maybe Arnie helped the wife of a Muslim diplomat sever the marital ties to her abusive husband, and now he has a fatwah declared against him.

Of course, that type of speculation gets shot down in a hurry. If he was under federal protection, they never would have put him into a high-profile city like Boston; nor would they let him continue to practice law, especially divorce law!

My way of thinking is to go the traditional route - the Patty-Cathy Option. Arnie Becker and Eli Granger are cousins, identical cousins.

Or to bring it closer to home, DNA-wise, if the acorn didn't fall far from the tree, maybe Arnie's dad got his nut off (to keep that metaphor going) with Eli Granger's mom.

Half-brothers, growing up on opposite sides of the country, natural aspects of aging (i.e., Corbin Bernsen's hairline) making the physical dissimilarities just distinct enough to put the concept into play, and both following the same line of work (and probably the same lascivious relationships with their clients)..... We've seen stranger things happen in Toobworld.

Somehow, I'll bet there will be at least one in-joke made in reference to 'LA Law' during the course of that 'Boston Legal' episode this Tuesday night.....


Thursday, February 23, 2006


For the first time, 'The Office' franchise is being translated into a foreign language. 'Le Bureau', as the show will be called, will take the same approach that NBC did in translating the scripts for an American audience.

"This is the first time that the scripts have been translated into a foreign language but we are confident it will work," says a BBC spokesperson.

"We're not talking about a literal translation - we had a team who went over to France to work with the French scriptwriters to produce something that will work with a French audience. Ricky Gervais has also been involved.

"The scripts have been Gallicised for a French audience - but the beauty of the original was that it played on universal values, the workplace and what happens around the coffee machine."

The BBC said it was confident that the remake of such a quintessentially British comedy will strike a chord in France and still maintain the spirit of the original when it appears on the pay-TV channel Canal Plus in May.

The "mockumentary", which exploits the comic divide between an over-zealous boss and a monotonous workplace in the style of a fly-on-the-wall documentary, has already spawned an American version, which looks to be headed for a third season (one more than the British original).

The French version also locates its cast at a paper merchants in a less-than-dynamic provincial town. Instead of Slough, 'Le Bureau' will be set in Villepinte, a town north of Paris once known for producing beetroot and home to one of France's largest business parks.

The David Brent character becomes Gilles Triquet, played by the veteran film and television actor François Berléand.

Although it might be interesting to see how the show would work if it was translated for a Chinese audience (How long before the young lovers in the office are run over by tanks?), I'm thinking the next step should be to set the show in the far future. Have it be about some jerk functionary in a dull bureaucratic cubbyhole of Starfleet. Let the focus of the show be someone who thinks his paper-pushing (an antiquated term by then, of course) has some grand effect on the galaxy.

I'll bet there was a David Brent type of character on board 'Babylon 5'!

But whether he was Centauri or Minbari.....?



Jeff Goldblum is in final negotiations to star in 'Seeing Red', about an "eccentric, brilliant cop" who solves murder cases by talking with the ghosts of the victims. Frank Darabont is directing the pilot.

This is being developed for NBC, so you can already guess what to expect by November sweeps should this show be picked up for the fall sked....

A 'Medium'/'Seeing Red' crossover!

Of course, I would have expected a 'Law & Order'/'Third Watch' crossover at some point during the run of 'Third Watch', but what do I know?



One more story.....

'Aquaman' has been picked up by The CW, the network that is rising from the ashes of The WB and UPN. But there will be a change in casting - Justin Hartley will replace Will Toale as Aquaman.

This has no effect on Toobworld, however. Since the show hasn't aired yet, Justin Hartley will be Aquaman when it does so.

But there will be a splainin needed for why he's not the same Aquaman as in 'Smallville' last year - if they do make the connection between the two shows. I posted on this back in January, so for now that splainin twill serve.



It's always been my contention that when an actor dies in the real world, it doesn't mean that all of the characters they played in "present day" Toobworld should also be considered as having died.
Jim Hutton died back in the mid-1970s, but I think his portrayal of Ellery Queen lives on.... although he's now probably about 102 years old!

But when that fictional character is the tele-version of the person playing him - that is, a celebrity portraying him(or her)self, then we have no choice but to consider them dead in Toobworld as well.

(One extenuating circumstance - if the episode in which they appear was set in the future. As such, even if author William Gibson gets killed by a bus tomorrow, in Toobworld he'll be alive at least until 2012 - the year during which 'Wild Palms' takes place. And the tele-version of Frank Gorshin lived at least a few days longer than the original model did here in the real world, thanks to an appearance on 'CSI'.)

This was brought home with true finality in the February 14th episode of 'Gilmore Girls'. Betty Friedan had only passed away ten days earlier, but her death was remaked upon in that episode.



Every so often, something - or someone, - comes along which I could use to connect so many TV shows together by a common theme, or at the very least provides some sort of splainin for an aspect of life in Toobworld.

For instance - 'The 4400'. There's no way that we'll ever meet all 4400 of the abductees during the run of the series. So it could serve as a dumping ground for all of those characters who just disappeared from TV shows with no mention as to where they had gone. The oldest son on 'Davis Rules'; the youngest son on 'Grounded For Life'.

But not the classic MIA - Chuck Cunningham of 'Happy Days'. I know what happened to him - his crazy-eyed younger sister Joanie killed him!

'Between Time And Timbuktu' gave the name for the passageway between dimensions which has been utilized on such shows as 'Sliders' and the 'Star Trek' franchise - the Chrono-Synclastic Infundibulum. It's that same wormhole through which the Doctor travels in his TARDIS.

As for characters who serve as a nexus of connectivity, there's Sweet the Demon from the musical episode of 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'. Thanks to his appearance, I now have a reason for the existence of 'Hull High', 'Cop Rock', 'That's Life', and now 'High School Musical', among others.

Fabian Lavendor, the undertaker played by Carroll O'Connor in an episode of 'The Wild Wild West', splains away all those cowboy bad guys who kept showing up in all of the TV shows with the same faces. (In the real world, the reason is casting - actors like Jack Elam, Morgan Woodward, and Victor French just kept getting used over and over again.) Lavendor was just giving new aliases to villains everyone believed to have been gunned down.

And then there's Red the Squirrel from 'My Favorite Martian --# Well, I'll just hold off on that one for now, as he figures into Monday's posting of the Crossover Of The Week.....

So now I have a new one. I've been catching up on old 'Doctor Who' stories I've missed over the decades (which is most of them). And I just finished watching "The Visitation" featuring the Fifth Doctor.

While they were exploring a crashed escape pod in the woods of 17th Century England, actor and highwayman Richard Mace wanted to know what was providing the lighting inside the wreck.

"Vintarac Crystals are a common source of illumination," splained the Doctor.

First off, "vintarac crystals" are a great sci-fi idea on its own merits. Crystals that were able to supply illumination would help save on the power generated by the ship's engines for other functions like speed or life support.

As to how they work, my best guess would be that they absorb ambient radiation and then transform that into the safe release of light. As such, they would also serve a beneficial life-saving purpose as well.

For Toobworld's purposes, if vintarac crystals are a common source of illumination, then ships of other alien races must use them.

Since they're probably bio/eco-friendly, I would imagine most Vulcan ships are equipped with them in the 'Star Trek' franchise.

Moya, the living spaceship on 'Farscape', might have these crystals as body piercings; her outer hide studded with them to draw in the radiation of outer space which would then be released as harmless luminance.

The 'Babylon 5' space station might use the vintarac crystals. And so would the Minbari, the Narn, the Centaurians, the Drazzi, the Gaim and the pa'k ma'ra; probably the Vorlons as well.

Maybe the Vogon Constructor Fleet uses these crystals as well, although from what we saw of them in 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy', the Vogons don't seem the types to care much for proficiency.

'Firefly' and the new version of 'Battlestar Galactica' may take place in an alternate dimension, but there's no reason to think they wouldn't have access to the vintarac crystals on their side of the chrono-synclastic infundibulum.

When it comes to TV trivia like this, Toobworld brings good things to light!



Actress Lou Gish passed away in the early hours of Monday, 20 February 2006 after a long battle with cancer, at the age of 35. Her death comes less than a year after that of her mother, the actress Sheila Gish, who was also a cancer victim).

The daughter of Sheila Gish and Roland Curram, Lou Gish (who previously acted under the name Curram) was born on 27 May 1970. She was raised in London and originally saw herself as an artist rather than an actress. She trained in Camberwell and went on to gain a BA Honours at the Camberwell School of Art.

However, a role in a fringe play in Paddington saw her land an agent, and this convinced her to follow in thespian footsteps of her family (which also included her stepfather, actor-director Denis Lawson). Over the course of her career she appeared on both stage and screen.

Her agent, Peter Brooks of CAM, told “Speaking for myself and all at CAM, we are desperately sad today.”

Alan Finch, executive director of Chichester Festival Theatre, added: "We are shocked and saddened by Lou’s death. She was a wonderful actress and was tremendously brave, returning to Chichester to perform in King Lear last summer after the then recent death of her mother. Our thoughts are with her family at this sad time."

"Without Motive" (2000) TV Series .... DC Linda Harris
"Microsoap" (1998) TV Series .... Jennifer
"Holding the Baby" (1997) TV Series .... Claire

- The Freckle, the Key and the Couple Who Weren't (2002) TV Episode .... Julia Davis
- Unconditional Sex (2002) TV Episode .... Julia Davis
- Faithless (2002) TV Episode .... Julia Davis
- The End of the Line (2001) TV Episode .... Julia Davis
- Naked (2001) TV Episode .... Julia Davis

"New Tricks"
- Episode #2.7 (2005) TV Episode .... Bernice
- Love's Labours... Lost (2004) TV Episode .... Angela Chalmers
- Blood Brothers (2000) TV Episode .... Kate Ferris
- High Anxiety (2004) TV Episode .... Anne Davison
"Wire in the Blood"
- Shadows Rising: Part 2 (2002) TV Episode .... Beth Morris
- Shadows Rising: Part 1 (2002) TV Episode .... Beth Morris
"The Vice"
- One More Time (2002) TV Episode .... Dawn
"Where the Heart Is"
- Runaways (2001) TV Episode .... Wendy Atkins

"Hope & Glory"
- Episode #1.6 (1999) TV Episode .... Sarah Ward
- Episode #1.2 (1999) TV Episode .... Sarah Ward
"Game On"
- Bruce Willis & Robert De Niro Holding a Fish (1996) TV Episode .... Tesni


Tuesday, February 21, 2006


I first noticed this happening after "Breaking Away" premiered - that six months to a year after a popular movie has opened, there will be commercials which seek to emulate those films.

(Obviously, if the commercial is going to tie in to a movie's release, then of course it's going to be produced in advance.)

With "Breaking Away", there were about three blipverts that used cycling as their theme.

My current example would be "March Of The Penguins". First up was last year's holiday installment for the Coca-Cola polar bears. They found themselves in Antarctica at a penguin rave, where a good time was had by all thanks to a bottle of Coke.

(But the commercial ends before the polar bears rip off the baby penguin's head and drink its blood.)

Now there's a new one, a live-action blipvert for Jeep Commander.

The driver makes it far into the Antarctic wastes before dropping off his passenger - a penguin who then got an admonishment to stop following the Jeep Commander home.

Maybe now would be a good time to resurrect the career of toon penguin Chilly Willy to be a commercial spokesbird. He could hawk - or rather, "penguin" - fish sticks, for example.

Let's just hope this trend isn't used when it comes to a movie like "Hostel"!



Back in the 1960s, Curt Gowdy owned Saturday afternoons in the O'Brien household. (And if it wasn't Gowdy, it was Gadabout Gaddis.) For my Dad, 'The American Sportsman' was his show, but we all enjoyed the vicarious thrill of the hunts and the fishing trips with Mr. Gowdy and his companions.

(One of the last ones I remember was a fishing trip with Jonathan Winters. I think even the fish were laughing so hard they never went for the hook.)

And if it wasn't 'The American Sportsman' on the tube, than it was Curt Gowdy's voice on the radio as he called the Red Sox games.

Mr. Gowdy was at home covering all the major sports events; something that would be unheard of today with sportscasters specializing in their own little niche, and networks holding broadcast rights monopolies on the various sports. He worked for all three major television networks, covering football, baseball, basketball, and the Olympics.

Notable among these were 13 World Series, 16 MLB All-Star games, 12 Rose Bowls, the first Super Bowl, and the infamous "Heidi" game.

For ten years he was host of baseball's 'Game of the Week' on NBC, and for fifteen years host and producer of the 'American Sportsman' on ABC, for which he won six Emmys. He was also awarded a Peabody in 1970, the first sportscaster to receive that honor.

And because of his roots in Wyoming, (Gowdy was born in Green River and began broadcasting on KFBC in 1944.), a state park was named after him in Cheyenne.

A spokeswoman for the Boston Red Sox says Gowdy, who was 86, died in Palm Beach, Florida after a battle with leukemia.

Gowdy was the long time "Voice of the Red Sox," although he was also the voice of the Yankes from 1959 to 1951. He left the Red Sox in 1966 for a ten-year stint as 'Game of the Week' announcer for NBC.

Among his notable achievements:

Was the only play-by-play broadcaster to cover American Football League (AFL) games on both ABC & NBC during its 10-year existence.

Recipient of the Pete Rozelle Award (which rewards exceptional longtime contributions to radio and TV in pro football) in 1993.

Recipient of the Ford Frick Award (presented annually to a broadcaster for "major contributions to baseball") in 1984.

Recipient of the National Basketball Hall of Fame's John Bunn Award in 1978.

Recipient of the Curt Gowdy Award (awarded to members of the electronic and print media for outstanding contributions to basketball) in 1990.

Besides his "reality" progarmming credits (which also included hosting 'The Way It Was' in 1974), Mr. Gowdy cemented his standing in the fictional reality of Toobworld with an appearance as himself on 'Banacek'.

That episode was "Let's Hear It For A Living Legend" in 1972. And that's what Curt Gowdy was.


Monday, February 20, 2006


Since there's always such a hue and cry about TV commercials after the Super Bowl, I might as well look to one for the Crossover of the Week for a second week in a row.

Like the MasterCard/'MacGyver' ad and the Alka Seltzer/'Everybody Loves Raymond' spot, this one also links to a TV show.

In the new commercial for 7-Up Plus, we see Bree Van De Camp and Edie Britt of 'Desperate Housewives' competing as usual in a Fairview supermarket, probably just a few blocks away from Wisteria Lane.

Last year around this time, 7-Up Plus had a similar connection with 'Sex And The City' which had recently been cancelled at that time. (No such luck in this case - okay, I admit it. I don't like this show.)

With that blipvert, as with this one, only two of quartet's doyennes were featured: Miranda Hobbes and Charlotte York.

Since commercials always need some kind of big payoff to make an impression on the viewer's mind after the message is imparted, they usually end with some kind of humorous image. In this case, Bree picked up the supermarket stockboy and loaded him into her shopping cart.

Where did she get the strength that would rival that of Iron Man Carmichael from 'The Lucy Show'?

Maybe it's to be found in "the plus" that she's adding to her 7-Up Plus.......

From the show's promos, it looks like there's a storyline going on right now about Bree's alcoholism.

I wonder if 7-Up Plus was aware that was coming up when they filmed the advertisement? And if so, maybe it wasn't so much of a problem, since the sub-text trumpets 7-Up Plus as a great mixer......



I just wanted to take this opportunity to reprint something Mike Lupica wrote Sunday in his "Shooting From The Lip" column in the New York Daily News:

Television desperately needed snowboarding because it desperately needed Americans winning medals in something.

Listen, anybody can see how brilliantly NBC presents these sports, how Dick Ebersol produces a TV movie every night.

There are always going to be wonderful, human-interest stories, because if you bring this many athletes together for any kind of competition, how are there not going to be stories about sacrifice and family tragedy and overcoming injury to chase a dream about winning a championship?

But it doesn't mean you're a bad American if you don't want to watch some of this stuff, whether it's the essence of snowboardcross, or ice-dancing outfits that make Cirque de Soleil look underdressed.

It's not your duty as a good citizen, like voting, to sit there every night for two weeks because you've bought into the hype about the world coming together around Bode Miller.

I think that's something that needed to be said, because I've been reading/hearing a lot of actual complaints that the American TV audience is somehow to blame for the lackluster performance by the Olympics in the ratings, as though it's some kind of treasonous act.

Hey, I didn't want to watch the Olympics even before Bode Miller and Lindsay Jacobellis were brought low by their arrogance and egos. It was even before Michelle Kwan muscled her way into the skating lineup at the expense of Emily Hughes' right to be there instead. And the fact that Kwan came to her senses and dropped out doesn't change things.

I'm just not interested in the pageantry or the competition, and the history of those cloying tributes in the human interest stories proved to be a danger to my digestive tract and to the state of my teeth.

I'd much rather watch a good fictional reality; that's the Toobworld Caretaker in me. And I hope the networks have learned that the Olympics coverage is no longer the juggernaut it used to be; they can be taken down, and it's happened at least twice so far in the nightly coverage.



Season One of 'Slings & Arrows' ended with on opening night of 'Hamlet', after the performance. Season Two opened during the matinee on the final day of performances for the run.

So it provided a nice sense of continuity between seasons, as well giving us a chance to say goodbye not only to Luke Kirby as Jack Crew, action star and walking, talking roman a clef stand-in for Keanu Reaves, but also to Rachel MacAdams as the company ingenue Kate McNab.

It was a sweet send-off for both characters, and one can only hope that their relationship can buck the odds of the movie star lifestyle and remain strong.

Just as the first season had echoes of 'Hamlet' in its depiction of the events in the lives of its players, it looks like we'll be seeing suggestions of the Scottish Play during the sophomore year. Besides the continuing observations by Cyril and Frank on the sidelines as the stand-ins for the Shakespearean clowns, we had the appearance of a "witch" with dire predictions, the dispatching of "the king", and the hint that a certain ghost's return does murder the sleep of Geoffrey Tennant.

One nice thing about the addition of 'Lost' to the Toobworld cosmos is its practice of showing that everybody's life on the show can somehow be connected to the others via the flashbacks. Therefore, I won't feel guilty with any particular theory where I reach for that missing link to lock two shows together.

So by expanding that concept to include other shows, I'd like to think that Nathum, the Nigerian security guard (to be the doorman of the Scottish Play?) might have known Mr. Eko back in their native country. Nathum did mention that he had already seen too much of blood back in Nigeria when he protested the idea of doing that cursed play.

Based on this first episode, I feel confident that there will be no sophomore slump for 'Slings & Arrows'.


Sunday, February 19, 2006


Because of competing programs that only ran once in the week, I quickly fell out of watching Charles Dickens' 'Bleak House' on 'Masterpiece Theater' Sunday nights. But I also failed in picking up the missed episodes on their repeat nights.

So I checked in and the series comes out on DVD February 28th. I added it to my queue far enough down the waiting list so that I'm just about first in line to get it when it comes out. (I have enough eps of 'Doctor Who' and 'Nighty Night' to get through first.)

But of the episodes I did see, there was a character that's been disturbing the vision of my own chronology.

Smallwood is a typical Dickensian stain on human society. An evil maggot of a man, he's old - a grandfather with a grown grand-daughter who has to "shake him up" every few minutes. He's infirm, but still vital in his repulsive nature; a usurer who buys up people's debts to force collections.

And in this production he's played by Phil Davis, who was the teenaged, sullen "hero" Chalkie in the movie version of The Who's "Quadrophenia" back in 1979.

It wasn't that long ago, I found myself protesting, and already he's playing a grandfather?

I bet it kills Sting, who played Ace - the Mod that Chalkie and his like looked up to... and who was the titular character for one of the songs contributed by Keith Moon.



Friday night's episode of 'InJustice' was the most searing indictment against capital punishment that I've seen since "A Trip Upstate", an episode of 'In The Heat Of The Night' which had James Gammon as the guest star.

Since 'InJustice' premiered, we've seen the idealistic lawyers and investigators of the National Justice Project ride to the rescue in the nick of time. But to maintain realism, sooner or later they had to lose a case, much like their antithetical counterpart 'Law & Order'. And sadly, this was the episode.

Chief investigator Conti has often said that if their investigations show that their client is guilty, then they drop the case and walk away.

In that pursuit of maintaining a sense of realism, I hope we get an episode in which they do just that before the season ends. I think it'll be interesting.....



Stars Hollow, Connecticut, as seen on 'Gilmore Girls', is a mine-field of Zonk!s. The worst in my opinion happened in an early episode in which Rory tried to emulate the lifestyle seen in 'The Donna Reed Show' so that Dean could see it wasn't all he thought it was.

But at least there was a recent pop culture reference on the show that I think I can defuse before it blows up real good into a Zonk!.

When Zach mistook Lane's uncle for her new boyfriend, he accosted him with "Welcome to the S.H., bitch!"

Years after 'The O.C.' is finally dead and buried in the beach sands of Orange County, the phrase "Welcome to the O.C., bitch!" will long outlive it. Sort of in the same way that phrases like "Dat's de name of dat tune" and "Just the facts, Ma'am" have outlived their shows.

I don't see why Zach's paraphrasing has to mean that he was making a reference to 'The O.C.'. It just could be that "the S.H." is slang among the kids stuck living in that small town, hoping to make their surroundings sound hipper than it really was to them.

And if that's the case, we can stand down from the Zonk! Alert.



During my overnight shift, I heard on 1010 WINS that character actor Richard Bright, who was 68 years of age, fell under the back wheels of a bus on the Upper East Side and was killed instantly.

Richard Bright is best known as Al Neri, Michael Corleone's bodyguard in 'The Godfather Saga'. (This is Toobworld, after all.) His best known scene to my mind was in the second movie, out in the rowboat with Fredo near the end of the film......


"Somerset" (1970) TV Series .... Bernie Bailey (1976)

"From Here to Eternity" (1979) (mini) TV Series .... Sgt. Doehm

Witness to the Mob (1998) (TV) .... Joe (Old Man) Paruta
Calm at Sunset (1996) (TV)
There Must Be a Pony (1986) (TV) .... The Detective
Penalty Phase (1986) (TV) .... Judge Von Karman
Brass (1985) (TV) .... Philip Stack
Sizzle (1981) (TV) .... Corky
The Gun (1974) (TV) .... Gil Strauss
The Connection (1973) (TV) .... BeeJay
A Death of Innocence (1971) (TV) .... Jimmy Rekko

Teamster Boss: The Jackie Presser Story (1992) (TV) .... The Bomber

"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
- Name (2005) TV Episode .... Robert Sawyer
"The Jury"
- The Boxer (2004) TV Episode .... Nick Dunphy
"Law & Order: Criminal Intent"
- Malignant (2002) TV Episode .... Frank Lowell
"Law & Order"
- True Crime (2002) TV Episode .... Dru Hunt
- Working Mom (1997) TV Episode .... Victim's Former Police Captain
- Black Tie (1993) TV Episode .... Mr. Quinn
- Cradle to Grave (1992) TV Episode .... Albert Boxer
"The Sopranos"
- The Weight (2002) TV Episode .... Frank Crisci
"100 Centre Street"
- Lost Causes (2001) TV Episode .... Eric the Lawyer
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished (2001) TV Episode
- Works of Mercy (2000) TV Episode .... Detective Robert Stransky
"Third Watch"
- Modern Designs for Better Living (1999) TV Episode .... Alchy Joe
- Anywhere but Here (1999) TV Episode .... Drunk
"Jake and the Fatman"
- I Could Write a Book (1991) TV Episode
"The Equalizer"
- No Place Like Home (1988) TV Episode
"Houston Knights"
- Moving Violation (1987) TV Episode
- Yesterday's Gone (1987) TV Episode .... Uncle Mikey
"Hill Street Blues"
- I Want My Hill Street Blues (1986) TV Episode .... Stubby
- The Working Girl: Part 1 (1980) TV Episode
"Future Cop"
- Cops and Robin (1978) TV Episode .... Lt. Dan Morgan
"The Defenders"
- The Pill Man (1964) TV Episode .... Phil Macy
"Studio One"
- Rudy (1957) TV Episode .... Ditch

[thanks to]


Here's a programming reminder:

Tonight at 8 pm, EST, on the Sundance Channel, 'Slings & Arrows' returns with its second season.

It's the story of the behind-the-scenes machinations at the New Burbage Shakespeare Festival in Canada, and if this new season follows the pattern of the first, its storyline sometimes closely mirrors the events in the play they're attempting to mount.

Last year (for the American viewers - the show premiered in Canada back in 2003!), the production was 'Hamlet'. This season they're taking a stab at the Scottish Play.

'Slings & Arrows' stars Paul Gross, his wife Martha Byrnes, and Mark McKinney among many other fine thesps. Unfortunately, I don't think Rachel MacAdams returns as the ingenue this time around.

I've posted this before: in 2005, there were only three series that made me anxious for the week to end as soon as an episode aired, so that I might see the next episode all the sooner. They were:
'Doctor Who' (with Christopher Eccleston)
'Slings & Arrows'.

With its last episode of the first season, I found myself watching it on the edge of my seat and pumping my fist in the air with an exhultation of "Yeah!", as if I was watching an action movie. I found it to be just that gripping. And Paul Gross as Geoffrey Tennant is a "well-graced actor" who gives one of the most multi-layered and textured performances I've seen in a television series.

(I also think that if the producers of 'Doctor Who' should look to one of the colonies for its new Time Lord, Gross should be considered.)

But never mind what I think, "I have bought golden opinions from all sorts of people":

From Diane Werts of Newsday:
Run, do not walk, to watch "Slings and Arrows" on Sundance Channel. Not only will you catch every witty, literate episode, but you'll be moving at the same pace as this wicked comic-drama-romance delight.

When we say TV doesn't get more adult, we don't mean naughty words (though there are many). We mean the intelligence of the approach and the deft shifts in comic/tragic tone.

From Robert Lloyd of the Times:
The first season... was romantic, deep, charming, sweet, satirical, thrilling, funny and, at the same time, understated. (A Canadian virtue, perhaps.) The sequel does not disappoint.

Even at six hours, it's over too soon. Good news, then, that a third season, reportedly centered on "King Lear," is in the pipeline.

So it's all a matter of whether or not you get the Sundance Channel in your cable package. But if so, please check out 'Slings & Arrows'. It's wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful; and yet again, wonderful.

And after that? Out of all hooping!

I have no idea what that means but it sounds good enough for me.



So maybe it was just me, but did anybody else think something momentous was implied in 'Boston Legal' this past week; something regarding Alan Shore and his client, the little girl who couldn't smile?

Amelia Warner's mother Janice used to work as a legal secretary at the same law firm as Alan did years before. We know she left first, as she tried to track him down there before looking for him at Young & Frutt (from 'The Practice').

Based on her conversation with Alan, Janice wasn't even pregnant when she left the employ of the law firm.

Or at least, she wasn't yet showing.....

We've seen how Alan has been with the women he's worked with in the past. He's taken out insurance against sexual harrassment suits! And it's not out of character for him to have sex with several women from the office at the same time - well, not exactly at the same time... but I wouldn't put it past him!

So does it seem too unlikely that Amelia Warner was Alan's biological daughter?

We never did see a husband/father in the picture when the girl took the Adams Academy to court in hopes of gaining entry into their class. And there was something about the blank slate of her face that might suggest a combined DNA match between her mother and Alan.

And then there was their shared interest in the artwork of Magritte. I've heard of such things happening in the real world - people who are related by blood sharing similar interests even though they have never met in person.

So what do you think? It's at least possible, right?

If not, convince me I'm wrong.....