Saturday, May 13, 2006


Alan Sepinwall, TV critic and columnist for the "Star-Ledger" in New Jersey, had this to say about last week's episode of 'The West Wing':

"The Will subplot didn't do a lot for me. I never warmed to the character, since Aaron didn't get a chance to really define him before he got pushed out the door, and since Wells never knew what to do with him. (His stint as Bingo Bob's lackey was particularly hatable.) And I care even less about Kate. Might've been nice to give the B-story slot to Charlie, who's been around much longer and who's been badly neglected by the writers for far too long. I'm hoping there'll be some kind of tear-inducing scene with him and Jed next week."

This sparked the following exchange between me and Ivy, one of my bestest friends and, like me, an Iddiot:

Yeah - that was a lost opportunity to give Charlie his due. He'd been around for seven years and we've only seen him twice (barely - as a pall bearer and re: the many job offers for CJ) in the last three months!!!!
[ed. note: With this past episode, it was three times.]

I agree. Will's character never seemed developed to me either. He's a bland cipher. And Kate/Will's relationship is equally bland. Would rather have seen a story with Charlie, or more Josh/Donna.

Ugh. I'm so sick of Josh. I understand that leading up to the election there had to be so much of him. But he was a mistake-making jerk for too long and he's such a constipated tight-ass.

He got his shiksa nookie; his story should be considered complete.

I would rather have seen Charlie take a job instead as former President Bartlet's aide in getting the library under way and even going on to become his son-in-law.

Ooh, I like that idea, except for the son-in-law part. That relationship with Zoey expired many seasons ago. Kinda hard to dredge it up again.

For all we know, it got revived once she was rescued; we just never got to see it, which is a Toobworld staple.

Ah. Yes, but for the non-Toobworld viewing audience, this would be really outta left field.

At that point, I cut her out of my will......



On last week's episode of 'The Sopranos' ("Road Trip"?), Christopher Moltisante and his new bride Kelly went home-shopping and he fell in love with the first house they were shown.

"Now that's what I'm talking about," he said in awe as he gazed at the house. "Stately Wayne Manor!"

This was how Bruce Wayne's residence was described by the narrator of 'Batman' back in the mid-1960s. But I don't see a Zonk! in Christuphuh's use of the term.

The Wayne mansion was an architectural marvel, even if the general public didn't know about the Bat-pole which led to the Batcave below.

As such, the home shared by Bruce and his ward Dick Grayson more than likely appeared in several Toobworld-based architectural digests and magazines. And in the captions for the many pictures taken of the property at large, I would think "Stately Wayne Manor" would be a natural description of the property.

So it's possible that the phrase stuck in Chris' mind while his ex-fiancee, Adriana, forced him to look through those magazine in hopes of finding the type of home they should one day live in.

If she only knew......



When I was in college, 'Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman' was required viewing every single weekday. Luckily for me, as a drama department student I was able to adjust my schedule to watch it. (VCR? What's that? Video recorders were practically fantasy toys of the rich, as seen in the 'Columbo' episode, "Fade In To Murder".)

I've got the first four episodes plus the "chicken soup death" episode on a bootleg DVD, but if it came out on official boxed sets, I'd spring for all of the hundreds of episodes.

By the time I moved to NYC, the show was known as 'Forever Fernwood' and even without the participation of Louise Lasser, I was still a fervent fan. But then, WNYW-5 yanked it from their schedule where it was playing at 11 pm to replace it with 'Hogan's Heroes'.

'Hogan's Heroes'!!!!

I knew the show only had about two weeks tops to run anyway, but the MetroMedia station just couldn't wait to dump it. So I never saw it reached its natural end; the last image I saw was of Bob Truss about to inject my beloved Penny Major in the neck with some kind of syringe.

Someday I'll track down those final episodes of 'Forever Fernwood'.....

I bring all that up to show what a fan I was of the show. I used to follow the careers of any actors who appeared on it.

So it was a big shock as I rode the subway to work last night when I opened the collector's edition copy of the latest "Entertainment Weekly" (containing four covers of three cast members each from 'Lost'), to find a quick little blurb about the death of Susan Browning. She died of cancer at the age of 65.

On 'Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman', Ms. Browning played nurse Pat Gimble, abused wife of Garth Gimble who used to beat her horribly. Follow this
link to see a picture of her in the role, taking that staple of soap opera characters to the brink of caricature.

I liked the character. A lot. There was just something so cute in Susan Browning's performance which I could see beyond the pathetic treatment Mrs. Gimble was receiving at the hands of her husband.

But she wasn't on the show for more than a year, quickly leaving the town of Fernwood, Ohio, after her husband Garth died. Drunk as usual, Garth stumbled backward into the hall closet where he was impaled on the fake Christmas tree that was stored in there. It was the second most memorable death scene on the show. (The first was of Coach Leroy Fedders drowning in a bowl of chicken soup, as mentioned above.)

Like I said, I was so into the show that I would explore the careers of the actors involved. And so I found out that Susan Browning was on the soundtrack album for 'Company', a Stephen Sondheim musical of which I would work on a summerstock production in 1977.

Looking through her TV credits (as seen below) and her movie credits as well, I've seen a lot of her performances since the days of 'Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman'. But Time moves on, I found new characters and actors of interest, and never even noticed that she had been in all these roles which I had been watching.

But that 'MH, MH' moment is caught forever in the amber of my memory, and it was with great sadness to learn that she passed away.

Rest in peace, Ms. Browning. You'll live forever in Toobworld.

"One Life to Live" (1968) TV Series .... Sister Amelia (1989-1990)
"Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" (1976) TV Series .... Pat Gimble (1976-1977)
"Love Is a Many Splendored Thing" (1967) TV Series .... Nancy Garrison (1968-1969)

The Quinns (1977) (TV) .... Elizabeth Quinn

First Ladies Diaries: Martha Washington (1975) (TV) .... Martha Washington

"Law & Order"
- The Secret Sharers (1991) TV Episode .... Jury Forewoman
"The Monkees"
- Monkees on the Line (1967) TV Episode .... Ellen Farnsby
"The Girl from U.N.C.L.E."
- The Furnace Flats Affair (1967) TV Episode .... Ladybug Byrd
"Felony Squad"
- A Penny Game, a Two-Bit Murder (1966) TV Episode .... Mary Corso
"Occasional Wife"
- Marriage Counselor (1966) TV Episode .... Evie Finger
"The Iron Horse"
- No Wedding Bells for Tony (1966) TV Episode .... Laura Farrow
"The Wild Wild West"
- The Night of the Druid's Blood (1966) TV Episode .... Nurse

Toobworld possibilities:
The Nurse from 'The Wild, Wild West' could have been reincarnated as Pat Gimble in 'Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman' as they shared the same passion in their chosen profession.

Since the Jury Forewoman in the 'Law & Order' episode was not named, she could have been any of the modern day characters Ms. Browning played in the other shows. Most likely it would be Evie Finger, the character she played in that episode of Manhattan-set 'Occasional Wife'. But she also could be Pat Gimble, who might have moved to NYC after the death of Garth Gimble to start a new life.


Friday, May 12, 2006


If rumors are true, and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss really does have a biiiiiiig mouth, 'Seinfeld' fans will want to tune in tomorrow night when she hosts 'Saturday Night Live'.

Apparently she told a radio interviewer that she and three former amigos got together to tape a bit for the show, dealing with "The Curse".

Being 'Saturday Night Live', a show that once got Mary Tyler Moore to say the word "penis", I'd make sure somebody in that quartet finally uttered the word "masturbation". After all, they never said it during "The Contest"; time for them to finally say it loud and say it proud!



My friend Ivy and I were discussing Ken Levine's (link at left) Barcelona dispatch about this week's ouster of Chris Daughtry from 'American Idol' when she observed:

Hard to believe that a modern day version of Ted Mack's Amateur Hour could be this popular.

Since about twenty years ago, I noticed that certain things from the fifties era have come back in style on TV.

Didn't think of that one.

Wrestling kicked it off, quickly followed by 'The People's Court' and its clones.

'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' launched the prime time game show revival.

The police procedurals are just updates on 'Racket Squad', 'M Squad', 'Naked City', etc.

John Edward cashes in on the TV psychic bit.

(On a similar note - and I could be struck by lightning for making that correlation - the religious programming never went away. But unlike Bishop Sheen, I don't think many of the televangelists are really working for "Sky Chief".)



I'm all caught up!

Thanks to the Brokeback Boys, I got to see the first four episodes of the new 'Doctor Who' for this season, starring David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor.

"New Earth" - In the year 5 Billion 23, the Doctor and Rose visit a mysterious hospital where they encounter an old acquaintance and one of their best foes from last season.

"Tooth & Claw" - On the Scottish moors of 1879, "Dr. James McKrimmon" and his "half-naked" ward protect Queen Victoria from a living legend/nightmare.

"School Reunion" - Working undercover at a school as "John Smith", the Doctor is reunited with former companion Sarah Jane Smith and that tinny Rin Tin Tin, K-9.

"The Girl In The Fireplace" - The Doctor finds love again with Reinette Poisson, better known by History as Madame de Pompadour.

I knew weeks in advance of seeing "New Earth" exactly what show I would link to it. And luckily there was nothing in the episode which contradicts my theory. (Watch this space on Monday to learn more!)

But I was surprised at how easily I was able to find links to the other three episodes. There was no need to jump through the hoops and twist the night away with some pretzel logic in order to find the right connection, as happened last year with a few episodes.

However, the main bugaboo from last year - how many dimensions do they visit via TARDIS? - rises up several times so far in this new season. And eventually I will have to address that again.

But for those of you reading this on the left side of the Atlantic, I can assure you that David Tennant makes for an excellent Time Lord and each episode improves on the one before it - which is saying something when "New Earth" started off the run better than expected for the usual sci-fi fare available in recent years.

But then, I'm easy to please.....


Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Speaking of taping skeds....

I'll have to wait to see tonight's 'Lost' until sometime after midnight. It's my night off, and one of my lovely Iddiette friends, RuthSings, has invited me to see "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels".

So I'll be taping 'Bones' & 'Lost'. But nothing afterwards as 'Lost' is running over the hour by at least five minutes. Keep that in mind while programming your VCRs and DVRs. If you're a fan of 'CSI:NY' or 'Law & Order' - Michael Imperioli returns this week as Detective Nick Falco - you'll have to sacrifice the first five minutes if you want to see the full 'Lost' episode. You'll have to do the channel change manually afterwards.



I'm probably one of the few people who's glad that NBC yanked the retrospective special for 'The West Wing' this Sunday night. Instead, they'll air the very first episode at 7 pm, (followed by the series finale at 8 pm), so that they'll have a set of book-ends with that two hour block.

The biggest benefit for me was that I'll be able to watch 'House' for this week.

Had they stuck with the plan to do a retrospective, I'd have had to sacrifice 'House' last night in order to tape the season finale for 'Veronica Mars'.

But now, I can skip the first 'West Wing' episode on Sunday and catch the UPN repeat for 'Veronica Mars'.

I never had the option to tape one and watch the other - working an overnight shift, I'm spending that 9 - 10 pm hour just waking up, showering, and getting ready to leave, and finally heading off to the subway.

And as for getting more than one VCR, or finally getting some kind of DVR.... when it comes to Television, I'm far from a technogeek. I deal more with the philosophy than the technology. The VCR is about all I can handle.

Although I may look into getting one of those VCR/DVD combos to finally copy off all of the TV crossover moments I've been saving over the years......


Tuesday, May 9, 2006


With the episode "Sibling Rivalry", 'Family Guy' helped bring 'The Sopranos' into the Tooniverse, thanks to an appearance by Christopher Moltisanti.

The connection became a little bit stronger (but only a little) the following week in the episode "Brian Sings And Swings", which featured the vocal talents of Frank Sinatra Jr. as himself.

The League of Themselves member and "Member Of The Board" also portrayed himself in an episode of 'The Sopranos', in which he joined a floating card game.

Not exactly a strong case for 'The Sopranos' in cartoons, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting to see Tony Soprano muscle in on Skeletor's territory for the waste management contracts on Eternia.

What'll be up next for the Son of Ol' Blue Eyes in the Tooniverse?

How about Frank Sinatra Jr. Meets Frankenstein Junior and the Impossibles?



Mike Wallace, recently "retired" from CBS' '60 Minutes', turns 88 today.

Happy birthday, Sir!

All the best on your 88th birthday.

I'm sure Virginia Graham sends her regards and she'll see you soon.....

Happy Happy Joy Joy!

"I determined that if I was to carve out a piece of reportorial territory for myself,
It would be doing the hard interview,
Irreverent if necessary, the facade-piercing interview."


I realize that last week I said that "come what may" I would be covering the "New Earth" episode of 'Doctor Who' for its role in the Crossover of the Week.

I have it all worked out. I've got the timeline details, the historical data, the works.

I still just want to see it first, and it's tough trying to make contact with the Brokeback Boys to see any of these episodes. Between that week of jury duty and the fact that they actually have lives, it's been impossilbe to reconcile our schedules.

So in the meantime, I've got a crossover that happened last Friday; one that is so off the wall, I expect to get raked over the coals for it. And this is one time when I don't need to have seen it actually occur, unlike the one for 'Doctor Who'... mainly because there's no way in Hell I'm ever going to anything done by its star, ever again!


Don't look at me like that. I know what I'm doing.

A lot of people know how I feel about the first "Mission : Impossible" movie. Without even having seen it, I considered it such a travesty that I vowed never to see another movie by Tom Cruise again. So "War Of The Worlds"? "Minority Report"? "Collateral"? Not a clue; never saw 'em.

It's not that Cruise and the others listed as producers took a favorite TV show memory and trashed it with a cinematic remake; that happens all the time. ('The Wild, Wild West', 'Sgt. Bilko', 'Leave It To Beaver', 'The Honeymooners')

No, what they did was to take a character from that show, - a hero! - and spit on his integrity by making him the bad guy.

(Oh yeah. There's a major spoiler in this article. Tough. If you put off seeing the first movie all this time, there's no help for you anyway.)

If Cruise and Co. wanted to malign the reputation of Jim Phelps, and had done so using Peter Graves in the role, then I would have said, fine. If Peter Graves signed off on the idea, who was I to argue. At least respect was being shown to both the actor and the character by doing this with the involvement of the man concerned.

Take Mel Gibson's version of 'Maverick'. (And here comes another spoiler, people!) I have no problem with the idea of Gibson coming in and playing Bret Maverick, because James Garner was involved as well playing Zane Cooper.

As it turns out, Zane Cooper is revealed to be Bret Maverick's father by the end of the movie. So actually, Zane Cooper is THE 'Bret Maverick', while Mel Gibson is portraying Bret "Maverick", Jr.

But in the movie version of "Mission : Impossible", Jim Phelps is portrayed by Jon Voigt. Jon Voigt is a great actor, but he's no Peter Graves; he's not even the right age for the role! Thus the movie can't be considered a continuation of the TV series into the Cineverse, as the 1966 'Batman' and the 'Star Trek' franchise can be.

So the storylines of the "Mission : Impossible" movies can't be considered a reciprocal part of Toobworld. But as movies, as trivia, as basically props, - something TV characters would go see in the theatres on their shows, or rent as DVDs, - they can be considered part of the TV Universe.

Only... I'm not talking about the main dimension of the TV Universe, Earth Prime-Time. I'm referring to the evil mirror dimension made famous in episodes of 'Star Trek', 'Deep Space Nine', 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' and 'Hercules: The Legendary Journey'.

In the evil mirror TV dimension ("Earth Prime-Evil"?), Jim Phelps would be a villain. And so the first "Mission : Impossible" movie would have been considered almost a docu-drama; taking an event that happened in "real life" and dramatizing it for the movies.

Much like "United 93" is in our theatres now.......

As such, each of the "M:I" sequels exist in the evil TV dimension as movies as well.

"Mission : Impossible III" (or as they're promoting it, "M:I:III") opened this past Friday in theatres. And if you follow the advice of legendary radio personality Vin Scelsa, you stay for the credits, where you'll see that the very last credit in the movie is a thank-you acknowledging the Hanso Organization.

In the Trueniverse, the movie was directed by JJ Abrams, as a tip of the hat to the TV show he produces, 'Lost'. In the series, the Hanso Organization is the mysterious and most likely insidious corporation for whom the "Others" most likely work for and who has caused so much trouble for the stranded "Lostaways" on the island.

I have no problem believing that the Hanso Organization exists in all facets of the TV Universe, even in the dimension where everybody looks like a pig-man ('The Twilight Zone' - "Eye Of The Beholder") or in the dimension where women have pronounced chin hair, beards (as seen on 'Sliders')!

So in the evil mirror dimension, director JJ Abrams probably was funded by the Hanso Organization to make the movie. Or they provided help in some other fashion; enough to warrant getting credit for it.

As for the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 in that evil mirror dimension? They were probably all dead within the week. Since everyone in that dimension is inherently prone towards being evil, the survivors probably devolved into a "Lord Of The Flies" mentality and eventually hunted down each other as food.

There can be only one!

Like I said, I know such a theory is probably going to piss off a lot of people. But I gotta admit, there's nothing I enjoy more than jumping through hoops to come up with a beddy beddy good splainin.


"I am a rock. I am an island."
"You am a boob."

Monday, May 8, 2006


Brian-El is an Iddiot.

It's not an insult, and that's not a mis-spelling. Brian-El is a member of the Topica discussion group centered around the Idiot's Delight radio program hosted by legendary free-from deejay Vin Scelsa.

I'm an Iddiot as well.

Brian-El wrote to me this morning with his latest theory for Toobworld.....

I have a new theory about 'Lost'.

The focal point--where everybody got together--was Sydney.

Sydney just had a baby on 'Alias'.

All of 'Lost' is taking place in Sydney's baby's mind...

- Brian-El

Sunday, May 7, 2006


Sky One is moving forward with its plans to remake 'The Prisoner', the thought-provoking "spy" drama from 1967 which starred Patrick McGoohan.

When the original aired in America during the summer of 1968, it changed the way I view Television. It made me question, consider alternative possibilities.

It made me think.

Because of 'The Prisoner', I don't let Television just wash over me: I refuse to let it be a passive experience. As it could be phrased on the show itself, when it comes to Television, I won't be a "rotten cabbage".

I like to describe 'The Prisoner' as being nearly forty years old and still twenty years ahead of its time. It's my all-time favorite TV show.

So one might think I'd hate the idea that such a great show's memory could be defiled by a remake.

It happens, but mostly when it comes to movie adaptations of old TV shows. For me, the two biggest transgressors were the first 'Mission: Impossible' and 'The Wild, Wild West'. Will Smith as James West was a misguided alteration, but Tom Cruise and the other producers of the IMF remake deliberately spat on the cherished memories people like me had of the old TV series.

David Bianculli of the New York Daily News hated the biggest offense in that movie so much that he hoped somebody would buy the rights to 'Jerry McGuire' 25 years down the line, and violate that character just as badly; see how Cruise feels about that. I hope it happens!

Anyway, when it comes to TV shows being remade into new TV series, my concept of Toobworld give me a variety of options in which to accept them.

Besides, remakes can never truly replace the memories of the originals, especially when most of them are so readily available on DVD.

How the new series is viewed depends on the producer's execution of the concept. And it will probably depend on the personal viewpoint of the individual audience member as well. Patrick McGoohan and David Tomblin and George Markstein and all of the others involved in the original's creation didn't want to force any one interpretation upon the audience. They didn't want to provide answers; if anything, they wanted to leave the audience with more questions.

So for some, 'The Prisoner' was an allegory; for others, it took place in Number Six's mind. As for me, I want to see it as having been a literal experience, a true component of Toobworld's history.

As such, I wouldn't have minded if this new version was a continuation of the original story. That during the last forty years, whoever was in charge of "The Village" (the same people behind "The Island" on 'Lost'?) was able to regroup after the events of the episode "Fall Out" and set up their haven elsewhere for those from whom they wish to extract information... information.... information.

Even if the new title character was a prisoner known as Number Six, that doesn't mean he has to be considered as the same prisoner played by Patrick McGoohan. They kept replacing Number Two, and other Numbers were assigned to several different people after the others were... gone.

So for me, the old Number Six (whom I believe to be John Drake) is still out there; no longer a number but a free man.

However, it appears that this new version will be a complete do-over:

The remake of "The Prisoner" will stick to the original's outline, in which a government agent resigns his post and then is drugged and dragged off to a mysterious prison called The Village, where people are referred to by numbers rather than names. It's expected to get a modern sheen, though.

"'The Prisoner' is like Pandora's box -- it's the ultimate conspiracy thriller," executive producer Damien Timmer tells the BBC. "Like '24,' the new series will entrap you from the opening scene. We hope it will tap into this iconic show's existing cult following, whilst creating a whole new generation of fans."

Since that seems to be the case, then as a Caretaker for the Toobworld concept, I would transfer the whole series to the same TV dimension as the new 'Battlestar Galactica', 'The New Addams Family', the second adaptation of '87th Precinct', 'The New Monkees', and any other remake of old TV shows and/or TV movies.

This doesn't imply that the remakes are of lesser quality. It just means that in an alternate dimension, the same characters exist - but with some alteration (usually based on their place in Toobworld's timeline and of course in their appearances due to recasting) that makes them different from their original versions in the main Toobworld.

Perhaps, as is the case with 'Battlestar Galactica', this new version of 'The Prisoner' could eclipse the original. (Yeah... who am I kidding?) But no matter how it turns out, by being in an alternate dimension, it cannot poison the greatness of the original. ran the news item about the return of 'The Prisoner' and concluded with:

"This version of the series will probably have a modern shine to it. Perhaps it will take place in one of those secret CIA prisons we aren't supposed to know about."

To which I replied:

1. If it took place in one of the "non-existent" CIA prisons, then we'd know which side is running the place. One of the great mysteries of the original series was that we don't know which side of the Cold War was running "The Village"; whether he was being held by the enemies of the "Free World", or by his own government. Nowadays, we'd have to consider other alternatives as well - some alliance from the Third World or even some kind of corporate empire.

I count myself as one of the original show's biggest fans - it will always be my favorite TV show - and I applaud the idea that if it has to be remade, only six episodes are being produced.

Only 17 episodes were made for the original; and even at that, some of them could have been considered filler - produced to pad out the total to make a summer series sale to America. ('Living In Harmony', 'The Girl Who Was Death', and 'Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling' would fall into that category I think.)

With just six episodes, this new version can get to the essence of the series and make this one powerful nugget of a TV series. (If only 'Twin Peaks' had concentrated on the basic mystery of "Who Killed Laura Palmer" and then came to a natural conclusion when that was solved. It would have been remembered as being great television, rather than as a meandering novelty.)

I don't know if they're going to actually remake specific episodes, or just the basic concept of 'The Prisoner', but if I had to choose six episodes to make up the total:

'Chimes Of Big Ben'
'Hammer Into Anvil'
'Once Upon A Time'
'Fall Out'

Anyway, we'll see what happens. All I know is that no matter how this new version turns out, it can't ruin my memories of how great the original was and still is: nearly forty years old and still twenty years ahead of its time....

Posted at 1:31PM on May 7th 2006 by Toby OB

A few minutes later, I added:

2. I've looked over the list of the original episodes and now I'm thinking 'Schizoid Man' should have been included in my selection. Probably at the expense of 'Hammer Into Anvil', to make the basic series more focused on Number Six.

Posted at 1:50PM on May 7th 2006 by Toby OB

See that? I'm Number One AND Number Two!

One last note - the rumor right now is that Christopher Eccleston (The Ninth Time Lord of 'Doctor Who') will be 'The Prisoner' Number Six. If so, I have so much to say on the topic. But I'm not going to speculate just yet if it's only a rumor.

But in the meantime, why not start thinking about who you'd like to see as the various Number Two's for the new series. Make up a list of your candidates for the six episodes (Some episodes may have more than one new Number Two!) and send them to me at so that we can dedicate a future blog post to Number Two.

I'm sure there are a few readers out there who think this blog is already full of Number Two.......


"The fact that you won't explain explains everything."
Number Two
'The Prisoner' - "It's Your Funeral"


As I checked out a guest this morning, I noticed that he was from Tustin, California.

"That's where John Locke worked at the box company owned by Hurley!" I exclaimed.

Whether or not he knew all about the show 'Lost', the guest smiled and nodded.

"Somebody connected to the production grew up there," he said, "And he was able to work it into the script."

I've had my place of residence worked into a TV show. As a matter of fact, the show was named after the home of Toobworld Central.

'Pig Sty'.