Thursday, January 11, 2007


During last night's episode of 'In Case Of Emergency', Harry Kennison jumped off a roof in order to escape a psycho LA cop. He landed on the roof of Kelly Lee's car just as she peeled out of the driveway. (She was the psycho cop's ex-girlfriend and was fleeing with her stuff.)

Exhilerating in the rush of adrenaline, even though two cops were shooting at him, Harry exclaimed, "Look at me! I'm Starsky! Or am I Hutch? Which one had the top 40 single?"

(Or something to that effect.....)

This is a reference to the 1970s cop show 'Starsky And Hutch' which starred Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul. (I'm assuming Soul was the one with a side career as a singer.)

We've dealt with the 'Starsky and Hutch' syndrome before, because of the theatrical release starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. O'Bviously, the two cops became so famous that a movie was made about them in the TV Universe as well.

Depending on the circumstances, a character could either be referring to the movie or to the famous cops.

As for the question about which cop had the hit song, this doesn't have to break the illusion of Toobworld's reality.

Harry wasn't asking about the actor but the actual cop. Apparently, one of them - probably Hutchinson - must have cashed in on his fifteen minutes of fame with an attempt at a singing career.

We've got precedence for that in the real world; maybe not with cops, but with Senators (Orrin Hatch), Attorneys General (John Ashcroft), baseball pitchers (Bronson Arroyo), and Super Bowl Champs (the Chicago Bears).

When the Happy Ending Valedictorian Kelly later called him "Starsky", it meant that she saw Harry as either the dark-haired cop or as Ben Stiller, but not as Paul Michael Glaser who has no bearing on the subject within the reality of Toobworld.

She probably called him "Starsky" because she wasn't impressed with him as a singer......

Zonk averted!



When 'The Knights Of Prosperity' began to waver in their commitment to rob Mick Jagger, they tried to think of other celebrity possibilities.

Rockefeller suggested Fran Drescher, as she had "all that 'Nanny' money."

If they were in the real world, Rockefeller would have been talking about her sitcom 'The Nanny'. But they're in Toobworld, sharing the same universe as Fran Fine Sheffield.

This hasn't been the first time a TV show zonked 'The Nanny'; and as she was such a distinctive character, it probably won't be the last......

Show: Living With Fran (WB)
Episode: Reuniting With Fran
The Setup: Fran played by Fran Drescher has broken up with Riley. Riley and his friend Danny have gone to Fran’s place to get his drill. Riley leaves to get it and Danny and Fran talk.

Fran: How’s he really doing?
Danny: He’s a basket case. He watched a rerun of The Nanny and he got all sad 'cause she reminded him of you.
Fran: That is sweet, but her voice!

[Thanks to TVaholic!]

So this all needs a really good splainin so that 'The Nanny' as a person named Fran Fine and 'The Nanny' as TV show starring Fran Drescher can exist in the same reality.

I'm hoping this will prove to be the best - and easiest! - option:

Fran Drescher starred in a TV show called 'The Nanny', but it was not about Fran Fine, a nanny who just happened to resemble her. I think the Toobworld version of the show was actually a reality show like 'Nanny 911' or 'Supernanny'.

Shows like that could be hosted by comic actors. Take for example, Caroline Rhea ('The Biggest Loser'), Jay Mohr ('Last Comic Standing'), and Howie Mandel ('Deal Or No Deal').

And so this splainin would keep Fran Drescher and Fran Fine (a future inductee into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame) co-existing in the same dimension.

Zonk averted!



Whenever old friends and acquaintances of mine have appeared in Toobworld in the past, it's usually been as characters, other "residents" of the TV Universe. That's been the case in the past with Shirley Jordan, Mary Cadorette, and Dan Lauria, to drop a few names.

But every so often, somebody I know contributes to their own standings in the League of Themselves, as was the case on the evening news last night with my friend ADA Gene Hurley. True, it's just a news story, but at least he's on the right side of the story!

Here's the online story from WABC-7:

(Newark - WABC, January 10, 2007) - A former federal prosecutor and attorney who represented a big bucks Manhattan brothel in a sleezy tabloid scandal was indicted on charges he used his law office to stay in the prostitution business.

Officials say 51-year-old Paul Bergrin and James Cortopassi, a 27-year-old law clerk at Bergrin's Newark firm, were charged with promoting prostitution, conspiracy and money laundering Wednesday. They say a third man, Hiram Ortiz, who owns a Bloomfield tavern and is a former New Jersey State Trooper, was also indicted.

The indictment charges Bergrin with laundering more than $800,000 in credit card proceeds from the escort service NY Confidential. Bergrin represented NY Confidential's proprietor when the escort service was busted by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office in 2005.

Here's how Gene's involvement played out, as written up in today's New York Times:

Eugene Hurley, an assistant district attorney, said at a news conference yesterday in Manhattan that one indication that Mr. Bergrin controlled the escort service was “the frequency with which he and friends he brought to the agency were given free sex.”

It was at that point his boss, Robert Morganthau, known by Dick Tracy aficionados as Pruneface, quipped, "That's what's called eating into the profits."

According to the Times, Bergrin's lawyer went on the attack against Gene and the DA's office:

“Sometimes you’re very good at what you do, you can rankle a few individuals,” Mr. Tiffany said. “There are prosecutors out there that may have very distinct opinions about Mr. Bergrin. They should worry less about getting their names in the paper, and focus on their job, which is to prosecute crimes, not to attempt to tarnish or belittle the reputation of an attorney.”

If you want to see Gene "in action", you can find the local NBC video here.



It was really great to see Hall of Famer Playpen Magazine get a very special close-up tonight... until it was no longer a close-up.....

'In Case Of Emergency' became an official segment of Toobworld tonight with a photo of Harry in his teen years, snapped by his brother.

The picture showed him covering up his private parts with a conveniently placed copy of Playpen Magazine.

Playpen is an honorary member of the TV Crossover Hall of Fame, having been inducted with the LA Sun, the LA Tribune, the NY Ledger, and the National Inquisitor.

Playpen has been featured in such shows as 'That Girl', 'Ally McBeal', 'The X-Files', 'Family Guy', 'Kyle XY', and 'Homicide: Life On The Street'. And now 'In Case Of Emergency' joins their ranks.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007


This week, (tonight, in fact), two building blocks for a new off-shoot dimension of the TV Universe will be set in place.

BET will begin broadcasting the HBO series 'The Wire', while A&E will be showing 'The Sopranos' from the same premium network. However, both series will be edited to be made more "palatable" for regular cable viewers - else the wrath of the PTC and its organ grinder monkey lackey the FCC will be brought down hard.

With 'The Sopranos', whole scenes have been changed, not only in editing out dialogue but in displays of blood splatter and of course the nude girls at the Bada Bing club. Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune listed a few examples of the differences in her column the other day.

Here are two examples that she listed:

Example 1:

Original version
Tony is shown with a mob boss pal who’s in the hospital. To cheer him up, Tony has arranged for a stripper dressed as a nurse to drop by and take off her clothes.

A&E version
The nurse strips, but she’s shown only from the back.

Example 6:
Original version
A fellow mobster is whacked by Christopher and Silvio Dante, who runs the Bada Bing.

A&E version
A second or two showing the victim falling to the floor is excised. It makes you wonder why they bothered trimming this scene at all, since the bloodshed is pretty freakin’ obvious.

You can find the other four examples over in her column "The Watcher", and as always, the link is to the left.

Fundamentally, this creates an entirely new series for 'The Sopranos' and the same probably holds true for 'The Wire' as well. Ultimately this means that these versions of both shows must be shipped out to a new dimension.

O'bviously, two alternate TV dimensions that have to be ruled out of contention would be the Tooniverse and Skitlandia. 'The Sopranos' already exists in the Tooniverse, thanks to an appearance by "Christophuh" Moltisante in an episode of 'The Family Guy'. And there was a sketch for the Emmy Awards a few years back in which T's boys were seen dumping the bodies of the writers for 'Late Night With David Letterman' into a garbage truck... all in a day's work for the waste management crew in the world of sketch comedy.

I doubt these edited versions belong in the "evil mirror universe" dimension, as such editing defeats the purpose of these characters as being really evil. Besides, in that TV dimension, maybe everybody in 'The Sopranos' are perfect little angels while Father Phil and the government are the real evil characters.

The only established alternate dimension where these new versions could go would be to the land of the remakes. By changing dialogue and re-shooting certain angles, in a way both 'The Wire' and 'The Sopranos' have become remakes of their former selves.

Otherwise, we should just roll them up in tarps and dump them in the swamps of a new dimension, one that has been sanitized for your protection.



I haven't dropped some quatloos on TV DVDs since I got the boxed set for 'The Adventures Of Brisco County, Jr.' near the end of last year. So today I decided to give my FYE club card a bit of a workout.

Here's what I got:

'Archie Bunker's Place' - the first season

'Taxi' - the first season (the price was dropped to about 17 bucks)

'Extras' - the first season

'Columbo' - the fifth season

'Star Wars: A New Hope' - It's the only movie in the series I plan to get. For me, that "first" movie in the series was the best and self-contained. And since I might not get another chance to get the original version on DVD once this is taken off the market, I figured I'd better move quickly. I didn't like any of the additions and changes (Greedo did NOT fire first!), and I think somebody should make sure George doesn't keep fiddling with the film.

I went into FYE with the goal of picking up the boxed set for 'Stacked', a guilty pleasure. But it was the one thing I didn't get - apparently it's not in stock there.

As I said, the show was a guilty pleasure. Yes, I liked it! But I also went to a taping back in November of 2005 with my soultwin Shirley, for an episode that never was broadcast. So I want to see how it turned out.

And compare it to my memories of Pamela, unfiltered......

Next week on my buying binge - the complete collection of 'Get Smart'!


Tuesday, January 9, 2007


Back in the Tubeworld Dynamic days, I published a list of characters I'd like to see come back to our TV screens. I can't remember them all, but four of them stand out:

DR. BOMBAY ('Bewitched')
EMMA PEEL ('The Avengers')
THE RIDDLER ('Batman')

After publishing that list, Dr. Bombay was the first to return; making several cameo appearances on the soap opera 'Passions'. Then the blue-skinned Andorians became sort of the featured alien race in 'Enterprise'.

Although I didn't get to see Frank Gorshin don the question mark tights one last time before he passed away, he did show up as the costumed super-villain Clockwise in an episode of 'Black Scorpion'.

With my choice of Emma Peel, I was left wanting. (So expect to read about her in a few minutes.)

With a new year in progress, I thought I'd put together a new list. But this time I'm also adding in suggestions on where in Toobworld they could show up. The following group is listed in order from "most likely to make a return to the airwaves" to "don't hold your breath".

THE MINBARI ('Babylon 5')
After the Andorians, my favorite alien race. Humanoid, and yet distinctly alien, what with that bone ridge that encircled their bald skulls. Their caste society was also of interest, with the priesthood often at odds with the military. And just as is the case with Earthlings, they were individuals in various shades of grey when it came to personalities. (Nothing more boring than alien races of a united mind-step, as is too often seen on 'Doctor Who' - the Daleks, the Cybermen, the Sontarans, etc.)

They make the top of the list because we may get to see them again in at least two direct-to-DVD movies returning to the world of 'Babylon 5'. Although JMS has said that these first features will focus on the human characters, I think we'll be at the very least seeing Minbari, Centaurians, Narn, Pak-mahr, and the other alien races in the background.

But if I wish really hard and promise to eat all my vegetables, maybe we'll see Bill Mumy return as Lennier!

ZOE HERIOT ('Doctor Who')
Wendy Padbury as Zoe is right up there among my three favorite Companions to the Doctor. (For the record, the other two are Sarah Jane Smith and Leela.) But for this return of her character Zoe to the "Whoniverse", I don't think I'd want to see Ms. Padbury assay the role. To me, it would be just a pale imitation of the far superior episode "School Reunion" from this past season, in which the tenth Doctor was reunited with Sarah Jane.

Besides, the bittersweet way in which the second Doctor was forced to part with Zoe (and Jamie) at the conclusion of "War Games" was already perfect - their memories of him were erased by the Gallifreyan High Council and they were returned to their previous lives just seconds after they left with the Doctor.

Their return in "The Five Doctors" worked because they were just an illusion and the scene didn't violate their original destiny.

Instead, I'd cast someone younger in the role of Zoe, MUCH younger! The Doctor is a time traveler, after all; it's always possible he could visit "The Wheel In Space" at a time when Zoe is no more than ten. She would be meeting the Doctor fresh, this time played by David Tennant. Because he looks different from her last encounter, there would be no reason for her to realize that they had met before once her older self meets the second version as played by Patrick Troughton (my favorite of the Doctors, by the way).

I even have a suggestion for the actress to play Zoe at that young age - Georgie Henley, who played Lucy in "The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe" last year. She closely resembles what Wendy Padbury might have looked like at that age. And having a temporary companion at that age gives the kids at home somebody to relate to as she represents them all in an adventure.

We may have seen the slinky private eye return back in the early 90s, in an episode of the 'Burke's Law' sequel. While investigating a murder at a detectives' convention, Amos Burke and his son Peter met a private eye played by Anne Francis who had everything but the ocelot to suggest that she was Honey West.

But as I remember that episode, she had a different, although very similar name - something like Bunny East, perhaps. However, when checking the IMDb (not always the most reliable source, I'll grant you), I found her listed as "Honey West".

So maybe my wish has already been granted. But if not, there's still a place where she could make her return - in an episode of two of 'Veronica Mars'. I think it would be great to see today's version of the female private eye meet the woman who blazed the trail for her back in the 1960s.

Perhaps she could be a guest lecturer on criminlogy at Hearst?

EMMA PEEL ('The Avengers')
I'm not giving up on this talented amateur! Only now, I have a show in which we she could return once again to fight crime. The BBC is about to launch a show that might be considered a spin-off of 'Spooks' (or 'MI-5' over here in America). If I'm not mistaken, the title is 'MI-5 High' (maybe 'MI-High') and it will be about teenagers being trained to be spies.

It sounds like it's going to be a bit campy.

Dame Diana Rigg could show up as the school's principal, and even if she is never named as such, we could always assume that she is Mrs. Peel. Besides the occasional appearance performing her administrative duties in the school, perhaps she could always take a turn in teaching them gymnastic skills and hand-to-hand combat.

If only for one last chance to see Diana Rigg in a jumpsuit again. (And by the way, I think she still looks great!)

GOTHAM CITY ('Batman')
Gotham City has come back before but not in the architectural form we know from the mid-60s TV show. The version seen in the various animated shows is to be found only in the Tooniverse, while the darker city seen in 'Birds of Prey' has been dispatched to the "evil mirror universe" TV dimension, and is probably an off-shoot of the 1989 feature movie by Tim Burton.

I want to see the Gotham City buildings that were obviously from some studio backlot. Surely there must be some TV show where the characters can at least drive through Gotham City on their way to their actual destination?

Perhaps the brothers in 'Supernatural' could stop off in Gotham City. It's just the name of a town; no need to actually make a connection to 'Batman' and risk the wrath of DC Comics. (Although they'd have the perfect case to investigate there - it's the Toobworld theory that the spirit of the Egyptian goddess Bastet inhabited the body of Julie Newmar's Catwoman after she fell to her death from that underground cliff in an early episode of 'Batman'. When Catwoman returned to the show as played by Julie Newmar [as opposed to the other one played by Eartha Kitt], she was only Selina Kyle in physical form. Her soul was that of Bastet.)

JAMES WEST ('The Wild, Wild West')
While we still have Robert Conrad with us, why can't we get one last chance to see him in action as Secret Service agent James West, even if that action is relegated to taking a back seat as mentor to new agents?
It's been fifteen years at least since the last best opportunity to see Jim West slipped by. He was basically the right age for an appearance in an episode of 'The Adventures Of Brisco County, Jr.', and an episode - even better, a two-parter with a cliff-hanger! - at the end of May Sweeps could have helped propel the Bruce Campbell series into a second season.

If James West was to return, the best option would be in a TV movie pilot for a new series. This time, because of his age, the show would have to be set in the years leading up to World War I, if not set during the actual conflict. As such, James T. West could be leading his younger charges in protecting American soil out West from Agents of the Kaiser, and the movie could be used as commentary on the situation we have with the threat of terrorism today in America (home-grown as well as foreign-based).

Among those agents working under his tutelage could be one of his own children, thus keeping the family name of West front and center in the action. As we saw in the first TV movie reunion for 'The Wild, Wild West', West had plenty of illegitimate kids down Mexico way. A son (or even a daughter; I'm not sexist!) could have grown up to follow in his footsteps.

Back in the old Tubeworld Dynamic, I once suggested an actor to play a son of James West - Scott Reeves, who used to play Ryan McNeil on 'The Young & The Restless'. Right look, right height. Should he ever go back to acting after his sojourn in country music, this might be the perfect role for him. (It might also give him the chance to incorporate his style of music into the show.)

FORD PREFECT ('The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy')
This would be the most difficult of all my suggestions for a return engagement. With any of my other suggestions, any writer could be handed the assignment and build on what came before.

But the works of Douglas Adams are treated as gospel by the legion of fans of the late author, and any return to the world of HHG2TG should only be based on what he already created (as was the case with the recent radio serials over on the BBC).

Still, David Dixon's portrayal of the "man" from Betelgeuse (not Guilford) was so infectious that I'd love to see him take on the role again a quarter century later.

But this would be my "don't hold your breath" option.

At the very least, I think he should be a candidate in the running for the next regeneration of the Doctor once David Tennant walks away from 'Doctor Who'. There was always something Gallifreyan in the wardrobe and personality quirks of his Ford Prefect. I wouldn't be surprised in fact if they knew each other well. After all, we know from "The Christmas Invasion" that the Doctor knew Arthur Dent!

So there you have it, my list of TV characters I'd like to see come back to the small screen. At least for this year.

Who would you like to see make a return engagement? Let me know!


Monday, January 8, 2007


Product placement is still going strong in Toobworld, but I have to wonder if any studies have been done to determine whether or not they actually work in selling the advertiser's product?

For the time being, most of them are amusing even if they can be quite blatant. 'The Office' seems to be the best at handling the practice, but even they can go overboard - like Kevin with that Staples shredder.

I liked a recent two-fer in an episode of 'My Boys' on TBS (a show I liked a lot, but not enough to award it any Toobits). After PJ compared to eBay, the show included commercials for not only but also eBay!



"I bet if this was a movie,
there'd be one of those ominous chords right about now
Lincoln Meyer
'Boston Legal'

As it turned out, there was an ominous musical cue as soon as Lincoln uttered that line. But there was no indication that he and Shirley Schmidt heard it. So it was only there for our benefit viewing at home, in much the same way cast credits at the beginning of episodes aren't part of the Toobworld firmament.

Therefore no Zonk, nor any proof that Lincoln could have been tele-cognizant.....

However, Denny Crane and Alan Shore remain tele-cognizant, aware that they exist in a TV Universe. However, I don't think that splains Denny's use of cue cards in his office when trying to fake a heart-to-heart with his diminutive girlfriend. For the most part, the message on the cards held up by Alan seemed to be generic enough for Denny to use in similar situations in the past. And we know he's had to break bad news to his lovers in that office plenty of times; so having the cue cards would come in handy especially with his onset of "mad cow disease" (so he says).


Sunday, January 7, 2007


Nora Lee is a televisiologist of great dedication who also looks at the world beyond what is shown to us on the screen each week in our favorite shows.

Here, as she espoused in the Idiot's Delight Digest, are her views about the curriculum at Dillon High School:

I watch all the non-procedural dramas so of course I'm watching "Friday Night Lights" (moving to Wednesdays once the American Idol juggernaut blows through in January). I've watched all of Kyle Chandler's shows, the females are even interesting (I always root for the coach's wife and daughter) and the romances are sweet (I didn't get that whole episode with the traveling salesman, though if they thought that was to try and get women to watch who like me know zilch about football -hey I know zilch about poker but have already seen "Casino Royale" twice for the new Bond.)

But I'm waiting to find out if that high school in Texas does in fact have classes besides physical and sex education. I picture the rest of the student body who may in fact be going to math, English and social studies classes cowering in the hallways as the footballers and cheerleaders sweep through. I assume there'll be an episode where a teacher tries to stick to principle and wants to flunk one of the footballers.

Since she posted that, her concerns may have been addressed....

And here's a Wish-craft from me - please can we get Karen Valentine to show up as Alice Johnson, her character from 'Room 222'? I think she would fit in nicely there, thirty years plus after her time working with Pete Dixon and Principal Kaufman.....