Saturday, February 17, 2007


It's been my tradition every year to tape the Super Bowl while I'm sleeping/getting ready for work so that I can watch the commercials the next morning. However, I just didn't feel it this year, knowing that I would then have to write something up about them and how they could be integrated into Toobworld.

So instead, I taped the 13 episode marathon of the first season of 'My Boys' on TBS. I had seen the first two episodes and then the last one during its original run; missing the others only because Tuesdays have always been a bad night for me in taping TV shows. Either I already had too many shows lined up from 8 pm until well past 11, or because the next day began my poor excuse of a weekend and I'd be anywhere but in front of a TV.

But I did enjoy the series and wanted to see them all.

Now, having seen the entire run of the series, I can say that I LOVE the show! These were guys I'd like to hang out with. (And I would greatly trade in the friends I have already to make it so. Sorry, guys.) The writing was smart and the dialogue between them didn't feel like set-ups for punchlines. (But boy, did they deliver without forcing it.)

And best of all, no laugh track. I certainly didn't need it to prompt me to laugh out loud on many occasions.

As I watched the show, I kept a list of any possible Zonks, thinking that it had the feel of a show that might make a lot of them. Luckily, most of the pop culture references were to the world of sports instead of to other TV shows. But there were enough attempts in the span of thirteen episodes for me to disable. And save for three of them, I think I was successful in making sure they were reconciled with the rest of Toobworld....

At a nightclub, Mike was so close to Gary Sinise that he could have spit on him.

Luckily there was no mention of the TV show he stars in, 'CSI: NY'. The mention of Sinise was in keeping with the actor's connection to Chicago where he's a major player with the Steppenwolf Theatre group. It may turn out someday that when TV shows want to do shows set in Chicago, they'll seal the illusion by having Gary Sinise appear as himself in much the same way Don Ho is used whenever TV shows visit Hawaii, or Wayne Newton when they go to Las Vegas.

Kenny: Mike always orders from Lindsay-o's.
Yeah because it's good, because we like it, and because it never lets us down.
Kenny: You just described Lassie.

The world's most famous dog began life in a book from 1938 and also appeared in a series of movies before her long-running career on TV. But there is no Zonk in this - the Lassie on TV was a similar collie who was named by Jeff Miller, her original owner, after the dog from the movies.

The guys were watching 'Meerkat Manor' while hanging out at PJ's.

I've noticed several characters in other shows have mentioned this reality series from the Animal Planet network. As a reality show, it's in the same category as game shows, news programs, variety/talk shows, etc. that can exist in both the real world and Toobworld.

Some of them watch 'The O.C.'

'The O.C.' seen by the guys is not the same series we can see on FOX. The real world version exists within Toobworld as part of its "reality". The show within the show could easily be a reality show about the people who live in the area.

"You must think I'm a Clampett." - PJ

Because they were backwoods illiterates who inadvertantly made a fortune in oil and moved to Beverly Hills, the Clampetts had forty years in which the public would become aware of their notoreity. And with human interest stories being so popular in magazines, references to the Clampetts would be widely understood without need for splainin.

In freshman year, PJ had a crush on 'Matlock'.

No problem here. Ben Matlock was a nationally known attorney like F. Lee Bailey, Gerry Spence, Robert Shapiro, or Johnny Cochran. It's hard to believe that PJ would have a crush on him, but at least it's not a Zonk.

Okay, here's where I was pretty much stymied.....

"This has been my favorite episode of 'Gilmore Girls'." - Andy

My only hope for this one would have been to claim that 'Gilmore Girls' is not the same as it is for viewers in the real world. However, other shows have mentioned the speedy mother-daughter chatfest in the past; some of them so specific as to mention Lorelei and Rory by name!


When attempting to get a response from the guys, P.J. did the "Bueller...? Bueller...?"

This is a reference to the 1986 movie, so there's no Zonk. Four years later there was a TV series based on the movie and that could cause some problems. But I figure that in Toobworld, the movie was based on the TV version's life. As to it being made four years before the TV Ferris could have had such experiences (a lifetime for a high schooler), maybe the movie didn't share the same release date as it had in the real world.

Otherwise, I got nothing.


Danni mentioned that she and Mike saw David Schwimmer at a fancy nightclub. Mike added, as if it was even needed, that Schwimmer was in 'Friends'.

If this been real life, the response to that would have been, "No shit, Sherlock."

Had this been a reference to a real person like the one with Gary Sinise, it would have been free and clear of a Zonk. (Schwimmer also has the Chicago theatre connection. For him, it's the Looking Glass company.)

Not that David Schwimmer has had that extensive a movie career, but maybe his televersion has a more exciting movie resume than just 'Six Days, Seven Nights', 'Duane Hapgood', 'The Pallbearer', and a voice role in 'Madagascar'. Then they could have just left it with the mention of his name. But of course, the joke was that he's so famous for 'Friends', there was no need for Mike to mention it.


All in all, it averages out to two out of three Zonks disabled. And two out of three ain't bad, right? I'd have to ask PJ how that stacks up in baseball stats......

Well, 'My Boys' has proven so popular that the first season has been extended to 22 episodes. The remaining nine are being written/filmed now and the show will come back sometime during the summer.

And I'm sure there'll be a new batch of Zonks from 'My Boys' to dither over.



'Lost' ended with a jaw-dropping kick in the head with the revelation that Desmond has foreseen Charlie's death. And no matter how often Desmond tries to prevent it, the Universe will find some way around his efforts and Charlie's going to die, bruthah.

I've seen a lot of comments in various 'Lost' forums about how Charlie survived getting hanged by Ethan in the first season. But I think the attempts to kill him off go back even further.

First there's the doomed flight of Oceanic 815. Remember, Charlie was not sitting in his assigned seat, having just gone to the bathroom to do a "bump". It might have been interesting to see what his original seat looked like after the crash.

And then there's that classic bit from the pilot episode where he's just standing there on the beach and a large chunk of burning metal crashes right behind him.

The Universe has lousy aim.

And the Universe probably had it in mind to kill him when he crawled into that cavern to rescue Jack. But for some reason, the Universe needs Jack to survive, so it had to let Charlie go then as well.

So I've got to wonder - if Sawyer hadn't killed that polar bear, do you think its first munchable would have been Charlie?

If Hurley finds out, he won't let Charlie come anywhere near him, considering the streak of bad luck visited upon the people around him.

It's no wonder Charlie had the letters of "FATE" written on his bandaged fingers.....



Coming home from work just now, I spotted a subway poster for a new version of 'Zorro', to be presented as a telenovela on Telemundo.

Even though it'll be in the proper language for a TV series about Spanish-dominated California in the 1820s, it still must be relegated to an alternate dimension. Earth Prime-Time, the main Toobworld, already has its masked swordsman, as personified by Guy Williams in the Disney production from the late 1950s.

And nothing could sway me to ever bend the rules on that, all because of one episode on the series (which actually aired on the 'Disneyland' show in April of 1961). "Auld Acquaintance" featured a scalawag named Ramon Castillo, and it is my contention that not only was he a Gallifreyan Time Lord who would later go by the name of "Roarke", but that he was the father of Miguelito Loveless. (Miguelito was already carrying alien DNA on his mother's side which could be traced back to a visitation to ancient Greece by the Sahndarans.)

I am going to check out this new version, just to see the production values and to see the characters in action... not that I'm going to understand a word of what's being said!

Shows cited:
the new 'Zorro'
'Fantasy Island'
'The Wild, Wild West'
'Star Trek'


Friday, February 16, 2007


Actor Kevin Sorbo has a gripe against Sam Raimi, with whom he worked on 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys'. And he got a lot off his mind in an interview with Film Stew:

According to Sorbo, "I think I’m a good enough actor that he can put me in a secondary part in one of his feature films. It would be nice if he did that. I think he’s holding a grudge over me."

If this was taking place in Toobworld, Sam Raimi might have a valid reason to keep his distance from Kevin Sorbo - proximity to the gods tends to make some people nervous.

You see, in Earth Prime-Time, the televersion of Kevin Sorbo is not only an actor in a TV series about the legendary demi-god, but he actually IS Hercules. (This was established in an episode of 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.)

Sam Raimi would probably be aware of the legends surrounding Herc - how he was driven to murder his wife and kids, as well as his mentor, the centaur Chiron.

If Raimi found out that Sorbo was in fact the real Hercules, he probably figured that giving direction to such a hot-head might lead to good publicity since they worked together before, but it wasn't worth his possible death and dismemberment.

Hrmmmm..... maybe Sorbo should work with Uwe Boll or Vincent Gallo.....

Just sayin', is all....



'Slings & Arrows', one of my favorite series from the last few years, is returning for a third season to the Sundance Channel this Sunday at 8 pm EST. (Check your local listings.)

This season the featured presentation at the New Burbage Shakespeare Festival is "King Lear", and I have no doubt it will be just as funny and moving as the previous two seasons which centered around "Hamlet" and The Scottish Play. (I'm no fool. Well, not much of one.....)

The series is a fantastic blend of backstage humor and drama and sentiment, and 'Studio 60' could have benefitted so much if only Aaron Sorkin had followed its example. He had Mark McKinney, one of the writers and performers of 'Slings & Arrows' in his employ; he should have taken better advantage of that.

However, it looks as though it's too late now, baby. NBC is yanking 'Studio 60' from the schedule a week earlier than planned to premiere their new drama, 'The Black Donnellys' from Paul Haggis.

At any rate, if you want to see a truly great show about the backstage world, check out 'Slings & Arrows', returning to the Sundance Channel this Sunday at 8 PM EST. (7 PM Central)



Sometimes I get so caught up in my excitement over a particular splainin or theory about Toobworld, that I manage to miss even the most blatant bits of information... information... information.....

And that's what happened when I trumpeted my belief that Ms. Hawking the Shopkeeper in 'Lost' - "Flashes Before Your Eyes' was in fact the White Guardian from 'Doctor Who'.

The White Guardian was a recurring character in a season-long story arc in which the cosmic entity sent the Doctor off on a mission to recover and reassemble the various segments of the Key of Time in order to save the Universe. The quest for each segment made up the storylines for each of the multi-episode stories for that season, but the over-riding title for the year was "The Key of Time".

And here we had a story about what happened to Desmond after he turned the fail-safe key in the hatch and saved the Universe - he found himself thrust back in Time to live through his own flashback with the knowledge of what was to come. And the Shopkeeper/White Guardian was there to guide him to make the fateful choice to do it all over again.

I totally didn't see the whole Time/Key significance connecting both stories.

Oh well, what the hell. Better late than never.



There will be a third spin-off from the soap opera 'General Hospital' which airs on ABC. Only this time, the show will air on SoapNet. (Both are owned by Disney.)

'General Hospital: Night Shift' will be the first original scripted drama to be aired by the soap-focused cabler, and it will focus on the lives of those who work the night shift at the hospital.

As I mentioned, this will be the third spin-off from 'General Hospital'. Most people will probably know about 'Port Charles' which ran from 1997 until 2003.

But there was also a show called 'The Young Marrieds', which debuted in 1964 and ran for two years. It was a soap about the marital problems of several young couples who lived in Port Charles. (Among the cast were Charles Grodin, Lee Meriweather, and Ted Knight.)

'General Hospital: Night Shift' will launch with a special episode shown on 'General Hospital'. (I haven't heard yet as to when this may happen.)


Thursday, February 15, 2007


When Liz Lemon was trying to sneak out of Jack Donaghy's office on her knees in last week's episode of '30 Rock', she was seen anyway by Jack's ex-wife. As a half-hearted combination of an apology and explaination, Liz pointed out that the maneuver would have worked for 'Ugly Betty'.

I put the quotation marks around the name because I'm sure she was making reference to the ABC TV series. But of course, in Toobworld, '30 Rock' and 'Ugly Betty' co-exist in the same dimension.

So to keep the reference Zonk-free, we have to figure out a different meaning for "Ugly Betty".

I don't think Liz could have meant Betty Suarez herself. She more than likely was familiar with Mode magazine, and she might have known who Daniel Meade and Wilhelmina are. (This would be mostly due to her friendship with Jenna Maroney, who probably either knew them or was familiar with the behind the scenes machinations at Mode). But as for Betty herself, I don't think their paths would ever have crossed.

It's a stretch, but if pecking orders and the laws of the jungle were the same in all corporations, it could be that there are people working at NBC who have been tagged with cruel nicknames just as there were at Mode. And even though you would think the odds were against it, perhaps there was an "Ugly Betty" where Liz worked as well.

Like I said, it's a long shot, but it's better than surrendering to the Zonk.



I'll warn you straight off that there will be spoilers in this post as I discuss a pivotal character introduced in last night's episode of 'Lost' ("Flashes Before Your Eyes").

So run away now while you have the chance, if you have not yet seen the episode, you DVRnachists!

Okay, you've been warned.......

Over in "The Fuselage", the official bulletin board for 'Lost', Yu Kai-lin aka Garf posted a nice recap of the episode. With thanks to Yu Kai-lin and to the folks running "The Fuselage", I'm going to re-post part of it here.

Here's the set-up: Desmond Hume goes into this small curio/antique shop to look at diamond rings because he's planning on asking Penny Widmore to marry him.

Fionnuala Flanagan guest-starred as the Shopkeeper, Ms. Hawking. Here's where Yu Kai-lin picks up the tale:

"Shopkeeper asks him his price range, then says she's got something perfect for him. A sweet little ring, he says he'll take it, and she suddenly says 'I don't think so' and then tells him he has second thoughts, walks out, doesn't ask Penny to marry him, and then runs down all the things he does in the future, claiming that if he doesn't do all the things we know he does, EVERYONE DIES!

I'm totally going to have to re-watch this episode to hear all the things the shop woman rattles off to Desmond as his future events, just to see if all the things have already happened, or if there is something new in there. I did get the whole 'Everyone would be dead' if he hadn't turned the failsafe key, so that's rather cosmic.

Des wants to know [who] the shop woman is and how she knows all this stuff. She invites him to eat roasted chestnuts. And notices a man wearing red shoes.

The red shoed man dies when scaffolding falls on him. The shop woman knew he it was going to happen, and says she couldn't warn him because he'd die anyhow the next day or the day after by a different method because it was meant to happen.

She then tells him that going to the island and pushing the button and turning the failsafe key are his destiny, and any choices he thinks he'll make won't matter, it's what he's meant to do. No matter how much he fights it."
[with thanks to Yu Kai-lin and "The Fuselage]

Maybe it was the bright whiteness of her hair and the white theme to her clothing, but based on what she had to say a certain character from 'Doctor Who' came to mind. So much so that I think they could be one and the same.

I'm thinking of the White Guardian, who appeared in the "Key of Time" story arc that spanned an entire season of 'Doctor Who'.

From Wikipedia, here is the relevant information about the White Guardian:

The White Guardian is an anthropomorphic personification of order and the counterpart of the Black Guardian who represents evil, chaos and entropy. The two Guardians balance out the forces in the universe, although the Black Guardian seems to desire to upset the balance in favour of chaos and evil while the White Guardian prefers to maintain the status quo.

The White Guardian had concerns that the universe was descending into chaos.

Although extremely powerful, the Guardians apparently cannot be seen to act directly, which is why they can only affect things through agents like the Doctor.

Being such an omniscient power of the Universe, it seems obvious that the White Guardian could assume any form it wanted. And for the purposes of dealing with Desmond, it probably assumed the form of Ms. Hawking.

Ms. Hawking certainly seems to have the same goal as the White Guardian - to protect the stability of the Universe. But to do so, the White Guardian had to work through an agent, the Gallifreyan Time Lord. And Ms. Hawking needed Desmond to understand that his fate was already sealed and that he had to follow through on its course no matter the personal cost to him.

I've been knocking around another connection between 'Lost' and 'Doctor Who', but there is a collection of answers I need to get from the 'Lost' producers first. And knowing how long that may take, I'm in no rush to spill the beans just yet.

Let me know what you think of this Toobworld theory though. Did we see a 'Doctor Who' guest character on 'Lost' last night?



In this past Monday's episode of "Heroes", Jessica (having commandeered Nikki's body) received an envelope containing information on a contract hit ordered by Linderman. With those details there was a brochure for Gannon Car Rental.

Gannon Car Rental has shown up several times on 'Lost', and Dark UFO has the pictures to prove the connection.

My thanks to that site and their commenter Andy for pointing this out.......



'Lost' has already been officially connected to the TV Universe, thanks to Oceanic Airlines (mentioned in 'Diagnosis Murder', 'JAG', 'The War At Home', and 'Alias'), the music of Driveshaft (heard in an episode of 'Alias'), and the UK version of 'The Office' (the father of Charlie's girlfriend was going to buy a paper company in Slough in a flashback).

But here's the linchpin that makes its connection solid - in last night's episode "Flashes Before Your Eyes", a Playpen magazine was seen in Sawyer's stash while Charlie and Hurley were rummaging through it.

Playpen is the go-to gentleman's girlie mag when you want to suggest Playboy without getting into any legal hassles. And it's been seen in nearly a dozen other shows in Toobworld (including one set in the Tooniverse):

'Ally McBeal'
'Family Guy'
'Homicide: Life On The Street'
'In Case Of Emergency'
'Kyle XY'
'That Girl'
'The X-Files'

My memory being what it is, I've probably even forgotten a few to add to the list.

As I mentioned, 'Lost' is already an official part of the TV Universe, thanks to 'Diagnosis Murder' (which connects to 'Mannix' which connects to 'Here's Lucy' and from there it explodes wide open). And as far as Toobworld is concerned, all shows are in the mix; we just haven't discovered all of their official links yet.

But it never hurts to have another anchor. Especially one with fold-out nudie shots!


Wednesday, February 14, 2007


The preceding post, "Across The Multiverse", was presented as just a statement of fact for Toobworld - something that might be found in some kind of encyclopedia for the TV Universe.

But originally it was the opening for an article entitled "Burning Zone". It was to be about Meredith Gordon, the character recently introduced in 'Heroes'. As played by Jessalyn Gilsig, Meredith is the birth mother for cheerleader Claire Bennett, and she has the power to summon fire.

It was going to be my splainin that Meredith was actually Charlene "Charley" McGee, the televersion of Stephen King's character from "Firestarter", who was played by Drew Barrymore in the movie of the same name. I was going to claim that in her Toobworld life since the the early 1980s (The book was published in 1980; the movie came out in 1984), Charley had gone on to change her name to Meredith Gordon in order to protect her identity and that she gave birth to Claire fourteen or so years before.

It would have been a sweet splainin. It probably couldn't be disproved, since I don't think Meredith Gordon is the type of character that's going to be around long on 'Heroes' - one way or the other...... And it could never be proven since there was a major stumbling block in the real world against making that claim; a reason that kept Patrick McGoohan and the other producers of 'The Prisoner' from ever stating outright that Number Six was indeed John Drake of 'Danger Man' - royalties.

Somebody would have to be paid royalties for those characters, and in this case, it would have been Stephen King. And you don't want to hassle with Stephen King. Like Homer Simpson once said about the Dead, he's got weird powers.

I wrote up the rest of that splainin last night at work, where I've been denied access to the web at my desk since last week. So I had to wait until I got home to fill in the blanks with details gleaned from the Internet. Thus, while I was at Wikipedia looking into when the novel was published, I discovered that back in 2002 a TV sequel to "Firestarter" was televised, starring Marguerite Moreau as a grown-up Charley McGee - "Firestarter 2: Rekindled".

Well, that was that. "Firestarter" already existed in Toobworld, and there was no way Meredith Gordon could be Charley.

Oh well, what the hell, as they said in "Catch-22". It was a nice idea while it lasted, until it all went poof! in a puff of smoke.

Oooh! I just elected a new Pope!



It's practically a given that all TV characters from Earth Prime-Time have doppelgangers in the countless alternate dimensions. This was illustrated time and again by 'Sliders' and 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine'.

But some TV characters also have counterparts in other universes altogether. And by universes, I mean those created from the spark of Mankind's imagination, like Television. These include the worlds for theatre, film, novels, opera, myths & legends, song lyrics... probably even a universe for limericks as well.

(If there is one, Nantucket would be the center of that universe!)

Some of these characters are exactly the same, no matter in which universe they're found. For instance, a good example would be Cecily and Gwendolyn Pigeon of 'The Odd Couple', who are the same from the first Broadway production through the movie and into the classic sitcom.

The medical personnel of 'M*A*S*H' exist in three different universes - the worlds of novels, movies, and Television. Only Corporal Walter "Radar" O'Reilly has an exact duplicate in two of those universes. (I suppose in a way he could look like Gary Burghoff in the "Book World", if the person reading the Richard Hooker novel has him in mind...)

Tie-in novels based on TV shows must have their own little corner of that "Book World", in which their characters would look exactly like their counterparts who serve as their inspiration. In particular I'm thinking of 'Star Trek' and 'Doctor Who', but also of the 'Monk' and 'Diagnosis Murder' novels by Lee Goldberg, as well as countless other series tie-ins like 'Bonanza', 'The Prisoner', and 'Murder, She Wrote'.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Rob Buckley gave me and my work in televisiology an excellent shout-out today in his UK(! - heheheh) blog, "The Medium Is Not Enough" (link to the left):

Now, if there's a canonicity problem, I for one simply point in the direction of Toby at "Inner Toob" and say if anyone can sort out this tangled mess, he can. He, after all, has a grand project to make all TV shows fit together into one canonical whole. So the whole goading thing doesn't work. My faith in Toby is great. He will sort things out.


Toby: save me. Save us all.

Gee, I never knew Rob was a cheerleader!

His post about canonicity also includes a fantastic splainin about KITT of 'Knight Rider' and its origins. I've never heard of this theory before, but apparently it's widely accepted in the KITT corner of fandom. It works for me as well, with some minor tweaking to adjust for the TV Universe as a whole. (I'll have to google to figure out where to give proper creds, but Rob definitely would get the "thanks to" and "according to" nods.)

Most of all, I'd toss aside the reasoning that the splainin is needed in order to get 'Knight Rider' technology to jibe with the world of the 1980s. Toobworld, TV Land, the TV Universe, Tommy Westphall's Mind - whatever you want to call it - is not the same as our world; not everything has to be the same in the backgrounds of both "realities".

In Toobworld, androids have been around since the 1960s, and yet we're still bleeping around here with those little dancing Japanese bots. And there have been secret military installations on the moon since the 1960s as well over in the TV Universe. Back home, we just knocked around a few golf balls and haven't been back since. [See 'Get Smart' for both examples.]

But other than that, I love the idea that Wilton Knight cannibalized alien technology - Cylon technology at that! - to further his own research in building KITT.

Thanks, Rob!

Alas, I'm not sure if I can help him nor anyone else in trying to make some sense out of canonicity. Canonicity is like the weather - we all carry our own inside of us.

To make things easier on myself, though, I avoid the books, audio plays, comic books, and movies when it comes to 'Doctor Who'. Just utilizing the two TV series (counting the RTD rebirth as a separate entity) and the 1996 TV movie is headache enough!

The same goes for most other TV shows, although I do give leeway for certain movies like the 1966 'Batman', 'Maverick', and of course, the 'Star Trek' franchise. (And I have a certain fondness for a 'Star Trek' novel, "Ishmael" by Barbara Hambly, which linked 'Star Trek' to 'Here Come The Brides' in a most convincing manner.)

Like Rob points out, at least with 'Doctor Who' (and certain other sci-fi series) there is some elasticity to the canonicity because of time travel properties. (Could have used a good "icity" word there.....)

But sometimes you really do need to just look at the forest, rather than trees. Otherwise ye'll go mad. MAD! I tells ye!

And should that happen, you'll be left a mindless imbecile, doomed to walking the streets, talking to no one in particular.

At least if you were living in Toobworld, you could then get a job as a serlinguist and sell the real world viewing public on various products.

Worked for Billy Mays.....

Thanks again for the tip o' the hat, Rob!

You can read Rob's post about canonicity here.


Monday, February 12, 2007


I think I'm going to let my Backstage Pass account at FYE run out this month. Lazy ass that I am, even if I wasn't saving as much via, I still save on time and energy by doing my DVD shopping from home.

I should check out that Deep Discounts DVD site that Ivan's always touting......

Anyway, a shipment arrived on Saturday with three new additions for the Toobworld Central library:

'Slings & Arrows' Season One
'Slings & Arrows' Season Two

Yes, I like ordering shows together that have SO much in common.....

'Stacked' has been a guilty pleasure of mine, I'll admit it. And in November of 2005, I got to see a taping of an episode.

However, that episode never made it to air, so I really want to see what the finished product looks like.

And like I said, it's a guilty pleasure, so I didn't even need that excuse....

(Also on order: 'Dinosaurs' Seasons 3 & 4 in one boxed set)

Coming soon, a DVD I'll be dropping 140 quatloos to acquire!



GM ran an ad during the Super Bowl about a clumsy robot that lost its job on the assembly line and then tried to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge. As it turned out it was all a dream, but it served as a warning for the robot to do better on the job because GM has a high standard of perfection.

Except when it comes to making commercials.

The blipvert bleeped off suicide prevention advocates, but GM refused to budge on the matter. And they started hearing from their own laid-off human workers and that's when they realized the commercial was sending out the wrong message. As Brad Linder pointed out in, sympathies lay with the robot, not the corporation and it made people think about the thousands of actual people who lost their jobs to be replaced by the heartless bleeps at GM.

Not wanting to put a spotlight on the problems of the industry (especially within their own corporation), GM announced that they would pull the ad to "retool" it.

They'll probably get a robot to do it.

No matter what happens - They could even yank it altogether! - it doesn't change a thing for Toobworld. Having already been broadcast, the commercial is now a part of television history.

But luckily, any revisions can also be incorporated into Toobworld, and there would be no conflicts. That's because it will always remain a dream.

We all have recurring dreams, right? Where we play chess with Honest Abe Lincoln and have lunch with a talking beaver? (Well, the guy in the Rozerem ad does, anyway.) No matter the subject matter, the basics remain the same; it's the details that keep changing. (Check out the "Shadow Play" episode of 'The Twilight Zone' for a nightmarish example.)

So when/if the GM ad does come back with a nip/tuck, it will just be the third in a series of bad dreams for that robot.

That's right, it would be the third dream. Thanks to 'The Daily Show', that robot has already had its second dream. In a "news" story a couple of nights after the Big Game, 'The Daily Show' allowed us to see another of its dreams - this time, the robot put a gun against its head, pulled the trigger, now it's dead.

With dreams like that, I wouldn't be surprised if the robot wets its bed, to boot!

Do you remember how the Energizer Bunny ads began? Some rival battery company was already using the imagery of battery-operated drum-beating bunnies to illustrate the long life of their product. Energizer came along and usurped the concept and ran with it to brand it as their own.

And the sock-puppet puppy was probably collecting unemployment when 1-800-BAR-NONE came along to rescue it for a new series of ads, for a new product altogether.

I'm thinking that some other company should do the same thing with the assembly line robot. Maybe the aforementioned Rozerem, or Lunesta - show the robot having trouble getting to sleep because of its bad dreams and so it uses the product to get a safe and restful eight full hours of sleep, sleep, sleep.

Or better yet - since there'll always be some dweeb like me out there questioning how does a robot take pills - maybe the robot should use a Serta Perfect Sleeper mattress or a Sealy to get some Zzzzzzz's, thus putting some sheep out of work once more.

And then we could see if androids really do dream of electric sheep.


Sunday, February 11, 2007


Tonight at 9 pm EST, 'Masterpiece Theater' will present yet another adaptation of the Bram Stoker horror classic, "Dracula". Marc Warren stars as the vampire with Sophia Myles as Lucy Westenra and David Suchet (Toobworld's Hercule Poirot) as Van Helsing.

It's not because I know Marc Warren better as Danny Blue on 'Hu$tle' that I can't wrap my head around the idea of him playing the infamous bloodsucker. I've always been able to separate the many characters an actor plays from each other - I don't think of Captain Kirk every time I see Bill Shatner in 'Boston Legal'... only when DEK throws in a 'Star Trek' reference.

(Actually, my problem can be in separating the character from the actor, but except for Tom Cruise, I always make the effort.)

No, my main problem with Marc Warren as Dracula is in his look. Have you seen any publicity photos of him in the role? He looks like a demonic Erin Moran, which could be considered a redundancy. (Look at her! She's got them crazy-eyes, man! I still contend that Joanie Cunninngham did away with her older brother Chuck on 'Happy Days'!)

This version of 'Dracula' would have been automatically relegated to some other TV dimension, as it's not the first adaptation of the novel to be broadcast. If I had to chose a version to be part of Earth Prime-Time, the main Toobworld, I'd probably choose the Dan Curtis production from the 1970s starring Jack Palance.

But actually, I'm holding out the hope that one day we'll see Rudolf Martin in an TV adaptation of the novel. Back in 2000, Martin (perhaps better known as Jonathan/Martin in '24'), played the role twice on TV. He was the historical Dracul, the Romanian warlord Vlad Tepesz, Vlad the Impaler in "Dark Prince: The True Story of Dracula". And he faced off against Buffy Summers in her series 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' (the fifth season opener, "Buffy vs. Dracula").

I'd like to think that within the reality of Toobworld, the Stoker version of the legend exists with Dracula looking like Rufolf Martin; we just haven't seen it yet. But based on those previous two appearances as the Count, I'm willing to accept this actor as the official portrayer of Dracula in Toobworld. Nothing beats an historical recreation intertwined with an established Toobworld "resident".

Any other presentation of the Bram Stoker "Dracula" or - as is the case with Patrick Bergin in the 2002 "Dracula" - of the historical version should be banished to an alternate dimension, any one of the thousands made possible by shows like 'Sliders'. For instance, Joe Flaherty as "Big Dracula" in 'Little Dracula' would end up in the same doofus dimension along with such shows as 'The Secret Files of Desmond Pfeiffer' and 'That's My Bush!'. And Juan Chioran in "Dracula: A Chamber Musical" can probably be found in an all musical TV dimension, from which came Sweet the Demon, perhaps. (Again, 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' - "Once More With Feeling")

But as for Dracula appearing in other TV shows, interacting with their main characters in entirely new fictional adventures, they can remain in the main Toobworld, even if they are not portrayed by Rudolf Martin.

This is because they are not the actual lord of the vampires, but instead they are other vampires who have been "sired" by Count Dracula. They have taken his name in his honor and to affirm their allegiance in perpetuating his "lineage". This would include Geordie Johnson in 'Dracula: The Series', Michael Nouri in 'The Curse Of Dracula' and Dick Shawn in 'Mr. And Mrs. Dracula'.

Grandpa, as played by Al Lewis on 'The Munsters', falls into this category as well. I've written before of my theory that he was some crackpot inventor from Brooklyn, New York, who transported himself back in time to be sired as a vampire by the real Dracula in order to attain immortality. (It's the only way to really get around the idea of Dracula with that accent!)

One last note about Rudolf Martin as Dracula. A scene from his appearance on 'Buffy' shows up in a Russian TV production entitled "Nochnoy Dozor" from 2004. Not having seen it, (and it's highly unlikely I ever will), for the moment all I can do is surrender up to its Zonkness. I'd have to see it in its context for any other splainin, such as it being some hidden surveillance video footage of their encounter.

If you must watch it, I hope you enjoy tonight's presentation of "Dracula" on 'Masterpiece Theater' and that you'll write to me and let me know what you thought. Me, I'll be taping something else - 'Brothers & Sisters' most likely, or maybe even the first go-round for this week's 'Extras'. (I'm not a Grammy watcher.)

But this version of Dracula is not my cup of blood.....