Saturday, March 24, 2007


We can add another citizen of the TV Universe to the list of those who are tele-cognizant: Superman!

Tele-cognizance is the knowledge that one is living inside the TV Universe, and that there are people in another universe watching.

In the episode "Peril In Paris", Superman tells Jimmy Olsen that he's quite close to Clark Kent as well. And then he looks right into the TV camera and winks to the audience viewing at home.

Having the advantage of tele-cognizance couldn't save Superman from death, however. It's my contention that the Man of Steel has been dead since the early 1960s; and that characters in the main Toobworld today know all about his secret existence as the mild-mannered reporter for a large metropolitan newspaper.



Toobworld has its own TV shows ('FYI' in 'Murphy Brown', 'Jed Clayton - U.S. Marshall' in 'The Hero'), as well as their own versions of TV shows we watch in the Trueniverse ('The Brady Bunch', 'EastEnders').

During the flashbacks for this week's episode of 'Lost' ("The Man From Tallahassee"), John Locke was watching TV while eating a TV dinner. Before he was interrupted by someone at the door, we heard this exchange of dialogue:

Television Woman 1: Here's what we know, Crystal. The Bolivian gold deposits were stolen last night around 2 AM.
Television Woman 2: Umm, that means...the Cobra! He's back!
[Shots are fired]
Television Woman 1: Get down!
Television Woman 2: Have you been shot?
Television Woman 1: I can't find him!
Television Woman 2: There! Behind Winged Victory! I can see his arms!
Television Woman 1: I can get him!

(Thanks to Lost Hatch for the transcript.)

According to Wikipedia, Winged Victory refers to:

Winged Victory, a semi-autobigraphical account of World War I aerial combat by V.M. Yeates

Winged Victory of Samothrace, also called Nike of Samothrace, a marble sculpture discovered in 1863

Winged Victory (comics), a feminist superheroine in the Astro City comic book series

Winged Victory, the U.S. title for the 1941 film Shining Victory

Although information about the novel can lead to 'Lost'-inspired theories, and there's always the lure of the comic book, it's O'Bvious that in this context, the reference is to the statue.

I'm thinking that if it was a TV show that Locke was watching, it might be an international production - most likely British, - which might have had an easier job of filming at the Louvre, cost-wise. (Although it would be easy enough to recreate the Louvre on a soundstage in Hollywood, and to rustle up a recreation of the statue as well. One exists in Las Vegas, for example.)

But with mention of Bolivian gold deposits, and a scene set in the Louvre, this could turn out to be a movie that Locke was watching. All we really know is that one of the lead characters was named Crystal and the villain was "the Cobra".

So should we ever find out about characters named "Crystal" and "The Cobra", who were played by Toobworld characters, we could make the assumption that this scene came from the movie or TV show in which Crystal and The Cobra appeared.

One point of interest for 'Lostigators' like The Misfit: the statue of Winged Victory is missing its arms (as well as its head). And Crystal pointedly mentions that she can see the Cobra's arms behind the statue.

Could this have some deeper meaning for the show? We all know 'Lost' is jam-packed with such puzzles, including anagram names and "Easter Egg" props.

Plus there's the character of Dr. Marvin Candle in the "Orientation" episode. He had an artificial limb in that film, but not in an earlier film found at another "hatch".

And now there's been some question as to whether or not "The Man From Tallahassee" had his arms tied behind his back at the end of this episode, or perhaps had both of them amputated.

I'm in the "tied behind his back" camp, but combined with the fixation on arms in the TV dialogue, I'm wondering if there's something to made of all of this.

Wikipedia has a lot of information about the statue and a link leading to the Louvre's website page about it.



My friend and fellow "Iddiot", Brian-El, was excited to see a few of the props used for set dressing in this week's episode of 'Lost' ("The Man From Tallahassee"):

As you may know, I like pinball a lot. As you may know, I like the TV show 'Lost' a lot.

This week, those worlds collided. No, Stern has not announced a 'Lost' pinball machine (damnit--it's a great idea--are you reading, Gary?), but there were pinball machines on 'Lost'!

Without spoiling much for anyone who hasn't seen the episode, at one point there was a scene in a game room...and there were two pinball machines against the far wall. One of them, I'm pretty sure, was the classic"Cyclone". The other...I'll have to try to look at the tape closely. It looked kinda weird...maybe it wasn't a pinball machine at all, but something similar like a baseball game.

Anyway, there you have it...FWIW...

Brian L.

Anybody else notice what that second machine might have been in the rec room? (This was the room where Kate was being held prisoner.)

There's a great blog out there which always has plenty of pictures of the stuff you may not have noticed in 'Lost' episodes, even with multiple viewings. It's called "Lost Easter Eggs" and I highly recommend it.



Here's a question that came up in "Ask Ausiello", a very popular feature in the TV Guide's website. (Link to the left, my dears!)

Question: Got any scoop on CSI's Miniature Killer?— Ann Bitter
Ausiello: Rumor has it Mini Meanie won't fit the typical serial-killer profile.

It would seem to me that this would be the perfect opportunity to finally get a crossover between the original 'CSI' and 'Criminal Minds'. The Miniature Killer would certainly be an adversary to snare the attentions of Gideon and his team of profilers.

Think about it, CBS!


Friday, March 23, 2007


The Finals are locked in for the Chicago Tribune's Redeye battle for best current TV character. The battle will be between Jack Bauer of '24' and Kara "Starbuck" Thrace of 'Battlestar Galactica'.

Apparently the contest won't begin until Monday at 10 am (Chicago time).

Good luck with your favorites.



Over at Alan Sepinwall's blog "What's Alan Watching?" (Link to the left, my friends!), two of the readers who commented noticed a possible link between this week's episode of 'Andy Barker, P.I.' and an episode of 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer':

Eric said...
I noticed a teeny-tiny Buffy shout-out in 'Andy Barker P.I.' - Guy's company was called "Doublemeat Industries" or something like that. Doublemeat Palace was a fast-food place where Buffy worked one season, and I would guess that the episode "Doublemeat Palace" was written by [Jane] Espenson.

Andrew Raff of the Buzz Rant & Rave blog responded...
I caught the Doublemeat reference and did take some time to check to see that indeed, Jane Espenson not only co-wrote "Fairway, my Lovely" but did also pen "Doublemeat Palace".

So here's how it would play out for Toobworld: Doublemeat Industries is the parent company that has as one of its subsidiaries, the Doublemeat Palace. This would tie the two shows together.

I saw the "Fairway, My Lovely" episode of 'Andy Barker, P.I.' but I don't remember if the correct title of the corporation was "Doublemeat Industries". Definitely "Doublemeat" anyway, so whatever the correct name was, it would still link with Doublemeat Palace.

Thanks to Eric and Andrew for picking up on that!



There's been some press coverage (most notably from the Wall Street Journal) about the French version of 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent' which should be debuting later this year - after two years of pre-production. For many televisiologists, the interest has been due to the rumor that Detective John Munch, the Crossover King, would be making an appearance in an episode.

But in the meantime, yet another international version of one of the shows in the 'L&O' franchise has premiered, Premier.

On March 12th, a Russian version of 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' aired on NTV, becoming the first scripted procedural format of a U.S. series to air overseas.

And apparently, it's a big success - the first two episodes were number one in its timeslot and for the entire evening.

And then two days later, the Russian version of 'Criminal Intent' premiered and it also proved to be a huge ratings success.

These are the first U.S. primetime drama series to be remade for a Russian audience. The Russian versions adapt the original scripts, taking into account language, culture and the local justice system.

You can see the opening credits from the show on YouTube.

Of course, for the Toobworld concept, these shows are already a part of the Television Universe. But the added bonus of being co-produced by Dick Wolf's production company is enough for me to consider them part of the 'L&O' franchise.

Hopefully, the two series will have crossovers between each other and ultimately... who knows? Wouldn't it be neat to see Ice-T's Finn over in Moscow for an episode?



I was lucky enough to get a ride back to NYC with my brother, who's on his way to Gettysburg for a weekend meeting with the bigwigs of ALDHA (the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers' Association).

And waiting for me once I got here were the latest additions to the Toobworld DVD Library:

Ordered via
'The Wild, Wild West' Season 2 boxed set

Ordered via DVDPacific:
Classic Commercials (2 disk set)

'Studio One Presents - Suspense'(This features two episodes from the anthology series - "There Was A Crooked Man" with Robert Sterling and Charles Korvin; and "Two Sharp Knives" with Stanley Ridges.)

I'll be saving the WWW boxed set for my summer vacation, but the other two will be perfect viewing while at work!

Ordered via CPTV:
"Connecticut Collection"(Ten disks of TV specials from Connecticut's Public Broadcasting. I had to plunk down a bigass contribution, but it'll be worth it! And it works out just to 14 bucks a disk, really.)

'Legends: The Real Bob Steele, Mr. Kennedy Comes To Connecticut, Ella Grasso'
'Remember When...'
'You're On The Air! The Early Years of Connecticut Television'
'UConn Men's Basketball: An Illustrated History'
'Mark Twain's Neighborhood: Nook Farm'
'New England And The Civil War'
'Colt: Legend & Legacy'
'The Flood of '55'
'The Circus Fire'
'When Disaster Struck Connecticut'

Yes, it's true I wanted this set for the TV history of Connecticut (I might just show up in the one about 'The Ranger Andy Show'!), but also for my personal connections to the 1955 Flood (I was two months old when it ripped through my secondary hometown of Winsted.) and the Circus Fire (which my uncle/godfather survived).



So I'm back a little early from my OB clan-do and thought I'd just update you on the Classic Sitcom Wars from the Florida Times-Union.

We're down to the Elite Eight, and they're all powerhouses:

1) Bracket A - Choose 1
1. Barney Fife, The Andy Griffith Show
7. Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable, The Cosby Show

2) Bracket B - Choose 1
1. Archie Bunker, All in the Family
6. Arthur Fonzarelli, Happy Days

3) Bracket C - Choose 1
4. Dr. Frasier Crane, Frasier
2. Ralph Kramden, The Honeymooners

4) Bracket D - Choose 1
1. Lucy Ricardo, I Love Lucy
10. Mork, Mork and Mindy

I won't say who I voted for, but I did match the majority in all the results.

For your chance to make your voice heard, click here.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007


In order for the concept of Toobworld to be believable as a fantasy universe, everything about it has to sustain the illusion that it's real for the audience. If any one trivial aspect can't be accepted as pozz'ble, then the whole structure could collapse in upon itself. Coleridge summed up this contract between works of art and the audience as "the willing suspension of disbelief". (He was talking about poetry, but dammit! Television IS an art form!)

Within individual shows, the creators of these efforts are for the most part successful in this, no matter how outlandish the concept. (Usually it just takes a command of techno-babble to dance around the implausibilities.) It gets tricky when we try to imagine two or more radically differing genres as co-existing in the same world, as Toobworld asks us to do.

While watching a cop show like 'NYPD Blue', we accept it for its own take on reality. And we can lose ourselves in the notion that puppets and humans can interact for half an hour while we're enjoying an episode of 'The Muppet Show'.

But try to imagine a world in which Andy Sipowicz might be bumpin' uglies with Miss Piggy.....

Yet that's what I'm trying to promote with the Toobworld concept. (Thankfully, not with so specific an example!)

That willing suspension of disbelief means that we have to accept every character we meet in any TV show as actually existing. That they didn't just materialize just as they first walked onto the screen. (Even though in the real world, that's basically what's happened.) These characters are real people in Toobworld, with lives that extend beyond the episode in which they appear. They have past lives, families, and even ancestors.

And if we were ever to see those ancestors, it stands to reason that someone from the real world would have to portray them, to create them for our viewing pleasure.

It was an episode of 'Naked City' that got me onto this philosophical bent recently. "No Naked Ladies In Front Of Giovanni's House" starred Harry Guardino as a man-boy landlord who had issues with the memory of his long-dead father. We never met his Dad, but a portrait of him figured largely in the story.

I asked my Classic TV compadre Ivan of "Thrilling Days Of Yesteryear" (Link to the left, folks; check it out!) to verify my suspicions, and he agrees - the portrait looks amazingly like Jackie Coogan wearing a huge mustache and with a head full of hair. Yet the actor never appears in the episode in a flashback or a dream sequence.

(Coincidentally, Ivan was watching an episode of 'Burke's Law' in which a picture of Burt Lancaster was used as a prop.)

I have to figure that the picture was made for some other TV show or movie featuring Jackie Coogan, and then was consigned to a prop warehouse until it found itself in the 'Naked City' episode. So it's an example that helps prop up (Sorry about that, Chief.) my claim that the lives of TV characters extend beyond what we actually see on the screen, just as my example about Khan meeting Chekov on 'Star Trek' does.

Okay, my head hurts now. I'll be taking a few days off to recuperate........



Ah! Ze flashing knobs!

I suppose the argument could be made that ''Allo, 'Allo' was a Britcompanion to the American series 'Hogan's Heroes' - farcical sitcoms set during WWII which both had Gestapo characters. ''Allo, 'Allo' was about a French cafe owner during the German occupation. Rene Artois had to deal not only with the Gestapo, but also with his wife Edith and his waitresses Yvette and Maria.

The show ran from the 1980s until 1992. In that final episode, the town was liberated by the Allies. Now, fifteen years later, a one-shot reunion special will be taped this week in Manchester. Most of the original cast will be back, including Gordon Kaye who played Rene and who was left with serious head injuries after a car crash in 1990. Sadly, Carmen Silvera - who played his wife Edith - passed away since the show ended.

Since the final episode had the war near its end, I'm hoping the script addresses the fact that fifteen years have passed in Toobworld time for the series as well as in real time. This would set the show in 1960 France, - at least it should be the late 50s! - quite a different world than the one in which we last saw these characters. And that would mean it must have a new concept.

Perhaps they could deal with the shadowy realm of the Cold War, caught in the middle between the "Free World" and Soviet Communism influences?

I don't know where that would leave the former Gestapo officer Lt. Gruber - he'd probably have served prison time in the intervening years, I'd imagine.

But I don't think it will be quite believable if the characters tried to pick up where the old sitcom left off. Fifteen years takes its toll on how people look; not even Dick Clark was totally immune from that.

I'm not sure if this special will ever find its way over here to America. I'm not even sure there are any TV stations (usually PBS affiliates) who are still showing ''Allo, 'Allo'. But I'll keep track of how this story plays out.....



I'm going home for the next couple of days to mark the first anniversary of my Mom's passing. So I won't be around to keep you up to date on the two "TV Bracketsville" competitions being run by the Chicago Tribune and the Florida Times-Union.

The Jacksonville paper will announce the next round of their challenge in tomorrow's edition and online, so make sure you click here to get your chance to vote for your faves to advance. The link to that story should be there by tomorrow morning.

My next update on these Character Battles will be on Saturday. Try to behave until I get back!



The Final Four have been announced in the Chicago Tribune's Redeye edition contest for the best of the current TV characters.

Once again, voting is by an email system to prevent a rigged election (totally unthinkable in Chicago.....). You have until this coming Friday at 2 pm (Probably Chicago time) to make your choice known.

And don't be thrown by the fact that the Redeye's online editors screwed up and have the Starbuck/House link listed as "Final Tally". Click on it and vote anyway.

Final Four match-ups

1. Jack Bauer, “24” vs. Jack Donaghy “30 Rock”

2. Capt. Kara Thrace, “Battlestar Galactica” vs. Dr. Gregory House, “House”

All the best to the competitors.


Monday, March 19, 2007


On March 16th, 'Jeopardy' had its first three-way tie finale in the show's history, something that may not ever be repeated again.

It was no fluke as Scott Weiss, the champion at that point, worked out the calculations for the amount to bet so that all three of them would have to come back for a rematch on the next show.

At least that's the official story, which makes this Weiss guy look like a nice guy.

However.... The televisiologist in me sees a darker splainin......

The winning amount in the tie was $16,000.00. "16" is one of the numbers in the sequence that researchers at the Hanso Foundation believe inform and infuse everything in Life.

So it could be that the televersion of Scott Weiss is really an Other working for the Dharma Initiative!


The correct answer to the Final Jeopardy clue was "Who Was Bonnie Parker?"


Well, apparently the Chicago-style ballot stuffing got out of hand for the Chicago Tribune Redeye's Bracketsville contest for the best of the current TV characters. Here's their announcement of a major overhaul:

We knew you loved your favorite TV characters but we didn’t know how far you were willing to go for them. It’s been evident to anybody watching the voting in the polls that something fishy was going on beyond mere ballot stuffing. We wish we could have stopped the people who rigged their browsers to vote hundreds of times per minute but unfortunately our system isn’t able to do that.

So we’re having a do over. We’re wiping out the votes for three of the four Elite Eight match-ups. We’re letting Jack Donaghy’s win over Ari Gold stand because there was no sign of rigged browsing. Instead of polls, you can now vote through our e-mail-based system. The extended voting will end at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20 so we’re giving you 24 hours.

We’ll post updates later today to let you know how the voting is going. We’re doing this not because we care who wins but because many of you complained and we don’t want the winner to be the character whose fans had the most rigged browsers running.

Here are those Elite Eight matchups again:

1. Jack Bauer, “24” vs. Sawyer Ford, “Lost”

2. Jack Donaghy, “30 Rock” def. Ari Gold, “Entourage”

3. Dwight Schrute, “The Office” vs. Dr. Gregory House, “House”

4. Capt. Kara Thrace, “Battlestar Galactica” vs. Homer Simpson, “The Simpsons”

So visit the site and vote again for your favorites using the email system that they set up.

TNT aren't only ones who know drama!


Sunday, March 18, 2007


The Battle of the Classic Sitcom Characters being run by the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville is down to the Sweet Sixteen. Apparently Homer Simpson was able to rally his supporters to carry him to victory over Alex Keaton of 'Family Ties'. All of the rest of the challenges were handily won by these finalists.

Barney Fife was the biggest vote-getter in his vanquishing of Mary Richards. I didn't think Mayr had much of a chance against Barn, as the Mayberry Deputy probably best sums up that indescribable quality that determines greatness in a sitcom character.

The article doesn't list a deadline for voting, but the next results will be published on Wednesday, so I would imagine it would have to be early in the day on Tuesday. And unlike the Chicago Tribune Bracketsville contest currently running, it looks like you can only vote once now.

Here are the match-ups for the Sweet Sixteen:

1) Choose 1
1. Barney Fife, The Andy Griffith Show
5. George Jefferson, The Jeffersons

2) Choose 1
6. The Rev. Jim Ignatowski, Taxi
7. Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable, The Cosby Show

1) Choose 1
1. Archie Bunker, All in the Family
5. Cosmo Kramer, Seinfeld

2) Choose 1
6. Arthur Fonzarelli, Happy Days
2. George Costanza, Seinfeld

1) Choose 1
1. Homer Simpson, The Simpsons
4. Frasier Crane, Frasier

2) Choose 1
14. Gilligan, Gilligan’s Island
2. Ralph Kramden, The Honeymooners

1) Choose 1
1. Lucy Ricardo, I Love Lucy
5. Norm Peterson, Cheers

2) Choose 1
10. Mork, Mork and Mindy
2. Cliff Claven, Cheers

I get the feeling we'll be saying "Hail and farewell" to both gents from 'Cheers' after this round. I think the races that will be tight will be between Gilligan and Ralph Kramden, and between Homer and Frasier.

Get out the vote!



"Get Fuzzy" is a daily comic strip about a guy named Rob Wilco and his pets Bucky Katt (a Siamese cat) and Satchel (a mastiff). In the "Get Fuzzy" world created by Darby Conley, the humans can converse with the animals who also use the phone, abuse Rob's credit cards, and generally act human.

Bucky has a relative named Mac visiting from England, and in today's Sunday edition of the strip, Bucky was asking him about the manliness of the English.

Bucky: "OK, so they're nice and butchy in Manchester. Are they foppy everywhere else?"
Mac: "EVERYWHERE ELSE? In the entire coontry? Are you havin' a laugh? IS HE HAVIN' A LAUGH?"

This could be the first pop culture reference to Ricky Gervais' TV series 'Extras' in which Gervais played an actor named Andy Millman. This past (and last) season of 'Extras', Andy had his own hit TV show in which his character had the catch-phrase "Are you havin' a laugh? Is he havin' a laugh?"

In the universe of comic strips (some of whose characters have doppelgangers in Toobworld!), O'Bviously they watched 'Extras' on HBO in the Wilco household. Or Mac saw it on BBC2 while he was back home.....