Friday, April 20, 2007


In the preview for the upcoming April 24th episode, 'The Gilmore Girls' makes a reference to '24' when Lorelei goes shopping for a new car with Luke. It turns out to be such an unpleasant experience, that she suggests that Jack Bauer should torture terrorists by taking them car-shopping with their exes.

But that's cool; it's not a Zonk. '24' is definitely set in an alternate universe. It has to be since they've gone through at least four presidents since it debuted and nuked Valencia, California, early in this season.

The jury's still out on 'Gilmore Girls', what with all the references made to it by other TV shows (and because of its own propensity for making references to TV shows that should be sharing the same TV universe it inhabits - like 'The Donna Reed Show'). But as I mentioned earlier in regards to 'Supernatural', there is a splainin for the references to 'Gilmore Girls' on other shows - there is a TV show based on life in 'Stars Hollow' in the TV Universe.

But even if it is in another TV dimension, it doesn't have to be the same one that houses '24'. Thanks to 'Sliders', there are thousands of alternate dimensions to choose from!

Toby OB


'Supernatural' took a page from 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys' this week, and had actors playing the roles of the creative team behind the show.

In "Hollywood Babylon", it was Regan Burns as the producer, "McG", when Dean and Sam visited Hollywood.

They provided me a way to disable any Zonks that have to do with 'Gilmore Girls' as well. While on the studio tour, they got to see the set used as a stand-in for Stars Hollow, Connecticut. So for some reason, in Toobworld the "real-life" Lorelei and Rory Gilmore have a TV show about their lives. That's going to be a big help for the splainins around here!

The movie being made during the episode was "Hell Hazers II" and a trailer for that film was presented as though it was an actual commercial. Not as elaborate a tie-in as HBO's "Making Cleaver" documentary in connection with 'The Sopranos', but in its own way the commercial was tighter and more believable. A little goes a long way.....

Which reminds me - there were four other new fictional movies added to the film library of Toobworld, thanks to last week's episode of '30 Rock':

1] "The President's Wife"
2] "Moonquest: Quest For The Moon"
3] "Speaking Of Emily"
4] "The Boy Made Of Corn"

I wonder if "Speaking Of Emily" was in reference to Emily Mortimer guest-starring these last two weeks on the show as Phoebe, who suffers from avian bone disease? (An ailment to add to the Toobworld medical dictionary? Or is it real?)

Toby OB


Here's a quick League of Themselves note for the April 25th episode of 'All My Children':

Louis van Amstel from 'Dancing With the Stars' will be in Pine Valley to give Ryan and Annie dance lessons for their upcoming wedding.

Toby OB


I don't have many O'Bservations this week re: "Gridlock", the latest episode of 'Doctor Who'. It was an enjoyable adventure that could be perceived as a stand-alone - if you wanted to ignore the dying message from the Face of Boe. (I'm surprised how many times I saw that simple name misspelled over the last few days in other posts. It's not like it was never printed out on screen! Check "The Long Game" for a screen cap of it.)

Speaking of "The Long Game", the caption for the news report on him said that the Face of Boe was pregnant back in 200,000 AD. So apparently the Face of Boe outlived his/her/its offspring, since he (I'll stick with that gender, thanks) claimed to be the last of his kind.

The prophetic message that the Face of Boe delayed in giving to the Doctor and which had become the stuff of legend over time?

"You are not alone."

Why do dying messages have to be so cryptic? Why couldn't the Face of Boe just said, "Look, mate. There's another Time Lord still running about and you'll find him down at Trader Vic's. But just in case, he's staying at the Hotel Taft on 28th...."

You know, something a bit more specific.

That was just an example, of course. Everybody is expecting another Time Lord to show up before the season is over. After all, the last episode is to be called "Last Of The Time Lords".

But if so, who's it to be? The rumor is that John Simm has been cast in the role, but is he going to be appearing as The Master? The Meddling Monk? Professor Chronotis? A very butch Romana?

I've heard it said that RTD hates the idea of The Master, but if they're going to be reviving at least one great villain from the old Series each season (and the guest villain of 'Gridlock' doesn't count!), then The Master would be perfect. (Although I would have preferred that the Doctor tangled with an earlier incarnation of his old foe, instead of having to keep dealing with that "no more regeneration" stuff that got tiresome and even illogical.)

And with the mention earlier this season that the Doctor had a brother ("not any more"), it gave birth to the idea that the Doctor's and the Master's enmity for each other goes back to the nursery!

Here's another interpretation for "You are not alone": there's a new Face of Boe. And it's already in a symbiotic relationship with the Doctor - as the mole on his back that appeared with the newly regenerated tenth body.

Okay, that's a bit out there......

Is anybody else as tired as I am by this incarnation of the Doctor always yelling at people? Maybe the shopkeepers weren't the most ethical of entrepeneurs, but they really weren't hurting anybody. Certainly not enough to get the threat of being wiped out by the Doctor, in a "moneychangers at the temple" sort of backlash.

As the Second Doctor is my favorite, it was nice to see that a connection was made to one of his past adventures, especially as that story has been lost to the ages. Only a few seconds of footage remain from that episode featuring the Macra. (And my friend Michael says there's an audio track of the entire story with accompanying picture book.)

Without existing video, I bet most of today's audience would just dismiss Television's past as being apocryphal. For them, this gave the Macra some legitimacy, even if the King Crabs have devolved since last seen.

I figure the Macra ended up on that planet ages before - if it wasn't their original home planet - and over time, lost all the prior knowledge their species had, becoming the beasts that their ancestors once were. (If the castaways of 'Lost' were stuck there for generations, I'm sure the same thing would happen to their descendants without some influx from the Others.)

In May of 2006, I wrote about the race of sentient cats that were running the hospital of "New Earth" and connected them to 'Red Dwarf'. Now we've met Brannigan and I think the theory still holds up. You can read it here.

The marriage of Brannigan and Valerie - with the litter of kitties - certainly illustrated the Doctor's claim that humans went out into space to "dance" with alien races. It's just too bad some CGI couldn't have been employed to make those kittens have some human traits.

And for my last note, a bit o' Toobworld fun:

Like the reference to Emmeline Pankhurst, we got a historical reference to somebody who had an impact on the Doctor's life. This time we found out that the overcoat he's currently sporting was a gift from blues/rock legend Janis Joplin.

Janis Joplin has been portrayed by several different actresses over the years on Television. (And several times for the movies, but the Cineverse isn't our focus here.) And even though we generally give a pass to historical characterizations when it comes to the differences in appearance due to recasting, some of these Joplins had to be relegated to other TV dimensions.

The portrayal I would keep in the main Toobworld would be in a tele-flick called "Sweetwater". It chronicled the nearly true-life story of a band at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. (A big divergence from the real world Sweetwater - the movie claimed that they opened the festival. In real life, Richie Havens opened, and Sweetwater was the fifth band onstage. But for Toobworld, the difference can be allowed in much the same way we accept that Bette Ford actually talked to Mary Richards in an episode of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'.)

Erin Wright played Janis in "Sweetwater", and the main reason I like her for the official televersion of Janis Joplin is that she later played her in an episode of the Stephen King anthology mini-series 'Nightmares And Dreamscapes' from last summer. It was the perfect coda to Joplin's life from a Toobworld perspective. (The name of the episode was "You Know They Got One Hell Of A Band", and if you can't find the anthology yet in DVD, try reading the story to find out what happened.)

Now, if 'Doctor Who' has switched back to showing us the Doctor of Earth Prime-Time, then I would say that he met the Janis Joplin of "Sweetwater" and 'Nightmares And Dreamscapes'. But if the show is still stuck in the alternate dimension in which Harriet Jones was the Prime Minister and Big Ben was destroyed, then I'd sugggest that the Janis Joplin who gave that coat to the Doctor was played by Bonnie McKee in an episode of 'American Dreams' ("Shoot The Moon").

'American Dreams', the story of a family in Philadelphia against the backdrop of the old 'American Bandstand' TV show, had far too many Zonks to make it worthwhile fighting to keep it in Earth Prime Time. (Paris Hilton as Barbara Eden filming 'I Dream Of Jeannie' was the breaking point for me!) So off it went to another dimension where it might as well have a passing acquaintance to the current 'Doctor Who' incarnation.

There's another movie, a short directed by Griffin Dunne called "Duke Of Groove", which starred Tobey McGuire, Uma Thurman, Kiefer Sutherland, Kate Capshaw, Elliot Gould, and Udo Keir. It was a man's remembrance of when he was a teenager and was taken to a Hollywood party by his Mom to avoid finding out that his father was abandoning the family. Janis was one of the guests he encountered there.

The (not always the most reliable of sources) lists the short film as being a TV product. And yet it says it was also nominated for an Oscar. To be nominated, the movie has to premiere first in a theatre, so I think the Cineverse has to claim this version of Janis Joplin. (And based on that cast list, I'd say "Duke Of Groove" is definitely from the movie universe!)

So that's the Toobworld take on the episode. For someone who originally claimed to have not much to say about the episode, I did ramble on, didn't I?

Toby OB


I'm the godfather to the daughter of a fellow member of the Idiot's Delight Digest, an "Iddiot" named Sean whom I consider to be like the son I never wanted....

On Wednesday, after 'Lost', I was at my keyboard trying to find the proper way to phrase a joke I came up with regarding the final scene of this week's episode. And then suddenly an email arrived from Sean:

Subj: the parachute jumper on LOST is...
Sanjaya Malakar.
Sorry to ruin it for you.....

Damned if that wasn't the same thing I had come up with for the joke!

In the IDD, that's what we call Iddiosynchronicity.

"Catch-22" focused on Desmond, one of my favorite characters on the island. He's a late addition to the cast whose introduction was handled right, as opposed to Nikki and Paolo.

Do certain numbers have more of a connection to particular castaways than others? It's something I found myself pondering after seeing "Catch-22" - the only number I can remember popping up in the episode was the whole enchilada, the total of 108 (as in 108 cases of Moriah wine). And it seemed to me that of all the numbers, that one best suited Desmond, whose flashbacks were the centerpiece of the episode.

For Nikki, it seemed the number 8 was most prevalent (the diamonds were worth 8 million dollars; the Medusa spider's venom caused a paralysis lasting 8 hours). 8 might be the key number for Locke as well; at the very least, it was the number of stories he fell when his own father pushed him out the window.

It's pozz'ble; it's pozz'ble, as Mushrat would say. But it would also mean going through the whole series of number references throughout the series and tallying up who's connected to which number.

And although there are sites where I can find that info, I deal with numbers enough at work as hotel night auditor. That's the last type of TV trivial detail I'd want to research!

Being somewhat addicted to spoilers, I had no worries that this would have been the episode in which Charlie died. I know one of the last ones this season will be featuring his flashbacks, so he's safe until then.

However, the circumstances surrounding his "death" in this episode (which was no more than one of Desmond's future visions) might have been the way to go for Charlie's demise. Not the way he died - that was too grisly and he deserves a better fate! - but when: right at the top of the episode for the full shock value. Previously, we've seen characters die off at the end of an episode in which they were given the chance to have their flashback stories.

Charlie would be the perfect case in which he died and then all of the other castaways - including those in the background about whom we know nothing, - would have the flashbacks to what they knew of this one-hit wonder musical "superstar". Some of the flashbacks would be pre-crash; others from the time spent on the island.

The show has experimented with the types of flashbacks before, but I'm not sure there's anybody left for whom this version could be applied......

Did you notice Ms. Hawking, the curio shop owner from Desmond's previous flashback ("Flashes Before Your Eyes") in the photo on the desk of the head monk? It was almost as if it was there just for the purpose of keeping track of Desmond, as she's not crossed the path of any other character from the show yet.

And it reinforced my private Toobworld theory that she's the embodiment of the White Guardian of Time from 'Doctor Who'. Especially as she's still dressed in white in that photo.....

It took the whole episode for the payoff, but one of the best things the producers of 'Lost' ever did was to hire Sonia Walger to play Desmond's love, Penelope Widmore. It's nice to find that in a show full of biblical allusions (from this episode alone: Ruth, Naomi, Moriah) and references to philosophers (Desmond's full name is Desmond David Hume), there's such a great tip of the hat to classic Greek mythology - Penelope was the wife of Odysseus, who was feared lost during his ocean journey around the known world.

I've put the word out to a friend of mine to contact a mutual friend who's from Korea. Knowing that she's a 'Lost' fan, I want her to clue me in on what was the subject of Jin's ghost story. (I'm thinking it was the classic one about the guy with the hook.)

But in the meantime, if anybody else knows, let me know!

Just a few more eps to go for this season, and then it'll be an agonizing wait for Season Four that will almost rival 'The Sopranos' for its interminable length!

Enjoy these while you can!

BCnU, Brothah!
Toby OB

Thursday, April 19, 2007


So Rob Buckley offered up a link to a story about the cover of the Radio Times celebrating the 'Doctor Who' episode "Daleks In Manhattan".

That led to another link to the full cover.

So I cut to the chase. Here's that last link.

Click on it only if you don't mind being spoiled.

I looked at it and, knowing that the episode was set in the 1930s, it made me think of:

"From what was once an inarticulate piece of lifeless tissue, may I now present a cultured, sophisticated Dalek About Town!"

Toby OB


This season, Toobworld has given us two TV shows which splained the physical characteristics of one of their actors in the context of the character they play.

On 'Brothers & Sisters', we found out how Tommy Walker got that scar in his right eyebrow - during the last "Game Night", Kitty threw the trophy at her brother in anger.

And on 'Lost' we learned all about the meanings for the tattoos on Dr. Jack Shepherd's arm, and how he got them while in the Far East.

The difference was that with 'Brothers & Sisters', it was a passing mention; 'Lost' built a whole flashback sequence around it and nearly derailed the audience again.

Those are just trivial details that were dealt with. (My specialty!) But there have been more noticeable traits addressed in Toobworld.

Right now over in the "reality TV" category (Ugh), you have Heather Mills kicking up her heels - so to speak - on 'Dancing With The Stars'... with bookies ready to pay off should her artificial leg go flying!

This hasn't been the first time the physical characteristics of an actor were worked into their character's background. And I'm not referring to such attributes as the ample endowments of Jennifer Marlowe on 'WKRP In Cincinnatti', or the fact that Bailiff Bull Shannon, like CJ Cregg on 'The West Wing' and Detective Michael 'Raines', was "freakishly tall".

Robert David Hall plays Dr. Al Robbins on 'CSI' as having an artificial leg; he was seen putting it on in an early episode when caught unawares by either Catherine or Sara (can't remember now, but I'm pretty sure it was a female member of the forensics team).

Jim Byrnes, who played Lifeguard on 'Wiseguy', lost both his legs in a motorcycle accident, and his character was played that way. It didn't have to be so, as Byrnes can walk on both of his artificial legs. They could easily have splained away his gait (as he walked on the show with a cane) to some crippling nerve damage sustained during his tenure with the Bureau. (I'm not sure whether or not Byrnes' character of Joe Dawson on 'Highlander' was portrayed as missing his legs or not.)

Speaking of 'Wiseguy', when former 'Lancer' star James Stacy guest-starred in one of the show's "arcs", his missing arm and leg - lost in a traffic accident - not only were acknowledged for his character, but proved to be integral to the plotline.

Geri Jewell has cerebral palsy, but that hasn't stopped her from staking out a couple of memorable characters for the Tele-Folks Directory. She's probably best known for playing Cousin Geri on 'The Facts of Life' and most recently as Jewel on 'Deadwood'. (Strange how both characters ended up with names similar to her own in the real world.)

When Madelyn Rhue was diagnosed with MS back in 1977, she continued working for as long as she could, and sometimes her condition was written into the role for her. Angela Lansbury made sure a recurring role as the Cabot Cove librarian Jean O'Neill was created for her so that she wouldn't lose her union's medical coverage.

But all of that is a far cry from the old days in Toobworld. For example, Gary Burghoff has a deformed hand and tried to keep it out of view when he was portraying Corporal Walter "Radar" O'Reilly on 'M*A*S*H'. If it was an accepted part of his character, the producers would have had to find some reason as to why he was accepted into the Army with it.

During World War II, James Doohan gave the finger to Hitler. Literally. His middle finger was shot off while he was among the thousands of troops storming the beaches at Normandy. But unless you go looking for it, it's not noticeable. I was standing right next to him on the old FX "apartment" set when he was the special guest star for a charity auction they were holding, and I never noticed it!

Like Burghoff, Doohan kept his four-fingered hand out of view while he was playing Commander Montgomery Scott on 'Star Trek'. But there was a time when his right hand was integral for a shot - Scotty once had to put his hand on a visor/plate that could read the veracity of his statements when he was giving testimony under oath.

For the shot of his hand on the panel, a stunt hand was brought in to show a hand with all five fingers.

Had the same scene been filmed today, there would have already been some kind of splainin as to how Scotty lost the finger during an accident in Engineering; perhaps while trying to fight off Khan's genetic supermen when they tried to commander the department.

Yet over twenty years later, they missed the perfect opportunity to address his missing finger when Scotty was rescued from an endless transporter booth transmission on an episode of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'. It could have been splained that the finger didn't survive the completed transmission after eighty plus years, and that Scotty was lucky it was only that finger that didn't make it through!

Leo McKern had a glass eye, but that was never mentioned in any of the episodes of 'Rumpole of the Bailey', nor in his episodes of 'The Prisoner' as Horace's identical cousin, Number Two.

I never even knew he had a glass eye until after his death, but now I can't help but notice it when I see him on TV......

I would have put Peter Falk into that same category for 'Columbo', but the fact that he has a glass eye was finally addressed in the 25th anniversary special, "A Trace Of Murder". While looking at some evidence with his forensics partner (as well as suspect), the rumpled detective mentioned that "three eyes are better than one".

At some point in his later career, Lt. Columbo had to have lost that eye; and it had to have happened after the episode of "Negative Reaction" (the one where Dick Van Dyke is the murderer). I'm not clear on the details, but the question of his eyesight came up during Columbo's encounter with Mr. Weekly of the DMV (played by Larry Storch). As I remember it, the Lieutenant indicated that there was nothing wrong with his eyes.

Definitely, Peter Falk's other series role, that of my televersion's relative Daniel J. O'Brien in 'The Trials of O'Brien', was portrayed as though he had two real eyes and so that's what sets the lawyer apart from the guy who played him.

There must be plenty of other examples in which an actor's physical characteristics were worked into the role they played as a regular or semi-regular on a TV series. If you know of any to add to the list, contact me and let me know!

Toby OB

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


There's another character on '30 Rock' who might have a genealogical link with another sitcom character. And since that other sitcom is currently on NBC as well, perhaps we might actually see this play out someday.

Jason Sudeikis plays Floyd, Liz Lemon's "Flower Guy", who works as a lawyer in the NBC corporate offices. Sudeikis also is a cast member on 'Saturday Night Live'. So far he's been able to juggle both jobs, but I wonder which he would choose if forced to make a choice? (It's a shame Rachel Dratch didn't do the same thing. Instead, she jumped ship from 'SNL' to play Jenna Malone on '30 Rock', but after the pilot was filmed she was replaced by Jane Krakowski.)

When Rainn Wilson hosted 'Saturday Night Live', Sudeikis was seen in the monologue as himself, but as a clone of Jim Halpert, John Krasinski's character on 'The Office'. (Rainn Wilson plays Dwight Schrute on the show, hence the comedy bit.)

Maybe Jim's smirk is easy enough to emulate. But with his hair styled just right, Sudeikis looked similar enough to Krasinski to suggest that they might be cousins.

And that's how NBC could capitalize on their two best comedies, by doing a crossover between 'The Office' and '30 Rock' with Floyd as Jim's cousin.

Even though 'The Office' takes place in Scranton, Pa., and '30 Rock' is O'Bviously set in Manhattan, the crossover wouldn't be such a stretch. Perhaps Jim showed up to see his cousin while in town on business for Dunder-Mifflin.

As for getting Floyd down to 'The Office'? Maybe he could bring Liz Lemon along to meet other members of the family and they stop by to see where Jim works. And of course, they would be subjected to pure cringiness from Jim's boss, Michael Scott.

Something Liz could later mock on 'TGS with Tracy Jordan'!

Toby OB

I may have posted too soon. With tonight's episode of '30 Rock', we learned that Floyd's family is from the Cleveland, Ohio, area. Also, tonight may have been his last episode as he took the job with a law firm in Cleveland. So if you need a shot of Jason Sudeikis, you'll only have 'Saturday Night Live' as an option.

I suppose it never would have lasted. Tina Fey is always going to find more humor in Liz Lemon being unlucky in love. (And thanks to Tracy Jordan, I can't spell her name as anything but "Liz Lemon"!)


During the run of 'The Larry Sanders Show', it bothered me that we were not being told the last name for Rip Torn's character Artie, who was producing Larry's talk show. (Artie - R.T., I guess?) With a last name, I could have looked for some kind of family ties for Arthur.

But as it turned out, maybe that's a good thing. Without a last name officially attached, I can make some improbable claim for his family background to link him to some other character.

And that's what I've done.

When Larry Sanders floated the idea of taking his talk show back to New York City, Arthur pointedly informed his star that he couldn't go back with him. He didn't give his reasons, but it sounded dark, as though there might have been some mob connection.

But it could be that he just couldn't go back where his twin brother already held incredible power in television broadcasting on the East Coast.

Don Geis is the head honcho at Toobworld's version of NBC, as seen on '30 Rock', and he may have poisoned the business against his twin brother so that Artie was basically blacklisted from ever working in New York again.

Not that Don Geis is actually evil. I suppose if there is an evil twin in that family, it would be Don and Artie's half-brother, Leon Lamarr. Lamarr killed his nephew (probably on his ex-wife's side of the family?) in order to gain his lottery winnings, with the help of his nephew's soon-to-be ex-wife who was Lamarr's lover. (This can be seen in "Columbo: Death Hits The Jackpot".)



With the debut of 'Notes From The Underbelly', ABC sneaked in some synergy for its showcase series. When Lauren was trying to find someone with whom to commiserate while she was performing some stunt to ensure pregnancy, nobody would pick up the phone.

They were all too busy watching 'Lost'; even her husband had abandoned her to watch it!

As her friend Cooper told a one-night stand, "I don't answer the phone when 'Lost' is on."

At the first mention of the show, my brain started racing to disable the Zonk. (It's a good thing I was sitting down; that's a lot of energy expended!) Perhaps they were talking about one of the several movies that had the title 'Lost'....

But then they actually showed several scenes from the show featuring Dominic Monaghan and Matthew Fox!

There may be a way to fix this Zonk, but it hinges on how 'Lost' presents its final episode....

'Notes From The Underbelly' is set in the present - California, April of 2007. The most recent episode of 'Lost' took place in December of 2004.

If the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 make it off that island so that the outside world could learn of what happened to them, it could be that a TV series or a mini-series might be based on their harrowing adventures.

The producers would like 'Lost' to run about 100 episodes. (A better total of course would be 108!) At the rate Time passes on this show, it might only be March of 2005 by the time the series ends with their rescue.

So if the castaways do get rescued by early 2005, that's plenty of time to get a TV show off the ground to capitalize on the story.

And we saw the 'Underbelly' characters were not watching the same 'Lost' episode we did in the real world. The episode featured a scene from the 'Lost' episode of "White Rabbit", which aired on ABC in the real world back on October 20th, 2004. It was O'Bviously a first-run episode for them; nobody gives a repeat that kind of rapt attention!

So that time delay would jibe with my theory. This is a different production of 'Lost', looking similar to the real one, and unlike the show we know, theirs is based on actual events. (Which, come to think of it, IS the show we know!)

As for the two actors in the scene, they don't necessarily have to be Matthew Fox and Dominic Monaghan; they could be two fictional actors with an uncanny resemblance to Dr. Jack Shepherd and Charlie Pace, respectively.

Again, this will all depend on how 'Lost' plays out in its final episode......

Toby OB

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Who could have guessed that 'The Sopranos' would have a spin-off? But there on Monday night, there was the televersion of one of those HBO 'First Look' specials, this time for the movie within the TV show, "Cleaver".

Filming of the movie, described as "'Saw' Meets 'The Godfather'", has been chronicled on 'The Sopranos' over the last few seasons. And there were scenes from the series sprinkled throughout the fifteen minute special. But most of it was concerned with the actual filming of one of the scenes which was shown on the series this past Sunday night.

Featured in the special were the executive producers of "Cleaver", Carmine Lupertazzi, Jr. and Christopher Moltisanti - not the actors playing them, but the actual characters, thus keeping the special within the boundaries of Toobworld. Also interviewed were the film's "director", Morgan Yam, and its two stars, Jonathan LaPaglia and Daniel Baldwin, both appearing as themselves.

Here it is, only April, and I think we have the front-runner for the 2007 Toobit award for Best Spin-Off!

Toby OB


I have to say that Entertainment Weekly called it right this week with their assessment about the 'Aqua Teen Hunger Force' movie. It's their opinion that Cartoon Network picked the wrong property of theirs to showcase in their first full-length theatrical release.

Instead, it should have been 'The Venture Brothers', a wacked spin on 'The Adventures Of Jonny Quest'. With Patrick Warburton in the cast as Brock (the Race Bannon-like family bodyguard), it has the potential for over-the-top action sequences to keep the audiences on the edge of their seats while they're laughing their asses off at the same time.

And I would have thrown in a cameo by 'Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law' to test audience reaction; see if he had potential for his own feature.

Toby OB


'Brothers & Sisters' may have made a genealogical link to 'Star Trek' this week with the introduction of Nora Walker's arch-rival, Miranda Jones (played by the always fantastic Susan Sullivan).

Back in the 1960s, Diana Muldaur appeared in an episode of 'Star Trek' ("Is There In Truth No Beauty?") as Dr. Miranda Jones, a blind telepath linked to the Medusan ambassador.

The Miranda Jones of the 21st Century has 15 grand-children, some by her sons, I'm sure. So it could be that there was a tradition in that branch of the Jones family to have at least one Miranda Jones in each generation. It doesn't necessarily mean that Dr. Jones so many centuries in the future had to be named for this particular Miranda Jones. And I tend to doubt there would be a reason to do so.....

Toby OB


Well, Google finally forced my hand and I had to switch over to the new version of Blogger. Being a dialupagus (one who still uses dial up for computer connections), I had to complete the process at the business center here at work.

Hopefully I won't have any problems tomorrow at home in Toobworld Central when I try to post.....

Toby OB

Monday, April 16, 2007


A few O'Bservations about "The Shakespeare Code", the second episode of 'Doctor Who' this season. There will be spoilers.....

This is one of those episodes where the American audience is at a disadvantage, since it will be months before we get to see it (officially and legally). In "The Shakespeare Code", the Doctor mentions the seventh book of the "Harry Potter" series, teasing Martha with how good it is, since from her perspective it hasn't been published yet. (It's the first few days of April, 2007, her time perspective, but the episode takes place in 1599.)

Being a time traveler, he's already read "The Deathly Hallows"; by the time this airs in the States, anybody who wants to read the book will have already done so.

Of course, it's a reference that will date the episode for all future audiences, in much the same way that Number Six's comment that he'd like to be the first man on the moon dates 'The Prisoner'.

It's also a reference that spoils my dream to one day see JK Rowling allow a TV series based on Hogwart's Academy. Luckily for me, this could still be the Doctor from an alternate Toobworld as was the case in the last two years.

However, should it ever come to pass, I'll find a way to splain it off....

Once again we see how the Doctor inserted himself into Earth's history; this time by supplying William Shakespeare with a few choice turns of phrase. (During which he almost robbed Dylan Thomas the opportunity to be the first to come up with one of his most famous quotes!)

The first Shakespearean quote used by the Doctor was "brave new world". But he said that within the TARDIS, out of earshot for Shakespeare. So four years later (or perhaps more), when Will was writing "The Tempest", it was wholly original for him.

What was interesting about the Doctor's use of the phrase is the full quotation from which it comes:

"O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beautious mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't
The Tempest, Act V, Scene I

The sentiment it expresses captures the Doctor's enthusiasm for the potential in the human race. This was a running theme last season during the first batch of adventures for the Tenth Doctor.

One term in "The Tempest" which can be attributed to the Doctor was the name of "Sycorax". In "The Christmas Invasion", the Sycorax were an alien race bent on subjugating the Earth to be their current foodbasket. At the end of "The Shakespeare Code", the Doctor found a mask in the prop room similar to that worn by the Sycorax and pointed this out.

Shakespeare liked the sound of the word and promised to use it - which he did, as the name of the witch who was the mother of Caliban.

This helped clear up that little bugaboo. At least it was a problem for me - I thought it lazy to steal from Shakespeare to create the name of an alien race. But now, thanks to a time travel loop, we learn that Shakespeare stole the name from that alien race!

I should point out that all of the plays written by Shakespeare were based on "true" events in the TV Universe. Not just the histories, but the comedies and tragedies as well. For Toobworld, there really was a Prospero, a Shylock, a Malvolio and a Titania; Shakespeare was just creating his own version of what really happened to them. In a way, like screenwriters inventing dialogue for real-life characters in intimate situations where there is no public record. (See last year's movies "The Queen" and "The Last King Of Scotland", both by Peter Morgan, who also brought the televersion of Lord "Longford" to life in Toobworld.)

As with modern screenwriters, Shakespeare took liberties with his source material: combining characters, creating fictional characters to better serve the narrative (like DeVito's character in "Hoffa"). And sometimes he changed the names or even added them when none could be found. It just may be that there was no record of the name for Caliban's mom; but since she was a witch, Shakespeare probably remembered the term "Sycorax" from when he dealt with "witches" while the Doctor was in town.

From online sources: "The Tempest" is dated by many conventional scholars circa 1610-11. However, Oxfordian researchers and some modern scholars dispute this dating, arguing for a date closer to 1603-04.

It could be that Shakespeare's interpretation of the "real" Prospero was inspired by his encounter with the Doctor.....

These are the plays Shakespeare wrote before meeting the Doctor and Martha:
(Dates in parentheses indicate the date of first publication only.)

(1562), "The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet", by Oxford, under the pseudonym Arthur Brooke.
(1567), Ovid’s Metamorphoses, collaboration with Oxford's uncle and tutor, Arthur Golding.
1574, Famous Victories of Henry Fifth, early version of Henry IV, Part 1 & 2, and Henry V.

1577, revised 1594 (1623) Comedy of Errors' earlier version called “A Historie of Error". If this is the same as the play entitled "The Night of Errors," it was also performed on 28 December 1594.
1577, revised 1593 (1594) Titus Andronicus .
1577, (1609) Pericles Prince of Tyre. Completed in 1607 by another hand, probably George Wilkins.
1578, (1623) Cymbeline; earlier version called "An History of the Cruelties of A StepMother"
1579, revised in 1602 (1623) All's Well That Ends Well; earlier version called “An History of the Second Helene"
1579, (1623) The Taming of the Shrew; earlier version called “A Morall of the Marriage of Mynde and Measure”
1579, revised in 1590 (1623) Love's Labour's Lost, earlier version called "A Maske of Amazons and a Maske of Knights”
1579, (1623) Merchant of Venice; earlier version called “The Jew”
1581, revised 1594 (1597) Romeo and Juliet
1581, revised 1592 (1602) Richard III
1581, revised 1590 (1595) Henry VI, Part III
1583, revised in 1599 (1600) Much Ado About Nothing
1584, revised 1590 (published 1598) Henry VI, Part I Stationers' Register on 25 February 1598.
1585, revised 1598 (published 1600) Henry VI, Part 2
1586, revised in 1599 (1600) Henry V
(The Doctor uses the line "Once more unto the breach", and Shakespeare exclaims that it's one of his lines, so that fits the chronology.)
1588, revised in 1599 (1623) As You Like It Stationers' Register in August 1600
1589, revised in 1599 (1623) Julius Caesar Mentioned by Thomas Platter in 1599.
1589, revised in 1601 (1603) Hamlet Stationers' Register in July 1602 describes it as “lately acted.”
1589 (published 1600) Henry VI, Part II Parodied by Robert Greene in 1592. In Francis Meres' 1598 list of Shakespeare plays.
1590, revised in 1596 (1622) King John In Francis Meres' 1598 list of Shakespeare plays.
1591, revised 1604 (1622) Othello Performed November 1604. Stationers' Register in November 1607.
1592, revised in 1602 (1623) Twelfth Night
1593 (1623) Taming of the Shrew
1593, (1623) Henry VIII (probably revised in 1612 by John Fletcher)
1594 (1623) The Two Gentlemen of Verona In Francis Meres' 1598 list of Shakespeare plays.
1594 (1598) Love's Labour's Lost In Francis Meres' 1598 list of Shakespeare plays.
1594, revised in 1603 (1623) Macbeth; revised again in 1615 by Thomas Middleton.
1594, revised 1603 (1608) King Lear, earlier version called "The True Chronicle History of King Leir"
1594, (1623) "The Winter's Tale; earlier version called "A Winter’s Night Pastime".
1595 (1597) Richard II In Francis Meres' 1598 list of Shakespeare plays.
1595 (1600) A Midsummer Night's Dream In Francis Meres' 1598 list of Shakespeare plays.
1596 (1600) The Merchant of Venice Recorded at Stationers' Register on 22 July 1598. In Francis Meres' 1598 list of Shakespeare plays.
1597 Henry IV, Part I In Francis Meres' 1598 list of Shakespeare plays.
1594-1597 (1603?) Love's Labour's Won In Francis Meres' 1598 list of Shakespeare plays. In Christopher Hunt's August 1603 booklist. A lost play.
1598 (1602) Merry Wives of Windsor,
[from Wikipedia]

So any quotes the Doctor delivers in this episode had better come from future options. If not, it'll just have to be yet another example of the differences between Toobworld and the Real World which extend beyond geographical locations and phone numbers - like the fact that in one of the TV dimensions, Jules Verne is at least twenty years younger than he was in the Real World. ('The Secret Adventures Of Jules Verne')

Marsha Jones is now woven into "History" as the "Dark Lady", inspiration for the sonnets. I don't think this ever happened for any of the Doctor's Companions before - except maybe Jamie McCrimmon. They've been involved in historical events before, mostly with the First Doctor, - like the Shootout at the OK Corral and the Burning of Rome - and they've met historical figures - like Queen Victoria, Charles Dickens, and Richard the Lion-Hearted - but I don't think any one specific historical event can be attributed to them.

But if I'm wrong, I'm sure there'll be somebody out there who will correct me......

The Carrionites had been around since the dawn of Creation according to the Doctor. They could have been one of those races of sentient beings who escaped the destruction of one universe via the Big Bang which then created the TV Universe. (Relax, Creationists! I'm not saying that's how the "Trueniverse" was created; not my bailiwick.)

According to 'Babylon 5', that's how the TV Universe began, as well as in the tales of Lovecraft, I believe (which have been absorbed into the TV Universe).

If not, at least the Old Ones of Lovecraft can be counted among the Eternals, the name given by the Doctor to those were old when the Universe was born. These would include the Vorlons and the Shadows, again from 'Babylon 5'.

In the TV Universe, this may have been the first time Shakespeare came into contact with time travellers, but it would not be the last. Using their own specially designed equipment (probably adapted from that used by 'Captain Z-Ro'), CBS News sent reporters back to the Globe Theatre to interview members of the acting troupe, including Richard Burbage. ('You Are There')

And Shakespeare was actually pulled forward in Time by way of a magical spell to help out a struggling screenwriter. ('The Twilight Zone')

At the end of the episode, we learned that Queen Elizabeth has met the Tenth Doctor before, but it hasn't happened yet for him.

If it ever should happen onscreen, it will have to be during David Tennant's tenure in the role since she recognized him in that bodily form.

Personally, I hope it's always left for us to wonder what might have/will happen between the two to cause such enmity on her part. Leave it to the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers to flesh out that chapter of Toobworld life between the episodes.

But should they ever film it, I hope they cast Glenda Jackson as the aging Queen Elizabeth. For Toobworld, she is the reigning version of the Virgin Queen. (The actress seen in the role at the end of "The Shakespeare Code" was on so fleetingly and covered in so much make-up, that we can fudge the "Darrin Discrepancy" of recasting.)

The adventure of "The Shakespeare Code" takes place in 1599. The Doctor - in his first incarnation - used his Visualizer to witness a meeting between Queen Elizabeth and Shakespeare and Francis Bacon as they discussed "Hamlet" and the Queen mentions the character of Falstaff. (From The Doctor Who Chronology:

"The Chase: The Executioners": Shakespeare meets with Queen Elizabeth I regarding his plays.Queen Elizabeth refers to having seen a play with Falstaff. This is probably a reference to his first appearance in Henry IV, finished in this year.)

That discussion supposedly took place in 1598. Yet during "The Shakespeare Code", Shakespeare hits upon the phrase "to be or not to be" and likes the sound of it.

"Hamlet" was written in 1589, but it was revised in 1601. So it may have been then when he added the phrase. A Shakespearean scholar would know better than a branded sciolist such as m'self.

I may be remembering the scene wrong, but I believe the Doctor was dismissive of the notion that magic actually exists in the world.

Of course, his world is Toobworld, no matter which dimension he's in. (I'm still not sure if the show has shifted focus to the Doctor of the Main Toobworld yet, which I've heard rumors that it would.) And in Toobworld magic plays a major role: 'Charmed', 'Buffy', 'Angel', 'Nanny and the Professor', 'The Dresden Files', and of course, 'Bewitched'.

At best, (again, if I'm remembering correctly), the Doctor dismissed magic as a scientific process, using words and numbers. not understood by the unlearned.

It's not exactly a Zonk, more of a personal opinion held by a Toobworld character that's definitely wrong; kind of like every belief held by Archie Bunker.

And he could have just been lying to Martha about magic. It's my belief that the Doctor is an old hand at lying to his Companions - about his age; about traveling between dimensions; and about having a human mother....

So that's a lot of analysis for one 50 minute TV show, but Gareth Roberts packed a lot to work with into his script. I've still got at least one more aspect I want to cover, but it deserves to stand on its own......

It looks to be a very good season of 'Doctor Who' for such analyses.....

Sir Toby [not Belch]....

Thanks to Mark for his help on this!

Sunday, April 15, 2007


April 15th, 1947
Opening Day

Sixty years ago this day, Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers as the first black player in the major leagues, taking the field in a game against the Boston Braves.

Jackie Robinson appeared as himself on various talk shows and game shows ('I've Got A Secret' and 'What's My Line?') in his lifetime, and even on an episode of 'Sesame Street'.

But he's also been portrayed in various TV shows and TV movies by actors:

Antonio Lewis Todd (Jackie Robinson)
. . . "Cold Case" (2003) {Colors (#3.4)} TV Series

Tico Wamai (Jackie Robinson)
. . . "Everybody Hates Chris" (2005) {Everybody Hates Promises (#2.7)} TV Series

Andre Braugher (Jackie Robinson)
. . . Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson, The (1990) (TV)

Blair Underwood (Jackie Robinson)
. . . Soul of the Game (1996) (TV)

John Lafayette (Jackie Robinson)
. . . "ABC Afterschool Specials" (1972) {A Home Run for Love (#7.2)} TV Series

Jesse Simms (Jackie Robinson (Memorable Moments Re-Enactment))
. . . 2002 MLB All-Star Game (2002) (TV)

And even over in the sketch comedy dimension, Cedric the Entertainer portrayed Robinson in several episodes of 'The Steve Harvey Show'.

Jackie Robinson once said that he just wanted to be respected as a human being. Hopefully, his many televersions have portrayed him as that, and more....

Toby OB


NBC burned off the last two episodes of 'Andy Barker, P.I.' Saturday night, and the quirky little comedy starring Andy Richter went out with its head held high. That last episode looking at film noir characters fifty years on, with Ed Asner as the guest star, was fantastic.

It also added some flavor to the televersion lives of certain real world celebrities with a look back at the fiftieth birthday party of Gene Kelly at the Brown Derby on August 23, 1962. According to the photographer who covered the event, Buddy Hackett took off his pants and sat in the birthday cake. Like the photographer said, that was comedy back then. It wasn't funny, but they committed.

But it's the first episode that needed some de-Zonking. Andy had not been getting enough sleep because his baby kept crying and so he started having weird dreams. At one point, a scene from 'Law & Order' was playing in the background and suddenly Jesse L. Martin, who plays Detective Ed Green, broke the fourth wall and began talking to Andy.

At least, that's how we were supposed to view it as the audience.

But as a televisiologist, one who wants as many shows as possible to exist under the Big Tent of Toobworld, I can't accept that it was a scene from 'Law & Order'.

Luckily, we never heard Martin be identified as Detective Green, and there was nothing about that short clip to positively brand the show within the show as 'Law & Order'. For all we know, it was some movie in which Martin was playing a cop, maybe even a private eye. Or it was some fictional TV show in which Martin was the star, or perhaps just the guest star.

So this way, 'Law & Order' and 'Andy Barker, P.I.' can co-exist in the same universe.

Zonk averted!

Toby OB


I thought that at some point in the history of Television, surely there must have been some TV series that had space vampires in an episode. Vampires from outer space who sucked/drank blood.

But apparently, the first episode of 'Doctor Who' this season, "Smith And Jones", was the first to feature such a creature.

I could be wrong; I often am. If so, let me know!

There have been vampires in outer space before, but not the kind that subsisted on blood. In "The Man-Trap", an episode of 'Star Trek', the crew of the Enterprise had to contend with the last known Salt Vampire. And in an episode of 'Buck Rogers In The 25th Century', which was simply called "Space Vampire", a monstrous being known as a Vorvon was a vampire who robbed his victims of their souls.

So the Plasmavore who called herself "Florence Finnegan" may have been the first blood-sucking vampire seen outside the human race of Earth. And it could be that it was a Plasmavore who began the tradition back in Earth's pre-history. This would lead to a connection with such shows as 'The Kindred: The Embraced', 'Dracula: The Series', 'The Curse of Dracula', 'Mrs. and Mrs. Dracula', 'Young Dracula', 'Little Dracula', and even 'The Munsters'!

Toby OB


"I'm proud to be paying taxes in the United States.
The only thing is...
I could be just as proud for half the money."
Arthur Godfrey