Saturday, November 10, 2007


"Frank! What are you doing?"
Frank Burns:
"Burning books."
"Oh. Any special reason, Dr. Hitler?"
Frank Burns:
One of the greatest living Americans is coming
And I'm not going to let him see some of the trash that's read around here
"Plato's Republic? The Life of Red Grange?"
Frank Burns:
"Robinson Crusoe?"
"Everybody runs around half naked."
"Norman Mailer."
Frank Burns:
"It's got *that word* in it."

If Frank meant the bleep that I think he meant, actually Mailer coined the word "fug" to replace it....

Even in the Television Universe, Norman Mailer was a polarizing presence. Along with the TV characters who reviled his work, there were also those who wanted to aspire to his skills and power with the written word.

Billy Campbell:
"I'm a writer."
Alison Parker Armstrong:
"Writer? What kind of writer?"
Billy Campbell:
"A novelist."
Alison Parker Armstrong:
"You mean like Jackie Collins?"
Billy Campbell:
"No, I mean like Norman Mailer."
'Melrose Place'

Just based on the references to Mailer and his books would be enough to accept that he had a televersion of himself living in Toobworld. But Mailer is one of a handful of writers who could be found living in the same universe as the characters he wrote about. He finally made his way into the League of Themselves by sitting down to an interview at the Dragonfly Inn in Stars Hollow, Connecticut. (Real interviews on news magazines and other types of TV profiles don't really count towards the League of Themselves, unless something remarkable happened during them.)

As Norman Mailer himself described it, his televersion was a "cantankerous curmudgeon" who told a journalist (played by his son Stephen) that his favorite authors were Garcia-Marquez, James Joyce, and Tolstoy. Behind the scenes, it seems that landing Mailer to appear as himself on 'Gilmore Girls' only happened because one of the writers was friends with Stephen Mailer. Otherwise, it may never have happened: "I hate sitcoms," Mailer said. "I don't wanna go near 'em."

Luckily we now have his actual presence locked into the TV Universe, and thanks to syndication, he's gained a different kind of immortality. Because here in the real world, Norman Mailer died today at the age of 84.

Toby OB

A lot of exceptional writers contribute to Playboy.
There's Philip Roth, uh, Norman Mailer, the late Roald Dahl
Dr. Joel Fleischman
'Northern Exposure'


Hollywood TV show producer Freddy Prune confessed to Drs. Sean McNamara and Christian Troy that he had stolen some of his script ideas from 'Chicago Hope'. And if he continued with the practice they would sue him.

O'Bviously in the TV world, some sort of TV series, perhaps more in the line of a reality show, was filmed at the famous hospital in Chicago after the actual series from the real world went off the air. Because Freddy couldn't be talking about the real 'Chicago Hope' series by David E. Kelley; otherwise, that would be a major Zonk between it and 'Nip/Tuck'.

Toby OB


While out patrolling his Philadelphia neighborhood in a twisted version of Crime Watch, Dennis Reynolds brought along a junkyard cat which he named Agent Jack Bauer.

There's definitely no fear of a Zonk in this, as 'It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia' takes place in the main Toobworld, while '24' definitely is quarantined off in its own TV dimension, what with all of the Presidential administrations it's worked its way through. (I don't even watch the series, but I'm thinking they've gone through six so far - not all of them complete terms of office, of course.)

This is not to say that '24' necessarily had to be a TV show to the characters of Earth Prime-Time. Jack Bauer could have actually existed in the main Toobworld. Perhaps he became famous, a household name, after foiling some terrorist plot to destroy the country or assassinate the President - most likely within a twenty-four hour time period.

He may have even died in doing so, and as such became even more famous - getting schools named after him, memorials erected in his name, and having scraggly cats bearing his name as well.

Either that, or he moved back home to Springfield to be with the other members of the Bauer family (as seen on 'Guiding Light').......

Toby OB


The following post is brought to you by my Little Buddy Sean, father of my god-daughter and currently warping impressionable minds in Taiwan as an English teacher........

"OK, you listen to me, Redzo!
You either get on board, or your gonna wake up on that Island
With Phil Donahue and the electric car, you understand me?"
Jack Donaghy
'30 Rock'

I would propose that by 2007, the year this episode of '30 Rock' is set in, The Village has changed hands from whomever owned it back when number 6 was there to a huge multi-national conglomeration of corporations. (According to the flow chart in the episode "The Rural Juror", NBC is owned by a wig company...., it's all connected, and in that same mindset, is there ever really a number 1?).

True, the Village is only confirmed as an island in the Tooniverse ('The Simpsons'), but still... what else could he be referencing?

Donaghy is well enough connected to know about it, but far enough off his rocker to mention it so casually. Still, I have no doubt that Greenzo woke up the next morning as a number, not a free man.

Sean "Shoe Hand"


Thursday's big crossover between 'CSI' and 'Without A Trace' was a little too "business as usual"; nothing about it really was excitng enough to merit the special treatment. Still, not all Sweeps events need to be larger than life extravaganzas.

And whether they meant to or not, they tossed in a very small third crossover that ignored network borders and linked to a show on a rival network.

At one point during the first hour ('CSI'), a phone call was placed to the Tangiers Hotel in order to get information on their suspect. The Tangiers Hotel has also been featured as a rival to the Montecito on 'Las Vegas' over the last few years. And the name goes back to the movie "Casino", so these other mentions are probably tips of the hats to the Scorcese flick.

But within the context of Toobworld, it now exists in the TV Universe and links 'CSI' and 'Without A Trace' to 'Las Vegas'.

Toby OB

Friday, November 9, 2007


One of my bestest of friends, "I.V.", went out during her lunch hour to show her support for the Writers' Guild. As visitors to Toobworld must know, the WGA is on strike to get their fair share of the profits from "new media". The Guild hasn't been on strike since 1988, and their deal back then didn't have much foresight about the advancements in technology and in the ways to deliver TV shows and movies to an audience. So this strike hopes to rectify that situation; as such, it may last a lot longer than the last one.

Here's I.V.'s report from the picket line:

Got back from the picket line a little while ago. It's pretty sad. There are about 30 chilly and damp picketers corraled in a pen too small for them to be able to march effectively. When I asked, they said they do take "civilians," but it was already way too crowded in that little pen.

Somebody had just delivered a large stack of flyers listing the names/addresses/phone numbers of all the major network execs to a young actor thrown out of work by the strike. I offered to split the pile with him and took half the pile and handed them out on the other side of the plaza. They seemed a little incredulous that someone not in the business would volunteer to do this on a lunch hour. Also sad. But this actor guy thanked me several times.

Gotta say it's not very high profile and a scene that the media is going to be able to ignore very easily.

And yesterday's turnout of lots of high-profile celebs was not the case today. I guess celebs don't come out in the rain.

When I heard about how the writers being penned in like cattle, the somnambulant socialist in me stirred for a few minutes, angered over the restrictions to our "guaranteed" freedom of assembly. But I.V. then mentioned this:

I think the main problem is that they're out on the sidewalk, and any larger pen area would impede the ability of pedestrians to get by. I don't think it's a Republican National Convention-type situation.

When she got back to her version of 'The Office', I.V. typed up what was on the flyer and asked me to spread the word via Inner Toob. As a supporter for the rights of the writers, I'm more than happy to do so:


Call or Write These Media Executives and Tell Them: Give The Writers A Fair Share Of The Billions Your Company Makes From The Content They Create. I Want My Favorite Shows Back Soon!

Anne Sweeney
Disney-ABC Television Group
The Walt Disney Company
500 S. Buena Vista St.
Burbank, CA 91521-4581

Kevin Reilly
Fox Entertainment
Fox Broadcasting, 10201
West Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90064-2606

Bruce Rosenblum
Warner Bros. Television Group
Warner Bros. Studios
3400 Riverside Drive
Burbank, CA 91505

Philippe Dauman
1515 Broadway
New York, NY 10036-5794

Leslie Moonves
CBS Corporation
51 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019-6101

Jeff Zucker
NBC Universal
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608-1002

This is the front of the flyer:


We are the people who write your favorite TV shows -- comedies, dramas, soaps, late night and more -- and favorite movies. We're anxious to get back to work. But first we need to be heard.

The media business is healthy. Execs are well compensated, but we're not sharing in the success. The companies make money from online, DVR, mobile, video-games, and DVD. But, as an example, we only get a nickel for every DVD of our work that's sold.

We're only asking for a fair share not only in the present, but also in the future. We're proposing a flexible model of revenue sharing that will work with whatever technology comes next.

Residuals are our life support system. Writing for TV and film is seasonal work. Most of us don't earn regular paychecks. Many of us don't even qualify for healthcare benefits. We need residuals to pay our bills until we get the next TV show or film. There's really no other way for us to survive in this type of business.

So that's why we are out on this picket line. We'd rather be holed up in the writers' rooms, keeping you informed and entertained. But, in the meantime, until this strike gets settled fairly and equitably, we thank you for your support.

Writers Guild of America, East

As Ken Levine said in his blog (link to the left), "The stars that REALLY support the strike will be the ones walking the line in a month." And it doesn't have to be just the stars. The writers will appreciate all the support they can get, especially as it drags on and no longer is the chic thing to support. (It seems to me that most of the media is focused on the strike out in Hollywood, where the high-profile stars can be found out supporting the strike. As the weather gets worse here in the East, it's going to be tough times for the strikers.)

Their work is vital to the continued existence and expansion of Toobworld and they deserve what they're asking for. Hopefully you'll support the WGA in their cause by writing to those addresses listed above to hammer the point home.

Toby OB

"Dealing with network executives is like being nibbled to death by ducks."
Eric Sevareid
[also attributed to Morley Safer]


Meredith Vieira appeared as herself in last night's episode of '30 Rock', in her duties as a presenter on 'Today'. Here is a list of other appearances by Ms. Vieira's televersion:

'All My Children'
'Spin City' - but that takes place in an altermate TV dimension.

Additionally, the use of the 'Today' show in a fictional way links '30 Rock' to 'Seinfeld', 'The Nanny', 'Will & Grace', and other sitcoms.

Toby OB


This being November Sweeps, all of the shows are pulling out their big guns to garner those advertising rates. Not that it matters, as the WGA strike may bring a hasty end to this TV season.

(By the way? Stick to your guns, Writers!)

Tonight on 'Ugly Betty', two celebrities upped their own ante in the League of Themselves. There was Vera Wang, who designed Wilhelmina's wedding dress as well as the gown Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice - well, I can't expect all the visitors to Toobworld will know who she is!) would be wearing as the maid of honor.

Not that she got the chance - tired of being upstaged by Posh's presence in the Big Apple, Wilhelmina had her locked away in a storage room before the ceremony.

Other celebrities were mentioned but not seen, which doesn't negate there presence in Toobworld. Quincy Jones was seated in the fourth row at the church; Rosie O'Donnell and Elizabeth Hasselbeck were seated at the same table for the reception; and Mayor Mike Bloomberg gave Mrs. Becks the key to the city.

Mayor Bloomberg appeared as himself in a couple of episodes of 'Law & Order'. In connection to 'The View', the televersion of Elisabeth Hasselbeck has appeared in the cities of Llanview, ('One Life To Live') and Pine Valley, ('All My Children'). And Quincy Jones not only showed up in episodes of 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' and 'New York Undercover', but he also has a tooniversion, thanks to an appearance on 'The Boondocks'.

As for Rosie's televersion credits, they include:

'The Larry Sanders Show'
'Primetime Glick'
'Beverly Hills 90210'
'The Nanny'
'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
"Jackie's Back"
'Spin City' (but that's in an alternate dimension)

As for Vera Wang, this marked her first Toobworld appearance in a fictional capacity and for a few short minutes she was snarkily nasty! It was also Victoria Beckham's inaugural inclusion into the League of Themselves amid all those other TV appearances. But it established her presence in the TV Universe and she can grow from there.

I must sound like I'm working the runway commentary for Full Frontal Fashion reports.....

Toby OB

Thursday, November 8, 2007


"Captain Sligo" was a seafarer who decided to settle down near Dodge City as seen on 'Gunsmoke'. He carried on a quick and contentious courtship with his next-door neighbor, the widow Josephine Burney, and told her that he expected her to bear him ten sons. Obviously the episode ended long before we saw how

It's my opinion that they had at least one son - or perhaps a daughter. And that child had a daughter who would grow up to become the mother of Harriman Nelson. (According to Daffron and Delaney, her name was Elizabeth Bridget.)

Harriman Nelson took to the seas, as did his great-grandfather Aron before him. After rising to the rank of Admiral in the US Navy, Nelson founded his own science center, the Nelson Institute of Marine Research.

This theory of relateeveety can't be proven, that's why it's a theory. And that's what I love about it the most!

Toby OB


Think that this is a scene from a long-lost episode of 'Star Trek', the original series? Or maybe you think it's from that show known only in the TV Universe thanks to '30 Rock': 'Super Computer'?

Well, you'd be wrong. Loser.

It's from 'The Saint', set in Jolly Olde during the 1960s....

It wasn't just the logo for Starfleet that was stolen from the past (as I mentioned in last night's post about the Country Music awards), it was also the fashion designs.

Obviously whichever intergalactic Edith Head was responsible for coming up with the design for the Starfleet uniforms, they must have found their inspiration from the 20th Century. The uniforms on the left were worn by the elite force of mercenaries, technicians, and perhaps even scientists who worked for Keith Longman on his cryogenics experiment.

A smart move on the part of Mr. Longman - none of his men wore a red shirt, thus insuring that they wouldn't die if they went behind a rock on the estate!

Toby OB


"The Deal" premieres on HBO here in America, although it already aired in the UK - and within the Toobworld timeline, it took place over a decade ago.

"The Deal" tells how Tony Blair caught Gordon Brown off-guard with his announcement that he would not only stand for the leadership position in Parliament, but also to win it. Bleeped off as he was by this, Brown still knew that Blair was right Then Blair offered up a deal with Brown in order to smooth his path: Brown would step aside from the goal... and in return he would have total freedom in setting the country's economic policy.

But Brown had his own proviso: Blair would have to step down after just one term so that Brown could take over. If this is so, the UK has as big a blockhead now in charge as we do in the USA. How could he have thought Blair wouldn't go back on his word?

It took 13 years, but Brown is finally the Prime Minister, and as his "reward", he may get the chance to do his own voice on an episode of 'The Simpsons' as his predecessor did.

Back in the main Toobworld, this also proves that 'Doctor Who' must be taking place in an alternate dimension than Earth Prime-Time. In their world, Blair was murdered by the Clan Slitheen in 2006, eventually replaced by Harriet Jones who was succeeded by Harold Saxon. The coda at the end of "The Deal" clearly marks out that the televersion of Tony Blair served the same length of time as his real world counterpart.

"The Deal" is also similar to the movies "The King And I", "Madigan" and "M*A*S*H" and others in which a character from a movie is played by the same actor in a followup TV series. Only this time, "The Deal" is much more like the "Batman" movie and the currently filming "Sex And The City" film in that the TV version came first. After "The Deal" was filmed, actor Michael Sheen once again portrayed Tony Blair in "The Queen" (which also had the same screenwriter).

Toby OB


Enrique Iglesias flew out to Genoa City, Wisconsin, in yesterday's episode of 'The Young & The Restless' . The Latino singer performed at a benefit concert to support the Clear Springs Relief Fund.

I don't know why - within the framework of the TV Universe and not the real world - why the concert was held at the Indigo night club. A venue like a major theatre or stadium would have been better for selling more tickets.

But of course in the real world, the producers already had the Indigo set so that's where it was held.

This could be his first entry into Toobworld via the League of Themselves, in which real world celebs and even everyday people portray themselves in fictional settings. Enrique Iglesias has over a hundred TV appearances as himself on talk shows, variety programs, reality programming; and he played fictional roles on 'How I Met Your Mother' and 'Two And A Half Men'. (Is he connected to CBS via a record deal? Or could the Eye be courting him for a possible show in the future?)

Toby OB


During the squid attack sequence in "Eleven Days To Zero" (the first episode of 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea'), footage from the theatrical movie of the same name was substituted. This was obviously done as a cost-cutting measure but it does play hob with the TV Universe. That's because Robert Sterling can be seen behind the visor in two close-up shots, and not David Hedison as Lee Crane. Sterling played the role in the film.

The shots are "blink and you miss 'em" quick edits in the overall scene. I never would have noticed this had it not been for behind-the-scenes notes at and at various Irwin Allen/Voyage websites. Even so, a splainin has to be made since it is visible. And if I can freeze-frame it, anybody can.


In some way before he died, George Kerby (the role played by Robert Sterling in the TV show 'Topper') knew Lee Crane. Perhaps he was a family friend, or even a second cousin. Whatever the connection, he must have taken a liking to the young man and apparently was able to check in on Lee even after George died in a Swiss avalanche with his wife Marion.
Based on several episodes which I've seen of 'Topper', I know that the Kerbys did not play by the established rules of haunting. If they had, their ghosts would have still been trapped on that mountaintop since their spirits should have remained where they died. And on several occasions, the duo traveled along with Topper and the Mrs., sometimes even going off on trips of their own.

So it's possible that every so often George Kerby could have gone to wherever Lee Crane was stationed in the Navy to check in on him and to make sure he was okay. Once he learned that Lee had been transferred to an experimental submarine run by the Nelson Institute of Marine Research and not by the government, perhaps George tagged along for the ride to the North Pole.

As a ghost, there wasn't much he could have done for Lee as he was. Sure, he moved a few things around which looked like they were floating in mid-air, much to the consternation of Cosmo Topper. But against a giant squid?

Spurred to action, George would have done the only thing that he could think of - he momentarily possessed Lee to give him the extra physical strength he needed in order to fend off the crushing grip of the tentacles until the others could help free him.

And that's why we in the real world are able to see George Kerby behind the face-mask instead of Lee Crane during those moments. As was the case when Sam Beckett leapt into the life of someone in the past on 'Quantum Leap', we can see it happen but not the others around him. And Lee had no memory of the sensation by the time he got back to the Seaview. If anything, he probably chalked it up to stress under pressure.

And that splains the recasting of Lee Crane in that episode. There was another recastaway within that same episode, and that will be a little more complicated.....

Toby OB


One of the highlights of the summer season for me was "The Bronx Is Burning" on ESPN, the mini-series about the fabled 1977 baseball season for the New York Yankees.

If any season in the years since merited a sequel, I think it would definitely be this past year. Behind the Red Sox all season, a late in the game surge that just falls short, the goodbye to Joe Torre, A-Rod's opt-out, the rise to prominence by Hank and Hal Steinbrenner (known to some friends of mine as "Uday and Qusay"), the jerk-ass move by A-Rod's agent Scott Boras during the final game of the World Series......

I thought Oliver Platt did a great job as the Boss, capturing the manner and the voice, but he didn't really look like George. So this time around, they should get an actor closer in age to George Steinbrenner to play the role, and I think I have the perfect candidate:

Chuck McCann.


'Second Life', described in 'CSI: NY' as "a metaverse, an online social network inside a virtual world" probably could spawn its own parallel universe to Toobworld. (Not that I plan on covering it regularly as I do with the Tooniverse.)

If so, what bizarre permutations might we expect, should citizens from Toobworld find themselves living in 'Second Life'?
Just wonderin', is all......

Toby OB
[Ducking and covering]


Just a reminder for Crossover fans - the two-part crossover between 'CSI' and 'Without A Trace' airs tonight on CBS from 9 PM to 11 PM EST. FBI Special Agent Jack Malone will appear on 'CSI' during the first hour, and then Gil Grissom heads back to New York to see the case to its conclusion at 10 PM on 'Without A Trace'.

If I'm not mistaken - and I usually am! - this could be the first big official Crossover of the new season. I threw "official" in there because with the use of the San Francisco Register as a base of operations, ABC's 'Women's Murder Club' and 'Journeyman' on NBC both technically are sharing a common world.

Toby OB

"I couldn't handle Toby alone.
That boy was just way out of control
Mrs. Frommer

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


I'm working with my computer Artemus tonight because the only two shows I watched on Wednesdays - 'Pushing Daisies' and 'Dirty Sexy Money' - are not on tonight due to the Country Music Awards. (Sorry, Richard Huff of the New York Daily News, but I saw the first episode of 'Life' and didn't like it. You can't make me go back, no matter how much you want it saved.)

Here is the blipvert/logo for the CMA presentation:

I think somebody in charge of design when Starfleet was first forming stole that design for the Starfleet logo:
Of course, in the real world, it's the other way around - if design theft did occur, that is.....

Toby OB


An actress named Hilda Braid has passed away in Great Britain at the age of 78. This was very big news for telly watchers there, as she was well-known for playing Nana Moon on 'EastEnders' for many years.

She left the series in 2005, with the death of her character.

Nana Moon should not be mistaken for Grammy Moon, the paternal grandmother of Daphne Moon Crane of 'Frasier'; two different women entirely.

But it could be that Granny Moon and Nana Moon were related by marriage. Perhaps they married the Brothers Moon and thus gave us a theoretical link between 'Frasier' and 'EastEnders'.

At any rate, my condolences to the Braid family and those who knew her and to her many fans. As Red Skelton would say, "May God bless....."

Toby OB


It's that time of year again! Christmas blipverts have begun sprouting up on TV, although it's not as bad as it once was. I remember back in 2001 when I was at the home of a girl I was seeing at the time; it was Labor Day and we saw a Christmas ad from one of those megalithic box stores.

So even though we're weeks away from seeing Santa at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 'tis the season. So the least I could do is make the adverts diverting, Toobworld-style. And this first one is from England, circa 2004......

When the Doctor was pursued by "The Family of Blood" in a two-part adventure of 'Doctor Who' this past season, he used a piece of Gallifreyan technology never before seen in the TV series to disguise his presence from the Family. It was called the Chameleon Arch and the TARDIS wiki (link to the left) gives a very good description of the device:

"The Chameleon Arch was a piece of Time Lord equipment which could modify the biology of a creature so the cells were that of something else. The procedure was very painful. It was composed of a headset and a fob watch-like device, with an added perception filter, used to store the Gallifreyan biological information. The Doctor used one to change himself into the Human John Smith so he didn't have to punish the Family of Blood. (DW: Human Nature)

The Master also used it to turn into a Human to escape the Last Great Time War, and remained in Human form until he opened the watch part and remembered everything that the Doctor had done to him. (DW: Utopia)"

As I said, it was the first time the Chameleon Arch was actually seen in the program, but that doesn't mean that the Doctor never used the infernal device before. We may not have seen the Tenth Incarnation of the Doctor actually use it on our telly screens, but I think it could be argued that we saw the results of its use......

There are many unseen adventures of the Doctor which fill in the spaces between those adventures that were televised. A lot of these have been told via other medium (and thus are banished to other universes based on Mankind's imagination) - comic books, audio-plays, short stories, tie-in novels, and unofficial fan fiction, for example.
Over at the Doctor Who Reference Guide, Dominique Boies lists not only the TV episodes but also the non-canonical stories, placing them approximately where she thinks they best serve the Doctor's personal chronology. And between the second Christmas special, "The Runaway Bride" and the introduction of Martha Jones into the series, "Smith And Jones", she has quite a rundown of stories:

The Runaway Bride
Corner of the Eye
Warkeeper's Crown
The Hunters
13 O'Clock
Green Fingers
The Snag Finders
The Power of the Cybermen
Drones of Doom
Enemy Mine
Time of the Cybermen
Beneath the Skin
The Sky Below
Beyond the Sea
Lonely Planet
Plague Panic
Deep and Dreamless Sleep
Smith and Jones

As I said, this is not to say that all of those adventures actually happened to the Doctor we know from Television. In fact, the current Doctor (and the Ninth Incarnation preceding him), as we see him on the TV, is not even the Doctor from the main Toobworld. As I've mentioned many times in the past, there are far too many discrepancies within the series at present to allow the current version of 'Doctor Who' be a fixture in Earth Prime-Time.

But nevertheless, being a traveler in Time, the Doctor had plenty of opportunities for adventures after he dropped off Donna Noble and before he picked up Martha Jones. And in one of these, I believe he was forced to use the Chameleon Arch. And he perhaps stayed hidden as a human for several years - certainly long enough to marry a human and begin a life with her!
Not possible, you think? Then check out this Boots blipvert from a few holiday seasons ago.

And yes, for those newbies just joining us, TV commercials do count in the TV firmament.

Forty seconds in TV time, and we get the foundation for a new 'Doctor Who' story!

And in that space of time, we garner a few clues as to what is going on, as well as some additional questions.
If the Doctor has used the Chameleon Arch to hide from some enemy, he must have been under its influence for at least two, maybe three years. It's been long enough for him to fall in love and get married, and to settle down into a rather comfortable, taken-for-granted living arrangement with his human wife.

(By the way - can anybody out there tell me the name of the actress who's playing the role of the wife in this Boots ad?)

Being married has brought along a slew of in-laws - we know that her mother's about, as well as Katie and Matt, who have a baby. I'm assuming that Katie is the wife's sister, as she gets top billing when they're mentioned.

There's also "little Hannah".... Now, I suppose the inclination might be - if we were just treating this commercial as nothing more than an ad for Boots, - to think of little Hannah as the daughter of this couple. But even then, I would argue against it. Does it seem logical to you that the parents would refer to their own daughter as "little Hannah" - oh wait. She might have been named after someone else, and this was their way to distinguish between the two (just in case he thought the popcorn maker was for the older Hannah).

And then she mentions her husband's brother....

We know the Doctor had a brother, if not still has one; he mentions him to Martha in a later episode. But by the way he talks about him, we're supposed to think there's something ominous, more than the usual sibling rivalry, in his relationship with his brother. (There was a lot of speculation after this revelation aired that the brother might turn out to be the Master. But by the time another episode "The Last Of The Time Lords" was broadcast, that theory was pretty much chucked, since neither one of them mentioned a family tie between them when it would have mattered.)

In all the time that could have elapsed between "The Runaway Bride" and "Smith And Jones", it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble that the Doctor picked up his own brother as a traveling Companion in the TARDIS. If so, perhaps both of them had to be subjected to the Chameleon Arch in order to change their appearance. Or it could be that his "brother" was just his latest Terran Companion, a male this time - as were Steven, Ian, Adric, Harry, Turlough, Ben, and Jamie before him. (But not Jack - we know from the opening moments of "Utopia" that the Doctor wanted nothing to do with Captain Jack Harkness once he had been changed by Rose to become "fixed in Time".) Perhaps this new Companion posed as the brother and kept watch over the Doctor while the Time Lord was living out this new identity. (The picture above is from "Quatermass", but it could easily be that of the scenario I'm sketching out.)

And perhaps we could make a further suggestion that the aforementioned "Hannah" was the daughter of the brother? It might be for her safety and benefit that they were hiding this time. Or it could be that she was some other Companion under the care and guardianship of the Doctor and his "brother".

(If I was writing fanfic, I'd make Hannah be the daughter of Susan, the Doctor's grand-daughter, who was left behind in the year 2174 with David Campbell, the man she came to love from that era. So Hannah would be the great grand-daughter of the Doctor, and perhaps the "brother" was her father David Campbell. Both of them might have been on the run - from the Daleks to be found on Earth during the 2180s - after the death of Susan, and so the Doctor was trying to protect them from detection in the past.)

And there you have it. Eventually, whatever crisis forced the Doctor to utilize the Chameleon Arch that first time would have been settled, one way or the other, before he met Martha Jones during that adventure on the Moon. And that would lead to conjecture as to whatever happened to this wife and to Little Hannah.

Were there pink flame-throwers involved?

I suppose this type of argument could also be made for any one-shot appearances by the other actors who have played the Doctor over the years, from Hartnell to McGann, even Eccleston! And if at all possible, I'd restrict the options to other TV commercials. What made this Boots blipvert perfect was its brevity - it restricted the eventuality of Zonks by being so concise; less opportunity to give conflicting details.

(This is why I'd rule out "The Old, The New, And The Deadly", an episode of 'The Persuaders' in which Patrick Troughton guest-starred as the Comte de Marceau. In the span of an hour, we learned that he had been a collaborator with the Nazis. That's not the Doctor, even under the influence of the Chameleon Arch. And besides, he had been aged so much, more than he looked when he regenerated into the Third Doctor.)

Well, if anything, this blog post should prove that I'm willing to make connections between just about anything on TV. Horse Hockey Pucks! The essay probably took longer to read than it was to watch the bleepin' blipvert!

Toby OB



As usual, I'm just repeating this for any newbies out there: "Zonks", a term from 'Let's Make A Deal', are those references in TV shows about other TV shows when both are sharing the same TV Universe.

Zonks have been around almost as long as TV shows have been, but they only became really pervasive in the scripts once the kids who grew up watching TV started writing for TV themselves.

This past Sunday, while watching an old 'Burke's Law' on the American Life Network, Captain Burke Zonked up a reference to 'Ben Casey'. His assistant, Detective Tim Tilson, was helping Jane Richards with tending her Bonsai tree; he told her that it should be pruned to highlight the relationship between Man, the Earth and Heaven.

Listening to this, Amos Burke got exasperated; after all, Jane was a suspect in the death of Betsy Richards, her quadruplet sister, and he wanted to get on with the interrogation.

"Thank you, Dr. Zorba!" he grumbled.

So for us at home, this was a reference to the medical drama 'Ben Casey', in which Dr. David Zorba (played by Sam Jaffe) would intone "Man, Woman, Birth, Death, Infinity" while the appropriate symbols were drawn on a chalkboard. And that's how each episode would begin.

But Captain Burke should not have known that. For him, Drs. Casey and Zorba were both living in the same universe as he was and they were not TV characters.

However, it could be that Dr. Zorba became famous for writing a book entitled "Man, Woman, Birth, Death, Infinity" that launched him onto the best-seller lists and on talk shows across the country - making him about as famous a doctor for that time as Dr. Benjamin Spock. And that would be how Amos Burke knew about him and why his catch-phrase reminded him of what Tim had said.

My considered medical opinion? This is one Zonk that's benign.

Toby OB


I've mentioned this before - if the Numbers from 'Lost' showed up in the lives of the characters from the show all through the world, then it stands to reason that they would show up in the lives of characters from other TV shows which share the same TV Universe.

We've seen the full sequence happen already with a fortune cookie message in 'Veronica Mars', but there have been many other examples of individual numbers from the sequence in other shows like 'Heroes', 'The X-Files', and of course, 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy'. The sequence of the Numbers is 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42. And the latest episode of 'Journeyman' had one of those numbers get displayed prominently. Here we see "23" as the ambulance number, with Dan leading the way into the hospital. Since the Numbers apparently have such power, it can only mean that Dan is due for a momentous turn of events.....

And as he travels through Time, I suppose that's a given.

Toby OB

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


I guess it was to be expected that sooner or later this season, 'Chuck' Bartowski would return to Stanford University for at least one episode of the new spy comedy-thriller. "Chuck vs. The Alma Mater" was yet another episode invoking the school, a list which also includes 'Moonlight', 'Boston Legal', 'Reaper', and 'Journeyman'.

The show has also made its presence known in Toobworld in past shows. Dr. Cristina Yang of 'Grey's Anatomy', for instance, was a graduate of Stanford. In the 1949 soap opera 'One Man's Family', Claudia and Cliff Barbour were students at Stanford; their father Henry was a banker in San Francisco.

On 'One Tree Hill', Haley was planning on attending Stanford, but her pregnancy may have put a crimp in those plans. And in 'Party of Five', Stanford played a major role in the life of Julia - after coming to grips with the trauma faced by the Salinger family, she planned on going back to school there. And there was a writer in her class named Adam who only pretended to be a Stanford student.

Another student at Stanford was Sam Winchester, who dropped out to help his brother in a cross-country quest to vanquish various 'Supernatural' demons while searching for their missing father.

There's one other Stanford mention that seems certain to me, but which I can't prove. On 'Too Close For Comfort', Henry Rush had a collection of sweatshirts from many different colleges and universities. I would have to imagine that living in the San Francisco area, Henry must have had a Stanford sweatshirt on at some point during the run of the series.

[And just because I like the idea, I'm going to claim that the banker Henry Barbour from 'One Man's Family' was the godfather for Henry Rush, who was his namesake. I don't think that theory of relateeveety is 'Too Close For Comfort'; it certainly can't be debunked!]

Toby OB
Graduate of UConn, along with Rebecca Howe of 'Cheers'

"I hate Stanford because they suck so much."
Captain Awesome


This is an off-year when it comes to elections in New York. Here in Manhattan, it was just a couple of judgeships and a proposal to be voted on. Plus it's a rainy, cold, miserable day, so as you can imagine, the turnout is going to be low.

I usually vote around 8 am, once I get home to my neighborhood after work. But today personal business kept me in midtown until 10:15 and I didn't get to my polling place until 10:45 am.

And by that point, only five other people showed up to vote.

But that's my serendipiteevee kicking in. For this ultra-fan for 'The Prisoner', I like the idea of being "Number Six".

Toby OB
[Usually Number 42]


After venting about the ad for "American Gangster" popping up in an episode of 'Heroes', it was like sweet revenge to see Marge Simpson lay waste to the pop-ups for other FOX shows at the beginning of the annual "Treehouse Of Horrors" episode of 'The Simpsons'.

She sucked up the American Idol logo, with the slutty singer silhouette with a hand-held vacuum; she popped Dr. Greg House into the microwave and nuked him. Can't remember now who it was she pinned to the refridgerator with a magnet (Jack Bauer of '24'?), but Marge chased down the escapees from 'Prison Break' and cooked them all in a meatloaf in which their body parts formed various credits.

Homer found such a meal satisfying, especially the special flavor credits. "Mmmmmm, 'Developed By.....' Arrrrrrrrrgh....."

If only she got hold of the suit who came up with the "American Gangster" ploy! Bake him into a loaf of bread and let him be nibbled to death by ducks!

Toby OB

Monday, November 5, 2007


Just so's you know....

I'm making a judgement call on this for Toobworld:

Whatever a character's name is stated to be within the actual show, then that's the character's name. If the name is mis-spelled, or presented as something different in the credits, that should have no effect on the TV Universe.

I've seen this happen often, especially in old TV shows, but it still crops up. There was an example in Sunday night's episode of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' - "The Therapist" working with Cheryl David was Dr. Slavin. But in the credits Winnie Holtzman was listed as "Dr. Salvin.

Doesn't matter. In the TV Universe she's Dr. Slavin because that's how she was addressed and referred to by Cheryl David and the cop investigating the mugging incident.

Just thought I'd mention that.....

Toby OP


After finally convincing myself that it was just a mean-spirited rumor passed on by the rival New York Post, I opened the Daily News this morning on my ride home from work to read this:

It has been an honor, using the platform of the Daily News, to celebrate TV's best, from "Frasier" in 1993 to "The War" and "Pushing Daisies" this fall.

There are too many people to thank, in front of the camera and behind the scenes, for their access and kindness over the years, other than with this general but sincere salute.

But thank you, truly.

It's a really nice column, and it even got a great mention this morning on 'Live with Regis & Kelly' (which was only appropriate since David Bianculli kicked off the column with a mention of their show).

Online the headline is "So Long & Thanks". The Hitch-Hiker's Guide fan in me wanted it to read, "So Long & Thanks For All The Fish", but that head would have been better suited if he was still working at the Post.

The Post: a great paper for wrapping fish.

I can't deny part of my sadness for the loss of his column is because I got my name in there about 17 times or so over the years with my discoveries of "Extras" - his term for those in-jokes to be found in TV shows. And I must have sent in dozens more that were never mentioned or which were found faster by someone else. (The last one I sent in was for the cover of a They Might Be Giants song in an episode of 'Pushing Daisies which featured windmills. "They might be giants" was Don Quixote's justification for tilting at windmills in Cervantes' novel.)

But it's also because Bianculli brought an intelligence and depth of discussion to his coverage of Television, always presenting talking points which I then used to help bolster my arguments that there is stuff on TV worth viewing. However, I should point out that I am a tele-gourmand - I love to watch almost anything, so long as it's scripted.

By the way, fight for your rights, WGA! Toobworld Central supports the writers!

And Bianculli's fondness for really bad puns has also been an inspiration to me as well - so you can blame him for that!

The good news in all of this is that it's not like the old days when a favorite deejay vanished from your radio dial and you never knew where they ended up. Bianculli has already resurfaced with the official launch today of his own website, "TV Worth Watching". I just spent an hour and a half toobling around in there and really liked what I saw. It's well worth a visit and I'd go so far as to say it's worth "repeat viewing". I know I'll be checking in every day for the blog at least.

"TV Worth Watching" follows in the footsteps of Ed Bark and other TV critic/columnists who have found a new home for their "voice" on the web. Still, it felt as though I had lost an old friend when I read his farewell column this morning in the Daily News. Unlike some people who read the paper front to back, or go directly to the Op-Ed page or the sports section, I of course headed for the TV section in the back. And every time he went on vacation, I feared that this was it; he was gone for good with no word on where to find him. (Songs by Dar Williams and the Kinks would go on auto-play in my head whenever that happened....)

"TV Worth Watching" spares us from losing his point of view on Television, and perhaps it's all for the best. If reports are true, we might not even have actual newspapers in the future; everything will be culled from the Internet. (That should make the Trees happy!) So it's probably a good thing that Bianculli gets entrenched now!

While rooting about the new site, I want you to check out two items in particular. One is a column Bianculli wrote about the first
"Mission: Impossible" and his disappointment in a plot point that had to be okayed by Tom Cruise since he was one of the producers. It's a great balancing act in which he doesn't give away the ultimate spoiler, but said just enough so that I knew why I couldn't see the movie (and why to this day I boycott Tom Cruise movies).

The other item of note: check out the picture of David Bianculli in his den. (You can find it in the "About Me" section.)

It makes Toobworld Central look lab-condition pristine by comparison!

Thanks for the years of pleasure reading your column in the Daily News, Mr. Bianculli, and I'm looking forward to doing the same visiting your site on the Web.

And welcome to Inner Toob's Links To The Left!

Toby OB


Thanks to Netflix, I've begun watching 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea' from its beginnings. While growing up, I never caught it on a regular basis during its first run, but over the years I've seen a good number of the episodes. Most of those, however, were before my Toobworld mania, so I didn't bother with trying to remember the details. I suppose most of my memories of the show were attached to brain cells lost during my 1970s college days.....

At any rate, the first episode, "Eleven Days To Zero", contained several points of interest for the televisiologist, besides the obvious ones like cast introductions and key (if minor) characters, like Captain John Phillips. ("Eleven Days To Zero" - It's refreshing to find a first episode that's not dunned with the title "Pilot"!)

There were two recastaways straightaway - both of which took place during the episode! Those will each get their own entry. But for this first post, I'm going to focus on a "Theory of Relateeveety" dealing with a topic near and dear - the O'Brien family tree.

Among the crew of the Seaview was an O'Brien in engineering. It's been a Toobworld tradition down through the decades that certain characteristics repeat themselves throughout the generations, and this happens with more than just genetics. Usually we see it as a tendency to lean toward the Heroic. But it could just as easily apply to an aptitude for a particular occupation.

Thus it could be that an O'Brien in an engineering posting would be a family tradition carried down even over hundreds of years, culminating in Miles Edward O'Brien.

The audience first met Miles O'Brien on board the Enterprise under the command of Jean-Luc Picard. He later transferred to be part of the command staff on board the Deep Space Nine space station near the planet Bajor.

The O'Brien assigned to the Seaview doesn't sport an Irish accent, but after hearing the butchered brogue in the last few episodes of 'Heroes', that's not altogether a bad thing. And with the span of a few hundred years between the Seaview O'Brien and the Enterprise O'Brien, who's to deny that the family emigrated back to the Emerald Isle? Or perhaps after his many years in service to the Nelson Institue of Marine Research, the 1973 era O'Brien (the estimated year in which 'Voyage' takes place) finally lost his accent but never gave up his citizenship. (Nothing says that NIMR only hired Americans, even if they did have a quasi-official connection to the armed services.)

The O'Brien on board the Seaview was an extremely minor member of the crew; if I'm not misremembering, he was just a voice on the intercom in the first episode played by a different actor than the one who took the role in his next appearance. And as he was a man of the 2400s, Miles O'Brien wasn't going to be too forthcoming on his many ancestors. So both characters give us plenty of wiggle room to declare this Theory of Relateeveety as valid.

Toby OB

Sunday, November 4, 2007


There are whores sitting on the Peacock Throne.

It all started with the bugs. Those little ID tags in the corner of the screen to let you know what network you're watching. Then came those ever-expanding promos for upcoming shows that pulled your eyes away from the show you were watching.

It's no wonder the WGA wants a piece of the DVD game - they must know people are going to wait until a series is out on DVD so that they can finally watch it without such interruptions!

But now they've really prostituted themselves with these on-screen promos and crawls. At least with the bugs and the promos, they were basically trumpeting themselves. And that's just natural, right?

However, during 'Heroes' on Monday night, right in the middle of a very tense scene with "HRG", up came an ad for "American Gangster", the new movie starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe.
So what if it's a product of NBC-Universal? It was still for a movie, nothing to do with Television!

David Bianculli had this to say:

Now that TiVo and DVR technology allow viewers to time-shift their favorite shows and zip through the commercials, product placement within shows is way up, and newly released Nielsen ratings confirm the common wisdom: Give people a chance to skip commercials, and they will. Since broadcast TV is a commercial medium, what's a network to do?

Stick ads right into the shows, where they can't be fast-forwarded through, that's what.

NBC has a term for these: "snipes," a word borrowed from construction-site papering of ads.

Here's an even more sinister-sounding term, and one with a noble TV history: "blipverts," which suggests both the quickness and pervasiveness of an advertising message. The term comes from an episode of ABC's "Max Headroom," and was coined almost 20 years ago.

If we don't complain now, and loudly, blipverts are destined to be our future.
[from the New York Daily News]

He's right. We should complain. Not sure where, but I would guess there must be some forum at in which our voices can be heard. (There is a feedback link at the bottom of the page and then there's myNBCcommunity link near the top. Both of them require registration, however, so I assume they're counting on people to shy away from doing that.)

But if nothing is done, it's only going to get worse.....

Toby OB


And what did Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock dress up as for All Hallow's Eve?
Why, as Frodo Baggins and Legolas Greenleaf, of course!

Toby OB
(I have no shame, apparently.....)


Here's a look at the costume worn by Jo Grant for Halloween.....
Yep, she was a sneaker.

Toby OB
(cleaning out the Augean stable of the pictures folder in my computer Artemus)


And what would the Doctor look like if Bob Dylan played him?

That's right, folks; we're bored out of our shared skull here at Toobworld Central!

Toby OB