Friday, September 12, 2008


I just finished watching the first three episodes of 'Z Rock' from IFC, and really enjoyed this little sitcom a lot. It's about a rock band called ZO2, who perform as the Z Brothers at kid parties by day.
Three episodes in and there has been plenty to help expand Toobworld. O'Bviously the band, first of all - as well as their kid party rivals "Kidtastic". And then there are the celebrities who appear as themselves. Joan Rivers alone links the show to 'nip/tuck', 'Boston Legal', 'I'm With Her', 'America 2-Nite', '227', 'Offshore Television', and I suppose it has to be counted - 'ALF's Hit Talk Show'. (And I was surprised that she wasn't listed for appearances on 'Larry Sanders' or 'Jiminy Glick' - both faux talkers would have been perfect for her....)
It turns out that Joan is the aunt of Dina, the manager for ZO2, which puts her in the same club with other real life celebrities who are related to fictional TV characters - like Art Carney (to Vera on 'Alice') and the late Tim Russert (to Megan on 'Homicide: Life On The Street').

John Popper could link 'Z Rock' to the show that crosses the divide between Toobworld and the Tooniverse - 'Space Ghost: Coast To Coast'! Sebastian Bach has appeared in several scripted series but as other characters, not himself. So he's useless for a link to say, 'Gilmore Girls' in which he portrayed Gil.

Popper has a distinction similar to that of Joan Rivers when it comes to appearing in this show. But instead of being related to Dina, he had sex with her. This puts him the Toobworld variation on the Mile-High Club - real life televersions who had sex with fictional characters. Other members in this exclusive fraternity - Vincent Chase of 'Entourage' (Mandy Moore, probably Ali Larter and Scarlet Johannsen) and Larry Sanders (both Roseanne Barr and Ellen DeGeneres).
Popper also name-checked Lars Ulrich, the co-founder and drummer for Metallica. (Some kind of tip about eating steak and leaving the blood-juice on your fingers to soften up the cuticles, if I remember correctly.....) He was also name-checked in an episode of 'My Name Is Earl' in which Earl and Joy saw Metallica perform during their honeymoon. Afterwards, Joy got Lars to autograph her "baby-bump". Normally that would be pretty flimsy to count for a link, but it was Lars' actual signature on Joy's pregnant belly!
(Sebastian Bach also appeared as himself in the first episode.)

The very first person we saw in the series was also playing himself - George Evans, the technical director as well as a DJ at WFUV at Fordham University. George was conducting a phone interview with ZO2, which I found a bit odd as WFUV is known more for Americana and World Music than for hard-core rock. Still it was a cool gig for George Evans.... Although I have to admit I was surprised that they didn't use the legendary Vin Scelsa to do the honors. Not only is he a powerhouse name among DJs (and hosts "Idiot's Delight" on WFUV Saturday nights), but he used to be the voice-over announcer for IFC.

So far, out of the three episodes I watched, there was only one Zonk. Just before playing the demo of their new song "Aston Martin", Joey Z said that he had to address the CD. And then with a nod to Ed Norton, he said, "Hellooooo, CD!"

That would have been okay to deal with, but once again the writers don't trust their audience to get their pop culture jokes. So Joey followed up with "What? You never watch 'The Honeymooners'?"

To get around it, I'll probably whip up a splainin about how 'The Honeymooners' as a title could have been about anything, perhaps a newlywed reality show. And "Hellooooo, CD!" could have become a catch-phrase from that series. Who knows, maybe one of the honeymooners was caught on camera with a cross-dresser!

The show airs on IFC late Sunday nights and in case you're a bit prudish in nature, you should be warned that the show contains nudity and coarse language.

Toby O'B

*Just don't let ZO2 know that I called them "kidtastic"!

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