Sunday, December 5, 2004


"What is a television apparatus to man,
Who has only to shut his eyes to see
The most inaccessible regions of the seen and the never seen,
Who has only to imagine in order to pierce through walls
And cause all the planetary Baghdads of his dreams
To rise from the dust."
Salvador Dali
In this holiday season, we'd like to think all crossovers are beautiful; happy and peppy and bursting with love.

But there are those dark ones: nasty, brutish, unpleasant to the eye. They are visions of hell, not for the squeamish......

Ecce promo!

Now with ticket prices for the movies topping ten bucks, and with the general audience reaction to commercials before a movie an antagonistic face-off, movie-makes have found a way to promote their films and to help underwrite them with a new form of commercial.

It's called synergy - now with riboflavin!

So far we've found two examples of this, in which characters from the movies appear in blipverts for products. The main example is of the link between the insurance company AFLAC and the movie "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events".

[See the essay "A Lemony Blipvert".]

Then there is Anakin Skywalker's appearance in ads for Target and for ESPN's 'SportsCenter'.

[See below for more on that.]

AFLAC and "Lemony Snicket" garner the Crossover of the Week honors, however, as there will be an actual multi-universal link: the AFLAC duck will be making a cameo appearance in the movie.

In addition to appearing in a recent Target campaign, Darth Vader - the Dark Lord of the Sith - shows up with the rest of the cast of "Star Wars", in the latest round of ESPN's "This is Sportscenter" campaign.

Apparently, the network has had to bring on talent from a galaxy far, far away to ease the transition to HD.
('ESPN' & 'Target' & of course, 'The Star Wars Holiday Special' - bwahahahaha!)

It was a battle of Fixer-Upper Shows when the Teutul family of 'American Chopper' - Paul Sr., Paul Jr., and Mikey - played poker against the two carpenters and the host of 'Trading Spaces' - Amy Wynn, Carter Oosterhouse, and Joe Farrell.
('World Poker Tour')

As Ashlee Simpson would understand, I'm fighting off a rising wave of "acid refux" just to write this one up.

Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson, those vapid performers heretofore to be knows as "Jessnicka", paid tribute to the crappy holiday specials of the past with their ABC special 'Nick And Jessica's Family Christmas'.

Just watching the promos that littered the landscape of 'Lost' was painful enough. It was complete with a fake house with highly unlikely visitors showing up (except for the coat-tail grabbing untalented sycophant of a sister, Ashlee Simpson) and stupid little "comedy" bits - like Jessica getting her tongue stuck to a frozen flag pole.

A frozen flag pole on a studio set under very hot lights.....

Sure, it was meant to invoke an enduring image from that modern classic by Jean Shepherd, "A Christmas Story". But I have to figure it was primarily to feed the lustful fantasies of Jessica's male fans who are just reaching puberty. (Or perhaps those of the older males who go to Times Square theatres in raincoats to see Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan movies......)

So this puerile holiday mess can be laid at the doorstep of MTV's "reality" show about Nick and Jessica, 'Newlyweds'.

Stick it in a paper bag, set it on that doorstep, light the bag, ring the doorbell and then run away.

The bad news is that the links to "Jessnicka" are far from over. There is already one spinoff from the series, starring 2004's poster child for nepotism and lack of talent, 'The Ashlee Simpson Show'. (It should have been called 'The Dubutante'!)

But now there will be another off-shoot: 'The Nick Lachey Project'. (It's my belief that it's not so much that they haven't figured out a name for the series yet, as that a title like that serves the same purpose as pinning his name to his mittens......)

And Oh Joy of the Season! It looks like there will be yet one more season of 'Newlyweds' to look forward to!

'Cheers' and 'Seinfeld' exist in the same Universe. Cliff Clavin once competed on 'Jeopardy'. Therefore, if Alex Trebek is helping to push the 'Seinfeld' DVD box set on the game show, it should be counted as a Zonk.

Especially when the entire first round had categories with names like: "No Soup For You", "The Contest", "Yada Yada Yada", and "Festivus".

Tom Brokaw
"I feel lucky to know him. NBC didn't want to help us out when we came to CBS, but Tom had no problem coming over. I think that demonstrated his commitment and his friendship.

I just wish I was Tom. He's smart, he's funny and he's packing in about six lives. He can talk about anything. I shouldn't even be in the same time zone with this guy, let alone in the same business."
- David Letterman

Brokaw surrendered the anchor's chair on 'NBC Nightly News' December 1st, 2004. There was a two-hour special to celebrate his contributions, plus all of the tributes on various NBC affiliates as well as on 'Today'.

James Taylor
James Taylor performed at a special dinner saluting the National Medal of Honor artists which was held at the White House. In tribute to posthumous honoree Sam Cook, Taylor played several of his songs.
('The West Wing')

Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf - Canon T2 Rebel
There is serious inequity in the Agassi household. Andre has quite a lengthy list of Tubeworld appearances. True, most of them are either commercials, talk shows, or sports events. But there was also the time he appeared in an episode of 'Mad About You'.

Steffi can barely count her collection on one hand, and even then two of her blipverts featured her husband as well. Hopefully she's not one to hold it against him.

What am I saying? Of course he wants her to hold it against him!

Elton John - XM Satellite Radio
This is the perfect commercial to represent Sir EJ in TV Land. Such a fictionalized view of his personal life would be a welcome scene in that episode he did of 'Will & Grace'.

Among his other credits:
'Ally McBeal'
'The Simpsons'
'South Park'
'Absolutely Fabulous'
and 'The Muppet Show'

Hurley revealed that his name is in fact Hugo Reyes. "Hurley" is just a nickname. "Why? I'm not telling!"

It may be that he's somehow related to Agent Monica Reyes of the FBI. ('The X-Files')

We learned a lot more about various survivors on the island. At least, the last names of some of them.....
Claire Littleton
Shannon and Boone Rutherford
Hugo "Hurley" Reyes
Ethan Rom - who wasn't listed on the passengers' manifest.....

The name of the book written by former Vice President John Hoynes is "Total Disclosure".
('The West Wing')

In the Real World and in the TV dimension for 'The West Wing', Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead is really most sincerely dead.

But there's still some doubt as far as Earth Prime-Time is concerned. That's because John Hemingway and his kids took a free ride with a dude who bore more than a passing resemblance to the nine-fingered guitarist....
('The John Larroquette Show')

After being bullied by classmates during a televised game show, Rick Murray brought a gun to class and opened fire on the students and teachers of DeGrassi High.

Not having seen the episode, I have yet to determine if Rick then took his own life or if he was shot down by police. I also have to find out if any other students or teachers lost their lives in the tragedy.
('DeGrassi: The Next Generation')

Vulcan teacher and historian/researcher who was the mother of Starfleet's first Vulcan officer, T'Pol. She had joined the Syrinite movement and died in the attack on their desert headquarters in the Forge which had been ordered by V'Las of the Vulcan High Command.

As a leading emissary between the Vulcan's High Command and Earth's nascent Starfleet Command, sometimes Admiral Forrest was all that stood against a total breakdown in communication between the two cultures.

He gave his life to save that of the Vulcan Ambassador Suval when the Earth Embassy on Vulcan was bombed by operatives working for V'Las of the High Command who wanted it to look as though it was the work of Vulcan rebels.


Detective Lilly Rush and her 'Cold Case' team reopened an unsolved 1953 murder investigation at the request of the victim's son, who was convinced that his mother had killed his father.

They found out that Elliot Garvey's life had been in danger back then because he associated with a group of intellectuals suspected by the government as having ties to the American Communism movement.

Garvey was a white school teacher who was also deeply committed to the civil rights issue, and that certainly gave him a few enemies as well.

Elliot Garvey was murdered on April 4, 1953, the same day as the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. It was a day before he was to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee.

April 4th would not have as much resonance again until 15 years later with the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

The topic of the Communist witch-hunts and the blacklisting must have hit very close to home for Orson Bean who was the episode's guest-star. Bean was also blacklisted due to unfounded rumors about his own political leanings. He didn't work for a year until, as he puts it, "the heat was off."

And it was a good thing too that he was allowed to work again, from my personal perspective. One of my favorite memories as a child is watching 'To Tell The Truth' with Orson Bean as one of the panelists. Mom would be working second shift at the hospital, so Dad would fix our dinner and let us eat in the den, giving us pencils and paper so that we could play along in guessing the identity of the correct contestant.

Orson Bean was the best on that show. He'd illustrate the number he had chosen with little pictures that somehow related to that particular subject. And I would try to emulate him.

Hrmmm... Didn't think this would turn out to be mostly about my personal history......

Recently, Time magazine ran a story about Jeff Buckley's cover version of Leonard Cohen's song "Hallelujiah".

"So far the song has appeared on 'The West Wing', 'Crossing Jordan', 'Third Watch', 'Scrubs', 'Without a Trace', 'The O.C.' and, two weeks ago, 'LAX'.

(It has also sneaked onto the iTunes Top 100.)

Some shows use just a snippet, but 'The West Wing' and 'Without a Trace' let it play for minutes over their season finales, a tacit admission that neither the writers nor the actors could convey their characters' emotions as well as Buckley.

It's proof that in his brief life, Jeff Buckley did achieve some kind of grace."

As we enter the Christmas season, I thought the beauty of a song like this could help wash away the horrific memories of what passes for "Christmas cheer" nowadays in Toobworld.

Like the 'Nick & Jessica Family Christmas'........

Chris Noth is set for a January episode of 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent', reprising the Det. Mike Logan character he played from 1990-95 on the original 'L&O'. He also played the role in a TV movie, 'Exiled', and he was the first from the 'L&O' patch of the TV Universe to make the crossover with 'Homicide: Life On The Street'.

But there's a new wrinkle involving this latest appearance by Detective Logan......

Erratic behavior by 'CI' star Vincent D’Onofrio has NBC Universal executives considering Noth as an emergency backup in the lead detective role, according to industry sources.

The New York Post’s Page Six column reported that D'Onofrio passed out on the set, was starting fistfights, and was an overall nightmare to work with. He was hospitalized briefly after the first fainting spell, then returned to the hospital when he keeled over a week later at home.

An NBC spokeswoman confirms Noth’s planned guest spot, but says she knows of no discussions of any cast changes on the show.

So I'm thinking.....

Maybe I should look into the world of 'Law & Order' and see if there's any year upcoming which has some kind of anniversary significance for the show. Because I think a year-long tribute of all-'L&O' inductees might be the way to go since there are so many from the original show alone that could fill out those 12 slots.
Here's the final rundown of the inductees in the year 2004:
January - Captain James T. Kirk
February - Lt. Uhura
March - Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy
April - Commander Montgomery Scott
May - Yeoman Janice Rand
June - Zephraim Cochrane
Birthday Honors - The Cast Of The Original 'Star Trek':
William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Nichelle Nichole, Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett, Grace Lee Whitney
July - Ensign Pavel Chekov
August - Helmsman Hikaru Sulu
September - Gene Roddenberry
October - The Tribbles
November - Ambassador Sarek
December - Mr. Spock

Well, that's it for another week. Please stay tuned!


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