Tuesday, November 8, 2005


This is from fellow Iddiot "Bobt":

I felt like I was channeling Toby today when I saw the promo for the
upcoming CSI Miami and CSI NY combined episode. That promo made me think of
a serious crossover: the perp of the crime is ex-navy, so Navy CSI starts
the episode; crimes were committed in FL and in NY, so both of those CSI
programs get involved; they find old remains of a body in Los Vegas, so CSI
gets involved and they need a skeletal expert, thus Bones gets involved;
finally, since they can't solve the crimes, they call in the Numbers man and
whats-his-name from Criminal Minds. That should take care of a season.

Well, 'Bones' is on FOX, and even though I'm all for Television without borders, it's not likely to become a universally accepted idea.

But CBS should find a way to throw in 'Cold Case' and then have the trial in Indianapolis and that way you can bring in 'Close To Home'.

And for good measure?

Make the Killer Navy Guy a crewmember from the Big Horn who's now an alien infectee and we can add in 'Threshold'!

Thanks for the ideas, Bobt!



By using Forrest Sawyer, portraying himself, to moderate the live debate on ‘The West Wing’ , NBC was striving to make the episode look as realistic as possible.

Anybody tuning in midway were supposed to get the feeling that it was really happening, like the classic radio broadcast of “The War Of The Worlds” by Orson Welles.

Only, since this was about politics, it was scarier.

NBC may have taken things too far, however, by using the NBC News logo on the screen. The “bug” upset a lot of viewers who are sticklers for the separation of the news and entertainment divisions; and apparently many of them flooded various TV message boards online with their complaints.

By making it too real, NBC got a bit of a problem in at least one local TV market. WNBC/Ch. 4 of New York City ran a thunderstorm warning crawl, which left some viewers wondering if it was real or not. For all they knew, it was all part of the on-screen illusion.

Of course, the news has never been pure in Television; probably not in any medium. In the early days you had newscasts like the ‘Camel News Caravan’, when sponsors had a tight grip on TV’s content.

Do you think Camel Cigarettes were ever the subject of any news stories, if Camel was sponsoring the broadcast?

And many news personalities (a problem right there in that description!) have blended news and showbiz over the years – all of those TV reporters who played themselves during the run of ‘Murphy Brown’. Including Walter Cronkite, the “most trusted man in America”, who made the biggest impression in this type of crossover with his appearance on ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’.

Actually, I don’t know why those media-watchers are so upset. The TV world is NOT the Real World, and ‘The West Wing’ is not even part of the main TV Universe.

If those people viewing at home showed any inclination that Congressman Matthew Santos and Senator Arnold Vinick were actually real-life candidates for the Presidency, then they were lost long before the first “bug” appeared in the corner of the screen.

What NBC should have done was to acknowledge ‘The West Wing’ was not the Real World; embraced it. They should have created an NBC News logo that doesn’t exist here in the “Trueniverse”, but only there in ‘The West Wing’ version of TV Land. Maybe even change the name of the corporation just slightly to signify this wasn’t our world. Make it NBE – the National Broadcasting Enterprise, or something similar….

Then again, they’ve cited NBC’s name in past episodes; and this IS a business more than art, after all…. Don’t want the audience to lose sight of that fact. Gotta keep them loyal to the network so that they’ll return to watch ‘Joey’ on Thursday!


Oh well. At least Mr. Sawyer racked up a credit for himself in the League of Themselves!


As to who I thought won the debate, that’s going to have to wait for a week. By then I will have seen both versions – the East Coast live broadcast as well as the West Coast one – and will compare them for differences.

But I’ll tell you this – I’m a moderate Democrat who would rather see Vinick win this fictional presidential race. And that’s because I’m looking at what would create a more interesting storyline as the series winds down to its finale.

But if it was the Real World? Thanks, but no thanks. I’ve had enough Republican administrations for awhile…..

Monday, November 7, 2005


A lot of Toobworld theories are basically accidents. I stumble across some nuggets of trivia while researching something else; something unrelated. Or I could just be channel-surfing and land on a show or commercial at the fortuitous moment which triggers the light bulb over my head. Oftentimes there’s a good chance I might never have made these discoveries otherwise.

Take for example my post “Lloyd Behavior” from 11//05/05. While ruminating on various characters played by the late Lloyd Bochner, I had to read the plot summaries for each of the episodes of shows in which he appeared.

So while looking into his three appearances as Elgin Cody on ‘Matt Houston’, I learned that Matt was adopted. Bill Houston (as portrayed by David Wayne) was Matt’s adoptive father. His biological father was a character played by Lloyd Bridges. And his name was Virgil Wade, aka Wade Matlock.

Now that’s the type of surname that leaps off the page for a televisiologist like me!

"In this episode we learn that Matt is adopted. His adoptive father is Bill Houston, and his biological father is Virgil Wade, a.k.a. Wade Matlock."

As it was written up at TV.com, one might assume that “Virgil Wade” was his real name, and “Wade Matlock” was an alias. But what if he was known throughout the two-part episode as Virgil Wade, only to be revealed by the end to be Wade Matlock?

And that way, we can make the claim that there was a blood relation link between 'Matt Houston' and 'Ben Matlock'.

Even if “Wade Matlock” was the alias, we could still make the claim; just on more specious grounds. Perhaps Virgil Wade used his mother’s maiden name which offered him an easier opportunity to create the alias.

Oh well. I won’t know how to play it until I actually view the episode and see how it lays. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an episode of ‘Matt Houston’. It probably was dismissed by one of my earlier regenerations as being just another run-of-the-mill private eye show. Although why I didn’t at least check out an episode once Buddy Ebsen joined the cast is beyond me!



“Any TV schedule without Buddy Ebsen sucks eggs.”
George Utley

Sunday, November 6, 2005


"Law & Order"
"Star Trek"

I probably should have taped 'Law & Order' this week, considering Paul Robinette was making a re-appearance (But now on the other side of the courtroom as the lawyer for the defense). But I didn't. And now I have to rely on my faulty memory for the details in some of the arguments between McCoy and Borgia.

But first, here's a recap of the episode from the NBC press release:


When an abusive young mother and murder suspect suddenly dies in her prison cell, an autopsy tells Detectives Fontana (Dennis Farina) and Green (Jesse L. Martin) that the woman has died from an I.U.D. containing benecrine -- an illegal drug that sterilizes its users -- given by a nurse practitioner (guest star Stephanie Roth Haberle) with a social agenda.

As A.D.A.s McCoy (Sam Waterston) and Borgia (Annie Parisse) consider filing second-degree manslaughter charges, they meet a former A.D.A. -- Paul Robinette (Richard Brooks) -- who is now defending the nurse and thinks he has a good case."
During their discussion about the historical background to the case, McCoy and Borgia referred to several cases of enforced sterilization argued before the Supreme Court, and to the timeline of the practice, to show how recently it had been applied even in California, a state known for its more liberal leanings.

[Interested in learning more about the historical aspect of forced sterilization in America? Click on the link for "Footnote TV" over there to the left, and check out the 'Law & Order' entry for "Birthright".]

Now I could be mistaken about my memory on this, but I'm fairly certain they made mention of its practice in Europe; and they did so as if to say that it might be still going on over there.

I'm fuzzy on the details, but there's no doubt in my mind as to what they called the practice - Eugenics.

From the Memory Alpha website:

"Eugenics (also known as Selective Breeding) the philosophy or practice of selectively breeding traits in or out of a group of organisms. While widely used in botany and horticulture, eugenics via genetic engineering in sentient lifeforms (creating "Augments") is illegal in the Federation.

The Eugenics Wars were a series of conflicts that took place on Earth from 1993 to 1996 with a total death toll of 30 million, although some historians think it was closer to 35 million. The wars began in 1993 when the Augments seized control in 40 Earth nations.

To average inhabitants of the United States of America and other industrialized nations, the wars had very little impact on everyday life, and went unmentioned and possibly unknown to much of the world population at the time. It may have been some time before much of the world knew of the massive wars taking place around them. The United States of America were relatively untouched by the Wars, but American troops fought in theaters such as Northern Africa."
Toobworld is NOT the Real World. People, objects, locations, and events happen in the TV Universe which never occur in the Real World. It drives me nuts when people refer to something that's happened in a TV show and dismiss it because it hasn't happened yet in the Real World.

Here's a trivial example - nitpickers complained when Josh Lyman used a Verizon phone booth in a flashback scene - which took place some time before Verizon came into being.

Yeah... so? People, how come you're not all bent out of shape because Josh Lyman doesn't actually exist in the Real World? "W" is our President, not Jed Bartlet. Where's your sense of outrage over that? (On second thought, I think that's building....)

Toobworld is NOT the Real World. So stop carping over the details that don't jibe with our reality.

"It's fiction, babe."

Anyway.....Here in the Real World, we didn't have the Eugenics Wars during the 1990s. Instead we had a near equivalent with an Orwellian name to neutralize its horror - "ethnic cleansing". But basically, it served the same purpose as its dimensional counterpart - the winnowing of the "chaff" from the breeding stock of the human race.

And here we had Jack McCoy of 'Law & Order' discussing the 'Star Trek' concept of Eugenics, and in such a way as to acknowledge that the Eugenics Wars did take place.

For this televisiologist, that moment of realization was bracing, as it was totally unexpected. Most of the time 'Star Trek' is nothing more than a Zonk!, a joke reference in other TV shows. But it's very rare when you get a hint that other TV shows outside of the franchise acknowledge 'Star Trek' as being a part of the same universe. If at all, the reference is usually an accident - as I'm sure the planet Vulcan was in a 'Doctor Who' story arc.

But every so often you get a deliberate nod - like the scientist Jackson Roykirk in an episode of 'Team Knight Rider', who was first mentioned in 'Star Trek' as the inventor of "Nomad".

This reference to Eugenics on 'Law & Order' was probably not meant as a direct reference to 'Star Trek'. But at the same time, I can't picture any TV writer not thinking of 'Trek' when invoking the term.

What else might we infer from a link between 'Law & Order' and 'Star Trek'?

Could Jack McCoy somehow be related to "Bones" McCoy?