Saturday, June 3, 2006


Recently I wrote about the term "Jibber Jabber" and its re-emergence in Toobworld.

A week or so later, and it showed up in the season finale of 'Lost'. After the trek through the woods to reach the Others broke down into a pointless discussion, Sawyer griped that there had been "Enough jibber jabber".

I don't see it as an 'A-Team' Zonk! however. More than likely, it's just a phrase that gets a lot of play in various regions of TV Land.

That the judge in 'Boston Legal' uses it all the time, maybe he got it from B.A. Baracus, after the 'A-Team' member appeared before him in court there in Beantown.



The French version of Ricky Gervais' 'The Office' was panned by the English newspapers when it debuted. But in the long run, they don't matter and neither do their readers. 'Le Bureau' is being championed by those that count the most - the viewers.

And it looks like British newspapers have their ink-stained noses out of joint that their opinions didn't sway the French audience. According to The Guardian, "French newspapers have eagerly embraced this 'spineless, misogynistic, racist, irritating cynic' declaring him the perfect embodiment of a French beauf -- a vulgar, chauvinistic Mr Average who tries too hard."

Which I think would be the point.

What I'm happy about the most is that even though there are three versions of the shows ensconced in Toobworld, none of them invalidates the presence of the other. Unike many other international variations on an original concept - say, with characters like "Inspector Maigret" and "Sherlock Holmes", - the characters have been totally changed and adapted for their target audiences. So there's no problem with them living in the same world.

And even though their lives might mirror one another, there would be no cosmic disturbance in Toobworld should David Brent, Michael Scott, and Gilles Triquet ever meet up at some international conference on paper sales.

(If I'm not mistaken, eventually they could meet an Indian version of the paper company office manager.)

This is all more in keeping with the tradition set by the adaptation of 'Til Death Us Do Part' into 'All In The Family' and 'Steptoe And Son' into 'Sanford And Son'.

And there might even be a boomerang effect when it comes to 'The Office'. Ricky Gervais and his writing partner Stephen Merchant got two highly-praised seasons out of the concept, plus a special Christmas episode and a wrap-up "Where Are They Now?" coda.

But now, having seen how popular the Americanized version has become, and having written an episode for it, Gervais and Merchant are mulling the idea of reviving their series and adapting the American scripts for use in their version.

Not sure how I feel about that; I do prefer the American version over the British one, (just barely!), mostly because I'm not comfortable with TV that makes my skin crawl with embarrassment for the characters I'm watching. (I have to leave the room when Mary Richards starts "singing" that torch song "Quarter To Three" for Lou on 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'.

At any rate, it'll be interesting to see how this all plays out.


THE 4-1-1 ON "THE 4400"


For those of you who need a refresher course in the mythology of the USA Network's 'The 4400', parent network NBC will be offering up a special tonight at 9 pm EST that will bring you up to speed on the last two seasons of the series.



Mary Ritts and her late husband Paul were the creative duo behind the Ritts Puppets, who escaped the confines of local daytime programming for kids to become well-known on the more adult talk show circuit.

In 1951, Paul Ritts was working as a TV director for WCAU, a new TV station in Philadelphia. While working on a sports program with host Bill Sears, they decided to create a chipmunk puppet which could toss out comments from a filing cabinet on camera. Ritts built the puppet and his wife Mary painted it, and that's how Albert the Chipmunk was born. Several months later, Albert was starring in his own show called 'In The Park', which was supposed to be set in the Central Park Zoo of NYC.

'In The Park' presented morality plays for the children at home, but the Ritts Puppets also delved in more adult material for their appearances with Dinah Shore, Merv Griffin, and Johnny Carson.

It sounds as though the Ritts Puppets at one time gave the Muppets a run for their money when it came to TV exposure.

Paul voiced the puppets Geoffrey the Giraffe, Albert Chipmunk, and Calvin Crow, while Mary was the voice of Magnolia the Ostrich.

Mary Ritts didn't have a background in show business; instead, she had been a fashion illustrator for Bonwit Teller. And yet it didn't take long for her to gain a national audience.

This was given quite a boost when the Ritts Puppets made an appearance in a Jerry Lewis movie, "The Errand Boy". And they owed it to the "friendship" between Jerry and Bobo the Clown, one of the puppet players - Jerry Lewis made frequent appearances on their show just to hang out with Bobo.

The Ritts Puppets also starred in 'Family', which was a live hour-long morning show with guests that aired on WNBC in the early 1960s. Later on in the 1970s, they hosted 'The Pink Panther Show' for NBC on Saturday mornings.

Besides being featured on children's series including 'Exploring', the Ritts Puppets also made regular appearances on 'The Ed Sullivan Show', the 'Tonight' show and other variety and talk shows.

I don't know if there is any truth to the rumors about Albert Chipmunk and Topo Gigio, but I get the feeling Sullivan wasn't the only one keesing Topo Gigio goo'night.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Mary Ritts was 95, and she leaves behind a son and several grandchildren.


Friday, June 2, 2006


After watching the second season premiere of 'Lost' repeated the other night on ABC, I am more convinced than before that Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have everything under control and planned out for the entire season. And that includes the deaths of Ana Lucia and Libby were dictated by the plot and not by the DUI arrests of the actresses last year.

Here's the transcript of one particular scene from "Man Of Science, Man Of Faith":

[shot of Jack off by himself at the caves, Kate enters.]
KATE: So, do you believe it?
JACK: Believe what?
KATE: That everything's going to be okay?
JACK: Yeah, I do.
KATE: Kind of unlike you -- the whole glass half-full thing.
JACK: There's a glass?
KATE: You did a good thing saying what you said -- taking care of everybody and just giving them something to count on. If you weren't here, Jack... [long pause] I'm going to the hatch. I understand why you can't go. They need you here. I get it. I do. But Locke's going into that thing whether you like it or not. And if he falls and breaks his neck? Live together, die alone, right?
JACK: Right.

"Live Together, Die Alone" was the title for the two-hour season finale of the show last week......


Um... is it time for the third season yet?


As part of the year-long salute to 'Law & Order', this month we turn our attention to one of the recurring characters on the show, Dr. Elizabeth Olivet (as played by Carolyn McCormick). Having appeared in 61 episodes of the flagship of the franchise, Dr. Olivet would hardly be called just a recurring character in any other series. But then this is 'Law & Order' which has been a powerful warhorse since 1990. (And only now is it beginning to show signs of age and vulnerability.)

Dr. Olivet is a psychiatrist who has often worked for the City, testifying in cases against the defendant for ADAs Ben Stone and Jack McCoy. But increasingly, her own viewpoints and mission in life has put her at odds with McCoy, so that he's come more to rely on getting the assistance he wants from Dr. Emil Szoda. (We'll be meeting him here in the halls of the Crossover later this year.)

The character of Elizabeth Olivet has appeared in a handful of episodes of 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' and once on the short-lived 'Law & Order: Trial By Jury'. I didn't watch 'Conviction', Dick Wolf's latest attempt to expand the franchise, but from what I've been able to see of guest cast lists, she never made it to that show. And she has yet to make an appearance on 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent'.

But here's what makes her ultra-special and worthy of inclusion in the Hall of Fame: in the third season of Dick Wolf's contribution to the FOX network, 'New York Undercover', Dr. Olivet appeared in the episode "Smack Is Back". Thus, like Detective John Munch, she has crossed networks to appear in different TV shows.

If Dick Wolf was willing to loan her out, this could lead to her becoming not only the female version of the Munchkin as she already is, but she could even rival him some day for the number of shows in which he appears.

And it wouldn't have to be only court cases and police procedurals, such as 'CSI: NY' and 'Without A Trace'. Her skills in counseling could do wonders down at the firehouse in 'Rescue Me'. And I'm not just talking about Tommy Gavin in this case, even though - God knows! - he needs it. No, there's also Lou and Probie, and maybe even Jerry the Chief who could use somebody to listen.

Being more realistic, Dick Wolf should look into getting her on 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent'. Detective Goren could use a little help sometimes as well, and I'm not speaking of any case he might be investigating........

And Mike Logan would be another one, which seemed evident while he was "Exiled" to Staten Island. But after meeting with him and his partner, Detective Carolyn Barek, Dr. Olivet might not know which one needed the help......

She certainly could have been helpful on sister NBC show 'Third Watch' while it was on the air, especially with Doc and maybe Bosco. And an appearance by Dr. Olivet might have helped break the ice for a potential crossover between the two series; one which would have made more sense than the multiple crossovers with Balto-based 'Homicide: Life On The Street'. It's almost as if there was some kind of enmity between the two productions.

Ah well, what do I know? I'll at least try to make up for that omission with my Birthday Honors salute in a few days.....

So here's to Dr. Elizabeth Olivet, the latest member of the 'Law & Order' team to grace the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.

'Law & Order'
'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'
'Law & Order: Trial By Jury'
'New York Undercover'


Thursday, June 1, 2006


Stopped off at FYE to pick up a few little choice items and to check out what they had available for TV DVDs. Because next week, on my b'day, I get 20% off all purchases as a member of their Backstage Pass program.

So I didn't want to splurge this week with just a 10% discount!

But here's what I picked up:

This is a collection of "rare, lost, and strange cartoons" from between 1931 and 1971. Most of them are from before 1952 and are usually early forms of commercials to fill the time between the two features at the local cinema.

But I'm especially looking forward to that 1971 short called "Monsters Do Have Their Place". It was made for theatres, urging the patrons to vote against cable TV.


Yeah, the death of Robert Sterling, who played George Kerby on this show, spurred me to pick this up, but I would have done so eventually. 'Topper' was one of those old TV show classics that could fill the nooks and crannies in the programming schedules of local TV stations back in the sixties and always fit right in.

Plus, it was just six episodes, enough for a taste if any visitors to Toobworld Central cared to sample it. And at about five bucks, you can't beat the price.

'DINOSAURS' (The complete first and second season)
I loved this show! And it serves such an important role in the timeline for Toobworld to boot! And the search of Easter Dinosaur Eggs looks like there'll be plenty of fun to be had if I ever get tired of watching the episodes... and I don't see that ever happening!

So wait until next week for an even longer post about my birthday haul! There has to be some good to come out of that 6/6/6 date!
Like I said earlier....




We know lots of TV characters who have passed away during the course of a TV show; plenty more who are so identified with a particular actor that when the actor dies, we assume the character must be dead as well. For example, Archie Bunker. Can you picture anyone else playing that role but Carroll O'Connor? On the day O'Connor died, Archie passed away as well.

But Robert Sterling, who recently passed away at the age of 88, presented us with something completely different. Although he starred in three different series, and appeared in episodes of many more, there was one character of his in Toobworld whom we know the best. And he was never alive when we first met him!

George Kerby, along with his wife Marian (and their dog Neil), were ghosts when 'Topper' began in 1953. And as such, George Kerby will "live" forever in Toobworld, and Robert Sterling's place in TV history should last just as long.

Rest in peace, Mr. Sterling.....

"Ichabod and Me" (1961) TV Series .... Bob Major (1961-62)
"Love That Jill" (1958) TV Series .... Jack Gibson (1958)
"Topper" .... George Kerby

Beggarman, Thief (1979) (TV) .... Colonel Day
Letters from Three Lovers (1973) (TV) .... Bob
A Global Affair (1964) .... Randy Sterling

Murder, She Wrote"
- If a Body Meet a Body (1986) TV Episode .... Ben Shipley
- Tomorrows (1984) TV Episode .... Mr. Jenks
"Simon & Simon"
- The Last Time I Saw Michael (1982) TV Episode .... Michael Wells/Arthur Bristol
"Fantasy Island"
- The Beautiful Skeptic/The Lost Platoon (1982) TV Episode .... Walter Rawlin
"Love, American Style"
- Love and the Clinic/Love and the Perfect Wedding/Love and the President/Love and the Return of Raymond (1972) TV Episode .... (segment "Love and the President")
"The Bold Ones: The New Doctors"
- Dagger in the Mind (1971) TV Episode .... Marsh Freeman
"Nanny and the Professor"
- The Conversion of Brother Ben (1971) TV Episode .... Bentley Everett
"Naked City"
- Alive and Still a Second Lieutenant (1963) TV Episode .... Jason Colwell
"The Twilight Zone"
- Printer's Devil (1963) TV Episode .... Douglas
"The Alfred Hitchcock Hour"
- House Guest (1962) TV Episode .... Ray Roscoe
"The United States Steel Hour"
- The Yum Yum Girl (1960) TV Episode
"General Electric Theater"
- Adam's Apples (1960) TV Episode .... Robert Major
"Wagon Train"
- The Julia Gage Story (1957) TV Episode .... Tobe Cannon
"Cavalcade of America"
- The Widow Was Willing (1957) TV Episode
"The Ford Television Theatre"
- The Man Across the Hall (1957) TV Episode .... Hank Holloway
- The Clay Pigeon (1956) TV Episode .... Frank Darin
"Front Row Center" (1955) TV Series .... Host (1956)
"The 20th Century-Fox Hour"
- The Moneymaker (1956) TV Episode .... Steve Buchanan
"Lux Video Theatre"
- Here Comes the Groom (1956) TV Episode
- Hands Across the Table (1956) TV Episode
- Autumn Nocturne (1953) TV Episode
- Stolen Years (1951) TV Episode
- Inside Story (1951) TV Episode
"Letter to Loretta"
- Tightwad Millionaire (1956) TV Episode .... Markle
- Thin Air (1955) TV Episode .... Husband
"Studio One"
- Passage of Arms (1955) TV Episode
- The Ambassadors (1951) TV Episode
- There Was a Crooked Man (1950) TV Episode
- The Man Who Had Influence (1950) TV Episode
- The Ambassadors (1950) TV Episode
"Robert Montgomery Presents"
- Keep Your Head Up, Mr. Putnam (1953) TV Episode
- The Davidian Report (1952) TV Episode
- Candles for Theresa (1952) TV Episode
- The Lonely (1952) TV Episode
"The Gulf Playhouse"
- Scream of the Crowd (1952) TV Episode
- The Man Who Had Seven Hours (1952) TV Episode
- The Door's on the Thirteenth Floor (1949) TV Episode
"Lights Out"
- The Borgia Lamp (1952) TV Episode
- The Faceless Man (1951) TV Episode
"Celanese Theatre"
- Brief Moment (1952) TV Episode
"Faith Baldwin Romance Theatre"
- Careless Love (1951) TV Episode
"The Clock"
- The Hidden Thing (1951) TV Episode
"The Ford Theatre Hour"
- Final Copy (1951) TV Episode

Max Liebman Presents: Dearest Enemy (1955) (TV) .... Captain John Copeland

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961) .... Capt. Lee Crane
Return to Peyton Place (1961) .... Mike Rossi, Peyton Place High School Principal



Juan Valdez is retiring. Long live Juan Valdez!

The ambassador to the world for Colombian coffee, Carlos Sanchez, is hanging up his trademark poncho after four decades of playing the role of "Juan Valdez."

Now the national federation of Colombian coffee producers, owners of the Juan Valdez trademark, is searching for a man to inherit that poncho.

Sanchez and his trusty mule Conchita have promoted Colombian coffee since 1969 with a leather bag, bushy mustache and straw hat typical of rural Colombia. That Juan Valdez trademark has become one of the world's most recognizable, and the fictional figure has become one of the most famous Colombians of all time.

For a country so closely allied in the global mind with drug traffickers and terrorists, Colombians have been grateful to Valdez for presenting another side to their country.

"I feel like a flag, I feel like I've represented the country," said Sanchez in a press conference, at times struggling to hold back tears as he talked of his joy at playing the role of a generation. "There is a big sense of gratitude from Colombians abroad for this."

Sanchez, 71, said his advancing years made it hard to keep up a strenuous schedule traveling all over Colombia and the world promoting coffee.

In searching for a replacement, the federation sent teams across the streets, farms and - of course - cafes in the coffee region in the west of the country. With the help of U.S. consultants, they narrowed down 400 contenders to 10. It will announce the new Juan Valdez, the third incarnation, by the end of June.

"Of course he must have a mustache," joked Gabriel Silva, the general manager of the federation. Sanchez nodded in approval and stroked his own impressive mustache.

"This is not a beauty contest," said Silva.This was quickly confirmed when images of the casting call showed dozens of mustached men, some with notable paunches, doing their impressions of Juan Valdez.

Asked what he wants to do now he's retired, Sanchez said "paint like a madman."

[edited from the AP story]

The story mentions that Carlos Sanchez was the second man to portray Juan Valdez; Jose Duval was the first. But I'm sure the general public watching the ads never noticed the difference when the role was recast.

Upon closer examination of the two versions, I'm sure people would be able to tell one from the other. As I'm sure they will be able to tell the difference between Mr. Sanchez and his successor if pressed to examine them both.

Now it could be argued that Juan Valdez is an Immortal, as found in the TV shows 'Highlander' and 'Highlander: The Raven', and therefore the same man throughout the run of these commercials. But I think we should cite Occam's Razor and go for the easier splainin: in this particular branch of the Valdez family, it is tradition that the oldest son is named Juan. And we will be seeing "Juan Valdez: The Next Generation" in these new blipverts.

Of course, this doesn't explain his seemingly magical ability to teleport himself (and his mule Conchita) into supermarkets all over the United States and then back to Colombia to trod the hills of its coffee country. But that's some kind of genetic talent that is also passed down from generation to generation along with the name.......



While much of the network’s upfront pitch was dedicated to developments in the broadband space, [Bravo President Lauren] Zalaznick said that linear television is still Bravo’s bread and butter.

“We’re proud of that old thing called TV,” Zalaznick said.

Now that was a quote that sent chills up my spine. I understand that with the technology on such a fast pace, the concept of TV that I grew up with is only in the basics of the medium.

I've dabbled in Crossovers of the Week in which the partner in the crossover is online content, as in the connection between 'CSI: Miami' and a scene which was only available on

In fact, so far as I can tell, the first half of next week's Crossover of the Week is also available only online.

The day has come when I have to accept online TV as part and parcel of Toobworld.

I just don't want to lose the "Idiot's Lantern", the "Glass Furnace", that I've come to love since I used to march around on my knees to the theme song of 'The Mickey Mouse Club'.

That was just last week actually. What can I say? I had been out with the guys; there were these monster margaritas.......



Here's a little news blurb about summer viewing options in Toobworld:

"IFC, aka Independent Film Channel, has added two new half-hour programs to its summer line-up. The first, called 'The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman', is about two best friends who are struggling to make it in Hollywood. One is a screenwriter and the other is an aspiring producer. Laura Kightlinger, head writer of 'Will & Grace', created and stars. The second series, called 'The Business', follows the bumbling cast of a previous series called 'The Festival' as they try to make a movie."

As soon as 'The Business' premieres, it's automatically up for Crossover of the Week as a sequel.

Reading that story gave me the idea to seek out when the rest of my favorite summer shows are coming back, as well as those other dramatic and comedic presentations which will be making their debuts over the next few months and which will be expanding the boundaries of the TV Universe.

And by that I mean, if you want to know about various summertime reality programming and game shows, look elsewhere!

Basically, the summertime lineup has already kicked off with the return of 'Rescue Me' this past Tuesday night. The third season will be airing on FX at 10 pm for the next twelve Tuesdays.

Those episodes left for the once promising 'Commander In Chief' will be burned off on Wednesday nights at 10 pm. It returned last night to the ABC schedule now that May Sweeps are over.

As for the rest, my thanks go out to for the dates and times for the following shows. Those that I was not familiar with, I figured you might not know about either; so I grabbed a few press release quotes to provide some descriptions.

Friday, June 2
8:30 p.m.
'Beyond the Break' (The N)

"'Beyond the Break' embodies every teen's dream -- to live on the beach, get paid and surf in Hawaii, America's paradise," said Kenny Miller, Vice President, Programming and Production, The N. "The series showcases the highs and lows of leaving home and confronting the reality that pursuing your dreams is much harder than you ever imagined."

Blah blah blah.

Sunday, June 4
8 p.m.
'Falcon Beach' (ABC Family)

"Filmed in the cottage community of Lake Winnipeg, Falcon Beach is about a group of young people summering in the fictional lakeside resort town of Falcon Beach. (I suppose it's still located in Canada.)
It's about summer. It's about freedom. It's about young adults trying to define themselves for the life ahead. But it's also about two worlds colliding - that of the summer cottagers and that of the townies who live and work in Falcon Beach year round. "

10 p.m.
'Footballers Wive$' (BBC America)

12:30 a.m.
'Tom Goes to the Mayor' (Cartoon Network)

I'm not a fan of this series at all, but I don't want to deny the Tooniverse its proper recognition among the TV dimensions.

Monday, June 5
11 p.m.
'Lovespring International' (Lifetime)

The new half-hour improvisational comedy series is about a dating service marketed to customers as an "elite Beverly Hills" company, despite its location in Tarzana, California. Made up of dysfunctional misfits or "relationship counselors," they desperately try to find love for their clients although they have no idea how to do it for themselves.

Wednesday June 7
10:30 pm
'Dog Bites Man' (Comedy Central)

In the same vein as 'Reno 911' rather than 'The Daily Show', this sitcom will look at the world of local news.

Please, God.... Let them work for WJM, Channel 12 in Minneapolis!

Thursdays June 8
10 pm
'Windfall' (NBC)
'Hex' (BBC-America)

'Windfall' is about a group who win the Lottery and one of its stars is Luke Perry. I'm not sure, but I'm getting a kind of 'Lost' vibe about the group dynamic. But my attention will be on 'Hex', about a modern day witch in England, with hopes that it might make some in-joke reference to either 'Charmed' or 'Buffy' or even 'Bewitched' that would work more as a crossover than a Zonk!.

Sunday, June 11
9 p.m.
'Deadwood' (HBO)
'The 4400' (USA)

10 p.m.
'Entourage' (HBO)

10:30 p.m.
'Lucky Louie' (HBO) points out that Louis CK's sitcom for HBO "deviates from a traditional sitcom in several aspects, but also pays tribute to the earlier sitcoms like 'Good Times' and 'All in the Family'."

From the Boston Globe:
While All in the Family brought racism out into the open, the interactions between C.K.’s character and his black neighbor capture the more subtle realties of race relations today. In the pilot, Louie makes a series of clumsy, halfhearted attempts to invite the neighbors over. Finally, the neighbor tells Louie, “I get the distinct feeling that you’re just trying to acquire a black friend.” Louie replies: “That’s exactly what I’m doing. But I’m not doing it for me, I’m doing it for my daughter.”

Monday, June 12
9 p.m.
'The Closer' (TNT)

10 p.m.
'Saved' (TNT)

A new show about the travails of an EMT paramedic. Tom Everett Scott is the star.

Sunday, June 18
10 p.m.
'The Dead Zone' (USA)

Sunday, June 25
10:30 p.m.

'The Venture Bros.' (Cartoon)

Monday, June 26
8 p.m.
'Kyle XY' (ABC Family)

Kyle XY follows a mysterious boy who looks like a teenager, but otherwise appears to be a newborn. The Trager family takes him in as one of their own.

The series centers on Kyle (newcomer Matt Dallas), a mysterious teen-age boy, whose actions suggest that he is a newborn. Brought home from an institution by psychologist Nicole Trager (Marguerite McIntyre), Kyle’s presence initially engenders wariness with her family until he’s later accepted and begins to experience everyday things like computers, music and high-school parties.

(ABC Family also ordered eight more episodes of 'Beautiful People', a one-hour drama about a mother and two daughters who relocate from a small New Mexico town to Manhattan’s upper crust. I'm not sure when that will air.)

Wednesday, June 28
10 p.m.
'Blade: The Series' (Spike TV)

(As Blade is being played by Sticky Fingaz rather than Wesley Snipes, then its only connection to the movie universe is the basic storyline.)

Thursday, June 29
10 p.m.
'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' (FX)

This was my favorite series of last summer, the one sitcom that has truly learned from the master, 'Seinfeld', to be its heir apparent. And now Danny DeVito is joining the gang as the father of Dennis and Dee. The restaurant scene they've been showing in the promos is spit-up funny.

Friday, June 30
9 p.m.
'Whistler' (The N)

"Things begin to go awry in Whistler, the seemingly perfect world-class mountain resort and home of the 2010 Winter Olympics. The series kicks off as the 2006 Olympic Snowboarding Gold Medalist, Beck McKaye (David Paetkau), is discovered dead on the slopes which sends shockwaves throughout the sleepy community. Beck's mysterious accident forever changes the lives of his friends and family -- especially his younger brother, 17-year-old Quinn. Quinn (Jesse Moss) digs deeper into the hidden life of his beloved brother and uncovers a side of Whistler, and its inhabitants, that he's never known." Saturday, July 1

10 p.m.
'Hustle' (AMC)

This looks to be the last season of the show; I think it only ran for three over in the UK. And I know Adrian Lester was hoping his pilot was going to be picked up over here.

(But now that he's free, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, he'd be an excellent additioin to the cast of 'Lost' as a representative of Widmore Labs......)

Friday, July 7
9 p.m.
'Monk' (USA)

10 p.m.

This is one of the three shows I'm most... psyched for. ('Hex' was the first one mentioned.) It co-stars Dule Hill and it's about a guy whose keen powers of observation are mistaken for psychic powers... a mistake he trades on to make money.

Sunday, July 9
10 p.m.
'Brotherhood' (Showtime)

"BROTHERHOOD tells the story of two brothers who sometimes share a twisted sense of moral compromise - both with their own skewed, idealistic visions of what makes the American dream. They live the lie that noble ends can sometimes only be accomplished through dubious means.

Tommy Caffee (JASON CLARKE) is a family man whose ambition and street smarts help him navigate the back-room dealings and underhanded tactics of Providence politics. He is a local politician out to protect "The Hill" and its interests by any means necessary. Tommy's complicated family and professional lives turn upside-down with the return of his gangster brother Mike (JASON ISAACS), who has come back to the neighborhood to regain control of its underworld activities."

10:30 p.m.
'Reno 911' (Comedy Central)

I think this season leads up to the theatrical movie release.

Friday, July 14
9 p.m.
'Stargate SG-1' (Sci Fi)

10 p.m.
'Stargate Atlantis' (Sci Fi)

Sunday, July 16
9 p.m.
'Angela's Eyes' (Lifetime)

From the producers of the Oscar-winning movie "Crash", comes the hour-long drama centering on Angela Henson, a young FBI agent who has the exceptional gift of knowing when someone is lying. (She discovered this skill at age 14, when she learned her "average" American parents were actually spies. )

Attempting to right her parents' wrong, Angela is now working with the same agency that brought her parents down. And while her unique ability is advantageous in her career, it hinders her personal life, preventing her to get close to the men she dates. (Which makes it perfect for Lifetime......)

Tuesday, July 18
9 p.m.
'Eureka' (Sci Fi)

And this completes the trifecta of my most-anticipated summer shows. Eureka is a small town in the Northwest populated by scientists working on top secret skiffy projects for the government. It should have a kind of 'Twin Peaks' vibe going for it.

Sunday, July 23
10 p.m.
'Three Moons Over Milford' (ABC Family)

"When a small town is facing a cosmic explosion threatening Earth’s existence, strange events are bound to begin happening. In the town of Milford, people are quitting their jobs, throwing caution to the wind and living as if it's their last day on earth. The series will focus on the Davis family. The father has left to travel the world, the teenage daughter, Lydia has begun studying Wicca and her brother Alex is on the verge of having an affair with his much-older neighbor. How extreme will this town go? That remains to be seen, but it certainly sounds intriguing."

It does indeed! This is the first I'm hearing about this show and I will definitely have to check it out for at least two episodes (the first and the last, the alpha and the omega). I might have to lump it over in a side dimension, maybe even the one in which those three NBC "Richter Scale" tele-flicks take place.

Monday, August 14
10 p.m.
'Weeds' (Showtime)

Well, I hope you find something of interest in that list to keep you plopped on the sofa for the rest of the summer.

Outdoor activities on a summer's eve are so over-rated......


Wednesday, May 31, 2006


I can't tell you how excited I was to hear the line-up of guests for 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!' later in the night of the season finale for 'Lost':

Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Wednesday, May. 24: Actor/director Jon Favreau, Bass Champion Mike Iaconelli, Hugh McIntyre from the HANSO Foundation. Bus Stop Giveaway: New York City

What a great crossover idea for both shows! It would rank right up there with the appearances of 'The Tonight Show' on 'Here's Lucy' and 'Cheers' and 'Seinfeld'.

And they played it straight - Hugh McIntyre "truthfully" answered all of Jimmy's questions regarding the Hanso Foundation and there was no hint that it was supposed to be any kind of a spoof.

Buit they kept talking about 'Lost' as a TV show which was mocking the foundation; with its own fictional variant on the "work" being done by the scientists who were funded by Alvar Hanso.

So this put 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!' into yet another TV dimension, separate from the main Toobworld; one where 'Lost' is just a TV show just like it is for us here in the Real World.

I suppose this new version of 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!' could be set in the same theory-busting dimension where 'Hi Honey I'm Home!' takes place. In that short-lived sitcom from Nick @ Nite, characters from actual old TV show classics (Grandpa Munster, Alice Kramden, Gomer Pyle, etc.) crossed over from the TV Universe into the "Real World".

But it couldn't be the Real World since we were watching the show ourselves.

Unless..... maybe we aren't living in the Real World either......

Warning: 'Hi Honey I'm Home' may cause headaches, migraines, agita, and physical violence. If you are a televisiologist who is pregnant, or a televisiologist who is even thinking about becoming pregnant, you should not watch 'Hi Honey I'm Home' as it may cause complications.

And the worst part of it all is that you don't even get the benefit of a four hour erection from watching it.......




In order to promote the online presence of "Brilliant But Cancelled", BRAVO presented a marathon of 'The Jake Effect. At least seven episodes of the sitcom were allegedly produced, but the NBC owned BRAVO only showed the first six. (Someday I'll have to track down the episode "The Intervention" so my 'Jake Effect' viewing experience will be complete.)

Now that the show has aired, the Chicago-based sitcom has become part of Toobworld.

'The Jake Effect' was about an idealistic lawyer who chucked it all to become a high school history teacher. But Jake Galvin still took advantage of the perks which his former life provided him.

This included accepting favors from former clients whom he got off the hook. One of these clients was a home securities expert who liked to use the properties of his own (unsuspecting) clients when they were conveniently out of town. So when he was finally caught doing this, Jake's skills led to a "not guilty" verdict, and he was so grateful, that he made sure Jake and his friend Nick Case would get a chance to try out these celebrities' homes.

The episode gave us as examples the adventures of Nick and Jake in the homes of Mike Ditka, Oprah Winfrey, and the Big Man of Chicago himself, Michael Jordan.

At Mike Ditka's, Nick took a fancy bubble bath, while Jake availed himself of the Coach's personal electric toothbrush.

At Oprah's mansion, they enjoyed a Steve Guttenberg film festival in her private screening room.

And finally, at Chez Air Jordan, Jake and Nick brought along one of Jake's fellow teachers and a potential love interest to boot, Liza. And they used the mansion as a place for two of their students to work out their mutual hostilities.

Now, we never got the chance to see the actual televersions of Ditka, Oprah, and the King of Jordans, but we did get to go inside the palatial estates where they lived.

And that's good enough with old Dinsey......

Aside from his own eponymous series back in 1982, Mike Ditka has appeared in such shows as:

"According to Jim"
- Cars & Chicks (2002) TV Episode .... Himself
- The Trouble with Harry (2001) TV Episode .... Himself
"3rd Rock from the Sun"
- Fourth and Dick (1996) TV Episode .... Himself
- A Player to Be Named Later (1996) TV Episode .... Himself
- One for the Road (1993) TV Episode .... Himself
"L.A. Law"
- The Last Gasp (1990) TV Episode .... Himself

And the Coach also showed up in two made-for-TV movies, "Second String" (2002) and "A Night To Die For" (1995) as himself.

In addition, Mike Ditka was practically a god-like cult figure to several fans of "Da Bears" in the TV dimension of Skitlandia, thanks to several classic sketches on 'Saturday Night Live'.

The bazillionaire talk show goddess Oprah Winfrey also has her own series and has hosted many TV specials, including the recent "Legends Ball". But her televersion has also made herself at home in the following sitcoms:

- Two Days at a Time (2000) TV Episode .... Herself
"The Hughleys"
- Milsap Moves Up (1999) TV Episode .... Herself
"Home Improvement"
- Home Alone (1999) TV Episode .... Herself
"All-American Girl"
- A Night at the Oprah (1995) TV Episode .... Herself
"The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"
- A Night at the Oprah (1992) TV Episode .... Herself

As well as in a drama series:

"Gabriel's Fire"
- Tis the Season (1990) TV Episode .... Herself

Surprisingly, the Big Man of Basketball doesn't have much in the way of credits for his televersion:

"My Wife and Kids"
- Fantasy Camp: Parts 1 & 2 (2004) TV Episode .... Himself

That's it.

But, he does have an impressive run of appearances in blipverts for Haines underwear which carry as much weight as TV shows and tele-flicks. In these, he hangs around with celebrities like Matthew Perry, Kevin Bacon, and Jackie Chan. But he also finds time for the simpler things in Life, such as walking through the park... where he tells two inquisitive young bench-warmers that he's wearing Haines. As to whether they're boxers or briefs, he advises them to just leave it at that.

I wonder if the "boys" are ever allowed to go commando, considering that hefty Haines contract.

Just as with the connection made with 'The Jake Effect', Michael Jordan can also make the connection with 'Monk' without ever appearing on the show. A basketball that he autographed was the prize possesson in the office of a sports agent in San Francisco... or at least it was until Adrian Monk obsessively wiped away the "smudge" that was on it.

Oprah can make the same kind of connection without having to show up, via something she "owns" - Gayle King. The quartet of women who worked as real estate agents on 'Hot Properties' worshipped Oprah and finally scored the ducats needed to gain entry to her show. But thanks to a series of mishaps through which hilarity ensued, the girls needed the divine intervention of "Oprah's Best Friend" to finally get in to see her.

So it's a bit off the cuff and by proxy, but through the League of Themselves, 'The Jake Effect' has gained official entry into the TV Universe.

(Unofficially, it's also a member thanks to the Theory of Relateeveety. Six episodes weren't enough time for us to meet Jake Galvin's family. So nothing really prevents me from staking the claim that his father is Ace Galvin, the former astronaut played by Robert Culp in an episode of 'Wings'.)


Monday, May 29, 2006


Shannon D. Harrington filed this news report for

A U.S. soldier and three others in a military convoy, including two members of a CBS News crew, were killed by a car bomb in central Baghdad today, the U.S. military said. Six U.S. soldiers and a CBS correspondent were injured.

Cameraman Paul Douglas, 48, and sound technician James Brolan, 42, were killed and correspondent Kimberly Dozier, 39, was injured when the bomb exploded. The crew was with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, CBS said in a statement.

An Iraqi contractor also was killed in the attack. The military didn't release the names of the soldier or contractor or the names of the wounded.

The bombing was one of eight today that killed at least 33 people and wounded dozens more, the Associated Press reported.

The television crew was reporting from outside a Humvee when the explosives-packed car detonated. The network said they were wearing protective gear.

Dozier, who has been reporting on the war in Iraq for almost three years, underwent surgery at a U.S. military hospital in Baghdad and is in critical condition.

Doctors are optimistic about her prognosis, CBS said.

Douglas, had worked for CBS since the early 1990s in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Rwanda and Bosnia. Brolan, a freelancer, had worked in Baghdad and Afghanistan during the past year, the network said. Both men were based in London.

"This is a devastating loss for CBS News,'' Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports, said in a statement. "Kimberly, Paul and James were veterans of war coverage who proved their bravery and dedication every single day.''

The deaths today bring the total of journalists killed in Iraq to at least 71 since the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion, according to data compiled by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

Here's more from

Dozier sustained serious injuries and was flown to a U.S. military hospital inside Baghada's Green Zone, where she underwent surgery. She is in critical condition, but doctors are cautiously optimistic about her prognosis.

Douglas, who was British, leaves a wife, Linda; two daughters, Kelly, 29, and Joanne, 26; and three grandchildren. Brolan, who was also British, leaves a wife, Geraldine, and two children, Sam, 17, and Agatha, 12.

"This is a devastating loss for CBS News," said Sean McManus, President, CBS News and Sports, in a CBS statement. "Kimberly, Paul and James were veterans of war coverage who proved their bravery and dedication every single day. They always volunteered for dangerous assignments and were invaluable in our attempt to report the news to the American public."

"Our deepest sympathy goes out to the families of Paul and James, and we are hoping and praying for a complete recovery by Kimberly. Countless men and women put their lives on the line, day in and day out, in Iraq and other dangerous spots around the world, and they deserve our utmost respect and gratitude for the work they do," McManus said.

Douglas, 48, had worked for CBS News in many countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Rwanda and Bosnia, since the early 1990s. He leaves behind a wife, two daughters and three grandchildren. Brolan, 42, was a freelancer who had worked with CBS News in Baghdad and Afghanistan over the past year. He was part of the CBS News team that had received a 2006 Overseas Press Club Award for its reporting on the Pakistan earthquake.

Dozier, 39, has been a CBS News correspondent, reporting from Iraq, for the past three years, Before that, she served as London bureau chief and chief European correspondent for CBS Radio News from 1996-2002. Dozier is the recipient of three American Women in Radio and Television (AWRT) Gracie Awards for her radio reports on Mideast violence, Kosovo and the Afghan war.

Dozier and her London-based crew are among the latest American television journalists to become casualties in Iraq. Former ABC News "World News Tonight" co-anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt suffered severe injuries in a roadside bombing in Iraq Jan. 29, 2006. Woodruff is still recovering from serious head injuries and broken bones. Cameraman Vogt has returned home to France for more rehab.

On April 6, 2003, David Bloom, 39, an American journalist for NBC television, embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq died from an apparent blood clot near Baghdad.

From this insignifcant speck on the TV map, I'd like to add my prayers and condolences to the families of Paul Douglas and James Brolan, and I wish to send my best wishes for a speedy recovery to Kimberly Dozier.




"Lt. Colonel Henry Blake's plane shot down over the Sea of Japan. It spun out of control. There were no survivors."

With those few words, the audience viewing at home was shocked to learn of the loss of a beloved figure in Toobworld... more than twenty years after it actually happened.

As he was already in his forties, with a family and established practice as a general practicioner back in Illinois, Henry Braymore Blake didn't have to answer the call to serve in the military as a front-line surgeon. But he did feel the need to help those young soldiers who didn't have a choice about going over there. And so even though his wife was pregnant with his third child, Henry Blake accepted the rank of Lt. Colonel and became the commander of a mobile army surgical unit, the 4077.

Excerpts from the Wikipedia are quoted below in this look back at Henry Blake's career during the Korean Conflict:

Back in Illinois Henry had a wife, Lorraine, although in the earliest episodes of 'M*A*S*H', her name was Mildred. For a splainin, it's easy enough: I think her first name was Mildred and her middle name was Lorraine, and both of them preferred her middle name. Maybe for where they lived in Illinois, it sounded cosmopolitan.

Henry had three children, although he never got the chance to see his youngest son in person, as the boy was born after he left for Korea. His oldest was his son Andrew, and then his daughter Molly.

"Henry cared deeply for his family, even though he had a tendency to fraternize with the nurses à la Hawkeye and Trapper. One constant source of frustration was that his wife was always sending Henry her bills and check books so that he could balance things out long distance.

According to Henry, his wife, a former 'Succotash Queen' at Illinois Normal, was a terrific cook and made a great chocolate cake. "

"Henry was essentially a nice person and a capable doctor but not a very forceful or competent commanding officer. Blake always put himself forward as a friend first, and commanding officer second when it came to his post at the 4077—although in the rare occasion when he was boxed into a corner, he uncomfortably but firmly reminded his officers who was in charge.

In one of many letters to his father, Hawkeye described Henry as 'a good doctor and a pretty good joe'. But as a commanding officer, he likened Henry to Daffy Duck."

Henry did the best he could as the commanding officer of the 4077th, but he was beset on all sides by competing interests. There were the two best surgeons under his command, Captains "Hawkeye" Pierce and "Trapper" John McIntyre, who were anti-authoritarian cutups always causing trouble with their disruptions.

And even though Henry felt a kinship with them and probably preferred to join them rather than fight them, (especially when it came to cigars, home-made booze, and the nurses), he knew he had to maintain some semblance of discipline with them both.

"On the rare occasion when Henry actually stood his ground and refused to let Hawkeye and Trapper have their way, the maverick captains would criticize Henry for not being 'one of the guys'.

When Henry decided to send a lost Korean boy to an orphanage, insisting that the 4077 didn't have the qualifications to look after the child, and technically he was right, Hawkeye called him a villain, to which Henry actually took offense."

But if Henry let Hawkeye and Trapper John get away with everything, Henry knew he'd then have to deal with Major Frank Burns and the chief nurse, Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan, who wanted him to run that camp strictly by the book even if the Army standards couldn't be applied to every situation.

"Henry generally let their criticisms roll off his back, but once told Frank, who was letting Hot Lips do all the talking, that if he did not watch his language, Henry would have no choice but to punch Hot Lips right in the mouth. Another time, when Frank was arguing with Trapper, Henry told Frank that if he didn't calm down, he would have no choice but to put it in Frank's records that Frank did not work and play well with others."

Henry Blake loved to play golf, even in a battlezone, and he loved fly-fishing. This was evident by the hat he chose to wear rather than the standard issue military cap, but it looked good when worn with his old college sweater.

"His strongest bond in Korea was to the young Corporal Walter 'Radar' O'Reilly, for whom Blake was something of a father figure."

Radar was a "naive, fresh-faced farmboy from Iowa, vulnerable to the horrors of war, and Blake was like the father he never had." Henry provided "guidance, comfort, and support to the young Corporal.

"In return, Radar more or less kept the unit running like a well oiled machine, his nearly magical skills for getting everything done" to counter-banlance Henry's lack in leadership skills.

And so it was that young Radar was the first to learn of the tragic news about Henry Blake's death. Henry had been on his way home to his wife and kids in Illinois, finally discharged to escape the horrors of the war.

But he didn't make it very far - the plane was shot down over the Sea of Japan and there were no survivors after it spun down into the water.

Radar was forced to bring word of the tragedy to the others as they struggled through another shift in the OR. It was the first act of manhood for Radar in which he had to finally stand on his own, without the guidance of his mentor.

Toobworld is made up of many TV dimensions, thanks to shows like 'Star Trek' and 'Sliders'. The Henry Blake we know existed in the main Toobworld, Earth Prime-Time. His two oldest children Andrew and Molly would be in their late fifties, early sixties by now, so if you ever see a TV character by those names and who would be about that age, chances are they could be Henry's kids. (We never learned his baby's name, at least I don't think so, but he'd be in his early fifties now.)

But Henry Blake existed in at least one other TV dimension, as well as in several other universes based on the artistic output of Mankind. He was born of the literary universe, thanks to several novels by H. Richard Hornberger, aka Richard Hooker. In that world, Henry Blake probably survived the Korean Conflict to return to practice in the United States.

He also exists in the movie universe, the "Cineverse". As the movie by Robert Altman followed the book closely, Henry probably lived on there as well.

(One interesting, yet sad, side-note from the Real World. Roger Bowen played Henry Blake in the movie version, and he died of a heart attack one day after MacLean Stevenson died of a heart attack in February of 1996. And Stevenson of course played Henry on TV.)

As for that other TV dimension, Henry Blake survived that plane crash in the dimension based on TV comedy sketches from variety shows. (Nicknamed "Sketchworld" or "Skitlandia", it is officially known as Earth Not Ready For Prime Time.)

In fact, the night after the Real World learned of the death of Henry Blake on 'M*A*S*H' in the main Toobworld, Henry was seen on a life raft waving frantically to draw attention to himself as he shouted, "I'm OK! I'm OK!" (This occurred on an episode of 'The Carol Burnett Show'.)

So on this Memorial Day, I'd like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Henry Blake. He was not a very good leader of men, but he was a good man who led by example.


"I was never very good with my hands."
"Guess that's why you became a surgeon, huh, Sir?"

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Did you know I have a mission in my role as a caretaker for Toobworld? I want to spread the word of David Bianculli's concept of tele-literacy. I don't want the viewing audience to just sit there like rotten cabbages (Thank you, Patrick McGoohan!) and let TV shows just wash over them. (One reason I hate shows like 'Fear Factor'.)

I want those TV shows to inspire the audience to explore related subjects; I want them to think inside the box.

The example I usually give? I mentioned it just yesterday - 'Mr. Ed'. After watching this sitcom about a talking horse, you should read 'Gulliver's Travels' by Jonathan Swift, especially the chapter about the intelligent horses of Houhynymn Island.

Over the last two years, the clash between Jack and Locke on 'Lost' has been one of Science vs. Faith. And even though it looks like Locke had lost his faith by season's end, Mr. Eko picked up the mantle. That conflict between Faith and Science will always be around.

I'm not going to nudge you in the direction of any book to read about it, though. Instead, it's a TV production on PBS.

Bill Moyers new seven-part series examines the clash between reason and faith, and asks whether or not we can achieve a world in which both viewpoints are tolerated.

In this new series, he'll be talking to writers about the topic, rather than religious leaders and philosophers. His reasoning is that "stories can help us see into the truth of experience that is obscured by the different meanings each faith assigns to the same language."

It has been noted in various web forums that the society (now societies, I guess) of survivors and Others to be found on the mysterious Island of 'Lost' represents a microcosm of the outside world at large. And the differences between Jack and Locke, "Man of Science, Man of Faith" represents that particular debate.

'Bill Moyers On Faith And Reason' begins near the end of June on most PBS stations. Check your local channel for time and listings. (I love getting to say that!)

Who knows? Maybe the discussions and debates will give the writers of 'Lost' something to hash out around the signal fires. From stories may come more stories.....