Saturday, February 24, 2007


Based on the way they clutter up the BBC-America schedule, I'd say that shows like 'Cash In The Attic', 'House Invaders', and 'What Not To Wear' must be staggeringly popular in the manor, squire.

And being so popular, they're irresistible TV references as pop culture touchstones in other shows. This is fine, since they fall into the category of "reality" shows and could just as easily be seen by the residents of Toobworld as they are in the real world.

So when 'Antique Roadshows' and 'Cash In The Attic' are mentioned in an episode of 'Torchwood', there's no worries about a Zonk.



Based on what I read in Ivan's "Thrilling Days Of Yesteryear" (link to the left), I ordered several DVDs from DVD Pacific. And the first batch from that order arrived today.

First up, "Legendary Lawmen", which contains 2 episodes each of 'Bat Masterson' starring Gene Barry, and 'The Deputy' with Henry Fonda.

All four episodes may end up being in the 12 DVD boxed set 'Ultimate TV Westerns', which has 150 episodes of shows that were all probably in the public domain.

Besides 'Bat Masterson' and 'The Deputy', this set also has episodes from:

'26 Men'
'The Adventures of Champion'
'The Adventures Of Jim Bowie'
'The Adventures Of Kit Carson'
'Annie Oakley'
'Bonanza' (10 episodes? Must have been really cheap to acquire.)
'Buffalo Bill'
'The Cisco Kid'
'Cowboy G-Men'
'Death Valley Days'
'Frontier Doctor'
'The Gabby Hayes Show'
'Hawkeye And The Last Of The Mohicans'
'Hudson's Bay'
'Judge Roy Bean'
'The Life And Times Of Wyatt Earp' (I already have that boxed set.)
'The Lone Ranger'
'Northwest Passage'
'Pistols And Petticoats'
'The Range Rider'
'The Rifleman'
'The Roy Rogers Show'
'Sergeant Preston Of The Yukon'
'Shotgun Slade'
'Stories Of The Century'
'Wagon Train'

The bookshelf I built in high school, long but not high, is now officially full with TV DVDs.

Putting them away just now, I realized I better call a moratorium on Classic Western compilations. I have another, smaller, boxed set of TV Westerns with 26 episodes from several of the shows listed above. I'll not be surprised to see that they're all the same episodes.

Still, these will be nice to work through during my lunch hour at the hotel. And now with the HIS system installed, I could probably squeeze in a few more during the long quiet stretch after the audit is finished and before the first checkouts come down.

There's still more to come from that initial order I made; several episodes of 'Studio One' and 'Telephone Time'.......


Friday, February 23, 2007


"Do you watch 'Battlestar Galactica'?"
Party Guest:
"You're an idiot."
'The Office'

Here's the splainin that Will Devine came up with for us back in January 31st:

In Toobworld, the new BSG is actually a TV series (because the Toobworld inhabitants have to be entertained by something), but it comes from the 'mind' of Ron Moore, who himself is a Galactican that came to Earth in 1980. The public at large doesn't yet know about humans not of this Earth, and as such Ron Moore decided to take advantage of this situation by taking the real personas that guided the ragtag fleet to Earth in the first place and making them into characters in his television show.

Then, perhaps due to network involvement or to appease his fellow Galacticans on Earth, he changed some of the characters around, like making Starbuck and Boomer into women and creating new characters like Number Six. If you want to take this theory even further, you can even say that Moore had to appease Captain Apollo, now going by the name Richard Hatch on Earth, by giving him the role of Tom Zarek on this television show.

It's a bit out there, I know, but I feel like the public at large in Toobworld should be much like the public at large in reality: mostly oblivious to the more fantastic things going on around them. Galactica saving the Earth from a Cylon invasion, and everyone knowing about it, would be a serious blow to that idea.

I'll add to this that Dwight Schrute is the kind of guy who would know about the Galacticans living among us. (He's also the kind of guy who found out about the Dharma Initiative and wants to know who else knows about it. This is why he asked Ryan about it out in the radish field.)

How does Dwight come by all this conspiratorial knowledge? He used to be a subscriber to "The Lone Gunmen" while it was still in circulation (before its publishers - Langley, Byers, and Frohike - were killed).

I'll still hold to my own premise that any mention of Six in relation to Galactica by citizens of Toobworld refers to the young woman who was born on the original Battlestar but raised on Earth. It's too good to pass up.

'The Office'
'Battlestar Galactica' (remake)
'Battlestar Galactica' (original)
'The X-Files'
'The Lone Gunmen'



There are times when 'Boston Legal' takes a page from 'Law & Order' and does "ripped from the headlines" stories. At the very least, they find inspiration from actual events taking place in our society. Like the recent storyline about a preserved body being exhibited at a museum which was stolen by the deceased's daughter.

Here's a news item that might find a better home at 'Boston Legal' than at 'Law & Order': a man in Wisconsin burst into the apartment of his upstairs neighbor, brandishing a sword, in order to save a woman he heard being raped.

As it turned out, the upstairs neighbor was watching a pornographic video.

The full story can be found here.

I wouldn't put it past the show to have Jerry Espenson be the client... again. Or the sex museum professor.



This week on 'Boston Legal', Jerry Espenson mentioned 'The X-Files' as a TV show, one that aired in a lousy time slot on Friday nights; and that it was a TV show in search of the Truth.

Seems like a pretty damning case for a Zonk, doesn't it?

But 'The X-Files' and 'Boston Legal' can still exist in the same TV dimension. And we have to make sure theydo since both can eventually be officially linked to 'Homicide: Life On The Street' ('The X-Files' more directly so).

In Toobworld, 'The X-Files' was the name given to those FBI cases that dealt with the supernatural, paranormal activities, unexplained phenomena, and the just plain weird. I'm thinking that some enterprising TV production company - perhaps the one that brought 'Wormhole Extreme' to the airwaves - must have used the Freedom of Information Act to get those files declassified.

They they would present docu-dramas based on those files; dramatizations combined with interviews with actual participants. All of this would be hosted by some aging, fading star, perhaps someone like Dennis Dupree.

Here in the Real World, these shows used to be popular - 'Unsolved Mysteries', 'Rescue 911', 'Ripley's Believe It Or Not', 'Beyond Belief', 'In Search Of....'

The Toobworld version of 'The X-Files' is no longer on the air; Jerry spoke of it in the past tense. And it may not have broadcast many episodes before it was cancelled - he asked the jury if they even remembered it at all. But one dramatization may have focused attention on a case from Boston itself, when a deadly biological threat was found in the subway system.

This splainin could be used to support a different theory used to disable 'X-Files' Zonks. Sometimes characters won't mention the show, but they will bring up the two main characters. ("Okay Mulder and Scully, say now that I believe you." - PC Andy, 'Torchwood')

I've dealt with that kind of Zonk before, splainin that those two FBI agents gained notoriety and even fame (infamy) after they went on the run. The Toobworld version of 'The X-Files' might have added to that, since they would have been key players in the cases dramatized for each episode.

Plus there was that big-screen movie based on an "X File", which starred Garry Shandling as a Mulder type and Tea Leoni as an agent based on Scully. (Also there's a roman a clef novel entitled "From Outer Space" by Jose Chung.)

So that Beantown Zonk has been disabled, and can be filed away.

'Boston Legal'
'The X-Files'
'Homicide: Life On The Street'
'Stargate SG-1'
'Hope & Gloria'
'Rescue 911'
'Unsolved Mysteries'
'Ripley's Believe It Or Not'
'Beyond Belief'
'In Search Of.....'



Today at 2 pm EST, Nelly Furtado will be appearing as herself on 'One Life To Live'. The Grammy winner will be performing two songs at the Capricorn Club - "Say It Right" and "Promiscuous".

In the fictional world of the TV Universe, the televersion of Nelly Furtado has known club owner Antonio for a very long time, which splains why she's there in Llanview, Pennsylvania.

This links 'OLTL' with 'Roswell', in which she appeared as herself in an episode ("Baby, It's You") back in 2001. But there's no connection with 'CSI' in which she also appeared, because in that she was a character named Ava Brandt.


Thursday, February 22, 2007


A commenter in another TV blog mentioned this bit of mult-casting:

"Something else I found really funny is that the guy who played Desmond’s friend, Donovan, [on 'Lost'] is the same person who played Mohinder’s friend, Nirand, in 'Heroes'."

For Toobworld's purposes, they are identical cousins, although I don't think hot dogs make them lose control. And being so closely related, they both found success in the fields of academia.

While Nirand's family stayed behind in India, Donovan's family moved to Great Britain. This probably happened back in the early to mid-sixties before he was born. It's my contention that Donovan's parents were so caught up in the culture of the times that they became big fans of the music of Donovan Leitch. So much so, that they named their son after the musician.

It could have been worse. His name could have been Barabajagal.

Not that Nirand is much better.

Just sayin', is all.....



Shawn Spencer and Burton Guster of the 'Psych' Detective Agency proved in the episode "Game, Set.... Muuuurder" that they're only playing at being tele-cognizant, that Toobworld ability to know that you're living within a TV universe.

Gus kept trying to match Shawn in the delivery of portentous and gripping dialogue, the kind that would be heard in murder mysteries. But... he kept coming up short.

It's a skill mastered by David Addison of the Blue Moon Detective Agency (as seen in 'Moonlighting'), who also knew that he was in a TV Show and that he was just following the script.

If Gus and Shawn actually knew they were in a TV show instead of just acting like it, they would have heard the dramatic surge of music when Gus tried out the line about the mystery attacker going back to the hospital to finish off the victim.

I'm going to have to add David Addison to my Wish-Craft list of Toobworld guest stars and what shows they should be visiting.

And a nice in-joke in that episode: the victim was named Deanna Sirtis. Marina Sirtis played an empathic counselor on 'Star Trek: The Next Generation', who in her own way was able to read minds - at least the moods and feelings of her patients. That counselor was named Deanna Troi.

Deanna would have given Shawn a run for his money!



So if a soldier dying in a Korean 'M*A*S*H' unit back in the 1950s and the Sheriff of Neptune, California, dying just the other day both smell bread in their final moments, is this some kind of neurological condition found only in Toobworld, or is it just an in-joke for the real world?

I was sorry to see Sheriff Lamb join the choir invisible this week on 'Veronica Mars', if only because I don't think we ever got to find out if any of his "boys" were utilized in siring Lamb progeny. Was Lamb married? Did he have any kids? Maybe he had one off the wrist on a regular basis at the Neptune sperm bank.....

There was just something about the look of Michael Muhney as Sheriff Lamb that made me think he could have been a factor in the family tree of one Captain Jack Harkness, as played by John Barrowman in 'Doctor Who' and 'Torchwood'.

Of course, many centuries separate the two. Captain Jack (Harkness was not his real name by the way.) was from the 52 Century. But DNA in Toobworld is a mighty chain of chromosomes and it can repeat itself many times down the line in the genetic makeup of a family.

The imagery/symbolism of Lamb and the smell of bread on Mardi Gras, the eve of Lent, was kind of creepy for this old altar boy. Just thought I'd mention that......

Not that I'm saying Christ was a self-centered doofus, mind you!



It's being reported that Shonda Rhimes will be developing a spin-off from her monster hit for ABC, 'Grey's Anatomy'. Although there's no title yet and no description of the plotline, it looks like the show will focus on Dr. Addison Montgomery Shepherd, played by Kate Walsh.

"We are producing an enhanced episode that has a potential for an afterlife," said a representative for the show's producer, ABC Television Studio. (Sounds like the typical corporate-speak you'd expect from a network suit.)

The spin-off would focus on Addison rather than on a cadre of co-stars like the mother series, and it's unclear just yet as to where the show will take place. I'm betting that she'll move back to New York City, to keep the interaction between the characters of both shows to a minimum. Otherwise, viewers might start asking why she doesn't see Alex or Dr. McDreamy more often if she was still in Seattle.

But it doesn't look like the character of Alex will be joining her in the new show, so that relationship is probably headed to the trash heap by May.

In fact, it appears as if Addison will be the only character to be jettisoned into the spin-off, but the others will be involved in setting up her departure. There will be a two-part showcase on 'Grey's Anatomy' timed for May Sweeps so that ABC can look at the numbers for the episode and decide whether or not to develop it into a full-blown series.

So 'Grey's Anatomy' was a title geared to the main character, Meredith Grey. What will they do for Addison? 'Addison's Disease'? Eeeyuhhh.



As '30 Rock' is set in the backstage world of NBC's televersion, there will always be Zonks caused by mentions of TV shows actually on the air, but which should be co-existing with the cast & crew of 'The Girlie Show'.

This past week had a couple of examples, in fact.

It was bad enough that Tracy Jordan called a network lawyer "my Cousin Carlton", but that might have been splained away. I could have argued that "Cousin Carlton" was a modern derogatory phrase in Toobworld, on the same plane as "Uncle Tom". Only in this case, "Cousin Carlton" referred to blacks who played the game as they climbed the corporate ladder; that there was more white about them than just their collars.

I think I could have pulled that off, but then NBC executive Jack Donaghy had to erase all ambiguity about the remark by pointing out its source in the NBC hit sitcom 'The Fresh Prince of Bel Air'. And to top it off, he even offered up the dates the show aired in his attempt to suck up to the head honcho of GE.

And then there was the 'Designing Women' marathon that Frank watched on TV Land. At least with this, I can fall back on an excuse that's come in handy over the last several years - the reality show.

In Toobworld, 'Designing Women' is not a sitcom about the Sugarbaker Sisters and their associates in an interior design business, but instead it's a reality show about the Sugarbakers & Company as they ply their trade in Atlanta.

So when we heard an excerpt from the sitcom, featuring another fiery monologue by Dixie Carter, it was not as a sitcom character named Julia Sugarbaker, but instead it was an impassioned speech by the "real-life" Julia Sugarbaker.

And I have no problem with TV Land airing a reality series, even if it is about interior design. They've been airing other reality prgrams for awhile now, although those were all about TV in some way. Then again, they've moved away from their original intent of "preserving our Television Heritage" some time ago.

Finally, there was the introduction of the girl whom Kenneth was sweet on, a fellow NBC page named Grace Park. Much was made in a few blogs about the fact that she was Korean and that she shared the same name as the character from the revamped version of 'Battlestar Galactica'.

But there's no connection. 'Battlestar Galactica' takes place in an alternate dimension, and their Grace Park cannot be considered Korean. Aside from the fact that she's a Cylon, Grace has never been to Earth; her "racial" background would stem from one of the destroyed colonies which the survivors had to flee.

So there's no Zonk there at least......



It looks like 'ER' wanted to promote a member of the NBC Family, but at the same time it didn't want to appear as if they shared the same universe.

After striving to save a cheerleader in the emergency room, one of the doctors muttered, "Save the cheerleader, save the world."

Of course, this was the catchphrase that was prominent in 'Heroes' up to the Thanksgiving episode. Thanks to the intervention of Future Hiro, the various 'Heroes' were instructed to "save the cheerleader; save the world", which was a reference to Claire Bennett and the danger she faced from the murderous Sylar.

But this 'ER' doctor should have had no knowledge of that since he wasn't involved in the quest to save Claire. And since he and Claire exist in the same TV universe (with him in Chicago and the Bennett family in Odessa, Texas), I can't allow it to be passed off as a Zonk in which he was just quoting a TV slogan.

So I'm thinking that what he uttered was just a little pearl of wisdom that he dreamed up. He had reached that state of exhaustion which lowered his defenses and opened him up to a newfound clarity. And the idea that saving the cheerleader was equal to saving the world was born of that cleared vision.

She may have been just one cheerleader, but her existence plays a part in the unified community of the Earth. Or some such bullbleep that a yogi could have told him just as well.

Actually the yogi probably could have splained it better, since everybody knows that yogis are smarter on average....


Thanks to Dan Jardine for pointing this Zonk out.....

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


I'm surprised I don't disable more Zonks from 'Psych'. Shawn Spencer seems like the kind of motormouth to be spouting pop culture TV references all the time.

I guess I should be thankful he just makes the weird and off-beat comments and leaves the simple TV references to lesser mortals.

This past week, Gus found out that Shawn had stolen his 'Airwolf' jacket more than five years before. Shawn's defense was that he was protecting Gus from becoming the kind of dweeb that would wear an 'Airwolf' jacket in the first place. He argued that the only one who could pull off the look would have been Jan-Michael Vincent, and even then, just barely.

'Airwolf' ran on CBS for two years, ending in 1986. It was an action-adventure series about a super-tricked out helicopter and it starred Jan-Michael Vincent, Ernest Borgnine, and Alex Cord.

And it should exist within the same TV universe as 'Psych', so that there should not have been any merchandizing tie-ins like that jacket.

As a Toobworld Caretaker, here's how we can fix up that problem.....

In the world of Earth Prime-Time, the Airwolf helicopter and the 'Airwolf' TV show are not related. 'Airwolf' had nothing to do with helicopters, but it did star Jan-Michael Vincent.

'Airwolf' would be a spin-off from 'Viking Quest', the fantasy adventure series which starred Johnny "Drama" Chase as Thorvald. In the series, a recurring villain may have been Fenric the demi-god who took the form of a wolf.

In Norse mythology, Fenris was the eldest son of Loki the trickster god. It was prophesied that he would one day slay Odin and in turn be killed by one of Odin's sons in the world-ending apocalypse known as Ragnarok.

All of that would have been background for the character as seen in the TV show. And the character might have proven to be so successful that the network suits of Toobworld (probably at NBS, may they be nibbled to death by ducks!) would have urged the producers to come up with a spin-off about Fenris.

The producers - if they had some artistic gumption - might have figured that they should go off in some totally unexpected direction, rather than just make a carbon-copy of 'Viking Quest'. So they killed off the character of Fenris (perhaps in some big two-part season-ender made especially for May Sweeps) and made it look like he would never be seen on Toobworld TV ever again.

And then they would spring their spin-off the following fall. The time was "the present", and Fenris still existed in spirit form but was now joined to a mortal human played by Jan Michael Vincent. Whenever the human character found himself in some dire situation, he'd summon the spirit of Fenris to take over. The human would become some kind of supernatural, super-powered lycanthrope who would save the day for his human side.

He'd be kind of a furry Hulk, and my! What great big teeth he would have!

Now that's the kind of TV show I can see Gus watching and loving to the point that he'd get the jacket to help raise his cool quotient.

I'm not saying that's what happened. Just saying it's pozz'ble, it's pozz'ble.....

And by Thor's Hammer! That would mean - NO Zonk!

'Studio 60'
'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys'
'Thor' (cartoon)


Tuesday, February 20, 2007


On 'Studio 60', the lawyer who was representing NBS and the late night comedy show 'Studio 60 Live On The Sunset Strip' against charges of sexual harrassment worked for the law firm of Gage Whitney. Sam Seaborn had been affiliated with the same firm when he wasn't working in 'The West Wing'.

But this doesn't link the shows to the same TV dimension. During the run of 'The West Wing', the President was Jed Bartlet, while it was Bill Clinton and George W. Bush in the main Toobworld (as it is in the real world).

However, it does serve as a good example that it's not just characters which can have counterparts in several different TV dimensions.



Last week, 'Heroes' made a connection to 'Lost' with the Gannon Car Rental brochure which Nikki received in a package. This week, there was a reference to the notorious numbers sequence which seems to infuse all aspects of Life in Toobworld, also seen on 'Lost' (4 8 15 16 23 42).

In Bozeman, Montana, Dr. Mohinder Suresh stayed at a motel in Room 23.

(I suppose someone could make the case that the producers were using a form of product placement to trumpet the upcoming Jim Carrey movie, "Number 23", which has aired its commercial in both 'Heroes' and 'Lost'.)



The second season of 'Extras' came to a close here on American TV this week, and Ricky Gervais has stated that it marked the end of the series as well. (Although he has hinted that he'd like to do a one-off with Mel Gibson appearing as himself.)

One of the recurring supportive actors was appearing as himself, Shaun Williamson. But he was never referred to by name, only as "Barry off 'EastEnders'." One gets the impression that its his most notable role. ('Extras' wouldn't even show up on his resume in Toobworld, of course.)

'EastEnders' could be the Zonk equivalent in the United Kingdom of 'Star Trek' here in America. (Perhaps 'Doctor Who' might be its only competitor.) Just from my limited exposure to the offerings by the BBC, ITV, LWT, Granada, and Thames Television, it seems as though 'EastEnders' gets mentioned a lot as a TV show, when in fact it should be considered part of the same TV Universe as the show that mentions it.

I'm just shouting into the wind on that, though, I'm afraid.

"Barry off 'EastEnders'" is probably the most prominent reference, but others have included:

'Gimme Gimme Gimme' - Tom Farrell had a nasty run-in with one of the 'EastEnders' actresses at a function. (How nasty? She gave him a head-butt that put him down for the count.)

'Hot Metal' - "Journalist" Greg Kettle snuck into the men's loo at the 'EastEnders' studio to get urine samples from the unwitting actors from out of the pipes.

'Doctor Who' - The "ghost" of a Cyberman trying to pass over from a parallel Earth was employed as the ghost of Dirty Den in a scene with Barbara Windsor as Peggy Mitchell down at the pub.

But there have been several others. Here's a sampling from the IMDb:

"Inspector Morse: Masonic Mysteries (#4.4)" (1990)
"Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Deadly Bees (#10.5)" (1998)
"Spaced: Beginnings (#1.1)" (1999)
Cinderella (2000/II) (TV)
"Only Human: Make Me Normal (#1.1)" (2005)
"Comedy Connections: Drop the Dead Donkey (#4.3)" (2006)
Red Dwarf: The Tank - Series VIII (2006) (V)
"Comedy Connections: Bread (#5.2)" (2007)
"Comedy Connections: Don't Wait Up (#5.5)" (2007)

I'm not familiar with near half of this group, but I think I've excluded most shows which looked to be variety programs, talk shows, or compilations. But I doubt their complete list tells the full story. After being on the air for over twenty years, I'm sure there have been plenty of references to it in other British sitcoms and dramas......


Sunday, February 18, 2007


The blog "It's Over TV" describes the perils in creating a Television gestalt by linking commercials together in this post.

Sometimes you create a VERY different impression in the minds of your viewers!