Saturday, March 3, 2007
WHAT DREAMS MAY COME
Obviously the Canadians have seen it already, as have the TV critics with their advance screeners. So if you folks are reading this - which will be my thoughts on what may come - PLEASE don't write in to tell me what actually does happen.
(I'm sure Brent would never do that, but then again, maybe it's a good thing he's using a crappy computer right now.....)
Like I said, I'm only two weeks into this season, but I can already sense that this may be its last. Events both on the screen and off are giving me indications of that.
Let's deal with the boring stuff off-screen in the Trueniverse first....
At least two of the show's writers are involved in other projects that should have kept them too busy to work on a fourth season of 'Slings & Arrows'. Bob Martin (with Don McKellar, who plays Darren Nichols in the show) has written the hit Broadway musical "The Drowsy Chaperone" and he's playing the lead role of Man In Chair. (I just saw it last week finally and loved it. I probably should go see it again while Georgia Engel is still in the cast!)
Mark McKinney, who also played Richard Smith-Jones in the series, is working in Hollywood as a writer and actor on 'Studio 60'. Granted, that show seems doomed at the moment, but McKinney didn't know that going in. He might have expected a run as long as Aaron Sorkin's previous series, 'The West Wing'.
As for Susan Coyne, who created 'Slings & Arrows', I don't know what lies in store for her in the Trueniverse, but she's certainly setting up an exit strategy for the character she plays on the show. Anna is caught up in the fate of a troupe of Bolivian musicians stuck in Canada without Visas while their homeland is besieged with a coup.
I think I can see where that's going - Anna will fall in love with the main musician and throw in her lot with them, no matter what happens in Bolivia.
So now that I've broached the subject of the characters, let me throw out my ideas on what lies ahead for the others, at least as far as the major characters are concerned.
'Slings & Arrows' has always reflected aspects of the Shakespeare plays the company is performing, as well as some from the other plays as well. There have been deaths, betrayals, young love, madness, and men transformed into asses in love. So I think the three stages that "King Lear" goes through - betrayal and loss, madness, and death - are being played out with three of the main characters.
ELLEN FANSHAW - Her major sub-plot from last season was re-introduced in Week Two - she still owes the $27,000 in back taxes. In this aspect, I think she'll be the one most likely to be stripped of everything she owns and left with nothing, forced out of her home.
I also think it's through Ellen that we'll see Betrayal. We've been introduced to her friend Barbara, who's moved in with Ellen and Geoffrey while she plays one of Lear's daughters at the festival.
Barbara is going through "The Change" and she seems to have embraced the idea that this means she's entitled to sex with no strings attached.
I think she's going to make a play for Geoffrey, which just might make Geoffrey's "faulty unit" rise to its former glory. (Barbara certainly seemed keen on the idea that Ellen gets to sleep with her director.)
Such a betrayal could be considered "Shakespearean", and would fit in with the motifs and character types from the plays that have been throughout the series - the young lovers, the ambitious schemers, the pair of clowns, even a door porter, and of course, the ghost.
So if Geoffrey cheated on Ellen with Barbara, first off you've got a gender switch on 'Othello' regarding race. And a gender switch when it comes to who feels like they've been wronged as well.
The betrayal doesn't have to actually happen, either; it could all be in Ellen's mind, just as it was for Othello. Stripped of everything else, if Ellen thought she lost Geoffrey as well she could snap and perhaps even kill him in revenge.
It would certainly be in keeping with the world in which they've immersed themselves.
GEOFFREY TENNANT - That brings me to this fear I'm having with the third season - that Geoffrey may die.
The series has always wrapped the characters' "real" lives into the great Shakespearean themes of the plays they are doing, and we're already seeing that with Geoffrey. He feels his "madness" returning; he's showing signs of age what with his "faulty unit"... all steps along the way for a Lear-like finale.
We're being prepped as an audience for Charles Kingman (the actor hired to play Lear) to die - perhaps even right on stage as he conclued the opening night of "King Lear".
But I keep thinking we're being set-up for a bait and switch. Remember that scene from "Jaws" (another great Shakespearean drama - LOL!) when Richard Dreyfuss is approaching the boat with the hole in its side? As the audience, we're being prepped for the shark to show up through the use of music and allegedly through subliminal images.
So we're sitting there thinking "Shark... shark... shark..." and then WHAM! Head in the boat!
I think that could happen here.
And POW! Geoffrey!
It certainly would be Shakespearean as a finale.
At the same time, it would be a depressing way to end what has been such a light and magical series, despite the milieu surrounding the characters. Not every play by Shakespeare ended with everybody dying on stage; we may yet get one of those happy endings with lots of weddings. After all, that sub-plot of the younger members of the company, with its rivalry between the classically trained and the singers and dancers from the musical, must be leading somewhere - perhaps a third variation on the "Romeo And Juliet" theme?
(And I say "we may yet get" knowing full well that officially in Toobworld, these events have already played out one way or the other.)
OLIVER WELLES - Whether he's a real ghost or just a figment of Geoffrey's madness, I think Oliver is approaching the end of his time on Earth as a spiritual manifestation. He's already losing control over his abilities to haunt and he fades away at inopportune moments. And then there's the fact that he just wants to move on to whatever the next stage may be.
Oliver has taken an interest in Charles Kingman, who's only got two months to live due to cancer. It could be that as Kingman gets closer to that moment, he will actually be able to see Oliver. Of course, if those types of scenes only occur when Geoffrey is around, we'll never have an answer as to whether or not Oliver was real.
(As for me, I exhult in what Toobworld has to offer. For me, 'The Prisoner' actually took place; it's not an allegory. 'St. Elsewhere' was not the daydream of an autistic boy. And Oliver Welles is really a ghost. 'Newhart' was just a Japanese food-inspired dream, however. The final scene left no wiggle room for interpretation on that score, as was the case with those other two series' finales.)
RICHARD SMITH-JONES - Richard doesn't fit in with that progression of Lear's character as the other three do. If anything, he may be the Fool, even though he started out in the series as a pale copy of Maccers in his role as a plotter.
I don't know if Shakespeare ever dealt with the Peter Principle, but Richard has reached his level of incompetence. God loves an idiot, they say, and no matter what happens - even if the New Burbage Shakespeare Festival burns to the ground - Richard will float above it all.
I suppose if they must find something of "Lear" to unload on Richard, it could be blindness - more symbolic than physical, of course. Blind to the chaos bringing the company down while he's immersed in the musical production of "East Hastings".
Then again, it could manifest physically. Something's bound to go wrong with that new car of his, I'm thinking....
There's one more reason why I think 'Slings & Arrows' has run its course - what big Shakespearean play could they possibly do next as a central theme for the season? "A Midsummer Night's Dream" was just ending its run when we were introduced to New Burbage. And "Romeo And Juliet" followed The Scottish Play at the end of Season Two.
(They may also have mounted a production of "Antony And Cleopatra" already without us seeing it. Geoffrey did promise Ellen the chance to perform the role at the end of the first season.)
"The Tempest"? "The Merchant Of Venice"? "Henry V"? Personally, in my Toobworld fantasy of what happens when we can't see the characters in action (mental fanfic, I know), Geoffrey and Brian, whom we met in Season Two, reconciled their differences and Brian came back to work at the Festival. I like to think we could have seen him on the Second Stage, performing the role of Sir John Falstaff in "The Merry Wives Of Windsor". Sadly, the actor who played Brian, Leon Pownall, passed away last year. Hopefully, Brian lives on in New Burbage.....)
But with each season of 'Slings & Arrows', the central Shakespeare play has been a steady progression for the ages of Man - the indecision of Youth, the ambitions of Middle Age, and now the conclusion of Life in "King Lear". Honestly, where could they go from there?
I doubt I'll hit the mark on most of those musings. In fact, I hope I'm wrong on some of them.
It must seem strange that I'm so obsessed with 'Slings & Arrows', to the point one would expect from a fan of 'Star Trek' or 'Doctor Who'. But when I first saw the show back in 2005, it turned out to be one of only three series that year in which I eagerly anticipated the next episode as soon as the current one ended. (The other two shows were 'Doctor Who' and 'Lost'.)
I guess when all is said and done, I may even be glad that this season could be the last one. Let it go out on a high note and not just fade away.
One month more and it'll all be over. Then again, it already is in Toobworld, as I mentioned. This is just a Caretaker catching up......
Friday, March 2, 2007
WONDER ZONK III
"What kind of plane you want to buy?"
"Clear, like Wonder Woman's."
I've gone over this before - Wonder Woman actually exists in the TV Universe, and just about everybody knows it. And as a result, they also know she has an "invisible" plane.
So there's no Zonk when Jack mentions it on '30 Rock'.
They're still making commercials but the concept is running out of steam, whereas the Cavemen are still going strong with blipverts that have them at the airport, on talking heads news shows, at a psychiatrist's office, and just taking it easy at parties.
Now ABC plans to expand on the idea with a half-hour sitcom dealing with the trio of cavemen fighting prejudice as they carve out a niche for themselves as 'thirtySOMETHING's in modern-day Atlanta.
Too bad this sitcom wasn't being developed for CBS; they could have brought back the Sugarbakers for a very special episode during Sweeps!
The show is being written by Joe Lawson, who was behind the idea for using the Cavemen in the ads, so there might be some legitimate linkage involved - especially if the same actors are involved.
Producer Lorne Michaels got pissed when he heard NBC was going with Aaron Sorkin's take on 'Saturday Night Live' and wanted to make sure the one from his production company had a shot as well. So this season we had both 'Studio 60' and '30 Rock'.
Maybe now he'll demand the chance to produce a Caveman sitcom as well, since the late Phil Hartman played "Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer" on 'SNL' over a decade ago.
And maybe CBS should jump into the act as well since it's been forty years since they introduced the idea of cavemen from the prehistoric past being brought forward in Time to live in Los Angeles on 'It's About Time'.
And then the "Visa-Goths" can swoop in and slaughter them all!
What's in your wallet?
A DIFFERENT SHADE OF AMBER
But even so, sometimes I read the description for one of these pilots and I have to share it with you.
This could be part of the CBS line-up next season:
20th Century is developing 'Babylon Fields', which promises to be "an apocalyptic comedic drama about the dead being resurrected and trying to resume their former lives".
In the show, Amber Tamblyn will play a young woman who helped her mom kill her father because he was so abusive to the both of them. And then dear dead old dad goes and comes back to pick up where he left off.
If this had been the plotline for 'Baby, I'm Back', it would have lasted a couple of seasons.
AMBER IN PORTRAIT
From 12:30 to 1:30 pm weekdays, you couldn't pry her away from 'The Young & The Restless', so today - after reading an item about 'Y&R' in the New York Daily News that had a connection to the family name, - I thought I'd check out the soap opera again. Hadn't seen it since a couple of months before Mom died.
And I was surprised to see Amber, a character from her other fave soap, 'The Bold & The Beautiful' on 'Young & The Restless' instead.
A quick search provided an interview Adrienne Frantz, who plays Amber Moore, did for cbs.com in which she talked about returning not only to daytime TV, but also to the character she'll always be most famous for.....
ADRIENNE FRANTZ: I got the call saying they wanted me to come over to 'The Young and the Restless' to play Amber. And I always said that was the only character I would want to play in Daytime because I think she's so much fun to play.
CBS.com: Isn't it great that you've become a character that can cross over to both shows?
ADRIENNE FRANTZ: It's really great that we've created a character that is known and can transfer to different shows and have just the same fan base and people know who she is. It's very comforting to know that I've created a character like that. It's an honor in a way knowing that I could go to [either show] and play the same character.
The character of Amber Moore is ready for her close-up in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame because her third qualification was a strange crossover with 'The Price Is Right'. She designed the dresses to be worn by "Barker's Beauties" on an episode of the game show, and Bob Barker and two of the girls arrived at Forrester Fashions to inspect the finished product. In a later episode of 'The Price Is Right', the girls were indeed wearing those designs.
But if that's not good enough for the nitpickers, then they just have to wait until March 27th, when Amber will be involved in a 'Y&R' crossover with 'As The World Turns'. Amber will face off against Emily Stewart of 'ATWT' regarding Emily's sister Alison.
You can read the full Adrienne Frantz interview here.
THE TRUMAN SHOW
The link begins with 'Charlie's Angels'. The client in that episode was Maggie Cunningham who hailed from the South. When asked about a picture of her with Harry Truman, she told them an anecdote in which she was the one who first uttered the phrase, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."
Apparently, President Truman liked it so much, he told Maggie that he planned on using that phrase for himself.
When he finally did so, he said it Mary Richards' aunt, legendary journalist Flo Meredith. But as she admitted, Truman didn't exactly say it to her - she was standing in the way when the President said it to the chef.
Even though Harry S. Truman isn't seen in either of those episodes (except in a photo in "Consenting Adults"), both shows will be included in his body of work when it comes time to induct him into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame because they expand his TV presence in a fictional sense.
ONE FOR THE ANGELS
Well, no matter how slow I ran it or when I froze the scenes altogether, we couldn't find exactly where it's supposed to happen, although we had a few viable candidates. But the guys I work with are easy to please, and they were quite happy with the "darts" shot earlier in the episode when Farrah was without bra in a yellow top.
"Angels In Chains" had the girls working undercover in a women's prison. There they befriended another young woman named Linda Hunter who also had been wrongfully imprisoned. Later, at the end of the episode, Charlie Townsend offered Linda a job as a receptionist for the detective agency. So it's to be assumed that from that point on in future episodes, Linda was sitting just outside the main office at her reception desk.
And it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that on one or more of the many cases we never saw dramatized from Toobworld, Linda joined in with the other Angels in working undercover to solve the mystery. She may not have had police training, but she was smart and probably picked up skills while in prison that came in handy in times of distress. And I think she'd be eager to help out in their fights for justice after being wrongfully accused herself.
There I go, enabling fanficcers again. I know somebody who's going to be upset with that.....
But here's the thing; why I bring it up. The actress who played Linda Hunter was Kim Basinger. So in the long line of Angels who worked for Charlie Townsend, unofficially there was one who was portrayed by a future Oscar winner!
Thursday, March 1, 2007
NUMBERS RUNNING: LEVEL 42
1. "Smith and Jones" by Russell T. Davies, directed by Charles Palmer
2. "The Shakespeare Code" by Gareth Roberts, directed by Charles Palmer
3. Episode 3 by Russell T. Davies, directed by Richard Clarke
4. "Daleks in Manhattan" (part one) by Helen Raynor, directed by James Strong
5. Episode 5 (part two) by Helen Raynor, directed by James Strong
6. "The Lazarus Experiment" by Stephen Greenhorn, directed by Richard Clarke
7. "42" by Chris Chibnall, directed by Graeme Harper
8. "Human Nature" (part one) by Paul Cornell, directed by Charles Palmer
9. "The Family of Blood" by Paul Cornell, directed by Charles Palmer
10. "Blink" by Steven Moffat, directed by Hettie MacDonald
11. "Utopia" by Russell T. Davies, directed by Graeme Harper
12. "The Sound of Drums" (part one) by Russell T. Davies, directed by Colin Teague
13. Episode 13 (part two) by Russell T. Davies, directed by Colin Teague
Five with RTD's name attached. That's troubling....
But the one that seems most intriguing, based only on the title and from a Toobworld perspective, is of course Episode Seven: "42" by Chris Chibnall.
Will there be any connection to 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy'? Perhaps even to 'Lost'?
We know there is a connection to HHG2TG already - the Fourth Doctor was once seen reading "The Origins Of The Universe" by Oolon Colluphid. And the Tenth Doctor revealed that he knew Arthur Dent.
As for 'Lost', regular readers of "Inner Toob" might remember a few weeks ago when I theorized that Desmond unknowingly met the White Guardian in the shop when he wanted to buy a ring for Penny. And there's one more connection I think I can make to the Seventh Doctor, but I'm not yet ready to spring that one.....Just getting the titles for the coming season with only a month to go before the season debut has been difficult enough, so I guess I'll just have to wait to satisfy my spoilerish curiousity until it's closer to that episode's broadcast....
POPPING A RESURRECTION
Last Thursday, 'My Name Is Earl' used "Black and White" to appropriate effect in the episode "Guess Who's Coming Out Of Joy", while last night's 'Lost' ("Tricia Tanaka Is Dead") had Hurley grooving to "Shambala" as he tooled about the island in his VDub Dharma microbus.
Now, if a bullfrog named Jeremiah shows up before the end of the day in some cartoon animal show, we've got ourselves a trifecta!
TVXOHOF 3/07 - LOUUUUUUU!
Here's some information... information... information gleaned from the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago. (Their link is to the left.)
Ed Asner is one of U.S. television's most acclaimed and most controversial actors. Through the miracle of the spin-off, Asner became the only actor to win Emmy awards for playing the same character in both a comedy and dramatic series.
James L. Brooks, Allan Burns and 'M*A*S*H' executive producer Gene Reynolds began adapting the Lou Grant character to a dramatic role for CBS, in which Asner would star as the crusading editor of the fictional L.A. Tribune. Despite a shaky start, the beloved comic character gradually became accepted in this new venue. More than just moving to the big city and losing his sense of humor, however, Asner's more serious Grant become a fictional spokesperson for issues ignored by other mass media venues, including the mainstream press. At the same time, the dramatic narrative offered opportunities for exploring the character more deeply, revealing his strained domestic relationships and his own complex emotional struggles. These revelations, in turn, complicated the professional persona of Lou Grant, the editor.
This series drew on the comedy character of the executive producer of TV news in the long-running 'Mary Tyler Moore Show'. But it transformed that comic persona into a serious, reflective, committed newsman at a major metropolitan newspaper.
Reynolds risked undercutting issue-oriented themes by importing Ed Asner from the long-running comedy about a flaky TV newsroom to act as city editor of a daily newspaper. Asner... effectively adapted the original comedic character to the serious role of Lou Grant.
'Lou Grant' is also significant in the history of MTM Productions as the "bridge" program between comedies such as 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' and later, more complex dramas such as 'Hill Street Blues'. Few independent production companies have had such visible success in crossing lines among television genres. The transformation of Asner's character, then, and the focus on serious social issues pointed new directions for the company and, ultimately, for the history of American television.
The singularity of his Emmy wins puts him in the same company as Dr. Frasier Crane (3 Emmy wins for the same character in three different shows) as being one of the main reasons he deserves the "accolade" of Hall membership. However, the two series wouldn't be enough to qualify save for an Honors List technicality without that one last appearance.
And in 1974, Lou Grant showed up in New York City for the two-part wedding celebration of his old friend 'Rhoda' Morgenstern.
There was talk back in the late 1990s that there might be a second MTM reunion movie after "Mary And Rhoda", this time with Mary and Lou. But it's probably safe to say that the idea was scuttled.
Still, Lou Grant did appear again in Toobworld, but this time in an alternate dimension, that of Skitlandia - the world of sketch comedy.
There it is the norm for characters to suddenly change appearance due to casting revisions. (Look how many alterations Bush has gone through on 'Saturday Night Live' alone.)
So Lou Grant once showed up on 'Saturday Night Live' (allegedly) in a spoof on 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' hosted by Steve Martin and looking more like John Belushi than Ed Asner. But later, actor and character were reunited when Lou Grant led a band of South American rebels in a rescue mission to free Mary Richards from the endless loop of syndication repeats.
And he did so during one of her parties, always a focal point for disaster!
Mary, you've been stuck here for seven years in syndicated reruns, doing the same things over and over and over. You've been promoted to Producer, you met Walter Cronkite, you went to the Teddy Awards, you went to Chuckles the Clown's funeral - not once, but hundreds of times! Two, three, four times a night, in some cities! You're in a rut!
There's a big, wonderful world out there, and you've missed it! I mean, you missed MTV, you missed Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, you missed "The New Odd Couple" show.
And, all of you would like it out there! Murray, you know what they have now? Hair weaving. Rhoda! Your mother's making a fortune out there, selling Bounty paper towels!
["Lou Grant Rescue Mission" from 'Saturday Night Live']
For all of these reasons, we salute Lou Grant as the March 2007 inductee into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.
Go on. You can shout it out. You know you want to.....
Oh, Mr. Grant!!!!
The producer has stated that the error happened because he decided to go with a different scene (already filmed) in which to end the show, something more emotional involving Woods' character and his daughter. But there had been no prior indication that script continuity would even be needed for that scene because it wasn't even planned to be used at that time.
That's fine as far as a Trueniverse splainin goes, but what about in Toobworld? How come Sebastian Stark and his daughter Julie never noticed the color change? And what caused it?
Ever see those fashion commercials in which models will be walking along and their clothing instantly changes into something else and they seem to take it in stride? There's a car commercial out there now that has the same effect happen to a guy as he drives his new vehicle.
They don't even notice the change is happening.
Now, these occur in blipverts, but commericals are a part of Toobworld. So those models should have noticed the effect just like Stark, and yet for the most part it goes unnoticed.
I think the answer lies in magic.
There could be sudden overlapping breaches in the dimensional veil which separates TV dimensions, causing a TV character to be momentarily replaced by his doppelganger from another world. (This was the plotline for an episode of 'The Twilight Zone' - "Mirror Image".)
But more likely there's just some bored warlock out there who enjoys magically futzing about with mortal fashion, and making sure the "victims" don't even notice it (someone on the order of Uncle Arthur from 'Bewitched', perhaps).
THE GAME OF THE NAME: OWEN HARPER
But that doesn't mean there has to be a connection between them. You know how many Thomas O'Briens I've met in my life, including my Dad (and then there's my Grand-dad, but he died before my parents even met)? That's why I go by my initials to create "Toby". And even then I've stumbled across at least a few others by that name!
Besides, I'm still not convinced that Dr. Owen Harper of 'Torchwood' is even human.
This suspicion was initially raised by the unique bone structure to the actor Burn Gorman's face. I was kind of hoping he'd turn out to be.... well, not alien, but perhaps an evolutionary side-step for humanity from some parallel dimension.
And then that strange sneer he gave to the Weevil in the episode "Combat" convinced me that there was something... "other" about him.
Even so, if he does turn out to be human, he's Welsh and the one from the sitcom played by Eddie McLintock is American. I wouldn't be surprised if you had to go back many generations to find a common ancestor, and what would be the point?
Had there been a genetic similarity due to casting, now that would have been a different story!
However, he still could be related to an Owen Harper who was played by Christopher Llewellyn in an episode of 'The Bill' ("474") this year......
ZONKS: THE "GILMARS" GIRLS
"I'm just trying to figure out which Gilmore girl you are."
I've pretty much surrendered to the fact that mentions of 'Gilmore Girls' will always be Zonks; there's just no way around the fact.
The show has been mentioned in shows like 'Scrubs' and 'My Boys', and on 'Six Feet Under' the characters were seen actually watching it!
But what really bothers me about the above quote from 'Veronica Mars' is that it cancels any chance there might have been for that show to have a crossover with 'Gilmore Girls' now that they're both on the same network.
I had written about this in the past, that some excuse could be found to have Rory and Lorelei go out to the West Coast and visit Neptune on some pretext... like checking out Hearst College for grad school. Or maybe the plot could have had Keith and his daughter go to Stars Hollow, Connecticut in connection to some investigation. But for Veronica to make a joke about the Gilmores because she knows it's just a TV show seems to preclude that.
C'est le view.....
LEAGUE OF THEMSELVES: CHRIS/TUCKER
The face time helped boost Matthews' already considerable body of work for the League of Themselves, while Carlson needs just one more fictional appearance as himself to make him eligible for the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.
'Dog Bites Man'
'Tanner On Tanner'
There's also 'The West Wing' and 'Mister Sterling', which both take place in the same alternate Toobworld.
TOONED OUT: TANAKA, TAKANAWA, TAKE YOUR PICK
But certain characters from live action shows always pop up in the Tooniverse as cartoon characters themselves - Batman and Robin on 'Scooby Doo', 'The Prisoner' on 'The Simpsons', and Christopher Moltisanti of 'The Sopranos' on 'Family Guy'.
So why can't it happen in reverse?
We've seen actual cartoon characters cross over into the live action TV Universe, no matter which dimension - the pen and ink Man of Steel visited the Metropolis of Earth Prime-Time with Jerry Seinfeld in an Amex blipvert, and Daffy Duck applied for a job at Winfield-Louder in Cleveland, Ohio on 'The Drew Carey Show'. But how many cartoon characters (besides Superman and the Dynamic Duo) have flesh and blood doppelgangers?
'Lost' could have provided one tonight, but they missed it by that much, as Maxwell Smart would have said. The episode was "Tricia Tanaka Is Dead", which referred to an Asian-American TV news reporter who was inside the Mr. Cluck's restaurant owned by Hurley when it was struck by a meteor.
'Family Guy' has an Asian-American TV news reporter in Quahog, Rhode Island, by the name of Tricia Takanawa, who always gets the worst possible assignments.
It would have been so cool if they used the name of Tricia Takanawa rather than Tricia Tanaka for the character. After all, it's okay that they killed her off since she was the non-animated counterpart.
Maybe the writers and producers thought that viewers might think they killed off the Tricia from 'Family Guy'. But to confuse the Tooniverse with Toobworld? That's just crazy talk.
Well, I have to go work on my five part splainin as to why lions can speak English in the Taco Bell commercial......
LITTLE ZONK, "LOST" ON THE PRAIRIE
This isn't a Zonk, because even though 'Little House On The Prairie' and 'Lost' exist in the same TV Universe, the Toobworld version of 'Little House' wasn't exactly the same as the one we saw in the real world.
There really was a Laura Ingalls Wilder, who wrote a series of books about her experiences growing up on the "final frontier", but in Toobworld, she looked like Melissa Gilbert when she was a little girl.
And just as her experiences were adapted into a TV series in the real world, so they were in Toobworld as well. Who knows what Laura Ingalls Wilder looked like in the version watched by Sawyer? She could have been played by Mindy Cohn for all we know. After all, if the televersion of Mindy became an actress as well, we know she wouldn't have been playing Natalie on 'The Facts Of Life' - that was actually happening in Toobworld.
So the TV habits of Sawyer in his childhood remain free for the moment of Zonk infestation.
ZONKS: HOLY NAME (DROPPING) SOCIETY, BATMAN!
This family should have, like, a bat signal for things that good."
'Brothers & Sisters'
Sarah is proving to be the go-to girl for possible Zonks on 'Brothers & Sisters'. In the past she's mentioned 'Lost' and 'The Waltons'.
But once again, this is no Zonk. Batman actually operated in Gotham City beginning back in the 1960s, and the Bat Signal - used by the Police Commissioner to summon the Caped Crusader - became famous nationwide. O'Bviously Sarah Walker saw it on the news at some point while growing up.
So this Zonk is nothing but bat guano.
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
A CHILD IS BLACK; A CHILD IS WHITE
Yuir name is Toby."
In 1766, Kunte Kinte was the property of John Reynolds, a member of the landed gentry in Virginia. He was broken in by the plantation's overseer, George Ames, to accept - at least in public - that his name was Toby Reynolds and that he was the property of the Reynolds family.
Ames was scum, who also found employ as a brutal slave-catcher. After Kunte Kinte tried to escape yet again, Ames hunted him down and offered him a choice - the loss of his testicles or the loss of his toes. "Toby" opted for the toes.
It's pretty much at this point in the David Wolper production that Vic Morrow (who played Ames) leaves the storyline, to be replaced by other white actors getting the chance to play despicable characters in the saga of black history.
But that doesn't mean his personal story ended in Toobworld......
As despicable as he was, it's not unthinkable that George Ames found a woman to marry and raise his own family. (Nothing says that love had to be a factor in that marriage of course.) And it's possible that he fathered a daughter who would better her position in life one day by marrying above her station, to a man who had his own plantation.
What if that man was named Saunders? If so, just as was the case with the "property" of John Reynolds, all of the slaves would have borne his last name of Saunders as well. And as we saw with Tom Moore in 'Roots', he could easily have replenished his stock by impregnating his slave women himself.
So his bloodline and family name would have been handed down through the generations, carried by both white and black TV characters.
One of these, from the white side of the bloodline, could have been Charles "Chip" Saunders of Cleveland, Illinois. (Charles stated that he was from Illinois, but also that he was from Cleveland. There is a Cleveland, Illinois, so there's no Zonk in the claims.)
What really buttresses this claim is that DNA is exceptionally strong in Toobworld, and a character can look exactly like his ancestor, no matter how many generations separate them.
Except for the chasm of Time, Chip Saunders and George Ames could have been identical twins, with Ames of course being the evil twin.
Chip was born in 1920 and served as a platoon sergeant at the age of 25 during World War II. It is unknown whether or not Chip Saunders is still alive (even though the actor who portrayed him - again, Vic Morrow - died more than twenty years ago). I'm confident that Sgt. Saunders survived the end of the Big One - he was wounded badly nearly thirty times and yet still came back to badger his men into continuing.
If he's still alive, Saunders would be 87 years old and could be the father or grandfather to any other current TV characters named Saunders. But then again, those members of the Saunders family could be descended from three of his four siblings.
(He had a younger sister named Louise, but I'm sure she grew up as a "good girl" and was married before she had any children. Toobworld note: Someday I'll investigate any TV characters named Louise who would have been born in 1930 and see if I can make the case that she was the sister of Chip Saunders.....)
On the other side of the bloodline is a butler in the service of the Tate family of Dunn's River, Connecticut. We never learn his background, nor even his first name, but he arrived in the employ of the Tates at an opportune time back in 1980.
After the departure of their previous butler, Benson DuBois to work for the governor, a member of the extended family ("Dutch") tried to help out by cooking for the others. Unfortunately, due to his prison experiences, "Dutch" couldn't cook for less than 300 people, so Jessica hired Saunders.
The insanity of the family always had the cynical butler on the verge of quitting, even though he remained unflappable no matter how outrageous or egregious the situation. (He even took a bullet once when disgraced teacher Leslie Walker tried to shoot her teenaged lover Billy Tate.) But Jessica Tate always managed to convince him into staying on.
If Saunders was the same age as the actor who played him, Roscoe Lee Browne, he would have been about 55 years of age in 1980 and thus about five years younger than his distant cousin, Chip Saunders.
In the last days of this month, a major news story has been the discovery by Reverend Al Sharpton that his family roots could be traced back to a family related to the late Strom Thurmond. And now Reverend Al is hoping to find out whether or not he is actually related to the segregationist senator.
So the idea that these two TV characters of different races could be related shouldn't be that hard to accept as being plausible.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this latest bit o' tele-sciolism. (We - ahem! - "Ames" to please!) My thanks to Nancy Durgin, who collected the information... information... information about Sgt. Saunders.
(Look it up......)
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
DOUBLE VISION: MULLING McINTYRE
Which all could be a way to splain why the head of the CMC security company in 'The State Within', James McIntyre, looked remarkably like Major Raymond MacIntyre in two episodes of 'Earth: Final Conflict' ("Pandora's Box" & "Live Free Or Die").
I suppose it could be that they were in the same dimension, and somehow related - the old "identical cousins" routine. But James would be somewhat older than Raymond, as 'Earth: Final Conflict' is about a quarter century still into the Future. (The show's main character made a name for himself in the War of 2001, which could be a way to describe the lead-up to the invasion of Afghanistan against the Taliban. He may have been only in his early 20s at the time.)
Being set in the future, I don't have to worry just yet as to whether or not Earth Prime-Time, the main Toobworld, will be able to support 'Earth: Final Conflict as taking place there....
D'OHHH! RE: ME....
My friend Marie Mazziotti has created a theatrical presentation called 'fore-play, with the idea that she (or in the future, some other performer in her employ) could perform for the Broadway audiences as they're getting seated.
Before play, see?
So she asked me for my help, and I wrote the lyrics for the third song in her trilogy. (She has only about ten minutes for each performance.)
The song looks at what the Future holds for the audience at Broadway shows, and is similar to "Instructions To The Audience" by Sondheim. (We tip our hat to him in it.)
The other two songs are both her creations - "Welcome To The Show" and "New York Anthem", but I'm not sure that one will survive.
Marie had an audition Monday for the head honcho of the Nederlander empire and it's a go! She was hoping to be able to launch this with 'Legally Blonde', but now it looks like it'll be premiered with 'Grease' instead.
So it's my little claim of fame, the legit version anyway....
For more on Marie:
LEAGUE OF THEMSELVES: MISSED OPPORTUNITY
Pop/rock band, Scissor Sisters, will make their acting debut guest starring on NBC's popular daytime drama "Passions" airing February 8 and 9 (2 p.m. in most markets). The band will be performing two songs, "I Don't Feel Like Dancin" and "Land of a Thousand Words," off their new hit album Ta-Dah.
In this two-episode arc, young witch Endora (Nicole Cox), a big fan of Scissor Sisters, conjures them up in Tabitha's (Juliet Mills) living room. The band, extremely disoriented, plays their first song and then suddenly disappears into thin air, leaving Endora wanting more.
After Endora is put to bed, she decides she wants an encore. This time she makes them appear at the hottest club in Harmony, The Blue Note, where she is dressed as a Scissor Sister groupie. Realizing they are no longer at their concert, the band is once again confused, but decide to keep on playing for the excited crowd.
What I'm hoping for is a third appearance by Anthrax in some TV show. They've already appeared (or at least have been mentioned in a fictional sense) on 'NewsRadio' and 'Married... With Children'. I think appearing on Brendon's Chicago radio show ('My Boys') might be the perfect showcase. (I think Queesryche has been the only band mentioned as having visited him in the studio.)
However, it could be that in the last six years, any mention of "anthrax" on TV could be unsettling. Then again, how disturbing could it be after watching Valencia get nuked.....
Monday, February 26, 2007
O'BSERVATIONS: "THE STATE WITHIN"
I'm a big fan of high-stakes political thrillers, ever since discovering Fletcher Knebel in high school. (And yet, oddly, I just can't get into '24'.....)
'The State Within' was set in an alternate TV dimension, similar to our world - and that of the main Toobworld - save that the President of the United States was named Wilson.
It could have been set in the near future - no more than just three years away, I'm thinking, because there was no great advances in technology... at least to my untrained eye. But since eventually the time would come when there would be no President Wilson on the horizon for us and Toobworld, it had to be relegated to a different dimension.
But without naming names (i.e., past Presidents), it did establish that the recent history of its dimension was similar to ours. They also had troops in Afghanistan and the collapse of the Soviet Union came about circa 1990 (the date mentioned by Secretary of Defense Lynn Warner). Although set in Washington, DC and Tampa, Florida, the focus was on a fictional country in Central Asia near the Afghan border, Tyrzygztan.
Had it not been for mention of President Wilson, the use of Tyrzygztan would not have eliminated 'The State Within' from consideration for Earth Prime-Time "membership". The main Toobworld is teeming with fictional countries like Caronia, Svardia, and the Isle of Mypos.
It would have been nice to place 'The State Within' into the same TV dimension which houses 'The West Wing' or even the one for 'Commander-In-Chief', but again the near-future timeline preempts that. I would think that given the time frame, Matt Santos and MacKenzie Allen would still be the POTUS in their respective dimensions.
But there is another mini-series which could probably use the company, and it was a British production as well.
Here is the plot summary from the IMDb.com:
'A Very British Coup' (1988) (TV)
Socialists (like the fictional Harry Perkins) believe in promoting social change through the democratic system, whereas communism is opposed to democracy. Perkins is only referred to in the film as "communist" by some of those who oppose him, and the actual quote in the film is "Harry Perkins from Sheffield, steel worker and third generation socialist" When Harry Perkins, a third-generation socialist, becomes Britain's Prime Minister, he sends shockwaves through the government, both at home and abroad.
Nuclear disarmament and open government are just two of the things he wants to accomplish. US interests combine with the old boys network to try and defeat Perkins with spies, tabloids, tapes: quiet, behind-the-scenes tools to accomplish a very British coup.
That aired nearly twenty years ago, and again, was probably set in real time for its TV dimension. Twenty years can be several lifetimes in politics, and so I can't see a downside to allowing these two mini-series co-existing in the same TV dimension.
Whoever became the PM after Harry Perkins in 'A Very British Coup' would probably have left office at Number 10 Downing Street by now, and we never heard his name mentioned in 'The State Within'; all we know is that the Prime Minister was male.
I have an alternate TV dimension established which I call Earth Prime-Time/MOW, which has an alternate Earth timeline containing different Presidents of the United States going all the way back to the 1930s, with the TV production of the musical 'Of Thee I Sing'. (My splainin for that being a musical? O'Bviously Sweet the Demon from 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' crossed the dimensional vortex to inflict his powers on the characters.)
The latest entries I had for that timeline were of the TV movies about the Secret Service agent Alex McGregor ('First Daughter', 'First Target', 'First Shot'). Since the last one of that trilogy aired in 2002, it's more than likely that President Hayes left office in 2004 and was replaced by Wilson.
By the way, getting the Toobworld nuts and bolts out of the way, 'The State Within' was edge of your seat excitement for this viewer. I was really caught up in the lives of these characters and the final Big Reveal caught me by surprise. Never even suspected that person as the behind the scenes Big Bad. (I think it may have been due to the blandness of the character involved, which was probably intentional now that I've thunked upon it.)
I've never been a big fan of Jason Isaacs before, but this was a great role for him; and somehow his Sir Mark Brydon, the British Ambassador, reminded me of Connery in his prime. And Sharon Gless was note perfect as the Defense Secretary.
My only real complaint was of the orange hues whenever the scene shifted to Tampa. After awhile, I had to figure that this TV dimension had suffered some kind of global warming catastrophe down South.
Usually with TV mini-series of this nature, I'm never in doubt that everything will be figured out in time. Not with 'The State Within'. I honestly had doubts that the heroes would be able to stop the villains' plans, or even survive to the end. And the final minute of the tele-play was probably the best option to play out; always leave 'em with some doubts.....
I Can't Believe...
E! Interrupted their non-stop coverage of Anna Nicole's death for this Oscars crap.
The show returns March 15 at 10:30 pm, EST - just in time most likely for the cancellation of 'Rules Of Engagement'?
If you want to read some of the highlights, go here.
NEW @ TOOBWORLD CENTRAL
First up is a book:
The Illustrated Scripts: series 1 & 2
Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant"
This has to be the HEAVIEST trade paperback I have ever held! I'm almost afraid to crack it open to look at the pictorial plates inside for fear of damaging the spine.
Aside from having the actual scripts to catch some of the dialogue I may have missed due to dialect (or which I missed while laughing), now I can go back and find all the rest of the Zonks that needed disabling throughout the course of the series.
I also got:
'ALIAS SMITH AND JONES' - Season One
Probably my second all-time favorite Western series (after anything and everything with 'Maverick' in the title, save 'Young Maverick'), the 'AS&J' boxed set begins with the pilot film which never seemed to get airplay on the Encore Western channel - at least not when I was on vacation where I could watch that cable offering.
At last, with this in my possession, my late summer afternoons while on vacation will be freed up so that I might continue playing with my 2 1/2 year old nephew! (We play Ogres & Hobbits instead of Cops & Robbers.)
I don't know if this compilation will prove popular enough to warrant the release of any more seasons. But if so, I don't know whether I would go past Season Two - during which star Pete Duel committed suicide. After that, with Roger Davis as Hannibal Heyes, 'Alias Smith and Jones' became an alternate dimension's version of the show, not the same one I enjoyed so much.
Can't wait to find out which shipment shows up next!
Sunday, February 25, 2007
UPDATE: CASH IN THE "TORCHWOOD" ATTIC
So here it is. The episode is "Ghost Machine", and Owen Harper is interrogating Bernie Harris, a petty thief who stumbled on an alien device that allows you to see the past come alive.....
BERNIE HARRIS: Me and a mate was using this lock up, down on Moira Street. Used to belong to this old guy. Soft in the head, he was. Still, loads of his stuff in there but we chucked most of it. There was this old biscuit tin full of foreign coins, weird bits of rock, and that. Thought it might be worth something. I might take it down the 'Antiques Roadshow'. Yeah. (Owen laughs.) You don't know! 'Cash In The Attic', and all that.
So as I stated last night, there would be no Zonk in this because those shows would exist in Toobworld as they do in the real world.
To back up this claim, at least as far as 'Antiques Roadshow' is concerned, you need only check out the 'Frasier' episode "A Tsar Is Born", in which Martin Crane appeared on the program to have his statue of a bear with a clock in its tummy evaluated.
So, I hope this further splainin will help ease raised eyebrows back down to their original positions.....