Friday, August 24, 2007
BAM! POW! ZOOM! TO THE MOON, ALLISON BLAKE!
This is a terrific trivia tidbit for Toobworld! Having a human presence on the Moon since 1962 means we've got a splainin for those episodes of early sci-fi anthology TV shows, like 'Science Fiction Theater', 'Tales of Tomorrow' and 'One Step Beyond', in which men are on the Moon and yet the fashions of the times are locked in the past.
It also locks in something of a connection to 'Get Smart', which once had a throwaway opening gag in which the CONTROL agents met on the lunar surface to discuss their latest cases.
And that gives Mankind a jump in getting a lunar colony established on the Moon, one that would be long in place by the time of the nuclear waste dump explosion in 1999. (For those who don't know, Toobworld Central long ago neutralized the Zonk of 'Space: 1999' by splainin everything seen on the TV show after the explosion as being fever dreams experienced by Commander Koenig. He survived, but was left in a coma.)
The very existence (lots of "ex" words lately....) of 'Eureka' quickly became an important component in the makeup of Toobworld; this latest example (hmmm) proves it.
This one isn't so much a new link, as both shows were already connected via Oceanic Airlines. As everybody knows, Oceanic Flight 815 broke up in mid-air over the DHARMA island in September of 2004. And Flight 456 from LAX to Switzerland was the setting for the 'Diagnosis Murder' episode "Murder In The Air".
Oceanic Airlines also links those two shows to the following TV series and TV movies:
'The War At Home' ("The West Palm Beach Story")
'JAG' ("The Bridge At Kang So Ri" & "Vanished")
'LAX' ("Senator's Daughter")
"Nowhere To Land"
"Panic In The Skies"
"Category Six: Day Of Destruction" (most likely an alternate dimension)
But now we have a new link forged between 'Lost' and 'Diagnosis Murder'!
In the finale of the third season for 'Lost', "Through The Looking Glass", we saw news footage of the crash caused by Jack's attempt to commit suicide on the Sixth Street Bridge in Los Angeles. That footage was courtesy of Action 8 News.
Back in 1995 (as we saw in "Death In The Daytime", an episode of 'Diagnosis Murder'), the newscaster for Channel 8 had her first big story, which focused on a murder that took place on the set of 'The Young & The Restless'. (It had to be her first big story at that station, because not long before that she was reporting the news in Detroit, as seen in the 'Sister, Sister' episode "Field Trip". Sherri Paysinger played both parts.)
Action 8 News is a great link for Toobworld. TV stations are always being needed for fictional purposes on TV shows, and there are only so many numerical designations to go around in any given market. If a TV series needs to create a fictional TV station in Los Angeles, the producers will have to resort to one not currently being used.
So there's a very good chance that one day LA's Channel 8 will provide yet another link for the greater glory of Toobworld. (And the call letters being different won't matter. When TV stations are sold, they oftentimes apply to change their call letters to reflect their new identity.)
Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel!
A GENOA SALAMI
Me, I confront those voices in my head.....
VOICE: How come you haven't splained away that big Zonk on 'Entourage' a couple of weeks ago?
ME: What big Zonk?
VOICE: Come on! How could you miss it? It was as big as your gut!
ME: No need to get personal.
VOICE: Aris' wife took a job on the soap opera 'The Young & The Restless'.
ME: Right. Mrs. Ari used to be a regular on the show as Kendall Scott, the town slut of Genoa City. So?
VOICE: So??? Your sainted mother's favorite show was 'Y&R'! Shouldn't it be part of your silly TV universe, just as much as 'Entourage'!
ME: And it is.
VOICE: But they treated it like a TV show and not as part of their own reality!
ME: But it is a TV show on Earth Prime-Time, as well as being part of that world. This isn't the first time it's happened, you know. When you've been the Number One soap opera for a couple of decades, other shows are going to notice and they'll want to tap into that magic with references made on their shows.
We've seen it referred to as a TV show before on other shows, like 'The Nanny' ("The Nanny Napper") and 'Boy Meets World' ("And Then There Was Shawn"). Best of all was on 'Diagnosis Murder', when Amanda won a guest role on the soap opera and wouldn't you know it? An actual murder took place while she was on the set.
VOICE: But the 'Entourage' set looked just like the coffee house on 'Young & The Restless'!
ME: Well, it should! Don't you want verisimilitude?
VOICE: Do I? Sounds like something that's been going around....
ME: Look, since they were going to show the Seattle skyline in 'Frasier' each week, they knew they had to make it accurate. Otherwise there would be nitpickers out there who would tell them so otherwise. Probably somebody like Kaye's maid Esther, who lives in the "real" 'Y&R' world, would be watching the Toobworld 'Y&R' while she should be cleaning the Chancellor estate. And you know "Miss BooHoo" would see the difference if her set didn't look like the real place, which is a TV show set for her!
VOICE: I'm still trying to grasp the idea that actors from the real world are playing themselves in Toobworld, and those versions are playing the TV versions of the characters they play back in the real world!
ME: It gets easier. Various cast members of 'The Young & The Restless' appeared in that 'Diagnosis Murder' episode as themselves, and not as the characters they play in the show. Eric Braeden, Jeanne Cooper, Lauralee Bell, Melody Thomas Scott, Kristoff St. John, Heather Thom, J. Eddie Peck, and Doug Davidson all showed up and many of them mistook Amanda for the actress who plays her in the real world, Victoria Rowell. (That's because Ms. Rowell played Drusilla Winters on 'Y&R'. So there's another great example that a character and the actor who played them can exist in the same universe.)
VOICE: Boy! You do go on! So that should be a Zonk right there!
ME: No, because it's just a case of them portraying the "real life people" of Genoa City, like what happened here in the real world with 'Toma', 'Bat Masterson', and George Steinbrenner in 'Seinfeld'.
That didn't negate the relationship both shows share with Toobworld to cause a Zonk. All we really know about Toobworld's 'Young & The Restless' is that it takes place in Genoa City, Wisconsin, as well, and that although it features actors playing the real-life people of that city, it also has characters not found in the real world version (which of course is the basis for its inclusion in Toobworld).
For all we know, the versions of people like Victor and Nikki Newman and Cricket are just minor characters in that version of 'Y&R', but Kendall Scott and her former student - played by Javier Gracho in Toobworld, who is played by Xavier Torres in the real world - could have been the leading roles during their runs on the show. And those two characters don't exist in the "real" Genoa City.
VOICE: If I had my own head to live in, you'd be making it hurt.
ME: This isn't the first time we've seen this happen in Toobworld. It's obvious that the Toobworld version of 'Days Of Our Lives' can't be the same one in our world, because Joey Tribbiani appeared in that version as Dr. Drake Ramoray. And the plotline about him falling down an elevator shaft and getting a brain transplant from some other "fictional" character never occurred on the true 'DOOL'.
VOICE: I surrender!
ME: Good. It's late. I need to get some sleep......
"We'll return to 'The Young and the Restless'
And here is the word:
'Boy Meets World'
Thursday, August 23, 2007
PICTURE TOOB I
Tonight, I went looking through some of those disks and found early, crude pictures of me that used to grace my old website, "The Tubeworld Dynamic". Most of them I give credit to Jim 'n' Tay, or Tay 'n' Jim, elf-friends from the IDD.
I figured every so often I'll grace you (curse you?) with a picture from those "Salad Days".......
NEWS FROM THE NEWS
Here's the gist of it from a story by Keith Kelly:
"David Bianculli, a TV critic who has been at the Daily News for 14 years, is about to get the boot.
Sources said that his contract is not going to be renewed when it expires this fall and that his last column will probably run in late October.
'Everyone is horrified,' said a source familiar with the situation. 'I assume it is a money thing. They'll probably replace him with some blogger who sits around in his pajamas.' "
As I said, that's very upsetting news for me at Toobworld Central. It's not that I'll probably be losing a chance to share the in-jokes that I find on TV shows, but because he has been one of the best TV critic/columnists in the country. And I read about ten such columns a day from all over the USofA.
It's just another sign of the times that the squeeze is being put on TV columnists at newspapers; getting tossed aside for the cheaper tactic of using a pooled story. It happened in Dallas, it happened in Colorado (I think it was), and sometimes it looks like the same may happen in Hartford.
No wonder there was such a kerfuffle at the recent press tour when ABC tried to withhold actual news from the critics in order to splash it up big at the next weekend's Comic-Con. The critics got angry, rightly seeing it as putting their jobs on the line if they couldn't justify the expense of the junket by bringing back real TV news.
Well, hopefully Bianculli will be online wherever he lands; I'd love it if he started blogging like Diane Werts, Verne Gay, and Alan Sepinwall do in connection with their respective papers. Unless of course, the Daily News decides to disappear him, like what happened to Eric Mink.
He pissed off David Chase re: 'The Sopranos', and now he sleeps with the fishes...... Maybe.
RuthSings pondered in the IDD forum at Topica if that blogger in his pajamas might be me. Which is, of course, absurd.
I don't wear pajamas.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
SKETCHY DETAILS: "THE QUEEN OF MEAN"
"Admittedly ... some convicted felons deserve to be beaten.
But some say justice must be satisfied."
'Saturday Night Live'
It was a friend of mine who alerted me to the news that hotel magnate Leona Helmsley had died; she thought I could do something funny with that.
I had no interest in that, as it didn't feel right. Not out of any sense of respect, but because I didn't like that woman, being a hotel union man for the last quarter century. I think when Mr. Pip greeted her in "the other place", for her it was going a dingy fleabag motel where laxatives were left on the pillow for all eternity.
Sherman Helmsley I'll mourn someday. Leona? Meh.
"The Queen Of Mean" had a televersion beyond her appearances in news reports back in the late 1980s, thanks to Suzanne Pleshette's portrayal in the TV-Movie. (Her beloved hubby Harry Helmsley was played by the late Lloyd Bridges.)
But it was her "life" in the sketch comedy TV dimension that yielded more appearances, with Nora Dunn embodying her tough-skinned nastiness on 'Saturday Night Live'. If she wasn't running a haunted mansion in NYC or breaking out of jail with Zza Zza Gabor and Tammy Faye Bakker (who passed away in the real world as well just a few weeks ago), she was sparring with the Church Lady on "her" 'Church Chat'.
But the news of her death puts me in mind of that former associate of Scrooge - I'd go to her funeral, but only if a luncheon was served......
"I'll be seeing you - in your nightmares."
'Saturday Night Live'
Monday, August 20, 2007
THE TELE-PATH NOT TAKEN
For those of you who saw last week's episode of 'Mad Men', I'd like you to try a little experiment. Strip away all of the subplots from "5G", save for that about Don Draper's secret life being discovered by the half-brother from his earlier identity. Take away even most of Peggy's scenes of her entertaining Don's wife as they await his return to the office, since that had more to do with Peggy's discovery of Don's affair with the artist.
So we're left with the story of Adam Whitman, finding out that the older brother he worshipped did not die in the Korean Conflict, but instead was now living a new life as ad executive Don Draper instead of as Dick Whitman.
Don didn't want anything to do with Adam, nor with that world which he had escaped. And he was afraid that somebody was going to find out his secret if Adam stayed around for much longer. So drastic measures had to be taken.
We saw Don unlock a desk drawer at home and stare at something hidden away inside. We could sense that whatever it was, it was both troubling to Don as well as the answer to his problems. Finally he made the decision and put it in his briefcase.
When he arrived at Adam's Times Square flophouse hotel, Adam momentarily turned his back on his older brother in order to make him coffee. While doing so, he mentioned that their late Uncle Mac always thought Dick/Don was soft. "But you're not soft, are you?"
With a grim determination, Don replied, "No. I'm not." And he reached into the briefcase. Adam turned around and asked, "What - what are you doing?"
And that's when Don pulled out - five thousand dollars in cash.
Admit it. How many of you watching thought Don was going for a gun to kill Adam in order to protect his secret? I think it was more than just that we've become accustomed to the protagonists on cable shows going dark - Tony Soprano, Vic Mackey, Tommy Gavin. I think the basic plot summary could have been the first twenty minutes of a classic 'Columbo' episode. We would have come out of the commercial break to follow the rumpled detective as he investigated the murder.
Luckily for Don, had he actually killed his brother, he wouldn't have had to worry about Columbo being on the case. Although the Lieutenant began his career in New York City, by 1960 he had already moved to California - the year before in fact. (In a 1973 episode, he said he had been living there for fourteen years.) And this episode of 'Mad Men' had to be taking place around June. (After CBS guaranteed a full season to 'The Twilight Zone' in April, but before the Draper family's plans for an August vacation in Cape May, still early enough to change those plans if need be.)
But if he had killed Adam, he'd probably have to face a grilling by another Adam - Detective Adam Flint of the NYPD, as seen in 'Naked City'.
It would have made for a great story, although it would have brought this fantastic, well-made series to a halt. And besides, Paul Burke, who played Adam Flint, is now too old to play opposite Jon Hamm as Don Draper. (O'Bviously the same holds true for Peter Falk as Columbo.)
Still, for those of you who write fanfic, there's an idea for an alternate universe crossover with either of those two crime series!
I'm a televisiologist. I have to figure that there is meaning in every little trivial nugget.
And sure enough! "El Camino" translates to "The Way".
Perhaps as in "I am The Way, The Truth, And The Life"?
If the only way to meet The Father is through Jesus and/or John, then perhaps the El Camino served to introduce us to Him as the salesman at the car dealership. After all, he was spouting the same lines as John was.
And John embraced the El Camino with his arms spread... as if he was about to be crucified. (Not sure though if that's what I should have read into that.)
Just sayin', is all.....
Here's how the scene played out, courtesy of the HBO website. (Replace "Camino" with "Way" and "Father" for "Pops"......)
EXT. CHERRY OLDIES USED CAR SALES – DAY
[Linc and Jake and John with the owner/operator of Cherry Oldies Used Car Sales. The Dealer's appearance invokes P.T. Barnum's trustworthiness, and his manner Chicken Little's hurried angst]
DEALER: I feel that you boys are ready for this Camino ....
LINC: (Includes Jake) Between the two of us we own more cars than you have on this lot. My guess is that your feeling's probably right.
DEALER: That's not what I mean by ready – number of vehicles owned.
JAKE: What do you mean, Pops?
LINC: We got to, uh, boogie.
DEALER: Oh, so I've got to know what I mean before I can have a feeling. Do I have to know that you'll understand me? Do you have to know you'll understand before you'll listen? Twenty-five cars between you -- you should've let me sit down before you told me. I got that many dealerships in each of that many sectors, and brands on goddamn franchise. I've got to boogie, me.
JOHN: He feels you're ready for the Camino.
DEALER (to John) You're off-line now, Country.
JOHN: I don't know Butchie instead.
DEALER: (To Linc and Jake, re John) How's he for high-performance? And he ain't who's worst-underpowered. Intrusions, evanescences – I'm a shepherd without crook or understanding. Fits and stops and starts. Waves and ripples and ramifications. Busted knee, mother-son handjob .... Christ, Jesus Christ Jesus Christ. Crosses and shoulders to bear 'em. El Camino, fifteen thousand, as is.
LINC: Is it gassed?
JOHN: F**king-A right it's gassed Linc.
[John pulls the money out of his pocket.]
DEALER: You and your twenty-five cars. Circle and line on the wall, and zeros and goddamned ones, is what to turn the both of your gifts to and not one damn minute to waste.
JOHN: Ragheads are going to get themselves eradicated.
DEALER: (vigorously interrupting John) Country, I took you off-line. (calling off camera, re El Camino) Manuel, get a cage on this thing.
[John leans over the hood of the El Camino and employs the entirety of his wingspan to offer it a hug.]
I don't know Butchie instead.....
BCnU, and may God bless......
Sunday, August 19, 2007
ZONKING THE DETECTIVES
Is it any surprise that this week's episode of 'Psych' contained a number of Zonks? You know Zonks - those references to other TV shows AS TV shows, when they should be sharing the same universe with the show containing the references. And "Meat Is Murder, But Murder Is Also Murder" had a slew of them; not sure if it now holds the record. (How can a show with such a short title have such long episode titles?)
But we caught a break this week in that most of the Zonks were just recitations of detective show titles spouted by Gus' Uncle Burton. They may be the same titles of shows we have (or had) in the Trueniverse, but that doesn't mean they were the same shows in the TV Universe.
'HILL STREET BLUES' - This was the first one out of the gate. Had it not been for the fact that we learned Uncle Burton loved his detective shows, I might have passed this off as a music program. But he was using it in comparison to his nephew's line of work with the police department.
Still, the 'Hill Street Blues' of Toobworld could have been about a blues musician who sidelined as a private detective, perhaps it could have been based on the late 'Johnny Staccato' who led a similar life back in the early 1960s. And such a TV show would be more in keeping with the situation Gus (actually, Shaun) was in - someone with an unusual talent working as a private eye.
'DIAGNOSIS MURDER' - Uncle Burton kept referring to 'Diagnosis Murder' as an actual person rather than as the show's title. So there was nothing in its use that Zonks Toobworld with references to Dr. Sloan. For all we know, 'Diagnosis Murder' could have been a dramatization of a book by Ken Franklin and the late James Ferris ('Columbo' - "Murder By The Book") as they also wrote a murder mystery with a similar title "Prescription Murder").
Of course, that book, along with many others by Franklin and Ferris, featured an elderly sleuth named Mrs. Melville. If the Toobworld version of 'Diagnosis Murder' was based on a book by Franklin and Ferris, then it must have featured a male investigator. Either that, or it was re-written for Television. This is because Uncle Burton referred to the person "Diagnosis Murder" as a "he".
'GHOST WHISPERERS' - No, that's not a misprint. Uncle Burton clearly stated the name as a pluralization. So in Toobworld, there is a show with a similar title but for all we know, it could be a reality series like 'Ghost Hunters'.
'THE ROCKFORD FILES' - TV series have been developed based on the lives of real people here in our dimension. For example, 'Toma', 'Bat Masterson', Allison DuBois ('Medium'), and Dave Barry (in 'Dave's World'). There's no denying that with his imprisonment for a crime he didn't commit and his subsequent career as a private investigator who lived in a trailer on the beach, Jim Rockford led a life that contained endless examples to be dramatized for Television.
If the Toobworld 'Rockford Files' which Uncle Burton was watching is a recent program, I have a suggestion as to who could play the Rockford of the 1970s era: an actor by the name of David Boreanaz. I understand there's a vampire and an FBI agent who both look like him. If it's a program about the present-day Jim Rockford, then that movie star James Garner might be a good fit for the role.....
'MATLOCK' - I've written about Ben Matlock and his presence in the TV Universe before. (See "Supernatural Splainins III".) And as mentioned above in regards to Jim Rockford, apparently a TV show was made about this lawyer from Atlanta.....
Perhaps it's a series based on the books by JB Fletcher; or perhaps it was a documentary about her, the type of thing you can see on Ovation......
'MANIMAL' - As crazy as the premise was for this series (A scientist can turn into a variety of different animals to fight crime.), it has to be accept that it is part of Toobworld. It was broadcast, the most basic requirement for inclusion, and it had a later crossover with another short-lived series, 'Nightman'.
The 'Manimal' TV series in Toobworld more than likely resembles 'The Rockford Files' and other shows like 'Gilligan's Island', in that it was based on a "true" story. I can't see how Professor Jonathan Chase could have kept his secret for very long, not in a world where Black Ops has such an extensive network to spy on us all. Sooner or later, the world was going to learn about his abilities and some TV suit was going to jump all over it as a concept to build a series.
About the only show that would qualify as a definite Zonk was the mention of 'The Fall Guy' and its star, Lee Majors. Now technically, there wasn't a direct connection between the two. Shaun said something to the effect that "you were looking for a fall guy, and Lee Majors wasn't available". He then learns that Lee Majors actually lives in Santa Barbara and was, indeed, available.
But that doesn't mean that he was making the connection to the TV show, nor that he was thinking of 'The Fall Guy' as any kind of a TV show. Shaun is known for his nonsensical use of non sequiters, and throwing out the name of Lee Majors as a possible candidate to be a fall guy instead of Chef Antonio made as much sense as any other name he might have conjured.
That splainin isn't what the writer had in mind and it doesn't fit with the preconceived notion of the viewing audience, but if it helps to keep the TV Universe tidy and clear of Zonks (Ooops! Bleed-over from 'Monk'!), then it works for me.
Oh. And this week's pineapple reference: Gus used the word in a string of non-related terms as part of his fake psychic routine.