Saturday, September 15, 2007


Slow day; have a few ideas to post, but nothing that can't wait. Instead I finally caught up with the last 'X-Men' movie (on HBO) while cat-sitting and then the season finale of 'Psych' and Sci-Fi's editing of "Blink", an episode of 'Doctor Who' penned by Stephen Moffat. It's just not effective when there's commercial interruptions, but it's still far and away the best bit o' TV I've seen in 2007. (Look for "Blink" to win the Hugo, just like "The Girl In The Fireplace" did for Moffat.....)

So it's off to bed as I have to work tonight, but I thought I'd just share with you another of my old picture files. This time it's not about me, just an image I found online that I really liked and might still use as my icon for LiveJournal or something:

And it's quite appropriate since I just saw the Weeping Angels again.......

Toby OB

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I mentioned in the earlier post about Larry King that 'Spin City' had to be sent packing to another TV dimension because they had Randall Winston as mayor of NYC. The rest of Toobworld acknowledged the real mayor, Rudy Giuliani, as the man holding the second toughest job in America. This is the reason why a show situated in Earth Prime-Time must accept that the current President of the United States is the POTUS of their world as well. Too many other shows will be doing so, and to go against the grain leaves them outside the party tent. And that's why shows like '24', 'The West Wing', 'Commander In Chief' etc. have to go their own way in the wilderness of alternate dimensions.

I used to take a pretty hard line with the portrayal of political leaders up and down the line when it came to Toobworld. I remember I wanted to shunt an episode of 'Law & Order' over to the mirror universe just because they created a fictional governor of Connecticut. The plotline was a "ripped from the headlines" murder case that combined the sexual revelations of the New Jersey governor with the criminal malfeasance of the Connecticut governor. I didn't think this was right, as Jim McGreevey and John Rowland were all over the news each night, so they had Toobworld presence.

But maybe I should just ignore the news of the Real World unless it actually comes into play in the fictional realm of Toobworld? Because two political positions have had me wondering how to play them out for Toobworld.....

The first one happened last season, and will continue to make an impact this season, on 'Brothers & Sisters'. Rob Lowe was introduced as California Senator Robert McCallister. The senator hired Kitty Walker to work on his campaign team as he sought the Republican nomination for the Presidency. Eventually he became involved with Kitty and Rob Lowe became a regular on the show.

In an alternate dimension, we know he did occupy the Oval Office, but that's many decades from now as McCallister is still just a kid in 2007 there (as was seen in 'Jack & Bobby'). The problem here is not that he'd win the election - he probably won't even get close to the nomination by the end of this coming season. If he did, it would screw up the thrust of the storyline for the other characters on 'Brothers & Sisters'. The problem is that if Toobworld is supposed to be like the Real World (aside from the androids, talking animals, and alien invasions etc), then wouldn't the senators from California be Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein?

Barbara Boxer has already established a tele-version for herself in Toobworld, with enough appearances in fictional plotlines to even qualify for membership in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame, League of Themselves Wing:

"K Street"
- Week 3 (2003) TV Episode (as Sen. Barbara Boxer)

"Gilmore Girls"
- Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days (2002) TV Episode (as Senator Barbara Boxer)

"Murphy Brown"
- Brown vs. the Board of Education (1994) TV Episode

But Senator Feinstein only has appearances on talk shows to her credit, as far as I can tell from the She hasn't been fully embraced into the Toobworld mythology.
So, as it stands right now, we can probably make the assumption that the two senators from TV-California are Barbara Boxer and Robert McCallister. If some other show comes along with MORE California senators, they'll probably have to be dumped into the worlds of 'The West Wing' or '24' (unless enough time has passed that one or the other could have been voted out of office).

The other show that might give me some trouble hasn't yet premiered, but I got to see a sneak peek of its pilot: 'Dirty, Sexy Money'. The oldest son of the family is Patrick Darling IV, and he's apparently the District Attorney for New York running for the Senate.

This is a problem. And I'm not even considering the fact that Robert Morgenthau - Pruneface's brother from 'Dick Tracy' - is the real District Attorney for New York. Toobworld already has a District Attorney, thanks to the 'Law & Order' empire. Currently we're between seasons of the show and when it returns, Arthur Branch will no longer hold the position. Instead, longtime ADA Jack McCoy will be stepping into the job.

I can't even say that the references to "District Attorney of New York" meant the state level; that's the state, not a district. Forget the fact that Andrew Cuomo holds the office; the official title of the position is "Attorney General of New York". So there's one option blown out of the water.

As it stands now, unless there are serious changes to Patrick Darling's character during these rewrites/retoolings I'm hearing about, 'Dirty Sexy Money' would have to be shunted over to the world of 'The West Wing'.

However, there is one possible splainin that might save the situation. The one scene where it really comes up occurs between Patrick and new family lawyer, Nick George. Nick refers to Patrick as the District Attorney of New York, and that one day he'll be the Senator from New York. (Possibly replacing Hillary should she be elected President?) As such, it's about time he stood up and found the courage to fix his own mistakes.

Here's wha' hoppint, as Ricky Ricardo would say. Nick simply mis-spoke. He said "District Attorney" when he meant "Attorney General". And Patrick didn't correct him. Not because he was being polite - I don't think the Darling Family has it in them to be polite to others. But it was because Patrick's mind was too focused on the tranny hooker mistress who was waiting for him at some dive hotel.

Oh wait. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have called her a tranny hooker mistress. She's not a hooker.

Once/if Patrick Darling IV is elected to the Senate, maybe then we can re-examine the situation and find a better splainin to cover it all up.

Because that's what you do with the Darling Family, right? Cover it all up......

Toby OB


Finally catching up to my DVRs of the TV Land marathon for 'The Bob Newhart Show' from Monday night, which was in celebration of the show's 35th anniversary......

When Dr. Bob Hartley's therapy group appeared on WTTW's 'Psychology In Action' in September of 1973 ("Last TV Show" (the second season premiere), they were up against 'Gunsmoke' and 'Monday Night Football'.

That week, the match-up was Steelers vs. Da Bears, and the Bears lost.

And so it went.... in Toobworld. But from 1970 until 1989, the Pittsburgh never played against Chicago on 'Monday Night Football'. Just another difference between Toobworld and the Real World.

As for 'Gunsmoke', we have no quarrel with a show set in the past like that being referenced in another show which shares the same dimension. The Toobworld version of 'Gunsmoke' was o'bviously based on the "true" history of Marshall Matt Dillon.

As a side note, there really is a public broadcasting station in Chicago with the call letters of WTTW. So at least in that respect, both universes are aligned.....

Toby OB


On the season finale for 'The Closer' this week, Larry King hosted Representative Loretta Sanchez to discuss the murder trial of Dr. Jonathan Schafer. Although Congresswoman Sanchez was making her "tele-version" debut, Larry King has a well-established presence in the fictional universe of Toobworld, as well as in a few of its alternate dimensions.

Here's a list, courtesy of the

- Wayne's World 2: Revenge of the Shark (2007) TV Episode

"Law & Order: Criminal Intent"
- Weeping Willow (2006) TV Episode

"Boston Legal"
- Truly, Madly, Deeply (2005) TV Episode (uncredited)

"Law & Order: Trial by Jury"
- Day (2005) TV Episode

"Fat Actress"
- Crack for Good (2005) TV Episode

- Standards and Practices (2002) TV Episode
- The Real Thing (1997) TV Episode

"The Practice"
- The Verdict (2002) TV Episode

"Everybody Loves Raymond"
- The First Six Years (2002) TV Episode

- My Fair Frasier (1997) TV Episode

"Murphy Brown"
- Phil's Dead - Long Live Phil's (1996) TV Episode
- Rootless People (1990) TV Episode

"The Bonnie Hunt Show"
- Better Offer (1996) TV Episode

"Murder One"
- Chapter Twenty-One (1996) TV Episode (uncredited)

"Muppets Tonight"
- Episode #1.3 (1996) TV Episode

- Is It Hot in Here, or Is It Me?: Part 2 (1995) TV Episode

"The Larry Sanders Show"
- The P.A. (1995) TV Episode

Over in the Tooniverse, Larry has shown up (or in the case of "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish", been heard on a "Books on Tape") in the following shows:

- Elwood City Turns 100! (2002) TV Episode

"The Simpsons"
- Sideshow Bob Roberts (1994) TV Episode (voice)
- One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish (1991) TV Episode

But it could be argued that the "Larry King" as seen in 'Arthur' is an anthropomorphic animal who shares enough similarities with the human Larry King to raise suspicions about their parentage.....

"Spin City"
- An Affair to Remember (1997) TV Episode

'Spin City' was jettisoned to an alternate dimension because Randall Winston was the mayor at the same time Rudy Giuliani was establishing his tele-version as the New York City mayor in such shows as 'Seinfeld' and 'Law & Order'. If it had never come up, then we might have been able to turn a blind eye to such a major change from the Real World.

And now we can add 'The Closer' to the mix, thanks to Larry King's League of Themselves appearance.

Toby OB

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I've complained in the past about how much I hate when TV shows name their first episode just "Pilot". It's been happening a lot over the last ten years or so. Never happened in the old days.

The only show where it's actually appropriate was 'Lost'. And that's because Greg Grunberg shows up in those first two hours as the pilot of Oceanic Flight 815's pilot!

At least ABC's new series 'Pushing Daisies' is having fun with that convention. If you haven't heard about this upcoming "forensic fairy tale" yet, it's about a young pie-maker who can bring the dead back to life with a single touch. If he touches them again, they die and stay dead forever. And if he doesn't touch them a second time within one minute, someone else must die in their place.

So, in honor of the main character being a pie-maker, the first episode of 'Pushing Daisies' is supposedly entitled "Pie-lette".

I'll take it.

Toby OB


"How strange it is to feel reborn while standing in your father's tomb.
How strange and wonderful
Mark Volchek
'Wiseguy' has an obituary for actor Steve Ryan which can be found here. Ryan was only 55, but apparently he was suffering from a long illness.

According to the obituary, "A veteran actor with more than 50 film and TV credits, Ryan was often cast as authority figures, including Secretary of Defense Miles Hutchinson in The West Wing, and police officers in shows such as CSI, NYPD Blue, Oz, and Crime Story. Other credits include recurring roles on Arrested Development, American Dreams, JAG, and New York Undercover."

I also remember him on an episode of 'Law & Order' and in a touching IKEA blipvert. I also saw him in the Broadway production of 'Guys & Dolls' with Nathan Lane and Faith Prince.

But that obituary fails to mention his role as Mark Volchek on 'Wiseguy', which is where he first came to my notice. Volchek ran the town of Lynchboro with an iron fist, and Vinnie Terranova was sent there to investigate him. When he was sidelined with an injury after uncovering the Sheriff as a serial-killer (probably the first David Strathairn role I ever saw), Vinnie was replaced by returning rogue agent Roger Lococco (William Russ).

Mark Volchek:
"Have we met before?"
Roger Lococco:
"In another life, maybe?"
Mark Volchek:
"There is no other life, Mr. Lococco!"

Steve Ryan's portrayal of Volchek was over-the-top, but he was in complete command the whole time. And I have to think he enjoyed the chance to deliver the lines that were scripted for him in that role. I don't think he ever played another character in Television that came close to providing such a chance to shine.

I was lucky enough to meet him several times as part of my "real" job. Right off during that first encounter, I let him know how much I enjoyed his performance as Mark Volchek. I can only hope that he appreciated my enthusiasm... and that I didn't come off as a wack-job.

"Has your gyroscope been so completely altered
That you can't grasp priorities
Mark Volchek

I don't do those full-blown "Hat Squad" tributes anymore, due to the work involved and the depressing moods they would drop me, but this is one of those times when I felt the need to pay tribute to someone who made an impression on me with his contribution to Toobworld.

Thank you, Steve Ryan, for giving us Mark Volchek and all your other tele-folks in the Toobworld population....

Toby OB

Ed Rogoshevsky:
"You're a 200 lb. man wrapped in a child's ego."
Mark Volchek:
"I only weigh 180!"


My friend Sean, father of my second god-daughter, and I IM each other every day. It's the only way for us to keep in contact since he's had to relocate to Taiwan for the needs of his family. And Sean is one of my most enthusiastic boosters when it comes to Toobworld.

Currently he's catching up on 'Deadwood' and that was informing his way of thinking in this particular IM. But he proposed a great idea and I ran with it.

I gotta warn you though - remember, he's been watching 'Deadwood' as well as 'Torchwood' in their unexpurgated forms. So it's had an effect on his language.....

LITTLE BUDDY: Of course, as a base of operations, you can not beat a fucking saloon.

SKIPPER: Just ask Guinan
SKIPPER: Or Sam Malone
LITTLE BUDDY: Ten Forward should have had whores
LITTLE BUDDY: I would have liked a Ten Forward more like deadwood, maybe it's that way in the Mirror Universe
LITTLE BUDDY: They should have a mirror universe TV show
SKIPPER: where they can do all the bad things they'd love to do with the regular characters.
SKIPPER: Not just star trek but all shows. do it as an anthology.
LITTLE BUDDY: I'll bet the cast members would love to guest on it
SKIPPER: different actors every week.
LITTLE BUDDY: You had that as a post, right?
SKIPPER: One week Star Trek - to launch the idea.
SKIPPER: The next week do it as the Mary Tyler Moore Show where she murders Lou Grant to gain control of the newsroom.
LITTLE BUDDY: Ooh, do Dick Van Dyke!
SKIPPER: Rob Petrie uses his wife to sleep with the boss in order to plot his own advancement. The Alan Brady show features a public execution of some criminal each week.
LITTLE BUDDY: All in the family, Archie would have to be in the ACLU, that's no fun

Just sayin', is all.....

Toby OB


[Even though I'll be discussing the first episode of 'Torchwood' which just aired on BBC-America, there will be spoilers for the rest of the show's season, as well as for the last block of episodes of the latest season of 'Doctor Who' which have yet to air here on the Sci-Fi Channel............]

I covered 'Torchwood' when it first aired over in the UK (beginning
here), but televisiology is a never-ending subject and there's always something new to learn.

That first episode of 'Torchwood' was titled "Everything Changes", based on Captain Jack's assertion that with the 21st Century, everything changes. (Pretty vague - it could be said for every century as it arrived.) But like the proverb says, the more things change, the more they stay the same. 'Torchwood' might be taking place in the middle of the first decade of the 20-hundreds, but it was utilizing alien Toobworld technology from over forty years ago.

That first episode linked back to several episodes of 'Doctor Who':

"Invasion Of The Dinosaurs"
"The Christmas Invasion"
"The Empty Child"
"The Doctor Dances"
"Boom Town"
"Bad Wolf"
"Parting Of The Ways"
"The Unquiet Dead"

But it also linked to a sci-fi oriented sitcom from the mid-1960s....

During the 'Torchwood' pilot episode, Owen Harper sneaked an atomizer of alien cologne out of the Hub to use for his own purposes later that night in a pub.....

OWEN HARPER: Can I buy you a drink?

LINDA: No, thanks, I'm fine.
OWEN HARPER: Am I wasting my time?
LINDA: I dunno, are you?
OWEN HARPER: Look. I've got to be up early and I've got hell of a day tomorrow and I really can't be bothered with all the chat.
(Owen takes out the atomizer and sprays the alien cologne on his face.)
OWEN HARPER: So ... do you want a drink or what?
(Linda throws herself at him and locks lips with Owen.)
LINDA: Bloody hell fire! You're coming home with me, you are. Right now!

However, as they're leaving the pub, a complication arises in the form of her boyfriend, Colin.....

COLIN: Oi, you bastard, come here! Linda, what are you doing with him? What the fuck do you think you are doing?!

LINDA: I'm taking him home and I'm having him, now piss off!
COLIN: What the fuck d'you think you're doing with my girlfriend? You bastard!
OWEN HARPER: Hey, I didn’t know. She was on her own. She never said.
COLIN: You tosser. You fucking tosser.
LINDA: Colin, button it, he's mine.
COLIN: Do you want to have a go, do you? Do you want to have a go? Come on then mate!OWEN HARPER: Well, if it makes it easier ...
(Once again, Owen sprays himself with the atomizer. Colin is overcome with desire and kisses him.)
COLIN: I am so having you.
LINDA: I'm having him first!

That "rape spray" (as I've seen it described) was the property of Torchwood, and the Torchwood motto is "If it's alien, it's ours." So if that spray was extraterrestrial in origin, where did it come from?

I'm saying it's from Mars.

Here's the description of an episode of 'My Favorite Martian' which first aired on my tenth birthday:

6/6/65 "Green-Eyed Martian"
W: Phyllis & Robert White D: Oscar Rudolph
Wanting to help Mrs. Brown find a new suitor to replace Brennan, Martin plans to use a Martian "Irresistible Spray" on a likely candidate, but before that happens, Mrs. Brown uses the spray on herself.

Jack Harkness was around during the 1960s, and not just because he was a time agent. So it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that he met Exigius 12½ (the true Martian name for Martin O'Hara) and he was able to grab that formula away for his own uses. (Although I'm sure he believed he'd never need it. Owen Harper on the other hand, whom I think could be a descendant of 'Doctor Who' lovebirds Laszlo and Tallulah like Sal the Pig-boy on 'The Chronicle', needs all the help he can get.)

Now, although I believe the spray was Martian in origin, it doesn't necessarily mean that Captain Jack had to meet Martin O'Hara. There were other Martians living on Earth, and of the same species as Uncle Martin. (There are several species of sentient life on Mars.) Phobos and Deimos are two such Martians, who conducted the "Controlled Experiment" on 'The Outer Limits'.

And it could be that the Martian atomizer may be of a more recent vintage, that it came to Earth in the last forty years after the departure of Exigius 12½. It could have been brought by some other Martian posing as a human.

Then it becomes a question of who among the Toobworld population could have really been a Martian, and who would need that "rape spray" to make them irresistible to humans.......?
Just sayin', is all......

Toby OB

'Doctor Who'
'My Favorite Martian'
'The Outer Limits'
'Will & Grace'

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Today marks the sixth anniversary of the collapse of the World Trade Center after a coordinated terrorist attack, which also included the crash of an airliner in a field in Pennsylvania and another one that slammed into the side of the Pentagon. The Twin Towers were destroyed by two airliners which the al Quaeda plotters hijacked out of Boston.

A month after the collapse, I did my own small tribute to the memory of those who died that day by inducting the Twin Towers into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.

The following details are courtesy of Wikipedia:

There were 2,974 fatalities, not including the 19 hijackers: 246 on the four planes (no one on board any of the hijacked aircraft survived), 2,603 in New York City in the towers and on the ground, and 125 at the Pentagon.

Among the fatalities were 341 New York City Fire Department firefighters, 2 New York City Fire Department paramedics, 6 private ambulance personnel, 23 New York City Police Department officers, and 37 Port Authority Police Department officers. 1366 people died who were at or above the floors of impact in the North Tower (1 WTC). According to the Commission Report, hundreds were killed instantly by the impact while the rest were trapped and died after the tower collapsed.

As many as 600 people were killed instantly or trapped at or above the floors of impact in the South Tower (2 WTC). Only about 18 managed to escape in time from above the impact zone and out of the South Tower before it collapsed.

At least 200 people jumped to their deaths from the burning towers, landing on the streets and rooftops of adjacent buildings hundreds of feet below. To witnesses watching, a few of the people falling from the towers seemed to have stumbled out of broken windows. Some of the occupants of each tower above its point of impact made their way upward toward the roof in hope of helicopter rescue, however; no rescue plan existed for such an eventuality, the roof access doors were locked and thick smoke and intense heat would have prevented rescue helicopters from landing.

Cantor Fitzgerald L.P., an investment bank on the 101st–105th floors of One World Trade Center, lost 658 employees, considerably more than any other employer. Marsh Inc., located immediately below Cantor Fitzgerald on floors 93–101 (the location of Flight 11's impact), lost 295 employees, including one on Flight 175. Additionally, Marsh lost 38 consultants.

Approximately 400 rescue workers, most of them of the FDNY, died when the towers collapsed.

It's just my poor opinion, of course, but I don't think the hijackers should ever be included in the tally of those who died.

In the TV Universe, the number of the dead keeps rising each year as more and more shows create fictional characters who were killed in the various attacks - among them, Cousin Jimmy of 'Rescue Me', Mac Taylor's wife on 'CSI: NY', and the wife of a hostage taker in an episode of 'Without A Trace', for example.

As this is a blog dedicated to the fictional life of the alternate universe known as Toobworld, I'd like to memorialize one of those victims who had no life outside of Television, never forgetting the thousands of real people who did perish that day.

In a way, the character I've chosen probably summarizes the collected perception of the victims of 9/11: just one lost among the thousands who perished that day, remembered mostly by only those who knew him and loved him when he was alive, but whose name is invoked today in the roll call of the honored dead (as seen on TV this morning all up and down the dial).

In fact, I don't even know this character's name. His mother's name is Naomi, and she lives in Connecticut. He was probably raised there as well, but moved down to New York City after college - perhaps he was a UConn grad like myself and Becky Howe of 'Cheers'? - to work in the financial district.

He was born January 21, 1964, which made him 37 years old when he died. He had his own office in the World Trade Center; one that faced north, as it had a spectacular view of Manhattan. It could be that it was high enough in the Towers that he might have been an employee with Cantor Fitzgerald or Marsh, Inc. At the very least, he worked for the televersion of a company similar to those corporations.

He went into the office early that day because he had a company meeting at nine. But he was there with enough time to spare so that he was able to call home to Connecticut and talk to his mother. There was no way to know what was to come; and therefore there was no need for either of them to say those things we all regret not having said after it's too late. They talked about the mundane - the weather, the upcoming weekend, what was planned for dinner that night, a trip he was going to make... the stuff that makes up Life.

And then he was gone. Off to the meeting, and then gone forever.

On January 21st, 2004, in order to remember him on what would have been his fortieth birthday, Naomi took the train down from Connecticut to finally see the spot where he died, what was now that gaping, empty space in the sky. (She would have taken the car, but now in her later years she had a habit of backing up into people.)

However, she got lost on the subway and ended up taking an uptown train on the East Side. Luckily she ran into a doctor by the name of John Becker ,who begrudgingly took her to her destination - Chambers Street. Once there, seeing that she could not summon the strength to go upstairs, only then did Dr. Becker learn why she was in Manhattan that day. Instead of rushing back to the Bronx to his practice and to his friends, he chose to stay with Naomi as she remembered the son she lost just over two years before.

[Naomi's story was seen in the 'Becker' episode "Subway Story", written by Steven Peterman and Gary Dontzig and directed by Ian Gurvitz. Frances Sternhagen, who played Mrs. Clavin on 'Cheers', played Naomi, which reunited her with Ted Danson as John Becker, who played Sam Malone on 'Cheers'.]

Toby OB

"I can't wrap my head around it, Mac.
You get up, you go to work, see the people that you know, you talk, you laugh.
You're living your life, then suddenly, boom. It's just over.
Just like that, and you never even saw it coming
Danny Messer

Monday, September 10, 2007


TV Squad is a great site for learning the latest breaking news in the world of the Tube, but today they had to sadly report on one of their own.

Adam Finley, a blogger with a humorous outlook on all things TV, was struck and killed by a school bus last week just a few blocks from his home in Minneapolis. You can read TV Squad's report
here and from there you can read the news story from the Des Moines Register (as he was a former Iowan).

All day Monday, the other bloggers who post for TV Squad have been choosing their favorite pieces by Adam to share again with the readers. Visit to relive his writings and see what a wry voice he had, whether he was choosing the best of the lesser Muppets or having a conversation with the Devil.

You'll be missed, Adam Finley.....

Toby OB


Every so often, the TV Universe burps. It repeats some trivial aspect from a previous show. This could manifest itself as a plotline - like the one about the magician locked in an air-tight coffin at the bottom of the pool. When he's brought back up to the surface, it's discovered that he was shot dead while in the coffin!

That scenario has happened three times in Toobworld: on 'Burke's Law', 'Blacke's Magic', and in the remake of 'Burke's Law'. (The fact that Amos Burke didn't recognize the similar details in the second case was an early indication that he was developing Alzheimer's. Otherwise, even at his advanced age, we might have still seen him puttering about the Priority Homicide Division and interfering with Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson's cases on 'The Closer'. Or maybe not.....)

Sometimes these cosmic burps occur in the form of characters who are similar to previously established figures. (For us in the Real World, these people are usually parodies of popular characters of the time.)

Example #1:
A wheelchair-bound, hefty man named Leadside on an eponymous episode of 'Get Smart', who shared similarities with San Francisco police detective Robert T. 'Ironside' - save for being on the wrong side of the Law.

Example #2:
New York police detectives Kathleen Chadwick and Bess Stacey, who were working the same homicide case as Jessica Fletcher in an episode of 'Murder, She Wrote'. There were quite a few broad portrayals on this show over the years, but these broads in "Wearing Of The Green" were the broadest. It's obvious that they were evoking the image of detectives 'Cagney and Lacey'.

Example #3:
We've even seen these cosmic repeats within the very show being spoofed, as was the case with "Bizarro Jerry" and his two friends when Elaine Benes found herself caught between them and Jerry 'Seinfeld' and his two pals George and Kramer.

Example #4:
This happened only a few weeks ago on 'My Boys': PJ's college friend returned from New York with three of her friends in tow and it was obvious that the quartet were spoofs of Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte of 'Sex And The City'. The episode title combined that reference with the other major plotline to yield "Douchebag In The City". (But based on their portrayal, the full title could probably be applied to Lyssa and her friends....)

Cosmic burps are becoming more prevalent outside the borders of the United States as American shows are being remade to suit the tastes of audiences in other countries. This is especially true in Latin America with the more melodramatic series for the most part, like 'Desperate Housewives'. Even our own programming is not immune to this phenom: from Columbia we imported and transformed 'Betty de Fea' (which became our 'Ugly Betty') and 'The Office' of the UK which has mirror versions in the United States, Canada, Germany, France, and India.

According to the New York Times this week, the Russians have a new contender as well:

Turn on the sitcom that is the hottest television show in
Russia, and it all seems so familiar. Moored to his living room couch is a shoe salesman who is more interested in watching sports than conjugal relations. His wife has shocking hair and an even more shocking mouth. A couple of ne’er-do-well teenagers round out this bawdy, bickering bunch.

In fact, the show is an authorized copy of the American sitcom “Married With Children,” with a Russian cast and dialogue but scripts that hew closely to those of the original. This knockoff is such a sensation, especially among younger viewers, that its actors have become household names, and advertisements for its new season are plastered around Moscow.

"Married With Children,” which ran from 1987 to 1997 in the United States, has been renamed “Schastlivy Vmeste,” or “Happy Together.” Its setting has been moved from the Chicago area to Russia’s heartland metropolis of Yekaterinburg. The sniping couple, Al and Peg Bundy, have become Gena and Dasha Bukin.

The thrust is the same: sending up family life as outrageously — or as vulgarly, depending upon your point of view — as possible.

A typical bit: In the living room, Gena suddenly tells Dasha to take off her clothes. Dasha is elated that Gena finally wants to have sex, and then Gena says, “No, Dasha, I’m simply dying of hunger, and hope that that will take away my appetite.”

Adaptations of two other shows, “Who’s the Boss?” and “The Nanny,” are also popular here.

You can read the full story here.

Turkey even has its own version of 'Star Trek'. You can find the bootleg of this out there, and for 'Trek' fans, it's worth checking out for a few laughs.

So the next time you see something on TV that you know you've seen in some other version elsewhere, don't condemn the show for a lack of originality; it's just the TV Universe expending a little gas.........

Toby OB

Got a suggestion for a Cosmic Burp? Send it along!


I was planning to hold a moratorium over ordering new DVDs for the library here at Toobworld Central, in order to give me time to amortize the cost of my new computer system, ARTEMUS. But I promised myself I'd get this set whenever it saw the light of day:

"It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" Seasons 1 & 2

And it arrived today!

Also, while at the 13th annual IDD BBQ yesterday, my friend Stewart, the first Iddiot I ever met, gave me a book called "Gilligan's Wake". Supposedly it's Joycean with TV references. And the Vargas-like cover is easy on the eyes as well.

Toby OB

Sunday, September 9, 2007


My friend and fellow Iddiot, Jeffb, sent me news that Richard Belzer increases his appearances as Detective John Munch by appearing in one of the final episodes of 'The Wire' on HBO. Both 'The Wire' and Munch's original series, 'Homicide: Life On The Street' take place in Baltimore, so basically he'll be back on home turf.

Here are the shows the Munchkin has appeared on:

'Homicide: Life On The Street'
'Law & Order'
'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'
'The X-Files'
'The Beat'
'Arrested Development'
'Law & Order: Trial By Jury'
'Homicide: The Movie'

'The Wire', which airs on HBO, will mark the fourth time Munch has crossed over networks from NBC. With 'Arrested Development' and 'The X-Files', he was on FOX and he was on UPN with 'The Beat'.

Also appearing at some point in this final season of 'The Wire' will be Clark Johnson, but at present I have no idea if he's going to show up as the cop he played on 'H:LOTS' , Meldrick Lewis. I'm thinking that it'll be as some other character, one who bears an uncanny resemblance to Meldrick... which of course will never be mentioned.

A connection between 'The Wire' and 'Homicide' already exists in the Bunk familial connections, which I covered

But having Toobworld's most successful crossover character appear on yet another show is even better news.

Thanks, Jeffb!

Toby OB


With the end of the summer season, it's time for another traditional induction into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame. In September we honor someone behind the scenes in TV production (writer, producer, studio exec, etc.) who has been instrumental in creating TV crossovers.

And since we've been running a mini-theme this year for 'Doctor Who', it makes sense to award this "honor" to the Time Lord's current man behind the curtain:

RTD didn't create 'Doctor Who', which has been acknowledged as the longest-running science fiction program in history. But after the show had been languishing off the air in Limbo since 1989 (with only the 1996 FOX TV movie featuring the Seventh and the Eighth Doctors to break the fast), Davies used his considerable clout as a successful writer and producer ("Queer As Folk") to bring the series back.

But his vision of the Time Lord was radically different from what people remembered. No longer presented in serial form with a cheapjack, slow-moving production quality with cheesy aliens with zippers running up their backs, the new show was fast-paced with high-end special effects and inventive plots. The narrative styles was always in flux and plenty of new and exciting characters were introduced, chief among them Captain Jack Harkness. Jack has shaken up the image of the sci-fi hero on TV so much (to my way of thinking), that I can't see how an audience can be satisfied with watching some stiff officer who's always tugging at his uniform's tunic.

Not that I'm thinking of anyone in particular.......

'Doctor Who' has been so revitalized, that there are now two spin-off series (the already launched 'Torchwood' and 'The Sarah Jane Adventures', coming soon), with a show about the tin dog K-9 being prepped as well.

And yet.....

I'm not alone in thanking RTD for bringing 'Doctor Who' back, but at the same time wishing he would step away from any further involvement with the show.

As inventive as the show has been, RTD was responsible for some of the worst plots and ludicrous villains ever seen on the show. I know I'm not alone in wishing he would at least just oversee production, shepherd the story arc outline at most, and leave the actual script-writing to others.

His season-ender this year is a great example, but as it hasn't yet aired in the USA, I won't say much about it; just that after three stellar episodes by other writers (and admittedly a good one by RTD to kick off the finale, "Utopia"), he gave us a frenetic everything but the kitchen sink music video and puppet show. One of his biggest problems is that he has to make everything over the top - as an example, it was never enough to crash an alien spaceship in the Thames. He had to smash it through Big Ben first.

And now, in order to dabble in other projects and still maintain his grip on the show, after the fourth series there will be only a handful of specials until the fifth series will be back in 2010.

But still.... Russell T. Davies did bring the Doctor back to us, so I can't complain too much. And with the Doctor came Captain Jack (not that way, perv) and the return of Sarah Jane Smith and K-9, so we're doffing our time helmet to salute RTD as the Crossover Hall of Fame inductee for September 2007.

Toby OB


Here's my latest "Theory of Relateeveety".......

Father Phil Intintola, a priest assigned to a parish near Montclair, New Jersey, never knew one of his grandfathers. (Which one exactly is not clear.)
During the Depression, the grandfather abandoned his family to wander the farm roads heading west in search of work and eventually the life of the hobo became second nature to him.

He had a kind nature to him, and was particularly keen in observing the human nature of others. If he ever did right himself financially and was able to return to the acceptance of his family, perhaps he was able to instill these insights in his young grandson. Perhaps the influence of his grandfather led Phil Intintola to enter the priesthood... which didn't impede on his love of movies.

But if the grandfather never returned, one side of Father Phil's family must have marveled as they watched him grow up, for it would have seemed almost as if the grandfather had been reborn. That's how much alike they were in appearance. (The fact that Paul Schulze played both Father Phil and the hobo plays a part in that as well......)

Can't be proven, but it's not likely to be contradicted either.....

'Mad Men' - "The Hobo Code"
'The Sopranos'

Toby OB