Tag: Episode

Day 999: Buh-Bye, So Long and Hallelujah

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It’s a completely valid question.

For the past 50 or so days I have been fielding one question more often than most: what am I going to do for Day 1000? Will the final kilograph reflect upon the 999 that came before, like some extended clip show of my greatest guffaws and most aww-rending moments? Will I spend my final entry in closing-credits mode, thanking those who have made this all possible and put up with my considerable dearth of free time over the last 2 years and almost 9 months?

In short… no. While my original intent was to meander down that self-serving footpath for my final article, I decided that I would only do so if I could cite the Wikipedia page that had been created about me – as it turns out, that doesn’t exist yet.

In order to figure out my final missive, I felt I should turn to the moulder of my wisdom, the sage oracle who has helped to shape my morality, my perception, and even my understanding of the world: television. I have experienced the highs and lows of series finales – certainly at least one of them could illuminate the road to a poignant, entertaining, and (most of all) worthy coda to this monstrous undertaking.

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My first option is the beloved trope of bringing back a classic character for the finale. In my case I could introduce a surprise cameo by Yoko Ono, Craig David, Mary Nissenson, or if I really want to stretch to my roots, Phineas Gage. I could style the entire piece in a blend of haiku, musical theatre and secret code (did anyone ever figure that one out?). It sounds trite and cliché, but that’s always a place to start, isn’t it? Read more…

Day 779: Full Moon Fever

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Even for those of us who don’t hang their spiritual hats upon the rack of organized religion, there exists the very real possibility that we are cosmically intertwined with forces and energies mightier (and invisiblier) than our own. Some of these forces – gravity, aging, the uncontestable craving for pizza after a night of drinking – have been proven. Others are clearly ridiculous (if you think you’re more of an aggressive driver because of your astrology sign, you’re wrong; you might just be an asshole). Still others are open to interpretation.

I have had this discussion with my wife so often, it’s almost like watching a rerun whenever the topic comes up. She is a teacher, spending her days surrounded by squalid little junior-high germ-buckets whose behaviors are subject to hormonal whim and hyperactive attention spans that could frustrate a housefly. She is convinced that when the moon is full, her students become more unruly, more emotionally explosive. A walk past our kitchen calendar can send a telegraph of dread up her spine.

Ever the cynic, the skeptic, the buzz-kill (her descriptor, not mine), I disagree. The moon is hovering in the sky, some sixty-five billion miles (give or take a lot) from these children’s fluttery brains. How could a slab of grey rock minding its business in our orbit possibly transform these grub-balls into more manic grub-balls? It’s time to do some really quick and sloppy research and settle this once and for all.

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If there’s one concession I’ll grant my wife’s argument it’s that she has buckets of history on her side. Aristotle and Pliny the Elder observed that full moons would spark psychotic episodes among those who were susceptible to such things. Right through the 1700’s, actual doctors believed that the moon phase would have an impact on epileptic seizures, rheumatism and fevers. Hell, even the Latin word for moon, ‘luna’, forms the root of the word ‘lunatic’. This is not a recent superstition.

Are we hornier at a full moon? Do women’s reproductive systems tend to spurt out babies when our sky is lit up by a perfect white circle? Do our veins bleed more on that one day of every month? Read more…

Day 757: Best Care Anywhere – 23 Things I Didn’t Know About M*A*S*H

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Up until the recent spate of Platinum-Age television brilliance forced me to redefine the parameters of small-screen excellence, I had always placed M*A*S*H upon a mighty khaki pedestal. The show wasn’t perfect, but it blended riotous comedy with deeply human drama and did so often within the same scene. As recently as last week I found myself reminiscing with someone about the most unforgettable episodes – “Point of View”, “Dreams”, “The Interview” – and I realized I have yet to pen a piece in tribute to this eleven-season masterpiece.

Hell, I’ve already written about Golden Girls; how have I not written about this show yet? I’m going with the ‘things I didn’t know’ format, since there’s simply too much interesting trivia to cram into a proper narrative kilograph. Also, I’ve got an extremely tight deadline.

Some of these I did know before today, but I learned them after the show’s initial run (which wrapped up when I was 8 – thank goodness for syndication).

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–       The TV show was based on MASH, an elegantly twisted 1970 film by Robert Altman. The film was based on MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors, which was written by Richard Hooker.

–       Richard Hooker doesn’t exist. He’s an amalgam of writer W.C. Heinz and former US Army doctor H. Richard Hornberger, who served as a military surgeon in the 8055 Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.

–       Many of the stories in the first few seasons of the show were based on actual tales from former army doctors. Hornberger’s quarters in Korea were actually nicknamed ‘The Swamp.’ Read more…

Day 412: Spun-Off & Spun-Out (Part 2)

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Some topics are simply too large to be contained within a single article. A month ago I marveled at some of television’s more obscure spin-offs, but I only scratched the surface. Television networks have a habit of trying to stretch their audience’s limit of how much of a good thing is good enough.

We should be relieved The Sopranos didn’t drop a three-camera sitcom called It’s Janice! after it cut to black. Or that Lost wasn’t rebooted in more mystery-heaping confusion with After-Lost. And thankfully Seinfeld did not beget The Babu & Puddy Variety Hour. Actually, I might have watched that one.

Anyway, here are a few more from the pile:

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Sure, maybe you have seen all 110 episodes of Charlie’s Angels. But did you ever see Toni’s Boys? Actually, yes. If you devoted 110 hours of your life to Charlie and his girls, then you saw the episode in which a lady named Toni employed a stable of strapping young hunks for essentially the same purpose as Charlie kept his Angels. This was a ‘backdoor pilot’, meaning it aired as an episode of its parent series, in hopes there would be enough interest for the network to order a few episodes. Read more…

Day 353: The Contest

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Fans of the show Seinfeld are the perfect demographic to mesh up with fans of my site. Both are really about nothing, and both (hopefully) leave their viewers with some little bit of meaninglessness they can carry through the day. For Seinfeld viewers, it might be a new term, like “low-talker” or “mimbo”. For my readers, it might be the knowledge that a book with 24 gas station photos could be worth $35,000, or that causation law could be applied to Sharktopus attacks.

And while only the true fans of Seinfeld will know each episode by name (almost all of them are named “The (something)”, everyone who watched the show during its original 1989-1998 run will remember “The Contest.”

Remember

In November of 1992, the landscape of television was very different. Seven of the top ten shows were sitcoms, all of them three-camera style, with a live studio audience that had been beefed up for our enjoyment with a thick laugh track. Seinfeld wasn’t even in the top 20. Sex was common fodder for subject matter, particularly when it came to Sam Malone on Cheers or that skanky character from Designing Women (I want to say… all of them?), but it had to be handled delicately in order to sneak past the censors. There was no AMC, nothing worth raving about on Showtime, and HBO had just begun to demonstrate how much more daring and innovative a standard-format show could be on cable six months earlier with The Larry Sanders Show. Read more…