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Archive for November, 2009

Kellie Martin

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Matt LeBlanc

The Challenge: I made the connection from Kellie Martin to Matt LeBlanc in 3 TV Degrees. If Beal can do equal or better by the end of today, she gets 10 Points, with an extra 5 points if she stays out of Kellie’s vast “Made For TV” Movie library. If YOU, the reader, can do better AND post it in the comments before Beal posts her answer to the bottom of this post, YOU get a prize. Yes, I will actually mail you something awesome. It’s Cyber Monday- what if it’s a new computer?! (It won’t be. BUT special prize bonus- I’ll let you know my own personal and slightly weird connection to Kellie Martin. I know, right? SO INTRIGUING.)

The Rules: No IMDB, no Google searching, no Interwebbing of any kind. It’s all stored away in the Vault of Useless Knowledge.

Challenge Accepted: I made the connection from Kellie Martin to Matt LeBlanc in two or three degrees, depending on whether or not we are enforcing the “shared screen time” rule.

1. Kellie Martin starred in ER with Noah Wyle.

2. Noah Wyle guest starred on Friends with Matt LeBlanc.


3. (if necessary) Noah Wyle guest starred (shared screen time) on Friends with Cortney Cox/Jennifer Aniston, who starred on Friends with Matt LeBlanc.


BAM!

From Judi: Well, well, well. You were fast, Beal, and more efficient than I but NOT FAST ENOUGH. Reader Jen209 clocked in with a correct answer approximately ten minutes before your posted response. She (I asssume it’s a “she”) wins a prize! AND she gets a first-person account of my somewhat creepy Kellie Martin story. Congratulations and I’m so sorry!

As for my route, I went old-school with Kellie Martin starring with Patti LuPone in Life Goes On, who shared the small screen with Alec Baldwin on 30 Rock, who played a sad date on Friends with Matt LeBlanc. Clearly, ER is a Six-Degrees gold mine, considering its epic run, and something I will keep in mind next time.


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Sure, spending Thanksgiving around a giant table with your closest friends and family and gorging yourself on unreasonable portions of dead bird, stuffing, noodles, mashed potatoes and cranberry is lovely, but wouldn’t you rather celebrate such a holiday with a group of strangers? Especially when those strangers have glib conversations with one another, exchanging witty one liners as they pass around platters of beautifully prepared traditional foods, and whose dysfunction is merely a means to a comical end, instead of the a fuel of awkwardness that makes everyone at the table wish they had eaten someplace else. I mean, if your grandmother falls piss drunk, face first into a plate of mashed potatoes and gravy, it’s time to stage an intervention, but if it happens on TV, you’ll probably find yourself wishing your family were as festive and fun-loving! So now, as you think back on the wonderful day that was your family Thanksgiving, reeling from your tryptophan hangover, check out the following, my favorite Television Thanksgivings:

 

5.  3rd Rock From the Sun – “Gobble, Gobble, Dick, Dick” – November 24, 1996 – (2×10)

I suppose if you were an alien, the concept of Thanksgiving would seem rather absurd. Such is the basis for the Thanksgiving episode of this somewhat forgetable sitcom. When the Solomons notice that everyone around them is hoarding food for some elusive event in the near future, they rightfully assume that the apocalypse is coming. Still, in an effort to appear, in the know, they decide to host their own Thanksgiving dinner with the help of their earthling friends. Hilary ensues, sort of.

4.  Roseanne – “We Gather Together” – November 21, 1989 – (2×9)

Well, no list of favorite holiday episodes would be complete without mentioning Roseanne (I might love this show a little too much). I’m going to be honest though, the Thanksgiving episodes all sort of blend together. The Conners are a family’s family so spending 22 minutes at their holiday table, is pretty similar to real life, except that I can turn it off when things get iffy. In this, the show’s first Thanksgiving episode, Jackie and Bev are the main event, bitching and fighting all day long about the series of unfortunate events that is Jackie’s life.  Bev: So you didn’t invite anyone? Jackie: Uhh, no, you know me, Mom, all my boyfriends like to spend Thanksgiving with their wives! Meanwhile, Roseanne’s been up since the ass crack of down “stuffing bread crumbs up a dead bird’s butt,” all so I have something to laugh at for the rest of my life.

3. Full House – “The Miracle of Thanksgiving” – November 20, 1987 – (1×9)

Oh lord, how about you take this opportunity of a holiday special to make be roll around on the floor bawling like a baby. I GET IT JEFF FRANKLIN! PAM TANNER IS DEAD AND NOW HOLIDAYS ARE UNBEARABLE! Leave my heartstrings alone already. Oof. So it’s the first Thanksgiving at the Tanner house since mother Pam’s untimely death, so little D.J. (seriously “little,” she’s like 10) takes it upon herself to prepare a traditional feast for her new “blended” family. NOTHING goes right, the bird is all burnt, Steph drops a pie and worst of all, D.J. is forced to dress like Laura Ingalls. Oh and what you might ask is most sad about this? How about the part where Uncle Jesse takes the girls up to his room to look at photos of their mother and then Danny “forgot how much the girls looked like Pam.” I surrender, bring me some tissues.

2.  The Wonder Years – “The Ties That Bind” – November 14, 1990 – (4×7)

Be careful, this one will get ya! Oh, but what episode of The Wonders Years DOESN’T leave me an emotional wreck? Things are getting pretty tight at the Arnold house, and when the stove eats it, it looks like it’s going to be Thanksgiving at the soup kitchen. But then, right in the nick of time Jack gets a promotion at work! It’s going to be a wonderful holiday after all. Oh wait, NO! His new job means that he’s going to have to travel, and miss his family Thanksgiving. Looks like that new job was a double edged sword there Mr. Arnold, as well as a reminder that sometimes things aren’t better on television. It also begs the question, “Why can’t you just eat the Turkey on say, Saturday?” Oh right, because then I wouldn’t be upset for 45 minutes wondering if Jack will make it to his family Thanksgiving or not, whilst simultaneously ignoring my OWN family in order to watch television. If only MY life were narrated. . .

1.  Friends – “The One with the Football” – November 21, 1996 – (3×9)

Friends really outdid themselves when it came to Thanksgiving, and this episode just happens to be my favorite. It’s possibly because we finally get the gang outside of the confines of their apartments or Central Perk and into “the city,” which is quite clearly a patch of grass inside a studio. Or it COULD be because of a wonderful prop called the Gellar Cup, which is, as one of the friends so aptly described, “a troll doll nailed to a two by four.” While Monica cooks, the gang watches football on television, which leads to an impromptu touch football game in the park, where competition is FIERCE. Also, Phoebe is donning a That Girl shirt, and though that has NO bearing on, well, anything, I still felt like mentioning it because I’ve so oft wondered where she got it and why she owned it. Think about it, she was a homeless teenager, when would she have had time to watch That Girl?

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Show: Samantha Who?

Character: Samantha Newly

Played Oh-So-Winningly By: Christina Applegate

In a Nutshell: There are two Samantha Newly’s, actually. The first is who Sam used to be-  the selfish, bitchy, cutthroat 30 year-old vice president of a real estate company who lives to torment the little people who deign to live at her feet. Fortunately, for all of mankind, that Sam suffers a hit-and-run accident and then retrograde amnesia, forcing her to start living with a clean slate. Without all the hang-ups that led her to be the world’s biggest bully, Sam is now as sweet and guileless as can be (though not as “special” as that photo on the left would suggest), with the occasional horrifying flash of her old self. As the (short-lived. I hate you, ABC) series progresses, Sam is faced with more and more memories and constantly struggles with being the kind of good person she wants to be, all while traces of her old selfishness and vanity keep popping up at every turn. Along for the ride are her long-suffering ex-boyfriend/roommate Todd, old friend Dena who is well-meaning but exactly that type of woman you avoid at the dog park, her best friend Andrea (who loved the old, bitchy Sam), and her awesomely hilarious parents Howard and Regina (Jean Smart, who is on the list “Actors Who Should Star in Absolutely Everything”). Oh, and her doorman Frank who absolutely reviles her after years of brutal mistreatment from the old Sam.

Why We’ll Never Forget (Too much?): Oh, SAM. A high-concept like this could’ve been such a disaster but Samantha Who? made it work. A lot of that credit goes to the strong writing and the fantastic supporting characters but don’t underestimate Christina Applegate’s performance. As Sam, she’s an old-fashioned screwball comedy ingenue (I mean, really. Shouldn’t she have been forced to leave Ingenue Town a decade ago? Apparently not), eagerly hopping through the fast-paced episodes and the comical misunderstandings and embarrassing situations that hit her from every direction. In Applegate’s hands, Sam is adorable and funny and nowhere near as cloying as she could be- the flashes of horrible old Sam (with her pin-straight hair and killer short skirts, bad Sam actually looks a lot like you’d imagine Kelly Bundy would turn out if she had money. Maybe she should work for a fashion designer! I hear referee-style school uniforms are hot these days) are definitely a help, especially when they lead to new Sam’s equally horrified reaction to them.

Favorite Moments: Do yourself a favor and just watch. everything.

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Six Degrees: NTO Style

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Camryn Manheim

The Challenge: I made the connection from Kirk Cameron to Camryn Manheim in 3 Degrees. If Judi can do equal or better, she wins 10 points + 5 bonus points IF she stays within the confines of television. If YOU, the reader, can do better AND post it in the comments before Judi posts her answer to the bottom of this post, YOU get a prize. Seriously, something terrific will show up on your door step within one calendar year.

The Rules: No online research allowed. ESPECIALLY IMDB!! Come on, it’s a GAME, half the fun is PLAYING not CHEATING. Any and all research conducted at your local library is accepted and encouraged. Connections through television AND movies are accepted, relationships are not.

Challenge Accepted (Judi): Oh, Beal. You little minx. At first, I was intimidated by the relatively small TV rosters for Manheim and our own Mike Seaver. But you should’ve known better than to start with a Cameron. Here’s how I did it:

(more…)

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5.  Andrew Lawrence to Joey Lawrence in Horse Sense – Disney Channel Original Movie – November 20, 1999

So fine, Andrew Lawrence doesn’t actually utter “You’re not my father,” but the meaning is all the same AND I’ve been dying to mention Horse Sense since this blog’s inception. In a classic diluted-rich-kid-learns-the-meaning-of-hard-work SLASH hardworking-poor-people-are-about-to-lose-the-family-ranch plot, little Andrew teaches Joey a thing or two about hard work and family. Then, in an effort to prove to him how far he’s come (both in work ethic and playing a father figure type) Joey completes the tree house Andrew had been working on alone since his father passed away. When the kid arrives home to find his cousin putting the finishing touches on the LAST REMAINING TIE TO HIS DECEASED FATHER he has a come-apart, scurries up the ladder and starts to rip it apart, all the while yelling, “This is mine and MY FATHER’S! MY FATHER’S!! NOT YOURS” etc. Please FF to the 7 minute mark to see this doozie of a clip.

4.  Julia/Baily/Claudia to Charlie in Party of Five – “Pilot” – September 12, 1994

Again, sorry, fine, so “You’re not my father” is only implied here. Lay off, I had a long week (of quality time with my own father no less). At any rate, no show could pull the ol’ dead-parents-heart-string quite like Party of Five, which they did in droves. Remember the pilot episode, when they’re all just becoming accustomed to the lives of well-to-do orphans, as barely-older brother Charlie takes on the responsibility of raising his sassy siblings? First, it’s Julia that tells Charlie to fuck off and then Claudia (AFTER PAWNING HER VIOLIN FOR MONEY!) shuts him down and finally Bailey exclaims, “A piece of paper does not make you a parent.” You’re right, Bailey, so quit bitching about skipping “practice” to supervise annoying baby Owen already.

3.  D.J. Tanner to Joey Gladstone in Full House – “Joey Gets Tough” – November 25, 1988

CLASSIC! This blog might as well be called “I ❤ Full House.” Not only does this show make half the lists on here, but this episode appeared as #1 only a few weeks ago and with good reason! When Joey, the house door mat, gets lambasted by Danny for being too easy on the girls, “Joey gets tough,” grounding D.J. for coming home late from karate practice. FORCING her to proclaim “You’re not my father!” before dramatically storming up the stairs to her room, all whilst clad in martial arts attire. Now, first of all punishing your child for coming home late from, say, a drug-induced underground rave is one thing. Grounding them for merely staying after practice to discuss strategy for an upcoming tournament, is quite another. If I were D.J. I’d surely have said, “Good. I hate participating in after school sports activities and I thank you for freeing up my weekend for some serious television time.” This probably spawns from the fact that I was K.O.’d in a karate tournament myself, circa 1993.

2.  Steve Sanders to Rush Sanders in Beverly Hills, 90210 – “Angels We Have Heard on High” – December 20, 1995

Sheesh. Steve’s father Rush (what a name!) was such a dick. Sure Steve was a bit of a rich brat but he never did anything that awful, especially in the eyes of an absent father who is generally proud of the early indicators of a future in shady business practices. And poor Steve, adopted son of a family sitcom star and a rich business man and from a broken home! It’s not his fault he delivered the sexy negligee to that dude’s daughter and the Easy Bake Oven (or whatever dumb toy) to the guy’s mistress. SOMEONE ELSE PUT THE LABELS ON THE PACKAGES! And of all things for Rush to really lose his shit over. Like what? You’re mad at me because I accidentally revealed to a nice lady and her young daughter that her husband/father was a cheating bastard. SOOOOORRR—RRRRYY!! Let’s also not forget that Steve finds out that Rush IS his real father, that he knocked up some waitress in the desert, and BOUGHT the baby from her to raise with his wife. Talk about nothing to be proud of, Rush! Unfortunately (and unbelievably) this clip cannot be found on the Intertron. So I offer you this bit of dialogue to act out with a partner:

Rush Sanders: I always knew you were stupid, but I never thought you’d be so self-destructive!
Steve Sanders: Thanks for the support, as usual.
Rush Sanders: Oh, good sonny boy. Keep up that sarcasm on the unemployment line.
Steve Sanders: What does that mean?
Rush Sanders: It means you lost your job at ITM, and you embarrassed the hell out of me considering that I was the one that got you that job in the first place. Scott Coveny told me to tell you that you’re finished there.
Steve Sanders: What are you talking about?
Rush Sanders: You messed up is what I’m talking about! You delivered the present that Scott was sending to his mistress to his niece. His wife’s sister’s kid got a leather bustier. His mistress got a Holly Home Maker oven! What the hell is wrong with you, you idiot? That note that was included in the bustier is gonna cost Scott a fortune now since his wife is now going to sue him for divorce.
Steve Sanders: [incredulous] Dad, I just delivered the packages to the addresses on the labels. I didn’t write them. I didn’t screw up. Somebody else did.
Rush Sanders: Somebody else screwed up. That’s your MO, kiddo. Did you just make that up, or did you rehearse it in front of a mirror before saying it to me? Yeah… sure, you mess up and it’s always somebody else’s fault. You used that same excuse last year for the bloody fire.
Steve Sanders: You know what? I don’t need to take that crap from you. That’s your MO. I didn’t do anything wrong and you never believe me. I got nothing further to explain to you, ’cause you just will not believe me.
Rush Sanders: Sometimes I’m ashamed to call a loser like you my son.
Steve Sanders: Then don’t bother. You’re not my father anyway!
Rush Sanders: Don’t say that.

Steve Sanders: Why not? You’re not my father! You’ve got nothing to be ashamed about and neither do I.

1.  Will to Uncle Phil in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air – “Papa’s Got a Brand New Excuse” – May 9, 1994

Go ahead and cue the tears. THERE’S SOMETHING IN MY EYE! In a show that was generally zany to the max (I mean look at all the neon up in there- “to the max” is an acceptable phrase) this episode really takes us to a new place EMOTIONALLY. I’m pretty sure that this fine episode is the reason that Will Smith was able to go on to a lucrative career in “dramatic” film acting.  Will’s deadbeat father Lou shows up in Bel Air and makes big summer vacay plans with Will. I wonder where this is going! In an effort to “protect” Will’s feelings, Uncle Phil tries to put the kibosh on Will’s trip, leaving Will with only one option: “YOU’RE NOT MY FATHER!” Oh and don’t worry, he eats it later (I mean, I don’t mean to be a dick, Will, but Uncle Phil did tell you so) when bum Lou eludes Will’s undying love yet again. “Why don’t he want me?” OMG! This episode is just heart-wrenching! Question: What is keeping Will’s mom in Philly? Why doesn’t she move in with the Banks? Or at least to L.A.? I feel like she doesn’t really love him either. Is that cold?

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I’m not going to lie, you guys. I am REALLY excited about today’s list.

I love the “You’re NOT my father!” moment of pretty much anything. One of our most gloriously over-used cliches in both TV and film, it’s pretty self-explanatory. A well-meaning authority figure tries to instill a little wisdom or caring and the uncaring brat responds with that most below-the-belt of blows- “You are not my biological parent.” It’s best when used in a sitcom so there’s a proper storm-out or run up the stairs (A Full House specialty, the run up the stairs) and the studio audience can go, “Ooooooooooh.” I highly encourage you to say, “Oooooh” at the end of each entry, it really does make a world of difference.

5. Shawn Hunter to Mr. Turner in “Cult Fiction” on Boy Meets World (1997)

Ah yes, the classic “Cult Fiction” episode. Occasionally, a series will whip out the old “main character joins a cult” situation (Kelly on 90210, Tori Spelling and that religion that’s supposed to be Scientology on So Notorious, Veronica Mars tries to live on that farm in that one episode) and who doesn’t love TV’s squishy take on what a cult is really like (namely, there is so much hugging involved that this can’t be kosher). When it comes to Boy Meets World, poor (ha ha ha, SHAWN’S POOR!) Shawn Hunter has been having a hard time of it lately- his trailer trash lifestyle has become even more trailer-tastic after his dad takes off after his wayward mom and leaves Shawn in the care of first the Matthews (who clearly don’t know what to do with someone who wears so much flannel and doesn’t appreciate clean cut wisecracks from a little sis) and then oh-so-cool teacher Mr. Turner, not at all sketchy for a single man with a Jheri-curl to take in a teenage boy. When Shawn takes up with the Huggers, Mr. Turner steps in and obviously Shawn’s not going to listen to someone who is NOT HIS FATHER. Don’t you ever watch television, Mr. Turner? God.

4. Jessie Spano to her New Stepmom in “Palm Springs Weekend I & II” on Saved By the Bell (1991)

Some woman at the hotel where the SBTB Palm Springs episode was filmed. I love the internet.

Some woman at the hotel where the SBTB Palm Springs episode was filmed. I love the internet.

This is the Saved By the Bell episode where you muttered to yourself, “I think there’s something wrong with Jessie Spano.” She REALLY hates her new stepmom to-be. Like, tries to drown her in the Palm Springs pool hates-her (not ok, Mama). Although, if I were forced to wear that heinous bridesmaid dress, I might also consider making snide remarks about my dad’s fiance’s youth and inappropriate hotness to everyone too. I mean, she’s a aerobics instructor for God’s sake. I think we all know why this wedding is taking place.

But don’t worry. Zack Morris, next door neighbor, best friend, always there with a snappy blazer, is there for some friendly advice. Namely, suck it up and get back to the wedding, in the name of all that is holy so we can end this episode and move on to California Dreams where I think Jake and Tiffani are about to hook up in the gang’s garage thisisthebestSaturdaymorningever!

3.Tracy Morgan to Everyone Who Tries to Tell Him What To Do in “Rosemary’s Baby” on 30 Rock (2007)

You have no idea how much I wish there was a clip of this scene. Basically, Tracy has an issue- whenever an authority figure (Jack, in this case) tells him not to do something, he has to do it. Even dog-fighting, the most repulsive thing a person could do (which Grizz and Dot-Com hilariously try to circumvent by recruiting poodles). When Jack tries to talk some sense into Tracy, he retorts, “You’re not my dad!” And prompts a series of flashbacks when Tracy was a little boy, played by Elijah Cook who is SPOT-ON with an attitudinal delivery that just kills me every time. It goes something like this:

“Tracy, don’t play with matches!”

“You’re not my dad!”

“Tracy, don’t stare directly at the sun! It’ll make you crazy!”

“You’re not my dad!”

And my favorite- little Tracy’s dressed for church in a red dress and matching hat. “Tracy! You’re not going out dressed like that!”

“You’re not my dad!”

AAAAAND scene. Seriously, Hulu, I can’t believe you want to charge me and yet you don’t even have that clip. Pathetic.

2. Buffy Summers to Ted (John Ritter) in “Ted” on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)

In one of Buffy‘s greatest episodes ever, John Ritter plays Ted, new boyfriend to Buffy’s mother, poor suffering Joyce. Everything seems dandy except Buffy thinks he’s a giant creep. Nobody else does though, since Ted’s making these cookies with dreamy tranquilizers in them, that make everyone just love the guy. We see flashes of the real Ted though, when he tries to smack Buffy around and it’s all the more creepy and awful because nobody sees it or is really on her side. So when she has enough and roundhouse kicks him down the stairs, it’s a short-lived rush of satisfaction. See, Buffy actually kills Ted and the ramifications of her killing a person, not a demon or a vampire, are pretty heady. (Not to mention the most dramatic “You’re not my father!” overreaction ever).

Luckily for all of us, he’s actually a sociopathic robot who comes back to life to try and recruit Joyce into living with him in his creepy basement of love. Which means we get to see Buffy’s fears validated. And she gets to kill him again, always a bonus.

1. Will Smith to Uncle Phil in “Papa’s Got a Brand New Excuse” on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (1994)

This picture is unrelated. It just makes me laugh.

Welcome to the part of the program where I tear up uncontrollably. I’ve mentioned previously my inability to watch this episode of what has to be one of the most ridiculous sitcoms of all time without getting choked up and making excuses like, “I’m sorry, there’s a ceiling tile in the bathroom that needs my attention” so that my friends don’t mock me when Will blows up at Uncle Phil for not exactly being psyched that his deadbeat dad Lou (Ben Vereen NO!) has shown up to make yet more false promises. And then when Lou makes an excuse about bailing on him AGAIN and Will breaks down I just, I can’t- I’m sorry, there’s a ceiling tile in the bathroom that needs my attention right now. (PS originally my choice for this week’s topic was “Very Special Episodes on Sitcoms That Actually Really Did Make Me Cry Don’t Judge Me” so you see we’re killing two birds here.)

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Show: Will & Grace

Moment: I’m sorry. I know there are people out there who think Will & Grace suffered from Too Many Guest Stars Syndrome but any use of Sandra Bernhard is ok in my book. I’m also such a sucker for any time Grace attempts to sing.

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