Archive for the ‘Cybill’ Category

by Beal

cybilThis may seem an unlikely place for a book review, being that this site is all about gluttonous consumption of television, but when we say “television,” what we really mean is “all things television” which includes “auto”biographies of our favorite TV stars. What I just read (in three hours or less) was Cybill Disobedience by Cybill Shepherd (with Aimee Lee Ball).

Now, I don’t know how many books you’ve read detailing the lives of celebrities (honestly, I have read but few), but essentially, all they are, are a bound edition of an E! True Hollywood Story. This fine piece of literature is no different. However, the amount of names dropped in this book make it nothing if not a pop-culture junkie’s dream come true.

The book begins with Cybill’s modest but privileged upbringing in Memphis, Tennessee. Her grandparent’s owned some kind of relatively lucrative business (look, I didn’t really care about that detail) that allowed her some luxuries but nothing I’d consider spoiling. Her parents were in a bad marriage and her grandfather seemed creepy (not toucher creepy, but admired his beautiful granddaughter a little too much, creepy). Always gorgeous, Cybill could get whatever she wanted based on looks alone. Eventually she became Miss Teen Memphis, which forayed into a modeling career and then acting, which is when her story picks up. (Oh, also she discusses how she was sort of slutty in high school, which I found interesting yet not surprising).

In 1971, she starred in her first film (acting gig) the Oscar-winning The Last Picture Show directed by Peter Bogdanavich. Ten years later Cybill would be guest starring (and not even as the headline guest star) in Fantasy Island. In the interim, she made several great movies (ever heard of Taxi Driver?) and slept with some really famous individuals.


Her most enduring relationship was with Bogdanavich, who was married when they began their affair (yes, it was the beginning of a pattern). The two lived in Bel-Air, she a beautiful blonde actress, he a great director, a perfect match made in Hollywood. They were friends with Orson Welles and he even briefly lived in their home–in which Bogdanovich and Cybill maintained separate bedrooms, an odd but respectable arrangement. Oh and also, they seemed to cheat on each other a lot.

Now, I’m not exactly sure of when these sexual encounters took place and I’m not going to re-read the book in order to find out. What I will say is that at some juncture, Cybill had sex with Elvis Presley and Don Johnson (among many others who I didn’t really care about). And came close with Bruce Willis but at the last second they decided it might be bad for their work relationship (Moonlighting). She turned down Ryan O’Neal on more than one occasion, Robert De Niro and once canceled a date with Jack Nicholson (who hasn’t spoken to her since). She also had a threesome with her stuntman boyfriend and one of his stuntman friends. And at one point had an abortion.

Now onto the actual important stuff. It’s no surprise that Cybill and Bruce Willis would have difficulty getting along. Moonlighting was like his first big break and Cybill had been in the business for more than a decade, getting first a huge taste of success and then back-tracking to pay her dues. It was a major hit for the network, but, for whatever reason, nobody liked Cybill and they treated her like shit–the whole book is rife with classic “don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” kind of scenarios and honestly, it seems like she did get the shit end of the stick- more often than not because people believed that because of her looks, she never had to work for anything in her life. On the contrary, bitch was working at a constant, and usually for less pay than her peers, which leads me right into Judi and my favorite Lifetime sitcom revival: Cybill. I learned the following amazing tidbits about the production on that show:

  • Christine Baranski WALKED OUT during the taping of the final show. She was to be waiting in the eaves of a live sho the characters were appearing on, while Cybill sang a final number for the last scene of the last episode of the series. In the final cut, a “to be continued” board appeared instead of the song.
  • The flashback episode where Cybill tries to sing at a club in NYC, only for some drunk bitch to ask her loudly, while on stage, “Where’s the bathroom?” is a true story.
  • Her acting career on the show was (no surprise) based loosely on her experiences. And she did lose roles to Morgan Fairchild (who appeared in the wedding episode, as such a character), but more often to Ali MacGraw (who once convinced me to purchase a pair of jeans).
  • The reason we never get to see Dr. Dick, is because they wanted to hire a well known celebrity to cameo the part, but no one great was ever cast.
  • Baranski and Cybill were not real life friends, because Baranski didn’t want to be, not because Cybill was jealous of Baranski’s Emmys/stardom. ( History repeats itself see: Bruce Willis in Moonlighting).
  • As for Alicia Witt (who was apparently dating Kevin, her sister’s husband on the show, in real life), Cybill had this to say:

For the past year or so Alicia Witt had been acting like a spoiled brat, so pouty and truculent that when she wanted time off to have a bump removed from her nose, Bob Myer said, “Get rid of her,” and some writers asked if they couldn’t write her out of the show. . . In April Carsey-Werner received a letter from Alicia’s representatives, detailing her “creative concerns” about “character development and participation” and calling me tyrannical, abusive, and demeaning.

Well, if that wasn’t all that you needed to know and more about the life of Cybill Shepherd, then I recommend you rush to your local bookstore (cough, half.com- it’s like 75 cents) and pick up Cybill Disobedience. Honestly, it was an interesting read. And apart from knowing Cybill had banged Elvis, I knew little about the actually successful part of her career (it was sort of like learning that prior to Friends, Courtney Cox had not only been in a Springsteen video, but had a brief and sordid affair with him, and also had an ongoing private/professional  partnership with like, Sydney Pollack, for the better part of a decade.)

I’ll leave you with this:

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by Judi

maryann Show: Cybil

Character: Maryann Thorpe

Played By: Christine Baranski

In a Nutshell: Maryann is Cybil (Cybil Shephard)’s best friend, a rich woman made only richer by her alimony checks from her ex-husband, who abruptly dumped her, earning himself the nickname Dr. Dick. Maryann loves drinking, shopping, and excels in The Art of the Prank, usually using her considerable talents to torment her ex-husband by ruining his dinner parties, dates and even his wedding. Terrible at men and dating, going so far as to drive away that guy from Newsradio by buying him six pairs of shoes after one date.

You Might Also Like: Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous, Edward from Dharma & Greg, Lucille Bluth from Arrested Development.

Why I Love Maryann (Essay Portion)

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Cybil here at TV HQ. The discovery of the defunct sitcom on Lifetime in the wee hours has prompted marathon viewings and ridiculous text-conversations between myself and Beal. The show has proved to be so much better than we remember that I’m not exaggerating when I say we will probably gobble up all 89 episodes more than once before this little phase is over.

Maryann, and Baranski, is key to the show’s success. Gone are the days when a character could booze it up on prime time and still be completely lovable. Now we have to temper such actions with words like “rehab” and “intervention.” Perhaps my favorite part of Maryann and Cybil’s relationship is the way Cybil embraces the fact that Maryann is basically crazy, even going so far as to use it to her advantage.  She encourages her drinking, begs her to do things like help her pull a pig out of a muddy canyon and destroy her rival Morgan Fairchild’s wedding and Maryann complies happily, with a martini in her hand and a bag of hot peppers in her purse.

Who else would think an appropriate seduction technique involves a little Bo Peep costume? Who else would crawl through an AC vent to plant stinky cheese and ruin Dr. Dick’s first party since the divorce? Who else would watch her best friend’s teenage daughter perpetuate a ridiculous charade involving a fake boyfriend only to murmur to herself, “She’s coming along nicely.”

Favorite Moment: Maryann walks into the Country Western establishment, clearly out of her element, Chanel suit and all. “Oh, look. A BAR.”

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by Beal & Judi




season passing immediately
Beal: right?!!
that literally happened
i had a conversation about DYING to watch that show
and nothing i could do about it
and then, Lifetime coughed it up
Judi: it’s incredible
what else should we ask for?
i could go for some “Head of the Class”
Judi: ask for “Head of the Class” for me
maybe on…. We.
Beal: okay
i’ll work on it
i like, for real can’t believe it
cybill!?!? where did that come from?
i watched it last night
JUDI, it’s fucking hilarious
they mock the shit out of LA and the people in “the industry” and their families
Judi: omg i’m so excited. i just season passed it and it’s set to tape like a hundred episodes next week
by this time next week i’ll be like “fucking cybill”

Beal: i have my dvr saving only 3 episodes
Judi: and that’s really funny that you say that about alicia witt because it’s EXACTLY how i remember her too

Beal: we might be the only people that do that
Judi: “oh look, cybill’s daughter is in Mr. Holland’s Opus. Nice for her.”

Beal: and actually, i think you and i had a discussion about it before
Judi: did we?
Beal: i was like, “the daughter from cybil l was in it” and you were like, “oh.” didn’t bat an eye, knew exactly what i meant. i committed that to memory
Judi: hmmm
i’m not really surprised
a little saddened but not surprised
Beal: i think it was
i watched a movie in which she was raped
and it was a terrible movie anyway, and then like, what you raped cybill’s daughter, stop
Judi: i remember watching Two Weeks Notice and being like “wow, Cybill’s daughter has really turned into a bitch”
ugh that movie is so bad.
Beal: oh yeeeaa
can we talk about real housewives ending
Simon’s final outfit
Picture 11
i feel bad too because Alex actually looked halfway decent
Beal: like, actually the most offensive part to me
was the like, scoop neck t shirt underneath
Judi: i’d have been pissed
i did love
that the final scene
he and ramona are obviously shithoused dancing like that
Picture 9

i loved that they almost forgot to give kelly her “award”
Judi: kelly might be the stupidest human being on television ever
and i’ve seen audrina on the hills


Beal: i would vote for her
Judi: they must be related
Beal: yea, “nooo judie
[frowny 3rd grader face]
eeewww sttooooop.
i don’t know how the fuck she got a degree from columbia

Judi: i’m confused as to why she dressed like a whore on her birthday invite
kelly invite

and then went dressed like she was going to pick up Bridget Fonda and the rest of the cast from Singles

wtf Kelly?

wtf Kelly?


Beal: i’m confused why she threw a party in her house and didn’t know anyone there
i LOVE singles
Judi: because she sucks?
singles is great
Beal: top 10 maybe
Judi: starring The Closer?
This door just confessed, y'all

This door just confessed, y'all

just great
Beal: which now reminds me
i need to finish watching the profiler
Whatever, you'll always be Ashley Bartlett Bacon to me

Whatever, you'll always be Ashley Bartlett Bacon to me

do you watch weeds?
Judi: no i don’t have The Showtime
i’m still plowing through Alias on Netflix
Beal: have you dvd’d it at all?

its one of my faves, like top five easy
Judi: i heard the last season hasn’t been as good though
care to comment?
Beal: and i just watched all 4 seasons in two weeks
the fourth season, they really blew shit out of the water
it’s kind of a different show than it once was, but they obviously have to keep like, one upping, cause there can’t be four seasons of “suburban widow sells dime bags”
season 3 is the best (i’ve watched 1-3 probably 5 times)
but 4 is cool because she gets involved in bigger crimes, which is the only way the show could keep going
Judi: hmmmm
i enjoy MLP
Mary Louise Parker

Mary Louise Parker

love her
Judi: “Boys on the Side” was on the other day

can i just say
the scene where she takes control of the nick situation is maybe the most brilliant in shitty-movie history
Beal: i would have to rewatch to comment
been a long as time
Judi: so so good
she’s dressed like a real estate agent and just comes in and handles everything
as if someone is freaking out over spilling something on the couch instead of a drugged out maniac beating up Drew Barrymore
Beal: then you would love weeds

Judi: ok done
Beal: that’s kind of her character
she like, enters a super fucked up situation, and she handles it like someone broke a plate
but then sometimes, when shit really hits the fan, she has like, really great like meltdowns, that are always very rational and you like, really feel for her
she’s great
Judi: ok i’m with you
man, thank god for netflix
Beal: i don’t have it
Judi: uh oh
Netflix will let me watch Weeds season 1 and 2 on my computer
this could be a problem
Beal: DO IT
you’ll fall in LOVE
it has really great characters in it, which is actually why i like it
fuckin Kevin Nealon is great
Judi: wow i never thought i would ever hear anyone say that about kevin nealon
Beal: and elizabeth perkins
she really takes the cake
Judi: i LOVE elizabeth perkins
randomly enough
Beal: oh my god, judi, a must watch then
Indian Summer???
Beal: YES!
Judi: liz and i JUST watched that!
Beal: no one else has ever seen it!
but fuck
it has perkins
and diane lane
kimberly williams
its terrible
but great
alan fuckin arkin
i OWN indian summer
Judi: i said to liz- “i wonder if diane lane and elizabeth perkins were excited to work together again on ‘must love dogs’
and liz said, “I’m worried about you for so many reasons.”
WTF are Rizzo and Dermot Mulroney (aka the Poor Man's Dylan McDermott) doing there?

WTF are Rizzo and Dermot Mulroney (aka the Poor Man's Dylan McDermott) doing there? Oh wait. Are they IN the movie?

Judi: ok seriously that’s just fucked up
Beal: i was like, “oh, i bet they’re friends from indian summer”
i have to go to work
Judi: You got a job?
Beal is offline…

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by Beal

The following incident is true, and amazing. . .

One evening last week, I reached the end of the proverbial television sidewalk. There was NOTHING on. A bad night I guess. No good reruns, nothing unwatched on the DVR and nothing even remotely interesting on the Freak Show channels (TLC, Discovery Health etc.). Seriously, I couldn’t even find a Law & Order spinoff. 

Of course there is always On Demand, which I perused and found nothing of interest. It too was chock-full of visual swill. However, as I was glancing through the free movie section one flick at a time, reading whom each movie starred, I came across something starring Ms. Cybill Shepherd. OH MY GOD I KNOW WHAT I WANT TO WATCH!


Cybill!!! A mid-90’s gem starring, obviously, fuckin Cybill Shepherd (television royalty) as a washed up actress (herself?) who lives with her stuntman ex-husband and dark daughter (Alicia Witt–who I cannot separate from this role. Regardless of what she’s ever starred in, she will always be “the daughter from Cybill” to me) somewhere in the hills of sunny L.A. And Maryann!! Fucking Maryann! Cybill’s boozed up best friend and legitimately one of the funniest characters ever on television. She’s like the only American Absolutely Fabulous-esque character that ever worked.

Anyway, I knew I was out of luck. This isn’t the type of show they put on DVD nor the type of show you’d pay for if they put it on DVD. But I really really wanted to watch it. It had been years, and I remembered it being funny, but I wanted to view it as an adult who had recently seen what washed up in L.A. looked like for real. I even had a gchat conversation regarding this matter, and how much I wanted to watch this program, only to be regarded as sad and over-televisioned.

And then it happened, a week later, last night. I got home from work (don’t worry about it) around midnight, watched a movie and then began surfing through the channels. Staple networks like Hallmark and Lifetime always provide reliable/quality late night programming so I flipped the guide on over the to 50’s. Holy shit. Lifetime! You read my mind. You literally figured out what show I was interested in, and you put in on the air. Every morning at 8/8:30 a.m. and again at 2 a.m. I had no doubt before, but this truly solidified what I feared the most. Lifetime, I am your ideal, target audience.


P.S. The introduction of Cybill into Lifetime’s schedule, PROBABLY means that Lifetime  is trying to peak interest in this actress, because it plans on airing some great old MFTV’s (Martha Inc. fingers crossed) starring Ms. Shepherd. Also, potentially, hopefully some NEW ones, like THIS.

P.P.S. Moonlighting was a really great show.

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