5. Roseanne “It’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays” December 15, 1992

What in the hell kind of snowstorm hits so suddenly and instantly that adults in vehicles CANNOT travel mere miles across town to spend Christmas together? I mean, Judi and I know was well as anybody about the harsh Illinois winter, but no amount of snow could prevent me from a fun filled family Christmas, unless of course the place where I was “stranded” was flush with liquor. All I’m saying though, is if Nana Mary and Bev (at their age!) can walk around the parking lot, unload gifts from a car and make it back inside without breaking a hip then surely a former Lanford cop/truck driver could make it across town in a sedan. Also, where in the hell did David’s kid sisters come from?

4. The Golden Girls “Twas the Nightmare before Christmas” December 20, 1986

Alright, you got me, snow didn’t necessarily alter the plot of this episode, BUT COME ON! The final scene, when the snow is falling outside the diner as these four smiling seniors gaze out the frosty window to reveal falling snow IN MIAMI, is just adorable. And we all know that an olden timey diner is the ONLY place you can go during a snowstorm, especially after you and your three roommates whose flights to totally different locations were scheduled at the exact same minute, in the same terminal, at adjoining gates were cancelled due to inclement weather. Well I should say so! There’s snow in Miami, and if that doesn’t ground ALL FLIGHTS, then I don’t know what in the hell else would, besides David Caruso or course.

*The calendars Blanche gives the girls in this episode, actually feature REAL nude photos of different crew members. Ohhhh, on set pranks!

3. 3rd Rock from the Sun “Frozen Dick” March 26, 1996

Ya know, this show has so much potential, and then French fuckin Stewart comes on the screen and I remember why I hate it. Still, a snowed in episode is a snowed in episode, and this one is as kooky as it gets. Where are these aliens from again? This show is incredible in that its characters can arbitrarily know NOTHING about a given subject because they are ALIENS. . . HILARITY ENSUES!!! In this episode, we learn that our friendly human doppelgangers know absolutely nothing about WEATHER. Seriously? I feel like before departing your own planet with intentions of secretly living on another planet, you would have done some atmospheric research. Is that even a thing? Point being, if you’re technologically advanced enough for unrestricted space travel, then I feel like you should know what in the fuck snow is. All I’m sayin.

2. Family Ties “Birth of a Keaton Part I” January 24, 1985

Wow. Seriously, make with the zany already. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that if Family Ties hadn’t jumped shark already, this might have been the episode where it did, or perhaps it was the following season when the baby that Elyse births in this episode, is entering junior high. First off, why do sitcom families always have to PERFORM in local telethons? Do you know ANYONE whose ENTIRE family was roped into a forced performance in a telethon? (Besides the Tanner family?) And as if that’s not enough, in the middle of Mrs. Keaton’s ridiculous hippie acoustic guitar set, she goes into labor, and informs her husband to meet her at the hospital ON AIR. Ugh. Really? Am I still watching this? And wouldn’t you know it, a snowstorm prevents Mama Keaton from getting to the hospital and Steven from getting to the studio, or something? I don’t even know, because I’M TOO DISTRACTED BY THE ZANY FUCKING PLUMBER to absorb anything else in the episode. Lord. Did a bucket of water really just fall through the ceiling while that fat fuck was vegging out on the couch? Hilarious.

1. Cheers “Tan ‘N’ Wash” November 6, 1986

This is possibly my favorite episode of Cheers EVER. In this classic business deal switcheroo, switcherooo, switcherooo (that’s right, I think there were three switcheroos), Norm gets the gang in on a sweet sweet business deal: a combination tanning salon/ laundromat. (Actually, that’s a fairly brilliant business, Norm). At first, NO ONE comes, and everyone but Norm pulls out of this super sweet deal. But wait! [SHOCKER!] A major snowstorm hits Boston, and all its residents rush into the Tan-N-Wash to get a tan, and possibly wash their clothes. Thank god for that snowstorm, Norm is rolling in the dough, as the gang mopes around about pulling out of the deal too soon and losing out on these crazy profits! But WAIT! Norm DIDN’T TAKE THEM OUT OF THE DEAL AFTERALL! EVERYONE IS RICH! But wait!!!!!!!! There’s too much snow! And the building collapses. Next week on Cheers no one mentions their failed business venture, the snowstorm, or why Woody’s tan has magically disappeared.

Oh, snow. You crafty bastard. Always using your wiles in the most inconvenient ways. You show yourself at the most inopportune times, blanketing our fake towns in fluffy white mush (that is CLEARLY not real snow), stranding our favorite fictional characters in cars and cabins and forcing dramatic, and sometimes hilarious, confrontations. You are cold, you are ruthless, you are unforgiving.

Keep up the good work.

5. My Boys “Madder of Degrees” (2009)

Ok, so TECHNICALLY this episode of the cable series is about what happens when a heatwave hits during a typically brutal Chicago winter but, in this case, I think it works since the absence of snow, really, is the device used here. Also, it’s -5 in Chicago right now and the very notion of a day when it’s suddenly warm enough to wear SHORTS and eat ICE CREAM makes me want to recite all of the episode’s lines by memory. I mean, it’s so cold that you actually have a moment, while walking outside, where you wonder if maybe you should just give up, if you should just lie down on the snowy sidewalk and let the cold take you. You wish for death, basically. I’m not even kidding. That’s how cold it is right now.

So yes, when PJ states that a warm day during a Chicago winter leads to 24 hours of temporary INSANITY, believe her. It’s the truth. Chicago winter will make you do insane things. Like spontaneously getting a super-nice condo with the guy you’ve only been dating for three months. Or getting a dog. And a Jeep. With no windows.

4. How I Met Your Mother “Three Days of Snow” (2009)

I just re-read the description of what happens in this episode and am amazed, once more, by how much plot HIMYM can cram into 22 minutes of air time. Basically, it boils down to Ted and Barney getting to man the bar in a blizzard (which goes great, “it’s THE DREAM”, until it’s overrun by college kids), Lily having a bunch of hilarious run-ins with her old car service driver Rajit at the airport, and Robin and Marshall stuck in the classic “It’s snowing really hard so of course let’s get stuck in our car” device. Does this ever actually happen in real life? Or is this a result of all these television episodes being written in Los Angeles, where a dude in a Hawaiian shirt sits at his desk, trying to guess how snow must feel and what it’s like when it actually falls from the sky. “People must get trapped in their cars ALL THE TIME,” he mutters to himself and reaches for another Corona Light. Yeah, I thought so.

3. Gilmore Girls “Love and War and Snow” (2000)

It’s hard to imagine a list about snow without mentioning Lorelai Gilmore. Lorelai loves snow, to the point that she can SENSE when the first snowfall of the season is coming, dragging everyone (her daughter, her boyfriend at the time) out into the middle of Stars Hollow to enjoy the first flakes. She’s crazy. About SNOW. (God, I’m tired.)

Anyway. Though there is a lovely episode in later seasons where Lorelai and Luke battle over whether snow is the most magical thing on Earth or just a royal pain in the ass (culminating in Lorelai getting all grumpy about her former BFF snow and Luke feeling bad so he builds her an ICE RINK on her front lawn. He really would’ve gotten the prize for Best Boyfriend Over 35 Ever if he hadn’t, you know, hid a secret daughter from his girlfriend for two months.) I prefer the Season 1 episode, where a snowstorm forces Rory’s adorable teacher/would-be boyfriend of Lorelai to stay the night with the Gilmores. If only for Rory, who gets to display a LOT of awkward small-talk with her TEACHER who woke up IN HER HOUSE the next morning.

2. Alias “Cipher” 2002

Let’s all agree to pretend that 1) the last season of Alias didn’t exist and 2) Season 2 of JJ Abrams’ spy show is seriously fantastic. “Cipher” is one of my favorites, with Sid’s near-death experience once of her most harrowing, involving Siberia, some thin ice, an ICE CAVE and a creepy music box.  The ending succeeds with a nasty cliffhanger. Just watch.

1. Taxi “Scenskees From a Marriage (Parts 1 & 2)” 1982

Back to the old “car stranded in the snow” routine! This time there’s SEX involved. Hol-ler! Latka is sent out to rescue a female cabbie who’s trapped in the snow. Unfortunately, he gets trapped with her and that whole “body heat” thing comes into play. So, yeah, Latka gets lucky, his wife Simca is pissed and their only solution (clearly) is for Simca to now have sex with one of Latka’s friends. Alex. Resulting in one of the show’s best lines ever- “Now peel me like a grape so I can get out of here.”

Show/Character: Veronica Mars

Played By: Kristen Bell

Why Are We Talking About Her Today: Because every time I’m on Facebook, I am BOMBARDED with ads and polls and videos for her latest movie When in Rome which, frankly, looks terrible. I, the lover of all romantic comedies, would honestly rather watch that Sarah Marshall classic about the cell phone that kills people (“Why don’t you just take the battery out of the phone?!”) than see yet another movie about a grasping “career woman” trying to get her hooks into a hot photographer who clearly nails everything in sight (but not in CINEMA, clearly) while in my favorite city in the world. And because I know there are hordes of people out there who believe little pixie-nugget Kristen Bell is famous for these slight-to-middling movie roles, which is just APPALLING considering who she got to play on TV.

So Who is Veronica Mars? (Asks my voice-over narrator): In the town of Neptune, CA, Veronica Mars is the local PI’s daughter. At school, she’s at the bottom of the social totem pole, the one-time best friend of the most popular kids in school before scandal and some big-time emotional traumas hit, turning fresh-faced, headband sporting, pep-squad leading Veronica into a cynical, wisecracking, bad-guy thwarting, pint-sized PI with a few major chips on her shoulder. Technically, she’s dad Keith Mars’ “assistant” at his dingy downtown office. Not-so-technically, she’s planting bugs, doing standard surveillance on cheating husbands, drawing out common thieves and crooks and basically making the whole Neptune Sheriff’s Department look like a bunch of Class-A morons.  She has precisely three friends to her name, new kid Wallace, computer nerd Mac and local gang-leader Weevil Navarro, horrible luck with boys, a doting dad, a runaway mom and a pitbull named Backup.

Why We Love: Rob Thomas (no, not THAT Rob Thomas)’s beloved show ran for an all-too-short three seasons on the WB/CW. Part teen drama, part noir, we loved Veronica Mars for its nifty premise (a screwy, insidious mystery unravels over the course of the season), its dynamic setting (the city of Neptune is all but its own character with half of it poor and crime-ridden and the other half filled with the filthy rich. Kind of like what The OC tried to do but a lot more effective. While those OC kids were busy punching poor Ryan Atwood in the face, Neptune’s rich kids were throwing boxing matches among drunk homeless guys) and some very taut, serious conflicts. A lot of the show’s material was pretty heady for your standard primetime show- murder, sexual and physical abuse, drugs. Those big time issues Veronica is dealing with in the show’s first episode include the aftermath of her best friend’s vicious murder, her alcoholic mom leaving town and her rape at a recent party (she was unconscious at the time). It’s all made her more than a little hard-boiled about her sleepy California town. Luckily for us, V is also bitingly funny, sharp and knows some pretty slick tricks of the PI trade, leading her classmates to solicit her help on the sly in her “office”, the school bathroom (aw, just like the Fonz!). She’s got heart, a hot, genuinely bad-boy love interest (remember the whole exploiting homeless guys thing? THAT guy), and she’s tough. Honestly, the only solace that comes with there being absolutely no way we’ll ever see our Veronica again is getting to imagine her all grown up, busting big-time baddies at the FBI and showing up her idiot cohorts.

And getting to watch free episodes of the show online here. For now, that’ll have to do.

Conan’s final message from The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien.

“Before we end this rodeo, a few things need to be said. There has been a lot of speculation in the press about what I legally can and can’t say about NBC.  To set the record straight, tonight I am allowed to say anything I want. And what I want to say is this: between my time at Saturday Night Live, The Late Night Show, and my brief run here on The Tonight Show, I have worked with NBC for over twenty years.

Yes, we have our differences right now and yes, we’re going to go our separate ways.  But this company has been my home for most of my adult life.  I am enormously proud of the work we have done together, and I want to thank NBC for making it all possible.

Walking away from The Tonight Show is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Making this choice has been enormously difficult. This is the best job in the world, I absolutely love doing it, and I have the best staff and crew in the history of the medium.

But despite this sense of loss, I really feel this should be a happy moment. Every comedian dreams of hosting The Tonight Show and, for seven months, I got to. I did it my way, with people I love, and I do not  regret a second. I’ve had more good fortune than anyone I know and if our next gig is doing a show in a 7-11 parking lot, we’ll find a way to make it fun.

And finally, I have to say something to our fans. The massive outpouring of support and passion from so many people has been overwhelming. The rallies, the signs, all the goofy, outrageous creativity on the internet, and the fact that people have traveled long distances and camped out all night in the pouring rain to be in our audience, made a sad situation joyous and inspirational.

To all the people watching, I can never thank you enough for your kindness to me and I’ll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask of you is one thing: please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism- it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere.

Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have something in my eye. (Also, in case you’re wondering what to do now that Jay Leno has taken back The Tonight Show, the answer can be found in two words- David & Letterman.)

Sweet, delicious joy! The only kind of joy directly related to cable TV shows. First Leverage and now Burn Notice is back on USA, starting tonight at 10/9c. By the end of winter, I am going to be one kick-ass spy/thief. All I’m sayin’. 

Show: Roseanne

Moment: Ok, ok. I’m cheating here. There are three great moments here, crammed into this seven minute clip as Roseanne responds to David’s request to live with the Connors instead of his verbally abusive mother, hair teased within an inch of her life. 1) “Oh, I am in this now.” Roseanne responding to her daughters being called “whores”. I wouldn’t blame that actress for quaking in her boots. 2) “It’s people like you who give white trash a bad name.” How do you pull a laugh from this scene? It’s diabolical. 3) “It’s a boy!” YAY!

Chevy Chase


Rashida Jones

The Challenge: I made the connection from CHEVY CHASE to RASHIDA JONES in three TV degrees. If Beal can do equal or better, she wins 10 points + 5 bonus points IF she can avoid the use of anyone who worked for Dundler Mifflin.

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. Seriously, something genuinely awesome 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: AND tied. For a minute there, I thought you had mean, I kept circling from Rashida Jones, back to Rashida Jones, via Paul Rudd, at any rate, here’s what I came up with. . .

1. Rashida Jones stars in Parks and Recreation with Amy Poehler.

2. Amy Poehler starred in Baby Mama with Steve Martin.

3. Who starred in Three Amigos with Chevy Chase.

(I’m allowed to use movies right?)

Oh, Beal. Sweet, precious Beal. The magic connection we were looking for here was John Oliver, Daily Show correspondent. Rashida & Ed Helms in The Office to John Oliver to Chevy Chase, his co-star on Community.