I know I just recently did a TV-themed meme, but this one (already done by Jaquandor and SamuraiFrog) looked sufficiently different to be worth the time, and besides, last week was one of those weeks when I couldn't seem to produce an original and coherent blog entry to save my life -- even the weekend was a washout, thanks to a overnight snowstorm that brought down tree branches all over the Compound and left me with a chainsaw in my hand for most of yesterday -- but I could answer a couple of questions here and there in between doing other things. Maybe I ought to try one of those "Ask Me Anything" deals like Jaquandor and John Scalzi both do...
Anyhow, the meme begins below the fold:
1. What is your favorite classic TV show?
Well, that's a no-brainer for anyone who's been reading this blog for any length of time: Star Trek. By which I mean the original series, no bloody Next Gen, etc.
2. What character from a classic TV show would you like to be?
Either Captain Kirk or Thomas Magnum.
3. On which classic TV show would you have loved to have a walk-on role?
It might've been fun to have been a redshirt on classic Trek, or maybe the guy at the end of the Bluebird Diner's counter in an episode of The Andy Griffith Show.
4. Can you remember a line you liked from a classic TV show?
Of course! Many, in fact. The one that comes immediately (and rather inexplicably) to mind is from M*A*S*H: "I've eaten a river of liver and an ocean of fish! I've eaten so much fish, I'm ready to grow gills! I've eaten so much liver, the only way I can make love is if I'm smothered in bacon and onions!"
5. Which TV doctor would you choose to remove your appendix?
I hate to go along with the crowd, but I have to agree with Jaquandor and SamuraiFrog on this one: Dr. McCoy on Star Trek, because he could probably do it with a simple pill or something. Or perhaps Dr. Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation, because as cool as it would be to split a bottle of Saurian brandy with good ol' Bones, I think the red-headed "Dancing Doctor" would be a more charming sight to wake up to in the recovery room. (If you don't get the "Dancing Doctor" thing, don't feel bad... I think you'd have to be a pretty big fanboy to catch that one.)
6. Which TV doctor would you not let touch you with a 10-foot pole?
That one's a no-brainer as well: Frank Burns from M*A*S*H. Duh.
7. Which TV doctor/hospital would you choose for the best medical care?
For doctor, I'll say Hawkeye from M*A*S*H, since he rarely lost anyone and when he did, he at least made a good speech about it. As for hospital... hmmm. That's a toughie, considering that TV hospitals always seem to be the worst in their respective cities, the dumping grounds for all the loonies and renegades who couldn't cut it at the more prestigious institutions, and the places that get shot up and have helicopters crash in their lobbies.
8. Everyone knows nurses run the hospital. Who was/is your favorite TV nurse?
Sam Taggart on ER She didn't come along until the show was a shadow of its former self, and her personal life was a bit too apocalypstic to call "realistic." But she was tres cute.
9. Do you consider yourself a fan of reality TV?
Um, that would be a resounding no. Leaving aside a handful of more documentary-style shows on cable which have some actual informative and entertainment value (Deadliest Catch, Dirty Jobs, etc.), I think so-called "reality" programming has been the worst thing to happen to television since the invention of the half-hour infomercial. The broadcast-network shows are especially bad in the way they encourage people to humiliate themselves in front of the entire nation, glorify the worst of human behavior, and make celebrities out of shallow, devious, self-absorbed, low-level sociopaths. Yes, sociopaths, i.e., people with no (or barely functioning) consciences. Seriously, check out that Boston Rob douchebag who keeps infecting Survivor and The Amazing Race over and over and over. He's supremely arrogant, manipulative as hell, and he has a deep disregard for the rules -- he never actually breaks them, but he's always looking for a way around them, if that makes sense. His self-absorbed, opportunistic, "find the angle" approach makes me batshit crazy -- not to mention his mush-mouthed dialect -- but what really gets to me is that he actually has admirers because his methods are at least somewhat effective, so they see him as a "winner." He's a smug jerk, is what he is... and his type are rewarded and celebrated by "reality" TV. Blearg.
10. What's your "can't-miss" reality TV show (or shows)?
I can miss 'em all, baby. I'd rather watch a 30-year-old Three's Company rerun.
11. What reality TV show do you suppose the devil plays on the TV in Hell as punishment?
Geez, I don't know... so many possibilities...
12. If you were given a free ticket to be on any reality show, which one would you choose?
Whichever one would give me a shot to wipe that arrogant smirk of Boston Rob's disagreeable mug.
13. What shows would make up a perfect night of TV viewing for you?
Well, since there's no stipulation that this viewing has to consist of shows that are currently running...
6:00 PM Star Trek (perfect dinnertime viewing)
7:00 PM Magnum, PI
8:00 PM The American Experience (have to get some educational PBS in there, to ensure my well-roundedness)
9:00 PM Castle
10:00 PM WKRP in Cincinnati
10:30 PM M*A*S*H (this was the traditional timeslot for M*A*S*H reruns during much of my youth, and it still seems weird not to have it there)
11:00 PM Highlander: The Series (I went through a hardcore Highlander phase in my 20s, and the series always ran late at night in these parts, so as with M*A*S*H, this is a sentimental re-creation of an earlier time...)
14. What show(s) would you cancel without a moment's hesitation?
I'm going to take my cue from SamuraiFrog one and say I wouldn't cancel anything just because I personally dislike it. Every show seems to have its fans (even if the reasons why are frequently inexplicable) and we've all felt the frustration and disappointment at having something we like die at the arbitrary hand of some network suit. There are plenty of viewing options these days, so if I don't like a particular show, I can always find something else to watch...
15. Is there a show (previously canceled or just no longer airing) that you'd bring back, original cast and all?
Not really. I seem to be rather an oddball in that I'm content to have things be over once they're over. In fact, I sometimes suspect some shows are better off for having been cut short -- the late, lamented Firefly, for instance, is pretty sublime at only 13 episodes, but who knows how far it may have stumbled if it'd run for a couple of seasons? Similarly, the rumored plans for the original Battlestar Galactica's second season, had it gotten one, probably would've assured that even diehard fans like myself would now rank it alongside The Starlost for the sheer stink of lameness.
Now that I think about it, though, I would've liked to see more of Nathan Fillion's post-Firefly, pre-Castle effort, Drive, which was sent to the Phantom Zone after a mere four episodes. I thought it was sufficiently interesting to warrant at least one complete season. But I'm not pining that hard for its return, the way the Browncoats or the Farscapers refuse to give up on the return of their respective obsessions .
16. You get to create one show to put on the schedule, with any stars you choose. Who and what would it be?
I'd like to see a good old-fashioned period adventure series, something along the lines of Tales of the Gold Monkey, with airplanes and romance and exotic scenery and danger and intrigue lurking around every corner. So how about this (I'm assuming of course that budget is not a consideration): a series set aboard one of the flying boats of the 1930s, the legendary Pan-Am Clippers, as they ply their Pacific routes in the tension-filled days leading up to the outbreak of World War II. Our hero would be the captain of the Clipper, of course, and he'd be played by an older actors we loved in the '80s but don't see on TV much anymore... Lee Horsley, maybe, or Marc Singer, or hell maybe even Don Johnson. The premise would allow for new guest stars every week, a la Fantasy Island or The Love Boat. I think it'd work. Of course, nobody would ever greenlight it, and probably only a dozen people would watch it, but hey, it's my fantasy show, right?
17. Is there a game show (past or present) you think you would do really well on, as a contestant?
People tell me I'd do well on Jeopardy because I know lots of trivia, but I also know that my knowledge is rather narrowly focused -- I would be utterly hopeless, for example, on anything relating to sports -- and I'm also not the coolest under pressure or in competitive situations. Which means I'd probably either freeze up or get pissed off, and either way, that's not going to win me anything but the home version of the game from Parker Brothers. So, no, there isn't a game show I think I'd do well on.
18. Is there a game show you think is the stupidest thing you've ever seen?
I don't care much for the genre in general, so perhaps I'm not a very good judge of these things, but I really do not get the one with Howie Mandel and the suitcases. When they fail to select the right case, the contestants behave as if the money is being extracted from their own wallets or something, but really it's all hypothetical. You could lose every last cent of the game's money and still walk out of the studio no less poor than you were when you started.
19. Is there a game show you watch, but don't like to admit to watching? (A guilty pleasure!)
Nope. I don't watch game shows if I can avoid them.
20. Who is your favorite game show host? Who is your least favorite?
Again, I don't watch game shows, so no favorite or least fave... although I really disliked the bitchy British woman who would snarkily tell people "goodbye" on whatever that show was a few years ago. So I supposed she's my least favorite. [Ed. note: I looked it up... the bitchy woman was Anne Robinson; the show was The Weakest Link.]
21. Who is your favorite (past or present) TV cop?
Sonny Crockett from Miami Vice.
22. Which TV cop do you think was the most crooked, or the most inept?
Is there any question? It's Chief Clancy Wiggum on The Simpsons.
23. Which TV show had the best ensemble cast of police officers?
Hm. My first instinct is to name Hill Street Blues, but honestly it's been so long since I've seen it I can no longer say for sure. More recently, I'd say the first few seasons of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (that would be the original one, the one set in Las Vegas) had an excellent ensemble. I don't watch many of the other cop shows currently (or recently) running, but when I do manage to catch them, they all seem a little too self-consciously put together, i.e., this is the firm but compassionate boss, this is the young guy in need of seasoning, this is the quirky scientific/computer genius, this is the hot chick with relationship problems, etc. CSI had some of those elements, but they were more subtle and balanced with some well-drawn characterizations, as opposed to mere character types.
24. You need to hire a bodyguard for yourself. Which TV cop do you choose?
Robocop. No, seriously, there was a Robocop TV series. It sucked, but still, a cyborg super-cop is going to be your best bet for this bodyguard thing.
25. Who is your favorite stand-up comedian of all time?
George Carlin, although I swim against the stream a bit in my preference of the earlier, gentler Carlin as opposed to the bitter, angry old man he became toward the end of his life. He may have been 100% correct in all of his biting commentary and observations, but he wasn't funny anymore, either. Give me Wonderful WINO Radio, Seven Dirty Words, and the Ice Box Man over the harangues, please.
26. Which one could you do without? (Not your type of humor, or just plain stupid!)
Gallagher. I know he long ago dropped off the cultural radar, but if we're talking all-time here, I never understood why anyone thought that obnoxious melon-mashing doofus was funny.
27. Which comedian do you think has gone on to have a great career aside from doing stand-up?
Steve Martin is probably the biggest success story: from stand-up to successful film actor to novelist and now touring musician. How many performers of any kind manage to keep working steadily for over 40 years (Martin started as a gag writer for the Smothers Brothers in the '60s, you know) and remain popular even as they reinvent themselves?
28. If you went to a comedy club on amateur night, and they gave you some jokes and a microphone, would you go onstage?
No. I don't suffer from stage fright per se, but... no.
29. Who is/was your favorite TV mom?
Kitty Foreman on That 70s Show.
30. Was she a realistic mother, or more of a TV fantasy type?
Realistic, but exaggerated, if that makes sense.
31. Which TV mom did you find the most unrealistic? Or if you'd rather: creepy/sappy/mean -- you choose the adjective, and you name the mom.
This one is surprisingly difficult for me to answer. I guess I don't really watch a lot of shows about families, as I can't think of many TV moms. I can't think of any that are especially unrealistic, at least no more unrealistic than the TV dads on the same shows. I suppose the meanest TV mom would have to be Endora on Bewitched. She was just plain ol' bitchy. Although people probably think of her more as a mean mother-in-law (to Darrin) than a mom (to Samantha). But hey, best I can do right now...
32. No disrespect to your dear old mum, but which TV mom did you think it might be neat to have as your own?
Samantha on Bewitched. Hey, she could do anything with a wiggle of her nose. How could that not be cool?
33. What show would you like to see brought back for an hour or two episode, to see how the characters are doing now? (This should be a show that it might be possible to do a reunion on.)
Reunion episodes are tricky. The vast, vast majority of them really stink, because (a) the stories tend to be lazy (or worse, forced) excuses just to put everyone back together, or (b) too much time has elapsed since the original series and the premise now seems too quaint or irrelevant to modern circumstances, or (c), it's just damn depressing to see how old everyone has gotten. I'm frankly glad that you don't see many of these things anymore.
That said, I really would like to check in on the gang from Magnum, or possibly Miami Vice.
34. Pick a show that could not realistically be brought back for a reunion, because some or all of the cast members are gone. What if they could have done a reunion before it was too late? Name the show you'd most like to see.
Maybe a Star Trek movie or TV movie with the cast of the original pilot ("The Cage," which starred Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike; this was later explained as an incident from before Kirk assumed command of the Enterprise).
35. Which reunion show have you watched and thought "Wow, they should have left that one alone!"
The Andy Griffith Show. I haven't seen it in years, but I remember the TV movie Return to Mayberry being downright painful, a very unfunny mess that lacked all the charms of the original series, despite having most of the original cast back in attendance. Part of the problem, as I recall, was that the backlot settings that comprised Mayberry in the 1960s didn't jibe with the real-world town they filmed the movie in, and for a change more realism didn't help. And the grown-up Ron Howard seemed distinctly uncomfortable playing Opie again, too.
36. Which do you prefer, a "reunion" episode of the series or a "cast reunion" where the actors sit around and talk about the making of the show?
In the vast majority of cases, cast reunions, for the reasons I mentioned on #33. A nice retrospective interview can be fun, but trying to recapture the vibe that made an old series work too often proves impossible.
37. What is your favorite TV theme song?
I think the theme from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is a beautiful piece of music.
38. Which song drives you crazy enough to hit mute on the remote?
Many shows these days don't even have theme songs in the traditional sense, so it's not a big problem. But if we're allowed to mention older shows, the theme from My Three Sons really bugs me. It's incredibly bland (making it a perfect representation of the show itself) but it's also a huge ear-worm that can take days to shake off. So click that link at your own risk... (In case you're wondering, My Three Sons is still airing in this area on one of our local PBS affiliates, so I occasionally run across it. Quite against my will, I might add. I love a lot of the old shows, but that isn't one of them...)
39. Which song are you proud to say you remember (most of) the lyrics to?
Um... I don't know if I'm proud of this, but it is somewhat amusing to know I can sing the complete Beverly Hillbillies theme. You know, at parties and such...