We like to fancy ourself as an amateur detective. If someone loses their keys, we’re on the case. If someone is being evasive about whom they went to dinner with last Sunday night, we get to the bottom of it. If there’s an email address to be found by scouring pages of Google results, we’re going to find it. If we spend a week in Aruba, we fully believe that we’re going to solve a high-profile, lingering unsolved murder. In many cases we’re successful, in some cases we’re not (the latter, in particular, which is still keeping us up nights). But that inquisitive, investigator spirit stays with us, and it’s been with us since childhood. If you asked us at eight-years-old what we wanted to be when we grew up we’d say “baseball player” or “movie writer.” Definitely one of those two. But “detective” would have won the bronze, which is why in 9th grade we did a future career report on “FBI Agent” and nearly began working part-time for a private investigator a few months after college (it occurs to us now that we would be especially unsuited for that role, our small bladder no doubt serving as a hinderance during long stakeouts). It’s perhaps why we fell so in love with Veronica Mars (the show and the character), and spent so many hours as a child in our grandma’s basement using her office supplies and copy machine (or “photostat,” as she so adorably referred to it) to assemble fake case files, pretending that stamping a folder “PAID” was equivalent to “CASE CLOSED,” and fabricating evidence out of Xerox copies of our tiny hands and face and randomly scribbling with mechanical pencils. We were a junior Sam Spade, a soft-boiled detective, solving the case of the missing ping-pong paddle with a Bachman’s pretzel rod dangling casually from our lips instead of a lean Marlboro, a tumbler of Pepsi with crushed ice instead of a stiff whiskey on the rocks.
Category Archives: Literarally
Today’s Search Term is “Johnny Dakota,” which, of course, means you readers out there are looking for the Saved by the Bell episode “No Hope With Dope.” And sure, we could give you a clip from that episode featuring fictional mega-hunk Johnny Dakota, played by dancer/choreographer Eddie Garcia, but that would be the easy way out. We prefer to present you with a clip that offers the biggest guest star in the episode, the truly special guest star, NBC Chairman Brandon Tartikoff.
By this point – 1991 – Tartikoff had a habit of popping up in NBC shows as himself, or as a version of himself, and this was a particularly meta appearance where he posited the idea of an NBC sitcom about a principal and his students. He ultimately ruled the idea out, but of course, that very idea was the show that he was on, one of a string of a hits on NBC under Tartikoff’s reign. It does say something special about Saved by the Bell’s specific success that it inspired the network chairman to appear on a Saturday Morning teen show, which is decidedly a different hosting SNL, which Tartikoff did in 1983. But always adept at self-promotion, Tartikoff knew an opportunity when it presented itself.
And speaking of promotion, you can read more about Tartikoff’s tenure at NBC in the new book Top of the Rock: The Rise and Fall of Must See TV, just like we did last week. Written by Tartikoff’s protege and successor Warren Littlefield (well, more curated than written by), the book takes a look at NBC’s dominance in the 90s. And while most of the tome focuses on the post-Tartikoff era at the Peacock, he was an important figure in shaping the network and laying the groundwork (Cheers, Cosby, Hill Street Blues, etc.) on which Must See TV was built. It’s that perfect gift for anyone who likes to read oral histories but hates anything of substance. But, be warned, there’s no talk of Saved by the Bell in the book, so you’ll have to rely on Behind the Bell for that.
Remember kids, say no to drugs! Or you could end up like Dustin Diamond.
Full disclosure: as far as we know, we’ve never read anything by Maurice Sendak. We haven’t even seen Where the Wild Things are. The closest we’ve come is putting that Arcade Fire song on a mix once. But, clearly, Sendak meant a lot to a lot of people, and, if our Facebook newsfeed is to be any judge, his words affected several generations. Maybe for them, he was their Jim Henson. For us, our lasting image of Sendak will be, quite literally, his last image, his brilliant appearance on the Colbert Report this past January.Vodpod videos no longer available.
It’s easy for someone to be a subversive, fiercely free-speaking iconoclast in their 20s. Try doing it til the day you die.
No, we’re not talking about the Mighty Ducks 3 (although we kind of wish we were), but rather the upcoming third season of Adult Swim’s Delocated, as today’s search term is “will there be a delocated season 3.” Well, kids, as we reported last month, the answer is YES! Shooting starts this spring and hopefully we’ll see new episodes before the end of the year. But we’re happy to offer you a special exclusive behind the scenes look inside the Delocated Season 3 writers’ room:Vodpod videos no longer available.
And more good news: Delocated creator and star Jon Glaser’s new book My Dead Dad was in ZZ Top was released yesterday. The book, a collection of “100% Real,* Never Before Seen Documents from the World of Rock and Roll,” is inspired by one of Glaser’s live bits, the act that gives the book its title. Glaser celebrated the release of the book at Brooklyn’s The Bell House last night with readings from the likes of John Hodgman, Scott Adsit, Paul Rudd and Jon Hamm. Here’s Rudd delivering one of the book’s entries, complete with his best Jay Leno impression:
Do yourself a favor and pick up the book. Makes the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for that special someone.
Thank You, Brian Lehrer, That’s How You Do an Interview About Art; Plus, Our Long-Delayed Thoughts on 92Y-Gate
Steve Martin was brave enough to visit the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC yesterday, and Lehrer easily proved that it is, IS, possible to conduct an interesting interview about art (or perhaps Martin felt comfortable that the NPR audience is composed of less angry, elderly Jewish Philistines and more of cultured, respectful, art appreciators).
See? That was informative and entertaining. No one had to lower their level of discourse, and listeners were not lulled to sleep. It can be done!
We guess this means that it’s time for our long-delayed thoughts on Martin’s recent appearance at the 92nd St. Y.
We think Marty may need to brush up on his English Lit. When the ousted Survivor competitor arrived at Ponderosa, the lodging for jury members, he catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror for the first time in weeks and compares his visage to that of “Robinson Caruso.” Although, that might have been a better career choice for David than Jade.
[scroll to approx 3:45]Vodpod videos no longer available.
We’re surprised that Marty didn’t describe to his time in Espada camp as reminiscent of Swiss Family Holly Robinson Peete.
A couple weeks back Tony Danza was nice enough to get into his time machine in order to perform a horribly outdated, rhythmless, patently offensive rap. Apparently that went over so well that he decided to turn his standard birthday song into a hip hop ditty (for the principal!).Vodpod videos no longer available.
No, no one is smiling. And while she’s not wishing that you would disappear, she probably would have preferred it if you spared us all the minstrel show.
And it was a two-fer Friday night with two back-to-back episodes of Teach, so here’s a bonus moment of the week. Somebody has a crush!Vodpod videos no longer available.
BURNED, DANZA!!!!! OUCH! And Chloe adding insult to injury with that glasses crack, no less. Nice work, kid (although, that doesn’t appear to be a regulation school uniform. Guess it was casual Friday).
And in case you’re still skeptical out there:
But, as much as we’ve had our fun with Tony Danza, we have to admit that he really poured his heart into teaching these kids, and took the responsibility severely more personally than most teachers do (although, he’d probably get jaded too if he taught more than one class a day for more than one year). He even volunteers to mentor a troubled teen delinquent who’s not even in Mr. Danza’s class. Sometimes Danza takes the “he reminds me of me” thing a little too far (especially when he compares losing his father when he was thirty years-old to a kid being in jail while his mom died) , but he’s certainly willing to sacrifice his time and energy to help these kids. He’s the boss. So good for you Tony, just PLEASE stop rapping.
And apparently this was the season finale, which means the first season ended on a dark, pessimistic, almost The Wire-like note, as Tony struggles to get through to his students and questions his ability to do so, while his reclamation project may be heading to prison. It certainly wasn’t the uplifting conclusion we expected. Let’s hope that means it’s merely a cliffhanger to be revisited in season two (although the fact that they burned off two episodes in one night is not an encouraging). But until we get that resolution, if we even do at all, we’ll be worrying about the fate of Tony Danza, boxer, taxi driver, boss, tapper, teacher. At least we know he’ll be breathing okay.
Well, now there’s a book (not written by us). Bill Carter, who chronicled the first Tonight Show War in The Late Shift, is set to release The War for Late Night, an in-depth look at last winter’s late night talkie drama, what many of us referred to as the Jaypocalypse. With Conan, beard and all, set to premiere his new show on TBS in just a matter of days, the book should be a fascinating recount of how the late night landscape was perhaps forever changed, and how, in the end, the skirmish might have been the best thing that ever happened to Conan O’Brien.
Read an except from The War for Late Night on Vanity Fair
And since there will inevitably be a movie based on the book, let’s remember the last one:
(Fun Fact: did you know that the actor who played Jay Leno in The Late Shift, Daniel Roebuck, went on to play Dr. Leslie Artz on Lost? It’s true! I know, right?! Oh, and Letterman was played by John Michael Higgins, who is just generally awesome. Crazy!)