Category Archives: Literarally

Belated In Memorium: Donald J. Sobol AKA a Requiem for Encyclopedia Brown

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.

And what does any of this have to do with Encyclopedia Brown? Read on for the solution…

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Filed under In Memoriam, Literarally, Mars Investigations, Nostalgia Corner

Gratuitous Search Term Bait of the Day: A New Hope

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.

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Filed under Literarally, Must See TV, Saved by the Bell

In Memorium: Maurice Sendak

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.

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Filed under In Memoriam, Literarally

Parting Shot: Border Closing

The Final Chapter 11. 

 

 

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Filed under Literarally, Parting Shot

Parting Shot: My Best Friends Were Awesome


Get Eliot’s brilliant collection of essays and photos, My Parents Were Awesome, NOW.  And check out Steve’s website!

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Filed under Intersection of the venn diagram of things that I love, Literarally, Parting Shot

Gratuitious Search Term Bait of the Day: D3

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.

*Not real.

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Filed under Best Show You're Not Watching, Good Humor, Good News!, Gratuitous Search Term Bait, Literarally, Local Flavor, Mancrush

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).

Listen below:

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.

Read on: Our first-hand account of The Nightmare on 92nd St.

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Filed under Analysis, Literarally, Marconi & Cheese