Saturday, August 1, 2009

NBC Cheap Tie-in Fest '94

Originally Posted 3-29-08

New Yorkers remember the big blackouts throughout history. November 9, 1965, which my mom tells me was pretty fun. It was her mother’s birthday, so a party had been planned. People partied in the dark
There was the one in 1976, the same summer of the Son of Sam. That’s all I know about that one.
There was the one in 2003. For, like, two seconds, everyone thought it was terrorists, forgetting that the northeast occasionally gets hit with things like this. I was in Philadelphia that summer, which was unaffected. Strangely enough, about half of the city had lost power earlier that week.
I remember hearing that the cause was some grid thing in Ontario, and then they learned that it was actually started in Ohio. The next week, I played Blame Canada on the radio show I had at the time, forgetting that the word “fuck” was in it. Oops.
There was also a blackout on November 3, 1994.



This started when Paul Buchman decided to steal cable while keeping it from his wife, Jamie. When Jamie threatens to call the cable company to complain about less than stellar reception, Paul and Cousin Ira go to the roof to try to fix it, accidentally cutting off cable to the rest of the building. An attempt to fix this leads to NBC’s entire Thursday night Must See TV lineup to suffer a blackout—except for Seinfeld, who I imagined didn’t want to have to write an episode around the premise of a blackout. Instead, George ate an ├ęclair out of the trash, Kramer had kidney stones, Jerry dated a Romanian gymnast, and Elaine tried to wrestle her boss, Mr. Pitt, from a—wait for it—Magic Eye poster.

NBC did something similar to this in 1991, when the Saturday night shows based in Miami—Golden Girls, Empty Nest, and Nurses—got hit with a hurricane.

Onto another topic, I have trouble with Chandler’s shirts.



What, exactly, is going on with this shirt? It’s plaid, for a 9-12” strip down the front, but the rest of the front is black…but the rest of the shirt is gray. This, unfortunately, was a continuing theme.



Yeah. But then there’s:



I have never seen a dress shirt with such large pockets. I suppose that would come in handy. Maybe he was nursing joey twins. If that were the case, you’d wonder what biological purpose the '70s tie serves.

However, Chandler’s co-worker, appears twice, and both times is wearing something atrocious.



I was hoping she would appear again to fulfill that comedic rule of threes. This character showed up to work like this!

What is interesting about this episode is that this ill-wardrobed character tries to set Chandler up with a guy. Chandler explains that he’s not gay, but freaks out about it because that’s what he does. Later we see the would-be set up guy. This guy explains that he knows that Chandler isn’t gay because he has “a sort of radar for that sort of thing.” Technically, I shouldn’t have put that in quotes…but that was the gist. What I find interesting was that this may have predated the phrase “gaydar.” I know it was used in the coming out episode of Ellen, which was 1997. I would think that the writers of Friends would have used it if it had been out there somewhere—maybe even coin the phrase. But no. “Radar for that sort of thing,” is what they went with.



Rachel, on the other hand, should be put in higher regard. This, considering that she spawned an actual haircut—“The Rachel”—which I’m trying to think of another TV character to do so. I mean there was a Farrah, or a Mary Tyler Moore, but those were the actual actresses. It wasn’t called the Jennifer Aniston, it was “The Rachel”. There was never “The Winnie Cooper” or “The Corky Sherwood.” That’s what makes the above outfit all that much harder a pill to swallow.

Okay, enough picking on fashion. Imagine you’re a props master for this show, and the scene calls for Ross to be sitting in Central Perk, reading a magazine. What magazine should it be?



Apparently, the words you’re looking for are Anthropology Weekly, which, according to Wikipedia, never existed. Did someone create this magazine specifically for this reason? If so, why? Only people like me would notice. Have him read some real science magazine.

Thank you Google Maps for being able to kind of recreate this picture.



Well, sort of…



So, if these were real people, you know where you can go to find where they once lived. Although this building doesn't seem to have Monica's balcony, nor does it have Central Perk on the first floor.



If my memory serves, I’d have to say that this is Diet Peach Iced Tea. It’s a little upsetting that people just walk into Monica’s apartment and help themselves to Snapple. I understand it’s Rachel’s place too, but really, Monica’s the one that keeps it stocked.

Guest Star Watch

So, the manager at Central Perk probably seems a bit stressed. On top of having hired a seemingly useless waitress, his home life is also a little hectic, considering the fact that he’s got a teenage daughter, a young son, and an alien living with him.

That’s right, Rachel’s manager is none other than:



Willy Tanner!

While I’m on the subject, has anyone heard the story about Max Wright smoking crack on the set of ALF? This is one of those stories that are supposedly true, but there’s nothing backing it up. It gained some sort of credibility because it was just so unbelievable—kind of like the one that said that Mayim Bialik died of a drug overdose. Why does this happen? The more unbelievable something is, the more believable it becomes. It really defies all traces of logic.



I knew that Hank Azaria played Phoebe’s one-time physicist boyfriend who went off to Minsk. What I realized about David is that his voice is a mix between the nervous Frank Grimes and Professor Frink, Springfield's resident scientist. This makes sense. Both are voiced by Azaria, and David is a nervous scientist. I’d have to say that I’d like to hear David yell, “GLAVIN!” Just because it’s funny when Frink does it.

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