Uncle Bardie in TV Land

I’m not much of a TV guy. Given a choice between a good TV show or a good movie, the movie wins every time. Now that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a television show’s ability to come into my home and make itself at home.

When I do choose a TV show or series, I have one criteria: Do I want to spend that much time with these people? To answer that question, I usually give the show one episode. Sometimes less. Fleabag fits that criteria. Very seldom more. If I watch three episodes that means I find these people worth my time. The Boys broke that rule. One season of it, and I was done.

With that in mind, I thought I would list the top ten TV shows I enjoyed spending time with. And would still spend more time with.

1.Jeopardy (1984-present), syndication. As far as I am concerned, Alex Trebeck and Ken Jennings are the cat’s pajamas. So much so I have a small shrine to St. Alex and St. Ken on the shelf below my television.

2.The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017-present), Amazon Prime. Here’s a comedy that’s actually funny. And more.

3.Newhart (1982-1990), CBS. Dr. Bob moves to Vermont and gets a new wife. He’s running an inn with the help of handyman George and “My name is Larry. And this is my brother Daryl and this is my other brother Daryl.

4.Mom (2013-present), CBS. You don’t have to be a member of Alcoholics Anonymous to enjoy this one.

5.Seinfeld (1989-1998), NBC. Who knew nothing could be so funny.

6.Northern Exposure (1990-1995), CBS. If ever there was a show about community, this tale of small town Alaska is it.

7.The Expanse (2015-present), Amazon Prime. One of the best science fiction series on television. Ever.

8.Lonesome Dove (1989), CBS. May be just about the best Western ever.

9.West Wing (1999-2006), NBC. Who knew that politics could be so interesting.

10.The Muppet Show (1976-1981), syndication. Jim Henson was a genius.

There are others like Gilligan’s Island and Dick Cavett which I remember fondly but these are the ones that have held up over the years, for me.

What about Game of Thrones? some might ask. The series was fun while it lasted. But no way am I going to do a re-do and sit through another Winter. Winter has come and gone and I’m ready for Spring.

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

I have always wondered. Why did the theologians in the Middle Ages give a good-dad-burn about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Seems to me that angels have other things to keep them occupied. Like pulling folks out of barrels of hot oil before they become Sunday dinner.

I guess there wasn’t much in those days for theologians to do but sit around and scratch fleas and throw out questions. The one that came up with this doozy must have been drinking a little too much wine that day. When you have a Crusade to run or a Saint Joan to burn or a witch to torture or an Inquisition to conduct, just how do you get the time to ask dumbass questions? That is what I want to know.

Anyway back to the angels. They messed up. Had they done a proper job of things the Roman Empire would not have digressed into the dark ages. And they were really dark. Guess that is what happens when lead poisoning takes over the brain and a bunch of Huns run amuck, raping and plundering and looting, looting and plundering and raping. “Whoopee!” must have been the armor sticker most popular in those days.

Bet God had some angel butt for lunch. I can hear her now, “Can’t youse guys get anything right?” God uses youse because she is from Brooklyn. Has a little brownstone  over off Lafayette. But it’s a secret. So don’t tell anybody. “I told youse guys to take care of business. Now I am going to have to send in some wise guys. Man, can you believe it?”

In goes Richard the Lionhearted, dude from England, to clean up things. He ends up in a dungeon. Has to send his troubadour with his hand out for some ransom. Robin Hood, robbing from the rich and keeping for himself and his merry guys, comes up with enough cash and busts Mr. Fancy Pants Lionheart out of jail. When Little Richard gets home to England, he doesn’t find Long Tall Sally or Good Golly Miss Molly or Lucille. He finds his brother, John, redecorated his castle and installed himself as king. On top of that, John had gone and signed the Magna Carta. Boy, was Richard royally pissed. “You did WHAT? Don’t you know anything? Well, there goes the Plantagenet Plantation.”

What does all this have to do with angels dancing on the head of a pin? Who knows? No one had the time to figure that one out. They were too busy trying to keep from starving, fighting off the black death, and keeping themselves warm. You know, it is hard to keep warm when the fashion is to go without undies.

Guess that brings up a new question. How many angels can dance in a pair of undies?

Mr. Big and the Writer

The big Hollywood producer looks up from the papers on his desk and recognizes the writer across from him. From behind the producer’s desk, a large painting of Mr. Big smiles down on the two of them. Being new to the Hollywood scene, this is the writer’s first meeting with a Mr. Big. He sits stiff in the chair and hopes this will be his big break.

“Sam?” Mr. Big says. “I can call you Sam?” Without waiting for a response, the producer continues. “Just bought a Broadway hit. Think you can handle the adapt?”

Sam starts to say yes. Before he can, Mr. Big goes on, “A fellow named Shakespeare wrote it. Ever hear of him? Me neither. Well, we paid big bucks for the play. It’s called Macbeth and it’s got everything. We think it can be one of our blockbusters next summer.”

“No problem,” Sam says. “I can handle it.” He takes out his small notebook to take down his orders.

“Of course you can. That Pulitzer you won last year says it all. Anyway, Sammy Baby, we need some changes.”

“Changes?”

“The play starts off with three witches. Well, witches aren’t in this year. Wizards are. So three wizards it is.”

The writer writes down “three wizards” in his notebook.

“Macbeth, or Mac as he will be named in the movie,” Mr. Big’s voice rises as he becomes excited about the production. “He will be a second string quarterback. Played by Johnny Up-and-coming.”

A question appears on Sam’s face.

“You know the guy who was in that movie about tin cans.”

“Tin cans?”

“Yeah. The cans turn into big ass trucks. He’ll be perfect. And what’s more. We can get him for a song. Anyway he’s a second string quarterback.”

“So he kills the first string quarterback?”

“No, no, no.” Mr. Big shakes his head and frowns that the writer doesn’t get the direction he’s going. “Can’t have Pretty Boy killing nobody. He’s our hero.”

There’s confusion on the writer’s face.

“It’s his cheerleader girlfriend who does the murder. Mac would never do that. First String is his best friend. And, oh yeah,” Mr. Big’s voice goes into flight with excitement, “I forgot to tell you the really good part.”

Writer can’t believe his ears. All he can say, “The good part?”

“She’s a vampire. Call her Selene after the vamp in Underworld.”

“Vampire?” Sam asks, totally confused by now.

“Yeah, vampires are big these days. So she’s got to be a vampire. And remember those wizards. They’re zombies. Got to be zombies.”

“Zombies?”

“Yeah, Sammy Baby, add zombies and we have an extra hundred mil in profits. Zombies are really in, you know.”

Before the producer can continue, the writer stands up.

“I don’t think I am your man to do this project.”

“What?” Mr. Big rises out of his chair. “Listen, you don’t take this, you’ll not work in this town.”

“If this is Hollywood, I don’t think I want to work in this town. I’m goin back to Omaha.”

Shaking his head, Writer turns and walks out of the office. With his dignity.

Head Over Heels

This one is for Valentine’s Day and all the true believers in love and romance.

When I was in college, I had the Experience, or should I say the Experience had me. She was twenty-two and I was nineteen. She was studying for her masters in anthropology but her real major was adventure.

I was at a party some of my friends had given. She shimmered in, a warm glow flowing into the room. As she made her way toward me, it was as if a moon beam was falling toward a lake. I knew how the lake must feel, waiting in anticipation. Suddenly there she was, telling me her name. It was Hemingway. It wasn’t that her father liked the writer. Her mother just liked the name.

I was head over the precipice, my heels unable to hold me to the ground. We talked for a bit. Then we left, her magic leading me onward the way that Tinkerbell must’ve led Peter to Never Never that first time when he longed to stay a boy forever. We went out that door and stood in the middle of the street kissing for a half hour under the full moon. Right there and then I understood why that Prince went in search of Cinderella though he had only her one shoe by which to find her. How could he have not?

Over the next twenty days my life was filled with life. We were inseparable. We went sailing, canoeing, kayaking and surfing. She even got me to parachute out of a plane. But the scariest time was when she took me hang-gliding. During the day we did a new something-or-other that she had always wanted to do. At night we made love, sometimes wild and passionate, other times tender. It was as if heaven had somehow come down to earth and surrounded us with all its wonder.

Then she was gone. I woke up in the bed in my apartment early on the day after Valentine’s. I turned over toward her to kiss her a good day, a smile on my face. I was the luckiest man on earth. But, instead of her dark brown hair with even darker brown eyes, I saw a note.

Thank you, Trent, for all the wonder. It has been a grand adventure these past weeks. I love you but this can’t go on. I can’t take anymore of this happiness. When I met you that night, it was to be the last night of my life. It was only an accident that I came there. A friend had called me up at the last minute and asked me to come. I was about to end my life when I walked through that door and saw you, the most beautiful face I had ever seen. There was so much magic in it. I could never have imagined how beautiful life could be. But now I know and I thank you for what you gave me. Hem.

I searched for her but never saw her again. After a year of dead-ends I finally gave up. It was then that I realized that Happily Ever Afters don’t exist. But fairy tales do.

It’s Oscar Night

Tonight Hollywood will walk down the Red Carpet and let us ooo-and-awe at the egos going past the cameras. Those egos will be following a tradition that goes back to the Way Back When. They’ll be walking in the footsteps of Bogie and Marilyn and Dietrich as they make their way to the seats reserved just for them. We’ll see women in dresses with most of the parts missing. And so stiff the women can hardly sit down in them.

We’ll see a lot of speeches which will go on way too long and say absolutely nothing. But maybe will get some speeches we really want to hear. And in case you’re wondering, here is a preview of some of the speeches we may hear.

Best Picture Producer: Thank God. Now I can make my money back. I will never hire that director again. Everything he touches turns into manure.

Best Director: How would you like to be stuck on an island for two months with the cast and crew I had to work with?

Best Actress: I knew I was mahvelous in this film. (Notice. They never call it a movie.) Of course, I am always mahvelous. Especially when I look mahvelous. Aand I did look mahvelous in this film..

Best Actor: Just a second. (He takes out a mirror and checks himself out. He spends a full minute admiring himself. Then he sighs.) I have to admit I am one handsome guy. No wonder I have so many female fans. If I wasn’t me, I would be after me.

Best Supporting Actress: How come I never get nominated for Best Actress? I do all the work. She gets all the credit. The Bitch.

Best Supporting Actor: Finally.

Best Screenplay: (Shaking his fist at a director.): I’m going to kill that s. o. b. of a director for taking my awesome screenplay and dragging it through the dirt.

Best Makeup: Do you know how hard it was to take the ugliest cast ever and make them even uglier?

Best Costume: Can you believe some of the dresses worn tonight? And they are all my creations.

Best Song:This makes up for not winning the Grammy.

Best Editing: Has anybody seen the missing eighteen minutes?

Best Documentary: Smile. You’re on Candid Camera.

Best Foreign Film: How do you say “You like me” in Japanese?

Best Special Effects: Isn’t it amazing that I could make that hamburger look like a real hamburger?