Rejected TV Show Revivals


Last night the Roseanne revival premiered on ABC. Meanwhile shows like Will and GraceGilmore Girls, X-Files and Full House also saw revivals in recent years so it’s becoming way more common. I spoke with a friend of mine within the industry, and here are some comeback stories that were talked about but ultimately shot down.

* Family (Still) Matters: In this version, Urkel is now a millionaire because…hello! The man CREATED LIFE! Why were the Winslows always so annoyed by this genius?!?!?

* NYPD Blue, The Pension Years: Subtitle: “Sipowicz’s Ass Looks Much Worse Now.”

* The Cosby Show

* The B-Team: The children of the A-Team try to live up to their Dads by driving around in a van helping people get out of jams. They’re arrested after one episode, as four strangers driving around in a van is actually illegal in 34 states.

* ALF Autopsy: The scientists at Area 51 pick apart everyone’s favorite resident of Melmac. Long dead.

* Cheers Now: Sam and Carla return to their old stamping grounds to try to restore the bar’s old glory. Unfortunately it’s now the site of a Rite Aid attached to a TGI Friday’s.

* We Figured Out Who the Boss Is: It was Angela.

* Home Improvement: Jill Fucked Al: After the kids move out and Jill leaves Tim for his trusty sidekick Al, Tim is left alone in the house. He tragically perishes in a fire caused by him incorrectly using a sandblaster or something.

* The Simpsons: They were psyched about this until they realized the Simpsons were still on.

* No Longer Friends: After years of paying exorbitant rent on Central Park West’s largest apartment, the destitute six friends all turn to drugs, gambling and prostitution in this gritty, David Simon-led HBO reboot.

* Fullest House: The year is 2065. DJ, Stephanie, and Kimmy are all grandmothers. Danny and Joey, long dead. Jesse? Still in perfect shape with jet black hair. In the first episode they find out whose blood Stamos drinks to keep looking so young.

* Saved By the Bell: The Reunion Years: In one two hour long episode, the entire cast goes out of character and congratulates themselves on not being Screech.


The History of Wiretapping, Through the Years


Wiretapping was in the news in a big way this weekend, but how much do we really know about the practice? Here’s a look back on how it’s developed over the years: 

1664: British physicist develops the tin can telephone, communicating sound through a string (which is kind of like a wire). Upon making the discovery, Hooke turned to his assistant and said, “I wonder if one day the FBI will use this to figure out if MLK had an affair?”

1892: U.S. law enforcement adopts wiretapping as a tool for getting information. It’s a huge development in particular for Chicago detective Billy Peterson, who has an affinity for both spying on people, wires, and compulsively tapping his fingers.

1918: Anthropomorphic, human-sized wire known as Wire “Tappy” Tap becomes a huge silent star in Hollywood, starring in several silent movies where he tap dances. His hits include “Did You Miss Me Wire I Was Away (1918), Bird on a Wire (Tap) (1920), and How Is This Possible? How Have I, A Simple Wire, Somehow Achieved Not Just Life, But Also Sentience? Must Have Been That Time I Was Struck by Lightning, Like Johnny 5 in Short Circuit (1923).

1928: The U.S. Supreme Court deems wiretapping constitutional, mainly to aid in enforcing Prohibition. If they’d known this would eventually lead to Boardwalk Empire’s disastrous fifth and final season, they may have reconsidered.

1963: Attorney General Bobby Kennedy gives the FBI the go ahead to wiretap Martin Luther King Jr.’s phones at his home and work office. The most shocking discovery? Guy had an unhealthy hatred of carrots. Didn’t just hate the taste, but would get viscerally angry if anyone else brought ’em around.

1968: Richard Nixon approves the wiretapping of several journalists and 13 government officials. This was so flagrantly illegal and immoral it really drives home how Watergate was the, “You Can’t Top That!”/”Hold my beer” of political scandals.

2001-2007: It’s reported the NSA has participated in “warrantless surveillance” of the American people. Prior to this, everyone just assumed Warrantless Surveillance was probably the name of one of those Steven Seagal movies from the 80’s where he’s an ex-Navy SEAL turned chef, or teacher, or something.

2013: It’s revealed that the NSA has wiretapped the phone of German chancellor Angela Merkel since 2010. The NSA apologizes, saying that at the time they went on a real “anti-German” kick having just watched Inglorious Basterds.

2017: In a tweet, the current president accuses the last one of tapping his phones. Rumor has it President Obama did it not for political reasons, but to study Trump’s voice to perfect his Trump impression. Right now it’s just him saying, “YUGE” and “BUH-LIEVE ME” over and over.

While you’re here: sign up for my email list. I swear I won’t tap your phone. 

What’s With the Lack of Variety in Politically Motivated Russian Murders?


Allegedly, Russian agents acting on Vladimir Putin often poison opponents of his using polonium. The most famous case was in 2004. My question: don’t they ever get sick of poisoning people? It’s gotta get old after awhile.

Wouldn’t he want to find a new way to do it? Just to shake things up a little? When the KGB pitches the poisoning to Putin, does he ever sigh and go, “I mean…I guess. Look, fellas. Come on. How about a little originality? How about a little variety? Let’s spice up this assassination! Can you at least wear fake moustaches while you do it?”

Eventually, maybe we’ll see a news story like: “A Russian official is dead today. He was eaten by a bear on a moutainside after being thrown out of a zeppelin, after being lit aflame, by Vladimir Putin. In a statement, Putin said he had nothing to do with the death even though there were many eyewitnesses who saw him do it.He added he was saddened by the ‘totally awesome’ way the guy perished.”

Another question: if they have poison control centers in Russia, they’ve got to have a picture of Putin on the wall somewhere, right? Or maybe they have a green cartoon Putin face on a sticker, like we used to have with Mr. Yuk in America.

Russian hospitals should set up a separate wing set up just for this. You check in at the ER: “Gun shot? Go to your right. Polonium exposure due to your political stance? Over here.” Then you step over and it’s just a trap door leading you to a flaming pit. Or into a waiting zeppelin, where Putin is smashing his fist in his palm and smiling menacingly.

As reprehensible as it all is, in a weird way you have to kind of respect them for it. It’s been done so many times, at this point we all know. And yet they still keep doing it. That’s a real commitment to a specific style of murder. “Sure, we could cut bait once it’s become obvious. But polonium was always there for us, so we’ll always stand by polonium.” Then Putin goes off to a hotel for a tryst with his mistress: a comically large bottle of polonium wearing a revealing negligee and high heels.

These days, loyalty like that is rare in politically motivated murders. Hell, it’s rare anywhere.

Here’s What’s Going to Happen at the Oscars

My predictions for this year’s Oscars:

  • Moonlight will win the Best Picture. The Academy will then take it back and give it to La La Land, reminding everyone All Pictures Matter.
  • This will be the year someone finally discovers the statuettes are all filled with milk chocolate.
  • Manchester by the Sea will NOT win Best Picture due to the entire Academy admitting they didn’t see it because they heard it was sad.
  • Arrival won’t win, but it will go down as the only best picture nominee about aliens whose language consists of queefing ink.
  • Hell or High Water will win the new category of “Best Picture with Multiple Characters Who Look Like They Say Dagnubbit.”
  • Another year without a Lifetime Achievement for the guy who played Willie on Alf.
  • Due to the proximity of his death to the event, Bill Paxton’s place in the “In Memoriam” montage will be a YouTube clip of him saying “Game over, man!” from Aliens.
  • Meryl Streep will win Best Actress when she stands up prior to the award being announced, staring down the other nominees in a display of alpha dominance.

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“Bees Can Sense Fear” Sounds Like Something Bees Made Up to Get Laid at Parties

Remember when you were a little kid, and your parents told you not to get afraid around bees, because bees can sense fear?

There’s no way that’s real. It sounds like something bees made up to help them get laid at parties.

I’m picturing a bee, in a leisure suit with his shirt opened to expose his bee chest-hair, confidently striding up to a female bee. “Hey. Is this seat taken? What am I drinking? It’s a Jack and honey. Anyway, I just thought we should talk because we seem to be kindred spirits. I know I just met you, but I’m super, super intuitive. I can even sense fear. And right now…I can tell you’re a little afraid, but oddly intrigued by me. So what do you say we get out of here and go back to my honeycomb?”

It ends with her throwing her glass of honey directly in his face, only for him to stand there, use his stinger to wipe it off his eyes, and go, “What? What did I say?”

I’m No Good in a Protest


Shia LeBouf is relocating his “He Will Not Divide Us” Trump protest/art installation to New Mexico after New York’s Museum of the Moving Image shut it down due to security concerns. My thoughts on the protest? Great sentiment…but he’s actually done a fantastic job dividing us.

The protest hit close to home for me mainly because…well, it was close to home. Like one block from my apartment and right across the street from the Starbucks I write at every day. I’ve only lived in New York for a few years, but this experience helped me achieve one of my main goals: to see one of the stars of Transformers in a poncho outside a Starbucks.

Second thought: For a number of reasons, I’m horrible in a protest. Here’s why:

* Within 10-15 minutes of the protest beginning, I’m worrying about lunch. “No justice, no peace…and no sandwiches, apparently? Are we on our own or is the head of the protest going to cater this deal? Is there a head of this protest or…you know what, I’m hungry, I’m going home.”

* It does look exhausting, making it all the more impressive when protesters stay protesting for extended periods of time. How do you hold a sign up for more than 5 minutes? I’d be walking around, chanting, “Everyone refer to the sign I’ve set down over there after my arm fell asleep!”

* I’m more likely to be in for a rally. A rally, you’re just standing there. A march involves physical activity, which is much more of a commitment. Plus how do you know everybody in it is really down for the cause if it’s a march? They may just be looking for the exercise. There may be a white supremacist in your midst thinking, “I’ll get 10,000 steps however I can.”

* I’d go to ridiculous lengths to avoid getting pepper sprayed, including (but not limited to) taking up the cause of the opposition. “Look guys, I agree with you but you have no pepper spray. The other side does. Gotta vote with my eyes here.” Plus maybe I could convince the pepper spray guys I was on their side, take a canister of pepper spray, and start using it against them.

* One thing I’ve always wondered about pepper spray: has there ever been a nice cop using pepper spray that’s asked the protester, “Okay, say ‘when.'”

One thing you shouldn’t protest is subscribing to my newsletter.

The History of U.S. Presidents Arguing with Department Stores


The latest subject of President Trump’s ire?  Nordstrom, for dropping his daughter Ivanka’s shoe line. But this actually isn’t the first time a sitting President has gone head to head with a department store. Here’s a brief look back at some history’s more memorable President-on-deparment-store battles: 

1798: Despite there no department stores yet, George Washington makes an enemy out of many of them in the future by ending his inaugural address with, “Oh and one more thing: it’ll be stupid if they ever have giant stores at the mall with lots of clothes and other stuff. Just buy it online.”

1858: President James Buchanan refuses to attend the grand opening of Macy’s the nation’s first department store.  This leads the store to adopt a strict “No Buchanan’s allowed” policy still enforced to this day. Seriously. If Pat Buchanan so much as sets foot in one they take him out back and beat the shit out of him.

1862: Abraham Lincoln outlaws all department stores when Lord and Taylor refuses his request to let Union soldiers come in and take as much stuff as they want ala Supermarket Sweep.

1922: At a White House dinner, a woman tells President Calvin Coolidge, “I made a bet I could get 10 words out of you.” To which Coolidge replied, “Anyone who shops at Gimbels has shit for brains.”

1953: Dwight D. Eisenhower orders an air raid a Marshall’s when they refuse to honor his coupon for half-off St. John’s Bay sweaters.

1961: The Kennedy assassination is carried out, a joint effort masterminded by the CIA, the American Mafia, the KGB, and of course, Jim Miller, the manager of the Richmond, Virginia JCPenney’s women’s department.

1974: Prior to his impeachment, Richard Nixon famously claims, “I am not a crook.” Most don’t remember the quote in full, however: “I am not a crook…not like those swindlers at Belk’s. $29.99 for a cotton hoodie? Get the fuck out of town, I can get the same thing at Target for $8.”

1996: Wearing a bucket hat, sunglasses, and trenchcoat as a disguise, Bill Clinton is kicked out of a D.C. area TJ Maxx for bursting in and yelling, “Okay listen up, I need a free blue dress, stat. Preferably jizz-less.”

2007: George W. Bush is given a warning by local authorities for shooting his BB gun at an Alexandria, Virginia Target; in the police statement Bush states, “If you don’t want folks shootin’ at you, don’t put up a bullseye.”