Hawkeye Pierce MyTV
by Brian Weaver

My preferred name for the TV set: The Tube.

Other names I like: telly, boob tube, cathode-ray tube, the plug-in drug, idiot box.

Three Four-Letter-One-Word-Titled TV shows that changed my life: M*A*S*H, Taxi, Soap.
Idea for a TV show: It takes place at an information retrieval service, where TV and radio news segments are recorded for clients who want to know what’s being said about them in the news. The show involves the interactions of the characters at their workplace and the different things that happen in their personal lives – similar to “Taxi,” “Barney Miller,” “Lou Grant,” etc. The characters include Joe, an eccentric who lines his cubicle with stuffed animals, carries all his things in plastic bags, and is obsessed with Japanese pop stars; Allen, a conspiracy theorist who can be relied upon to interpret news events for the government scheme that they really are – believes the moon landing was faked, John Lennon was killed by the CIA, etc.; Ryan, a struggling rock musician who says he isn’t really a transcriber – he has shaggy hair, is a stoner, and can he heard/seen explaining song structures over the phone to his bandmates; Donald, a gay Zen-Buddhist with a temper, makes extra money as a male prostitute – can often be seen/heard pounding on his desk or talking on his cell phone; George Steinberg, the general manager of the office – he’s a Jewish ex-hippie comedian, and everyone has trouble understanding what he’s saying because he’s so scattered-brained – he’s married and has a child, but is constantly having affairs with the most recently hired female salesperson; Greg, a smooth-talking salesperson from Chicago; Johnny, the dorky, brown-nosing frat-boy production manager; Stacy, the young, sexy receptionist, on whom everybody has a crush; and Allison, the take-no-shit sales manager whose motto is “We’re here to make money!” The pilot episode includes an invigorating speech by Allison, in attempts to raise the morale of the employees; grumblings by Ryan and Allen who think Allison is full of shit; a lunchtime meeting between Allison and George Steinberg, at which some flirting takes place; Donald talks about one of his clients, who he says likes to be walked on – literally. Greg, Allen, and Ryan deconstruct the purple ketchup news clips that are selling; and Joe shows Ryan and Allen some interesting photos from his last trip to Japan.
cat Best TV show ever: The Twilight Zone. Best Twilight Zone episode: “A Stop at Willoughby,” in which the protagonist, Gart Williams, on his way to and from work on the train, keeps having the same dream that there is a stop called Willoughby, which is this idyllic town untouched by time, where, according to the conductor, “a man can slow down to a walk and live his life full measure.” The town seems so appealing to Gart because his home life is awful – he doesn’t get along with his wife – and his work life is equally terrible, with a nagging boss and work he doesn’t enjoy. Willoughby seems to be the perfect way out, and Gart decides he will get off at Willoughby the next time he hears the conductor announce it: “Next stop Willoughby.” In the last scene we see Gart’s dead body lying in the snow by the side of the tracks, people gathered around, and someone says, “He just leaped off the train while it was moving, saying something about Willoughby.” The episode was written by Rod Serling himself.
Favorite TV-related expression: “Jumping the Shark” to express when a show, or anything else for that matter, has passed its prime – and it can be narrowed down to one moment or scene, as when Fonzie, on water skis pulled by a boat over a ramp, jumped over a shark in a Happy Days episode. Beautiful.

Current TV-personality obsession: Cat Schwartz, co-host of Call for Help on the TechTV cable TV network. Tech-savvy, hip, young, half-Jewish, and cute, with glasses. She knows how to partition a hard drive, thinks the Internet Archive is cool, and likes the Yeah Yeah Yeahs! closed caption
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