Medium Large

Weekend Box Office, Sunday, March 13, 2011

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on March 13, 2011


New Medium Large comic at Hollywood.com: Mars Needs Moms.

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More Excerpts from I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on March 11, 2011

It started with a few poems online. Then a few more. And then even more. And thanks to all your fantastic support and encouragement I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats has peen published by Chronicle Books and is indeed available at these very fine retailers!




Thank you all for reading the original poems (seen in their initial form below), for giving such positive feedback, and for making this very book possible. For more information, samples, Q&A and a chance to send in photos of your own cats please go here.




More I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats Samples:
Excerpts from I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats
Even More I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats

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Sitcom Theme Music: From The Brady Brides to Joanie Loves Chachi

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on March 11, 2011

Sitcom theme music exists to serve two primary purposes: to establish a mood for the show and to let viewers know that said show is about to start, much like a majordomo announcing to a household that a fine meal of chicken fingers and Sunny D is served. But some sitcom theme songs do much more than that. They provide exposition. They elicit memories. And sometimes they get so lodged into our brains that we find ourselves gently mumbling “Standing tall on the wings of my dream” during subway rides, weddings and job interviews. Welcome to Sitcom Theme Music Review

THE BRADY BRIDES

MP3: The Brady Brides Theme Song
The current television landscape is practically teeming with long-form narratives–multi-episode story arcs popularized with 1987’s Wiseguy and demonized with 2009’s FlashForward. From The Wire to Mad Men to that one season of Dora the Explorer when she infiltrated a Juarez drug cartel only to watch Boots die in her arms, today’s programming requires a true commitment from the viewer. If you miss a single episode–and are not in possession of a DVR, Hulu or a friend–you might as well take up reading or conversing with loved ones because you will never be able to make heads or tails of the shows’ plots. But back in the 70’s and 80’s–back before the prevalence of diligent story editors–you could easily skip one, two, twelve of your favorite show’s broadcasts and still never miss a beat. That’s because back then each episode was its own little world, without any connection to or reflection on future or past developments. Characters never evolved. Motives were never questioned. Premises were left unaltered until late in the series’ run and only then by way of a live-in cousin or new restaurant lease. It was television for people who liked to watch but not necessarily recall television. Sensing this, the producers of the 1981 series The Brady Brides opted to do their contemporaries one better by playing a theme song so rich in exposition that one need not watch the rest of the program. Ever. Yes, over the course of one familiar-sounding tune you got the premise, the set-up of the premise, how the premise unfolded and how said premise would affect each and every character. In fact, the only thing you didn’t get was the eventual time and date of Jan and Marcia’s deaths. Small wonder the series lasted a mere ten epsiodes. They used up the plots of at least 40 shows in the opening title sequence alone.

ANGIE

MP3: Angie Theme Song
Before Doris Roberts played an Italian mother on Everybody Loves Raymond she played an Italian mother on Angie, a sitcom about a waitress (Donna Pescow, hot off her success as the mistreated “Annette” in Saturday Night Fever) who meets and marries a doctor and scion of Philadelphia high society (Robert Hays, hot off the success of Airplane! and only beginning his long, slow descent into “Gee, that’s a shame” professional obscurity). The title tune “Different Worlds” (sung by Maureen McGovern at a time when the phrase “We got Maureen McGovern to sing the title tune!” ensured radio play) cracked the Top 20, alas achieving greater success than the short-lived Angie ever would. In all honestly not only do I remember this program but I remember actually liking both it and–adding to my ever-growing “secret shame” music list–the theme song. However, what I don’t remember is the almost pornographic food fetishism in the opening credit sequence. Popcorn, hot dogs, apples, whipped cream, ice cream, whole turkeys, salt–these people never stop eating! This is true love truly in need of counseling.

ALICE

MP3: Alice Theme Song
Most sitcom theme songs of yore tried to immediately grab the ever-fickle viewer by being upbeat and uptempo, whether by way of chirpy horns, corny lyrics or copying BJ Thomas. But the theme song to Alice practically dared you to stick it out for the long haul with a slow funk/cabaret groove that didn’t say “merriment” so much as “malaise.” That is until we hit the triumphant call of lyric line five, when suddenly the song embodied the self-esteem and self-stylized feminism of an Enjoli perfume commercial. But just as we were ready to join that EST class and sleep with that swinger the tune once more switched gears and closed out on an almost muted note, not so much born of regret but relief. Highs, lows, nap time. This song had it all! Clearly this was one woman’s story worth getting to know! And clearly viewers agreed. Based on the Academy Award-winning Martin Scorsese movie Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (which also featured Vic Tayback as crusty Mel), Alice ran a whopping nine seasons, easily outlasting the only other sitcom derived from a Scorsese film–1977’s Taxi Driver, starring Tom Poston and a pre-Love Boat Jill Whelan, which ABC pulled the plug on after only one epsiode.

JOANIE LOVES CHACHI

MP3: Joanie Loves Chachi Theme Song
For a certain generation Joanie Loves Chachi–like Hello, Larry–defined deplorable television. But while I sadly remember the plot of the latter (pre-Frasier Frasier minus the Noel Cowardesque wit, stellar casting and any possible reason for existence), I couldn’t quite recollect the former’s premise. I knew that the principal characters left Milwalkee. I knew that diner owner Al married Chachi’s mom for reasons necessary for the spin-off. I knew that the show’s portrayal of Italian-Americans made Moonstruck look like a Ken Burns documentary on ethnic heritage by comparison. And I knew that Erin Moran looked like Scott Baio’s aunt.. But I couldn’t call to mind anything else. The theme song–a Christopher Cross knock-off minus the “rawk”–did little to evoke any memories. But then I watched the opening credit sequence and oh my god oh my god oh my god OH MY GOD! Never before has an era and an error been so perfectly captured in under two minutes. Never before has something so earnest been so deserving of the phrase “gloriously tragic.” Never before has a programming mistake been so obvious from the initial frame. To say anything more would spoil the fun. Just click on the video and watch. Watch, reflect and recoil.

For More See: Sitcom Theme Music–Mr. Belvedere

Other Links:
The Original Cats Quote Charlie Sheen
Excerpts from “I Could Pee on This” and Other Poems by Cats
The Worst-Selling Books of the Year (So Far)
Cats Quote Charlie Sheen: The 20/20 Interview
Quotes from Lesser Transformers

Follow on Twitter @fmarciuliano
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Comic: Thursday, March 10, 2011

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on March 10, 2011

Sitcom Theme Music: Mr. Belvedere

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on March 10, 2011


What if a posh British butler showed up at the doorstep of a two-career family in suburban Pittsburgh and they decided to welcome him as one of their own? What if a drunk Russian cosmonaut showed up at the doorstep of a down-on-its-luck sorority in southern California and they decided to welcome him as one of their own? What if amnesiac Harlem Globetrotters Meadowlark Lemon and Curly Neal showed up at the doorstep of unsupervised geriatric patients in–what the hell?–Jupiter, Florida and they decided to welcome them as one of their own?

No doubt the creators of Mr. Belvedere arrived at ABC Studios with an armful of such high-concept pitches, only to ultimately settle on the one they lifted wholesale from a 1948 Clifton Webb movie (since nothing connects with the average American viewer like an effete, studio system-era comedy of manners). The resulting series was initially conceived as a star vehicle for Bob Uecker, a one-time godawful baseball player who had found latter-day success as a spokesman for a series of funny 1980’s Miller Lite commercials (back when beer commercials made you laugh with them, not make you want to hurl something at them). The theme song was performed by Leon Redbone, a jazz and blues musician who also had found renewed fame in a 1980’s Budweiser commercial. In fact, so prevalent were beer commercials in the minds of programmers and viewers alike back in the eighties that one can only imagine what prevented the world from ever witnessing Spuds McKenzie, MD, a sitcom about the new doctor at the veterinarian hospital who–wait for it–is also a former patient.

The basic plot–stranger is taken aback by real or makeshift family only to eventually become a member of said family–is a standard sitcom device, used to great effect in Cheers, Mary Tyler Moore and–most regrettably–Hogan’s Heroes. Mr. Belvedere also employed the standard sitcom device of having the main character reflect on what he or she has learned from each episode’s events in the form of a diary or confessional. It was a move first popularized by Mork in his reports to Orson, then later revisted when Doogie Howser shared his thoughts on a 12K Commodore computer. But undoubtedly the best use of the “confessional” device came in the final episode of St. Elsewhere, when we learned that not only was the entire series the product of a mentally-handicapped child’s imagination, but that the mentally-handicapped child was, in actuality, a character in the alternate-universe diary Roseanne was writing in the final episode of her series, only for Bob Newhart to wake up from that dream next to Suzanne Pleshette…who was, in truth, time traveller Sam Beckett, who sadly just had found out that not only was he never going to leap back into his own body but that he was, in fact, Number One.

In short, Mr. Belvedere was very much a standard sitcom. This is in no way meant to be a slight at the series or those involved. I remember catching an episode or two during my college summers and finding the show humorous enough. I also remember thinking that the actor playing youngest son Wesley could portray the stock wisecracking, conniving child character without me ever wishing any real harm on the character or actor. But Mr. Belvedere was clearly one of those sitcoms that people remember being on the air but don’t necessarily remember sitting down to watch, much like Charles in Charge. Sure, whenever you see the name Charles in Charge you involuntarily launch into its theme song (“Charles in Charge of our days and our nights/Charles in Charge of our wrongs and our rights”). But do you ever remember hanging out with your friends only to exclaim, “Holy shit! It’s time for Charles in Charge!” (“Charles in Charge of our days and our nights/Charles in Charge of our wrongs and our rights”) Do you ever remember saying after your best friend/goofball sidekick did something stupid, “Oh man, you are so like Buddy…from Charles in Charge.” (“Charles in Charge of our days and our nights/Charles in Charge of our wrongs and our rights”) Do you ever wonder how a person who says he can’t recall ever watching Charles in Charge (“Charles in Charge of our days and our nights/Charles in Charge of our wrongs and our rights”) not only remembers the name of Willie Aames’ character but actually remembers that the character was played by Willie Aaames–without the benefit of Google? Sure, you can understand him fondly recalling fellow cast member Nicole Eggert, but Willie Aaaames?! Perhaps all this is my mind’s roundabout way of telling me that this episode of Sitcom Theme Music instead should have been about Charles in Charge (“Charles in Charge of our days and our nights/Charles in Charge of our wrongs and our rights”).

But it’s about Mr. Belvedere, a pleasant sitcom so standard we wound up discussing everything but Mr. Belvedere…which may be the truest summary of this mid-to-late 8o’s show we can give. So sit back and enjoy the opening credits and theme song. Then later ask yourself, “I wonder whatever happened to the actors who portrayed the mom and kids on Mr. Belvedere.” Then ask yourself, “I wonder whatever happened to the actress who played the teenage daughter on ALF.” Then ask yourself, “I wonder whatever happened to the entire cast of Mama’s Family.” Keep doing this. Eventually you’ll go mad with concern.

Other Links:
The Original Cats Quote Charlie Sheen
Excerpts from “I Could Pee on This” and Other Poems by Cats
The Worst-Selling Books of the Year (So Far)
Cats Quote Charlie Sheen: The 20/20 Interview
Quotes from Lesser Transformers

Follow on Twitter @fmarciuliano
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The Single Greatest, Appalling, Mindsticking Commercial of All Times

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on March 9, 2011


Ah, the 1970’s. When all that stood between matrimonial bliss and reenacting the divorce announcement from An American Family was 12 fluid ounces of sodium cyclamate.

What’s truly amazing is just how accurate–how almost Maysles Brothers-esque it is in its documentarian approach–this Tab commercial portrays married life in the 1970’s. Back then wives did indeed spend their days embarking on desultory walks through their own (or others’) backyards like wood nymphs on clonazepam, sporadically checking in on children that may or may not be theirs, while their husbands toiled away in offices straight out of an early-era Bergman film.

Moreso, the commercial provides a clear glimpse of exactly what such office life was like back in the “Me Decade.” No Internet. No computers. No coworkers. No lighting. Just you and the gnawing, horrifying fear that your wife may one day be abe to pinch more than an inch.

Curiously, Tab filmed a sequel to this very commercial, consisting of a single self-inflicted gunshot and blood silently seeping from a man’s head just after he learned his wife had to go and have a second cookie.

So save that faltering relationship of yours and drink Tab. After all, “keeping your shape in shape has its rewards.”

Other Links:
The Original Cats Quote Charlie Sheen
Excerpts from “I Could Pee on This” and Other Poems by Cats
The Worst-Selling Books of the Year (So Far)
Cats Quote Charlie Sheen: The 20/20 Interview
Quotes from Lesser Transformers

Follow on Twitter @fmarciuliano
Follow on Facebook

Comic: Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on March 9, 2011

Cats React to Charlie Sheen Twitter

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on March 8, 2011

Death and Dining in New Jersey: A Conversation

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on March 8, 2011

We begin a few years back in a diner off the New Jersey Turnpike, during a visit with Grandma.

Grandma: Do you ever tell your friends what a beautiful and intelligent Grandma you have, Ces?

Ces: Sorry?

Dad: Just tell her yes, Ces.

Ces: I…uh, I try to work it into conversation as much as possible, Grandma.

Dad: Don’t be a wiseass.

Ces: Sorry.

Grandma: I’ll be back. Have to go to the bathroom.

Grandma leaves table.

Dad: Hey, Ces, does Grandma look out of it to you?

Ces: Kinda, I guess. But she’s not bad for 90.

Dad: What do you mean?

Ces: Well, she is getting old.

Dad: So? Marciulianos live much longer than average folks! Look at your Grandpa! He would still be alive today if he hadn’t died in that hospital.

Ces: What?

Dad: Y’know, from that spill he took…when he had to go to the hospital. I bet if he didn’t fall he would still be around today.

Ces: At age 102?

Dad: See? That’s what I’m talking about. Marciulianos live a long time. That’s another thing you got from my side of the family. Age. Smarts. Looks. The only thing you got from your mother’s side was height.

Ces: Nice to throw her a bone, Dad.

Dad: They grow like weeds on that side. Way too gangly.

Ces: Wait, how old was Grandma’s dad when he died?

Dad: Umm…72.

Ces: Oh…but he did have cancer…

Dad: Christ, that’s just four years older than me.

Ces: Dad…

Dad: I thought I had another forty years. Christ, I hate being middle-aged.

Ces: Okay. That’s it. New subject. It was really nice of you to take Grandma out to eat, Dad.

Dad: Hey, I’m a nice guy. By the way, do you have money to pay the bill? All I brought was my Sunoco card.

Ces: You didn’t bring any money at all? How were you expecting to pay for the toll on the New Jersey Turnpike?

Dad: That reminds me–I need some money for that, too.

Ces: Wha..what if I didn’t have enough cash on me, Dad?

Dad: Why? Because you keep wasting it all?

Grandma returns from the bathroom.

Grandma: I got toilet paper!

Ces: Oh, shit.

Dad: What the hell are you doing, Ma?!

Ces: You stole toilet paper, Grandma?

Dad: Can I have a roll?

Grandma: Sure. I think there’s one or two rolls left in the men’s room.

Ces: You stole toilet paper from both restrooms?!

Dad: Are you nuts, Ma?

Ces: Please ask her to return them, Dad.

Dad: Well, that’ll actually only draw more attention. Besides, I could use a roll for sneezing in the car.

Grandma: You can take one from the men’s room. I think there’s one or two left.

Dad: I can’t have one fucking toilet paper roll?!

Ces: Dad, will you lower your voice?

Dad: Who the fuck is listening?!

Waitress: Is everything okay?

Grandma: My soda’s too warm.

Dad: That’s because you ordered it without ice, Ma.

Ces: Maybe we should get her some ice.

Dad: She doesn’t like ice. It makes her teeth hurt.

Grandma: I don’t like my soda warm, either.

Dad (To Waitress): I’m sorry, Miss. Maybe she got confused when ordering. English isn’t her first language. She’s originally from Italy.

Waitress: That’s okay. I have one just like her at home. I’ll get her another glass of soda and make sure it’s cold.

Dad: Thanks.

Waitress walks away with soda.

Dad: What the hell did she mean she has “one just like her at home”? Is she trying to be insulting?

Ces: I think she meant she has a mother born in another country.

Dad: No, she was making a wiseass remark. Screw her, I’m not leaving a tip.

Ces: You weren’t going to leave her anything! You don’t have any money, remember?

Grandma: I’m sorry Janice couldn’t come.

Ces: Hmm? Oh, well, Dad and Aunt Janice are having some sort of argument, I guess.

Dad: I’m not arguing. Janice is arguing. I’m just not listening.

Grandma: At least you could visit, Ces.

Ces: No problem.

Dad: Of course he could. Ces is a really sweet kid. He’d do anything for anybody.

Ces: Uh…gee, thanks, Dad. Really.

Grandma: I just don’t know why Frank and Janice have to fight. Siblings never fight.

Ces: That’s not true, Grandma. Marcello and I used to fight all the time.

Dad: That’s because you and Cello are two miserable little fucks who couldn’t give a shit about anyone.

Pause.

Ces: Wait, what the fuck just happened?

Dad: Don’t curse in front of your grandmother.

Ces: I’m…I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Grandma. But what the hell just happened?

Dad: When?

Ces: “When?” Two minutes ago you were nominating me for Son of the Century. Now you’re acting like I should get the chair.

Dad: What, you and Cello never fought?

Ces: Of course we fought! But that doesn’t have anything to do with it!

Dad: Sure it did! You think I liked dealing with that? None of the other parents’ kids fought!

Ces: Of course they did!

Dad: Well I didn’t have to deal with them.

Waitress returns with new glass of soda and a plate of bruschetta for Grandma.

Grandma: I didn’t order this.

Waitress: The chef heard you were from Italy so he made you a plate on the house.

Grandma: I’m not paying for this.

Ces: Funny, neither is Dad.

Dad: Ma, they’re giving it to you for free.

Grandma: Did you order this?

Dad: For free, Ma! They made it for you for free!

Grandma: But I didn’t order this.

Dad: It’s free! Free! They’re being nice! Eat it! (To waitress) Thank you very much. That was very thoughtful of you.

Waitress: You’re welcome.

Waitress walks away.

Ces: Now can I leave her a tip, Dad?

Dad: Ma, can I have one of those?

Grandma: They made them for me.

Dad: But you didn’t even want them.

Ces: We should probably get going soon.

Dad: Just a bite. One lousy bite!

Grandma: There’s only three.

Dad: Why can’t I have one fucking piece of bruschetta?!

Ces: How does a 40% tip sound?

Dad: Wha…why are you wrapping the other two up?

Grandma: I’m not hungry anymore. I’ll eat them later.

Ces: Where did you park the car, Dad? I think I’ll wait in there.

Dad: If you’re not hungry now why can’t I have one?!

Grandma: And what am I supposed to eat for later?

Dad: THE OTHER ONE!

Ces: I’m leaving.

Three get up from table and start to head out. Ces turns to get his umbrella only to see Grandma taking tip from table.

Ces: Wha…what are you doing, Grandma?

Grandma: You accidentally left some money on the table.

Ces: It’s the tip, Grandma.

Grandma: Someone could have taken it.

Ces: Yes, Grandma. The waitress.

Grandma: But you already gave her the money for the bill.

Ces: And that was the money for her.

Grandma: What is she going to do with all that money? I didn’t want you to lose any more.

Ces: Then why were you putting my money in your purse?

Grandma: Would you like a bruschetta, Ces?

Dad: WHAT?!?

Grandma: I’ve got two left and I can’t eat that many.

Ces: I just want to leave a tip!

Dad (Whispering): Don’t worry, Ces. I’ll get the money out of her purse when she’s not looking.

Ces: Um…uh…thanks, Dad.

Dad: That way we can pay the tolls…and I can have some bruschetta.

Other Links:
The Original Cats Quote Charlie Sheen
Excerpts from “I Could Pee on This” and Other Poems by Cats
The Worst-Selling Books of the Year (So Far)
Cats Quote Charlie Sheen: The 20/20 Interview
Quotes from Lesser Transformers

Follow on Twitter @fmarciuliano
Follow on Facebook

Excerpts from I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on March 7, 2011

It started with a few poems online. Then a few more. And then even more. And thanks to all your fantastic support and encouragement I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats has peen published by Chronicle Books and is indeed available at these very fine retailers!




Thank you all for reading the original poems (seen in their initial form below), for giving such positive feedback, and for making this very book possible. For more information, samples, Q&A and a chance to send in photos of your own cats please go here.



More I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats Samples:
More Excerpts from I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats
Even More I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats

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