"We shall overcome though, Mike. We shall overcome. Do you wanna surf the Web on my phone?" -- Tom, helping Mike cope with the lack of a computer on his side of the glass
"They're good songs that just happen to be about video games." -- WNBC news anchor Sue Simmons, praising the deep cuts on Buckner and Garcia’s Pac-Man Fever
"If you're ever hungry again at an amusement park, leave." -- Tom, advising against a second culinary adventure
"You go up 200 feet in the air, and then you just go straight down. You look like you're going right into the dirt, but you don't go into the dirt. It's horrifying." -- Mike the Associate Producer, endorsing the Nitro rollercoaster
"Ken Rogers, if you’re hearing this, you need help." -- Tom, urging the author to seek treatment for his uncontrollable filthmouth
"When's Boring Awareness Week?" -- Tom, wondering when someone will devote a week of charity to Owen's chronic problem
"Why do they ruin these things? I wanna go to the movies and see the Mork & Mindy movie and have a good old time!" -- Tom on the ill-fated Milonakis/Kutcher film adaption
"That's like a comic thing, right? Funny pages?" -- Tom, trying to understand Calvinism
"I like it 'cause it makes me sound more urban." -- Tom, explaining his affinity for the phrase "for shizzle"
"Is that how chickens talk down there?" -- Tom asking a North Carolina bigamist if all local fowl sound like Foghorn Leghorn
"I'm gonna give you a big hug. Thank you so much for hyping the show, we really appreciate it." -- ABC's Matthew Tompkins on Tom's support for Cavemen
"Even as a kid I knew it was foolish of them to cast Donna Pescow in a lead." -- Matthew Tompkins on the poor replacement for Daryl Hannah in the Splash spinoff
"Listen, you tell me one thing that's funnier than a breakdancing caveman. I mean, besides an old white person rapping." -- Matthew Tompkins, challenging Tom to top these comedy classics
"You can't get any older school than like a caveman, can you?" -- Matthew Tompkins on the old-timey stars of his new show
"How do you think of this stuff? It's great. I'm surprised someone hasn't snapped you up yet." -- Matthew Tompkins on Tom's ability to break stories
"I rode those protests directly into an office on the ABC lot." -- Matthew Tompkins on ascending through the television ranks via Shout!'s controversial The Reggae Kid
"Well Todd, you gotta look past the welts, that's what I always say." -- Matthew Tompkins, making a poignant statement about getting over his belt beating at the hands of Bill Macy
"He plays himself, but they had to make him look more human. When he was in scenes with the cavemen, he actually looked too much like them." -- Matthew Tompkins on Don Imus's Cavemen guest spot
"I've got a very good handle on the human contraption, and I work that into my stories. -- Matthew Tompkins on his "splatcom" collaboration with Trent L. Strauss
"Get ready. I'm comin'. You'll find out ... sooner than you would like. It's comin'. GET READY." -- Roland "The Gorch" Gorchnik, issuing another warning
Betty Davis - "Game Is My Middle Name"
( Click here to buy the Betty Davis re-issues)
Dungen - "Du Ska Inte Tro Att Det Ordnar Sig"
( Click here to buy Tito Bitar)
Immaculate Machine - "Dear Confessor"
( Click here to pre-order Fables)
The Clientele - "Somebody Changed"
( Click here to buy God Save The Clientele)
Chainsaw Kittens - "Silver Millionaire"
( Click here to buy Pop Heiress)
Demon's Claws - "Cecile Lemay"
( Click here to buy Satan's Little Pet Pig)
Joby's Opinion - "Slag Off"
( Click here to consult the Joby's Opinion discography)
Shapes and Sizes - "Head Movin'"
( Click here to buy Split Lips, Winning Hips, A Shiner)
Now is the time for us to gather together and celebrate those things that we like and think are fun:
As the opening theme music faded, Tom repeated a phrase to prepare him for the radio battlefield and the fight for the good fight on Tuesday night: "We can do this. We. can. doooo this!" The Kid. Tommy Justice. El Goodo. The American Hero. The General. Tommy Tsunami. The Lord of Living Lightning. The Queen. So many nicknames, all of them given to Tom ... by Tom. Can the self-appointed king bring it for yet another week? Either way, Left Coasters will begin their night as the show ends. However, those along the Eastern Seaboard can wind down with The Best Show. (And, in the case of Zeph Marshack
and Laurie from Miami, six throat-boining vodka-and-no-Cokes). Local listeners get the bonus of having experienced the perfect lead-in to switching over to the exciting 11:00 p.m. news on Channel 4. Tom wants to know who is holding down the nightly WNBC anchor desk these days, but Mike the Associate Producer cannot do the research because he’s computerless. Tom feels bad for him. He suggests crossing over to the other side of the glass to use the computer, but that would require Mike to leave his phone post. Tom is confident about overcoming this setback, and he invites Mike to surf the Web on his phone, which is barely equipped for that feature. Mike's response was unclear, but it seems likely that he declined the offer.
Due to the tech issues cursing the show, Tom predicts that Hesh will get his desired L. Hesh's loyal weasels and worms will then join their leader in a celebratory jitterbug. Tom points out that, at times, it can be "Tuesday night, Hesh's delight," but it's usually fleeting, leading to "Wednesday morn', Hesh's scorn." He thinks the hater may actually triumph this time.
Tom somehow got invited to become a part of the Myspace community. He’s not supposed to talk about it, but he knew someone who could hook him up with an account. The same mystery person also got Tom a highly-coveted Hotmail account. Tom says that he usually lives his life aboveboard, but he couldn't resist the opportunity to cut to the front of the line and take advantage of his good fortune. Tom used his inside connections even though there are a lot of people waiting for the accounts, which are locked until 2011. Tom has become a popular figure on the Myspace scene, and he's hovering around 2951 “friends”. He wants to hit 3,000 and become a bigshot. Tom has a debate with himself about whether the 3,000th “friend” add will be an exciting event. The Tom arguing that it would not be exciting appears to win. Tom still wants to share his online friendship with everyone because you can’t get “Scharpling” without “sharing”. He goes to the phones to see if someone can share something interesting despite the lack of any topic to guide them.
- A caller informs Tom that they dynamic duo of Chuck Scarborough and Sue Simmons are the Channel 4 news anchors at 11:00 p.m. Bringing it since 1980! Tom believes this is a classic lineup, but the caller's wife, a former producer at WNBC, told him that they were known as “Suck” and “Chew” around the office. Tom tells the caller to shut his mouth. He won't stand for the besmirching of the good names of these Tri-State news titans. They have done a lot of great work for the community; the caller has not.
Tom vividly recalls seeing Simmons interview of Buckner and Garcia, the musical duo most known for their novelty album Pac-Man Fever. He thought it was one of the most informative things he’s ever seen. The direction Simmons took with the piece made a big impression on a young Scharpling. Tom says that Simmons turned her focus away from the smash title track -- undeniable novelty ear candy -- and more towards the deep cuts on the record. Simmons dug in and discovered a lot of good songs that just happened to be about video games. Buckner & Garcia thanked Simmons for praising their tunesmithing. Tom wonders what it’s like when you realize that your in the moment. Your only moment. The moment before it all comes crashing down. The moment you announce “Do the Donkey Kong” as your follow-up single to “Pac-Man Fever”. Tom imagines that Buckner & Garcia were surprised that the music industry passed on their play more for arcade fire considering their past success. He thinks that being Buckner & Garcia played a major role in the chilly reception. B&G dipped back into the musical well (i.e., fired up the Atari) and came up with “Froggy’s Lament”, a touching tribute to the frequently flattened frog in Frogger. When label executives heard about this, they asked them to leave the office. B&G obliged, but not before citing the impressive sales figures of "Pac-Man Fever" as a parting shot.
Tom wonders if B&G could even be a viable touring outfit on the oldies circuit. He envisions them teasing a “Pac-Man Fever” riff early in the show, but then saving the song for the closer. The hit-hungry crowd would boo and openly rebel against the band, becoming increasingly impatient as B&G ran through new songs about Myst and Grand Theft Auto. Last week, Jerry Buckner did a rare blog post about a new project, but it was removed within minutes of its publication. I talked to a guy in Western Maine who read it, and he said that B&G are currently writing an album dedicated to Tornado Todd's Pimp City. A three-track cassette demo is making the rounds:
1. "Big Money Blues" (ft. Ian Svenonius)
2. "Handburger Helper" (produced by Mitch E-ayster)
3. The nü-prog epic "Requiem for Pippin the Coke-Fueled Ferret" (ft. Claudio Sanchez from Coheed and Cambria)
I think Henry from the Campbell's Chunky soup 'zine has a copy.
- Jerry from the Poughkeepsie Tourism Council calls to say he really likes "Pac-Man Fever". Tom agrees that it's a good, well-written tune. He sings the opening line: "I got a pocketful of quarters, and I'm headed to the arcade." Since Jerry Buckner was 44 at the time, Tom would be very concerned about children running into the change-laden songwriter at an arcade. Tom imagines him inviting a kid to play his Pac-Man Fever machine back at the house. He wants old guys to stay outta his arcade.
Jerry went down to the theme park in Jackson Township, NJ., but he's not sure if he can say its name. Tom identifies it as Six Flags Great Adventure despite The Best Show's ties to the Universal Studios Theme Parks. Tom promotes Universal's forthcoming Shrek the Third ride. Jerry said he hat a lot of fun at Great Adventure, but on the way home, they were unable to find any eateries when they stopped off in Woodbridge. Tom recommends the Reo Diner, the favorite spot of his radio nemesis Bob Grant. He tells Jerry to give Grant a GOMP when he sees him there. Jerry is so hungry that he leaves without a goodbye to head over to the Reo. Tom thinks healthy diner food is a great follow-up to theme park fare. He can’t imagine eating more than one meal at an amusement park. Tom thinks that if you've been at the park long enough to get hungry again, then it's time to call it a day.
The Good Old Days: Video footage from Mike's glorious return to his former jobsite. Great choice on the Breaking Benjamin track!
Mike the Associate Producer takes the mic to tell Tom about working at Great Adventure as a groundsperson for a few summers when he was in high school. He swept up cigarette butts and hauled trash in a big Dumpster. He was particularly fond of seeing the gum-covered poles near high-demand rides like the log flumes. People would apply their gum to the pole as they snaked through the line for 1.5 hours. Mike says the pole looked hideous, especially in the summer heat. It served as a support beam to hold up an illogical roof so people wouldn't get wet as they waited to get a little wet. Mike says people would still ride the log flumes when it was pouring rain, defeating the ride's main attraction as a source of fleeting refreshment on a hot day. Mike says that one of his perks was getting to go on new rides in after-hours "Employee Nights". He was there just before Six Flags bought it, and he remembers the horrific fire at the Haunted Castle. The structure was actually constructed by linking aluminum trailers with plywood partitions, and the fire spread rapidly due to the use of flammable building materials. The blaze made Tom not want to go on any rides. He under stably fears for his safety when he’s 500 feet in the air upside-down if the park can't even keep a Haunted House from going up in flames.
Mike went to the park for the first time in awhile, but no former co-workers yelled his name and let him cut to the front of the line for the Superman ride. Tom thinks that would have been scarier than any haunted house. Mike says he does know people who stayed on for a long time to move up the ranks. He thought the park was largely unchanged, and he noticed that there were a lot of dark, scary areas that would be ripe for muggings. Mike’s lone teenage prank occurred at an area of the park where kids liked to “smoke up”. Mike and a co-worker caught them in the act and shook them down for $10 each to not rat them out for crippler possession. Mike is a little bit proud of it. Tom would be very proud of it. Proud moments. Mike says the biggest concert during his time there was Andy Gibb at the stadium on the grounds. It was a mob scene, and the buzz was not about Victoria Principal roaming around. It was Gibb's bad acne. Better than flagrant acne, I guess. Mike says he couldn’t eat the Great Adventure food after hauling it to the dumps all day. Tom has no interest in barely-cooked hot dogs from the teen-run snack bars. Mike says he was often stationed at a restaurant all day, and the Yum-Yum Palace ice creamery was a total mess. Mike says the people who ran the rides had the cushiest assignment.
Tom points out that FOT Therese worked at the much more violent Action Park, and Mike has read some stories she wrote on her blog. The park had Interactive rides, which means that people got hurt. You were given some control of the car you are driving downhill, and you could operate tanks that shot tennis balls at other guests. Mike recalls his brother getting burns on his legs from the Action Park slides. Mike endorses Great Adventure's horrifying but less dangerous Nitro rollercoaster, which takes you 200 feet in the air and drops you straight down at 80 mph. Mike says it looks like you're headed right into the dirt, but you don't actually go into the dirt. Tom says talking to Mike about his Great Adventure experiences has been a great adventure. He wants Mike to work the phones on his old connections to get him and every listener in for free with VIP passes. Mike says he'll see what he can do. Tom does not expect him to pull it off.
- Lorne from Ohio calls to say a friend of his sent him a link to the Myspace page for the band Saucer from Boston. It's the new band featuring Big Dipper frontman Bill Goffrier. Lorne reports that they just put up The Ghost of Emily", a promising new song featuring Big Dipper guitarist Gary Waleik. He thinks Tom has something to do with this semi-reunion. Tom says that there's big Big Dipper news coming. Action is on the horizon. He predicts that in 2008 all those people who mocked his ill-fated reunion attempts throughout 2004 will be whistling a different tune. Lorne says he never laughed at Tom's efforts.
- Tom from Buffalo calls to say he had a similar experience as Jerry (he calls him a "jerk") when he made his first trip through New Jersey en route to Six Flags. He had no idea what the people were like, but he found out that they all had giant, grease-saturated hair (he estimates they used half a jar), fake tans, and wore chains. He claims he even saw some six-year-old kids sporting chains. Tom wonders if he went to the park in 1983, but Tom from Buffalo says he was there this afternoon. 2007. He wanted to voice his displeasure with the residents of the state, but Tom wants him to shut up. He cuts him off and urges him to return to and stay in the mighty haven of Buffalo, New York. Tom thinks making a nine-hour jaunt to an amusement park is pretty embarrassing.
- Billy calls to say that when he was a child in the Deep South he didn’t have amusement parks. Oh, boy. Tom is concerned that it's gonna be this kind of show. It's too bad faux Southerners like "Billy" trample over the good name and authentic accents of people like Supercaller Dave from Knoxville.
- A caller informs Tom that the skin-shedding Action Park ride was the Alpine Slide. He witnessed the aftermath of an Alpine Slide crash that occurred when they let a 13-year-old girl take a 4- or 5-year old girl down the thing. The caller thinks you should at least be required to have a driver's license before you can take a kid on the ride. They predictably wiped out, and he saw the burn marks first hand. Tom’s glad they shut down Action Park.
From the Alpine Slide wiki:
“The tracks themselves were made of concrete and fiberglass, which led to numerous serious abrasions on riders who took even mild spills. The tendency of some to ride in bathing suits so they could go on to Waterworld attractions afterwards exacerbated this problem. The sleds themselves were a large factor in the injuries. A stick that was supposed to control speed led, in practice, to just two options on the infrequently maintained vehicles: extremely slow, and a speed described by one former employee as "death awaits."
The caller was at the old site a month ago for some kind of outdoorsy festival with some ventriloquist acts. (You know you're in for a fun festival when there is more than one ventriloquist on the bill.) The caller says one ventriloquist had the tough act of following a trio of ventriloquist birds performing with a realistic, life-sized dummy. They all had the same act. The birds were injured, and the dummy was a wildlife rehabilitation guy who was nursing them back to health. The caller says the material wasn't that interesting, but the lip-syncing was incredible. He didn't see these birds' beaks move once. Tom is more interested to hear about the remnants of Action Park. The caller says that instead of a proper ski lift, you now stand in buckets. He spotted some of the old ramps of the Alpine Slide. Tom remembers the giant wave machine that simulated the effect of being dropped in the middle of the ocean.
The caller also recognized the Tarzan Swing, which is currently being choked by dead leaves on the dirty old grounds. Tom asks the caller if people on the Tarzan Swing landed in the turbulent pool. The caller says that you did if you were lucky. The swing was not set up so that you landed gracefully within some kind of padded chamber. Tom wonders what kind of lunatic came up with this place. The caller says it was clearly concocted before American became the Land of the Lawsuit. Tom's thankful for the country's litigious ways if it stops kid-smashing danger pits like Action Park. The caller says that back in the day some people considered the wave pool as an effective way to trim down the gene pool. Tom rejects this idea because the park was not just full of a bunch of idiots. They tried to pass off a torture chamber as entertainment, and people didn't realize they were about to experience a near-drowning. Tom says it's no different than backyard amusements like jumping off the roof of your garage into a swimming pool. Action Park was just charging admission. Tom GOMPs the caller for getting him mad even though he didn't actually get him mad at all.
- Steve in Woodbridge calls with his own Great Adventure horror story. He and his girlfriend attended one of those autumnal "Fright Fest" spectaculars where the rides illuminate the night sky and park employees dress up like the Undead. Steve says he was there for five hours, but he only got to go on two rides. Tom thinks the guys in the costumes should help speed the lines up instead of aggressively trying to spook people. Steve says they just made him mad, but his girlfriend actually got scared. Tom can understand that she would be creeped out by a zombified out-of-work actor who might kill her because he didn't land a part in the Papermill Playhouse's production of Once Upon A Mattress. Steve recommends that Jerry from Poughkeepsie hit the Reo, but both he and Tom agree that it's pretty bad. Out of the darkness, a topic has emerged! Not-So-Great Adventures!
- Ken Rogers checks in to follow up on his two disastrous calls on last week's program. Tom hoped to have an informative conversation about his new book, Five Steps to Happiness: Incorporating Your Personal Values Into The Workplace, but the author was unable to answer a question without emitting gross filth unfit for the airwaves. Ken says his brain melted from the press blitz, but the long weekend has given him the chance to rest his burnt mind. He's ready to speak about his book for as long as Tom desires.
Tom recaps his experience of being exposed to the book by a guy in the Consolidated Cardboard personnel department. He was really sold on the ideas and left it in the office in the hopes of other people picking it up. Tom was initially skeptical about the value of the book, and he avoided it for a few weeks. However, he became increasingly curious, so he read it and responded to the central concept of better integrating one's life and work. Rogers believes that the life you've established outside of the office shouldn't necessarily be separate from your role in the workplace, especially when making decisions and working on interpersonal dynamics. Tom opens the interview by once again asking Rogers if one's standing in the overarching hierarchy of the workplace reflects on one's stature outside of work. He wonders if the two concepts have to remain mutually exclusive. Ken says that Tom hit on a key part of the book, and he'll never forget one of his first office experiences. Then he does it again. More disgusting filth. Tom is sure that this man is defective. He was able to catch it because he had his finger poised above the dump button after last week’s antics. Tom can’t suggest the general arena of what Rogers said because even that would be crossing a broadcasting line. He addresses Rogers directly and urges him to seek professional help. Tom is stunned to the point of silence by this third infraction. While the author's publicist insisted it wouldn’t happen again, Rogers outgrossed his last performance. Tom thinks that a fuse blew in his head. He sounded so logical in his nice apology, but then he quickly reverted back to his filthy ways.
True Love: Omar's new GF LIVE ON WEBCAM!!!!!
- Tom’s had enough of the True and Match.com Myspace porno ads that try to lure you in with scantily-clad ladies and the illusion of live video feeds. In addition to these risqué romance services, Tom is worn out by the various games on the main Myspace page. Slap Donald Trump! Blow a (laser?) bean through a tube to choke a Russian czar! Run over Paris Hilton! Shoot a turkey to win $5,000/week for life! My current fave: “Clean Zachary Brimstead, Esq’s undercarriage and win a $35 gift certificate to The Olive Garden!” I won! Twice! Clean as a whistle! (I used the fireplace poker, the Swiffer®, and the hose.) Bottomless salad bowl here I come! Mmmmmm. Tom asks people to leave poor Tom Anderson alone. He doesn't think the beleaguered Myspace overlord should have to write 980,000 letters dispelling the rumors that they will start charging for the service. Myspace may be a boring snoozefest, but it will remain free.
Tom gets an e-mail from someone who suggests that he interview the guy who wrote a book about book about Billy Joel. Tom may do it because he'd love to read about the epic challenges of making the River of Dreams album. Mike says that Mike and the Mad Dog often discuss Joel's work. Tom is not surprised that the duo are big fans of one of the Top 5 Worst Evers. He does an impression of Mr. Francesa: "Yeah, I'll tell ya, dawg. Nobody's had more hits than Billy Joel."
From author Mark Bego's website:
"Mark's Billy Joel: The Biography is filled with exclusive new information. Among the dozens of Joel intimates and media experts interviewed for the book are members of his hit-creating band, including: Liberty DeVitto (drums), Richie Cannata (sax), and Russell Javors (guitar). In addition, Bego also interviewed several stars including Mary Wilson, Micky Dolenz, Melanie, Lou Christie, Lala Brooks (The Crystals), Randy Jones (Village People), and Deborah Gibson. Some people love Billy, some hate him, and they all have a voice in Billy Joel: The Biography."
- Owen calls as he's getting over a really bad cold and a bizarre double bill. He saw the blockbuster Shrek the Third immediately followed by Sarah Polley’s feature-length directorial debut Away From Her, starring Julie Christie from the 1960s. Griiiiindhouse No Smokiin' Joe style! He says that the films were
great good just good both great. Owen tells everyone about National Hunger Awareness Week starting on June 4th and the related Hungrr [sic] website. Tom wonders when Boredom Awareness Week will take place. He GOMPs Owen before he starts telling him stories about buying Milk Duds and a large soda and finding a prized seat in the middle of the theater. Tom tells Hesh that he’s in the lead. The Kid has to bounce back. The show is a turkey because he left it to the fates. He has to regain control of the show by gripping the wheel of the bus with an iron fist. Tom thinks it's unacceptable to be presenting a slab of junk at the halfway point.
- Tom puts a new topic on the table: Worst Sayings/Aphorisms. For example, Tom doesn't have much use for the archaic preventative-maintenance proverb "A stitch in time saves nine." His worst is the hippified "Hey, man, if you remember the 1960s, you weren’t there." Tom thinks this statement is the height of pomposity because these dudes would have been drug addicts in any era. 1940s: booze and reefer. 1970s: gourds blown at the railyards. 1990s: memories erased by smack. 2000s: "blue"-smeared lips. Tom wants to hear more phrases that either don't make sense or drive people nuts.
As Tom waits for the phones to explode, he mentions spotting a guy slurping wonton soup at Starbucks. Really? Tom will drink the coffee, but he’s not interested in the desserts or the pre-packaged sandwiches. He certainly can't imagine bringing outside foodstuffs into a Starbucks. Tom thinks coffee and soup -- the worst combo meal on Earth -- is better suited for consumption in the park. Hot liquid lunch!
- Tyler in Montclair calls to say he hates the phrase "It's all good." Tom also disputes the accuracy of this very American saying. Tyler points out that at any given time it's probably pretty bad for most people in the world. He grew up in State College, home to Penn St., where many kids use the phrase to justify getting drunk and skipping class. Tom thinks this sounds like a fun town to grow up in. Tyler didn't attend college, but he's doing wonderfully without the advanced degree. Tom says "college schmollege" to extended party time, and he praises Tyler for getting some backbone by learning on the streets. Tyler tells Tom that the show is not a turkey.
- Anne calls from Providence, one of the five angriest cities in America. She plans to leave as soon as possible. Anne says she's driven up a wall by the use of the phrase "Now, more than ever" to tout some supposed enhancement to a product. In an act of retaliation against the ad wizards, her friends have adopted a William Wonka-like strike that/reverse it of “More, now than ever.” Tom is with her on this one.
1979 promotional clip from the Boulder Board of Tourism
- Jerry calls from chilly Boulder from Colorado to complain about people trivializing any complaint with “You know, it is what it is.” Tom thinks it's fine when applied to your own rough stuff, but not when you say it to others as code for "Shut up." Jerry says he can do without the armchair Buddhism. Tom wonders if there is a Mork & Mindy tour in Boulder. Jerry thinks there should be one because he keeps looking for the music store run by Mindy McConnell's father. Tom can understand his quest because everyone wants to get musical advice from a 60-year-old guy and his mother. He informs Jerry that they are remaking the series as a feature film starring It-Boy Andy Milonakis as Mork. Jerry wonders why they make movies from paper-thin sitcoms from the 1970s. Tom reminds him that they are talking about Mork & Mindy, and he hopes there is a scene featuring Mork ascending to Ork to meet Orson. While Tom thinks it would be really cool in theory, he's very disappointed that
James Earl Jones Ashton Kutcher will voice the Orkan supervisor. Tom doesn't understand why they ruin movies with terrible casting. He expects the producers to cast Paris Hilton as Mindy. Jerry thinks the embattled socialite lacks the necessary down-to-Earthness to become Pam Dawber 2k7. He floats Ashley Judd as a contender, but Tom doesn't like the thought of a Judd-Milonakis pairing. Mike shouts for Hilary Duff. Tom wants The Queen to play the grandma. Hott stuff, Jack. My choices for Mindy: Marg Helgenberg (might require some Youngoproxin) or Chloë Sevigny. Or maybe Kate Heigl!
- Tim from Sparks, Nevada, calls with extremely low energy. Tom wants him to dial it down the liveliness a bit more, if possible. Tim says he's tired from doing homework, and Tom tells him to splash some cold water on his face and call back later.
- Adam, the Emperor of Red Bank, calls from the recesses of his La-Z-Boy and promises to deliver some good ones:
1. “You either love it or you hate it.” (This is the first time Tom’s heard this weird Red Bank phrase.)
2. “You can’t miss it.” (The kiss of death when someone's giving you directions.)
3. “It’s all downhill from here.” (Especially true for Power Pop Pop-Pop.)
Adam sees Jason Mewes walking around town, but has not seen his master, Kevin Smith. Tom was certain that his entry was going to be "Snootchie Boochies." Adam pretends he didn't hear it, but Tom refuses to repeat the View Askewspeak. He GOMPs the blowhard for talking over him.
- An efficient Miles from Raleigh, NC, calls to "piggybank" on Tom's 1960s phrase. He hates the increasingly frequent use of “Oh, they drink the Kool-Aid now" to describe anyone who changes their mind about anything. Miles also offers some local phrase about using "footprint" as a catchall unit of measure, such as the amount of space one's vehicle takes up in a parking lot. Tom has no idea what he's talking about, but Miles wins him back by declaring the show a tentpole. Tom sends him on his way with a Wookiee-ish grunt in lieu of his standard "bye". The grunts would become even more beastly as the night progressed.
- Erin from NC calls WFMU, but she could have easily mistaken it for WXDU after hearing her statemate Miles. She recently married into Best Show fandom because her husband, Craig from NC, is an FOT. Tom suspects that she is wed the famous North Carolina bigamist. Tom once met this Craig from NC, so he wants Erin to describe him. She says he has blond hair. Check. He's also very handsome and charming. Double check. Tom says that he used charm as a gimmick to keep getting married to ladies in New Jersey. Erin says her Craig is 5' 9" tall. Another check. He's in his early 30s, and Tom pegged the bigamist as late 20s/early 30s, so it appears to be him. Erin starts getting depressed about her marital nightmare.
While it's probably less troubling than the news about her husband, Erin doesn't like the phrase "Bless his heart," a mild insult tossed at someone who is unable to escape from a paper bag. Tom blames the phrase on Southerners, but he lets Erin off the hook because she's from the North of the South, not the bowels of Florida. Erin is excited to have Tom as a radio in-law, and Tom's excited that she’s living a real-life version of the HBO bigamedy Big Love.
- Jenn from San Jose calls to say that people who claim "things happen for a reason" get on her nerves. For example, people attribute the death of a cat or not getting a job to some sweeping cosmic fate. I blame the writers of Lost. Jenn points out the religious undertones of the phrase, tying it to Calvinism or something. Tom thinks she's referring to a strip in the funny pages. Jenn explains that it's an old Christian thing about how a couple of people are predestined to enter Heaven, and the rest of the slobs are doomed to Hell. Tom believes he would be predestined to go to heaven for the tireless work he does to keep the sad weirdos under control. Jenn agrees. Keep hope alive for the disenfranchised in 2007, Scharpling style!
- Tim from Sparks (uncredited xylophonist on Lil' Beethoven) woke up and now he's ready to bring it. He says he completely hates asking a question and getting "For shizzle” as a response. Tim is referring to the popular slang term, which is frequently followed the direct object “my nizzle”. Tom thinks it's cool because he likes to sound urban. Tim thinks it's as played out as "played out". Tom's not sure what that means, but he adds it to his phrase book. Tim says that the Mork & Mindy film would be the worst thing ever if they cast Paris Hilton. Tom says that he mentioned that while Tim was napping, but it reminds him that he also loves the phrase "That's hott." Tim admits to being down with that phrase, and Tom says "fo shizzle" in return. The show is cooking. Rally time!
- Quality caller Erika from Baltimore continues the winning streak by passionately despising the Internet laff slang "LOL". Tom wonders who is actually OL-ing that often. He tries to make Erika LOL, and he does it in one second by saying "fo shizzle." Land speed record! LOL is DEAD. Long live "ha ha" says Omar.
- Notorious Sloan hater Jerry from Halifax calls, and Tom wonders if "fo shizzle" has reached his town yet. Jerry says it just arrived last week. He doesn't like Sloan, and he doesn't like the phrase “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” Tom wants someone to define gander. He thinks it might be some other weird, extinct bird. Jerry shows off by saying he has a girlfriend and then he puts her on the phone. Tom thinks it might just be Jerry doing a high voice (Geddy Lee?), but it's an actual female named Holly. She's still a bit sore at Sloan for leaving Halifax in 1993, but she's dealing with the loss. She sort of likes the phrase "Don’t knock it ‘till you try it", which could be applied to anything. For example, eating gross poutine. Holly reports that the culinary scientists up in Halifax have done it again: onion ring poutine. Jerry chirps up in the background about some kind of stuffing and poutine dish. Tom thinks these wild poutine mash-ups are a fire hazard.
- Dylan from Brooklyn aka Bobby aka the Labyrinth guy calls to say that he just found his Labyrinth poster, which features a great tagline: "Where everything seems possible and nothing is what it seems.” Tom fully digests it and doesn't see its greatness. Dylan says that he's soured on the saying, "If you got big feet, then you wear big socks.” Tom thinks the scary Dylan has to get out more. He may actually watch Labyrinth so he can discuss it with him on the air next week. New Special-Edition DVD is on the way!
- Pete from hearty Boonton calls with an annoying catchphrase. Tom guesses that it's “Please don’t kill me, Hesh.” It's not. Pete says he encountered his actual phrase last week in the context of selling his ATV on craigslist. Tom's not sure what he's selling, so Pete says it's a Quad. Tom tells him that he just explained it a little less. Pete says it's a four-wheel little nonsense vehicle that you ride in the woods, and Tom finally gets that it's an all-terrain vehicle. Tom asks Pete how much he wants for it, and Pete quotes a price of $2,000. Tom offers 1,500 ... Pesos. Pete says he talked to a kid who was interested in the ATV, and the potential buyer littered his speech with the phrase "Yeah, yo" as if it were some form of punctuation. Tom tells Pete that he will have to eat some crow when the kid purchases the ATV. Pete fears that the kid will hail from Roxbury and show up for the transaction with his yeahyo-ing gangster friends. Tom wonders if they will take the ATV for a spin and leave one kid behind as insurance as they race Stuntman Mike. Pete boldly predicts a double victory for the show tonight. VV. Tom says he hopes he sells the ATV for $18,000. Pete thanks him even though it will never sell for that amount.
- THE Pat of The Long Walk To New York fame calls to say he hates it when people emphasize the wrong part of a phrase. For example, if he tells someone that it's a nice day outside, they might respond with "Yeah, it is" as if they are arguing with the claim. Tom says people do this because they are animals. He was in Best Buy the other day trying to return something, and the guy ahead of him in line was trying to chat up the girl behind the counter. He told her that he was in "sales" five times while applying for a Best Buy Rewards card. Tom thinks he should have realized that 80% of the customers got one of those cards by writing their name down. Not exactly AMEX black. Pat wonders if Tom was at a Best Buy in Long Island, and Tom GOMPs him for suggesting that he traveled to New York to pay additional sales tax. Tom's not made of money.
- A caller on a walky-talky doesn't like when people say something is "totally counter-intuitive". He says channel surfing and Ouija boards are intuitive, so he doesn't think it's necessarily bad if a instruction manual for assembling something is counter-intuitive. Tom hears him, and he thinks he should go assemble a new phone. He thought he was talking to Mr. Microphone or perhaps Wayne Coyne on a megaphone.
- Erin from NJ felt the need to call express her distaste for an Arnold line from The Terminator: “Give me your address, there.” She doesn't understand why he tacked the "there" on the end. Tom thinks that this may have been Schwarzenegger's attempt to improv his way to a writing credit or an homage to Archie Bunker. Tom announces that FreeFM is gone. K-Rock is back! Tom recalls listening to Free FM's The Radio Chick program, featuring sidekick Chuck Nice doing the worst impressions he's ever heard. He says his take on Arnold was really bad news. Tom also heard Nice do a GWB impression that was only identifiable within the context of politics. Erin says her friend used to do a Seinfeld impression that involved a riff about 2% milk followed by "Waaaah, Waaaah, Waaaah." Tom tells her that she needs new friends.
- Susie calls from Midtown Manhattan, so Tom recommends that she check out a cool place called T.G.I. Friday's ®. Susie doesn't go to places like that and she doesn't like the marketing terms that people throw around. She thinks people use sucky terms like "viral marketing" and "buzz marketing" to make it sound like they know what they are talking about. Susie says that anyone who utters these words is dead to her. Tom thinks that Susie must have a very powerful job if she can afford to live in Midtown. She says it's just a temporary residence, and she's not sure about her dream place to live. She did enjoy the LES, but it wasn't dream-worthy. Tom's dream place to live is the moon.
- Fred in Randolph calls to lament the continued use of the juvenile "xxxxx, your mom." Tom agrees that it's time to move on from tacking one's mother on the end of phrases.
- Sean in Spokane, WA (boyfriend of SWISS MISS!!!!!!!), calls to say that he hears the phrase
"Where are my fries?" “Ya havin’ any fun yet?” at least once a day from a boss or manager at work. He's inclined to humor them at first, but then usually opts for silence. Sean's been working for two years at a locally-owned gemstone distribution warehouse, and he says he could hook Tom up with some free amethysts. He went to school with the owner's son, and he enjoys the close-knit family business. Tom thinks that Sean is doing it. Dream job. Special lady. Shelter. Food. Water. Turlet. He tells Sean to knock on wood three times, and he does it. Tom warns him that The Candyman is coming to get him at midnight. Sean threatens to say "Candyman" three times into a mirror, but Tom can't let him do it.
- John in Edison calls to say he hates the phrase “Not for nothing, x.” Tom points out that the introduction liberates the speaker from rebuke for any horrible insult that follows: "Not for nothing, but you’re totally stupid." John says he will start using this technique, but Tom thinks he'd flub it like Hesh. Tom says Hesh's nervous, error-ridden call last week was one of the greatest flameouts of all-time. He thinks Hesh could become the Winston Churchill/Lil' Wayne of The Best Show, and he'd still never live that down. Tom also heard a rumor that Hesh puts on a custodian outfit and breaks into the cars of mallwalkers at 6:00 a.m. Tom says he might put on some new sneaks and blaze past the other mallwalkers. John thinks he'll get a discount if he becomes a mallwalker, but Tom doesn't want to walk for 3.5 hours to wait for the stores to open. Tom gets rid of John because he knows nothing about mallwalking.
- Craig the NC bigamist calls with the Southern classic “I’ll tell you one thing …”, which usually means that Foghorn Leghorn is about to fire six things at you. Tom asks Craig if Southern chickens really talk like Mr. Leghorn. Craig says that the tall ones do. Tom says he'd be scared if a 7' rooster started talking to him like that. He'd do as he said. Craig thanks Tom for telling his wife about his bigamy.
- A caller stammers through some yeah-yeah-yeahs and uh-uh-uhs before Tom gets rid of him. He tried to bring it, and he failed. Tom tells him that grown-ups eat at the big table, and he'll know it's time for dessert when he sees the pies. Tom banishes him to the TV room, but forbids him from hooking up his Xbox. Tom thinks it may have actually been Hesh because he could actually hear the thick beads of flop sweat rolling off of him. He imagines a branding iron sizzling on his moist forehand as it marks him with an giant "F". F for Flop! Tom recommends that the brander don goggles due to the heavy steam that would result. He also speculates that Hesh rents a basement apartment in the summer so he can hang around a college town. Scary stuff. He also thinks he might be Captain Jack's son.
- Kevin in Pittstown calls to commend Tom for saying "for all intents and purposes" instead using the bush-league "intensive purposes". He also claims that some people say "nip it in the butt." Tom GOMPs him for calling the wrong line and making up fontasy phrases. The only person who says that is Sir Mix-it-Up.
- The pedigreed Weirder Jon from Maplewood calls to reject movie previews that announce the that a film is "from the acclaimed director of [some film he's never heard of]." Tom builds on this by noting the previews that touted a film from Raja Gosnell, the celebrated director of Scooby Doo and Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. Tom says that Weirder Jon thinks he's tough because his town has a Whole Foods. While the store is the crown jewel of Maplewood, Jon says he has to travel to Milburn and South Orange for comic books and poetry slams. Tom thinks he reached a bit on the poetry slam quip. Weirder Jon's tank just hit E.
- Jacob calls from the town of SUNY-Binghamton (currently overrrun with Long Islanders) to offer an Ancient Chinese Proverb: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." He finds the phrase excessively long and more appropriate for a time when agriculture reigned supreme. Jacob also doesn't like the shut-up stand-in "life's unfair."
- Matthew Tompkins, VP of Programming for ABC Television, calls for Todd. He thought that's what Tom's name was. Tompkins heard that Tom has been giving the Cavemen a lot of airtime lately, and he wants to give Tom a big hug for hyping it. Tom chuckles because he doesn't think he's been giving the show much positive buzz. Tompkins says that it sounds like Tom is just as excited about Cavemen as the network. Tom says that he actually is, but for different reasons. Tompkins says that Tom should be excited about it because it's by far the best fish-out-of-water series since Madison, a short-lived spin-off of Splash. It only lasted for three episodes due to poor casting. Tompkins says that even as a kid, he knew it was foolish to cast Donna Pescow as the titular mermaid. He reminds Tom that Daryl Hannah couldn't reprise her role because she was rehearsing (singing and video-cam lessons) for the Clarence Clemons (RIP, Big Man) / Jackson Browne video for "You're a Friend of Mine".
Tompkins confirms that Cavemen is "more or less" based on the long-running GEICO cavemen commercials. While ABC is all fired up about it, Tom thinks it looks pretty laughable. Tompkins says it is indeed a hilarious, thought-provoking commentary on the dangers of stereotyping. Tom clarifies that when he said "laughable", he did not mean to suggest the show was laugh-filled. Tompkins says that the show actually is full of laughs. He gives an example of the sly social commentary that seeps into the shows. In one scene, the three cavemen are riding in a car and arguing about the use of the word "cro-magnon". Joel doesn't think it's cool to use that term, so the other guys start busting on him by inserting "mag" in other contexts. The ribbing includes the cavemen covering that Sir Mix-it-Up song, replacing his beloved big butts with "mags". Tompkins says that the ensuing singing and rapping is "so damn funny." Tom has seen that clip, and he thought it was pretty terrible. Tompkins loved it.
He also loves another scene in which one of the apes starts line dancing and then breakdancing at a Western-themed party. Tompkins asks Tom to tell him one thing that's funnier than a breakdancing
ape caveman other than an old white person rapping. Tom says that anything would be funnier than that. Tompkins thinks Tom is wrong, and he wants him to strap on his theoretical helmet to prepare to hear the show's tagline: "They kick it really old school." Tom is not too impressed by the phrase that is already appearing on buses. Tompkins argues that you can't get any older school than cavemen since they come from a time when schools didn't even exist. If they did, the teachers would just grunt or poke the students with sticks. Tompkins thinks the caveman curriculum probably included hunting lessons and, perhaps, fishing lessons. Tom isn't sure if fishing was done back then. Tompkins makes a note about doing a Cavemen fishing episode. Speaking of ideas for episodes, Tompkins says ABC is interested in buying the two story ideas Tom mentioned on the air last week. Tom can't even remember what he was pitching. Tompkins mentions the idea about having the boys visit a local water park. He was listening to the show today via the archives, and he says he was on the floor howling when Tom had them going down the log flumes. Tompkins starts dying with laughter just thinking about it now. He wants to know if Tom saw them wearing just swim trunks. Tom didn't give the costume design any thought, but Tompkins thinks it would be funny if all their hair was showing. Tom says that if you think the show is funny, you might think that exposed fur is funny. Tompkins says he knows the show is funny.
Tompkins moves on to Tom's second idea of having the boys get into a big argument and then divide the room with tape to indicate their new assigned areas. He starts dying with laughter just thinking about this idea, too. Tompkins asks Tom about how the bathroom situation would work since only one of the
apes cavemen has it on his restricted side. He thinks it could get really messy. Tom's not really sure how to revolve this narrative issue. Tompkins loves the idea, and he asks Tom how he manages to think of this stuff. He's surprised that someone else hasn't already snapped him up. Tom says he came up with the idea of two people fighting and marking their residential territory with tape from watching a million sitcoms like The Brady Bunch. Tompkins thinks Tom said Brady’s Bunch, which sounded to him like some kind of WW2 sitcom starring Lee Marvin. He's never heard of The Brady Bunch because he didn't have a television when he was a kid. He was raised a strict Quaker, and his family couldn't even use ice. Tompkins says he had to catch up and know he's fully into television. Tom wonders what made him get into the business since it was completely absent from his childhood.
Tompkins says he has a long history in television, including a stint as the Head of Programming for The Shout! Network from 2001 to 2004. He actually called Tom back in early 2003 to talk about the network's new spring lineup. Tompkins says he brought the thunder during his tenure, developing shows such as Jerry Van Dyke’s Crime Crunchers, Sex Camp, Madmen & Mann, Buried Alive, Kidnapper of Hearts, and The Other Side of the Music, a behind-the-scenes look at bands such as Wire Train, JoBoxers, GG Allin and The Texas Ns, Darren Robbins, and Chrome. His big projects were the controversial The Reggae Kid and the late-night show The Van Morrison Variety Two Hours. Tompkins says that Van Morrison filled the two hours by singing songs, dancing (soft shoe and tap), and appearing in sketches. He initially tells Tom that the show lasted for seven episodes, but he then admits that only one episode was shot. Tompkins says that they shot everything except the portions of the show that were supposed to feature Van Morrison. He didn't really want to be a part of it. Tompkins informs Tom that Van Morrison is a cranky guy who earned the nickname "Dr. Upset" because he was always mad and yelling unintelligibly. Tom is not surprised to hear this. He remembers that people protested The Reggae Kid for being offensive and taking advantage of its young star. Tompkins says that was the show that launched him into the big leagues, riding the protests rights into an office on the ABC lot. He thinks Tom is belittling him by putting quotes around this "success". He says that he worked hard for his prominence in the industry and has eight or nine houseboats to show for it. Tompkins thinks you kind of lose track of them, but Tom says he wouldn't know because he doesn't have any houseboats. Tompkins is surprised that Tom doesn't have at least one houseboat.
Tompkins says that Desperate Housewives was the first real feather in his cap over at ABC. He got in early doing coverage, but he ended up leaving that assignment after he walked in on Marcia Cross and saw her naked. Tompkins calls Tom a jerk for suggesting he walked into the actress's dressing room. He entered her home. Tompkins says he was just walking around, and he took a similar stroll though Felicity Huffman's house. The latter intrusion was more problematic because "Bill" hit him with a big belt. Tompkins discovered that Huffman's husband, the actor William H. Macy, is a member of some kind of belt-whipping league. He says that Macy was so skilled at slapping and cracking the belt that he thought his back was going to burn off. Tompkins was shirtless at the time of the altercation. Tom can understand the reaction to what was essentially a home invasion, but Tompkins thought being part of the larger ABC family gave him permission to stop by from time to time. Tom notes that Tompkins is showbiz enough to refer to William H. Macy as "Bill" despite being beaten by the man. Tompkins responds by telling "Todd" that he's always stressed the importance of looking past the welts. Tom thinks this is a pretty poignant statement, and Tompkins writes it down so he can have Joel say it to his brother Jamie in an upcoming episode of Cavemen.
After trespassing his way out of Desperate Housewives, Tompkins went to the ensemble comedy Hot Properties, which centered around four unpredictable chicks in a Manhattan real estate office. Tompkins describes the show as Designing Women on whatever kind of steroids women take. He thinks women may chew a steroidal gum called Estro-gen. Tom doesn't want to get into the particulars. Tompkins also worked on Emily’s Reasons Why Not, an extremely short-lived skein starring Heather Graham. He came up with what he thinks is a great name, but Tom doesn't think it's so great. Tompkins says it got yanked after one episode, but they shot five more. He's considering using those episodes as part of a Mystery Science Theatre 2000 laffer with commentary from a couple of irascible kids. Tompkins thinks this will show people that ABC has a sense of humor about their duds.
Following the flop of Emily, Tompkins worked on Help Me, Help You, which he bills as the Ted Danson show. Tompkins says he's currently working on a new Danson project, an adaptation of the film President Baseball. If that doesn't pan out, he wants to develop a reality show called Ted Danson’s Funeral Funnies. The premise of the show is that Danson uses a disguised voice to call people with the false news that a friend or family member has died. When everything is really sad at the funeral service, the not-so-dead person pops out of the casket and screams, "I'M ALIVE, YOU IDIOT!" Tom thinks this is a terrible ruse to pull, but Tompkins is certain that everyone will start laughing at the surprise reveal. Tom says that nobody will laugh, and Tompkins says this is why Tom is not in the television business.
While new projects like Ted Danson's Funeral Funnies are coming soon, Tompkins says all of his attention is focused on Cavemen for now. The cast is apparently thrilled to be a part of this new show. Tompkins reports that John Heard, who plays Tripp, has compared being involved in Cavemen to his work in C.H.U.D. in the 1980s. Tompkins thinks this is a ringing endorsement, but Tom doubts that a B-movie about cannibalistic humanoids is the high-water mark of the actor's career. The actor/comedian Nick Kroll is similarly enthused, saying it's the most fun he’s had on a set since 40 Most Awesomely Bad Dirty Songs Ever. Tom's also skeptical about this one, but he doesn't think he's seen this particular 40 Most installment. Billy English, who plays Joel, says Cavemen is the best thing he's done since Beach Party at the Threshold of Hell. Tom reiterates that these are not exactly prestige projects. Tompkins says that he's a little worried about Dash Mihok, who plays Jamie. Mihok fears that there may be some Cavemen conflict when the Firehouse Dog DVD drops in September. Tompkins isn't too concerned about it, but he sees Mihok's point about overexposure. He says that Americans who need some Dash may be faced with the dilemma of either just taking a dash of Dash or taking it all. He writes down "a dash of Dash" as potential bus ad copy. Tom thinks this would look great on a bus.
Tompkins provides the scoop on a great Cavemen episode that's loaded with musical cameos, including a four-song performance by Kevin Covais from American Idol. Tompkins says that while Covais looks like Chicken Little, he can really belt it out from deep within his "diode." Tom tells him that Covais is singing from his "diaphragm." Tompkins somehow confused a two-element electron tube or semiconductor through which current can pass freely in only one direction with the partition separating the thoracic cavity from the abdominal cavity. He says ABC also lined up Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, Billy Squier, Merle Allin, and Pedro the Lion's David Bazan. Tom is surprised to hear that Bazan is involved in the show. Tompkins says that he's a great actor with a Bobcat Goldthwait influence. In another episode, the cavemen get a radio show and start feuding with other DJs. Tompkins says that Don Imus plays himself, but they had to make him look more human. When he appeared in scenes with the cavemen, the leathery cowboy looked too much like them. Tompkins compares Imus's not-too-evolved look to that one Ukrainian basketball player. Tom has no idea who he's talking about. Tompkins thinks he plays for the Timberwolves, but he can't find him in a quick Web search. The episode was co-written by Doug “The Greaseman” Tracht, who also makes an appearance. Tom is now certain it will be a top-notch effort. Tompkins says that Tracht was pulling out all of his classics -- "waddle- doodle" and "doo-dad-daddy" -- before jumping on the table an going off on the "hobble-doo-gee" stuff. Tompkins starts dying with laughter just thinking about it. He says he hasn't laughed that hard in years. Tom thinks the one thing that hasn't evolved is Tompkins' sense of humor. Tompkins is unphased by the comment and continues laughing.
Speaking of cameos, Tompkins says the network is very excited about Jerry Seinfeld playing himself in several episodes. In Seinfeld's first guest spot, he encounters the cavemen during a trip to a comedy club. He's doing a bit that rips into cavemen for being weird-looking and constantly grooming themselves, so the cavemen from Cavemen get mad and start a joke-off. They go joke-for-joke with Jerry and beat him at his own game. Tompkins says he'd love to work a Puffy Shirt into the episode, and he wants to riff with Tom on some ideas. Tom prefers to find out if Seinfeld knows about this. Tompkins wants Tom to define "know", "about", and "Jerry". Tom clarifies his question to ask if Jerry Seinfeld is aware that he will be appearing on an episode of Cavemen. Tompkins says that Seinfeld's agent, Jeff Newsom, is aware of it. He hasn't officially signed off on it, but he told Tompkins that the offer sounded really interesting. Tom says the response appears to be a standard brush-off, but Tompkins urges him to consider the context. Tom says that the context appears to involve taking footage of an NBC property and splicing it into episodes of the ABC series Cavemen. Tompkins thinks it could work, but Tom doesn't see how he could even get rights to the clips. Tompkins believes that legal clearances are not necessary because Seinfeld footage is owned by TV. Tom disputes this, but Tompkins says that Tom doesn't know the business. Tom asks him about rights issues involving a feature film that airs on television. Tompkins confirms that TV owns the film. Tom thinks he's very misguided on this topic.
Tompkins expresses his love for Hawaii, and Tom wonders how that ties into anything. Tompkins says he's calling from the island, which is where the Cavemen writing offices are located. Since Lost is shot in Hawaii, the Cavemen producers convinced the network to build an office for them as well. While Tom would enjoy working in Hawaii, he doesn't understand why writers for a show that shoots in Los Angeles are stationed there. Tompkins can't really explain it either, but he thinks it's great. He asks Tom to guess what he's drinking out of, but Tom declines. Tompkins is drinking out of a coconut. Tom says he considered that answer, but decided it was too much of a cliché. Tompkins is confused because he considers a coconut to be a cool and awesome beverage vessel. He says that the coconut contains only water because he'd go nuts if he drank alcohol. Tompkins says anyone can confirm his drunken antics. He once beat up an entire circus -- barkers, ringleaders, tigers, clowns, and kids -- and served five years in jail. Tompkins says it was the worst kind of punishment because he had to break rocks on a big rock pile just like you see in the movies. Tom thinks this might explain his affinity for Cavemen. Tompkins says the rock duty did help him get super buff, so it was a worthwhile trade-off. Tom tells Tompkins that he doesn't really need to know about his physique.
Tompkins says that Hawaii is rocking, and he can't decide what he loves more: the bikinis on the beach or the Hummer Demolition Derby. Tompkins says everyone gets free car insurance through GEICO, so once a week they smash about 32 Hummers into each other on the beach. He says it's hilarious. The vehicles get ruined, but GEICO just buys them new ones because they tell them they all had accidents. Tom isn't too thrilled with the ability to file false insurance claims due to a Cavemen connection. Tompkins says he doesn't like Tom's attitude, and he suspects that Tom doesn't think the show will succeed. Tom confirms his suspicions. Tompkins proposes a bet: if Cavemen gets canceled, he will give Tom his annual $380,000 performance bonus. Tom can't believe that he's earning that kind of money, but Tompkins says the compensation is part of rolling like a big-league network exec. Tom has a different take on how Tompkins has been rolling. He points out that every show he's been associated with has been a failure, but he's still managing to climb up the corporate ladder. Tompkins says he can't help it if that's his trajectory. Tom thought he might have mispronounced the word "trajectory", and Tompkins tells him to shut up. He says he has a very good handle on "the human contraption," and he works that into his stories. Tom wants to hear more about these stories.
In addition to Cavemen, Tompkins is working on a pilot called Family Splatters with extreme filmmaker Trent L. Strauss. He wants Tom to keep this news under his hat. Tompkins says Strauss has invented a new genre called the "splatcom". Tom correctly assumes that it's a sitcom combined with some horror elements. Family Splatters is about the Slaughters, a normal, working-class family in San Francisco that struggles with the constant urge to commit murders. Tompkins claims it's a heartwarming show. He says there's been a snag because TLS sent them his cut, and it appears he just spliced in some footage from Dr. Sleaze, The Kidney Thieves, It Eats, and Face Peelers 3 with footage he shot on a soundstage in only one day. Tompkins says that TLS was paid $530,000 to shoot the pilot, so Tom can see how the network wouldn't be happy that he mainly used pre-existing material from his ouevre.
(l. to r.): Alternate comedian Patten Oswald and Presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswalt
Tompkins wants to track down the guy who called two weeks ago with the idea for Ancient Chinese Secret, Huh?. Tom tells him that his brother Dom came up with the adaptation of the old Calgon commercial. Tompkins loves the idea of two hitpeople with hearts of gold, and he can totally see Patricia Heaton and Donal Logue as the leads. Tompkins thinks that with Tom's Cavemen ideas and Dom's pilot, the Scharplings are like the Van Pattens -- Dick Van Patten from Eight Is Enough, his youngest son Vince Van Patten, and the other son, alternate comedian Patten Oswald. He's pretty sure that Oswald is the younger brother of Lee Harvey Oswalt. Tom tells Tompkins that he's as way off as he could possibly be on the connection between these two men. Tompkins says a better comparison would be the Landers sisters, Audrey and Judy. The former is best known for her role as Afton Cooper on Dallas, and they both appeared in The Man With Two Brains. Tompkins says that their mother is the prominent advice columnist Ann Landers, and their father is David Lander, who played Squiggy on Laverne & Shirl. Tom doesn't believe either parent is accurate, noting that Lander is about the same age as his supposed daughters. Tompkins says Squiggy seemed older, plus he was from the 1950s. Tom says it wasn't filmed in the 1950s, but Tompkins says it was, just like Happy Days. He calls Tom a sad man for not knowing anything about TV. Tom admits to being a sad man.
Tompkins is happy because he just got a text that his jet ski is done getting detailed. He assumes that Tom is signing off on ABC using his two Cavemen ideas, and he doubts Tom will get a writing credit. Tompkins plans to take credit for the work, and Tom has second thoughts about signing off. Tompkins says he already did by speaking to him. Tom says that won't hold up in any court, but Tompkins says it will. He's got to jet ski (code for rails?) out, so Tom wishes him luck on Cavemen. Tompkins says he'll see Tom on the tube, and Tom says he will see his $380,000 bonus. Tompkins says he'll see the bonus on "the other end" and then blazes.
Final 10 minutes. Open-phone Tuesday!
- Tim K calls from Boston to bring a little more energy than the other Tim from Las Vegas. He thanks Tom for playing some Jonathan "Jojo" Richman and adds a hated expression: "Hot enough for ya?" Tom agrees that this summertime query is bad news, indicating that the person really has nothing to talk about.
- Pete calls to let Tom know that he's behind him, man. He tried to call Tom during the marathon, but that lady kept trying to take his money. He tried to say he was broke and just wanted to send Tom his best regards. Pete says that he's Tom's shadow on The Best Show. I'm not entirely sure what this means, but I don't think Tom wants Pete trailing him in any context.
- Alex from New Jersey wants to slap people Sopranos-style when they say:
- A caller says he will describe something that he's good at so listeners can help him apply those skills to a job. He gets obsessed with "powergaming" -- analyzing the rules, simulating die-rolling, doing algebra, compiling Excel spreadsheets. Once he's played the game to enjoy the story, he'll go back through it to determine the most efficient way to navigate the non-linear maze. He gets a kick out of it. Tom thinks he should become an inventor. The caller says he does have some interesting, innovative ideas. He thought the medical industry should install Tempur-Pedic® memory foam in MRI machines to better comfort patients. He e-mailed the idea to some MRI company he found on the Web, but he's not sure if they rolled with that ball.
Tom read the autobiography of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and Woz said that his goal for the PC was to do as much with as few chips as possible. The caller says he usually just comes up with weird ideas that express his sick sense of humor, but once in a while, he hits on something that might actually make some money. He's not sure how to monetize his ideas without someone just ripping him off. Tom says it's a tough road with that stuff. I'd recommend that Tom interview Woz on the show, but I know he can barely get through a few minutes of an interview without shouting profanities.
- An out-of-breath Matthew Tompkins calls back to say the caveman-y basketball player he was talking about was Dallas Mavericks MVP Dirk Nowitzki. He's German, but Tompkins says that's the same thing as being from the Ukraine. Tom thinks they are pretty far apart. He's glad Tompkins called back with the clarification. Tompkins goes back to jet skiing.
- A caller has another phrase: "Rock on". Tom doesn't like it either, but that's what Evan "Funk" Davies will do for the next three hours. He'll play his usual brand of unrelenting rock 'n roll, toilet mouth hip-hop, and the weirdest punk rock you've ever heard.
- An older man who sounds a lot like Roland "The Gorch" Gorchnik calls to tell Tom to get ready. He's coming. Tom's not entirely sure who it is, and the caller says he will find out sooner that he would like. He left York, Pennsylvania on a Rascal scooter to come get Tom four years ago, and he was last heard from on 8/31/04 in Memphis, where he was teaming up with Skag Winesack. It appears that The Gorch may finally make good on his threats.
- A guy calls up pretending to be Roy Ziegler, Jr. Tom GOMPs him for being an impostor trying to do comedy routines. Tom doesn't like telephonic fanfic.
NEW RECAP SEGMENT!!!!!!!
Dumped Call(s) of the Week™
An exciting peek behind the call screening curtain courtesy of Mike the Associate Producer:
1. Some guy called to discuss an "alien conspiracy." I passed.
2. Pete called in a very agitated state during Matthew Tompkins' call (this was before the call that made it on the air). He claimed that he was "Wasted!" I tried to calm him down and put him on hold to cool down. He dumped himself before calling back later.
W. 19-0. (Saturday Night Special: W. 20-0. Mini-Best Show recap to come ... at some point.)
On the next ... The Best Show on WFMU: Hesh follows up on the call he made last Thursday about The Godfather III, Tom adds his 3,000th Myspace friend while wearing a prototype of Kick The Bobo's new movie theater neck pillow, and the Gorchface Killah whips Tom with a chain LIVE IN STUDIO!