Friday, February 20, 2004


As all too many in this economy will tell you,when you're unemployed there is frequently
nothing to do and so the siren song of daytime television sings. If you're smart you do like
Ulysses and pour hot wax in your ears....I wasn't smart today.

For one thing, here in Los Angeles there's an uninterrupted string of court shows that
run from 11:00 am to 4:30 pm...And I'm not talking about Court TVwhich is bad enough.
No, I mean the fake court shows. Civil Suits as Entertainment.

It starts with The Snarky Judge Mathis on 9, then you switch to Channel 11 for Divorce Court,
followed Texas Justice. Then Back to 9 for the Peoples Court, then back to 11 for Divorce Court and Judge
Hatchett, then over to 2 for an hour of Judge Judy and finally back to 9 to finish up with Judge Joe Brown
...And the pathetic part is I know all this without looking it up...

But as I say, today I hit rock bottom

People have wondered about the longevity of '' Quincy, M.E." and God I
know, I'm one. But today I witnessed something that proved to me that
things could have been much, much worse... Don't believe me? Okay, try
this one on for size.

"Dr. Juan M.E." starring...................Desi.....Arnaz.....................Sr.

Yep, I saw it with my own 2 eyes. I accidentally channel-hopped
to this little horror show this morning. It was actually an episode of
that perennial bad tv favorite "Ironside" and was obviously meant to
be a pilot for a spin-off. A private plane is in trouble, its pilot
having supposedly had a heart attack and his wife has to perform a
talk down landing. Racing to the scene is Dr. Juan Domingo M.D. and
M.E. for the town of Carmel(Pre-Eastwood). In true Quincy fashion he
determines that it's not a heart attack and a murder has been
committed and we're off to the races.

Desi looks pretty rough (if whatI've read about him, despite the fact
that he was a genius in the development of early television.- The three camera
live audience format for filming a sit-coms was created by he and Karl Freund, and
he developed a lot of what are now considered classic TV shows- is
true, he was half in the bag all the time at this point in his life)
He's gotten very grey, his eyes are rheumy, and he occasionally wears
these Coke Bottle glasses (particularly when he's "driving" which
doesn't inspire me with confidence).He doesn't speak English much
better than when he lived upstairs from the Mertzes and he seems to be
having trouble with his lines on occasion. The glasses aid in his
Mantan-Moreland-style bug eyed takes when his car has been sabotaged
by the murderer and he goes plowing into the front of someone's house.

Or was it sabotage? This particular Doctor also drinks a lot. He
mixes home made hooch at home and in his office. He drinks 2 Banana
Daiquiris within a short space of time not much later, and every time
Ironside wants to know when they're going to eat (and it's toward the
end of the series so Raymond Burr is at his heftiest) Desi offers him
a drink.

Being a pilot they've set him up with a supporting cast...The
gruff but ugly Lieutenant, played by L.Q. Jones, and the smart young
blonde bimbo nurse he can have single entendre conversations with. We
are led to believe that Doc and Nurse are romantically involved, but
the 60 Something Desi is not the Latin Lover he used to be, so the
kissing scene with the 20 something young girl is kinda bordering on
the grotesque.

The episode had to come out of the mid- 70's because The All in the
Family influence is keenly felt in the charming racial epithets used
to describe Dr. Juan. He's called "Refugee Doctor" "Cuban Pete" (An
in-joke if there ever was one) and my personal fave "Saltwater Spic".
This last prompts Chief Ironside to give an impassioned speech about
Dr. Juan's background...How his father had been Mayor before the
revolution ( So was Desi's, and he was also a Doctor) and how Dr. Juan
had been thrown in jail by Castro for refusing to sign death
certificates saying political prisoners had died of natural causes. He
escapes and makes it to New York where he becomes a bandleader and
marries this crazy redhead and....No, wait a minute...that's Ricky

All turns out for the best...The show never got picked up.

I desperately need a job