Favorite TV Characters

Over the years, there are several TV shows I consider to be my favorites. In this post, I thought I would take it a bit further and list my top 5 all time favorite TV characters. I love them for different reasons, but when I’m flipping through channels and I see them on, I stop and watch.

Number 5:

Jim Rockford, The Rockford Files

The Rockford Files debuted in 1974 when I was 11 years old. I became quickly enamored with the tough talking, private detective played by James Garner, Jim Rockford. As an adult, I love thrillers and hard boiled crime noir and I can trace my love of the genre back to this show. Funny, tough and flawed, he made me want to tune in each week to catch the action.

Number 4:

Captain Kirk, Star Trek

Star Trek debuted in 1966, but like most people, I became a fan during the 70s when it was a staple Sunday morning rerun. Much like Jim Rockford, Cpt. Kirk, played by William Shatner, was a fast talking tough guy. There was never a situation he couldn’t handle. Just ask him. My imagination took flight with Star Trek and I spent many a fantasy pretending I was Jim Kirk.

 

Number 3:

Jack McCoy, Law and Order

Jack McCoy showed up on Law and Order in 1994, replacing Michael Moriarity’s Ben Stone as assistant district attorney for New York City. Played Sam Watterson, McCoy pushed boundaries, broke rules and did what ever it took to put the bad guys behind bars. He also slept with several of his junior assistants, but we can’t all be perfect. Law and Order is my favorite cop lawyer show and when you think of Law and Order, you think of Jack.

Number 2:

Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock

There was a time when I thought there would never be a better Sherlock Holmes than Jeremy Britt. Turns out I was wrong. Benedict Cumberbatch blows away all the other Sherlocks out of the water. Quirky and full of energy he plays Holmes like the sociopath he is in the books.  There is no current series which I wait with more anticipation than I do Sherlock.

Number 1:

Josh Lyman, The West Wing

I love politics, so it should come as no surprise that my all time favorite show is The West Wing. There are many wonderful characters to choose from, but I would have to choose Josh Lyman, played by Bradley Whitford, as the soul of the show. Smart, funny and often driven, he also has flaws, as any great character should possess. When the show went off the air, I went through heavy separation anxiety. Now, thanks to Netflix, I am blowing through all 7 seasons.  From his long burning love for Donna Moss, to his recovery from being shot during an assassination attempt on the president, Josh has many great moments.

Honorable mention: Casket (Richard Castle and Kate Becket from Castle) Both characters are two halves of the same coin. Love’em. And lastly, Luther from Luther. A brilliantly flawed character, as smart as Sherlock Holmes and as angry as Captain Ahab chasing his whale.

 

Holiday Memories: 16 Trucks

Back in my wicked youth, I worked for Toys R Us. When it got close to Christmas, we seemed to get one truck after another and I was on the crew which unloaded them. We would get about ten guys and form a line and toss the toys down the line, from the back of the truck to our storage area. After a moment I took up singing my own version of 16 Tons, the song made famous by Tennessee Ernie Ford. The altered lyrics went something like this:

When we see them coming, can’t step aside. The boss man says they got toys inside. Said we gotta get the toys out on the toy floor, so keep on goin’ till there ain’t no more.

Unloaded sixteen trucks and what did I get? Another day older and deeper in debt. St. Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go. I owe my soul to the Toys R Us store.

I would make up a line and then all the other guys started chiming in on the chorus. We had a lot of fun, until the manager came to the back and made us quit. We were so loud the customers in the front of the store could hear us and were laughing. The boss didn’t care for the “sold our souls to the Toys R Us Store” line. Seems like the “man” is always putting down the workers, don’t it?

Here’s the original for your viewing pleasure:

Holiday Memories: That’s What She Wants?

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To say I was a precocious kid would be an understatement. Sometimes it paid off. We were getting near Christmas and I was sitting with my father on the couch. I think I was around 11 years old at the time. My father asked, “What does your mom want for Christmas?”

Without skipping a beat, I said, “A dishwasher.”

I knew mom didn’t want a dishwasher because she already had one. Well, two, when you consider I had a brother old enough to do dishes as well. There were very few things I hate doing around the house than the dishes. Filling up the ice cube trays was close, but dishes were high on the list. When I made the suggestion, I was joking. My father looked at me a moment and then went back to watching TV and I never gave it another thought.

Until Christmas morning, when I woke up and went to see what Santa had brought. I glanced inside the kitchen on the way to the living room and there next to the sink was a dishwasher. My mother was thanking my father for such a wonderful gift. I went and sat on the couch, waiting to open my own gifts, amazed at what happened. Later that morning, when my father was out buying yet another pack of C batteries, my mother asked why my father bought her a dishwasher. I said, “Who knows mom. No telling with dad.”

I tried hard to think of what to tell dad mom wanted next year, but I didn’t think he would go for a go-cart.

Holiday Memories: The Duffy Train

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Right after my wife and I were married, we occasionally dog sat for her parents. Duffy was a Dalmatian setter mix and terrified of cats. (The comment about cats is not important to the story, but I still remember my friends making fun of me when my cats were chasing the dog around our apartment and it makes me smile). One Christmas, Duffy was with us and I didn’t want him to feel left out, so I went out and bought him a gift. The gift was wrapped and under the tree by the time my wife got home. She asked, “What did you get Duffy that’s so big?”

She asked because the package was a good three feet by two feet in size. I responded by telling her it was a surprise and I couldn’t tell her because she might tell the dog. My wife can’t keep Christmas secrets. On the big day, we opened up Duffy’s gift last. I offered to help him tear off the wrapping paper and with many a tale wag his gift was soon revealed: a model train set.

My wife said, “A train? For Duffy? Really? This gift is for you!”

I denied her claims but assisted Duffy in setting up the train around the Christmas tree. I…er..Duffy, played with the train set most of the morning. While Duffy couldn’t talk, I am pretty sure this was one of his all time favorite gifts.

Now every time I get one of the animals a gift, my wife gets worried. Well, time to worry. I’m headed out tonight to buy gifts for two dogs and one cat. I wonder if any of them like remote control cars?

Holiday Memories: We’re Going to Kick Your @%&^

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It was 1985 and I worked as an assistant manager for a store called The Toy Works in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was located in the first Biggs mall in the United States. The top toy that year was Optimus Prime of Transformers fame. A lady came in and a bought the last one we had on the shelf. Because she had to go shop in the Biggs store itself, she asked if we hold it behind the counter for her and we told her would be happy to do so.

A bit later, two women came in and asked if we had any Optimus Prime toys left and we informed them we just sold the last one. While the two women were in the store, the first lady came back and asked for her Optimus Prime. When we pulled it from behind the counter, the other two ladies went ballistic. “You are holding toys for your friends. You lied to us. You had one all along.” They were screaming. I tried to explain the woman bought the toy earlier and even tried to show them the receipt, but they would not listen to any reason. Then things turned dark.

One of the women said, speaking to the toy’s owner,  “We are going to follow you to your car, kick your ass and take it away from you.”

We called security to escort the poor woman to her car and the other two ladies followed them through the parking lot cursing and screaming. When the two women came back to our store to shop for other toys, I would not let them inside and once again needed to call security to make them leave.

Don’t ever get between a mamma bear and the only toy which will make one of her cubs happy. Christmas is a wonderful time of year. But for some people…

Holiday Memories: That’s Why You Want Off???

I was 16 years old and working at Long John Silvers in La Grange, Kentucky. The calendar flipped to December and I asked for a rare Friday night. The only problem? Two other people also asked off for the same night. Dave, our manager, called the three of us into the backroom and explained the situation and let us know he could only let one of us off for the night. He then asked each of us why we wanted off for Friday. The other two said they wanted to take their girlfriends out on a date. Dave then looked at me and waited. I hesitated a moment and he said, “Well?”

Finally I explained: “Rudolph is on TV on Friday night and I’ve never missed it, from the time I was a little kid until now.”

“That’s why you want off? Really?”

When I shook my head yes, embarrassed beyond all get out, Dave laughed and said, “If you’re man enough to ask off for that reason, then you get the night off.”

And so, on that Friday night, I was in front of the TV at home watching Clarice sing “There’s Always Tomorrow” and watching Bumbles bounce.

Now you can by the DVD (we have it) and watch it a million times. Back then, if you weren’t home, you missed it. I still remember Dave fondly for letting me off to watch Rudolph. And yes, I still have my “man card”.