Friday, May 4, 2012

The Mary Tyler Moore Show- Characters

The following is a list of minor characters regularly featured on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

* Georgette Franklin was played by Georgia Engel. Georgette was the somewhat ditzy girlfriend (and later wife) of stentorian news anchor Ted Baxter (played by Ted Knight). Mary Tyler Moore described her as a cross between Stan Laurel and Marilyn Monroe. She and Mary got along fantastically, and she helped to somewhat fill the void that Phyllis Lindstrom and Rhoda left in Mary's life when they left for San Francisco and New York City, respectively.

She made her first appearance at one of Mary Richards' parties. She worked as a window dresser at Hempel's Department Store in Minneapolis, Minnesota along with Rhoda Morgenstern. Later, she worked for a car rental service, as a Golden Girl, and for Rhoda selling plants.

Georgette was devoted to Ted and they eventually marry in Mary Richards' apartment. They adopt a child named David (Robbie Rist), and later, she gives birth to a girl named Mary Lou, also in Mary's apartment.

* Edie Grant (née McKenzie) (Priscilla Morrill) was the wife of Lou Grant. She and Lou had been married for many years and had children, but during The Mary Tyler Moore Show's third season they separated and the marriage soon ended. In a later season, Edie was remarried to Howard Gordon, and asked Lou and Mary to attend her wedding. Lou held his peace and they parted friends. Even when Lou lived in Los Angeles, he and Edie kept in touch, because their grown daughters remained a common bond between them. In the Lou Grant series, Edie was revealed to be Roman Catholic and of Ukrainian heritage.

* Gordon Howard, better known as Gordy, was played by actor John Amos. Gordy was the weather reporter on the nightly WJM-TV newscast. Affable, intelligent and professional, Gordy was the polar opposite of Ted. In 1973, Gordy left WJM, and eventually got a job as host of a talk show in New York City. Ted thought this would be a great chance for him to become a national name, and wheedled Gordy to allow him to join him; but Gordy, although his friend, was also wise to his ways, and gently told him no. After that, Gordy returned to New York and reaped success.

The producers introduced Gordy as a weatherman because at the time they felt very few weathermen at the time were black. The original intention had been to make him a sportscaster, but they felt a weatherman would be funny. In several early episodes the character of Gordy remarks, "Why does everyone think I'm the sportscaster?" Amos left the show to do Good Times.

* Bess Lindstrom was portrayed on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Phyllis by actress Lisa Gerritsen. Bess is the daughter and only child of Phyllis Lindstrom and her late husband, Lars. Bess helped her mother decorate the new apartment that Mary Richards moved into. She bonded well with Rhoda Morgenstern, to her mother's horror, calling her "Aunt Rhoda". She also bonded with Mary, who was an old friend of her mother's. She only referred to Phyllis by her first name rather than with a motherly endearment.

Bess was more prominently featured on the spin-off show, Phyllis. By this time, Bess was in high school. She and her mother moved to her mother's hometown, San Francisco, after her father died. While Bess's great-grandmother "Mother Dexter" despised Phyllis, she got along excellently with Bess. Near the end of the series, Bess married Mark Valenti (Craig Wasson), the nephew of Phyllis' boss, City Supervisor, Carmen Valenti, and were expecting a baby.

* Florence Meredith, best known as Aunt Flo (actually a distant older cousin of Mary Richards), was played on a recurring basis by actress Eileen Heckart. Flo was a pioneering female journalist who had worked all over the world. She made infrequent visits to Minneapolis and also battled Mary's boss, Lou Grant. Although, they clashed, there was a spark between them and they had a quick fling. After Lou moved to Los Angeles to work at the LA Tribune, Flo made a visit to him. She was the only other character from the Mary Tyler Moore Show to appear on the spinoff Lou Grant.

* Ida Morgenstern and Martin Morgenstern were portrayed on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda by veteran actors Nancy Walker and Harold Gould, respectively. They were the parents of Rhoda Morgenstern. Ida was portrayed as a stereotypical overbearing Jewish mother, whereas Martin was somewhat calmer and more even-keeled. While Rhoda was living in Minneapolis, Ida occasionally visited. When Rhoda moved back to New York, she initially stayed with her mother in the Bronx. During the run of Rhoda, Martin and Ida separated while Martin went off to find himself and pursue a long-shelved dream of becoming a lounge singer. Toward the end of Rhoda's run, Martin had returned and was attempting to win Ida back, though this remained unresolved when the series ended.

* Dottie and Walter Richards are Mary's parents. Dottie was played by veteran actress Nanette Fabray. Their first appearance was in 1972, two years after Mary had left her fiancé and moved to Minneapolis. They came by to see how Mary was doing and found her successful with an apartment and a job. They made a handful of appearances on the series.

* Marie Slaughter was played by actress Joyce Bulifant. Marie was the wife of news writer, Murray Slaughter, and a homemaker. She and Murray had four daughters, and adopted a Vietnamese son.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Characters- The Gang's Family

* Barbara Reynolds (Anne Archer) — Frank's gold-digging ex-wife, Dennis and Dee's mother. She was a cold, cruel, selfish woman with little affection for her family. Frank referred to her as his "whore wife". The finale of season two revealed that Barbara tricked Frank into raising the twins because she thought he was wealthier than their biological father, Bruce Mathis (played by Stephen Collins). She died of a botched neck-lift in the third season; Frank, ecstatic over the news, delivers the news to The Gang armed with champagne.
* Bruce Mathis (Stephen Collins) — Dennis and Dee's biological father. The antithesis of Frank Reynolds, Bruce devotes his time and money to charities and philanthropic efforts, including adopting several suffering children in Africa. He reconnects with his twins through Sweet Dee's MySpace page (in the episode "Dennis and Dee Get a New Dad"), but they are unable to have a successful relationship with him because of his good nature. He returns in "Dennis and Dee's Mom Is Dead", in which he inherits Barbara's fortune and calls The Gang "the most horrible people alive".
* Bonnie Kelly (Lynne Marie Stewart) — Charlie's mom, a sweet and timid woman who is attracted to cruel men, but not to Dennis. She had a one-night stand with Frank Reynolds 30 years ago, possibly making him Charlie's biological father. She later reconnects with Frank, enjoying his harsh treatment and becoming his "bang-maid", but she quickly transfers her affections to the intimidating Luther Mac after meeting him at a dinner party thrown by Mac and Charlie. Quite neurotic and emotional, she is prone to dramatic episodes. There is evidence (as shown in the Christmas special) that Bonnie may have once been a prostitute, a fact which greatly upsets Charlie. In "Mac's Mom Burns Her House Down", Mrs. Mac accidentally burns her house down and goes on to move in with Bonnie, the two bonding over mutual racism.
* Luther McDonald (Gregory Scott Cummins) — Mac's father, a convicted felon. He is tall and has numerous tattoos and a generally intimidating appearance because he never blinks. Possibly due to his past imprisonment and intimidating presence, he is one of the few people The Gang does not immediately try to manipulate or exploit. The warm and gentle Bonnie Kelly is attracted to Luther's aloof behavior and criminal past. In his first appearance ("Dennis and Dee Get a New Dad"), he attempts to get Mac and Charlie (who have come to visit him in prison and bond with him) to smuggle heroin into the prison through mac and charlies anus. In "Dennis Looks Like a Registered Sex Offender", he is out on parole and convinces Mac to help him "take care of some people" he has listed, including former witnesses in his trial and the judge who sentenced him. Charlie and Mac become convinced that he is using them as drivers while his murdering the people on his list (similar to the movie Collateral) and try to sabotage Luther's parole. They fail to do so and Mac is initially relieved when Luther is arrested for violating the parole on his own. However, Mac is horrified to learn about the parole violation because Luther was apologizing to the people on his list and didn't harm any of them and the parole violation occurred when Luther made proscribed plane reservations to leave the state and take Mac and Charlie to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Luther calmly tells Mac he had no plans to hurt him before, but once he gets out of prison again, he's definitely going to murder him and Charlie. When he is paroled anew, Mac and Charlie fake their deaths to escape what they believe is an unstoppable wrath. Luther forgives Mac for this in a note which also tells Mac to stay far away from him and that he loves him and always had. He now spends his days sunning on a Mexican beach.
* Mrs. McDonald (Sandy Martin) — Mac's mom first appears in "Mac Bangs Dennis' Mom". Like Bonnie, she thinks Dennis is unattractive. She is usually seen smoking and watching television on the front porch of her home. She is extremely apathetic, demonstrated by her falling asleep at her son's "funeral" with a portable TV on her lap and remaining the same as usual when Luther is out on parole, and she often communicates with minimal words and unenthused grunts, (which Mac serves as translator for). In "Mac's Mom Burns Her House Down", she accidentally burns her house down and goes on to move in with Mrs. Kelly, the two bonding over mutual racism.
* Pop Pop (Tom Bower): "The Gang Finds a Dead Guy" found Dennis and Dee's grandfather languishing in a nursing home, rarely visited by relatives. He was a former Nazi of whom Dennis is the spitting image. Charlie pretended to be Pop Pop's grandson when he and Dee visited him; after Pop Pop's death, Charlie appropriated Pop Pop's Nazi-uniform cap. It is not stated whether Pop Pop is Dennis and Dee's paternal grandfather or maternal grandfather. It's more likely that he is their maternal grandfather, for it is seen in a picture of his young self that he bares a striking resmblince to Dennis.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Charlie Kelly

Charles "Charlie" Kelly is a fictional character on the FX television series "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," portrayed by Charlie Day. Charlie is co-owner at Paddy's and a childhood friend of Mac and Dennis. He is also Frank's roommate and possibly his biological son.

Charlie is an angry individual unable to cope with daily problems, prone to emotional outbursts and is often confused and flabbergasted by modern day life. He maintains poor personal hygiene, lives in squalor, frequently abuses inhalants such as glue, spray paint and poppers and, like the rest of The Gang, drinks copious amounts of alcohol regularly. In one episode Charlie says he has never left Philadelphia, though in the episode "The Gang Gets Stranded In The Woods," he finally does, after the gang ties him up and puts him in the trunk of a car, although in "The Gang Gets Invincible" he travels to neighboring Bucks County which is outside of the city of Philadelphia but still within the Philadelphia Metro area to watch Dennis, Mac, and Dee try out for the Philadelphia Eagles. He also later returns to New Jersey to visit the Jersey Shore and, unlike the rest of the Gang, has a wonderful time there thanks to his child-like amazement at the seashore. Throughout the show, Charlie exhibits difficulty reading and writing and has generally poor communication skills. Despite this obvious handicap, Charlie has on many occasions fancied himself to be a lawyer of superior skill, leading to disastrous results when he is actually forced to deal with legal matters. The Gang frequently accuses him of being illiterate and calls him retarded. He shows a very poor grasp of grammar and sentence structure. On one occasion, Mac goes so far as to claim that "no one understands the subtleties of Charlie's retardation better than me."

Like the rest of The Gang, Charlie has a poor grasp of history, current events and geography (once describing George Washington as "some old dude who looks like Meryl Streep who chopped down a cherry tree like ten million years ago" and during The Gang's fight with an Israeli businessman Charlie incongruously declared they would send their enemy "on the first train back to Israel"), sometimes avoiding a conversation altogether to maintain his dignity. His anger management issues, substance abuse, lack of common sense, and poor grasp of reality tend to prevent him from ever achieving much success in life. Despite his intellectual shortcomings, Charlie is very capable of devising intricate, Machiavellian plans to manipulate other characters in the show into doing what he wants, which is normally to gain the favor of "the Waitress" (at which he always fails). Charlie is the hardest worker in The Gang, and the only one to display any real work ethic, as shown in the various episodes where he and The Gang get jobs outside the bar. He is also shown to be the least morally bankrupt member of the gang.

Charlie seems to be the most artistically talented member of The Gang, though his talents are rarely utilized by any of them. In "The Nightman Cometh", he demonstrates his abilities as a playwright, musical composer, and director by staging a dramatic musical production. He enjoys most forms of rock (modern and classic) and heavy metal, showing a particular interest in artists like Bob Dylan. When he, Frank and Mac try to start a band in the episode "Sweet Dee's Dating A Retarded Person", Charlie dresses as Bob Dylan. He also plays the piano quite well, exhibiting a natural musical talent; however, he fears rejection of his music or other creative ideas by others. Charlie's musical talents are a reflection of actor Charlie Day's real-life skill as a musician and songwriter. Like Deandra, he suffers from stage fright and becomes nauseated when performing in front of live audiences.

In the sixth season episode "Charlie Kelly: King of the Rats,", it is discovered that Charlie writes a dream book (or "Dram Bok," as he spells it) that is filled primarily with pictures and symbols (much like the pictures and symbols he used to write the song, "Night Man"). It is a crude collection of images and characters from his dreams.

In The Gang Gets Held Hostage, it is revealed that he has a "bad room" in the attic of the bar where he goes "to be alone and break bottles". Mac is convinced that anyone who encounters Charlie in his "bad room" is likely to be attacked.

Like the rest of The Gang, Charlie likes to dress in costumes and assume other personae, including the legendary "Green Man." In "The Aluminum Monster vs. Fatty McGoo," Charlie shows a remarkable sewing ability, a skill that he claims allows him to maintain his few articles of clothing. Unlike the rest of The Gang, Charlie almost always wears the same few outfits, due to his living in squalor. He is rarely seen without his signature green jacket. At home, he wears a worn black t-shirt depicting a shiny black horse, and an old pair of long thermal underwear (described by Mac as "covered in piss").

He also seems convinced that he is an adept lawyer. This is shown by his interest in seemingly imaginary "bird law," Law & Order, and handling any legal matter that The Gang runs into. His delusion regarding his nonexistent legal skill has caused him to repeatedly confront The Lawyer, a recurring enemy of the Gang in later seasons. He even went as far as to challenge The Lawyer to a duel, which the latter gladly accepted (a possibility that Charlie had not anticipated). Although he is a co-owner of Paddy's, he lives in a disgusting degree of poverty and in many episodes is shown sleeping on the streets, scavenging for garbage (and eating it), and devising schemes to get others (namely Frank) to pay his rent for him. His financial problems are exacerbated by his tendency to make "bad investments," which are rarely explained, although it is clear that the rest of Gang gladly do not allow Charlie to share in the bar's meager profits. However, at the end of the season six episode "The Gang Buys a Boat," Charlie notes at the end that the entire ordeal was in fact, "a terrible investment."

Many of the tedious and disgusting tasks at the pub (taking out the trash, cleaning the bathrooms, exterminating pests) are referred to as "Charlie work," even when Charlie is not performing them. He seems almost inhumanly tough and resistant to injury. Mac and Dennis, who believe him to be nearly indestructible, frequently manipulate him into tests of his fortitude, such as hitting him over the head with beer bottles and chairs or having him tow Dennis' Range Rover through the streets of Philadelphia. After ingesting an amount of cough syrup large enough to "kill a gorilla," as Mac warns in "The Gang Dances Their Asses Off," Charlie simply states "Bro, I can handle my sedatives." He does in fact stay standing for several hours before collapsing, outlasting all but two other contestants. In the season three premiere, Charlie's mother reveals that he was the survivor of a failed abortion. He has on separate occasions been shot in the head and run over by Dennis, yet shows no sign of permanent physical disability, nor exacerbation of his already questionable mental state.

Charlie has little-to-no success in dating and harbors an unrequited love for The Waitress, a recurring secondary character in the show. He goes to great lengths to attempt to win her over, despite her frequent declarations that she will never be interested in him (the actress who plays The Waitress, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, is in fact married to Charlie Day, who portrays Charlie). Charlie's attempts to woo The Waitress invariably end badly for her, as his actions have caused her to lose jobs and sleep with Frank and Dennis.

Charlie consistently shows more empathy than any other member of The Gang and seems to have slightly higher ethical standards. For example, he turned in the McPoyle Brothers when they attempted to profit from accusing a former teacher of molestation. In the episode "The Gang Finds a Dead Guy," he and Mac burn a box of authentic Nazi memorabilia once belonging to Dennis and Dee's grandfather, although they destroyed it only after trying to sell it to a museum for a profit. Despite his often firm sense of right-and-wrong, Charlie has few friends, depending largely on the selfish, unstable bonds formed within The Gang. It is revealed that Charlie never had a high social standing from childhood and, in high school, only gained any attention by engaging in disgusting acts (like eating worms or erasers), which earned him the nickname "dirt-grub". He has repeatedly claimed to have hated high school. He and Dee seem to be true friends, partaking in platonic activities and frequently teaming up in The Gang's misadventures, often against Mac and Dennis. Charlie has even once or twice shown a small romantic interest in Dee but usually agrees with the rest of the gang that she is unattractive. However, their friendship is frequently marred when The Gang gets caught up in controversial issues, or whenever one of the two switches sides in their many battles against Mac and Dennis. Charlie's deeper understanding of right and wrong likely stems from a lifetime of mistreatment by other people. Charlie, unlike the rest of The Gang, also appears to have had a loving, if emotionally-fragile, mother and a stable childhood (although it's revealed in "The Great Recession" that Charlie may have been molested by his uncle Jack.) Despite his morals, however, Charlie is not above selfishly manipulating, deceiving, and harming others for personal gain or vengeance. He enjoys seeing the other members of The Gang embarrassed or degraded, much like they often degrade him. For example, in "Dennis and Dee's Mom Is Dead," he is eager to have someone read to him from Dee's middle school diary, only so he can laugh at her difficulties as a disabled adolescent.

The possibility that Frank Reynolds is his real father has been heavily hinted at throughout the series. In the season 2 finale and season 3 premiere, Charlie finds out that Frank had a one-night stand with his mother, Bonnie, thirty years ago, roughly at the same time as Charlie's conception. Charlie tries to persuade Frank to take a paternity test, but Frank adamantly refuses. Later, when his mother informs Charlie that he survived an abortion, she tells him that Frank is his father and pushed her to get the abortion, although Frank insists that Bonnie was known for being a "giant whore" and therefore maintains that he is not Charlie's father. The promiscuity of Charlie's mother is suggested more visibly in the episode "A Very Sunny Christmas," where Charlie reminisces about numerous men dressed in Santa suits visiting his mother's bedroom on Christmas morning each year.

Despite their unknown genetic bond, Frank and Charlie are very close, sharing an apartment and even the same bed. They partner in many schemes and were even briefly domestic partners in Season Six. Frank's attachment to Charlie is shown to reach bizarre lengths in the episode "Mac and Charlie Die," where Frank seems to be the most affected by Charlie's death and carries around a mannequin that resembles Charlie. Frank is later witnessed "banging" the mannequin. However, Frank has readily betrayed Charlie on several occasions, manipulating him to gain access to women, including Charlie's beloved Waitress, and using Charlie's name and identity while engaged in illegal financial situations. When Charlie knew the hidden location of Frank's will (from which Charlie was to be the main benefactor), Frank tried to have Charlie killed by the McPoyle Brothers in "The Gang Gets Held Hostage". Despite these many offenses against him, Charlie has remained largely devoted to Frank. In another episode, when Frank abandons Charlie and moves in with Bonnie, Charlie cooks an inedible dinner for The Gang and their parents and causes a string of violent arguments and hurt feelings just to get Frank to leave Bonnie and return to the apartment with him.

Charlie and Frank's bizarre relationship is often mocked by the rest of The Gang, particularly the pair's shared embrace of filthy living conditions. Their apartment (referred to by anyone who dares set foot in it as a "shit-hole") appears to be a single room in which they sleep ("ass-to-ass" on an old sofa bed), cook meals on the radiator or a hot plate and urinate in old coffee cans. The alley outside the apartment is crowded with dozens of meowing stray cats after dark, likely the result of Frank and Charlie's nightly consumption of canned cat food (followed by a can of beer and a huff of glue fumes) to get to sleep. They claim this ritual allows them to sleep through the noise of so many stray cats, while everyone else blames the noise on the piles of empty cat-food cans and an open window. The apartment is littered with garbage, dirty dishes and a layer of filth. In one episode, Frank is seen using a steak knife to cut his toenails. He cuts himself almost immediately and Charlie attempts to cover the wound with garbage off the floor. Frank stayed with Charlie originally as a temporary means to hide both himself and his assets from his gold-digging wife. However, he quickly came to love Charlie's life of squalid misery and the two now share virtually everything - from a rusty coffee can used as a toilet to cardboard boxes full of pennies, which millionaire Frank keeps for unspecified purposes.

Charlie is also known for bizarre thoughts, ideas, and aspirations. These include his favorite food being milk steak (steak boiled in milk and honey) boiled over hard with a side of jellybeans, raw, his interest in ghouls and magnets, and also his dream book which depicts surreal illustrations of what Charlie sees in his dreams such as a "werm hat" (actually a German pilot named Hans Wermhatt), "denim chicken", and a "bird with teeth".

Charlie mentions that he has a sister in episode seven of season one, however, no further reference is made to her in any following episodes.

Green Man

Green Man is a persona assumed by Charlie wearing a green Lycra suit (morphsuit) in several episodes of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia. The persona has spawned imitators, most notably at sporting events.

Rob McElhenney, creator of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia came up with the idea after watching the Philadelphia Eagles defeat the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia Without warning, in the parking lot after the game, a friend of McElhenney's stripped off his clothes and donned a full-body green lycra suit. McElhenney said: "Everyone started chanting, 'Green Man! Green Man!' It went on for several hours, and all I could think was, 'My God, there has to be a way I can take advantage of this on the show.'"

When McElhenney returned to Los Angeles, he ordered a suit from Japan that was identical to the outfit that McElhenney's friend had worn. The character made his debut the next season in an episode entitled "The Gang Gets Invincible," which centered on three of the show's central characters trying out for the Eagles, just as they had seen in the film Invincible.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Frank Reynolds

Frank Reynolds is a fictional character on the FX television series It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Frank is the legal father of twins Dennis and Dee and the roommate and alleged biological father of Charlie. He is played by Danny DeVito.

Frank appears to be intelligent relative to the rest of The Gang, but quite possibly mentally unstable. In episodes his character frequently becomes paranoid, delusional and psychotic. He has also attempted suicide several times, and has consumed a large quantity and variety of drugs throughout the series. Frank styles himself as a master manipulator and frequently takes the lead in The Gang's schemes.

Introduced in the throes of a midlife crisis, he first appears in the season 2 premiere, "Charlie Gets Crippled." His background is as a successful businessman with a long history of illegal operations and dealings with sordid characters, some of whom vow to "skin him alive." In the second episode of season 2, "The Gang Goes Jihad," Frank becomes the owner of the land underneath Paddy's Pub after The Gang accidentally blew up the building next door to scare off an Israeli businessman who had attempted to evict them, giving Frank an opening to buy the properties from the Israeli and then threaten to turn Mac, Dennis and Charlie over to the police unless they agree to his demands. He uses this leverage to forcibly join The Gang and become their "Captain."

Frank claims to have his children's best interests at heart but he frequently exploits and insults them even more so after it is revealed that he is not their biological father. We learn that Frank made a tradition at Christmas of buying the gifts his children most wanted for himself just to see them suffer. It has been clear that Frank and his wife's greedy, indifferent and cruel parenting shaped Dennis and Dee's pathologies into the narcissistic, borderline-sociopathic way they are today. Over the course of the series he has pimped out his son Dennis for "no-rules" sexual favors and trained his daughter Dee to be a boxer so she could fight the daughter of his longtime nemesis. He is especially cruel to Dee, constantly remarking negatively on her age and looks. In "Dennis and Dee's Mom Is Dead" he convinces her to pretend to be engaged to him and almost takes part in sexual activity with her. When it is learned that Dennis and Dee were the products of an affair Frank's wife engaged in, Frank and his children mutually cease to regard each other as family and instead as just part of The Gang. Frank seems to take Mac under his wing, "mentoring" him on how to succeed in life via shady, unethical and sometimes illegal methods. It is observed that Mac looks up to Frank, perhaps more so than the rest of The Gang, with the possible exception of Charlie. Charlie has taken extreme measures to ensure that Frank remains his roommate, despite Frank's cruel, manipulative behavior towards him. It is revealed that Frank is possibly Charlie's long-lost father, due to Frank's affair with Charlie's mom 30 years before. Frank claims he was never told of Charlie's birth, and pushed for Charlie's mom to have an abortion, which Charlie somehow survived.

Though he clearly teaches life lessons and even offers valuable insights to The Gang, Frank's worldview is often very skewed. In the episode "Mac and Dennis: Manhunters," Dennis remarks that some of the stories Frank tells of his life come straight from John Rambo's life. In "The Gang Gets Held Hostage," Frank emulates John McClane from the Die Hard film series. In the episode "Mac Is a Serial Killer," Dennis says Frank "makes less and less sense as the days go by," and in the episode "The Gang Gets Lost in The Woods," Dee says to Frank "I just don't question the things you do anymore." Frank has displayed diminishing mental capacities as the show goes on, often seemingly to forget what he's saying in the middle of a sentence, which may be shaped by a life time of substance abuse. He has a tendency to trip on LSD, where he has manifested traumatizing experiences being trapped in the bathrooms of recreational vehicles. Like the rest of the Gang, he often drinks alcohol, but usually not to the excess that the others do, except in the episode "The Gang Gives Frank an Intervention." Frank is also notable for his recreational use of Marijuana, using the drug with a higher frequency than other members of The Gang. Frank has shown extreme violent tendencies and, unlike his cowardly friends, seems to relish physical confrontations and inflicting physical pain on others. He is known for carrying around a snub-nosed revolver on him at all times, producing it whenever and wherever he or others in The Gang feels it is necessary, pointing it around, even firing it, mostly at inappropriate times, such as when he thought there was a grease fire in Paddy's in the episode "The Gang Gives Frank an Intervention." In the episode "Mac is a Serial Killer", Frank is eager to use a chainsaw on Mac when he becomes convinced that he is a serial killer and appears to be about use the chainsaw on the real serial killer at the conclusion of the episode. In another episode, Frank waterboards Dee in order to gain information from her. In the episode "The Gang Gets Held Hostage," Frank tried to ensure Charlie be murdered to protect his own will and, in "The Gang Goes to the Jersey Shore", Frank nearly murdered Mac in competition over a "rum ham" when the two accidentially go adrift at sea.

Frank appears to be very wealthy, apparently making his fortune from his former real estate company ReyHam Properties, from which he swindled his business partner Eugene out of his share of the company, as well as foreign business deals, such as a Vietnamese sweatshop. Despite this wealth, Frank prefers to live in squalor as Charlie's roommate in an apartment referred to by anyone who dares step into it as "a shithole," which originally stemmed from his desire to hide assets from his then recently-separated wife. Since then, he has gone through a consistent and prominent devolution and becoming more and more cruel, selfish, and greedy as the show has progressed. He will do anything in his power to sleep with women (seemingly any woman), frequenting strip clubs, prostitutes and almost joining (along with Dennis) a group of swingers. Frank even happily bedding "the waitress", Charlie's long time object of unrequited love. Although initially aghast when he learns Dennis and Dee are not his children and upset over their divorce, Frank appears to be overjoyed when his long-time wife dies. At one point, Frank tries to have sex with his niece through marriage, the grotesque "Gail the Snail," but they only wind up dry humping after consuming several Monster-brand energy drinks. In "Frank's Pretty Woman", Frank was prepared to settle down with a nasty prostitute but was then completely indifferent when he learns that she died from a crack-cocaine overdose.

Though Frank is egotistical, diabolical, and maniacal, he appears to have some good in him; he seems to have loving feelings for Charlie, apparently more so than he does for Dennis and Dee. In "Mac and Charlie Die," he becomes grief-stricken when Charlie fakes his own death; he carries around a plastic likeness of Charlie through the streets while wailing and keening his love for him. Towards the end of the episode Charlie claims to have seen Frank "banging" said plastic likeness. Frank and Charlie were briefly married at the beginning of the sixth season.

Frank is a severe compulsive gambler, seen betting on everything from grade school basketball to Russian roulette, usually with his chain smoking, and high-stakes betting ring of Vietnamese friends. Sweet Dee once told Frank, "You can't just come in here and start running our lives like this, it's not fair!" to which Frank replied "Wanna bet?" Dee, confused, asks "On what? Whether or not it's fair?" to which Frank replies "Sure. Bet on whatever." This is a prime example of his boundless addiction to gambling, no matter how ridiculous the circumstances.

In one episode, Frank also is shown as member of a street gang called the "Yellow Jacket Boys." They appear to be leather jacket-wearing thugs, but the most menacing thing they are seen doing is enchanting the streets of Philadelphia with their doowop singing. "What's the action?" has at times been Frank's signature line. Frank's views on politics and government often tends to be libertarian in nature, when he isn't lost in a nihilistic fog; Frank did appreciate that, in "The Great Recession", the government inexplicably gave him a bailout that restored his fortune after he inexplicably went bankrupt in the first place.

Ronald "Mac" McDonald- It's Always Sunny

Ronald "Mac" McDonald is a fictional character on the FX television series It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Mac is Charlie's childhood friend and Dennis's high school friend and later roommate. He is a co-owner of Paddy's and generally the pub's most active manager. Mac is played by Rob McElhenney. A moral and physical coward, Mac frequently strives to appear "hard", usually to impress his father or friends, but he generally flees from confrontations and fares poorly in fights.

Mac carols his signature line, "What's up, bitches?", throughout the series. In many episodes, Mac will enter the bar announcing "I've got news", or a variation on that basic idea, to set the episode's plot in motion. The others rarely share his enthusiasm, but he usually convinces one of them to follow him, though often reluctantly. Throughout the series, Mac flashes his signature "puppy-dog look" when he is ashamed or when he proposes something reprehensibly shameful. He is the self-declared "sheriff of Paddy's."

For the first six seasons Mac's full name was kept anonymous as a running joke, though in the season four episode "Mac & Charlie Die," Mac's father's name is listed as "Luther Mac" on his parole papers and his mother is referred to as Mrs. Mac. In the episode "Who Got Dee Pregnant?," one of the McPoyle brothers refers to Mac as "Macwell." Mac's real name, Ronald McDonald, wasn't revealed until the season seven episode "The High School Reunion". Mac hates the name as well as his old nickname, "Ronnie the Rat," which he obtained from ratting on fellow drug dealers in high school. He prefers to be simply called "Mac."

Mac comes from a broken home; his father has been incarcerated for dealing meth and his mother is extremely apathetic and unemotional. Mac and his mother also own a dog named Poppins, who despite being extremely old and prone to eating poisonous objects appears to be practically indestructible. He sees himself as a karate expert and total badass. Mac constantly seeks the acceptance of others, especially his parents, but his over-earnest efforts make him come off as an "asshole." Earlier, under the impression that his father would possibly murder him after being paroled, Mac later receives a warm letter from his father, specifically requesting that Mac stay away from him. This letter is written as Mac's father fears that Mac's destructive tendencies could harm him. Dennis notes that the only reason Mac hung out with the popular kids in high school was because he sold them all weed and even then was considered an "asshole." Though Dennis reigns supreme as selfish and arrogant, Mac has made his fair share of selfish, inconsiderate decisions and observations.

Although he seeks his friends' acceptance, Mac takes special pleasure in undermining, physically harming, contradicting, and publicly belittling Sweet Dee at every possible opportunity, more so than Charlie or even Dennis (this hatred gains amusing subtext because the actors who play Mac and Sweet Dee are married parents in real life). Mac is considered by every member of The Gang to be a "jerk", and is nearly always the first to start betraying the others, though he does usually stick with Dennis, who is his best friend and has known him longer than anybody in The Gang but Charlie. Like Dennis, Mac sees himself as superior to the rest of The Gang and often attempts to prove his supremacy. For instance, in an attempt to impress Charlie and Dennis, he makes a series of "Project Badass" videotapes that consist of various idiotic stunts set to music; however, the pair believes that Mac is just trying to "bang" them. He had a sexual relationship with a pre-op transsexual named Carmen, for whom he claimed he was just "putting in time" as he waited for her surgery. There is much evidence that Mac is harboring one or more STDs, especially since he refuses to wear condoms, most likely due to his faith (see below).

Mac sincerely believes that he is an adept martial artist with "cat-like reflexes", and he usually wears sleeveless shirts to draw attention to his physique and to exhibit his tribal tattoos. Despite his apparent fitness, Mac generally focuses his workout time on developing his glamor muscles and is largely the weakest member in The Gang, behind everyone but Dennis. Despite his enthusiasm towards karate, he is shown to have no real expert (or basic) skills when showing off his talent, and is a coward when it comes to physical confrontations.

A Catholic, Mac is the only member of The Gang to profess a religious faith. Though Mac seems to care more about issues such as abortion, community activism, and parenting than the rest of The Gang, his views on such subjects are invariably twisted, ignorant, or prejudiced, and his actions regarding them are always hypocritical and selfish. For instance, after pretending to be adamantly pro-life in order to attract a female activist, Mac later demands that she get an abortion when he thinks she has become pregnant by him. In another instance involving the transsexual Carmen, Mac discovers that she has married and had the operation to remove her penis. He then belittles Carmen and her husband by quoting the Bible to them and calling them "gay"; however he only reacts so because he expected Carmen to call him once she had the operation so they could date again. Mac constantly drinks alcohol like the rest of The Gang and abuses other substances, such as poppers and glue.

At the start of season 7, Mac has gained at least 50 pounds of fat, which he sees as a step to developing muscle ("cultivating mass" in his words) in order to go from "a tiny twink to [a] muscle-bound freak." In the episode "How Mac Got Fat", he goes into greater detail about his intentions, explaining that earlier in the series, the Gang had decided to replace themselves with avatars to run Paddy's so they could slack off. Mac's avatar was a bodybuilder. When Dee points out that the avatar doesn't look like him because he has more muscle, Mac starts gaining more weight so they'll look the same size. Eventually the Gang drops the avatar plan and everything goes back to normal, but Mac still has all the weight. The rest of The Gang agrees he looks unhealthy - Dennis is personally outraged by the sight of his gut - but Mac is indifferent to their opinions despite developing diabetes as a result of his new eating habits. He has also taken to carrying around garbage bags full of chimichangas. Rob McElhenney has stated in interviews that he wanted to make Mac fat as his own way of fighting the trend of actors on TV shows getting more attractive as a show gains more success.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Dennis Reynolds

Dennis Reynolds is a fictional character on the FX television series It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Dennis is a co-owner of Paddy's and is Deandra's twin brother. Dennis is extremely narcissistic, selfish, histrionic and vain. His sense of self-worth is entirely dependent on what others think of his appearance and sex appeal. He frequently obsesses over any possibility that he may have a visible physical flaw and often spends the remainder of the episode trying to correct it. Dennis needs constant reassurance that he is attractive; he often goes to shocking or dangerous lengths to gain the attention and approval of people around him. Throughout the series, Dennis frequently drinks large amounts of alcohol and occasionally uses other drugs, such as crack cocaine and ecstasy. He is played by Glenn Howerton. Dennis is the only one from the show's trio of male lead characters (himself, Mac and Charlie) who does not share a first name or nickname with the actor who portrays him, and Howerton said at a convention that this was deliberately done to distance himself from his role as much as possible.

"Popping off" his shirt in inappropriate situations has become one of Dennis' main clichés. Dennis' delusional self-image influences him to believe that anyone would want to see him without his shirt and would be just as pleased as he is with what they see.

Dennis has a strong superiority complex. He is almost wholly unable to empathize and routinely destroys others' property, betrays his friends, and harshly criticizes the appearance of people in his presence. He even insults and demeans his friends, particularly Deandra and Charlie, on a regular basis and never hesitates to draw attention to their flaws, shortcomings, and past failures. This can lead to the conclusion that Dennis has sociopathic tendencies. Both his friends and enemies have referred to him as "a piece of shit" within the series. In response, Dennis usually smiles or laughs and rarely disagrees with their sentiment, seeming to be perfectly comfortable with that description. Dennis openly considers himself to be the epitome of physical attractiveness, but is actually very insecure about his looks. Although he is generally unfazed and often pleased by insults about his personality or nonphysical features, he is very sensitive to any negative remarks about his physical appearance. Any critique of his looks, however mild or trivial, deeply distresses Dennis and often leads him to extreme behavior to rectify the supposed problem. In the episode "The Gang Exploits a Miracle", Deandra counters Dennis' insults by claiming that he has a "fat face" which temporarily causes Dennis to become dangerously anorexic.

Exceedingly promiscuous, Dennis tends to easily gain the short-term favor of women. He's claimed that, in his sexual encounters, the words "no", "don't", and "stop" never stop him from following his intentions. It has been revealed that Dennis was once dismissed from a counselor position at a summer camp because he was accused of the statutory rape of an underage teenage girl, although he maintains he just kissed the girl, who was only a year younger than he was. Members of The Gang comment on his attraction to teenage girls in "Underage Drinking: A National Concern"; in this episode, Dennis ends up being blackmailed by an eighteen-year-old high school senior into escorting her to her high school prom; however, he showed rare morals and restraint in both turning down the teenager's blatant sexual advances and seeming briefly relieved when she returned to her high school boyfriend. Dennis also has a fascination with anonymous sex, even almost engaging in an underground sex orgy with Frank. Dennis repeatedly shows a poor understanding of the line between seduction and rape. For example, in one episode he did not understand how having sex with a sleeping stranger could possibly be considered rape. In a later episode he failed to understand what was wrong in creating a situation where a woman would agree to have sex with him out of fear for her own safety. As the series progressed, Dennis' sexual preferences have become increasingly disturbing. Initially, Dennis would simply engage in casual sex, but later episodes reveal that he prefers not knowing his partner's name, even going so far as using a glory hole for anonymity's sake (although he quickly rejected the idea after finding that Frank was on the other end). Dennis also likes to videotape each of his sexual encounters as well as record the conversations leading up to them. In "The High School Reunion Part 2: The Gang's Revenge," Dennis reveals that he "like[s] to be bound" with cuffs and other "tools" during sex.

Dennis is also implied to have had a gay experience while blackout drunk at the beginning of the first season when Mac, helping Sweet Dee get revenge, got Dennis drunk on tequila. Though Dennis shows a complete lack of an understanding of the mechanics of gay relationships, he knows what it means to be a bear or a twink and understands how a "top" differs from a "bottom"; he explains to The Gang that "speed is the name of the game" when defining the role of a "power bottom." The possibly-ambiguous nature of his sexuality and gender identity has been explored in other episodes and is usually connected to his vanity and need for peer approval.

Dennis' taste in music is primarily what Mac calls "early-eighties glam-rock femme-shit." Dennis is seen singing along with songs of Rick Astley on multiple occasions. He also professes to being a huge fan of Steve Winwood, having replaced a fitness instructor's CD with Winwood's "Higher Love" at the local gym and bragging that he owns "all of Steve Winwood's shit" on separate occasions. Despite making less than $400 a week at the bar, Dennis' family's wealth enables him to wear stylish clothing, live in a large apartment and drive a Range Rover. He is the most educated of The Gang, having graduated from University of Pennsylvania in 1998 with a bachelors degree. Though it's not known what his major was, he mentions that he minored in psychology but failed to achieve his original ambition to become a veterinarian. He also has some artistic talent that he expresses by drawing cartoonish, large-breasted women, which Charlie finds oddly enticing. It is once hinted in the episode, "Dee Gives Birth" that Dennis may be interested in Norse mythology, after he threatens to rain down "the fury of Thor's hammer" onto the hospital, after the Nurse says she can not find Dee a room with a working television.

Unlike Charlie and Dee, Dennis was not a complete outcast in high school. According to Dennis, this was due mainly to his "good looks and charm" (though his popularity with women is hinted to have been mainly because of his family's wealth). In high school, he was notorious for hooking up with younger girls, according to Dee. However, it is revealed at his high school reunion that Dennis was much less popular than he'd claimed to be. He referred to everyone at the school as his "minions" and to himself as a "golden god," much to the annoyance of others, who told him at the reunion that he would always run off to hang out under the bleachers or next to a Dumpster with "Ronnie the Rat" (Mac) and "Dirtgrub" (Charlie). It was because of his narcissistic tendencies that he did not realize that nobody considered him popular other than himself. His delusions of popularity continued into college at the University of Pennsylvania, and in the episode "The Gang Reignites the Rivalry" he repeatedly states that he was "a legend" at his chapter of the Delta Omega Lambda fraternity, in fact his picture on the wall of the frat house was defaced and he was mocked and beaten by the current frat members. His narcissism caused him to believe that he would still be accepted and revered in the house, despite being in his 30s and when he was proven to be mistaken his behavior grew increasingly unhinged eventually leading to him (with help from Mac, Charlie and Frank) to put non lethal poison in the alcoholic drinks of the fraternity members and Dee. Despite his antisocial behavior, Dennis has shown on numerous occasions to have a softer side. He once developed a genuine affection for an indestructible junkyard cat he briefly adopted and named Special Agent Jack Bauer. In a later episode, he revealed that he had hoped to be married by the time he was 30, thus contradicting his love of anonymous and meaningless sex. However, shortly after expressing this desire and marrying an old girlfriend, he filed for divorce after getting irritated with his wife's behavior and desire to spend time with him. In the episode "Dee Gives Birth", despite showing complete indifference to his sister's pregnancy up until that point, he grew attached to the idea of becoming a father figure to (what he thought was) the child Dee was going to be raising.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Deandra "Sweet Dee" Reynolds

Deandra "Sweet Dee" Reynolds is a fictional character on the FX television series It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, portrayed by actress Kaitlin Olson. Dee was the only major character in the show to be conceived without an actor in mind. Although she was originally written to be a female voice of reason to contrast with the other ridiculous characters, Dee's character quickly became an equal participant in The Gang's illicit and morally questionable activities once Olson (later to become McElhenney's real-life wife) was cast.

Dee is Dennis' twin sister and is the main bartender at Paddy's. Sweet Dee was unpopular in high school due to her severe scoliosis, for which she wore a corrective back brace that earned her the nickname "The Aluminum Monster". Additionally, she is often ridiculed for her resemblance to a bird by the rest of The Gang, especially Mac and Dennis. She identifies herself as a liberal, and also claims to be compassionate. Despite her personal self-assessment, she is characterized as being selfish, greedy, and prejudiced. Sweet Dee battles The Gang's view that "females are inferior" and feels that she must prove that she's as able as her male friends. In "The Gang Gets Invincible", Dee poses as male alter ego "Cole" to try out for the Philadelphia Eagles with Mac and Dennis; she does a superb job and impresses the Eagle coaches until she stuns everyone by revealing she's a woman right before her punting tryout, after which she kicks the ball and severely injures her foot. Her father Frank is the only one who considers Dee a true member of The Gang. Whenever there is a decision or a vote among members of The Gang, the three other guys habitually exclude her.

Dee is usually ignored or ridiculed whenever she presents an idea to The Gang; however, if someone repeats her exact suggestion, it is immediately accepted. In her mother's will, Dee is told that she has been a disappointment and a mistake despite the fact that she is one of twins. She has considerable animosity towards her mother. She wants to show her up and "shove it in her face".

In the season 2 episode Dennis and Dee Go on Welfare she and Dennis develop an addiction to Crack cocaine which is brought up a few times in later episodes.

After failing out of the University of Pennsylvania, where she had intended to major in psychology, Deandra decided to become an actress. However, she has put little effort into realizing her ambition and has never had any significant acting work; as a result, The Gang frequently taunts her as lacking in any talent.

Sweet Dee's acting-career aspirations have inspired her to create several characters, all of which are based on ethnic stereotypes. Many of these are seen in the episode "America's Next Top Paddy's Billboard Model Contest", in which she attempts to be discovered by talent agencies by posting videos of her acting on YouTube. However, her presence in the videos is overshadowed by Charlie's idiotic performances as Green Man. Although Deandra shows no on-camera stage fright, she consistently faces severe glossophobia when performing in front of an audience. When she performs a stand-up comedy routine at a local comedy club, she repeatedly gags and dry-heaves on stage due to her anxiety.

Since high school, Dee has had a long string of failed relationships and one-night stands throughout the series including: a high-school boy who used her for alcohol and to make his girlfriend jealous; a thief who robbed the bar; a middle-aged toothless Korean busboy; a soldier who ultimately found her to be "a mean person" and Lil Kev, a rapper The Gang was convinced was mentally retarded. Like the other members of The Gang, Deandra drinks very heavily, often to calm herself when meeting an attractive man. Relative to the rest of The Gang, Dee seems to drink more and be drunk more often. She harbors a phobia of the elderly. Despite her many insecurities, Dee is aggressively outspoken and is prone to violence when angered. At one point, she assaults a bum she finds masturbating in the alley behind Paddy's. Like Charlie, her anger is greatly amplified by use of steroids in "Hundred Dollar Baby". In "The Gang Solves the North Korea Situation", she is, along with Frank and Mac, on an American Idol-like panel where she portrays a drunken spoof of Paula Abdul, slurring her words and judging hopefuls in a talent contest. She drinks heavily from a cup full of "Rum and Cokes" and uses the event as an excuse to criticize and demean the contestants.

Dee was pregnant and aware of the biological father; however, his identity was unknown to The Gang and the audience. The father is revealed to be Carmen the Transsexual. Dee carried Carmen's child as a surrogate mother having been impregnated through Carmen's sperm and an egg from a donor. She gave birth to a boy in the episode "Dee Gives Birth". The episode was dedicated to Axel Lee McElhenney, Kaitlin Olson and Rob McElhenney's real life son.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Characters

The Waitress

The Waitress (Mary Elizabeth Ellis) is the most frequently recurring character outside of The Gang. She works at a coffee shop not far from Paddy's, and is introduced in the first episode, "The Gang Gets Racist," as the object of Charlie's affections. The Waitress has absolutely no interest in Charlie but harbors an unrequited crush on Dennis, who slept with her in the episode "Charlie Has Cancer". She did spend the night with Charlie while they were both at the Jersey Shore but only did so because she was high on Ecstasy, and in the morning she was sickened and ran away from Charlie after accusing him of raping her. However, Charlie wasn't upset by her reaction and was happy he got to spend any time with her at all. Charlie goes to great lengths to woo her, while she goes to great lengths to attract Dennis' attention. In attempts to make Dennis jealous, she "banged" Frank in the episode "Mac Bangs Dennis' Mom" and went grinding on a homeless man in the episode "The Gang Dances Their Asses Off." Frequently, her infatuation with Dennis causes her to make decisions against her better moral judgment. Also because of her obsession with Dennis, she is often the victim of The Gang's manipulative schemes. She is a recovering alcoholic, a fact referenced first in "The Gang Gives Back," when she becomes Charlie's Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor, and referenced again in "Who Pooped the Bed" and "The Waitress Gets Married."

As a running gag, none of the characters seem to know her real name; she is simply referred to as "The Waitress," and directly as "Waitress." It was hinted Charlie may know her name in "The Gang Sells Out" when he chides her for liking Dennis when he doesn't even know her real name. The only clues to her real name are that it does not start with "W" and is not "Beautiful"; the name Dennis gave to her when he was accused of not knowing what it was. In "The Waitress Is Getting Married," it is revealed that she went to high school with the gang, and she and Sweet Dee both dated the same guy in high school. She attends the high school reunion with the gang, where her name tag is missing, (further implying her status as 'easily forgettable', a theme in that episode), preventing her name from being revealed. Many fans assumed her name was Nikki Potnick when Frank shows up with a stolen name tag with that name. However, Glenn Howerton specified on Twitter that this is not the case.

Mary Elizabeth Ellis is Charlie Day's real-life spouse.

Artemis

Artemis (Artemis Pebdani) is one of the more frequently recurring secondary characters, introduced in "Charlie Gets Cancer" as Sweet Dee's friend from her acting classes who acts out a scene from Coyote Ugly (a film that featured actress Kaitlin Olson in a small part). Artemis is overly serious about her craft and displays bizarre habits and outbursts. She is very open about her sexuality and often offers to perform in the nude, even when it is unnecessary. Recently she was involved in a sexual relationship with Frank and the two shared a food fetish. She likes having sex with bacon bits in her hair because it makes her feel like a cobb salad. She and Frank once had sex in a dumpster behind Wendy's, where she did something with a roll. She has openly proclaimed that she has a "bleached asshole".

Matthew "Cricket" Mara

Father Matthew "Rickety Cricket" Mara (David Hornsby), usually referred to as "Cricket","Crick" or "Street Rat" is a Roman Catholic priest who becomes defrocked, destitute, abducted, assaulted (both non-sexually and sexually), threatened, hunted, severely injured and addicted to cocaine all directly or indirectly resulting from the influence or action of his former high school classmates: Deandra, Dennis, Charlie and Mac. As a boy he suffered from a medical condition that required the use of very conspicuous complex leg braces which inspired the pejorative nickname "Rickety Cricket". He first appears in "The Gang Exploits a Miracle" where it is revealed that he has continued to harbor a highschool crush on Deandra (who at the time used an elaborate semi-permanant aluminum medical back brace earning her the moniker: "The Aluminum Monster"). He admits he was convinced to eat horse feces for a chance to kiss Dee, which she refused since, as she says, "his breath smelled like shit". Mac and Dennis have been teabagging Cricket at every opportunity since high school. Dennis claims that he has a shoebox full of pictures of him and Mac doing this, and pictures are surfacing on the Internet. One recurring theme in the series is Cricket's downward spiral; due to his involvement with the Gang he leaves the priesthood, supports himself by grifting or panhandling, becomes addicted to crack cocaine, has his legs broken by members of the Philadelphia Mafia, has his throat severely injured by Frank in a wrestling match, and is hunted by Mac and Dennis for sport. He has since carried a vendetta against The Gang and attempts to get his revenge in various episodes, but consistently fails to do so. He shows up in "Mac's Big Break", when he appears on Dennis and Sweet Dee's inaugural podcast, remarking about his life as a homeless person. He also shows up in "Dee Gives Birth" because Frank was trying "to cast a wider net" in finding out the identity of Dee's baby's father and he considered Rickety Cricket to be "the wildcard". He shows up at his High School claiming to have returned to being a priest but actually uses the opportunity to steal jewelry from the other students. The other students mock him when it is discovered he has ring worm.

The McPoyles

Brothers Liam (Jimmi Simpson) and Ryan McPoyle (Nate Mooney) are creepy former elementary-school classmates of Mac and Charlie. They are introduced in "Charlie Got Molested" when they falsely accuse a former teacher of pedophilia and Charlie and the rest of the gang foil their plan and turn them in to the police, which sparks the McPoyles' antipathy toward the Paddy's Pub gang. Liam and Ryan have an incestuous relationship with each other and their deaf-mute sister Margaret (Thesy Surface). As seen in "The Gang Gets Invincible", they have at least 14 other siblings and family members, who all sport the McPoyle unibrows, acne, and eczema. The most notable relative is "Doyle McPoyle" (Bob Rusch), an aspiring football player who lost his chance to play for the Philadelphia Eagles when a hallucinating Frank accidentally shot him in the leg. Ryan and Liam avenge this in the episode "The Gang Gets Held Hostage" by faking a raid on the bar. Ryan seems to have an strange obsession with Pledge furniture cleaner and all The McPoyles seem to only drink milk and prefer warm, clammy conditions, which explains their constant sweaty appearance.

Carmen

Carmen (Brittany Daniel) is a male-to-female transsexual who was dating Mac. She first appears in the season 1 episode "Charlie Has Cancer", then reappears in the season 3 episode "Mac Is a Serial Killer". She is attractive but displays an obvious bulge in her pants. She keeps Mac interested in her with promises of undergoing sexual reassignment surgery and with constant flattery of Mac's physique. In "Mac Fights Gay Marriage", she has completely removed her penis, and has gotten married to Nick, much to Mac's chagrin. In "Dee Gives Birth" it is revealed that Carmen is the father of Dee's baby (she had her sperm frozen before she had her penis removed) and that they used an anonymous egg donor and Dee was merely a surrogate. Dee gave the baby to Carmen and her husband Nick to raise. In the unaired pilot Carmen is portrayed by Morena Baccarin.

Nick

Nick (Windell Middlebrooks) is Carmen's portly African-American husband. Mac is initially annoyed that Carmen had moved on to Nick instead of calling him after she had her penis removed. Mac does not agree with gay marriage and quotes the Bible verse Romans 1:27 to Nick, to which Nick responds with the Bible quote Exodus 21:20 endorsing slavery. Nick later appears in "Dee Gives Birth" where it is revealed that Dee is a surrogate for the couple since Nick cannot have kids but Carmen had frozen her sperm before her operation.

Ernie

Ernie (David Zdunich) is the "Barfly" who is commonly seen in the background in the bar. He is in every single episode that is shot in the bar, but he is noticed in the episode "Paddy's Pub: The Worst Bar in Philadelphia." handing over the paper to the "gang" for them to see the journalist's article. David Zdunich died in 2009. The season five episode "Paddy's Pub: Home Of The Original Kitten Mittens" was in his memory.

The Lawyer

The Lawyer (Brian Unger) is first seen in "Dennis and Dee's Mom Is Dead" where The Gang mistake him for having personal involvement as the executor of Barbara Reynolds' will. He returns in Season 5, eager to personally stop Frank—he represents a family that Frank is trying to force out of their house. After Charlie makes an attempt to prove that he's more legally apt than the actual lawyer, he challenges him to a duel; the lawyer immediately accepts, claiming to have a loaded gun in his office desk. He also appears again in "Paddy’s Pub: Home of the Original Kitten Mittens" when The Gang goes to him to get patents for products that they have created. He later tricks them into signing a document that grants him all the profits from the products that is also a restraining order against The Gang. He makes hundreds of copies after learning of Mac's tendency to eat such documents. He next appears in "Dennis Gets Divorced" where he represents Dennis's wife Maureen Ponderosa pro bono in their divorce.

Ben Smith

Ben Smith (Travis Schuldt) is first introduced in "The Gang Wrestles for the Troops" as Dee's online chat buddy "soldier of fortune". He served as an American soldier in Iraq. He is mistaken as a handicapped person while getting off a bus from the airport in a wheelchair. Dee does not want to date a handicapped person so she decides to pretend that he was talking to Artemis over the internet, but soon discovers he isn't handicapped, he just twisted his knee getting off a plane in Germany. Ben is seen again in the episode "The D.E.N.N.I.S system" as Dee's boyfriend. He dumps her, calling her a "mean person" and goes for a pharmacist that dumped Dennis after the latter "Dennis-ed" her. Travis' character recurs again in season six with the episode "Mac's Big Break." Ben is seen chiefly wearing the jean shorts Frank purchased for him as a welcome-home gift. He appears again in "Dee Gives birth" as one of Dee's baby's potential fathers. He is again seen wearing the jean shorts.

Brad Fisher

Brad Fisher (Nick Wechsler) is first introduced as the Waitress' fiancee in the season 5 episode "The Waitress Is Getting Married". Brad dated both Dee and the Waitress in High School but both dumped him because of his acne. He rekindles both relationships in a plot to humiliate them. Charlie gives Brad a wedding gift of a box full of hornets. Brad returns in the season 7 episode "The High School Reunion" where his face is scarred from the hornet stings.

Ingrid "Fatty McGoo" Nelson

Ingrid Nelson aka Fatty McGoo (Judy Greer) was a high school friend of Sweet Dee's who appeared in the season 3 episode "The Aluminum Monster Vs. Fatty McGoo". In High School Dee wore a back brace and was dubbed the Aluminum Monster while Ingrid was morbidly obese and was given the name Fatty McGoo. Dee would always build herself and put Ingrid down. Ingrid grew up to be a rich and successful fashion designer. Dee feeling threatened by Ingrid's success tried to get the Gang's help in destroying Ingrid while Dennis tried to sell his dress design to her even going so far as to wear it himself. Ingrid later returns in the season 7 finale "The High School Reunion: The Gang Gets Revenge".

Jack Kelly

Uncle Jack Kelly (Andrew Friedman) is Charlie's uncle (the brother of Charlie's mother Bonnie). He first appeared in the season 1 finale "Charlie Got Molested" wherein Charlie's family gives him an intervention to get him to admit he had been molested by his elementary school teacher (this belief was fostered by the scam the McPoyles were running to extort money from the school system). Uncle Jack appears again in the season 5 episode "The Great Recession." When Charlie tries to move back in with his mother after Frank kicks him out of their apartment, she reveals that she sublet Charlie's room to Uncle Jack to earn extra money. Jack insists they share the room and spend time wrestling there. In the season 6 episode "Dennis Gets Divorced," Charlie and Frank call in Jack, who is revealed to be a lawyer, to handle their divorce. Later, Dennis and Mac use him to try to get their apartment back from Dennis' ex-wife, only to find that she hired The Lawyer. Jack proves to be incompetent, getting the apartment back in exchange for Dennis taking his wife's $90,000 debt. It is heavily implied that Uncle Jack is a pedophile and wants to have sex with his nephew. Charlie has mentioned how, as a child, he would stay awake at night because Uncle Jack would want to sleep in his bed, and Charlie's lyrics to "Nightman" seem to revolve around a man sneaking into his room at night and raping him.

Gladys

Gladys (Mae Laborde) is the senior citizen with a penchant for long rambling stories who played the piano during Charlie's play in the season 4 finale "The Nightman Cometh". Dennis pretends she is his grandmother to win back a former girlfriend in "The D.E.N.N.I.S. System". In her many stories she claims she was friends with Calvin Coolidge and that her grandmother was the lesbian lover of Susan B. Anthony.

Lil Kev

Kevin Gallagher (Kyle Davis) a potentially retarded rapper who dates Dee in "Sweet Dee Is Dating A Retarded Person". Dennis convinces Dee to dump Kevin because he's retarded only for her to later discover he isn't. He later returns as one of Dee's potential baby's fathers in "Dee Gives Birth".

Rex

Rex (TJ Hoban) first appears in "America's Next Top Paddy's Billboard Model Contest" as one of the male models vying for the spot on Paddy's Pub's billboard. Although an early favorite of Frank's eventually Frank himself appears on the billboard. Rex returns in "Dee Gives Birth" where it is revealed he has slept with Dee after she insulted him.

Maureen Ponderosa

Maureen Ponderosa (Catherine Reitman) is Dennis's high school girlfriend and the sister of Bill Ponderosa. Dennis eventually gets back in touch with Maureen and marries her in "Mac Fights Gay Marriage". She has a dead tooth that makes her breath "smell like she nibbled on little pieces of shit". Dennis gets tired of Maureen fairly quickly and in "Dennis Gets Divorced" she hires the Lawyer as her divorce attorney, ending up in a total demolition of Dennis where he has to assume her tens of thousands of dollars in debt as well as pay her monthly alimony. She later appears in "The High School Reunion" and reveals she's spending her alimony money on a diamond for her dead tooth.

Bill Ponderosa

Bill Ponderosa (Lance Barber) first appears in "Mac Fights Gay Marriage" and the follow-up episode "Dennis Gets Divorced" as Dee's high school crush and the brother of Dennis's high school girlfriend Maureen Ponderosa. He has put on a lot of weight since high school. Dee eventually becomes his mistress when Dee thinks he bought her a new car when in fact the car belongs to another of Bill's mistresses. Bill returns to his wife. Bill later returns in "Dee Gives Birth" as one of Dee's potential baby's daddies. Bill reveals that he tells girls he's had a vasectomy so he doesn't have to use a condom. He also displays an affinity for cocaine.

Korean busboy

The Korean Busboy (Maxie J. Santillan Jr.) worked at the Korean restaurant that threatened to steal business away from Paddy Pub's in "The Gang Solves The North Korea Situation". Dee sleeps with him to get information about their secret microbrew recipe. He laters returns as one of Dee's potential baby's fathers in "Dee Gives Birth".

Principal Brian McIntyre

Principal Brian McIntyre (Dave Foley) is the high school principal who hires Dee as a substitute teacher and Charlie as a janitor in "The Gang Gets A New Member". He fires both of them in the next episode "Dee Reynolds: Shaping America's Youth" because Dee took her students on a field trip to Paddy's Pub to watch Mac and Dennis's Lethal Weapon 5 movie and because Charlie's mentoring of a student named Richie led to him dressing up in blackface after watching the movie. The principal laments that he probably won't be employed at the school much longer either due to their shenanigans.

Duncan & Z

Duncan (David Gueriera) and Z (Chad Coleman) are Frank's bizarre friends that he met under a bridge. They appear in "Charlie Kelley: King Of The Rats" where Frank wants the gang to invite them to go to the gang's luau. They later appear in "Dee Gives Birth" to provide music for their party/interrogation of Dee's potential baby's daddies.

Peter "Schmitty" Schmidt

Peter Schmidt aka Schmitty (Jason Sudeikis) A former member of the gang back in high school. Mac and Dennis kicked Schmitty out of the gang (and a moving car) to make Charlie happy. Charlie and Schmitty used to be roommates and Charlie always feels upstaged by Schmitty. The gang kicks Charlie out and welcomes Schmitty back in the season 6 episode "The Gang Gets A New Member" but he quickly earns their ire when he upstages Mac and Dennis and is kicked out again. He returns in the Season 7 finale "The High School Reunion: The Gang Gets Revenge" and appears out of nowhere to take the Waitress up on her drunken offer to bang 'the next guy who talks to her', (just seconds before Charlie can utter a word).

Rum Ham

The Rum Ham is a anthropomorphized ham soaked in rum that Frank somehow obtains in "The Gang Goes to the Jersey Shore." Mac estimates that it is about 90-proof. Rum Ham accompanied Frank and Mac on their ill-advised inflatable raft ride. While Frank and Mac are passed out Rum Ham somehow ends up in the water, and floats away. Frank is crushed by the loss of his friend, and goes so far as to try to stab Mac yelling "It should have been you!" The ham is later serendipitously recovered by an Italian fisherman, at which point Frank and Mac resume eating it. The remains of the Rum Ham can be seen in the background of "Frank Reynolds' Little Beauties" in Frank and Charlie's apartment.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mary Richards

Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore), a single native Minnesotan moves to Minneapolis in 1970 at age 30 and becomes Associate Producer of WJM-TV's Six O'clock News. Her sincere, kind demeanor often acts as a foil for the personalities of her co-workers and friends.

Mary Richards, portrayed by Mary Tyler Moore, is the main character of the television sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Mary Richards, born in Roseburg, Minnesota in April of 1939, is the daughter of Walter and Dottie Richards. Prior to relocating to Minneapolis, she was engaged to a medical student named Bill who left her after breaking off their engagement.

After arriving in Minneapolis, Mary leases an apartment in a house from her friend, Phyllis Lindstrom. Also leasing an attic loft from Phyllis is Rhoda Morgenstern, with whom Mary becomes fast friends. Mary also bonds with Phyllis's precocious daughter, Bess.

Mary applies for a secretarial job at television station WJM-TV, the area's lowest rated station. After meeting with news producer Lou Grant, she is informed that the position has been filled but she is hired as an Associate Producer. Later, Mary is promoted to News Producer when Lou becomes the station's news director. While at WJM, she quickly becomes friends with news writer Murray Slaughter and the vain (and incompetent) news anchor, Ted Baxter. Within the office, Mary is often the voice of reason. Lou, who is always referred to by Mary as "Mr. Grant", later develops an adoration and almost-fatherly relationship with Mary.

Other friends of Mary's include Sue Ann Nivens, host of The Happy Homemaker at WJM, and Georgette Franklin, who later marries Ted.

In the final episode of the series, the entire newsroom staff lose their jobs in an effort to boost sagging ratings. Ted, ironically, keeps his job, despite being the primary cause for the low ratings.

Mary Richards makes several guest appearances on the spinoffs Rhoda and Phyllis via visits to New York or San Francisco, respectively, or in scenes via telephone. In the opening scene to the pilot of Rhoda, Mary Richards accompanies Rhoda to the Minneapolis airport to see her off, but this scene was not shown in U.S. syndication, nor in the DVD release of Rhoda.

As revealed in the 2000 made-for-television movie Mary and Rhoda, Mary later marries a congressman named Steven Cronin with whom she has a daughter, Rose. After her husband's death in a rock climbing accident, Mary discovers that her husband squandered their money in his reelection campaigns. She relocates to New York City, reconnects with her best friend Rhoda, and is hired at a network program.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lou Grant

Lou Grant is a fictional character played by Edward Asner in two television series produced by MTM Enterprises for CBS. The first was Mary Tyler Moore (1970–1977), in which the character was the news director at the fictional television station WJM-TV. A spinoff series, entitled Lou Grant (1977–1982), featured the character as city editor of the fictional Los Angeles Tribune.

Unusually, the two shows in which the Grant character features are in completely different genres. The Mary Tyler Moore Show was a half-hour-long light-hearted situation comedy while Lou Grant was an hour-long serious dramatic series which frequently engaged in social commentary.

Although the setting of The Mary Tyler Moore Show might have implied that he was a native Minnesotan, Lou Grant in fact established that he was born in the fictional town of Goshen, Michigan. He was the son of John Simpson Grant and Ellen Hammersmith Grant; his grandfather was a pharmacist. At some point in his youth and early adulthood he developed a life-long affection for westerns, particularly those starring John Wayne. In high school, he was a tackle for his school's football team. Soon after high school, he married Edie MacKenzie (Priscilla Morrill), at an age young enough to have four grandchildren before he turned 50.

After marriage, he became a combatant in World War II. He served in both the Pacific and European Theatres. At one point, he was a sergeant in the Pacific-based 2nd Marine Division. During another phase of his wartime service, he was injured by a grenade in France, the last remnants of which were only removed in his late 40s. He was also part of a unit that liberated an unknown town in Germany. During the war, he met and befriended Walter Cronkite.

He attended college, likely after the war. He started his career in print journalism as a copy boy, but it is unclear whether this was in Detroit, Minneapolis or San Francisco, as he worked for papers in all three cities. In this period of his life, he met and worked with Charlie Hume (Mason Adams) for the first time at the San Francisco Call-Bulletin.

At some point in his late 30s, he made the transition to television news, and eventually became the head of the WJM news department. He worked in that capacity for 11 years. For most of that period, Mary Richards served as his associate producer, Ted Baxter as his news anchor and Murray Slaughter as his head writer.

Of these relationships, the one with Richards was likely the closest. When he first interviewed Mary, he liked her because she had spunk, even though he hated spunk. He offered her the job of associate producer, which paid less than the secretarial position for which she'd initially interviewed, but more than what he said was the going rate for full producers. She accepted, saying that she could only "afford" to be an associate producer. At the same time, Mary discovered that Lou was a heavy drinker, with a penchant for hiding whole bottles of scotch in his desk drawers. Except for one abortive attempt at romance, his general attitude towards her was paternalistic. A typical display of his affection for Richards came when his nephew, Allen, tried to put the moves on Mary. Lou became infuriated and said, "Listen you, let me remind you of something, and remember this forever. I think of this girl here as if she were my own daughter and that means she is your cousin, you get my drift?"
Lou delivers the news to Sue Ann that her program has been cancelled.

Lou's personality was outwardly that of a tough loner and a workaholic man's man, with little subtlety. The real Lou Grant was somewhat more complicated. He was quick to anger and had a violent streak, at times threatening the barely competent Ted Baxter and once causing him physical injury. However, those who understood him best, like Mary Richards, knew he was also painfully shy, with a particular awkwardness around women. With those few people he trusted, again like Mary Richards, Lou was protective and could at times confide his emotional vulnerability.

Lou's marriage began to slide as he and Edie both adjusted to life after parenthood. They briefly separated for the first time almost immediately after their youngest daughter got married and left the house. Though they reconciled on this occasion, they would occasionally re-separate and seek marriage counseling over the next two years. In about 1973, he and Edie divorced, after which Edie promptly remarried. Lou, who had been consistently portrayed as a devoted husband, tentatively began to date again. He went with a woman named Charlene (Sheree North; Janis Paige in "Menage-a-Lou" of Season 6) in particularly Season 5; Mary's best friend Rhoda Morgenstern in Season 4; Mary's next-door neighbor, Paula Kovacks (Penny Marshall) in Season 6; Mary's Aunt Flo (Eileen Heckart) in Seasons 6 and 7; and even with Mary herself in the penultimate episode. He and Sue Ann Nivens almost had a relationship, as well.

Though he never talked about his religious background, several comments by those around him during his time at WJM suggest he might have been Jewish: Phyllis Lindstrom was the first to suggest that he would get along well with Rhoda, since in her strained words they were "both...earthy," and in a later episode Sue Ann Nivens assured him he would not mind singing her "non-denominational" Christmas carols.

Professionally, his career with WJM-TV ended in the final episode. Lou, along with Mary, Murray, and Sue Ann Nivens, were fired due to the low ratings. Ironically, Lou's sometime-nemesis, the vacuous Ted Baxter—the real cause for the ratings slide—was retained.

Soon thereafter, he was asked by his former co-worker, Charlie Hume, to relocate to Los Angeles, to help work with him at the fictitious Los Angeles Tribune, as the paper's City Editor, returning him to newspaper work. His subordinates at that time included staff reporters Joe Rossi (Robert Walden); Billie Newman (Linda Kelsey); her predecessor, Carla Mardigian (Rebecca Balding); and photographer Dennis "Animal" Price (Daryl Anderson). His assistant was Art Donovan (Jack Bannon). Charlie Hume was now his boss, who ultimately reported to publisher Margaret Pynchon (Nancy Marchand). They, like those in his prior work at WJM, became his family as well.

In a 1984 episode of Saturday Night Live, Lou hired a team of mercenaries to "rescue" Mary Richards after she got stuck in the '70s in syndicated reruns. But Mary refused rescue on the grounds that she never ages and never gains weight, and that people still like her.

In 1996 the character appeared on "Call Waiting", an episode of Roseanne, in a dream sequence experienced by the show's lead. Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) was Mary and Dan (John Goodman) was Lou, and the two got into a heated argument. Lou stomped out, but quickly returned and was then played by Asner. (He commented about not feeling like himself.) Asner was uncredited.

In 2004, Asner unofficially reprised the role in a series of ads promoting Twin Cities station KSTP-TV, a real channel in the same market as the fictional WJM-TV.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Murray Slaughter

Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod), the head writer of the news makes frequent quips for Ted Baxter's mangling of his news copy, and Sue Ann Nivens' aggressive, man-hungry attitude. He is Mary's closest coworker and close friend. Murray is married to Marie, and has several children.

Murray Slaughter was a fictional character in the situation comedy The Mary Tyler Moore Show. He was played by actor Gavin MacLeod.

Murray Slaughter was the news writer at fictional television station WJM-TV in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was assigned to write the news stories for the station's nightly news broadcast, presented by pompous, incompetent anchorman Ted Baxter.

Murray was happily married to Marie (Joyce Bulifant) and had several daughters. In the show's later years, he and Marie adopted a Vietnamese son.

Although he was happily married, he was forever in love with Mary Richards, whom he thought was absolutely terrific, in his own words. To him, she was someone he could mother hen over, and he often did. Marie thought that he was going to leave her, but Mary explained to her that she thought of Murray as a best friend, and that helped things.

In a season three episode, it is revealed that Murray is a compulsive gambler. During an episode where a snowstorm keeps Lou Grant from flying to Vegas, he holds a poker game that Murray reluctantly joins.

Murray tried to write a novel; despite failing, he never gave up.

He, along with Mary, Lou Grant and another nemesis of his, Sue Ann Nivens were fired from WJM-TV to boost sagging news ratings. Ironically, the one most responsible for the dismal ratings, Ted, of all people, had been retained.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ted Baxter

Ted Baxter (Ted Knight), is the dim-witted, vain, and miserly anchorman of the Six O'Clock News. He frequently makes mistakes and is oblivious to the actual nature of the topics covered on the show, but considers himself to be the country's best news journalist. He is often criticized by others, especially Murray and Lou for his many shortcomings, but is never fired from his position.

Ted Baxter is a fictional character on the sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970–1977). Portrayed by Ted Knight, the Baxter character is a broad parody of a vain, shallow, buffoonish TV newsman. Knight's comedic model was William Powell, and he also drew on various Los Angeles newscasters, including George Putnam (newsman), in helping shape the character. The role was originally conceived with Jack Cassidy in mind but Cassidy turned it down, although he did appear in an early episode as Ted's equally egocentric brother Hal. Ted Baxter has become a symbolic figure, and is often used when criticizing media figures, particularly news anchors hired for style and appearance rather than journalistic ability.

Baxter was the pompous, narcissistic anchorman for fictitious station WJM-TV in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Satirizing the affectations of news anchormen, the character spoke in a vocal fry register parody of the narrator of the old Movietone News film strips that played in movie houses before the television era. While his narcissism fueled Baxter's delusions of grandeur, his onscreen performance was buffoonish. A running joke of the show was Baxter's incompetence, featuring a steady stream of mispronunciations, malapropisms, pratfalls, and miscues. Constantly in fear of being fired, Ted Baxter was, ironically, the show's only character to survive the final episode's massive layoffs at WJM.

In the first few seasons of the show, Knight played the character broadly for comic effect, a simpleton that would mispronounce even the easiest words while on camera. Knight even grew so concerned that the show's writers were abusing the character that at one point he considered leaving "MTM". To round out Knight's character, the writers then paired him with a love-interest, Georgette, played by Georgia Engel, who brought out some of Baxter's more lovable characteristics and whom Baxter eventually marries.

On the animated TV series The Simpsons, the recurring character of anchor Kent Brockman is an homage to Ted Baxter. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy also makes extensive explicit and implicit references to Ted Baxter such as the dog named Baxter. In the episode "18th and Potomac" of The West Wing, C. J. Cregg uses Ted Baxter as the paradigm of a bad reporter. In the comedy-horror film Return of the Killer Tomatoes, Dr. Gangreen's underling Igor is shown to hold a diploma from "The Ted Baxter School of Journalism". In "Bruce Almighty," the name of the anchorman (played by Steve Carell) is Evan Baxter. The Electric Company also spoofed Ted Baxter as "Fred Baxter", a dimwitted news anchorman portrayed by Jim Boyd.

On the MSNBC program Countdown, Keith Olbermann regularly refers to his rival Bill O'Reilly as "Ted Baxter" and reads O'Reilly's words in a Baxter imitation. Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh said of O'Reilly, “Someone's got to say it: the man is Ted Baxter,” in the July 6, 2008, issue of New York Times Magazine. Conservative talk radio host Mark Levin agrees.

The Charleston, South Carolina, City Paper awarded news anchor Bill Sharpe a 2008 Best of Charleston Award for "Best Ted Baxter Impression"

Monday, April 23, 2012

Rhoda Morgenstern

Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper) (1970–74), is Mary's best friend and upstairs neighbor. She is outgoing and sardonic, often making wisecracks, frequently at her own expense. Like Mary, she is single. She dates frequently, often joking about her disastrous dates. After four years, Rhoda moves back to New York for the spinoff series Rhoda. Rhoda Morgenstern, portrayed by Valerie Harper, is a character on the television sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show and subsequent spin-off Rhoda.

The original opening of the series Rhoda establishes that Rhoda Faye Morgenstern was born in the Bronx, New York, in December of 1941. She is the daughter of Ida and Martin Morgenstern (Nancy Walker and Harold Gould), and grew up in New York before moving to Minneapolis, Minnesota sometime in the late 1960s. On The Mary Tyler Moore Show Rhoda had a sister named Debbie (Liberty Williams) seen in one episode, and a briefly-mentioned brother named Arnold; they were retconned out of existence when the character got her own series. On Rhoda, Rhoda's only sibling was a younger sister named Brenda.

Relocating from New York City, Rhoda was a window dresser at Hempel's after being fired at Bloomfield's department store in Minneapolis. She rented an attic loft apartment in the same house as the building manager, Phyllis Lindstrom.

After Mary Richards moved into the apartment below Rhoda, they quickly became best friends. Throughout the series, Rhoda and Phyllis maintained an adversarial-but-friendly relationship. She also developed a close bond with Phyllis's daughter, Bess, who referred to Rhoda as her "aunt."

While living in Minneapolis, Rhoda received infrequent visits from her parents.

In 1974, Harper departed from The Mary Tyler Moore Show to star in Rhoda. After relocating back to New York City, Rhoda met ruggedly handsome Joe Gerard (David Groh) and married him soon afterward. The couple moved into the same building occupied by Rhoda's sister, Brenda. The marriage soured after two years, and they divorced. After arriving in New York, Rhoda started her own window dressing company and later took a job at costume company.

Rhoda gave up her career as a window dresser/costume designer and pursued a career as a photographer in the time between the 1978 cancellation of Rhoda and the 2000 made-for-television movie Mary and Rhoda. By this time she had also married and divorced Jean-Pierre Rousseau, a union which produced her only child, a daughter named Meredith.

Harper won four Primetime Emmy Awards for her portrayal of Rhoda, with three of these awards for The Mary Tyler Moore Show and one for Rhoda. In 2006, Entertainment Weekly ranked Rhoda Morgenstern 23rd on its list of the best sidekicks ever. Bravo ranked Rhoda 57th on their list of the 100 greatest TV characters. In 2000, Time magazine stated that Rhoda's relationship with Mary Richards was "one of the most renowned friendships in TV.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Gregory House

Gregory House, M.D., (often simply referred to as House) is the title character and antihero of the American television series House, played by Hugh Laurie. House is the Chief of Diagnostic Medicine at the fictional Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in New Jersey, where he leads a team of diagnosticians. House's character has been described as a "misanthropist", "cynic", "narcissist" and "curmudgeon".

In the series, the character's unorthodox diagnostic approaches, radical therapeutic motives, and stalwart rationality have resulted in much conflict between him and his colleagues. House is also often portrayed as lacking sympathy for his patients and having a practice allowing him the time to solve pathological enigmas. The character is partly inspired by Sherlock Holmes. A portion of the show's plot centers on House's habitual use of Vicodin to manage pain stemming from a leg infarction involving his quadriceps muscle some years earlier, an injury that forces him to walk with a cane. This addiction is also one of the many parallels to Holmes, who was a habitual user of cocaine.

Throughout the series' run, the character has received positive reviews. Tom Shales of The Washington Post called House "the most electrifying character to hit television in years". In 2008, House was voted second sexiest TV doctor ever, behind Dr. Doug Ross (George Clooney) from ER. For his portrayal, Laurie has won various awards, including two Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor in a Television Drama Series and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actor from Drama Series. Laurie also earned Primetime Emmy Award nominations in 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. TV Overmind has named House the best TV character of the last decade.

Gregory House was born to John and Blythe House (R. Lee Ermey and Diane Baker) on 15 May 1959 or 11 June 1959. House is a "military brat"; his father served as a Marine Corps pilot and transferred often to other bases during House's childhood. One place in which his father was stationed was Egypt, where House developed a fascination with archaeology and treasure-hunting, an interest which led him to keep his treasure-hunting tools well into his adulthood. Another station was Japan, where, at age 14, House discovered his vocation after a rock climbing incident with his friend. He witnessed the respect given to a buraku doctor who solved the case that no other doctor could. He also spent some time in the Philippines, where he received dental surgery. House loves his mother but hates his father, who he claims has an "insane moral compass", and deliberately attempts to avoid both parents. At one point, House tells a story of his parents leaving him with his grandmother, whose punishments constituted abuse. However, he later confesses that it was his father who abused him. Due to his father abusing him, House never believed that John House was his biological father; at the age of 12, he deduced that a friend of his family with the same birthmark was his real father. In the season 5 episode "Birthmarks", House discovers that this was true, after he ordered a DNA test that compared his DNA against John's. After performing a second DNA test in the season 8 episode "Love is Blind", House discovers that the man who he thought was his biological father, Thomas Bell, wasn't his biological father either. The identity of his real father is as-yet-unknown.

House first attended Johns Hopkins University as an undergraduate. Before choosing medicine as his discipline, he considered getting a Ph.D. in physics, researching dark matter. He was accepted to the Johns Hopkins Medical School, and excelled during his time there. He was a front runner for a prestigious and competitive internship at the Mayo Clinic; however, during this time in medical school, he was caught cheating by another student, Philip Weber. During the time he was appealing his expulsion he studied in the medical school at the University of Michigan, where, while working at a bookstore, he met his future employer and love interest Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein), with whom he shared (in his words) a night where "he gave her everything she asked for. After the appeal process, he was denied re-entry into the Johns Hopkins Medical School. During a medical convention in New Orleans that he attended shortly after graduating medical school, House first saw his eventual friend Dr. James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) among a "sea of boring people" clutching a package. House deduced that it contained divorce papers. While at a bar, Wilson accidentally broke an antique mirror in frustration and started a bar fight after a man, "allegedly" House, repeatedly played "Leave a Tender Moment Alone" by Billy Joel to test Wilson who indeed was going through his first divorce at the time. House bailed him out and hired an attorney to clear his name, thus starting their professional and personal relationship. House eventually became a Board certified diagnostician with a double specialty in infectious disease and nephrology.

Approximately ten years before the beginning of the series, House entered into a relationship with Stacy Warner (Sela Ward), a constitutional lawyer, after she shot him during a "Lawyers vs. Doctors" paintball match. Five years later, during a game of golf, he suffered an infarction in his right leg which went misdiagnosed for three days due to doctors' concerns that he was exhibiting drug-seeking behavior. House would eventually diagnose the infarction himself. An aneurysm in his thigh had clotted leading to an infarction and causing his quadriceps muscle to become necrotic. House had the dead muscle bypassed in order to restore circulation to the remainder of his leg, risking organ failure and cardiac arrest. He was willing to endure excruciating post-operative pain to retain the use of his leg. However, after he was put into a chemically induced coma to sleep through the worst of the pain, Warner, House's medical proxy, acted against his wishes and authorized a safer surgical middle-ground procedure between amputation and a bypass by removing just the dead muscle. This resulted in the partial loss of use in his leg and left House with a lesser, but still serious, level of pain for the rest of his life. House could not forgive Stacy for making the decision and this was eventually the reason Stacy left him. House now suffers chronic pain in his thigh and uses a cane to aid his walking. He also frequently takes Vicodin to relieve his pain. House does however break his addiction with psychiatric help, after he suffers a psychotic break. When Warner makes her first appearance in season 1, she is married to a high school guidance counselor named Mark Warner. Although she and House have a brief, intimate encounter during the second season, House eventually tells Stacy to go back to her husband, devastating her.

At the beginning of season three, House temporarily regains his ability to walk and run after receiving ketamine treatment. However, the chronic pain in his leg comes back and House takes painkillers and uses his cane once again. The other doctors speculate that his cane and opiate re-usage are due to his psychological tendencies. On a routine clinic visit, a police detective, Michael Tritter, is seen by House. Tritter observes House taking Vicodin for his pain and attributes that as his reason for being rude and a bully. Tritter, beliving that doctors should be more responsible while practicing medicine, decides to take it upon himself to take legal action to curb House of his addiction by launching an investigation into House's addiction and suspected drug abuse. The investigation slowly involves Cuddy, Wilson and House's diagnostics team using extreme measures to get information. House, being forcibly weaned off of Vicodin to take a deal where he would keep his medical license, goes to extreme lengths to manage his pain by stealing Oxycodone from a cancer patient of Wilson's who had just died giving Tritter what he needed to bring House to trial. At the pretrial hearing, the Judge decides that House is not a danger to society and that his pain management for his leg is not as serious as Tritter made it seem. This conclusion is reached when Cuddy manufactures evidence and perjures herself to keep House out of jail.

During season five, House once again regains his ability to walk without pain after taking methadone, but soon stops after nearly killing a patient due to an uncharacteristic medical error. At the end of season five, House's use of Vicodin reaches a level in which House starts hallucinations about a former fellowship candidate and a relationship with Cuddy. When House comes to the conclusion that the Vicodin is making him hallucinate and taking over his life, he checks himself into Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital. At the start of season six, after spending time in the Mayfield, House stops taking pain medications and with the help of Dr. Darryl Nolan, finds other ways to deal with his pain and other aspects of his life. Thirteen and Wilson discover that House is a great cook, attributing this to House thinking of ingredients in terms of chemistry. House eventually finds the one thing that seems to help the pain go away: practicing medicine. After he diagnoses a patient online for his team (without their knowledge) and he shows Doctor Nolan how this reduces his pain, Nolan suggests that House resume his medical career. In season seven when Cuddy, who is House's girlfriend at this point, has a brush with death. House, who tries to deal with the fear of losing her, goes back on Vicodin. In season eight, House finds himself in jail after running his car into Cuddy's house. There he finds that his need for Vicodin is a weakness when an inmate makes House steal 20 pills of Vicodin or be killed. Throughout season eight House's use of Vicodin is pretty typical just like before season five.

House's character frequently shows his cunning and biting wit, enjoys picking people apart, and often mocks their weaknesses. House accurately deciphers people's motives and histories from aspects of their personality and appearance. His friend and colleague Wilson says although some doctors have the "Messiah complex"—they need to "save the world", House has the "Rubik's complex"—he needs to "solve the puzzle". House typically waits as long as possible before meeting his patients. When he does, he shows an unorthodox bedside manner and uses unconventional treatments. However, he impresses them with rapid and accurate diagnoses after seemingly not paying attention. This skill is demonstrated in a scene where House diagnoses an entire waiting room full of patients in little over one minute on his way out of the hospital clinic. Critics have described the character as "moody," "bitter," "antagonistic," "misanthropic," "cynical" "grumpy," "maverick", "anarchist," "sociopath," and a "curmudgeon." The Global Language Monitor chose the word "curmudgeon" as the best way to describe the character.

Laurie describes House as a character who refuses to "obey the usual pieties of modern life" and expects to find a rare diagnosis when he is treating his patient. As a protagonist, many aspects of his personality are the antithesis of what might be expected from a doctor. Executive producer Katie Jacobs views House as a static character who is accustomed to living in misery. Jacobs has said that Dr. Wilson, his only friend in the show, and House both avoid mature relationships, which brings the two closer together. Leonard has said that Dr. Wilson is one of the few who voluntarily maintains a relationship with House, because he is free to criticize him.

Although House's crankiness is commonly misattributed to the chronic pain in his leg, both Stacy and Cuddy have said that he was the same before the infarction. To handle the chronic pain in his leg, House takes Vicodin every day, and as a result has developed an addiction to the drug. He refuses to admit that he has an addiction ("I do not have a pain management problem, I have a pain problem"). However, after winning a bet from Cuddy by not taking the drug for a week, he concedes that he has an addiction, but says that it is not a problem because it does not interfere with his work or life. In the 2009 season House goes through detox and his addiction goes into remission, so to say. However, it does seem that House may have gotten over his addiction in the season 6 premiere. House creator David Shore told the Seattle Times in 2006 that Vicodin is "becoming less and less useful a tool for dealing with his pain, and it's something [the writers] are going to continue to deal with, continue to explore". House openly talks about, and makes references to, pornography. In "Lines in the Sand", he returns the flirtations of a female underage patient. He regularly engages the services of prostitute of which his former female diagnostic team member Dr. Allison Cameron (Jennifer Morrison), who has a crush on him, is aware.

A polyglot, House speaks English, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Hindi, and Mandarin. House is an atheist. He plays the piano (as does Hugh Laurie) and has an interest in vintage electric guitars. He openly and relentlessly mocks colleagues and patients who express any belief in religion, deeming such beliefs as illogical. He does not believe in an afterlife because he finds it is better to believe that life "isn't just a test". However, in the season four episode "97 Seconds", he expresses sufficient interest in the possibility of an afterlife to electrocute himself in an effort to find out; however, he is dissatisfied with the results and denounces the possibility of an afterlife. This is also an example of House's tendency to self-experiment and submit to risky medical procedures in the name of truth. Over the course of the series, he disproves the effectiveness of a migraine cure by self-inducing a migraine and controlling the effects through drugs, undergoes a blood transfusion to assist with a diagnosis, and overdoses on physostigmine to improve his memory after sustaining head injuries, subsequently causing his heart to stop beating, then undergoes deep brain stimulation soon after.

House frequently says "Everybody lies", but jokingly remarked that he was lying when he said that in the first season finale. Even though that could be mistaken as an example of the Liar paradox, House was not creating a paradox when he said he was lying. House criticizes social etiquette for lack of rational purpose and usefulness. Dr. Cameron states in the first episode of the first season "House doesn't believe in pretense ... so he just says what he thinks". In the season three episode "Lines in the Sand", he explains how he envies an autistic patient because society allows the patient to forgo the niceties that he must suffer through. In the same episode, Dr. Wilson suggests that House might have Asperger syndrome, which is characterized by a number of traits found in House, such as difficulty accepting the purpose of social rules, lack of concern for his physical appearance, and resistance to change; though he later reveals to House that he does not truly believe this, and that claiming this was a part of a ploy to soften Cuddy's opinion of House. House is a strong nonconformist and has little regard for how others perceive him. Throughout the series, he displays sardonic contempt for authority figures. House shows an almost constant disregard for his own appearance, possessing a permanent stubble and dressing informally in jeans, T-shirts, and sneakers. He avoids wearing the standard white lab coat to avoid patients recognizing him as a doctor.

House does not have much of a social life, and his only real friend is Dr. James Wilson. Wilson knew House before the infarction and looked after him when House's relationship with Stacy ended. Dr. Wilson's moving into House's apartment after his failed marriage in "Sex Kills" symbolizes his taking emotional refuge in his friend.Although they frequently analyze and criticize each other's motives, Wilson has risked his career to protect House, including having his job terminated in the first season as an effort of Edward Vogler to dismiss House, and having his practice damaged by Detective Michael Tritter in an investigation of House's narcotics consumption. House has quietly admitted, at several instances, that he is grateful for Wilson's presence, including referring to Wilson as his best friend. When Wilson resigns and moves away from both New Jersey and House's friendship in the season 5 premiere, House is desperate to have his friend back, and hires a private investigator (Michael Weston) to spy on him. The two ultimately reconcile at House's father's funeral in a scene similar to their first meeting where Wilson again breaks something valuable with a glass in a moment of anger, this time directed at House.

Edelstein has said that despite his sardonic personality, House is a character who is reliant on people surrounding him. Edelstein says this characteristic is portrayed on several occasions in the third season, during which House's medical career is in jeopardy due to investigations by Det. Michael Tritter (David Morse), who arrests him for possessing narcotics. House's legal trouble ends when Edelstein's character, Lisa Cuddy, commits perjury during his hearing. In Season 5, a relationship with Cuddy begins to blossom, as they are unable to deny feelings between each other. They share a kiss in episode six "Joy" which sparked an ongoing romantic tension between them. When Cuddy's office is destroyed by a gunman and is being renovated, she moves into House's office in what Wilson believes to be an attempt to get closer to House. The two try to drive each other away, doing things to each other's office to make them worse, but in an uncharacteristically nice move, House has Cuddy's mother send her medical school desk for her new office as a surprise. Cuddy is touched by what he did, but is devastated when she spots him with a prostitute he hired, not knowing he had done so only to mess with Kutner and Taub. In the season finale "Both Sides Now" it is confirmed that House wishes to pursue a romantic relationship with Cuddy. In this same episode he believes he has slept with Cuddy and informs Dr. James Wilson the following morning. This however is revealed to be a psychosis, which is a side effect of his Vicodin abuse. The House-Cuddy story culminates in the season 6 finale, "Help Me", when Cuddy cancels her engagement to Lucas to face the inevitable realization of her loving House all along; they share a passionate kiss, thus hinting on mutual willingness to try to develop a real relationship. However, in season 7, this relationship is ended when House starts taking Vicodin again when he is faced with Cuddy possibly having a terminal illness.

House can also been seen acting as mooch at times, frequently stealing food from Wilson. In "You Don't Want to Know," while House is searching for the cause of Thirteen's twitching, he claims to have stolen money from her wallet. In the same episode, Wilson later observes that House's blood type is AB, the universal recipient, reflecting his desire to take whatever he can.