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 clich├ęs. 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.

Phyllis Lindstrom

Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman) (1970–75), is Mary's snobbish friend and neighbor. She is married to an unseen character, Lars, a dermatologist, and has a precocious daughter, Bess. Phyllis is controlling and often arrogant. She is actively involved in groups and clubs, is a political activist and a supporter of Women's Liberation. Rhoda and Phyllis are usually at odds with each other and often trade insults. After five seasons, Phyllis is widowed and moves to San Francisco in the spinoff series Phyllis.

Phyllis Lindstrom is a fictional character on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off, Phyllis, portrayed by Cloris Leachman. Phyllis Lindstrom is the snobbish and spoiled wife of dermatologist Dr. Lars Lindstrom. Phyllis managed the apartment building in which both Mary Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern lived. Also living with Phyllis was her daughter, Bess, with whom both Mary and Rhoda developed a close relationship.

Throughout the series, Rhoda and Phyllis maintained an adversarial-but-friendly relationship. Phyllis also developed a dislike for Sue Ann Nivens, who hosted "The Happy Homemaker" on WJM-TV, after Sue Ann had an affair with Phyllis's husband.

In 1975, Leachman left The Mary Tyler Moore Show to star in its spin-off series, Phyllis. The series takes place in San Francisco, Phyllis's hometown, where Phyllis and Bess relocated after the death of Lars. Phyllis first worked at a photography studio then later as an administrative assistant for a City Supervisor.

While there, she and Bess lived with Lars' mother, Audrey, and Audrey's new husband, Judge Jonathan Dexter. Phyllis's major nemesis by this time was Jonathan's mother, Sally "Mother" Dexter (Judith Lowry). Mother Dexter was, by far, the best of everyone at insulting Phyllis.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

James Wilson

James Evan Wilson, M.D., is a fictional character on the Fox medical drama House. He is played by Robert Sean Leonard. The character first appears in the show's pilot episode when he introduces a medical case to Dr. Gregory House, the protagonist of the show. Wilson is Dr. House's only true friend, and frequently provides him with consultations and aid. Wilson is the head of the Department of Oncology at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital.

During the show's run, the characters of Dr. Gregory House and Dr. James Wilson have been compared to Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. Wilson's portrayer, Robert Sean Leonard, has stated that his character and Dr. House were originally supposed to play these roles, but Dr. House's diagnostic team has taken over Dr. Wilson's part since the show's premiere. Leonard also read the script of the pilot episode of CBS' Numb3rs and was planning to audition for the part, but auditioned for House because he felt he would more enjoy playing the character that House went to for help and because he liked the "Odd Couple" dynamic of the relationship.

The character was positively received. Alan Sepinwall of The Star-Ledger described Wilson as "the only irreplaceable supporting character" of the show, as well as Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune, who stated that Wilson can "never, never, never, never" leave the show.

The character's name is derived from two neighboring buildings (James Administration Building and Wilson Hall) located within McGill University's downtown campus.

Wilson is one of three brothers from a Jewish household. He has an undergraduate degree from McGill University, and graduate degrees from Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania.

Shortly after a medical convention in New Orleans that he attended after graduating medical school, Wilson accidentally broke an antique mirror and started a bar fight when a random man repeatedly played "Leave A Tender Moment Alone" by Billy Joel to the frustration of Wilson, who was going through a divorce with his first wife at the time. Out of interest, House bailed him out and hired an attorney to clear his name, thus starting their professional and personal relationship. In the season 1 episode "Histories", it is revealed that one of his brothers is homeless and that Wilson is unaware if he is still alive as he has not seen him in nine years. Wilson has a history of failed marriages: he is married to his third wife during the show's first season and, with the discovery of his wife's infidelity, separates from her during the second season. After the failure of his third marriage, Wilson lives in various temporary accommodations (including a stint at House's own apartment) until he meets Amber Volakis, who is a female substitute for House. He is described as "nearly 40" in Don't Ever Change. Wilson and House's relationship has been sorely tested on many occasions.

House describes Wilson as "a buddy of mine people say 'Thank you' to, when he tells them they are dying." House also describes Wilson as an "emotional vampire". On a date with Dr. Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein), Wilson evades a question as to whether or not he wants children.

However, Wilson defends House when House's career is in jeopardy, after billionaire entrepreneur and then chairman of the hospital board Edward Vogler (Chi McBride) proposes a motion for House's dismissal. Wilson is the only one to vote against the motion. In response, Vogler proposes and succeeds in obtaining Wilson's dismissal from the board, but Wilson is soon reinstated thanks to Cuddy after she convinces the board that Vogler is the real threat to the hospital and his money is not worth the business-obsessed mindset with which he tries to rule the hospital. In a late season three episode it is revealed that Wilson suffers from clinical depression and uses a prescription for his illness. Wilson is also seen to be left-handed, a trait he shares with Cuddy and Foreman.

Wilson attempts to change House's drug habits, with little success. After Cuddy makes a bet to prove House's addiction to Vicodin, House concedes to Wilson that he has an addiction, but says that the addiction is not a problem. It is, in fact, Wilson who usually writes House's Vicodin prescriptions (with Cuddy writing a few merely for leverage in her dealings with House). In Season 3, when Detective Michael Tritter (David Morse) threatens to jail House for his Vicodin addiction after finding a huge stash in his apartment, Wilson attempts to convince House to attend rehab as the situation worsens. After Tritter pressures Wilson to testify several times, Wilson reluctantly agrees, unknown to House. Before this, Wilson watches House punch Dr. Robert Chase in a reaction to his detoxing, insult Cuddy, and incorrectly diagnose a child with a condition that would have required an amputation of one of her arms and legs.

Near the end of season 4, Wilson starts a romantic relationship with Amber Volakis, because she is House in female form, and who competed for one of the open jobs on House's team in the wake of Foreman, Chase, and Cameron's departure. In the season finale, she dies as a result of a bus crash sustained while picking up a drunken House from a bar. Her death eventually leads Wilson to conclude that his relationship with House only serves to enable House's dysfunctions. To remove himself from House's influence, he resigns from Princeton-Plainsboro at the beginning of season 5. The two reconcile when Wilson forces House to attend the funeral of House's father. Wilson realizes that he had been afraid of losing House, who is his true friend, and that Wilson's life didn't get any better when he resigned. He then returns to Princeton Plainsboro.

During Season 5 it is revealed that Danny, one of Wilson's brothers (who had previously been mentioned as being homeless), suffered from schizophrenia since adolescence, which is what caused him to run away in the first place. Wilson blames himself for his brother's homelessness, having hung up on his brother right before he disappeared. Wilson also reveals to House that he took the position at Princeton-Plainsboro because it was near the place he had last seen Danny. When Wilson finds out that Danny is in the psych ward of New York Mercy, House offers to come with him to keep him company, noting that it could end badly. However, when Wilson is let in to see his brother, House is busy with a differential with his team.

In the season's 15th episode "Private Lives", House discovers that Wilson, in his youth, had been an actor in some scenes of a porn movie called "Feral Pleasures", and throughout the episode, after House hangs posters of the movie all over the hospital, people start paraphrasing a quote by Wilson's character: "Be not afraid. The forest nymphs have taught me how to please a woman". In addition, Wilson proposes a joke marriage to House in "The Down Low".

Gay references have been made to the relationship between the two characters of the show. House has made a comment about the relationship between them ("I'm gay!...Oh that's not what you meant. It would explain a lot, though: no girlfriend, always with Wilson, the obsession with sneakers..."). Barbara Barnett said that "House is the needy one in the relationship, and Wilson the doormat" Verne Gay of Newsday described House's love for Wilson as "touching and genuine".However, Robert Sean Leonard compared the relationship between the two characters to the relationship between Cesar Millan and his pitbull, while Hugh Laurie said that the relationship between the characters is "not just buddydom". The two characters appeared on the cover of the October 13, 2008 issue of TV Guide.

Chuckles the Clown

Chuckles the Clown is a fictional character on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (CBS, 1970-1977). His character is best known for his off-camera death in the episode Chuckles Bites the Dust.

Chuckles was known for his popular philosophy in verse: "A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants". His real name was George Bowerchuck (although Lou Grant refers to him as "Chuck" in the episode "Who's In Charge Here?"). He had a wife named Louise, and a daughter, Betty, who was briefly romantically involved with Ted.

Chuckles' first on-camera appearance was in the episode The Snow Must Go On, originally broadcast November 7, 1970. Richard Schaal portrays Chuckles when he arrives at TV station WJM the morning after a city election, to find the news staff —having lost contact with City Hall during a blizzard— still on the air. Chuckles has the election results in his newspaper, and announces the winner of the mayoral race on the air in clown-character.

In season 3, Chuckles had a brief non-speaking role in the third season episode, titled "Who's in Charge Here?", where he was portrayed by an uncredited extra. In this episode, Chuckles meets with Lou Grant, who has been temporarily promoted to WJM's program manager. Chuckles is seen arriving for the meeting in full clown makeup. Mark Gordon next played Chuckles in "Son of 'But, Seriously Folks'"; aside from these appearances, Chuckles, like Phyllis Lindstrom's husband Lars, existed only off-stage.

One of the most remembered episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show was "Chuckles Bites the Dust" (October 25, 1975), written by David Lloyd, which involved the death of Chuckles and in which Chuckles, as usual, is never seen on camera. In that episode, Chuckles is hired as the grand marshal for a circus parade (after news anchor Ted Baxter is told to decline). At the parade, he dressed as a popular character, Peter Peanut. Tragedy struck when "...a rogue elephant tried to shell him...," and he died from his injuries. News of Chuckles's demise results in laughter and joking in the newsroom, except for Mary, who is shocked by their response.

However, at the funeral everyone is actually overcome with grief, except for Mary, who stifles laugh-after-laugh during the eulogy. When the minister tells the embarrassed Mary that the laughter was actually keeping with Chuckles' wishes, she suddenly breaks into inconsolable sobbing to her greater humiliation. This episode was ranked #3 on TV Guide's The Greatest Episodes of All Time.

Sue Ann Nivens

Sue Ann Nivens was a fictional character on the long-running situation comedy, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She was played by television perennial Betty White.

Sue Ann Nivens was the relentlessly perky star of The Happy Homemaker on Mary Richards' fictional WJM-TV in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her program delivered advice to housewives on cooking and decorating. She chose unusual and sometimes ludicrous themes for some episodes, such as "What's all this fuss about famine?" and "A salute to fruit". Nivens was a perfectionist; she once confessed she would rather flush her Veal Prince Orloff down a toilet than serve it reheated. She was also full of helpful hints for all occasions and always ready to make lemons into lemonade; she once suggested buying colorful, happy goldfish as companions for the infirm and then, when the goldfish died, using them as fertilizer for houseplants.

Although Sue Ann presented an image of a sweet, perfect wife and homemaker on-screen, she was actually sardonic, man-obsessed, and very competitive, with a messed-up home life off-screen. Always with her trademark dimpled smile, she was cruel and snide toward people she did not like or considered a threat.

Sue Ann's debut on The Mary Tyler Moore Show was as a guest at one of Mary Richards' famously disastrous parties. At the conclusion of the party, Lars Lindstrom (the never-seen husband of Mary's friend and landlady, Phyllis Lindstrom), gave Sue Ann a ride home. Phyllis subsequently realized Lars and Sue Ann were having an affair because Lars came home with cleaner clothes than when he left. Mary was forced to mediate between Phyllis and Sue Ann to end the affair.

Eventually, Sue Ann and Mary became somewhat friendly, or perhaps were friendly adversaries. She often called Mary "Dear, sweet, naive Mary"; and she, along with Georgette Franklin, helped to fill the void when Phyllis and Rhoda left the show for their own spin-off shows. Nonetheless, Sue Ann's relationship with Mary could be competitive, as Mary, who was younger and more attractive, more easily drew the attention of men than Sue Ann could.

* Sue Ann also often sparred with news writer Murray Slaughter, making veiled remarks about his baldness.
* She was "very close" to WJM's children's television show host Chuckles the Clown, baking the first custard pie he ever sat in.
* The one man she most wanted to bed was Lou Grant. After being turned down on numerous occasions, she finally succeeded in a sixth-season episode ("Once I Had A Secret Love"); Lou went to great lengths to try to ensure that the rest of the WJM staff didn't find out about this.
* Sue Ann also had a younger sister, Lila (Pat Priest), with whom she had a severe case of sibling rivalry. Lila caused Sue Ann a lot of grief, especially when Lila made overtures to take over Sue Ann's show.

As the series concluded, Sue Ann's show was canceled because of low ratings. She worked for a time in the newsroom, but, in the final episode, she was fired, as was almost everyone at WJM.

Sue Ann Nivens exhibited a new dimension to White's talent. Often typecast as a sometimes cloying, gentle, innocent or seemingly demure woman who would occasionally say shockingly risque things the meaning of which she was unaware, White was able to distinguish herself as an actress from her body of work.

On The Golden Girls, debuting eight years later, White was originally cast as man-hungry Blanche; and Rue McClanahan, the befuddled Vivian on Maude, was cast as naive Rose. The two actresses realized how similar their new roles were to their previous ones and, at the suggestion of veteran comedy director Jay Sandrich, approached the producers about switching roles. The producers agreed, and the show went on to great success.

Allowing White and McClanahan to swap roles was what made Bea Arthur decide to take part in The Golden Girls. McClanahan recalled in an interview, "Bea told me, 'Rue, I don't want to do a show where Maude and Vivian meet Sue Ann Nivens', to which I said, 'No, Bea. I'm going to play Nivens and Betty White is going to play Vivian.'" Bea Arthur was then said to reply, "Interesting!"

Friday, April 20, 2012

Dr. Watson

John H. Watson, M.D., known as Dr. Watson, is a character in the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Watson is Sherlock Holmes's friend, assistant and sometime flatmate, and is the first person narrator of all but four stories in the Sherlock Holmes canon.

Doctor Watson's first name is mentioned on only three occasions. Part one of the very first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, is subtitled 'Being a reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D., Late of the Army Medical Department'. In '"The Problem of Thor Bridge"', Watson says that his dispatch box is labeled 'John H. Watson, M.D'. Watson's wife calls him 'James' in "The Man with the Twisted Lip"; Dorothy L. Sayers speculates that Morstan may be referring to his middle name Hamish (which means James in Scottish Gaelic), though Doyle himself never addresses this beyond including the initial. In every other instance, he is called either Doctor or Watson, or both together, and his first name is never used again.

In A Study in Scarlet, Watson, as the narrator, recounts his earlier life before meeting Holmes. It is established that Watson received his medical degree from the University of London in 1878, and had subsequently gone on to train at Netley as a surgeon in the British Army. He joined British forces in India, saw service in the Second Anglo-Afghan War, was wounded at the Battle of Maiwand, suffered enteric fever and was sent back to England on the troopship HMS Orontes following his recovery.

In 1881, Watson runs into an old friend of his named Stamford, who tells him that an acquaintance of his, Sherlock Holmes, is looking for someone to split the rent at a flat in 221B Baker Street. Watson meets Holmes for the first time at a local hospital, where Holmes is conducting a scientific experiment. Holmes and Watson list their faults to each other to determine whether they can live together, concluding that they are compatible; they subsequently move into the flat. When Watson notices the multiple guests which frequently visit the flat, Holmes reveals that he is a "consulting detective" and that the guests are his clients.

By this time, Watson has already become impressed with Holmes' knowledge of chemistry and sensational literature. He witnesses Holmes' amazing skills at deduction as they embark on their first case together, concerning a series of murders related to Mormon intrigue. When the case is solved, Watson is angered that Holmes is not given any credit for it by the press. When Holmes refuses to record and publish his account of the adventure, Watson endeavours to do so himself. In time, Holmes and Watson become close friends.

In The Sign of the Four, John Watson becomes engaged to Mary Morstan, a governess. In "The Adventure of the Empty House", statements by Watson imply that Morstan has died by the time Holmes returns after faking his death; that fact is confirmed when Watson moves back to Baker Street to share lodgings with Holmes, as he had done as a bachelor. Conan Doyle made mention of a second wife in "The Adventure of the Illustrious Client" and "The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier", but this wife was never named, described, or explained.

When John Watson first returns from Afghanistan, he is described "as thin as a lath and as brown as a nut." He is usually described as strongly built, of a stature either average or slightly above average, with a thick, strong neck and a small moustache. Watson used to be an athlete, as it is mentioned in "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire" that he once played rugby for Blackheath, but he fears his physical condition has declined since that point.

Although "Elementary, my dear Watson" is perhaps Holmes's best-known catch phrase, he never uses exactly those words in any of the books written by A. Conan Doyle.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective created by Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The fantastic London-based "consulting detective", Holmes is famous for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to take on almost any disguise, and his use of forensic science skills to solve difficult cases.

Holmes, who first appeared in publication in 1887, was featured in four novels and 56 short stories. The first novel, A Study in Scarlet, appeared in Beeton's Christmas Annual in 1887 and the second, The Sign of the Four, in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine in 1890. The character grew tremendously in popularity with the first series of short stories in Strand Magazine, beginning with A Scandal in Bohemia in 1891; further series of short stories and two novels published in serial form appeared between then and 1927. The stories cover a period from around 1880 up to 1914.

All but four stories are narrated by Holmes's friend and biographer, Dr. John H. Watson; two are narrated by Holmes himself ("The Blanched Soldier" and "The Lion's Mane") and two others are written in the third person ("The Mazarin Stone" and "His Last Bow"). In two stories ("The Musgrave Ritual" and "The Gloria Scott"), Holmes tells Watson the main story from his memories, while Watson becomes the narrator of the frame story. The first and fourth novels, A Study in Scarlet and The Valley of Fear, each include a long interval of omniscient narration recounting events unknown to either Holmes or Watson.

Doyle said that the character of Sherlock Holmes was inspired by Dr. Joseph Bell, for whom Doyle had worked as a clerk at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Like Holmes, Bell was noted for drawing large conclusions from the smallest observations. Sir Henry Littlejohn, Lecturer on Forensic Medicine and Public Health at the Royal College of Surgeons, is also cited as a source for Holmes. Littlejohn served as Police Surgeon and Medical Officer of Health of Edinburgh, providing for Doyle a link between medical investigation and the detection of crime.

Explicit details about Sherlock Holmes's life outside of the adventures recorded by Dr. Watson are few and far between in Conan Doyle's original stories; nevertheless, incidental details about his early life and extended families portray a loose biographical picture of the detective.

An estimate of Holmes's age in the story "His Last Bow" places his birth in 1854; the story is set in August 1914 and he is described as being 60 years of age. Commonly, the date is cited as 6 January. However, an argument for a later birthdate is posited by author Laurie R. King, based on two of Conan Doyle's stories: A Study in Scarlet and "The Gloria Scott" Adventure. Certain details in "The Gloria Scott" Adventure indicate Holmes finished his second and final year at university in either 1880 or 1885. Watson's own account of his wounding in the Second Afghan War and subsequent return to England in A Study in Scarlet place his moving in with Holmes in either early 1881 or 1882. Together, these suggest Holmes left university in 1880; if he began university at the age of 17, his birth year would likely be 1861.

Holmes states that he first developed his methods of deduction while an undergraduate. The author Dorothy L. Sayers suggested that, given details in two of the Adventures, Holmes must have been at Cambridge rather than Oxford and that "of all the Cambridge colleges, Sidney Sussex (College) perhaps offered the greatest number of advantages to a man in Holmes's position and, in default of more exact information, we may tentatively place him there".

His earliest cases, which he pursued as an amateur, came from fellow university students. According to Holmes, it was an encounter with the father of one of his classmates that led him to take up detection as a profession, and he spent the six years following university working as a consulting detective, before financial difficulties led him to take Watson as a roommate, at which point the narrative of the stories begins.

From 1881, Holmes was described as having lodgings at 221B, Baker Street, London, from where he runs his consulting detective service. 221B is an apartment up 17 steps, stated in an early manuscript to be at the "upper end" of the road. Until the arrival of Dr. Watson, Holmes worked alone, only occasionally employing agents from the city's underclass, including a host of informants and a group of street children he calls "the Baker Street Irregulars". The Irregulars appear in three stories: "A Study in Scarlet," "The Sign of the Four," and "The Adventure of the Crooked Man".

Little is said of Holmes's family. His parents were unmentioned in the stories and he merely states that his ancestors were "country squires". In "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter", Holmes claims that his great-uncle was Vernet, the French artist. His brother, Mycroft, seven years his senior, is a government official who appears in three stories and is mentioned in one other story. Mycroft has a unique civil service position as a kind of memory-man or walking database for all aspects of government policy. Mycroft is described as even more gifted than Sherlock in matters of observation and deduction, but he lacks Sherlock's drive and energy, preferring to spend his time at ease in the Diogenes Club, described as "a club for the most un-clubbable men in London".

Holmes shares the majority of his professional years with his good friend and chronicler Dr. John H. Watson, who lives with Holmes for some time before his marriage in 1887, and again after his wife's death; his residence is maintained by his landlady, Mrs. Hudson.

Watson has two roles in Holmes's life. First, he gives practical assistance in the conduct of his cases; he is the detective's right-hand man, acting variously as look-out, decoy, accomplice and messenger. Second, he is Holmes's chronicler (his "Boswell" as Holmes refers to him). Most of the Holmes stories are frame narratives, written from Watson's point of view as summaries of the detective's most interesting cases. Holmes is often described as criticising Watson's writings as sensational and populist, suggesting that they neglect to accurately and objectively report the pure calculating "science" of his craft.

Detection is, or ought to be, an exact science and should be treated in the same cold and unemotional manner. You have attempted to tinge it ["A Study in Scarlet"] with romanticism, which produces much the same effect as if you worked a love-story ... Some facts should be suppressed, or, at least, a just sense of proportion should be observed in treating them. The only point in the case which deserved mention was the curious analytical reasoning from effects to causes, by which I succeeded in unravelling it.
—Sherlock Holmes on John Watson's "pamphlet", The Sign of Four.

Nevertheless, Holmes's friendship with Watson is his most significant relationship. In several stories, Holmes's fondness for Watson—often hidden beneath his cold, intellectual exterior—is revealed. For instance, in "The Adventure of the Three Garridebs", Watson is wounded in a confrontation with a villain; although the bullet wound proves to be "quite superficial", Watson is moved by Holmes's reaction:

It was worth a wound; it was worth many wounds; to know the depth of loyalty and love which lay behind that cold mask. The clear, hard eyes were dimmed for a moment, and the firm lips were shaking. For the one and only time I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain. All my years of humble but single-minded service culminated in that moment of revelation.

In all, Holmes is described as being in active practice for 23 years, with Watson documenting his cases for 17 of them.

In "His Last Bow", Holmes has retired to a small farm on the Sussex Downs in 1903–1904, as chronicled by Watson in his preface to the series of stories entitled "His Last Bow." It is here that he has taken up the hobby of beekeeping as his primary occupation, eventually producing a "Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, with some Observations upon the Segregation of the Queen". The story features Holmes and Watson coming out of retirement one last time to aid the war effort. Only one adventure, "The Adventure of the Lion's Mane", which is narrated by Holmes as he pursues the case as a civilian, takes place during the detective's retirement. The details of his death are not known.

Watson describes Holmes as "bohemian" in habits and lifestyle. According to Watson, Holmes is an eccentric, with no regard for contemporary standards of tidiness or good order. In The Musgrave Ritual, Watson describes Holmes thus:

Although in his methods of thought he was the neatest and most methodical of mankind ... [he] keeps his cigars in the coal-scuttle, his tobacco in the toe end of a Persian slipper, and his unanswered correspondence transfixed by a jack-knife into the very centre of his wooden mantelpiece ... He had a horror of destroying documents.... Thus month after month his papers accumulated, until every corner of the room was stacked with bundles of manuscript which were on no account to be burned, and which could not be put away save by their owner.

What appears to others as chaos, however, is to Holmes a wealth of useful information. Throughout the stories, Holmes would dive into his apparent mess of random papers and artefacts, only to retrieve precisely the specific document or eclectic item he was looking for.

Watson frequently makes note of Holmes's erratic eating habits. The detective is often described as starving himself at times of intense intellectual activity, such as during "The Adventure of the Norwood Builder", wherein, according to Watson:

[Holmes] had no breakfast for himself, for it was one of his peculiarities that in his more intense moments he would permit himself no food, and I have known him to presume upon his iron strength until he has fainted from pure inanition.

His chronicler does not consider Holmes's habitual use of a pipe, or his less frequent use of cigarettes and cigars, a vice. Nor does Watson condemn Holmes's willingness to bend the truth or break the law on behalf of a client (e.g., lying to the police, concealing evidence or breaking into houses) when he feels it morally justifiable. Even so, it is obvious that Watson has stricter limits than Holmes, and occasionally berated Holmes for creating a "poisonous atmosphere" of tobacco smoke. Holmes himself references Watson's moderation in "The Adventure of the Devil's Foot", saying, "I think, Watson, that I shall resume that course of tobacco-poisoning which you have so often and so justly condemned". Watson also did not condone Holmes's plans when they manipulated innocent people, such as when he toyed with a young woman's heart in "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton" although it was done with noble intentions to save many other young women from the clutches of the villainous Milverton.

Holmes is portrayed as a patriot acting on behalf of the government in matters of national security in a number of stories. He also carries out counter-intelligence work in His Last Bow, set at the beginning of the First World War. As shooting practice, the detective adorned the wall of his Baker Street lodgings with "VR" (Victoria Regina) in bullet pocks made by his pistol.

Holmes has an ego that at times borders on arrogant, albeit with justification; he draws pleasure from baffling police inspectors with his superior deductions. He does not seek fame, however, and is usually content to allow the police to take public credit for his work. It is often only when Watson publishes his stories that Holmes's role in the case becomes apparent. Because of newspaper articles and Watson's stories, however, Holmes is well known as a detective, and many clients ask for his help instead of or alongside the police.

Holmes is pleased when he is recognised for having superior skills and responds to flattery, as Watson remarks, as a girl does to comments upon her beauty.

Holmes's demeanour is presented as dispassionate and cold. Yet when in the midst of an adventure, Holmes can sparkle with remarkable passion. He has a flair for showmanship and will prepare elaborate traps to capture and expose a culprit, often to impress Watson or one of the Scotland Yard inspectors.

Holmes is a loner and does not strive to make friends, although he values those that he has, and none higher than Watson. He attributes his solitary ways to his particular interests and his mopey disposition. In The Adventure of the Gloria Scott, he tells Watson that during two years at college, he made only one friend, Victor Trevor. Holmes says, "I was never a very sociable fellow, Watson, always rather fond of moping in my rooms and working out my own little methods of thought, so that I never mixed much with the men of my year;... my line of study was quite distinct from that of the other fellows, so that we had no points of contact at all". He is similarly described in A Study in Scarlet as difficult to draw out by young Stamford.

Holmes's emotional state and mental health have been a topic of analysis for decades. At their first meeting in A Study in Scarlet, the detective warns Watson that he gets "in the dumps at times" and doesn't open his "mouth for days on end". Many readers and literary experts have suggested Holmes showed signs of manic depression, with moments of intense enthusiasm coupled with instances of indolent self absorption. Other modern readers have speculated that Holmes may have Asperger's syndrome based on his intense attention to details, lack of interest in interpersonal relationships and tendency to speak in long monologues. The detective's isolation and near-gynophobic distrust of women is said to suggest the desire to escape; Holmes "biographer" William Baring-Gould and others, including Nicholas Meyer, author of the Seven Percent Solution, have implied a severe family trauma (i.e., the murder of Holmes's mother) may be the root cause.

Holmes is described in The Hound of the Baskervilles as having a "cat-like" love of personal cleanliness. This in no way appears to hinder his intensely practical pursuit of his profession, however, and appears in contrast with statements that, in the first Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, his hands are discoloured with acid stains and Holmes uses drops of his own blood to conduct experiments in chemistry and forensics.

Holmes occasionally uses addictive drugs, especially when lacking stimulating cases. He believes the use of cocaine stimulates his brain when it is not in use. He is a habitual user of cocaine, which he injects in a seven-per-cent solution using a special syringe that he keeps in a leather case. Holmes is also an occasional user of morphine but expressed strong disapproval on visiting an opium den. These drugs were legal in late 19th-century England. Both Watson and Holmes are serial tobacco users, including cigarettes, cigars, and pipes. Holmes is expert at identifying tobacco-ash residues, having penned a monograph on the subject.

Dr. Watson strongly disapproves of his friend's cocaine habit, describing it as the detective's "only vice" and expressing concern over its possible effect on Holmes's mental health and superior intellect. In later stories, Watson claims to have "weaned" Holmes off drugs. Even so, according to his doctor friend, Holmes remains an addict whose habit is "not dead, but merely sleeping"

Although he initially needed Watson to share the rent of his comfortable residence at 221B Baker Street, Watson reveals in "The Adventure of the Dying Detective", when Holmes was living alone, that "I have no doubt that the house might have been purchased at the price which Holmes paid for his rooms," suggesting he had developed a good income from his practice, although it is seldom revealed exactly how much he charges for his services. In "A Scandal in Bohemia", he is paid the staggering sum of one thousand pounds (300 in gold and 700 in notes) as advance payment for "present expenses". In "The Problem of Thor Bridge" he avers: "My professional charges are upon a fixed scale. I do not vary them, save when I remit them altogether".

This is said in a context where a client is offering to double his fees; however, it is likely that rich clients provided Holmes a remuneration greatly in excess of his standard fee. For example, in "The Adventure of the Final Problem", Holmes states that his services to the government of France and the royal house of Scandinavia had left him with enough money to retire comfortably, while in "The Adventure of Black Peter", Watson notes that Holmes would refuse to help the wealthy and powerful if their cases did not interest him, while he could devote weeks at a time to the cases of the most humble clients. Holmes also tells Watson, in "A Case of Identity", of a golden snuff box received from the King of Bohemia after "A Scandal in Bohemia" and a fabulous ring from the Dutch royal family; in "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans", Holmes receives an emerald tie-pin from Queen Victoria. Other mementos of Holmes's cases are a gold sovereign from Irene Adler ("A Scandal in Bohemia") and an autographed letter of thanks from the French President and a Legion of Honour for tracking down an assassin named Huret ("The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez"). In "The Adventure of the Priory School", Holmes "rubs his hands with glee" when the Duke of Holdernesse notes the 5,000 pound sterling sum, which surprises even Watson, and then pats the cheque, saying, "I am a poor man", an incident that could be dismissed as representative of Holmes's tendency toward sarcastic humour. Certainly, in the course of his career Holmes had worked for both the most powerful monarchs and governments of Europe (including his own) and various wealthy aristocrats and industrialists and had also been consulted by impoverished pawnbrokers and humble governesses on the lower rungs of society.

Holmes has been known to charge clients for his expenses, and to claim any reward that might be offered for the problem's solution: he says in "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" that Miss Stoner may pay any expenses he may be put to, and requests that the bank in "The Red-Headed League" remunerate him for the money he spent solving the case. Holmes has his wealthy banker client in "The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet" pay him for the costs of recovering the stolen gems and also claims the reward the banker had put for their recovery.

The only woman to impress Holmes was Irene Adler, a character introduced in "A Scandal in Bohemia" who, according to Watson, was always referred to by Holmes as "the woman". Holmes himself is never directly quoted as using this term and even mentions her name in other cases (although it is worth noting that all of the stories using Adler's name come after "A Scandal in Bohemia", which was the third tale published about Holmes and the first short story so Holmes may have shifted how he referred to Adler over time). Adler is one of the few women who are mentioned in multiple Holmes stories, appearing in person in only one.

In one story, "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton," Holmes is engaged to be married, but only to gain information for his case. Although Holmes appears to show initial interest in some of his female clients (in particular, Violet Hunter in "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches"), Watson says he inevitably "manifested no further interest in the client when once she had ceased to be the centre of one of his problems". Holmes finds their youth, beauty, and energy (and the cases they bring to him) invigorating, distinct from any romantic interest. These episodes show Holmes possesses a degree of charm; yet apart from the case of Adler, there is no indication of a serious or long-term interest. Watson states that Holmes has an "aversion to women" but "a peculiarly ingratiating way with [them]". Holmes states, "I am not a whole-souled admirer of womankind"; in fact, he finds "the motives of women... so inscrutable.... How can you build on such quicksand? Their most trivial actions may mean volumes;... their most extraordinary conduct may depend upon a hairpin".

As Doyle remarked to muse Joseph Bell, "Holmes is as inhuman as a Babbage's calculating machine and just about as likely to fall in love". The only joy Holmes derives from the company of women is the problems they bring to him to solve. In The Sign of the Four, Watson quotes Holmes as being "an automaton, a calculating machine", and Holmes is quoted as saying, "It is of the first importance not to allow your judgement to be biased by personal qualities. A client is to me a mere unit—a factor in a problem. The emotional qualities are antagonistic to clear reasoning. I assure you that the most winning woman I ever knew was hanged for poisoning three little children for their insurance-money". This points to Holmes's lack of interest in relationships with women in general, and clients in particular, leading Watson to remark that "there is something positively inhuman in you at times". At the end of "The Adventure of the Devil's Foot", Holmes states: "I have never loved, Watson, but if I did and if the woman I loved had met such an end, I might act as our lawless lion-hunter had done." In the story, the explorer Dr Sterndale had killed the man who murdered his beloved, Brenda Tregennis, to exact a revenge which the law could not provide. Watson writes in "The Adventure of the Dying Detective" that Mrs. Hudson is fond of Holmes in her own way, despite his bothersome eccentricities as a lodger, owing to his "remarkable gentleness and courtesy in his dealings with women". Again in The Sign of the Four, Watson quotes Holmes as saying, "I would not tell them too much. Women are never to be entirely trusted—not the best of them." Watson notes that while he dislikes and distrusts them, he is nonetheless a "chivalrous opponent".