May 17 – Carry Me Home

Won’t You Be My Neighbour?

Neighbours… sometimes you love them and sometimes you hate them. One thing is for sure: you rarely get to choose them. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be looking at some of the best and worst neighbour pairs, so be prepared for the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here are the Top 5 best neighbours to have:

#5: Ricardo Family & Mertz Family – I Love Lucy

Sure, Lucy and Ethel get into a lot of trouble together, which can wreak havoc on the collective group’s relationship, but this quartet has managed to remain friends through the thick and thin of some of the greatest sitcom misunderstandings. Ironically, off-screen, Vivian Vance and William Frawley, who played the Mertz’s did not like each other, with Vance even turning down a proposed spinoff and own series for the two. Instead, Vance chose to share a house with Lucille Ball in another series, The Lucy Show, becoming the first divorced character in American TV history. I guess Vance wanted to be even closer to her longtime neighbour.

Lucy and Ethel

#4: Monica Geller/Rachel Green & Joey Tribbiani/Chandler Bing – Friends

Chandler moved in to the apartment building in Greenwich Village, Manhattan thanks to Monica telling him about the available flat across the hall from her. By the end of the series, the two were married and starting a family together. Rachel and Joey (their eventual respective roommates) almost became a couple, as well, but it wasn’t meant to be. I didn’t watch a ton of Friends, but the best episodes I ever saw were when the two sets of roommates competed for apartments. The boys won, but swapped properties back in exchange for the girls kissing.

#3: Leonard Hofstadter & Penny – Big Bang Theory

The only thing better than a decent neighbour is one you can have sex with. When the gorgeous Penny moves in across the hall from geeky Leonard, his world is turned upside down. She is certainly out of his league, but this tale of nice guys never win has a happy ending, with Leonard and Penny finally becoming a couple. I still wonder why the two haven’t moved in together, to at the very least, save rent money, but perhaps Penny still needs to have a sanctuary where she can get away from Sheldon. Interestingly, I hadn’t noticed that Penny’s last name has never been divulged on the show until putting together this article. Soon enough, it may be Hofstadter.

Friends with Geeks

#2: Matthews Family & Mr. Feeny – Boy Meets World

Mr. Feeny is a wealth of knowledge (likely thanks to his experiences as the voice of a car) and while his tutelage isn’t always openly accepted by young Eric and Cory Matthews, he is there for all the members of the Matthews family when needed. It would be rough going through your entire education with your neighbour as either a teacher, principal, or dean, but that’s exactly the hand Cory, in particular, has been dealt. If it weren’t for Mr. Feeny being so awesome, it may have been tough sledding for the young Matthews men, although it’s not like they didn’t ever stir the pot and put Feeny through some hell.

#1: Tim Taylor & Wilson Wilson – Home Improvement

When you get into as many sticky situations as Tim Taylor, it’s a blessing to have a neighbour like Wilson Wilson around to help you sort through your dilemmas with offbeat allegories and thought-provoking messages. And Wilson wasn’t only help to Tim. He practically had a hand in raising each of the three Taylor children, as well as keeping Tim and Jill’s marriage running as smoothly as possible… given Tim’s penchant for putting his foot in his mouth or a tool through an appendage. You may never see Wilson’s full face or get a sense of his lifestyle, but one thing is for sure: the dude spends a lot of time in his backyard!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Carry Me Home

Carry Me Home Shot

  • 0.5 Butterscotch Schnapps
  • 0.5 oz Crème de Cacao
  • Dash of Kahlua
  • Splash of Milk
  • Garnish with Cocoa Powder

Like a good neighbour, State Farm is there… or at least these other pairings are. Next week, we delve into the worst neighbours of all-time. Oh, the stories I could tell from my own experiences… I’m still going through counseling thanks to some of them!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This shot was pretty good with flavours of Butterscotch Schnapps and Crème de Cacao competing for your attention and the Kahlua coming in with the aftertaste. Make sure to share one of these with your favourite neighbour!

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December 11 – The Woolly Mitten

Home for the Holidays

One of the best things to do at Christmas is watch cherished holiday episodes of your favourite TV shows, while getting warm and toasty by the fire. Here are some of my favourite shows and episodes for Christmas spirit.

Married… with Children

In ‘It’s a Bundy-ful Life’, the always down on his luck, Al Bundy, is shown what his family’s life would be like if he wasn’t around. In a twist on It’s a Wonderful Life, Al decides that his family is too happy and has such a better life without him that that’s reason enough to continue living. This hour-long episode featured late comedian Sam Kinison in the guardian angel role.

its-a-bundyful-life

South Park

The animated sensation has a bunch holiday episodes under its belt (even having its own DVD release of the collection) and in true South Park style, they use such absurdities as Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo to get their message across. The boys have even travelled to the bizarre world of Canada for Christmas, with Cartman wanting desperately to get home to his presents.

Home Improvement

Tim ‘the Tool Man’ Taylor is a house’s worst nightmare. With all of his renovation schemes – most of which end in disaster – if a home had feelings, they would fear for their existence with Mr. Taylor around. Christmas time is no different, as Tim pulls out all the stops in his attempt to decorate his home and compete with neighbours over who has the best set-up.

Beavis and Butt-head Do Christmas

While their delinquent brand of humour might not be for everyone (it certainly isn’t for Mrs. Sip), this Christmas episode is incredibly funny. In the first segment, Beavis is head honcho at Burger World and is visited by three ghosts to learn the true meaning of Christmas. After a break for some Christmas music videos, the second installment follows Butt-head being shown that everyone’s lives would be better without him existing.

beavis_and_butt_head_do_christmas

The Simpsons

It’s no surprise that The Simpsons would land a spot on this list. While they haven’t offered a Christmas episode in each of their 25 seasons, the ones they have done are quite memorable. In the first Simpson’s Christmas airing (the first full-length episode actually!), the family found its dog, Santa’s Little Helper, a turned away ex-racing mutt. The family has also battled commercialism during the holidays with a war on the Funzo toy release.

Community

Each year, the Community folks have provided an interesting Christmas episode, similar to their efforts at Halloween. In the show’s second season, the holiday episode featured the cast turned into stop-motion animation, similar to the Rankin/Bass specials, as Abeb searches for the meaning of Christmas. I don’t think I’d do very well in a stop-motion animation world!

The Office

The annual office Christmas party provides ample opportunity for laughs. I only thank the heavens above that my company doesn’t really do the Christmas thing. Do you think I want to be around my colleagues any longer than I actually have to be? Anyway, the antics of this rag tag bunch always seem to ramp up around the holidays and each Christmas party has its own issues to be dealt with.

Drink #345: The Woolly Mitten

The Woolly Mitten Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Southern Comfort
  • 1.5 oz Bailey’s Irish Crème
  • 1 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • Top with Hot Chocolate
  • Garnish with Whipped Cream

There are far too many Christmas episodes out there in TV Land to get to them all, but if you have any specific suggestions for the Sip Advisor, I’m all ears!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
As I’ve written before, I’m not a huge fan of warm drinks, but I do make the occasional exception for Hot Chocolate. Where this drink was good is that all the liquors tasted good together and amongst the Hot Water and Cocoa Powder. Whip Cream is always fun to use and the Crushed Candy Canes sprinkled on top was one of my better ideas.

October 18 – Spider’s Bite

TV Haunts

Most TV shows will take advantage of the Halloween season and put out an episode involving a party or trick or treating and while many of them are good, great even, some series really know how to salute the event. Here are the shows that took the Halloween formula and turned it up a notch, leaving their own mark on the holiday:

The Simpsons

You really can’t go wrong with The Simpsons ‘Treehouse of Horror’ Halloween specials. It’s hard for me to pick a favourite segment, but I’d probably settle on “The Shinning” lampoon of “The Shining”. I also love the story of Homer selling his soul for a donut and Ned Flanders being the devil. Mrs. Sip and I went back last year to watch every single episode, but only managed to get through 15 of the 23 shows (now 24)… on the plus side, that leaves us with nine airings to go through this year, leading up to the 31st!

Treehouse of Horror

Roseanne

Roseanne featured a Halloween episode every year from 1989 to 1995. The Connors were a wild bunch that loved Halloween perhaps more than any other time of the year. The whole family got into the spirit, with decorations around the house and wildly imaginative costumes. The best episode may be 1989’s “BOO”, which featured the family hosting a haunted house in their home and Dan and Roseanne taking turns trying to scare the crap out of one another.

Community

Every season of Community’s existence has featured a Halloween-themed episode and hopefully that continues in season five. The show has celebrated Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), examined what would happen if a zombie apocalypse took over the school, tried to figure out which member of the study group is a potential homicidal maniac, and ventured through a seemingly haunted house to rescue their friend. What could be next for the gang?

Community- Season 4

Home Improvement

With all of Tim ‘The Tool Man’ Taylor’s hapless home renovations and gadgets, you knew each time Halloween rolled around that there would be mayhem and macabre in the household. Tim is also big into Halloween pranks, something that his family has also gotten into the spirit of as they try to get back at their father/husband. Watch a few of these and you’ll be interspersing your laughing with the odd grunt or two!

The Office

The Office was always good for viewing because it gave you touches of what you experience in your own daily working life. That includes the yearly ramp up to Halloween at, well, the office. The costumes worn by the characters have been full of gags, like Michael’s two-headed monster, all the women dressed as cats, and Jim’s lack of enthusiasm for choosing a getup, his outfits including three black dots (Three-Hole Punch Jim), wearing a “Dave” nametag, and writing “BOOK” on his face (Bookface).

Drink #291: Spider’s Bite

Spider's Bite Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Cranberry Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Triple Sec
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with Black Licorice

Have I missed your favourite show? Give me hell and let me know what to watch this or next Halloween season!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail was pretty tasty. The only downside was having so much Black Licorice leftover, but I was able to pawn them off on Pa Sip. All the ingredients combined to make a sour, flavourful martini… a much better experience than getting bit by a spider!