November 21 – The Talking Cow

Story Guides

It’s funny how much narration can add to the overall effect of a TV show or movie. That’s why over the next two weeks, we will salute the voices behind our favourite entertainment. This week, we’ll start with TV land, while next week, we move to the big screen. Let’s get things rolling!

#5: How I Met Your Mother

Voiced by Danny Tanner… er, I mean Bob Saget, the audience joins Ted Mosby’s two children as we learn the nine-season long story of how Ted met their mother. I can’t help but think that most story tellers would have cut straight to the chase, especially with the rash of ADD-afflicted teens known to exist nowadays. Through Saget, we join Ted and the gang for all of their triumphs, heartbreaks, and adventures in the Big Apple.

how-I-met-your-mother

#4: The Goldbergs

Mrs. Sip and I have just recently got into this show and are really enjoying it. One of the best elements is the narration provided by my boy Patton Oswalt, as a young Adam Goldberg traverses the awesome decade that was the 1980s! As a child of the 80’s, I can appreciate many elements of this show, including Adam’s passion for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Transformers. All along, we have Oswalt guiding us with the same childlike joy and enthusiasm as the boy he’s doing an adult version of.

#3: Dexter

Through Dexter’s narrations, we learn what’s going on in his troubled mind. We also get to see the side of Dexter he rarely reveals to the outside world. While he gives the impression that he’s kind of robotic, his inside voice tells us that he’s actually got a sense of humour and can even care for the people around him. Some of the best laughs from the series come straight from the mind of our serial killer of serial killers, as he makes quips about the victims he’s hunting and the authorities he’s eluding.

dexter

#2: Arrested Development

From the mind of Ron Howard (almost literally, as he delivers a perfect narration), comes the wacky antics of the Bluth family. With a growing number of characters, as the story progresses, Howard keeps us updated with each development and even manages to add in his own comedy from time to time. Howard even factors into the series, doing double duty, playing himself at some points. The former Opie of The Andy Griffith Show did well for himself and survived the transition from being a child actor.

#1: Wonder Years

Voiced by Daniel Stern of Wet Bandits (Home Alone) fame, this voice guided us through the turbulent 1960’s and 70’s, as Kevin Arnold came of age. From teenage love to surviving high school, we saw – and heard – it all. Although I haven’t seen it in years, I can still recall many of the bombs dropped in the final narration of the series, including the fact that Kevin and Winnie didn’t have a true happily ever after and that Jack Arnold, Kevin’s dad, only lived a couple more years, before passing away.

Super Saturday Shot Day: The Talking Cow

  • Rim glass with Coconut Shavings
  • 1 oz Coconut Rum
  • 0.5 oz Milk

If I could choose anyone to narrator my life’s story, it just might be the Dos Equis Man! Next week, we move to feature films, where narrators are essential to some stories. Which movies will crack the Top 5? You’ll just have to tune in to find out…

 

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January 10 – Bad Apple

In the Shadows

A number of TV shows have utilized characters that are never seen by the audience. Some even become integral parts of storylines, despite never being visible. Here are the Top 5 most intriguing characters that are largely left to your own imagination:

#5: Dr. Claw – Inspector Gadget

While having a voice that is instantly recognizable, when it comes to making an appearance, we get to see more of Dr. Claw’s kitty, than we do of the M.A.D. leader, himself. For decades, I’ve pondered what Dr. Claw might have actually looked like. I was remarking to Mrs. Sip the other day about how much I wanted to see Dr. Claw finally win a round with the hapless detective… then, perhaps, we’d finally get the big reveal and find out that Dr. Claw is actually Chief Quimby, who’s sick and tired of being blown up by Inspector Gadget every time he delivers a new self-destruct mission.

Dr. Claw

#4: Robin Masters – Magnum P.I.

How kind is author Robin Masters to let both Thomas Magnum and Jonathan Higgins stay at his sprawling mansion (Robin’s Nest), despite the fact that he never resides there himself?  Due to all the trouble that results from Magnum and Higgins living at the estate. Masters “sort of” appeared in a few episodes as a narrator, voiced by Orson Welles. At one point, it was even speculated upon that Higgins was in fact Masters. However, although Masters confessed as much to Magnum during the series finale, he retracted his statement later.

#3: Maris – Frasier

A fair amount of humour in early seasons of the series was derived from comments about Maris’ appearance and behaviour, always adding to the character’s mystique. Despite all her quirks, she is said to be wealthy and that might be reason enough for Niles to stay with her… at least for a little while. For a character that was never seen, Maris factored into a number of storylines, one including her committing murder in self-defense and having to flee the country to avoid prosecution.

Maris Crane

#2: Mrs. Wolowitz – Big Bang Theory

We may never get to see her, but we certainly hear from her often enough. Mrs. Wolowitz’s shrill voice can often be heard yelling at Howard and treating him like a child. This often causes Howard, frustrated with his treatment, to shout in return, and ultimately end up sounding like a child. Although, for a time, Mrs. Sip and I thought that Bernadette (Howard’s wife, played by actress Melissa Rauch), also voiced Mrs. Wolowitz, the noise was actually supplied by Carol Ann Susi, who sadly passed away in November 2014.

#1: Mrs. Columbo – Columbo

Although mentioned in numerous episodes, often to advance Lt. Columbo’s relationship with the villain, we never get to meet the true Mrs. Columbo. Sure, there was a spinoff TV series titled Mrs. Columbo, but it starred a young actress that was better suited to playing Columbo’s daughter than wife. Some have speculated that in actuality, there is no Mrs. Columbo at all and she is only used by the lieutenant as an investigation technique. That would have made for quite a series twist ending.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Bad Apple

Bad Apple Shot

  • 0.75 oz Whiskey
  • 0.75 oz Sour Apple Mix

Honourable mentions go to Vera (Cheers), The Mother (How I Met Your Mother), Sheridan and Violet (Keeping Up Appearances), Bill (Kill Bill Vol. 1), and Charlie (Charlie’s Angels). Hell, the Sip Advisor could have also made this list. Will all you little sippers ever get to see the man behind the liquor magic? Only time will tell!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I figured this would be a good shot for the article, as Dr. Claw and even some of the others on this list at, in fact, bad apples. I used my split shot glass and the results looked really neat. The taste was pretty good, with the Sour Apple Mix hitting first, before the stronger Whiskey overtook the whole experience.

October 10 – Simpson & Son Revitalizing Tonic

Cocktail Creations

There are some pretty interesting fictional cocktails out their in media land. I vow to try each and every one of them eventually. Here’s what made it to the top of the wishlist!

Flaming Homer/Moe – The Simpsons

When Homer Simpson is stuck at home with his terrible step-sisters and not a drop of beer to be found, he panics and puts together a cocktail made of all the booze he has left, accidentally adding some children’s cough medicine to the mix. Ash from one of his step-sister’s cigarettes lights the concoction on fire and makes it taste amazing. When Homer shares the recipe with bartender Moe Szyslak, Moe steals the drink and markets it as a Flaming Moe, gaining fame and fortune until Homer reveals the secret ingredient as revenge.

Flaming-Moe

The Flaming Moe is actually served at Universal Studios: Florida… another reason to go back to that amazing park!

Screaming Viking – Cheers

When Cheers has one bartender too many, the regulars want to keep Woody Boyd on the job over newcomer Wayne. When Wayne bets his job against being able to make any drink ordered, the Cheers gang makes up this cocktail on the fly in order to throw Wayne off. Of course, it’s pretty hard to replicate a recipe that doesn’t exist. The drink has since been produced by a couple of bars with varying recipes. Unless it’s served while you’re saddled up between Norm Peterson and Cliff Clavin, it just wouldn’t feel right.

Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Invented by Zaphod Beeblebrox, the drink is described as “the alcoholic equivalent of a mugging – expensive and bad for the head” and it “is like having your brain smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick”. The drink has been created in reality for stage productions of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and at bars around the world. Suggested recipes I was able to find largely just throw a ton of different boozes into the mix.

Green Russian – Archer

Absinthe and milk… a winning combination? Just think about it, you get your daily calcium nourishment, as well as an elixir meant to make you trip balls. This potent cocktail is the invention of Pam Poovey, director of human resources at the ISIS spy agency. Pam can often be seen walking around bars with her own personal booze chilling units, so it’s no surprise she is a liquor hound. She will even pour absinthe directly into a carton of milk! There are other Green Russian recipes available online, but I think Pam was on the right track with her rendition.

green-russians

Kidney Killer – American Dad

Francine Smith was once a hard-partying girl along with her partner in crime Kelly Wilk. When Kelly comes back into Francine’s life, the two try to recreate their wild times, with Haley Smith insisting she can keep up with the women. Haley drinks the fabled Kidney Killer and winds up in need of a kidney that Francine can’t offer, herself a victim of the booze. There is a Kidney Killer recipe on the internet. It combines tequila and Southern Comfort into a shot glass. The jury’s out as to how many you need to drink to actually kill your kidney!

Thankstini – How I Met Your Mother

This martini of vodka, cranberry juice and a bouillion cube is perfect for celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s like having a home-cooked family meal in a cocktail glass. Inventor Barney Stinson has provided me with the perfect libation for upcoming Thanksgiving celebrations. All that’s missing is the turkey, potatoes and stuffing, but I’m working on it. Stinson also has drink suggestions for Christmas, Arbor Day, Independence Day, and Ramadan!

Drink #283: Simpson & Son Revitalizing Tonic

Simpson & Son Revitalizing Tonic Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Vodka (I used Smirnoff Blueberry)
  • 1 oz Southern Comfort
  • Top with half Orange Juice and half Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Splash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with Berries

Look forward to future posts about fictional companies, restaurants, sports teams, sodas, and just about anything else this old, battered mind can think up!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
Sadly, the tonic didn’t send Mrs. Sip and myself into the throes of passion (as it worked in the cartoon… let down by TV once again!). Despite that small discrepancy, this drink was pretty good. All the citrus and berry notes were very enjoyable and the liquors did their jobs, as well.