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.

June 7 – Theme Songs

Musical Interlude

On one episode of Big Bang Theory, Sheldon reveals his favourite TV theme songs to be Inspector Gadget, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Spider-Man. While these are all fine selections in their own right, it got me thinking about which TV title tracks are really the greatest. That list is as follows!

#5: Disney Afternoon

Like Sheldon, I have a great fondness for my childhood. When I discussed this article with Mrs. Sip, she was quick to point out some absolutely spectacular music I had neglected, particularly entries from the Disney block of afternoon cartoons, including DuckTales, Rescue Rangers, TaleSpin, Darkwing Duck, and Goof Troop. Songwriter Mark Mueller was responsible for both DuckTales and Rescue Rangers and the others hold their own as memorable bits of my youth.

#4: Good Times

This theme song really speaks to anyone out there who tries to keep a bright outlook and smile on their face despite any hardships they may be wading through. “Temporary layoffs… Good Times. Easy credit rip offs… Good Times. Scratchin’ and surviving… Good Times.” There’s an episode of Chappelle Show which sees Dave Chappelle quiz various participants about the lyrics of this song, showing its true meaning to pop culture. “Ain’t we lucky we got ’em… Good Times!”

#3: Golden Girls

Thank you for being a friend, indeed. Such an awesome show deserves an equally epic theme. You really have to admire the work of everyone who touched this project, as they made elderly women an entertaining subject. The one lyric I disagree with is the one about the biggest gift being from that friend because there’s nothing wrong with presents that come in small packages: rings, earrings, necklaces… aren’t these really the presents women want!?

#2: TGIF Shows

We’re talking about the ditties from Full House (Everywhere You Look), Family Matters (As Days Go By), and Step by Step (Second Time Around), all written and performed by Jesse Frederick. The songs can sometimes be interchangeable, as I will often be humming one and it will transition right into another family sitcom classic. If you play them for a TGIF rookie, they will often confuse them for being the start to another show and I only give that person crap for the rest of our existence knowing one another, as a result of their tragic blunder.

#1: Growing Pains

I love to get under Mrs. Sip’s skin by blasting this tune at the highest of volumes and belting out the lyrics as shrilly as my voice can get. I even tried to get it added to our wedding playlist, arguing that it was “my jam,” but apparently that doesn’t hold the weight I wish it did. The only difficulty with the song is trying to cover both the male and female portions of the duet. It’s tricky, but if done properly, you can bet your previously intimate night will be no more… trust me!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Theme Songs

Theme Songs Shot

  • 1 oz Tattoo Rum
  • Dash of Ice Cream
  • Garnish with Sprinkles

Some of my proudest geek moments have been playing TV theme song trivia quizzes on cruise ships. Nothing says nerd of the highest variety than scoring 39 out of 40 and walking away with a little trophy for your years of sitting in front of the tube effort! Honourable mentions to Night Court, the 1960’s Batman, Benny Hill, Odd Couple, Saved by the Bell, and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air… great songs I just couldn’t wedge into this post.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I used Drinkify.org to find this recipe. The site suggests which drink to pair with whatever music you’re listening to. I searched for “TV Themes” and this came up. It specified 8 oz of Rum and 8 oz of Ice Cream, which is a little insane, so I condensed the recipe down to shot form. In fact, all of the site’s measurements seem a little out of whack and in many cases, it’s suggested to just drink straight liquor, but it’s still a neat idea in principle. As for the shooter itself, it was good. I’d been saving some Captain Morgan Tattoo Rum for a while and this was the perfect recipe for it.

January 22 – Envy

The Green-Eyed Monster

Jealousy…  I’m not too familiar with the feeling myself, but I assume it’s that feeling that other guys get when they see me free lifting my 200 pound weights in the gym, living my rock n’ roll gangsta lifestyle, or busting my sweet gangnam-style moves on the dance floor. 99% of the above may almost certainly be a lie, but since it’s Tequila Week here at The Sip Advisor headquarters, I know all you loyal readers are a bit jealous. To even it up, here’s a small selection of those who earn my envy:

Cookie Monster

Cookie Monster (speaking of monsters)

Imagine being able to eat whatever you want – cookies, plates, even the moon – and not gain a single pound. Seriously, Cookie Monster has been around since 1969 and despite eating whatever he wants, whenever he wants, he still looks the same, even though what he’s stuffed back would have other beings suffering the onset of diabetes or an incredibly gruesome and painful death or something. He may not lose any weight, but maintaining the body status quo would be classified a win for me. I love me some cookies (and chippies for that matter), so being able to eat so indiscernibly (and look cool in so much blue) definitely tops my list of enviable qualities.

Wolverine

Two words: adamantium skeleton. Sure the guy can’t remember who the hell he is or what his past life was, but he’s indestructible. Hell, I often can’t remember who I am or parts of my past life, thanks in large part to the subject matter of this blog. My mind is spinning with the stupid stuff I could get up to if I was immortal. Bungee jumping sans bungee cord, demolition derbies onboard a motorcycle, mixed martial arts fights with dinosaurs… the possibilities are endless, when your mind is as deteriorated as mine.

Garfield

The fat orange cat is allowed to be as surly as he wants and we love him for it. His enviable attitude is something that doesn’t work so well with my wife, however. While I’m not really down with the whole lasagna obsession thing, I can totally get behind the blankie, teddy bear (Pooky), fuzzy slippers and pajamas. And just like Garfield, I would only be nice twice a year, on my own Halloween and Christmas specials. I mean, how could you not be nice at Halloween and Christmas with all the candy, candy, candy and presents, presents, presents!?

Wile E Coyote

Wile E. Coyote

One has to admire Mr. Coyote’s passion and drive in his dogged pursuit of the Roadrunner. If I possessed the same ambition, I’d be able to get this 365-day challenge done in a month (never mind the fact that I may implode like said Coyote in the attempt to do so). I would also love to have the resources Wile E. has at his disposal. His ACME account must be unlimited and if they had an alcohol department, I would be all over that. The one drawback is his constant injuries. One can only fall off a cliff so many times before it would probably get tiresome. My hat is off to you buddy, keep chasing that rainbow and get yourself some sweet, sweet Roadrunner meat!

Inspector Gadget

He may be a bumbling idiot (sounds a little too similar to MY personality profile!), but he’s a respected and accomplished detective. Plus, he gets to travel the world, chasing criminals and use an array of high-tech – well, mostly low-tech umbrellas and such – gadgets (wait!? Is that why he’s called Inspector Gadget? Another of life’s mysteries solved). Perhaps I’d be the one to finally catch Dr. Claw. After all, in my younger days, I was very successful in my hunt for Carmen Sandiego and her band of henchmen. Go-go-gadget 12 inches, am I right, ladies?

Richie Rich

Simply put, the kid had a fully-staffed McDonald’s right inside his own house. We don’t even need to get into the whole gazillionaire, set-for-life kid, B.S. Nope, just McDonald’s… in your house… they would probably even do room service.  I would hold these off-the-chain shindigs with the guys from Epic Meal Time and we’d get completely destroyed on Chicken McNuggets and milkshakes. It would be, well, epic.

So, doing a final tally, if I put all my traits together, like a wonderfully-blended cocktail, I would be invincible; surly, but lovable; driven, with uncapped resources; with my own personal McDonald’s restaurant where I could eat at every day and never gain weight… and let’s not forget about the 12-incher!

Drink #22: Envy

Envy Martini

  • 1.5 oz Tequila (I used Sauza Gold)
  • 1 oz Blue Curacao
  • Top with Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish with Pineapple Wedge and Maraschino Cherry

Who (aside from super me) are you jealous of? Drop me a line and let me know. Perhaps your list will be better… I doubt it though, because I’m pretty awesome! Maybe there will be a list on narcissism in the future!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I like how this drink came together visually with the Blue Curacao half resting at the bottom of the martini glass and the rest combining with the Pineapple Juice to make a greenish hue, perfect for the Envy moniker. The taste wasn’t half bad either.