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.

Advertisements

August 9 – Secret of the Ooze

Reptile Rebellion

I’m a huge Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan and have been since the cool dudes with attitudes hit the airwaves in 1987. With the movie reboot that came out last night, it’s time to dedicate some space to turtle power and discuss the greatest reptiles ever. Let the debate begin!

#5: The Fraternity of Crocodiles – Pearls Before Swine

Some of the funniest Pearls Before Swine comics involve the Fraternity of Crocodiles (under their official name of Da Brudderhood of Zeeba Zeeba Eata) trying to get their chompers wrapped around the animals of Albany, California. These crocs really aren’t very bright, but they’re enthusiasm for eating zebras is unrivaled. Their failed attempts at procuring dinner is akin to Wile E. Coyote’s efforts and you find yourself routing for the bad guy to pick up a win.

zeeba_zeeba_eata

#4: Geico Gecko

I love this little mascot, who despite his gentle nature, seems to have a bite to him, as well. He is, after all, the smartest man in the room at high-level Geico meetings and that might be saying something about the insurance industry in general. The Geico Gecko was born out of the 1999 Screen Actors Guild strike, which resulted in the company not being able to use live actors. Kelsey Grammar originally voiced the character, but he has evolved into more of an everyman gecko with a Cockney accent.

#3: Rango

Perfectly cast, with Johnny Depp providing the lizard’s voice, Rango is the tale of a fish-out-of-water chameleon, who becomes sheriff of the desert town of Dirt and uncovers a mystery involving the area’s drinking water. I also have to give Rango props for dealing with the dreaded Rattlesnake Jake, using his brains to defeat the brawny gunslinger. Anytime a slithering snake is defeated, the Sip Advisor is a happy man.

rango-fear-and-loathing

#2: Bowser – Nintendo

One of the greatest video game baddies of all-time, Bowser seems obsessed with Princess Peach to the point that he’s kidnapped her so many times she’s developed a severe case of Stockholm Syndrome and doesn’t mind playing board games and going go-kart racing with the evil lizard king. Bowser even has his family members getting in on the sinful acts and you may defeat them, but the princess will likely be in another castle!

#1: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

You had to know that these four heroes in a half shell would take the top spot. Of course, Michaelangelo is my favourite among the troupe, but each member of the team holds a special place in my heart and brings something different to the table. One of my favourite things about the TMNT franchise is all the different sidekicks and villains that were introduced, from Casey Jones to the Shredder, and all the Bebop’s and Rocksteady’s in between.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Secret of the Ooze (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Aug 9

  • Rim glass with Candy Sugar
  • 0.5 oz Melon Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Pisang Ambon
  • Splash of Sour Apple Mix
  • Dash of Lime Cordial

I have to throw some honourable mentions out to Dino (Flintstones), Godzilla, Tick-Tock (Peter Pan), Sir Hiss (Robin Hood), and Reptile (Mortal Kombat). One reptilian that is definitely on the hate list is Barney the Dinosaur… he gives all prehistoric beasts a bad name and should have been slaughtered by the Transformers Dinobots crew.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I wasn’t really happy with the Mutagen and other Ninja Turtles-themed drinks that already existed (although Drunken Moogle has a neat cocktail that actually uses the toy mutagen canister for its glass), so I built my own shot version, using as many green-coloured products I had in my arsenal. The results were a fruit punch of sorts, including the Lime Cordial Mrs. Sip and I made ourselves. This shooter also provided my first chance to use my new tilted shot glass, which goes perfectly with the theme, in my honest opinion.

April 26 – Golden Dragon

Dragon’s Den

While preparing for our Around the World stop in China, I had originally intended to do an article on dragons, which are an integral part of Chinese culture, mythology, and folklore. China is not alone, however, with having dragons as part of their legends, so I switched this post over to a Super Saturday Shot Day article and now we can have some real fun. Here are the top five dragons in media:

#5: Maleficent – Sleeping Beauty

How cool would it be to have the power to turn into a dragon? For the wicked fairy Maleficent, this ability comes out as she tries to keep Prince Phillip from rescuing Princess Aurora. Even the name Maleficent is finely-crafted as it translates into “doing evil or harm”. The soon-to-be-released live action film Maleficent should be an interesting twist on the Sleeping Beauty fable, as we gain some perspective into the antagonist and get her point of view. Sadly, Angelina Jolie plays the titular (literally!?) role, but I’ll have to make peace with that.

Maleficent Dragon

#4: Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat

One of the most athletically-gifted wrestlers of all-time, Ricky Steamboat is a former NWA World Champion (a pretty big deal for you non-grappling fans) and his series of matches with the incomparable Ric Flair are considered legendary. Nicknamed ‘The Dragon’, while he was with the WWE during their cartoon gimmick era of the early 90’s, Steamboat even came to the ring breathing fire high into the air and wearing an outfit with fake scales. Sadly, his career was cut short due to a serious back injury in 1994, depriving fans of many more classic confrontations.

#3: Drogon, Viserion, and Rhaegal – Game of Thrones

While these dragons have already played an important role in the Game of Thrones saga, you just know that they will eventually become a focal point of the book and its TV series sibling. The dragons made Daenerys Targaryen a serious contender in the realm and helped her shed the misconceptions that she didn’t belong on the throne. Drogon, Viserion, and Rhaegal (I always love how fantasy novels come up with names) will continue to grow and intimidate. I doubt, however that all three make it through the series unscathed and there is likely some tragedy ahead for the ‘Mother of Dragons’.

Mother of Dragons

#2: Mushu – Mulan

Returning to the Disney vault, we get Mushu, an under-sized serpent and protector of Mulan as she joins the fight against the Hun army. While Mushu is a decent sidekick to Mulan, my favourite appearance of the dragon is at the Disney Animation Studio attraction at Disney Parks, where he co-hosts the Drawn to Animation demonstration. I find it ironic that Eddie Murphy played this little firecracker of a dragon, then fell in love with a dragon as Donkey in Shrek. The guy must have a thing for the mythical beasts!

#1: Toothless – How to Train Your Dragon

It’s unbelievable how much Toothless reminds me of one of Ma and Pa Sip’s cats. Yes, an animated dragon reminds me of a living cat… I’m special like that! Anyway, young Viking Hiccup finds Toothless one day and over time, the two become friends and partners as Hiccup trains Toothless to work with him, while also coming to the realization that the stories he’s grown up on about dragons being evil may not be true for every creature of the clan. Together, they bring a stop to the constant war between Vikings and dragons. I’m really looking forward to this year’s sequel to the 2010 hit and there’s even a planned third film due in 2016.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Golden Dragon

Golden Dragon Shot

While I’m not a huge fan of dragons, I have a deep respect for them. I wish I could sleep all day underneath a castle and be feared simply by reputation. I have to toss out a couple honourable mentions to Trogdor the Burninator from Strong Bad E-mails (Homestar Runner) and Eric Cartman’s stuffed animal dragon Rumpertumskin on South Park. Both characters are very minor players, but have given me great pleasure in the past.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I subbed in Torched Cherry Rum for Dragon Berry Rum because it’s what I had on hand and also thought it worked with the theme of dragons and fire. This shot was really good, particularly the mixing of the Goldschlager and Sour Apple Mix. The Torched Cherry Rum was indeed a good choice, adding a different note to an apple pie type flavour.