Category Archives: Television

Cosby Sweater of the Week

Season 2
Episode 15
“Theo & Cockroach”

Maury Chaykin

This past Tuesday, the world lost an incredible actor, Maury Chaykin. The actor has appeared in so many films, to list his credits would be useless. If you’ve seen Atom Egoyan or Don McKellar films, there’s a good chance you’ve seen Chaykin’s work. If you’re a fan of Canadian cinema in general, you’ll have seen Chaykin. The man’s been described best as a character actor, always playing different roles without a single role defining who he is.

It’s perhaps his unique look, the rotund man who could either look sinister or jolly at the flip of a switch. He’s so very identifiable, and without the rugged good looks of a leading man, and so, the actor can move in from role to role.

If I look at his acting credits on IMBD, I can only say I’ve seen 15 out of the 150+ roles he has played in his long career.

His role as the title character in the short run A&E series Nero Wolfe was what I always knew him best in. He captured that role perfectly, taking what Rex Stout had put in novel and portrayed it with such perfection that no one could ever portray that character in the future as anything but a poor mimicry.

When the news of his death passed through the Twitter-sphere, I assumed it to be another case like the rumours which floated about Gordon Lightfoot. I saw that the day was his birthday, and so someone must have been mistaken. Sadly, I was wrong. The actor passed away at 61.

I’m going to take the opportunity to tell a bit of a story. First some background. I loved Nero Wolfe, as did my then-girlfriend. One year a couple friends of ours made a CD with songs for each of us in a group of friends. The one for my then-girlfriend was called “Nero Wolfe.”1

When I was working at a shit hole of a computer store, which we’ll call Boron Computing, I was behind the counter, restocking the shelves. In walks Mr. Chaykin, looking like a homeless man, his hair in every direction and attired like a bum. My then-coworker started helping him out. This coworker is also half of the duo who wrote and recorded “Nero Wolfe.” Mr. Chaykin was a tad irate, as something hadn’t gone right with the service of his computer. I can’t quite remember the details, or I wasn’t paying much attention. He wasn’t in a pleasant mood2. Maury just wants something taken care of, and he’s faced with two guys, one who’s stocking shelves, the other who’s supposedly helping him. The one who’s supposed to be helping him takes the paperwork, and starts looking data up in the computer, as he’s doing this, he starts humming a theme song, it’s the theme song to Nero Wolfe.

I gave my coworker an evil glare, thinking “dude, don’t be singing the theme song, that’s not cool!” Then I remembered that Nero Wolfe didn’t have a theme song and the title music would change with the story. I then realized that Vince was humming the song he wrote called “Nero Wolfe.” There I was standing behind him, a meter or two away from Chaykin, laughing my ass off, while trying to hold it in for fear of looking like a complete moron, and in turn looking like a bigger idiot than I feared.

That’s my Maury Chaykin story. He’ll be missed.

  1. The one for me was called “Dirty Hippy.” []
  2. Hell, I never was in that building. []

Cosby Sweater of the Week

Season 2
Episode 14
“Vanessa’s Bad Grade”

Cosby Sweater of the Week

Season 2
Episode 13
“The Auction”

Cosby Sweater of the Week

Season 2
Episode 12
“Mrs. Westlake”

Cosby Sweater of the Week

Season 2
Episode 11
“Denise’s Friend”

Futurama is back!

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After a long absence, Futurama has returned to our television screens. For those unfamiliar, Futurama is about a man named Fry who at the turn of the millennium accidentally freezes himself and wakes up in the year 3000. The first two episodes have aired, and in the first one we find they’re just trying to quickly resolve any issues that existed from the previous direct to DVD film. It’s slow and sloppy and isn’t really worth your time. First Leela’s a robit, then Fry is a robit. Who cares? Also, who cares about those two loving each other. Boo!

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The second episode, however, is a return to form, as it focuses on Zapp’s Captain Kirk-esque fantasies and desires. Also the humour is top notch.

Music Monday

Sex Traffic

Sex Traffic is a two part CBC/BBC coproduction from 2004 starring John Simm1 and Peter Caine2. The show follows some women who are looking to leave Bosnia to make a better life for themselves in London. They end up as sex workers, beaten, bruised, and the lives of their children threatened.

John Simm works in London for a charity. He has compassion and wants to stop this. Peter Caine is CEO of a company that provides “police” a la the UN peacekeepers. They even wear blue barrettes.

It’s definitely not a fun romp. Scenes of rape, and abuse, and an alumni from Kung Fu: The Legend Continues are all things that might keep you away from the series, but it’s good enough to sit through it.

  1. The Master in Doctor Who, and Sam Tyler in Life on Mars. []
  2. From Kung Fu: The Legend Continues! []

Governor General James T. Kirk

Friday morning’s Toronto Star had William Shatner on the cover, the former star of Star Trek, who has a fan movement on Facebook vying for him to be Governor General of Canada.

For those unfamiliar, the Governor General is the nation’s de facto head of state. While the monarch (currently Elizabeth II) is the actual head of state, she cannot perform those duties, as she is also the head of state for numerous other countries, and resides in the United Kingdom. Governors General provide a mostly symbolic role, they represent the nation on an international level, are a spokesperson for the country, sign bills into law (once they’ve passed through the Commons and Senate), dissolves parliament, calls elections and read the throne speech. For Americans this might be a strange thing as their head of government and head of state are within the same role, President. Most world nations divide the two roles.

Governors General are appointed by The Queen upon recommendation by her Prime Minister. Until 1952, Canadian Governors General were British Lords, Dukes, or Earls, with ties to the Royal Family. In 1952, Vincent Massey was appointed as the first Canadian Governor General of Canada. Currently Michaëlle Jean holds the position; a reporter who immigrated to Canada from Haiti, and is fluently bilingual, she possess the two qualities important in a Governor General, is fluently bilingual and is statesman-like.

William Shatner might be amazing, but he is not in any way statesman-like. Would Canada really want him representing us on an international stage? Sure, if we needed someone to Captain HMCS Enterprise1, he’d be the first one we’d call.

Does Shatner even speak French?

Leonard Cohen, however, is a much better choice. He’s a fluently bilingual artist, who is respected, not mocked. Cohen is very statesman-like, and could be the first Jewish head of states in Canada2. That is assuming we ignore the fact that he’s now an ordained Buddhist monk.

What’s most annoying about this entire thing is The Star’s reporting on it. Someone said, “it would be awesome if Shatner were Governor General. I’m gonna start a Facebook group.” People joined. Then the Toronto Star ran an article on the FRONT PAGE. Proof once again that newspapers are useless.

  1. Her Majesty’s Canadian Starship. []
  2. Have there been any outside of Israel? Benjamin Disraeli was Prime Minister of England back in the 19th century, but that’s head of government. []