It’s official. Rap is no longer badass.

Courtesy of a press release from Fremantle Media:

You’re the Next Celebrity Contestant on THE PRICE IS RIGHT
Airing Monday, January 2 on the CBS Television Network
Today Snoop Dogg appears on CBS Television’s THE PRICE IS RIGHT on Day One of the Series’ first-ever Celebrity Week.
Snoop will play six of the long-running game show’s popular games, and spin the Big Wheel, alongside lucky audience members, with his Snoop Youth Football League receiving the cash equivalent of all prizes won.
According to THE PRICE IS RIGHT executive producer Mike Richards, “Let’s just say Snoop knows more about the price of grocery items than you might think!”
The special week of shows airs Monday, Jan. 2 – Friday, Jan. 6 (11:00 AM-12:00 Noon, ET; 10:00-11:00 AM, PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Additional celebrities appearing on the show this week include:
Tuesday, January 3 — Jenny McCarthy playing for Generation Rescue
Wednesday, January 4 — Neil Patrick Harris playing for The Noreen Fraser Foundation
Thursday, January 5 — Chris Daughtry playing for Alzheimer’s Association
Friday, January 6 — Heidi Klum playing for Unicef

So did this one.

Maynard’s Wine Gums, a gummi-bearish candy from the UK.

The song is “Hoots Mon (There’s A Moose Loose Aboot This Hoose)” by Lord Rockingham’s XI from 1958. Based on the Scottish folk song “A Hundred Pipers.” And yes, you guessed it,  I play it on the radio.

Clip from YouTube.

This commercial just flat-out rocked.

Early ’60s, Kellogg’s Rice Krispies.

Intricate and jazzy. Listen to how well the lines fit together on the last verse. It’s like a fugue.

I play this one on the radio quite often. I’ve always wanted to find out who the singers and musicians were; there’s probably no way of knowing.

Clip from You Tube.

The best TV show you (probably) never heard of..

Image from

Image from

unless you’ve been to my home.

You think there’s not a lot goin’ on
But look closer, baby, you’re so wrong
And that’s why you can stay so long
Where there’s not a lot goin’ on

– “Not A Lot Goin’ On (Theme from Corner Gas)” by Northey Valenzuela

Thank heaven for Netflix. If it didn’t exist I probably would never have discovered my new favorite TV sitcom, “Corner Gas,” which ran from 2003 through 2009 on the CTV group of networks in Canada.

It’s not surprising that you’ve never heard of it. Why would you? It’s not American-made. It’s funny, it’s intelligent, it’s real, and it’s joyous. No life lessons, no laugh track, no “very special episodes.” If you’ve ever lived in a small rural town, you’ll appreciate the quirks:

Oscar: What’s all the racket? I can hear you clear across town!
Brent: You can hear us two blocks away?

Emma: How do you like Dog River?
Visiting Doctor: Well, it takes a bit of getting used to. I’m accustomed to a slower pace.
Emma: There’s a slower pace?

But as pointed out by creator and star Brent Butt (yes, it’s his real name), the themes are quite universal and could play out in just about any community, large or small, around the world. (My sister Colleen, who is also a fan, gave me three DVD seasons of the show. I told her once, “I wish I lived in Dog River.”  She replied, “We DO live in Dog River.”)

To quote M-M-M-Mishy (an actual Canadienne!) in her excellent eponymous blog:

“Corner Gas” is a TV show that some of you might not have heard of before. You’re probably scratching your head trying to figure out what the hell “Corner Gas” is, so let me tell you. Unless you live up in the Great White North or you get over a billion satellite channels, you have probably never seen this show. You see, “Corner Gas” is something very unusual. Something very rare. It is something almost mythical in nature, such as unicorns or white pants that are not totally see-through. “Corner Gas” is a successful, multi-season, non-cancelled, Canadian sitcom.

Left to right: Tara Spencer-Nairn, Lorne Cardinal, Eric Peterson, Nancy Robertson, Janet Wright, Brent Butt, Gabrielle Miller, and Fred Ewanuick. Image from

The show is based around Brent Leroy (played by Brent Butt), who owns the gas station in the fictional town of Dog River, Saskatchewan. Dog River is sort of a Lake Wobegon North; with a population of around 500 it’s situated halfway between Regina and Saskatoon, and Corner Gas is the only station for 40 km (25 miles):

Brent: Want me to fill it up?
Man: Sure. You know I’ve never driven across Saskatchewan before.
Brent: Well, you still haven’t really. About halfway to go yet.
Man: Sure is flat.
Brent: How do you mean?
Man: You know, flat. Nothing to see.
Brent: What do you mean, like topographically? Hey Hank, this guy says Saskatchewan is flat.
Hank: How do you mean?
Brent: Topographically I guess. He says there’s nothin’ to see.
Hank: There’s lots to see. There’s nothin’ to block your view.
Brent: There’s lots to see. Nothin’ to block your view. Like the mountains back there. They’re uh… Well, what the hell? I could’ve sworn there was a big mountain range back there. Juttin’ up into the sky all purple and majestic. I must be thinkin’ of a postcard I saw or somethin’. Hey, it is kinda flat, thanks for pointin’ that out.
Man: You guys always this sarcastic?
Brent: There’s nothin’ else to do.

Image from

Image from

Brent took it over from his irascible father Oscar (Eric Peterson) and long-suffering-but-feisty mother Emma (Janet Wright):

Emma: I’m going out to get plant food. Oscar, do you need anything?
Oscar: What are you getting plant food for?
Emma: Because my tomatoes are pathetic and wrinkling. And when things are pathetic and wrinkly they need food. Eat your sandwich.

Oscar: I didn’t know whether to tell you this or not, but someone in town has a crush on me.
Emma: A crush…on you? You couldn’t get a dog to lick you if you were covered in gravy.
Oscar: What the hell are you talking about? Dogs lick me all the time.
Emma: So who’s got a crush on you? Is Helen Keller back in town?

Wanda (Butt’s real-life spouse Nancy Robertson) works for Brent. She’s probably the best-educated person in Dog River, but considers working at Corner Gas a primo gig:

Customer (pointing to Wanda’s book): What’s that, quantum physics?
Wanda: Yeah, I’ve always been fascinated that light could be a particle and a wave. I was gonna study it in college, but then I got interested in biochemistry. And then on a whim settled on linguistics with a minor in comparative religion.
Customer: Wow, how’d you end up in a place like this?
Wanda: The last girl quit, can you believe it?

Lacey (Gabrielle Miller) is the new owner of The Ruby, her late aunt’s restaurant connected to Corner Gas. She moved there from Toronto, and is doing her best to adapt to small-town life and her eccentric new friends:

Wanda: What’s with the rubber gloves? 
Lacey: The dishwasher’s broke. Oh, well. A little hard work never killed anybody. 
Karen: Hard work kills people all the time. 
Wanda: You never heard of a heart attack? 
Karen: Aneurysm? Hernia? 
Wanda: Burst blood vessel behind the eye? 
Lacey: Well, it’s nice chatting with you.

Hank (Fred Ewanuick) is the town slacker lay-about and Brent’s best friend since childhood. He works as a mechanic when not depriving others of their livelihood:

Hank: Hey Brent, how tall are you?
Brent: About 5’9.
Hank: My point exactly!
Brent: Did I just lose an argument I wasn’t even in?
Hank: You ask anyone over the age of 30 how tall they are, they’re going to tell you in feet and inches. Huh? Watch!… Hey, Wanda! 
Wanda (filling the milk cooler): What? 
Hank: What size is that milk you’re putting out? 
Wanda: Uh, some two liters and some half liters. 
Hank (looks knowingly at Brent): How tall are you? 
Wanda (pivots angrily): Yes, Hank, I’m short. Very funny. You’re a regular Jay Lame-o. I’m still tall enough to kick your sorry ass. (storms out)
Brent: Now ask her if she’s over 30.

And Davis (Lorne Cardinal) and Karen (Tara Spencer-Nairn) are the local officers of the law. They spend their days hanging out at The Ruby and arguing about who gets to be called “Car One.”

Karen: I can’t believe you’re sending me in without back-up.
Davis: It’s just a fishing trip, Karen.
Karen: But it’s with Hank, twelve hours, killing fish.
Davis: If it gets to you, you don’t have to kill him, just throw him into the lake.
Karen: I wasn’t worried about the fish.
Davis: I wasn’t talking about the fish.

Davis: Proper billy club use, Karen, that’s the secret. I find it helps if you give your billy club a name. You know what I call mine?
Karen: “Billy”?
Davis (pause): Anyways, a billy club is a cop’s best friend.
Karen: I thought you said a gun was a cop’s best friend.
Davis: Well, a gun is more like a cop’s lover. There’s some things you tell your gun that you’d never tell a lover. And sometimes your lover and your best friend don’t get along. Or maybe you go out with one and the other gets mad at you ’cause you didn’t go out with it!
Karen: You’re divorced, right?

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There are a few sitcoms I’ve enjoyed over the years that were perfectly cast. Any other actor in any of the roles would be unimaginable. “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Mad About You,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Arrested Development,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Scrubs,” “Seinfeld” all come to mind.  I wouldn’t hesitate to add “Corner Gas” to that pantheon.

“Corner Gas” did make it to the US, albeit briefly. In September 2007, cable superstation WGN began broadcasting two episodes a night, four nights a week. For reasons that continue to baffle me, they aired only a couple of seasons’ worth and then let it drop. (I just now checked their website and it’s nowhere to be found on their schedule.) Actually I’m a little bit glad. If “Corner Gas” had become more popular here, one or more networks would have commissioned a knockoff series that would never have captured the show’s quality. Dumbed it down, lamed it up. So thank heaven for Netflix.

A reviewer in the Australian newspaper The Age imagined “Corner Gas” as if “Northern Exposure” had been made as a sitcom. No less an authority than Canadian comedian/actor/writer/producer/Kid In The Hall Mark McKinney (no relation, damn it anyway) once suggested that the history of Canadian television would henceforth be divided into two distinct eras: before “Corner Gas,” and after. While according to the website,

“Corner Gas” achieves the show-about-nothing status that “Seinfeld” attempted: It isn’t sexy, violent, or even (particularly) filled with attractive people. It dodges most current issues and eschews “very special” episodes. Mayberry, by comparison, constitutes a hive of activity. The crew even film as far as possible from the centers of the Canadian film and television industry, in a Regina studio and on location in tiny Rouleau, Saskatchewan. Yet for six seasons, millions have tuned in to laugh at the banal idiocies of Dog River, an imaginary small town on the Canadian prairies … “Corner Gas” is more like “Northern Exposure” and less like “Seinfeld” in that it has sympathetic characters.

Again from M-M-M-Mishy:

“Corner Gas” turned into a bit of a Canadian phenomenon. It gets good ratings, people all across the country are said to watch it, and people are actually taking trips out to Saskatchewan to see where the show is set. If you’ve ever been there, you’d know that Saskatchewan, while beautiful, is not exactly known for its tourism… Dog River is where everyone knows everyone else’s business because there is nothing else to talk about. In Dog River, the liquor store is also where life, car, and property insurance is sold. Where the police force consists of only two cops who have to try to find people who are even coming close to breaking the law. And Corner Gas is the only place to fill up for kilometers around.

And again from

Week after week, episode after episode, the citizens of Dog River engage in pointless banter, aspire to trivial goals, and battle over mundane McGuffins. Brent and Hank rediscover their childhood treehouse, which has been taken over by intimidating little kids. Lacey tries to teach free Pilates, but finds that the residents (a) worry it has some connection with “the guy who sentenced Jesus to death”, (b) think there’s some kind of trick, and (c) already attend “mat class.” Wanda tries to write her name in fresh sidewalk cement; Oscar attempts to prevent her. Hank tries to prove that a visiting American knows nothing about Canada (Hank fails). Karen and Davis crack down on jaywalkers in order to pay for the town’s new traffic light. Lacey tries to track the source of counterfeit bonus coupons. Emma and Oscar get a new thermostat and argue over the ideal temperature. The plots don’t matter so much as their execution. The deadpan delivery by this cast turns seemingly mediocre lines into hilarious witticisms.

Speaking of the lines: The writing is superlative. Clever and bright, but like conversations you’ve overheard in daily life. Nowadays most sitcoms are scripted by one writer who submits it and goes on to the next gig. With “Corner Gas,'” Butt and the rest of the writers stayed in Saskatchewan with the cast and crew, working as a team, sitting in on read-throughs and shoots, tweaking and modifying and buffing and polishing until it was perfect:

Brent: I’m not up on that new stuff.
Wanda: You’re not up on it? Or you’re not into it?
Brent:  I might be into it, if I was up on it. But I’m not up on it, so I’m not into it. What I’m into, I’m up on.
Lacey: I’m mostly into what I’m up on, but even though I’m not up on the new stuff, I’m sort of into it.
Brent: I’m down with that.
Wanda: Prepositions are fun, aren’t they?
Brent: What’s a preposition?

I’m not categorically opposed to “blue” or overly topical material, but “Corner Gas” is a stellar example of how a script can genuinely be funny while taking a more genteel high road. The strongest recurring language was Oscar’s favorite epithet: “Jackass!” The raciest the dialogue ever got was when Lacey pleaded with Brent to let her coach the Dog River River Dogs hockey team:

Lacey: Why are the guys so against me being the coach?
Brent: Well, I’m not sure. Let’s ask your penis. (Leans forward as they’re walking:) Excuse me, Lacey’s Penis… What the…? You don’t have one!
Lacey: Oh, you can’t be serious.
Brent: I’m serious. I didn’t see one.

The most topical the show ever got was when Davis lost his football game tickets:

Davis: Well, I’ll have to go to a scalper.
Karen: Isn’t it weird for you to go to a scalper?
Davis: Why? Because I’m a Cree man? I resent that.
Karen: Because you’re a police officer and scalping tickets is illegal.
Davis: Oh yeah.

And the most risqué the show ever got was when the town wants to build a tourist attraction:

Mayor Fitzgerald’s Grandma: Dog River has always been a farming community. I think that we should build something that would show how proud we are of our agricultural heritage.
Brent: There you go. Now we’re cooking.
Grandma: My suggestion is we should build a hoe.
Brent: The… World’s Biggest Hoe?
Lacey: They do attract people. And they certainly generate revenue.

No one was willing to tell Grandma what she’d said. But concerns were raised about how it may get covered with mud and rain, becoming a “dirty hoe,” or the wood may become brittle and splinter, becoming a “crack hoe.”

Lacey: Yeah, Brent. Why don’t you look Fitzy’s Grandma in the eye and give her one good reason this town can’t build a great big dirty hoe?

In an interview with Rob Owen from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Butt said he kept the show clean for a simple reason.

“I live in terror of my mother, who I know watches, her and her church lady friends. If it was dirty, there would be hell to pay.”

But even so, they weren’t above taking a swipe at the powers-that-be. In the second season CTV started shifting the show to various days and times around the schedule, mostly to accommodate American Idol (of all things). So when Hank got hold of an electronic planner:

Hank: Look at this, I got my whole day mapped out. 1 pm, hang out at Corner Gas; 2 pm, eat chips…
Wanda: That thing’s turned you into a real go-getter.
Hank: …4 pm, hang out at Corner Gas…
Wanda: Oh, um, can you rebook to 5? That’s when I get off.
Hank: Oh, I don’t know. I don’t think it’s a good idea to keep bouncing Corner Gas around the schedule.

A little later in Owen’s interview, Butt identified the show’s setting and appeal.

“You’re either from a small town and can relate, or you’ve never been to a small town, so it’s exotic and weird… It’s kind of a win-win.”

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A unique, small-town community characteristic (read: quirk) is revisited throughout the series. According to

The residents of Dog River have a pathological dislike of the residents of Wullerton, a neighboring town, to the point that they spit on the ground whenever the rival town is mentioned. They are so used to it they sometimes do not realize it when they spit, and that the local newspaper will print “(SPIT)” after printing the town’s name. Ironically, the people of Wullerton may not hate Dog River, as seen in the fourth season’s finale (however, this was only part of a fantasy sequence, and may not accurately reflect Wullerton’s actual sentiment towards Dog River). The reason for this has yet to be explained. Publicity for the second season indicated that the season finale would reveal the reason for the spitting; however, the episode as broadcast did not actually do so. It should be noted that this practice of looking down on neighboring towns is common in many prairie communities, primarily those in Saskatchewan and Alberta, such as Tisdale and Melfort.

And Lacey’s reaction when, during the grand reopening of The Ruby, she suddenly and dramatically encountered this phenomenon was:

“I’m gonna get a mop.”

But Wullerton spitting isn’t the show’s only contribution to pop culture. Again from Wikipedia:

In a third season episode Brent created the term “staycation” to explain the act of taking a vacation without actually leaving home. This term is now in use on many pages on the internet and has passed into the general lexicon, even to the extent of being included in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.

Not surprisingly, Canadian celebrities (and Americans with Canadian ties) clamored to be on the show. According to, over the course of its run the show welcomed a host of guest stars, including two standing prime ministers (Paul Martin and Stephen Harper), one former governor-general (Adrienne Clarkson), the Premier of Saskatchewan (Brad Wall), alternative bands The Tragically Hip and The Odds, comedians Mark McKinney, Kevin McDonald, and Colin Mochrie, all the judges from “Canadian Idol,” Dog the Bounty Hunter, singer-songwriter Colin James, hockey great Darryl Sittler, CTV news anchor Lloyd Robertson, RCAF aerobatic team The Snowbirds, crooner Michael Bublé, world champion curlers Randy Ferbey and Dave Nedohin, Olympian Cindy Klassen, and actor Kiefer Sutherland and his mom Shirley Douglas.

Butt chose to end the show after the 2008-09 season. According to

Ratings remained high, but the show’s creators and cast, wisely, chose to quit while they were still successful. And “Corner Gas” succeeded as few imagined, becoming Canada’s leading water cooler show and one of the country’s most successful entertainment exports in the early twenty-first century.

Butt shared this in the Toronto Star:

“I made the decision, but it kind of felt like the show made the decision. It kind of felt like the show tapped me on the shoulder and said, `Can I go now? I’ll stick around if you want me to, but I think it’s time to go.’ And you know, I respect that… ‘Corner Gas’ was so special to me and to a lot of people that I couldn’t bear to see it go too long. If you leave a party and nobody’s sad or nobody cares, that’s a good sign that you probably stayed too long. I didn’t want that to happen. I couldn’t have stood it and I felt like the show was asking me not to let that happen…  Comedy is nothing if not timing. That’s the most important aspect.”

In her excellent blog “From the Back of the Room,” Toronto journalist Sharilyn Johnson commented on Butt’s decision to end the show “on top” (another “Seinfeld” parallel):

Brent Butt grew up in rural Saskatchewan, and has often said that “Corner Gas” is what he imagined his life would look like if he’d never left…What made “Corner Gas” such a success was the idea that Dog River will always be the same. We fell in love with these characters. We didn’t want to leave Dog River, and indeed couldn’t imagine anyone – including Brent – wanting to leave Dog River. There’s nothing more satisfying for a fan than feeling like a show’s creators understand you. “Corner Gas” fans couldn’t have asked for a happier ending.

“Corner Gas” continues in reruns, just about any time of the day or night across Canada. DVD collections of all six seasons are available. Of course there’s Netflix. You can always try my home; I’ll hook you up. And I don’t live anywhere near Wullerton (SPIT).

Top 10 TV Babes I’d Marry

I read Rachel James’ excellent blog and thoroughly enjoyed this post. The top 10 TV dudes she would marry. So naturally, I present:

Top Ten TV Babes I’d Marry

First some rules. These are characters on an established TV series, not news anchors, cooking show hosts, chat show hosts, sportscasters, whatnot. Also, no characters from sketch comedy shows (e.g., SNL). Also, no cartoon characters. I could create a whole list right there. Betty Boop, Betty Rubble, Betty Cooper (what’s with all the Bettys?), Jane Jetson, Lois Griffin… Yeah, the less said about that the better.

Like Rachel, I ranked the candidates on a number of scales. “Looks,” “Personality,” “Humor,” “Intelligence,” “Charisma,” and an “X-factor” that is probably best defined as “overall babeitude.”

A few findings before we begin. Draw your own conclusions:

  • There was a significant number of ties. Half-points needed to be introduced.
  • The first and tenth candidates differed only by four and a half points.
  • Seven of the top ten were from situation comedies, one from a detective show, one from a medical drama, and one from a science fiction show.
  • The oldest show with a candidate was from the early to mid ’60s; the newest show with a candidate is still running.

Okay, on to the list.

10. Lacey Burrows

Lacey Burrows, played by Gabrielle Miller

Looks: 9
Personality: 8
Humor: 8
Intelligence: 8
Charisma: 7
X-factor: 8
Total: 48

Lacey Burrows is one of the central characters in “Corner Gas,” the best sitcom you never heard of. Lacey moved from Toronto to Dog River, a small town in rural Saskatchewan, to reopen and run her late aunt’s diner. Quite unprepared for small-town life, and even less so for the eccentrics in this particular small town, Lacey wants with all her heart to fit in among a community of people who have never known anything but fitting in. She’s been linked romantically with Brent Leroy, owner of the gas station adjoining the diner, but after a brief interrupted moment of flirtation they decided they were better as friends. Good thing, too, because Lacey suspects and fears that most of the men in Dog River harbor secret crushes on her.

9. Rose Tyler

Rose Tyler, played by Billie Piper

Looks: 9.5
Personality: 7
Humor: 7
Intelligence: 8
Charisma: 8
X-factor: 9
Total: 48.5

When the BBC rebooted “Doctor Who” in 2005, Rose Tyler became the (at first) reluctant companion to the Ninth and Tenth Doctors (Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant). The show needed a reboot in the worst way, and the Doctor needed a companion who was more than a cardboard cutout. Rose was the first companion whose life before the Doctor is known to us, and indeed the first one whose family and friends are adversely affected by her travels with the Time Lord. Rose was a London shopgirl when she met the Doctor, living with her mother in a council flat and enjoying a relationship with her boyfriend. She is a sweet, gentle, and sympathetic young woman, fiercely loyal to those she loves. And she kicks ass with a blaster.

8. Stephanie Vanderkellen Harris

Stephanie Vanderkellen Harris, played by Julia Duffy

Looks: 9
Personality: 9
Humor: 7
Intelligence: 7
Charisma: 8
X-factor: 9
Total: 49

Spoiled rich girl, cut off by her incredibly wealthy parents. Comes to the Stratford Inn, works halfheartedly and borderline-capably as a housekeeper. When her wealthy parents came to visit Stephanie introduced Dick and Joanna Loudon as, “These are the people who make me clean toilets.” The definitive Stephanie quote: “The only thing I ever dream is that I’ve just won every beauty pageant in the world, and all the people I don’t like have to build me a castle in France.” Later she married Michael Harris and made up the quintessential ’80s yuppie couple. Snotty, entitled, and completely out of touch. But showing a compassionate empathetic side in the least likely circumstances. And SO DARN CUTE.

7. Ann Marie

Ann Marie, played by Marlo Thomas

Looks: 9
Personality: 8
Humor: 8
Intelligence: 7.5
Charisma: 9
X-factor: 8
Total: 49.5

Midwest girl who left Saint Louis to move to NYC and become a famous actress. Sweet, funny, persevering, but nobody’s fool. Had a boyfriend, a magazine reporter, Donald Hollinger. What. A. Tool. I would regularly wonder out loud how a hottie like Ann ended up with a wanker like Donald. Fiction, yes, I know – but maybe designed to give guys a little hope? One of the last episodes was about how she posed for a spread in a centerfold magazine, and ended up shocking the entire city of Saint Louis – especially her father. My kind of girl, That Girl.

6. Georgette Franklin Baxter

Georgette Franklin Baxter, played by Georgia Engel

Looks: 8
Personality: 9
Humor: 8
Intelligence: 8
Charisma: 9
X-factor: 8
Total: 50

Let’s face it, most sitcom characters have at least one significant personality flaw. A quirk that makes them, well, funny; but you may not want to be executor of that person’s will. Georgette is the rare, rare exception: a sweet woman, totally free of guile or larceny or mischief. But, like Ann Marie: nobody’s fool. She became Mary Richards’ good and trusted friend, and eventually was wooed by and married Ted Baxter. Fiction, yes, I know – still, I will always be amazed by the generosity of the feminine soul. Georgette had her moments of cutting loose too: on one show she changed into tights and short shorts, and did a steamy song-and-dance to the Pointer Sisters’ “Steam Heat.” Yowwww-za.

5. Laura Petrie

Laura Petrie, played by Mary Tyler Moore

Looks: 9
Personality: 7.5
Humor: 8
Intelligence: 9
Charisma: 8
X-factor: 9
Total: 50.5

Surprisingly, Mary Richards didn’t make it into the competition at all. But Laura did. Two words: capri pants. Curvy, nicely curvy. And she was a dancer. Laura met Rob when he was a soldier and she was a dancer in the USO. And often she’d dance on the show, sometimes alone, sometimes with Rob who could cut a rug his own self. Even as a young’un I always had the impression that – – unlike other TV sitcom couples – – Laura and Rob actually DID IT. Those twin beds don’t fool anyone. “Ohhh Robbbbbb….”

4. Dr. Lisa Cuddy

Dr. Lisa Cuddy, played by Lisa Edelstein

Looks: 8

Personality: 8
Humor: 6
Intelligence: 10
Charisma: 9
X-factor: 8
Total: 51

If there’s ever proof needed that even brainy women fall for the bad boys, Lisa Cuddy is it. Part optimist and part masochist, I think, to let herself be so hooked by House. Smart, compassionate, possessing significant social proof, and drop-dead gorgeous. If this were a just world she’d end up with Wilson. Or me. Not a just world, though. Dammit.

3. Maddie Hayes

Maddie Hayes, played by Cybill Shepherd

Looks: 10

Personality: 8
Humor: 7.5
Intelligence: 8
Charisma: 9
X-factor: 9
Total: 51.5

More proof that even the smart babes fall for the bad boys. Maddie Hayes was a world-famous fashion model who had gone past her prime. Oh yeah. Look, just look, at how washed up she must have become as a model. Tsk, tsk. Meantime the accountants had pilfered her money, leaving her with some dead-end investments she now sought to divest herself of. One turned out to be the Blue Moon Detective Agency, and of course, mayhem ensues. She outplays David Addison at his very own game, and even turns out to be an empathetic and devoted friend to Agnes DiPesto. Quite a scrapper as well.

2. Bailey Quarters

Bailey Quarters, played by Jan Smithers

Looks: 10

Personality: 7
Humor: 7.5
Intelligence: 10
Charisma: 7.5
X-factor: 10
Total: 52

Honestly? I was shocked at my own vote returns. I thought for sure Bailey would be the runaway winner. Radio geeks in the ’70s, we were all in love with Bailey. The glasses. The hair. The sweet shyness. Originally from Chicago, got a journalism degree at Ohio State, summa cum laude. Wanted to be a radio mogul, but was shy and couldn’t speak up. Do you see the comedic potential here? New station P.D. Andy Travis made Bailey an on-air reporter, and she rewarded his faith in her. Became more assertive, better able to speak up for herself, brought a measure of sanity to the insanity of WKRP. And if you’re a guy like me who’s crazy in love with women in glasses, Bailey forever has a place in our hearts.

Okay, unless you’ve already read ahead, before we get to the winner here are some runners-up who didn’t make the cut. No particular order, worthy candidates all.

  • Sharona Fleming
  • Janet Wood
  • Mary Ann Summers
  • Deanna Troi
  • Capt. Brenda Johnson
  • Seven Of Nine
  • Bobbie Jo Bradley
  • Electra Woman
  • Joanna Loudon
  • Emily Hartley
  • Diane Chambers
  • Julie Kotter
  • Sabrina Duncan
  • Maggie O’Connell

So I won’t keep you in suspense. The #1 candidate:

1. Jamie Stempel Buchman

Jamie Stempel Buchman, played by Helen Hunt

Looks: 10

Personality: 9
Humor: 8
Intelligence: 9
Charisma: 7.5
X-factor: 9
Total: 52.5

As much as I loved his wife I couldn’t find it in my heart to hate on, or be jealous of, Paul Buchman. Because he and Jamie were just so amazingly well suited to one another. Jamie is a public relations specialist, a Yale grad, whip-smart, quick witted, who grew up in Connecticut with her parents and a neurotic older sister Lisa. I think the single most endearing thing about Jamie is how much she sees in Paul to love, how much in love with him she is despite the fact that she’s profoundly aware of his quirks and foibles. She has her own, of course, and he loves her too. Both are willing to sacrifice some of their own immediate gratification, immediate need fulfillment, because they find happiness in making this other person a little bit happier. Fiction? Maybe. A nice ideal, though. Nice to imagine that such things still can happen.