You Know You’ve Failed A Hotel Inspection When…

All licensed hotels, whether they’re a luxurious high-rise property or a scuzzy dive, have certain standards they must maintain in order to continue reaping the benefits of being a part of something larger than themselves.

In other words, if a hotel wants to keep that Marriott, Hilton etc., banner on the keys they have to run the gauntlet of regular inspections. And trust me, as someone who’s seen eighteen-plus years of inspections occur before his jaded eyes, I can honestly say it’s a helluva gauntlet. Don’t get me wrong, as an observer of human behavior I love to see managers run around like the proverbial decapitated fowl, but to be honest, inspections are sort of a joke.

The hotel knows exactly when the inspector is arriving so they have plenty of time to get things cleaned up and ready. His or her room is spotless and fully stocked. Carpets are shampooed. (Bye bye, blood or wine stains!) Elevators, guest and service, are cleaned and tuned up. Lobby walls are repainted and tidied. (So long plant that sorority girl threw up in on Sunday morning.) A hotel becomes the sort of property it should be every day whenever an inspector shows up.

 

Now if an inspector showed up out of the blue? Well, perhaps they’d find a detail or two that would result in a failing grade. Such as…

ONE)  Conversations like this: 

UNIDENTIFIED INSPECTOR:  Are you the Bell Desk?

ME:  No, I’m a bell man, sir. (Tapping the actual desk.)  This is the Bell Desk. I don’t always have the most animated personality… but there is a distinction between the two of us.

And in case you’re wondering, the Inspector actually liked my humor. Though when he noted during a meeting with Management that he received horrible service from a staff member, my name was the first one raised. I wonder why that was?

 

TWO)  More than one dead hooker hidden under a guest room bed.  One dead hooker under a bed is acceptable by today’s standards. (Four Rooms was more of a documentary than anything else.) But two or more? Now that’s just lazy.

 

THREE)  Honest answers to guest queries.  Whoever decided that honesty is the best policy never ran a hotel.

TEENAGE FEMALE GUEST:  Why are all the adult movies in this hotel soft core? How is my man supposed to get hard for me if the porn is soft?

ME:  Is that your gentleman over there, miss? (I pointed at a man old enough to be this chick’s grandfather.)

TFG:  Yep! He needs a little something extra to get him going and your porn here sucks!

ME:  Pun intended?

TFG: What pun?

ME:  (Sighing.) Never mind. As far as your flaccid friend is concerned, miss, (I figured we were down the rabbit hole anyway) have you considered pills or maybe just talking? Conversation can be very stimulating. Your man can tell you what Jesus was like.

TFG:  If he wants someone to talk to he can get a dog! He’s paying me to make him feel like a teenager again!

ME:  So let him feel you up and send him on his way before he gets any further. That’s how all my teenage encounters went.

TFG:  Are you serious?

ME:  Depends on whether or not my meds have kicked in, miss.

TFG:  I heard that!

 

Remember, bellman are highly-trained professionals.

 

Would you like another?

BOSTONIAN GUEST:  Your parking sucks! The spots are too damn small! I can’t figure out where to park my fucking truck!

ME:  Have you considered using criteria other than compensating for shortcomings when purchasing a vehicle, sir?

(Oh, that Hook!)

 

FOUR)  Television sets with only two channels – that are as blurry as Sarah Huckabee’s answers to direct questions.  To be fair, there is a sign in front of the TV that reads, “To Our Valued Guests; We apologize, but there’s nothing good on television anymore anyway.”

 

FIVE)  Valets that get into your car while wearing a crash helmet.  Safety first, kids.

 

And that’s all I have for you today.  To be honest, this has taken all the brain power I can muster; I’m knackered!

See you in the lobby, friends…

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What Would “The Bellman Chronicles: The Series” Look Like Anyway? Part Two

Because one post simply wasn’t enough, and because no one demanded a part two… But I know you really wanted one.

And because as a schoolboy I was taught never to begin a sentence with “because”, I have decided to indulge my inner-rebel. So there, Mr. Parker, shove that in your tweed jacket with elbow patches. That’s what you get for playing “Hide the weasel” with that gorgeous substitute teacher whose name escapes me now but whose rack was burned into my consciousness many years ago.

Where the hell was I? Oh yeah, I was going to present you with more concepts and thoughts on a blog-inspired television extravaganza. Let’s see…

ONE)  Integrating my social media footprint – and all of you.  The Bellman Chronicles, or whatever this proposed series would eventually be called would have to include my life as a blogger and a tweeter. And of course, who is the The Hook or The Terrible Hook without his followers/fans/friends? I’d love to reference people like William Shatner who have blocked me for the same reasons others follow me: I say, or rather, tweet, exactly what’s on my fractured mind.

Blogging about my bellman misadventures has landed me in hot water with hotel Management on occasion. There’s an episode.

I’ve had trolls threaten my life simply because I decided to defend a porn star who took her own life after enduring a seemingly-endless onslaught of shaming from strangers and people within her own industry. There’s an episode.

Online fans who have become friends have made the journey to Niagara just to see me. There’s an episode.

Other programs already include a social media quotient so this would add another endlessly-fascinating element to the mix. I realize you can’t be all things to all people… but you can try.

 

TWO)  Rockin’ Ronnie would live on.  I have a very specific plan for my dear departed friend, who, quite frankly, always made Cosmo Kramer look boring. Ronnie was nutty, yes, but he had a heart of gold and his eccentricities only served to make you love the guy even more.

He’d take lunch orders at eight in the morning. He’d tell little old ladies, “The Hook will be right up with your luggage!” Sure enough, I’d hear, “Oh Harold… that must be The Hook knocking on our door to deliver the bags!”

Ronnie would sing at the Bell Desk as I typed away on our workstation, pondering what my next post wold look like. To be honest, though, Rockin’ would adopt a very Shatneresque approach to his lobby “singing” and speak the lyrics to the Pina Coloda song in between calls. Seriously, Ronnie would start the song, leave to do a call, then return and pick up right where he left off, without missing a literal beat.

God, I miss that son of a bitch. He was one-of-a-kind. He was in a universe all his own. He was my friend.

 

Buddies for life, Ronnie.  And beyond.

 

THREE)  Location, location, location.  Theoretically, you could set a series revolving around the adventures of a bellman in any city but there’s something about setting a series in a border town like Niagara Falls that would add a distinctive flavor. I’m certainly biased but I firmly believe Canadians are some of the funniest mammals on the planet.

As for the Falls themselves, their raw power would certainly make for some stunning visuals, but their real appeal is the hold the cataracts have over lost souls. Barely a week goes by without another jumper adding their name to an ever-growing infamous list. Sure, suicide isn’t exactly what one would call “comedic fodder”, but that would be the challenge, wouldn’t it?

I want to create a show that mixes all the aspects of the human condition to create something you’ve never seen. I want you to laugh, to cry, to think about a world that exists right outside your door, one you never considered before.

 

FOUR)  Travel is a writer’s greatest inspiration.  Never mind love or war, travel is where it’s at. Anyone who has ever stood in a check-in line at an airport or a big hotel just has to open their eyes and mind to see the possibilities all around them. The same creatures exist in every line everywhere.

  •  The raging businessman, sighing in-between a very important convo on his cellphone. “Does anyone realize how much money I’m losing just by standing here?”
  •   The horny couple who can’t keep their hands off each other. Watching a pair of randy lovers try to inconspicuously dry-hump in a lobby filled with dozens of strangers is comedy gold. 
  •   Frat boys, sorority girls and bachelorettes with their blow-up dolls, naughty cakes, kegs and various tools-of-their-particular-lecherous-trade never fail to inspire. (Modern-day bachelor parties never live up to the impossible standard set by The Hangover movies, I’m afraid. You can’t pull the same crap those guys did without real world consequences, my friends.)
  •  That one cranky old feller who is mad as hell and ain’t gonna take it anymore. Old folks are great; they can say whatever comes into their head and get away with it. Think about it, who’s going to publicly berate an old person? You’ll look like an asshole.

 

FIVE)  Original opening and closing credits.  I’m thinking of a different opening sequence hosted by a different cast member or guest star every week. As for the closing credits, well, we all know people tune out for those. Hell, these days some networks split-screen the closing credits to showcase the next show, but if I can come up with something unique enough they’ll have to abandon that practice all-together.

 

You have to admit, this would be the most unique send-off to a television viewing audience ever…

 

That’s all for now. You may now return to reading spoilers for The Walking Dead and the next Star Wars flick.

See you in the lobby, kids…

Here’s hoping these posts are just the first step in a long filmed journey, friends…

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What Would “The Bellman Chronicles: The Series” Look Like Anyway?

It will come as no surprise to the dozen of you who read this blog that I would very much like to see a live-action television series based on the contents of this space finally come to life.

But it still hasn’t.

However, one can dream, right? After all, it wasn’t all that long ago that an adolescent version of The Hook sat by himself in his room and imagined what his life as a grown-up would be like. He dreamed of:

  •  What it would be like to not wake up afraid of making it through the day.
  •  Of nights free of inevitable, inescapable nightmares.
  •  A life shared with a soul-mate.  (Though he had no idea just what a soul-mate actually was.)
  •  What it would be like to be a part of something bigger than himself.
  •  Whether or not he’d ever get the chance to be the sort of parent he wished he had.

Decades later those dreams have all come true. Though to be honest, I still face the occasional nightmare, I piss my wife off on a daily basis and my daughter often holds me to task for the collective sins of my gender (and those sins are really mounting up these days) but overall, I think Young Hook would be pleased with how his life turned out.

Who am I kidding? Young Hook would be overjoyed at the fact he finally got to see a woman with her bra off, to say nothing of the rest of her. So I’ve certainly done right by my younger self. But now I’d like to start working on my adult dreams.

Wait, that didn’t sound right…

Or maybe it did. I mean, I certainly still have adult dreams, but they’re more than just adult dreams, they’re adult dreams.

You get it, right?

At any rate… at the moment there are two items I’d love to cross off my list and since it’s beyond the scope of my (mostly) mortal powers to bring Rockin’ Ronnie back, getting a blog-inspired TV series out there is now at the top.

Now onto the point. (“Finally!”, right?) What the hell would I actually do if I had the chance to write a series based on my life? Well, I’m glad you asked…

Television producers: There’s a story behind every door just waiting to be told from my unique point-of-view.

 

ONE)  A pilot unlike any other.  Let’s face it, between Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Amazon Prime, traditional cable (who still watches that?) and the gazillion other platforms out there, the television-watching public has seen pretty much everything by now. Puppets. Cartoons for grown-ups. Vampires. Zombies. Reality up the wazoo. And so on and so on. It’s all out there for the watching.

So what’s left to show that we haven’t seen before?

How about a “clip show” for the first episode? I’d showcase “scenes” from the supposed-history of a Bellman Chronicles series in the pilot. Of course, the cast would have to film an entire season’s worth of brief scenes before the pilot aired but I’d see to it that they’re all duly-compensated with free hams and chocolate milk. Granted, this approach would leave viewers feeling like they’ve missed numerous which they would then seek out online, only to come up short. This in turn would leave the viewing public filled with rage and frustration.

But that would just be a nice bonus.

 

TWO)  A variation on the classic Seinfeld “Waiting for a table at a Chinese restaurant” episode.  Bellmen and other hotel service personnel literally spend hours every day waiting for an elevator to show up. All that waiting can lead to some entertaining moments, such as:

  1.  Workers that lose track of time: five minutes become fifteen and so on. And the rage only builds…
  2.  Someone always begins to kick and smash the elevator doors. And then someone always winds up in the ER with a sprained wrist or foot. Good times. 
  3.  Inevitably, one of the service elevator doors opens and a copulating couple appears. Sexual frustration is fun to behold, kids – when it isn’t happening to you, of course.
  4.  The banter that results when employees share their frustration while waiting for a metal box to arrive so they can get on with their various mind-numbing tasks is never boring. And it always involves an unbelievable amount of cursing. Like, so much cursing…
  5.  There’s always one guy that opens the service entrance door, sees that the elevator is nowhere close to arriving, shouts, “Fuck this!” and leaves, all in one nanosecond.

The average real-time wait for an elevator is fifteen minutes. (At least.) So you can see how easy it would be to fill twenty-two minutes, right?

 

This happens all the time… Seriously.

 

THREE)  Hookers! Hookers! Hookers!  Call girls are funny. Especially the Niagara Falls variety. Trust me on this. Granted, I’d be sure to showcase their humanity as well as their… everything else. But shining a spotlight on the story that leads a woman to sell her body for money is where my television offering would stand apart from the pack.

 

See how happy this young lady is at the prospect of being a part of my fictional-but-not-really universe?  Multiply that by ten and you’ve got my demographic, people!

 

FOUR)  The scripts would write themselves.  Seriously, in my case, truth really is stranger than fiction. The stories on my blog really happened, people. For that matter, my life has always been equally… shall we say, “charmed”?

So who needs writers when your life is a work of art in its own right? Actually, scratch that, I’d still need a writer’s room; I’m not talented enough to translate all the shit that’s happened in my life to a series of scripts all by my lonesome.

 

 

FIVE)  The Bellman Chronicles would boldly go where no one has gone before.  Whenever people hear what I do for a living they say the same thing… every… single… time, “Wow. I bet you have a million stories!”

You bet your sweet bippie I do.

I’d take people where they’ve never been before. Those “STAFF ONLY” signs? Forget them! You’d be treated to an all-access look behind-the-crazy-scenes of a thousand room hotel nestled in the furiously-beating heart of one of the world’s natural wonders. You think you know what goes on in a hotel, viewers?

You have no idea.

Births in hotel hallways. Deaths in hotel bathrooms. Sex on laundry room folding tables. RCMP sting operations gone awry because a front desk clerk made a simple room switch. A valet deck usurped by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s bodyguards (who refused to let me deliver his luggage unsupervised by a guard who was visibly packing heat). Dozens of celebrities like Pink (who can dish out a stare so icy Killer Frost would be envious) who often throw everyone into a tailspin with direct commands for the staff like, “Never acknowledge this particular guest, who doesn’t wish to eclipse their spouse in terms of fame and recognition”. (Yep.)

The list goes on, thankfully.

 

And that’s just the tip of the televised, live-action iceberg. My point – and I do have one – is this: if I’m ever fortunate enough to have the opportunity to rot all your brains with my unique genius I hope I can bring some of these ideas and many more, into play.

Until then, see you in the lobby, friends…

 

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It Sounds Like It’d Be Great To Create On, But Writer’s Block Actually Sucks.

Seriously, I’d rather be tasked with brushing the teeth of a rabid jackal, or teach a Kardashian how to open a book than have to overcome writer’s block.

As any of my ten regular readers can tell you, I haven’t exactly been a fountain of joy lately, spewing my upbeat goodness all over humanity’s collective form. Yes, I realize that imagery may be disturbing to some, but at least it woke you up, right? You’re welcome.

I often find myself walking a fine line as a writer and so I have to answer some vital questions when it comes to my writing voice:

  1.  Do I indulge my naughty side and work blue?
  2.  Can I possibly accurately describe all the madness I deal with as a Niagara Falls bellman without cursing?
  3.  Will my readers think of me as a pervert if I freely admit I watch the occasional (cough) adult film?
  4.  How much of my personal life should I include on my blog?
  5.  How much of my personal life can I include on my blog before my wife beats me like I owe her money?
  6.  Will I ever get past my grief and guilt over the passing of Rockin’ Ronnie?
  7.  Will anyone ever respond to my 5×5 requests ever again?  (Because I’ve received dozens of replies form subjects who have said yes, but then return any As to my Qs.)

The truth is, I’ve answered a few of these queries a long time ago. I’ll always shoot from the hip as a writer and that means with the exception of identifying details of the guilty parties, I’ll always describe the situations I encounter as a bellman completely accurately. Yes, I’m an HR director’s wet dream come true, thank you for noticing.

How do I feel about writer’s block?  let me smash the ways…

 

But back to meshugana mental block of mine; I’d love to write… about anything at this point, to be honest. But with the exception of a few Murdoch reviews a month, it’s exhausting to mine my consciousness for material. Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to keep trying to uncork my brain-box. I’m persistent that way, especially when it comes to tasks I’m not quite proficient at; just ask my wife…

Ironically, my body’s been reflecting my mental state of late. It’s been so much fun wrestling with IBS. I’ve always wanted to have a medical condition that’s advertised on late-night television and whose “cures” have more side effects than Trump mouthpiece Sarah Huckabee has evasive answers. However, I’m happy to report that my doctor put me on new meds (never thought I’d be typing that statement) last week and they’re working like a charm. The old stuff made it impossible to leave the house – and the bathroom – for fear of experiencing a disaster of epiclly mess proportions.

But enough of the lovely imagery, I have good news!  Turns out that when I had that awesome colonoscopy last July to check for the source of my IBS, the doctor found something that was most unexpected, but fortunately for me, was completely treatable. One quick snip later the doc removed a cancerous polyp from my colon.

Yes, you read that correctly: I had something truly dangerous in my body that, had it been left unchecked, may have killed me, but it has been removed. So it turns out my IBS – and a team of medical practitioners – saved my life.

I fully intend to remain vigilant and keep a close eye on my butt (sounds weird, I know but that is the area I’ll need checked regularly) in order to remain in the land of the living for as long as possible. I’ve been despondent as hell lately but I’ve no intention of dying anytime soon.

Here’s to living, friends, it’s the greatest.

Now that I think about it, who cares about writer’s block? I’m alive, bitches!

See you in the lobby, kids…

Do whatever it takes to keep running that race for as long as you can, it’s worth it.

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The Accident May Be Murdoch Mysteries’ Finest Moment.

There is one thing above all else that separates anyone who is successful in their respective field from their competition… hunger.

If you want something bad enough, if you crave it above all others, if you truly desire it, you’ll reach deep inside yourself for the strength to achieve your goals.

But what happens when you’ve won? Will you still have the same hunger after you’ve sat at the table for years and ate until you fell as though you’re going to burst? After ten years on the air the team behind Murdoch Mysteries can surely be allowed to phone it in every once in awhile, right? After all, they’ve certainly earned it, haven’t they?

Fortunately, I don’t think that’s going to be an issue. After watching The Accident, last night’s episode of MM, I can honestly say writer Mary Pedersen isn’t simply still hungry… she’s downright ravenous.

Watts, Crabtree, veteran Canadian extras and Elise Bauman as a suspicious – and hot – nurse… what’s not to love?

 

ONE)  A familiar face returns… with a case of the worst timing ever.  The familiar face belonged to Toronto city clerk Dilton Dilbert (yes, just like the comic strip!) who became a truly hapless victim of a murder plot most foul when he found himself pinned between a car (a traffic incident n early-century TO was a brilliant device, one of many in this ep) and a carriage while attending to his daily regimental stroll to work. Dr.Ogden quickly surmised that, in a case of supreme irony, the very thing that threatened to kill Dilbert was keeping him alive; moving the car would lead to his quick death.

And so Julia and her sidekicks (Watts, William, Brackenreid, etc.) had two missions: keep their soon-to-be murder victim comfortable while attempting to solve his inevitable murder. Incidentally, please don’t be angry with me for “spoiling” anything; Murdoch showrunner Peter Mitchell has been promising fans a tearjerker of an episode for weeks.

And he certainly delivered.

Personally, I was dreading this ep; I’ve seen far too much death in the real world lately but this hour of television was so profoundly moving I didn’t mind shedding a few more tears. Yes, I cried. Shut up.

 

TWO)  A fresh twist on a familiar plot device.  This week’s setup has been used before (even Robot Chicken utilized it; their victim continued to focus on work just like Dilton) but Pedersen and Company took things to the next level. It was all hands on deck as Watts (yes!), Brackenreid Junior and even Miss Cherry appeared.

In fact, Miss Cherry’s appearance and surprising (sort of) redemption threw yet another monkey wrench into the never-ending whirlwind that is George Crabtree’s love life.

Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

 

These guys look so happy to be back on my blog, don’t they?

 

THREE)  There were little piggies!  Who were saved from certain doom… only so they could be returned to the slaughter. Literally. Awesome.

 

FOUR)  The tension was unbelievable.  And in real time even. But seriously,  David Hewlett gave a ridiculously-understated performance as a man who finally understood the importance of living – and loving in the moment… just as his moments were running out.

Thomas Brackenreid’s unlikely friendship with Dilton was a curve-ball that gave both actors something meaty to sink their collective thespian teeth into. Though to be fair, every member of the MM cast and their guest stars outdid themselves this week, as did the writing room and the crew. The entire Murdoch back lot was put to good use and plenty of extras popped in to raise the level of excitement even higher. Peter Mitchell’s entire team, from Prop Monkey to the directing team – and MM’s budget – were pushed to the breaking point this week but it was totally worth it.

Again, simply brilliant.

 

Did I mention there were chickens?  By the way, this case inspired William to invent Swiss Chalet…

 

FIVE)  A last-minute save by William!  No details, but it was nice to see Yannick Bisson remind us just why the show is called Murdoch Mysteries and not A Bunch Of Coppers And A Dame Or Two, besides the obvious reasons, of course…

 

SIX)  Do whatever you have to do, but see this episode!  I’m not going to go any further for fear of spoiling the experience for anyone who hasn’t been blessed, but The Accident is no random act of television production, it’s what happens when a large group of hungry artists pool their talents to create something that will outlive them.

You’re going to cry, yes, but they’ll be different tears than the ones we’ve all been releasing of late.

True love’s first – and last – kiss.

 

See you in the lobby and on the CBC, kids… After you’ve watched this ep.

 

This tweet from prop Monkey was too cool to not include somewhere, so…

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This Is Going To Tick You Off, My Darling Daughter…

…But since I’m a father I’m obligated to do this sort of thing.

So buckle up, kid; it’s your “Secret Origin Day”.  Yes, I went there.  Anyone can use “Birthday”; I prefer to be the best nerd I can be.

The original plan was – and always will be – to be the best dad I can be, but you know what they say about the best laid plans…

I screw up on a daily basis.  I embarrass you regularly at airports (I swear, that passport-reading machine was out to get me!) at restaurants, pretty much anywhere we go together.  I forget many of the daily fandom/news/Broadway updates you thoughtfully provide me with on a daily basis – until I tell you about the same news days later.  And above all, even though I never mean to, I mansplain.

And yes, I will publicly admit that mansplaining is the most grievous of all male crimes but in my defense, and this applies to all of my mistakes… I mean well.  Remember that every day of your life, kid, because let’s face it, I’m going to mess up a whole lot more.

And yes, even though you’re nineteen today you’re still a kid.  You’re my kid and you always will be.  The day you were born was the happiest, and most nerve-wracking of our lives.  But it was worth it.  Your mother has always kept her ambitions and dreams grounded in reality (hence her choice of mate) and so being a mother was always the plan.  Fortunately, it turns out being your mom was her destiny, which explains why she’s so adept at doing the job of two competent parents.  Your mother isn’t as sappy as me, to say the least; she prefers to play her cards close to the vest, but she displays her love for you every single second in her every action.  There is literally nothing your mom wouldn’t do for you, kid.

Now me?  I’m definitely the sappy one.  And I’m also the one who is more than willing to get on a plane and fly to New York on whirlwind trips that allow you to indulge your greatest passion.  I can honestly say I’ve never seen a more brilliant light emanate from anyone’s heart that even comes close to matching the beam you gave off at the Richard Rodgers Theater the night we saw Hamilton.  You had been gushing about this show for over a year and it made me proud that we were able to bring at least one of your dreams to life.

 

Yes, I could’ve cropped this pic of your furry daughter… but as an old man I’m obligated to display my lack of technical know-how on a regular basis, so…

 

Life is a journey, kid, and sometimes It’s going to take you through the places where the wild things dwell.  But you already know that, don’t you?  At nineteen you’re already one of the most intelligent, tough-as-nails souls I’ve ever encountered.  I’d be proud to know you even if you weren’t my kid.

I know I haven’t exactly been a pillar of strength lately; the truth is, I’m broken and it can’t be easy for you seeing me walk around the house in a zombie-like state.  Then again, most dads, and males in general, spend their lives in zombie-like states anyway, so… 

Time to wrap this up: It has been the greatest honor of my life to be your dad and I hope that you remember that when I’m driving you insane as we argue about… pretty much everything.

You got your birthday present early this year (Anastasia on Broadway beats a cake and a few books and movies, right?) but I hope you enjoy this day as much as you can, kid.  Saying “We love you” doesn’t begin to cover the depths of our feelings for you, Sarah, but we do love you.

With everything we are.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to cook up some new ways to make you roll your eyes while we dine out at a fancy, crowded restaurant tonight…

 

 

Posted in Hotel Life | 28 Comments

Murdoch Mysteries Channels Huey Lewis. (Sort Of.)

Bear with me on this one; it’s going to take a minute but it’ll be worth it. (I hope.)

Huey Lewis and the News, those crazy 80s rock icons, once recorded a song called Back In Time, from the Back to the Future soundtrack.  Last night’s all-new Murdoch Mysteries was entitled, 21 Murdoch Street, an obvious nod to one of the first shows the Fox network ever launched in the 80s.  So brand-spanking new MM writer Natalia Guled  (a former  writer’s assistant on Orphan Black) went back in time for the title of her first Murdoch script.

Whew, that took a lot of effort but it was worth the trip, right? Now on with the show…

 

Buckle up, kiddies…

 

ONE)  The MM universe is a crowded place these days.  But that’s definitely a good thing.  George’s ultra-hot peeler honey, Nina, returned to snog him in public while dispensing a pep talk that lifted his spirits.  (In more ways than one, I bet.)  Detective Watts lingered in the station house while dispensing wisdom to John Brakenreid (sense a theme here, do you?)  And Arwen Humphreys returned as Mrs. Brackenreid to scold her husband – and most likely shag him in the back of that carriage. 

We even got to witness the further evolution of John Brackenreid as he struggled to establish his own copper identity.  Brilliant stuff from a brilliant cast.

 

TWO)  A rare appearance from brown people.  And the turn-of-the-century-but-unfortunately-timeless racism that often follows them.  The Banerjee brothers, two crafty, conniving preppy sons of diplomats, figured heavily into the mystery and their progenitors launched some interesting conversations involving the Inspector.

 

THREE)  The 21 Jump Street factor.  Little Johnny Brackenreid and Little Jonny Harris (Crabtree) went undercover at an elite boys’ school to solve a mystery.  Along the way they connected with some students, George played up his novel to his “students”, and they both learned a thing or two about themselves.  Incidentally, once again Jonny Harris ad-libbed the lion’s share of his lines and the result was gold, Murdoch, gold!

 

“Says here I’m supposed to follow the script… yeah, right.”

 

FOUR)  We even saw Detective Murdoch himself!  For a minute or two at least.   I’ve said this before but here we go again: MM has become a true ensemble and peter Mitchell and Company made that point quite clear this week.  William showed up briefly to do what he does but this episode belonged to his co-stars.  And speaking of said co-stars…

 

FIVE)  I felt bad for the bunnies, but the infertility storyline is riveting.    I can see Hélène Joy’s Julia Murdoch heading for a fall when she realizes her enthusiasm can’t rush science but watching it unfold is fascinating.  My daughter was born through IVF so I feel for the Murdochs as they struggle to conceive.  I’m also willing to bet that Julia tries this untested fertility treatment on herself soon and suffers some devastating consequences.

But that would make for some must-see TV, right?

 

Who can’t identify with Julia’s struggle, right?

 

SIX)  Why have Daniel Maslany join the cast if you’re not going to use him more, Peter Mitchell?  I’m not usually critical of the MM team but Detective Watts is being woefully underutilized.  Sure, he proved the best laugh of the ep while conducting a gruesome forensic experiment with William, but come on, people, use the man fully!

 

SEVEN)  Early century vices.  Students smoking cigars in a dimly-lit basement hideaway?  Moonshine?  Naughty French pics of forward-thinking ladies?  Oh my!

And this concludes our program for today.  A scheduling change means we get to see the tear-jerking episode, The Accident, which was originally scheduled for this week, next week.

See you in the lobby and on the CBC, friends…

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