One of my most popular regular column offerings, when I was TV critic for The New York Daily News, was a feature called Extras - my name for in-jokes buried within TV shows. Over the years, I deputized my loyal readers to search for them and send them my way, and every month or so I'd print the best Extras, as well as the names of the readers who found them.
Well, I'm very happy to report that the Daily News has given me official permission to continue Extras here at TV WORTH WATCHING. So here we go - or, rather, here YOU go. If you find a neat Extra, post it here under comments, and we'll al get to read and enjoy them at the same time. And in real time, rather than waiting for me to collect and collate them.
Toby O'Brien, the Tubeworld TV guru who may have sent me more worthwhile Extras than anyone else during my 14-year Daily News reign, sent one to me back in November, just in case I was still collecting them. So let's use that as an example, since I was able to hunt up appropriate visual aids.
"Last night," O'Brien from Manhattan wrote then, "Pushing Daisies did a cross-medium in-joke with a flashback for guest star Molly Shannon's character. She was out in a skiff, heading for Bodega bay, when she was attacked my sea gulls.
"Besides the obvious comparison to the movie The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock, especially with the mention of Bodega Bay, I think Molly Shannon's wardrobe and reactions were supposed to recall the image of Tippi Hedren in that movie."
True enough. See for yourself: Exhibit A, the photo at top left -- at the Tippi top -- is Shannon from ABC's Pushing Daisies. Exhibit B, at top right, is Tippi Hedren from the original 1963 Hitchcock film. That's an Extra that really is for the birds...
And here's a more recent example, from an April 2008 episode of the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother. My teaching colleague at Rowan University, Prof. Mike Donovan, caught this one and called me immediately.
At the end of the show, Neil Patrick Harris, who plays Barney, was writing an entry of "Barney's Blog" onto his laptop, as the familiar strains of the theme song of Harris' first TV series, Doogie Howser, M.D., played in the background. Harris, as Doogie, typed his inner thoughts onto a computer in that series, too, way back in 1989... and even stared off into space the same way when thinking about what to write next. See for yourself:
Now it's your turn. Caught any good Extras lately? Describe and share them here, by clicking COMMENTS. And thanks, to my former employer and to you, for keeping this TV treasure-hunting tradition alive.