David Bushman

Curator, Television

August 30, 2011

It’s the Meme Not the Motion: Play Along!

by David Bushman

A month or so ago Tim Footman reminisced about the good old days when "we bloggers used to exchange memes," which I have to admit I totally slept through, but more to the point Tim passed along a fun new meme from Annie Bookcrossing Slaminsky that I, using Tim's own language, am going to feel free to pick up and run with. I should add here that the term "meme," from the Greek word mimema, meaning imitated or copied, was coined by the British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in 1976 and is defined as an idea or cultural phenomenon transmitted by repetition, in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes.

While Bookcrossing's is a film-themed meme, I am going to take it and run with it only so far, that is converting it into an all-TV meme instead. Feel free to play along. Though of course you don't have to. That would sort of negate the point.

1. TV show you love with a passion.

I've got a dozen at least, but let's go with The X-Files, though only the first five (Vancouver-shot) seasons (If extra-terrestrials do ever land on Earth, do you think they will tell Chris Carter, "We liked The X-Files, especially the early, Vancouver ones"?)


2. TV show you vow never to watch.

Sex and the City. I had enough trouble with this concept before 9/11, but after? Forget it.

3. TV show that literally left you speechless.

Again, endless possibilities. If I were in a more classic mode I'd opt for "The Big .22 Rifle for Christmas" from the original Dragnet, but let's go instead with the conclusion of Lost: tough to speak when you're sobbing.

4. TV show you always recommend. 

Not sure how this differs from "TV show you love with a passion," but let's go with David Simon's brilliantly constructed The Wire, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which was immense fun, especially since I got to share it with my wife and daughters (wisely or not).

5. Actor/actress you always watch, no matter how crappy the TV show.

Cheating here and going not with an actor or actress but two writer/producers: Joss Whedon and J.J. Abrams. Not that either one ever makes "crap." Regarding Whedon: it took me a long while to get Dollhouse, but the season-one finale was a mind-blower, and season two just got better and better. As for Abrams, I even liked Undercovers.

6. Actor/actress you don't get the appeal for.

One of each: Craig Ferguson/Lucille Ball (sacrilegious, I know)

7. Actor/actress, living or dead, you'd love to meet.


8. Sexiest actor/actress you've seen. 

Lena Headey (pictured left)




9. Dream cast.

Not an accumulation of superstars by any means, but my vote for best TV ensemble of all time goes to the cast of Taxi (though Danny DeVito and Andy Kaufman clearly stole the show).

10. Favorite actor pairing.

The eighties was a great decade for sexual tension—Sam and Diane, David and Maddie, Kevin and Winnie, Crockett and Tubbs—but the best TV partners of all time? My vote goes to Kelly Robinson and Alexander Scott of I Spy.

11. Favorite TV setting.

St. Elsewhere's sorry St. Eligius Hospital (Boston), named after the "patron saint of longshoremen and bowlers," (pictured right) per Howie Mandel's Dr. Wayne Fiscus. 

12. Favorite decade for TV shows.

Every decade is better (and worse) than the ones before.

 13. Chick flick or action movie?

Trick question?

14. Hero, villain, or anti-hero?

Anti. Think Donald Draper.

15. Black and white or color?

No-brainer. Think fifties Dragnet versus the DayGlo remake.

  • Thanks.

    Sadly, according to various trades, Clooney has dropped out of U.N.C.L.E., and there are fears it could kill the project. I suspect the film will get done, but now everyone gets to play casting director.  

    michael42, August 31, 2011 at 9:48 am

  • Very inspired choices, Michael. Any fan of "T.H.E. Cat" is a man worth knowing -- I'm Netflixing "The Middleman" on your recommendation alone. I especially like the tailor shop from "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." and am eager to see what Soderbergh and Clooney do with this. So many of us here at the Paley Center are huge admirers of "Justified": I honestly almost chose Walton Goggins and Timothy Olyphant as my favorite actor pairing. Thanks for playing along.

    David, August 31, 2011 at 6:36 am

  • 1. "Doctor Who" (but I could add a half a dozen others).

    2. I will watch anything once. It is getting me to watch it again that is hard.

    3. "Middleman" for the entire series including how such a delightful but strange show got on the air in the first place.

    4.  "Justified". And yes, I do feel justified in recommending the series.

    5.  None. I am a writer at heart. Say "Charlie's Angels" and I think Aaron Spelling before I think of any of the cast.

    6.  Way too many to name here, but I second Lucille Ball.

    7.  Stephanie Zimbalist. Because I still have a "crush" on Laura Holt.

    8.  Changes too often for me to name just one.

    9.  None.

    10. None.

    11. The tailor shop in "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.".

    12. While I do not believe there has ever been a "Golden Age" of television. I would pick the 60s for the British ITV series of the decade and the theme music of American TV series.

    13. I am waiting for the ulimate sequel "The Expendables Eat Pray Love".

    14. Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) of "Justified".

    15. Depends on the show. A black and white GLEE? But get the right dp and even noir can work in color. Check out "T.H.E. CAT".

    michael42, August 30, 2011 at 7:11 pm


David Bushman

Curator, Television


Before joining the Paley Center in 1992, David Bushman was senior television editor of Daily Variety in Los Angeles and weekly Variety in New York. He also served as director of programming at TV Land from 1997 to 1998. He has taught and lectured on TV at numerous institutions, but on only one continent. He may be the only person in the world pining for an E-Z Streets reunion.


Noir, Fantasy Baseball, The Pogues, Soccer, Running


David Bushman

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