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I guess I just like liking things

Two things happened on my TV yesterday that I realized are some of my favorite TV things:

  1. Pam Dawber guest starred on The Crazy Ones
  2. Billy Dee Williams was in an episode of Modern Family

Turns out, I love when people show up on TV shows with actors they used to be in shows with, and I love when actors appear on shows as some version of themselves.

Okay, yes, I’m still watching The Crazy Ones. I don’t really know why.  I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it, and Sarah Michelle Gellar built up tons of cache with me because of Buffy. It’s generally fine, but I rarely laugh out loud at it. In last night’s episode Paw Dawber played a character who was dating Robin Williams’ character. Some of you young whippersnappers might not know who Pam Dawber is, but she was Mindy to Robin’s Mork on Mork & Mindy. I’ll be honest, I have no idea what Pam Dawber’s been up to in the intervening years, but just her being on the show made me smile. I guess I like knowing that long-term friendships were formed on TV series. I haven’t watched through the show yet, but I’m told almost all of the Cheers series regulars show up on Frasier at some point, even Shelley Long, who it’s rumored didn’t get along with Kelsey Grammar all that well. Now, that’s a little bit different than what I mean, since those folks show up as the characters they played before, but I still like that kind of thing.

Cougar TownOne of my favorite show-ups in recent memory is Matthew Perry on Cougar Town. It was fun to see him and Courteney Cox back together, and I enjoy the little in-jokes they threw in. An even better example (and maybe my all-time favorite example ever) was when a bunch of Scrubs people showed up on Cougar Town.

I also love it when people play a version of themselves. It happened a few times on Scrubs (including Billy Dee Williams, who apparently enjoys doing that sort of thing), but there’ve been a couple of shows that have it as their basis. “Seinfeld” is the most famous example, but I don’t think of it in the same vein as “It’s Like, You Know…” (with Jennifer Grey) and “Don’t Trust the B…” (James Van Der Beek). That last one is my favorite example, as James VDB plays a version of himself that feels like it really is him, but is a ridiculous version of him at the same time. That’s a difficult mix to pull off, but that show did it well. In “Seinfeld,” Jerry is just Jerry, even though he isn’t really? I don’t know how to explain the difference, but there is one.

I can’t be the only one who likes these things, and I think the reason we enjoy these events so much is the history behind them. We’ve been around TV long enough that it’s like seeing an old friend again. It’s automatic built-in goodwill, and I vote for there being a whole episode of Buffy reunion for The Crazy Ones next – Giles, Anya, Willow, Xander, Angel, everybody!

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