Monday, July 1, 2013

If this becomes a thing, I totally want credit for coining the term

The thing about the history of television, when you stop to think about it, is that there isn't actually a tremendous amount of it. (The first commercially available sets coming in 1928, 1934 or 1936, depending on how pedantic you are about what qualifies as a proper television set and how comfortable you are giving Germany the credit- although to be fair, 'Telefunken' is a freakin' awesome name for a company)

It's even more recent that we stopped thinking of television as being something other than just happening and then being gone forever. (I'd insert an obligatory rant at this stage about how the BBC destroyed more than half of Doctor Who made between 1963-1969, but then I'd have to get into the whole thing about rumors that they've found most of them in Africa, and honestly I really am trying to focus here.)

I had a whole section here about the way TV changed into marketable product, but I've deleted it (see how it feels, BBC?)  so that I can skip ahead to the chase.  The landscape of television is nearly always still heading into uncharted territory simply because it hasn't been around long enough for it not to.

The reason that I bring this up is that I've noticed an increasing occurrence lately of a phenomenon that I'm going to dub 'Gen2 Cameos'.  (Dear Internet, please remember where the term came from.  Unless its existence leads to some sort of war atrocity, in which case please disregard this request.)

What I'm talking about here is when an actor makes a cameo appearance on a sitcom* solely because they co-starred on a previous sitcom with one of the cast members.  Like when John Mahoney shows up on Hot in Cleveland (He was Martin Crane on Frasier alongside Jane Leeves and later Wendie Malick for those of you who don't follow the reference.  And some of you are in Morocco, so that's totally understandable.)  In the past this wasn't particularly common, simply because it was much less common for someone to have more than one sitcom, Lucy Not-withstanding.

*It also happens on drama programs, but not in quite the same way.  See: Alexis Denishof's guest run on Dollhouse versus his guest appearances on How I Met Your Mother to see what I mean there.

One of the notable points of interest with the phenomenon of Gen2 Cameo (gonna keep hammering in that term until it sticks people) is that it often is more telling for who doesn't get invited to make a cameo than who does.  For example, I notice that both Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow have appeared alongside Courtney Cox on the show Cougar Town, and yet none of the guys from Friends have.  And Courtney is one of the Producers, so it's not like she couldn't make it happen if she wanted it to.  Sure, maybe the guys have just all been busy.  I suppose that's possible.  I still find their absence to be interesting.  Much like the way I find it interesting that Sarah Michelle Gellar has yet to appear as a Gen2 Cameo on... um.. .anything.  With anyone she's worked with before.  I'm just sayin'...

Which is all a roundabout way of saying that it's only a matter of time before Melissa Peterman drops by on Malibu Country.*

*For the sake of Morocco - she played Barbra Jean on the sitcom Reba, which starred Reba McEntire, who now stars in the sitcom Malibu Country.  I mention her here almost entirely as an excuse to shoehorn in a mention of the fact that I happen to know her.**

**As a Friend, <Facebook>, if nothing else, although if we bumped into each other I'd give it a 63% chance that she'd remember my name.  And as much as Vizsla = Knowledge, Vizsla even more = Gratuitous Namedropping.*** 

***I'll refer you to next weeks 'Famous Dans that I know' column, where I plan on bathing lovingly in the reflected glow of mentioning 20-30 times that I know Dan Harmon.  I'd totally send him unsolicited spec scripts for Community, but I suspect that Facebook has an 'unfriend' button for just that sort of situation.****

****I wonder if Dan and Melissa know each other....*****

*****I no longer have any idea what I was talking about before I started footnoting footnotes..

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