Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Traveling (Pop Culture Style)

If there is such a thing as a pop culture savant, then I am its poster child, well, poster man, but that sounds creepy. Poster child it is. Whether it is lack of intelligence or a shallowness that I possess, I am a sucker for a good pop culture reference. One of my favorite bloggers, Mist 1, the Belle of the Dirty South and I were recently discussing travel. I made a lousy joke linking Mary Tyler Moore and Minneapolis and she suggested what a great idea it would be for a travel show about sitcoms. She called it Sitcom Travel. It is an absolutely brilliant idea and I unabashedly stole it, after asking permission of course. So, if anyone from the Travel Channel happens upon this (which is a pretty high likelihood given that I am emailing this post to every Travel Channel email address I can find), I cannot and will not take credit for this idea because it was Mist’s. That is unless they want to make it a weekly half-hour program hosted by me. Then I’d have to take credit – Lucy and Ethel will need to go to college one day. Unless I am successful in convincing them otherwise.

I often find myself daydreaming about other places. The fact that I do this during work hours is probably very closely related to the fact that I view my office cubicle as a prison, though the good news is that if I behave the rest of the day, I may get time in the yard this afternoon. Many of the places I dream about are places that I have become familiar with through TV, music and film. So, here are the things I would do if I got to travel to some of the following places…this is where you close your eyes, cue the dream sequence and faintly hear ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’ in the background.

Though I have been there many times before, I would go to San Diego first. There’s a great symbolic reason for this: it’s the closest to home. I would go down to Seaport Village just to yell ‘Stay Classy San Diego’ from Anchor Man. Then I’d head to Vegas. Perhaps this city doesn’t count because I always do this next thing whenever I drive to Vegas. There is a point when Interstate 15 descends down into the valley where you can see the strip in the distance and the night sky and clouds illuminated by all the neon below. That is the point when I put Elvis’ ‘Viva Las Vegas’ on and sing at the top of my lungs. Sadly, I have never been in the car with ANYONE who has wanted to do this with me. Sometimes I follow that song with ‘Diamonds Are Forever,’ because it is the only James Bond film that takes place in Las Vegas.

Next would be Hawaii. And you know there is only one thing to reference when you are thinking about Hawaii (well, that is excluding the oft used phrase ‘lei me’). Yes, it’s Steve McGarret and Hawaii 5-0. I love that theme song and once spent practically the entire 5-hour flight there humming it. I have promised myself that the next time I plan a trip to the islands; I am going to search long and hard to find a travel agent named Danny or Dana. That way, when we are about done with the travel plans, I can stand on my chair and yell ‘Book it, Dana or Danny or Danno!’ Seriously people, I do this lame pop culture referencing stuff all the time. Just ask the last phone operator with our company who had to listen to me serenade her with Jim Croce’s ‘Operator.’ You could also ask the girl who sat behind me in High School science. Her name was Brandy…although I seriously doubt I was the first (or last) person to sing that song to her. Also, never glance at yourself in a distant mirror while in my presence. Doing so will make me sing ‘You’re So Vain.’ I’ve tried to stop it, but I’m helpless.

Even though I already referenced it, if I ever get to Minneapolis, I will have to locate the exact square where Mary Tyler Moore tossed her hat at the beginning of the Mary Tyler Moore show. I would have someone take a picture of me doing it while I sing ‘You’re Gonna Make It After All’ and then I would email it with a catchy phrase to all of my friends, none of whom would bother to reply back to me about it. I’ve often toyed with going to Boston just to visit the Bull and Finch pub (the Bar that served as the exterior for ‘Cheers’). I would go in, offer to pay everyone a couple of bucks to yell ‘Michael,’ or even ‘Norm’ when I go and walk back in. Then with my luck, I would walk back in and everyone would forget to yell. I’d ask for my money back and everyone would tell me to get lost. The trauma of it all would prevent me from ever returning to Boston again, which is a real shame because I really like eating lobsta and clam chowda.

I’ve often wanted to go to Texas. If I did, I would have to visit Dallas and the Ewing’s famous South Fork ranch. All I’d want to do there would be push a well-dressed rich woman into the ranch’s pool and yell something like ‘Don’t mess with JR, Sue Ellen!’ Of course, I would then be banished from the South Fork Ranch forever, but it would be so worth it! I have literally had daydreams of going to North Carolina and finding the pond where Andy and Opie went fishing. I would whistle the theme song and the world would be perfect. At least it would be perfect until some local resident laughs at me and says ‘son, that pond is in Los Angeles. It ain’t here and it ain’t never been here.’

That would lead me to Los Angeles and the famous Wisteria Lane from ‘Desperate Soccer Moms,’ or whatever that show is called. I could personally care less about that show (sorry), but that street is also the location of The Beaver’s House and The Munster’s mansion. I get giddy thinking about the pleasure I would derive from strolling the sidewalks just like the Beav did. If I ever find myself on a flight to Cincinnati, I’m sure I will annoy all of my fellow passengers as I sing ‘WKRP in Cincinnati.’ I would arrive in that fine town sing my song and then get right back on the plane and fly to Milwaukee. When in Milwaukee, I would have to go visit Richie Cunningham’s home (only to be told that it too is in LA) and the closest brewery. At that brewery, I would grab the nearest brewery worker and sing the ‘Schlemiel, Schlimazel’ part of Laverne and Shirley. After that, I would corner a Milwaukee native and recite the following part of ‘Wayne’s World.’

“Isn’t Milwaukee an Indian name? Yes, it is. In fact, it was originally an Algonquin term meaning the good land. I think one of the most interesting things about Milwaukee is that it's the only American city to elect three Socialist mayors.”

Some day I would also like to visit Georgia. I’m going to have to take a lot of time off to do that though because I can only go there on a train that has a departing time of midnight…Woo Woo. So there you have it. Those are just a few of the places I would one day like to visit and what I would like to do while there. OK Travel Channel execs, you know where to reach me.

Useless afterthought: There are probably several cities I forgot, so please feel free to point them out to me and I will do a Travel Volume #2 if necessary.


Odat said...

I know a show you missed....
"Hot Tubs in Tahiti"..... ;-))))

Ralph said...

What about Mayfield? Heck, I don't even know what state the Cleavers lived in! Captain Nelson and Jeannie in Cocoa Beach? How about Rob and Laura Petrie on Bonnie Meadow Road in New Rochelle, NY...How about Frasier's sumptuous suite in Seattle...wow, you'd better drink lots of black coffee to stay awake on this journey

Michael C said...

Odat: You and those hot tubs ;-)
Was that the show that had Ronald Reagan with the monkey, per chance?

Ralph: I am very embarassed that I missed by hero Rob Petrie from one of my all time favorite shows...I completely knew about New Rochelle. Whenever I hear that city, I always think of them! All of your suggestions mean that I must now do a volume 2. Thanks my friend!

Patti said...

What about NYC? The ones that quickly come to mind are "The Odd Couple,"
"That Girl" and "I Love Lucy."
They were both before your time, I realize. :-)

Michael C said...

Patti: Felix Unger was my favorite and you know about Lucy and Ethel ;-)
Sadly, I've never seen 'That Girl,' but if I had to use my Pop Culture Savant Sense, I'm guessing it starred Marlo Thomas...am I right?

Patti said...

Excellent!! Marlo was indeed That Girl.
Now who played Donald, her boyfriend?

mist1 said...

I plan on submitting an audition tape for the casting call. Please be warned, I majored in wanting to be on TV in college. Okay, it was my minor.

I double majored. Vodka/Sticking my tongue down throats.

James Burnett said...

I hate to break it to you, my friend, but Richie Cunningham lived in South Milwaukee, a totally separate city. I know, I know. It shattered my dream too, when I moved to the "Good Land" nine years ago and told a new friend/co-worker I wanted to see the area of the city where the Cunninghams lived and the Fonz hung out. And damned if we didn't cross the border from the south side of Milwaukee into the city of South Milwaukee. Huge disappointment. I never went back.

Michael C said...

Patti: I don't have a clue. You got me!

Mist1: Well, there goes my shot at a TV career. I guess getting your idea was my consolation prize.

James: Now that is something I didn't know. Do they book flights to South Milwaukee?

captain corky said...

I'm all choked up. What a truly excellent idea.

Hooterville and Petticote Junction are a must for anyone traveling America.

I also would have to visit the Kramden's homestead in Brooklyn.

Terri said...

where's the Brady Bunch home?

how about the San Francisco neighborhood where the Olsen twins grew up?

and while in Hawaii don't forget to check out Magnum P.I.'s sweet digs and cool cars.

I personally would love to go to Fantasy Island and Gilligan's Island, probably both in L.A. somewhere on a set... :o(

Lee said...

Oh yeah, I vote for Fantasy Island, without all the creepy stuff.

Patti said...

Marlo's boyfriend was played by Ted Bessell.

P.S. Did you know there was a PEZ museum in Easton, Pa.?

Michael C said...

Captain: Wow, now I may need to do a volume 3 as well.

Terri: The Brady home is in LA and believe it or not, it's only a single story. The Fantasy Island house is in Pasadena and Gilligan's Island is at Universal studios.

Lee: I can't think about that show without thinking of Herve Villachaise as Scaramanga's helped in the Bond movie The Man With The Golden Gun.

Patti: I did know about the PEZ museum. That and Graceland are on my destination lists ;-)

Patti said...

Hope you get there someday! then you can blog all about those places

Erica AP said...

I wouldn't want to go too far... Just uptown. So I could sing Uptown Girl by Billie Joel. I'm so classy because I'm an uptown girl living in San Diego!!

Natalie said...

I grew up in Minneapolis and have no idea where that was filmed. I looked for it a number of times but to no avail. I think it's all lies.

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

Illonis, for Roseanne. Come on, that's a classic. I could totally see you doing some Dan or Roseanne impression...or I could come and I could conjure up some Roseanne humor. It would be a blast!

Michael C said...

Patti: So do I

Erica AP: I love Billy Joel...stay classy Erica AP. See? I just can't help myself.

Natalie: Oh no, gosh I hope that's not true. It could erode the very bedrock of my foundation for life.

Silver: You're welcome along. Female Coworker at my office is a dead ringer (although she's alive) for Roseanne...she laughs and cusses like her, too ;-)

kat said...

This is a great idea. But don't forget to go to Hawaii and find an idol and wear it and go to bed and wake up with a tarantula crawling up your chest a la Peter Brady style.

I would totally watch Sitcom Travel.