Saturday, November 22, 2014
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Dave on Demand: Noblesse oblige

This undated publicity photo provided by PBS shows, from left, Elizabeth McGovern as Lady Grantham, Hugh Bonneville as Lord Grantham, Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley, Penelope Wilton as Isobel Crawley, Allen Leech as Tom Branson, Jim Carter as Mr. Carson, and Phyllis Logan as Mrs. Hughes, from the TV series, "Downton Abbey."  The program was nominated for an Emmy Award for outstanding drama series on, Thursday July 18, 2013. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences´ Emmy ceremony will be hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. It will air Sept. 22 on CBS. (AP Photo/PBS, Carnival Film & Television Limited 2012 for MASTERPIECE, Nick Briggs)
This undated publicity photo provided by PBS shows, from left, Elizabeth McGovern as Lady Grantham, Hugh Bonneville as Lord Grantham, Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley, Penelope Wilton as Isobel Crawley, Allen Leech as Tom Branson, Jim Carter as Mr. Carson, and Phyllis Logan as Mrs. Hughes, from the TV series, "Downton Abbey." The program was nominated for an Emmy Award for outstanding drama series on, Thursday July 18, 2013. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Emmy ceremony will be hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. It will air Sept. 22 on CBS. (AP Photo/PBS, Carnival Film & Television Limited 2012 for MASTERPIECE, Nick Briggs) ASSOCIATED PRESS
This undated publicity photo provided by PBS shows, from left, Elizabeth McGovern as Lady Grantham, Hugh Bonneville as Lord Grantham, Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley, Penelope Wilton as Isobel Crawley, Allen Leech as Tom Branson, Jim Carter as Mr. Carson, and Phyllis Logan as Mrs. Hughes, from the TV series, "Downton Abbey."  The program was nominated for an Emmy Award for outstanding drama series on, Thursday July 18, 2013. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences´ Emmy ceremony will be hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. It will air Sept. 22 on CBS. (AP Photo/PBS, Carnival Film & Television Limited 2012 for MASTERPIECE, Nick Briggs) Gallery: Dave on Demand: Noblesse oblige

Now you too can buy into the opulent world of the Granthams. A sundry line of sundries is coming to market, to market, under the Downton Abbey banner.

To-the-manor-born beauty products are being marketed in England. You may want to pass on the Dowager Countess Night Cream, which is rumored to have a whiff of mothballs.

In America there will be jewelry, Christmas ornaments, even a snooty brand of wine. The Downton red is a French claret, tart with a rueful aftertaste of noblesse oblige.

The idea is sheer genius. By which I mean it will immediately be co-opted by American producers, delirious to monetize their own shows.

Imagine, if you will, The Big Bang Theory line: a Lego particle accelerator, tighty-whitey underwear emblazoned with the likenesses of famous physicists like Hans Bethe and Max Born, Sheldon's Rare Elements Cookbook ("Now with yttrium-free recipes"), and of course, the brainiac no-brainer: a Klingon Boggle set.

Or Dancing With the Stars spin-offs: sequined athletic wear, Marie Osmond smelling salts, the Heavens to (Peta) Murgatroyd collection of fluffy towels, a series of CDs, Harold Wheeler and his Orchestra Schmaltz Up Your Favorite Hits, Bruno Tonioli's anthology of sexually ambiguous pickup lines, an assortment of orthopedic braces autographed by Kirstie Alley, and the popular puzzle game, Maximum Maks, that challenges you to see how many words you can form from the letters in Maksim Chmerkovskiy's name.

How about Homeland? An assortment of homeopathic sedatives from Carrie (kava kava, anyone?), a comedy collection, NSA Bloopers: The Funniest Domestic Wiretap Tapes, Vol. I-XXV, and the FPS video game, POTUS, POTUS, Who's Guarding POTUS?

Don't forget Breaking Bad: The Walter White Home Chemistry set with a starter kit of pseudoephedrine, an actual Los Pollos Hermanos fast food chain ("Wait till you see what's in our bucket!"), Saul Goodman's Pay-As-You-Go Correspondence Law School, and the Heisenberg brand of personal grooming products.

The possibilities are endlessly exploitive.

Down to The Wire. It was a moment that perhaps only a TV lover could love. Or even get.

In a recent episode of USA's Suits, legal proteges Michael (Patrick J. Adams) and Katrina (Amanda Schull) are in one of the firm's conference rooms, researching the hostile takeover of Hessington Oil, when he has a brainstorm. Contemplating the implications, he utters a long, lingering expletive. She repeats it, with an even slower drawl. Back and forth.

Is it. . .? Could it be. . .? Yes, an exquisite, excremental tribute to Clay Davis, the thoroughly dishonorable state senator from The Wire. (Isiah Whitlock, Jr., the actor who created this indelible character, has been doing a great job recently on Veep, as the secretary of defense who keeps puncturing Selina's delicate balloon.)

Then on the next episode of Suits, reprising his role as Rachel's high-powered attorney father, was Wendell Pierce, who played one of my other favorite characters on The Wire: the seen-it-all detective Bunk.

Coincidence? Yeah, probably.

Mystery guest, sign in please. I've discovered there is a whole other class of TV celebrities with whom I am largely unacquainted.

Lately, I've been seeing a number of stories in tabloids and gossip websites detailing the tragic circumstances of people I've never heard of - but clearly should have!

Invariably it turns out they have a connection to some reality series. Maybe it's a Kardashian hanger-on, or the estranged husband of a Real Housewife, an exiled contestant from Season 3 of Big Brother, or even one of the Teen Moms. The point is that I've never heard of them (and I spend a more-than-healthy amount of time in front of the TV set). Yet, clearly they are stars in someone's galaxy.

Some of them actually get identified just with initials ("SJP Back in Rehab!!!") as if they are more than household names, they're intimates. Then I have to spend hours trying to figure out who in the world the initials refer to.

I really have to start watching more E!

 


Contact David Hiltbrand at dhiltbrand@phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @daveondemand_TV. Read his blog at www.inquirer.com/daveondemand

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