Saturday, December 12, 2009

The gifts you can't return

One clear sign that it’s Christmas in LA is that you see more TV show jackets. For years that has been the Christmas gift of choice for staffs of television series. Which if fine if you work on THE OFFICE, not so fine if you work on WORLD'S BIGGEST LOSER.

You feel a little bit like a schmuck anyway, wearing a show jacket, like you’re bragging, hoping to impress “the chicks”. Trust me, an AMISH IN THE CITY fleece is not an aphrodisiac.

Other gifts are traditionally baseball caps (when show runners don’t want to pop for jackets for the crew), T-shirts (same deal), and if you ever get a show mug you know you’re about to be cancelled.

One year on CHEERS we received lovely dart boards. At the time everyone had young children. I don’t think anyone even took them out of the box. (I’m sure there’s still one or two floating around ebay). On MASH one year the cast gave us all engraved watches. It was a beautiful gift, one I still have. The next season the new writer on the staff was counting the days until the big gift. It turned out to be a custom 33 rpm album of all the scenes in which the cast sang on the show. He was livid. “You guys get watches and I get a fucking album of Loretta Swit singing?!” (I don’t even think ebay has that one).

Most studios gave out big gift baskets, silver key chains, bottles of nice wine, Walkmen, DVD collections, etc. For many years I worked at a studio where the holiday gifts were always disaster first aid kits, huge honkin’ flashlights, Thomas’ road maps, and earthquake preparedness guides. Everything spelled doom, especially the present that came two years ago…the mug. I’m no longer at that studio.

Oh well, I still have my memories. And my IT’S ALL RELATIVE fleece, BIG WAVE DAVE’S cap, ALMOST PERFECT sweatshirt, LATELINE jacket, KIRSTIN fleece, CONRAD BLOOM bowling shirt, ASK HARRIETT t-shirt, and GEORGE & LEO beltbuckle…which I would all gladly trade for one MODERN FAMILY handkerchief.

11 comments:

Nat G said...

On the short-lived sitcom The Duck Factory, Jay Tarses would sometimes wear a SuperTrain crew jacket. Damn, I wanted that thing.

Jim, Cheers Fan said...

He was livid. “You guys get watches and I get a fucking album of Loretta Swit singing?!”

Heh. I remember an early MASH, I think maybe even MacLean Stevenson early, Hotlips belting out a tone deaf "And Baby Makes Three", it was a joke and a pretty good one. And a later one where she sang "Ooh La La", and it was much more like being stuck at an office party and your boss got on the karaoke machine and you had to pretend to love it.

Jeff Greenstein said...

Remember the year NBC gave Porsche Boxsters to the entire Will & Grace cast? The writing staff got pens with squishy gel grips.

Kevin B said...

Of all the bad NBC sitcoms from the 90's, "Conrad Bloom" was the best.

LouOCNY said...

Yup - two Cheers dartboards up on ebay:

http://shop.ebay.com/?_from=R40&_trksid=p3907.m38.l1313&_nkw=cheers+dart+board&_sacat=See-All-Categories

Emily Blake said...

My ex was a PA on ON THE LOT, that terrible show a couple of years ago where filmmakers competed for Carrie Fisher's approval.

He gave me a hat. I love to wear that hat, because I think it says to people "Hey, I used to date a guy who worked on ON THE LOT and I'm not afraid to let everybody know."

D. Reid said...

Several years back that dartboard sold for $50. Much more swag available next week at our Saturday Sale.

Bob Claster said...

Yeah. The best ones are the ones from the shows that are really good, and the legendary flops. I treasure my T-shirt that says "I survived THE CHAMBER." Then again, I really wish I had one of those very cool FRANK'S PLACE jackets.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Kunal Nayyar, Raj on "The Big Bang Theory", posted a photo of the ping pong table the cast gave to the crew:

http://img124.yfrog.com/i/xe8.jpg/

TVBlogster said...

I once got an NBC chime from the network as a holiday gift. I found it a few years back while moving house. It fell apart around the same time the network did.

Queen Kellee said...

I got a chuckle out of this post, even if I was reading it while drinking coffee from my Veronica Mars season 3 coffee mug :/