Monday, February 24, 2020


In light of my recent tribute last to Gene Reynolds and how much he meant to me, I received this FQ and thought now would be a good time to share it.

I have two great kids. My daughter Annie and her husband Jon are co-executive producers of THE UPSHAWS, the new Wanda Sykes multi-cam coming to Netflix soon, and I don’t know what my son, Matt does at Apple Computers in Cupertino, but he manages a team that’s making the next… something.

With that as background:

Brian asks:

FRIDAY QUESTION, but not for you: I'm always glad to hear from you about people or projects that you like and/or have influenced you. What people or projects have had the same effect on your daughter?

And here’s Annie’s answer:

I guess it shouldn't come as a shock that I have many of the same influences as my dad. He (and my mom) did raise me and all. The TV shows that probably influenced me the most are The Honeymooners, Cheers, Frasier, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Golden Girls. I have always loved and admired the work of Neil Simon, Carol Burnett, Larry Gelbart, Alan Ball, Christopher Guest, William Goldman, J.D. Salinger and John Kennedy Toole.

When we were starting out, Jon (my husband/partner) introduced me to Jane Espenson's blog; I read it every day and have gained so much from her expertise. Jon and I credit our careers to Dan Staley and Howard Gould. Not just because they gave us our first jobs, but for what they taught us while we were working for them. Lastly, my dad has always been my biggest influence. (Not just because this is his blog and I feel like I have to say nice things.) I never thought I had enough talent to be a professional writer, and my dad was the one who told me I was wrong. I'm really glad I listened to him.


Thanks Annie. That means a lot. Hey, I’m just glad my influence didn’t completely screw you up. Same for your brother.


Fred Vogel said...

I'm assuming Annie is referring to the late John Kennedy Toole, writer of the wonderful novel, A Confederacy of Dunces. It's a shame we were not afforded the opportunity to experience more of his brilliance.

Multi-Cam Fan said...

Hadn't heard of The Upshaws but now I'll be checking it out when it comes to Netflix.

Will you be directing any of the episodes like on Instant Mom?

Lemuel said...

Fred, I read another of Toole's books, "The Neon Bible", which doesn't equal the masterful comedy of dunces.

Brian Phillips said...

Please pass my thanks along to Annie for answering my question!

kitano0 said...

Jane Espenson wrote some of the best episodes of Buffy and Once Upon a Time!

Janet said...

Firefly, too!

Janet said...

Annie's post today inspired what might be an FQ, as long as it doesn't cause family strife.

You obviously talk about your kids often (as you should!) and other than occasionally saying that she warns you not to quote your arguments in your dialogue, you hardly mention her at all.

Is that by design?

Is there anything you care to share?

Would she ever consent to a be guest blogger one day??

benson said...

Having met Annie and Jon very briefly during their trek across the fruited plain in 2018, they are very nice, very cool people. Sounds like "what's next" is a great opportunity.

Tim Ahern said...

From today's NY Times re: streaming affecting writers....

EPL said...

In regards to The Neon Bible, John Kennedy Toole wrote it when he was 16 years old.

Brian said...

Toole was one of those rarities, a fellow that was never published in his lifetime. Only because of the persistence of his Mother did ACOD get published at all.

It's nice that the Neon Bible came out, but perhaps it isn't. Years ago, Harlan Ellison said that when he died, he had instructed several people that were close to him to burn anything that was left unfinished. He did NOT want to be published posthumously.