Tag Archives: Nickelodeon

The Definitive Interview with Moira Quirk (Mo From GUTS)

By Andrew Blumetti

“Do You Have It?!?”

If you grew up a fan of 90’s golden-era Nickelodeon, that tagline should be no stranger to you.

… but bad news, if it is, man, you’re getting old.

1. Take one part American Gladiators…

2. Eliminate the ‘roids, awkwardly patriotic spandex, and truckloads of greasy body oil…

3. Insert helmet-wearin’, cherub-face kiddies…

Voila!  You now have Nickelodeon GUTS, the action sports competition that ran for four sweaty seasons on the kiddies’ cable network.  Hosted by jolly comedic actor Mike O’ Malley, GUTS pitted three tween contestants against one another in several sporting events to win colored ranking medals.

The grand prize was a “glowing” trophy– a piece of the “Aggro Crag”, the giant fabricated mountain that served as the game’s final obstacle race.  This prize apparently was so mesmerizing, it made the contestants forget Nickelodeon wasn’t giving them any actual money.

The kids were mildly adorable and goofball O’ Malley monopolized a majority of the screen time, but the real hidden GUTS-y gem was officiator/referee Moira “Mo” Quirk, owner of the most fun-to-impersonate accent to ever grace the channel.

For all of us Yanks who grew up only knowing Moira as “Mo the Ref”, you’d best know that black and white-striped ref jersey is just the tip of the iceberg for this talented British comedian/actress.

Moira has kept herself busy since the show’s ending in 1996.  An established stand-up comedian who has also done extensive acting and voice-over work for shows such as Nickelodeon’s animated My Life as a Teenage Robot, the podcast series The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd, Johnny Bravo, Happy Feet Two, and several video games.

You can currently catch Mo as the live-action host of the animated series Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps and a number of upcoming projects.

I was lucky enough to have Moira as my first-ever interview, and I couldn’t have asked for a better choice.  Friendly, insightful, and always funny, we discussed that catchy-as-a-cold GUTS theme, conquering the rocky Crag, terrible British impressions, and what it’s like to be a Halloween costume.


Please check out Mo’s official site, and follow her on Twitter at @moiraquirkable.  Your funny-bone will send you a Hickory Farms sausage and cheese gift basket as a thank you. 

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BLUMES:  After seeing Nickelodeon revive their classic 90’s programming with their The 90’s Are All That!, do you ever take a moment to sit back and think that you were one of the most memorable faces from an era of television so many hold dear?
MO:  Maybe it’s because I’m English, but no!  I’m completely incapable of thinking that way!  But I do encounter many, many people who watched GUTS and are happy to meet me, and yes, that is nice to feel I was a happy part of their childhood.

I once bumped into Billy Connelly and all I could do was say “Oh!” as I looked up at him, but I felt a rush of remembering my best friend and myself sneaking his albums from her father’s collection and listening to his quite naughty comedy and just laughing and giggling away secretly in her room.  Of course, GUTS was not naughty or blue, but if I can elicit that same kind of “Oh!”, I’d say that’s quite nice.

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Do you ever get the GUTS theme song stuck in your head out of nowhere?  Seriously, sometimes I get that thing in my head and it’s harder to get out than peanut butter from the roof of your mouth.



Like an adventure hero who has inured himself to poison, it has no effect on me.

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Have you kept in touch with Mike ‘O Malley over the years?   Ever caught any of his television shows?



We do keep in touch.  He’s busy with work and family.  I’m busy with work and family, but we keep up with each other and I’m always happy to hear what he’s up to.  I did watch the first season of Glee and thought he was amazing.  A really touching performance- and Emmy nominated, I might add!

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If you Google “Nickelodeon GUTS Halloween costume”, there’s many a photo of a group dressed as contestants, complete with a “Mo” ref.  Now, I don’t know what it’s like to be a Halloween costume, unless “dorky white guy” becomes a popular costume next year.  Is it as cool as I’m thinking it is?



Yes, it is just that cool.  Also, as a practical person, I like how easy it is to assemble: a ref shirt, some ’90s spandex bike shorts and if you have a short, British woman to put in there, all the better.

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In the years since GUTS, you’ve certainly amassed quite the impressive resume, including stand-up comedy, cartoon voice-over work, and acting in film, television and theater amongst other endeavors.  Which has been your favorite to work on?



I did once get to say “if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids!” as the villain on a Scooby Doo episode, and I walked on air for a week or two after that!

Lately I have been performing in and recording a fair number of plays for radio and that is wonderful.  When I was a teen listening to plays on BBC Radio 4, I thought life would be pretty magnificent if I could do that.  Now, I do.  I get to do all sorts of plays from Restoration to Angry Young Man for LA Theatreworks/NPR and for the BBC.  It’s lovely.  But, whether it’s a game or a cartoon or a sitcom or web series, I really love my job!

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Doing voice-over work for animation seems like a barrel of monkeys… are there any personal favorite cartoons you’d like to work on one day?



I don’t even know if they are still in production, but Phineas and Ferb.  I love that show!  It is built on a foundation of kindness and silliness and it really makes me laugh.  My pal Dee Baker (also a Nickelodeon alum) voices Perry.

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Who were your comedic inspirations growing up?  Do you follow any current comedians?



I have been lucky enough to see Zach Galifianakis when he was doing open mics years and years ago.  I’ve seen Eddie Izzard.  I would have loved to see Mitch Hedberg.  I love Maria Bamford and Jackie Kashian.  I think Catherine Tate is wonderful.

There are all sorts of comedians I love.  Eddie Pepitone and Frank Conniff always make me laugh.  Wow, this is turning into a long- and obviously disjointed- list.  When I was growing up we would always put in a Jasper Carrott tape in if we were going on a drive.  He’s British and did story based comedy.  Or some Monty Python.

Coming to America and going through my husband and uncle’s record collections introduced me to Bob Newhart and Bill Cosby among others.  Currently, I’m watching Louie (Louie C.K.) on Netflix.  I think he’s pretty amazing.

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Funniest movie of all time???  GO!



Nope.  Not fair!  But, off the top of my head, here’s a list of movies I like to see about once a year:

Withnail and I
Some Like it Hot
Hot Fuzz
The In-Laws- the original
Born Yesterday
40 Year-Old Virgin
Funny Bones
Bowfinger
Jeeves and Wooster (The Hugh Laurie/Stephen Fry version)

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On your official site, you have a clip of your stand-up routine about Americans oddly imitating British accents.   I am guilty of a pretty terrible one myself.  Are we all that bad?  Does every fake British accent mention tea? Cause that’s pretty much our go-to move.



For ‘go to’ moves it’s not a bad one.  I believe my husband wins the prize for best worst English accent.  It makes me cry… laughing.

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Now, a couple questions about the “Aggro Crag” on GUTS, did you ever get a chance to climb that thing?  Due to my petrifying fear of heights, I’d make it about 10 feet up and freeze.  I would’ve been shown in GUTS blooper reels.   Did they ever give you one of the glowing green prize trophy pieces to keep?

I did conquer the Crag.  I do own a “piece of it.”  It’s in the garage.

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Since you are a professional comic, I’ll ask your opinion- I love to tell terrible jokes… Please rate this joke on a scale of 1-10 (1 being awful, 10 being a “better” awful):  


Why did Dracula take cough medicine?

To stop his coffin.
Oh, that’s awfully good.

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If we started a campaign to get you on Dancing With the Stars in a future season, how do you think you’d fare?

Um, not well.

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What’s going on in Mo-Land these days?  What are your current projects where we can see/hear/laugh along?

There’s a few actually.  I’m in a new web series called “Dirty Work” .  Check out this LA Times article.

I’m in the third season of the web series “Pretty”.
I recorded “Look Back in Anger” for LA Theatreworks, that has aired on various NPR stations nationwide.
“Dracula” will air on various NPR stations again this Halloween
I’m currently recording an X-Com game playing a cold and clinical scientist.


Star Wars: The Old Republic,  The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim – I’ve been getting some nice feedback on those.
I have big intentions with regard to social media! Maybe actually pay attention to Facebook, and updating my woefully outdated website and YouTube channel, and, oh, I don’t know, actually starting tweeting (@moiraquirkable).



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A big thank you to Moira Quirk for her time and for being a fantastic first interview on A Blumes With A View

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Filed under Comedy, Entertainment, Games, Humor, Interview, Pop Culture, Retro, Television

The Cereal Killer Quiz! (Breakfast That’ll Murder Your Appetite)

By Andrew Blumetti

G’morning everyone, rise and shine!

Wait a minute.  Is that your stomach growling like a tugboat?  Did you skip breakfast again?  You know that old saying about breakfast being the most important meal of the day, right?

How important you say?  Let’s take a look…

(insert dreamy transition harp music here…)

In a Fantasy WorldAfter eight hours of sound sleep, you pop up out of bed with the warm rays of sun cracking through the window and glowing on your face, crisp-eyed and fresh as a fiddle.

Time to slide down the banister in your fuzzy pajamas, hop into the kitchen, pour some fresh-squeezed OJ, slice up some just-picked fruit, sit down to some toast and warm oatmeal, and rack up those all-important vitamins right out of the starting gate.  Your body will thank you after all, it’s healthy, nutritious, and an all-around great way to give your body and mind the fuel it needs to take on the day, grab the world by its stupid throat and say “Bring it on chump!”.

In RealityAfter leaving more grimy fingerprint smudges on your snooze button than John Wayne Gacy at a Chuck E. Cheese skeeball, you stumble out of bed– groggy, freezing cold, full of eye boogers, and cursing the fact that Saturday may as well be a year away.  After catching a gander at the ungodly late time, it must somehow be Daylight Savings Time and the clocks are wrong, right?

Not even close.  After a lightning quick shower and fighting with your contact lenses, the realization sinks in that a healthy breakfast (which is for squares anyway) is taking a backseat to a backseat today.  Lego the idea of an Eggo as toasting a frozen waffle or bagel is too time-costly, so it’s time to open the cabinets, pour some sugary cereal in a bowl, drown it in milk and wolf it down so quickly, even your dog will look up at you thinking, “Geez, slow it down, man”.

(I know this, because this was practically every day of my senior year of high school*…)

* “Senior year” may also include Freshman, Sophomore, and Junior years as well

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Well, despite the earlier lecture, I sincerely do hope you had enough time to enjoy your delicious and healthy breakfast this morning and get your day off to a magical start that’d make Walt Disney’s frozen head come back to life just to buy the movie rights to it.

Why you ask?

Cause you’re gonna need that fresh energy to get that grey matter fired-up, do some deep-knee bends and prepare yourself for the most undelicious pop quiz ever…

 

THE OFFICIAL CEREAL KILLER QUIZ

(Hint… C)

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1. Which of the following cereals is highest in 10 essential vitamins and nutrients? 

A. Special K

B. Raisin Bran

C. KIDDO BALLS

Blumes note:  It hurts my brain to think the derelict people who named this are allowed to drive cars on the same road as the rest of us.

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2. On a diet?  Looking to cut back on that pesky sugar?  Look no further than this timeless breakfast treat…

A. Apple Cinnamon Cheerios

B. Grape Nuts

C. KING VITAMIN

Blumes note The discontinuation of this one just hurts, cause finding a royal racing coach on eBay nowadays is seriously highway robbery.

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3. No dishes for you to wash!  This classic delicious cereal is so good, your slob kids will love to eat it out of their hand, sans milk…

A. Cheerios

B. Cinnamon Toast Crunch

C. QUAKE

Blumes note:  My doctor constantly gets on my case because everything I eat is lacking in EARTHQUAKE power.

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4. Don’t like your cereal soggy?  You’ve reached the holy grail with…

A. Lucky Charms

B. Golden Grahams

C. CRUNCHY LOGGS

Blumes note:  WARNING!  Don’t use that “Quiz Kid Calculator”.  Crunchy Loggs has rigged it to give “56601” as every answer.  (Typed on a calculator and turned upside down, that spells out “LOGGS”.  Seriously, give it a shot.)

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5. Don’t take your children down the cereal aisle of the supermarket, they’ll never shut up about…

A. Cap’n Crunch

B. Cocoa Puffs

C. DYNAMAN

Blumes noteThe official breakfast sponsor of To Catch a Predator.   Hey kids, don’t forget the “Free Dynaman Rub-ons Inside”!

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6. Which cereal mascot was voted as America’s favorite at this year’s Mascy Awards?

A. Tony the Tiger of Frosted Flakes

B. The Trix Rabbit of Trix

C. This insane clown of Post’s “Sugar Krinkles”

Blumes note:  Geez, even killer Pennywise the Clown called and said to dial it back.  

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7. This is the tried-and-true cereal your grandparents used to eat:

A. Corn Flakes

B. Kix

C. NICKELODEON GREEN SLIME CEREAL

Blumes note:   Huge bonus– when you vomit this up, it’ll pretty much look exactly like it did going down.

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8. This “vitamin charged” product will provide you with 70% of your daily recommended share of Riboflavin.  You’ll be sailing all day! 

A. Apple Jacks

B. Fruit Loops

C. SIR GRAPEFELLOW

Blumes note:   If anyone can please Fed-Ex me Sir Grapefellow’s air car toy, I’ll make it worth your while.

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9. Which of the following will create the best small talk with the cute cashier at the supermarket?

A. Chocolate Lucky Charms

B. Frankenberry

C. GOOD FRIENDS CEREAL

Blumes note:   $4.99 sounds a bit steep, but honestly, where else are you going to find “46% more fiber” at a better price?   With that high fiber content, this multi-ethnic-friendly cereal is guaranteeing people of all races remain on the toilet all day long. 

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10. ‘Fess up.  For breakfast this morning, I bet you had…

A. Frosted Mini Wheats

B. Life

C. CRISPY HEXAGONS

Blumes note:   Let’s thank the good people at Mathrite for finally bringing our love of geometry and breakfast together at last.

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11. Looking to cut back on those awful carbs?  Dig that spoon right into…

A. Boo Berry

B. Cracklin’ Oat Bran

C. MR. T CEREAL

Blumes note There’s more tasteless “T’s” in this than at an Abercrombie and Fitch! 

I pity the bowl this crap gets poured into.

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12.  Little known fact:  Albert Einstein wore the same outfit every day and actually ate this meal every morning:

A. Rice Krispies

B. Shredded Wheat

C. URKEL-O’s

Blumes note:  My cynical side was going to rip into this stuff, but helping Urkel find Laura really tugs at my heartstrings.

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13. I’m finishing up this quiz so I can go chow down on some…

A. Cookie Crisp

B. Honey Nut Cheerios

C. APPLE YO’s

Blumes note:  I just realized this stuff comes in a TWO POUND BAG.  That borders on child abuse.

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ANSWER KEY:

1-4: “C”

5:  “A”

6-13”: “C”
(I just can’t take Dynaman seriously.)

So, please share- how’d you score?  Bonus points if you actually tried the calculator trick.  Now go enjoy lunch.

 

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Filed under Advertising, Comedy, Food, Humor, Retro

The Truth About Danny from Hey Dude… Dead or Alive?

By Andrew Blumetti

Anyone who knows relatively anything about anything knows that teen s-kicker sitcom, Hey Dude, is the best television show to ever grace the boob tube.

Well, maybe not exactly the best show ever, but if you grew up a healthy diet of late 80’s/early 90’s Nickelodeon fare, you’re no doubt as big of a fan of the western cowboy-comedy as I was.

The plot was your classic fish-out-of-water:  A nerdy New York City accountant purchases  the “Bar None Ranch”, an Arizona dude ranch smack dab in the barren desert, and brings his Hypercolor shirt-wearing son with him.  Throw in a teenage staff of cowboys, Indians, and textbook white-boy slackers, and you’ve got yourself a Nick home run, and I don’t mean Swisher.

“Who you calling a fish out of water?!?”

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There was goofball troublemaker Ted, and his on-again, off-again love interest, Brad, a rich girl with a boys’ name who was nowhere near as attractive as she was made out to be.  Rounding out the bunch was goody two-shoes lifeguard Melody, Brendan Frasier-wannabe drummer Jake, pretty-boy cowboy Kyle, Lucy- the one actual adult who worked there, and last, but not least, Danny Lightfoot, a Hopi Indian who had a larger denim vests collection than Ernest P. Worrell.  Lightfoot also was graced with a deep, spiritual kinship with the anhydrous desert land, the way Hollywood assumes all Native Americans do.

Danny (fourth from left) was peeved in this episode, as everyone put their money on him to go first in the “Hey Dude death pool”. 

After the show’s cancellation in 1991, the teen cast mostly fell into adult obscurity.  A few cast members kept their inconsequential relevance– protagonist Mr. Ernst (David Brisbin) did some minor acting on episodes of shows such as Seinfeld and ER, Ted (David Lascher) went on to co-star in Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, and Melody (Christine Taylor) most prominently became known as Mrs. Ben Stiller.

The parched tumbleweeds blew across the Duders world for years until an ordinary 2004 afternoon, when it was reported (albeit unconfirmed) that Joe Torres, the actor who played Danny, had passed away from liver failure.

This story could’ve been an immature internet hoax, or it could’ve been true, and that’s the sheer bloody genius of it.

Report that Brad Pitt jumped off a bridge or Kim Kardashian fell into a shark tank, and skeptical people will call shenanigans from the get-go.  Report the quiet demise of an obscure actor from a nearly 20-year old kid’s cable show, and it becomes a lot harder to disprove.

Also, the longer the rumors went invalidated, the more believable the actor’s doom-and-gloom fate became.  Was he still vertical?  Or did the man-eating jack rabbits and killer cacti finally take Torres down?

(Yes, apparently Danny was a big Guns ‘N Roses fan.  …but did he ever get to experience the forgettable phenomenon that was Chinese Democracy?)

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Finding information on Torres is about as difficult as you’d imagine.  Over the years, on his IMDB page, help was sparse at best.  Mostly a bunch of occasional message board nerds doing message-boardy things, such as disputing his fate, discussing his mullet, and who saw him doing what, and where (not necessarily in that order).

Internet hearsay is absolutely worthless though.  For all we really know, he was out playing darts with Elvis, country line-dancing with Tupac or maybe he was abducted by martians who were mistaken Clarissa Explains It All fans instead.

There were also stories that Torres packed his dusty bags and ended up on the East Coast.  Some speculation pointed to him living in Tarheel country in North Carolina.  Or maybe it was more plausible he simply dropped the “s” at the end of his last name, blew all of his Hey Dude savings at the plastic surgeon, then managed the Yankees to four World Series titles.

One man, four rings?  Perhaps all those years of dealing with hothead Ted on the show prepared him to deal with Roger Clemens on the field?

Another possible theory was that Torres was still alive and working at a Toyota dealership in Runnemede, NJ.  Any links on the website to his existence are gone, and this was the supposed picture of him from his shirt-and-tie job:

“He was known as ‘Sells’em Camry’ in used-car circles.”

Another theory that seemed to have legs was that Torres was still alive and kickin’… at a bar nonetheless.  Some had claimed to see him frequent the World Famous Golden Nugget Tavern in Tuscon, Arizona.

Word on the sand has it that Torres is not someone you want to meet up with on the felt, as he’s quite the pool shark (just without his own week on cable every summer).  This seemed to be more likely than the other scenarios, seeing as the Southwest was Torres’ old stomping grounds when Hey Dude filmed out there during its run.

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After many failed attempts to find any contact source to help with Torres’ mysterious story, the simplest solution was get in touch with the Golden Nugget to see if they could shed any light on this Dude-er dilemma.

Following an inquiry to the establishment, I received a very helpful email from Tim Donaldson from the Golden Nugget.  Donaldson kindly told me that Jose (Joe) “is alive and well”, thanked me for my message, and said he would pass it along to him.

Hey Danny, you’re alive!  Don’t look so shocked.

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So my fellow Nick fans, may this news make your late-summer week a little sweeter.  We can all breathe a “yippe ki yi ya!” in relief that the rumors of the demise of Danny from Hey Dude, were just that- rumors.  A bunch of speculative hogwash– no liver failure and no job selling Snooki a souped-up Corolla at a Jersey car dealership.  Turns out our very favorite Hey Dude-er is just a former actor looking to kick back, sink the 8-ball in the corner pocket of his past, and enjoy his billard-loving privacy.

…unlike Sponge from Salute Your Shorts.  We all know he’s really dead.

???

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Filed under Comedy, Entertainment, Humor, Pop Culture, Retro, Television