u_topn picture

Atlantic Unbound Sidebar


This contest is now closed. But enjoy!

(Click here to go directly to the winning entries.)

Surely most of us have witnessed or even perpetrated the phenomenon known as channel surfing--you know, clicking the TV's remote-control button so that the programs go parading one after another in all their glorious inanity. Sometimes a series of lucky juxtapositions will make the programs seem to flow together, so that Rush Limbaugh's sentence gets finished by Hawkeye Pierce, followed by enthusiastic applause from Flipper. Now we want you to go channel surfing with the *titles* of TV shows. Take two or more titles and string them together so that a new entity is created. For example, we might observe a battle of monumental (but perhaps one-sided) proportions when:

Dinosaurs Combat Lassie.

Or, we might discover that John Boy has some habits more exotic than we ever suspected when:

The Waltons Coach Kung Fu.

See what we mean? Now grab your clicker (or your TV listing) and find new combinations of shows to make a couch potato's eyes pop out! (Sorry about that image.) You may use programs old or new, and you may connect as many titles as you wish--but don't add any superfluous "padding" words, and remember that it's not the length of your entry that matters to us, it's the elegance and humor.

Senders of our three favorite entries will each receive a nomination for a Daytime Emmy--or at any rate, a book from The Atlantic Monthly's online bookstore.

--EC and HR

P.S. If you like cryptic crosswords, visit our "Puzzles and Word Games" folder on the Atlantic's America Online message board (keyword ATLANTIC) and join the handful of rather crazed clue-writers who are already at play there! Post clues of your own and see if the gang can solve 'em!

Channel Surfing Results

(All names without @ symbols are AOL screen names.)

Unsolved Mysteries: The Bold and the Beautiful Golden Girls Rush Limbaugh In the Heat of the Night!

The TV show above was produced by channel-surfer SavWmson. It was one of dozens that managed to plaster big goofy grins on our two faces. Some of the cleverest entries, we noticed, made us laugh by turning nouns into verbs (as SavWmson's "Rush"). With a limited number of TV titles providing verbs for the channel-surfing action, some resourceful contestants used this trick to make the combined titles flow together smoothly. By way of example, here are several more of our favorite "Channel Surfing" entries, each one hinging on a surprising verb:

The Brady Bunch Family Ties Phil Donahue As the World Turns (Alamano)
Lou, Grant My Three Sons Fame (Venus D 25)
Ricki Lake Unplugged Jenny Jones' Guiding Light (Venus D 25)
Touched by an Angel, Charlie Rose Up the Down Staircase, Step by Step (Ceejayyy)
My Three Sons Fish Fantasy Island (Nancygum)
The Odd Couple Hawk America's Funniest Home Videos (lett@haven.ios.com)
Friends Escape Love and Marriage (Oread)
The Partridge Family, 227 Hudson Street, Dallas, Blossom One Day at a Time (ChalksBabe)
America's Most Wanted Picket Fences Inside Politics (TinLizzard)
The People's Choice Roots For The People (G8ly)
Blind Date: Tonight Nancy Drew Mr. Lucky (G8ly)

The most popular verb among contestants was "Mash." One may deplore the violence on television these days, but apparently there's a lot of very gleeful Mashing going on:

The Munsters Mash Dance Fever (WendiSidy)
The Munsters Mash General Hospital (Nancygum)
American Gladiators Mash Little House on the Prairie (Eggggggg)
The Simpsons Mash Roseanne (HiringPtnr)
Real People Mash Roseanne (matt.j.goers@medtronic.com)
Regis And Kathy Lee Mash Barney & Friends (JConcan)
Renegade Muppets Mash Barney & Friends; Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood Cheers (SavWmson)
Dinosaurs Mash Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood (Vikes42961)
60 Minutes In The Heat Of The Night Mash Frosty The Snowman (Playcraps)

In the extended list of entries below, you'll find lots more verbs ingeniously used. Which is not to say that *every* funny entry required this effect. Sometimes our biggest laughs came from quick, silly gags. For instance:

You Asked For It, Cybill: Here's Lucy! (September)
60 Minutes Loving Tonight (September)
Chinese Cooking: Love My Dog! (Raviac)
Yan Can Cook Lamb Chop and Friends (VWinebrenn)
It Pays To Be Ignorant : The Facts Of Life Father Knows Best (TinLizzard)
Who's the Boss? The Nanny! (SusanB26A)
The Love Boat E.R. (final port of call for hopeless romantics) (Raviac)

Normally, sheer length in a contest entry is *not* the way to our hearts. But in this contest, several people took great pains to compose extended pieces of sewn-together titles, with terrific results. We have chosen two of these long entries as winners; we congratulate RDH9995 and SqueezePly for their great work! The remaining prize goes to G8ly for the zippiest and most eye-popping of all the clever-verb specimens! Each of these winners will receive 5 free AOL hours plus a book of his or her choice from the Atlantic's online store.

Without further ado, here are our Prize-Winners and other Top Favorites. Thank you, one and all!

The Winners***

The court of last resort: Judge for yourself. Accused gunslinger "Big Eddie" on trial. The lineup, take a good look. Arrest and trial. Judd for the defense; Kate McShane for the people. Juvenile jury, to tell the truth. The verdict is yours: That's life. Take a chance, escape, dark of night, big town, the streets of San Francisco, Route 66. Run for your life. Dragnet, manhunt, wanted: dead or alive. Trackdown: East side/west side, all around the town. Pursuit: Highway patrol, NYPD, 87th Precinct, the D.A., The F.B.I., Scotland Yard, Sergeant Preston of the Yukon. Car 54, where are you? The most deadly game. The good guys get smart: The untouchables come closer. Face the music; you asked for it. Gunsmoke. Tombstone Territory. It could happen to you.

One day, at a time when things were rotten, that wonderful guy, 87th precinct Sgt. Bilko ("Don't call me Charlie"), the man who never was one of the boys, branded goodtime girls: "Bosom Buddies". A date with the angels bewitched the lawman: "To tell the truth, Charlie's Angels love American style cops."

The Gordon Elliott Show: Today The Golden Girls Flash Gordon

Our Other Favorites***

Car 54, where are you?... Hudson Street? Melrose Place? Highway to heaven?
Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?... Gilligan's Island? Lost in space? Dallas?
Scooby doo, where are you?... Mr. Roger's neighborhood? Petticoat Junction? Sesame Street?
Unsolved mysteries!

Dear John,
Minor adjustments. I love Lucy. Friends?

Current affair: Seinfeld. Later: Roseanne, Ellen, Geraldo, Lassie, Flipper, Ned and Stacey. Eight is Enough Partners, Believe It or Not! (Raviac)

"I Dream of Jeannie Simpsons' Murder," she wrote home, "Improvement In the House One Step Beyond 'Politically Incorrect.'" (Brash13)

Love American Style: Six Million Dollar Man Married with Children; Family Feud, Divorce Court, Rich Man Poor Man... Lassie, Make Room For Daddy! (Unhunk)

Howdy Doody! Make Room for Daddy, My Three Sons. To Tell the Truth, Father Knows Best, Believe It or Not, All My Children. Rich Man, Poor Man, Life is Worth Living (Life With Father)! Get Smart. Look Up and Live. (DOCTORGO)

Love American Style: Cybill, Hope & Gloria, all in the family way, out on the corner in the heat of the night, love that Bob. Too young to go steady, they stand accused. Trouble with father. Then came Bronson, Barney and friends. Love and marriage. Here come the brides. The honeymooners. Married . . . with children. (RDH9995)

From an actor who's lost his place in the script:
Car 54 Where Are You?... 77 Sunset Strip... The Vacant Lot... Space 1999... Peter Gunn... In The House... Under Suspicion.. The Boys Are Back... Get Smart... Bosom Buddies... Eight Is Enough... Cops... To Catch A Thief... ER... What's My Line? (Ravensegg)

The Lone Ranger Branded Maverick, The Rebel (tealexan@ca.oracle.com)
The Rifleman Branded thirtysomething Dinosaurs (TDarsey)
The Nearsighted Mr. Magoo Branded My Friend Irma (G8ly)

Lonesome Dove Wings The Flying Nun (Playcraps)
The Lone Ranger Wings Batman (Vikes42961)
The Rifleman Wings Wyatt Earp (JohnW80339)
Martin Frasier Wings Cops' Friends At the Movies (GRSGRS1)
Highway Patrol Wings Mr. Bean, Grace Under Fire (SavWmson)
The Flying Nun Wings To the Manor Born, America's Most Wanted Sisters Home Again (Wolfe Nero)

The Golden Girls Soap New York Undercover Hotel (Nancygum)
Bosom Buddies Soap This Old House (CindyBman)
Moonlighting Cops Soap Designing Women (Raviac)
Charlie's Angels Soap The Three Stooges (G8ly)

Geraldo, Ricki Lake, Carnie: Murder One (Chin Ho 17)
Three's Company, Murder One Today (JConcan)
Cops Murder One Sewing With Nancy (BLKNIGHT5)
Dinosaurs Murder Barney (RHardin927)
My Three Sons Murder One Single Guy (Playcraps)
Murder Friends--The Price is Right (ETSinPA)

Friends, I Married Joan, The Bionic Woman: Gimme a Break! Eight is Enough In the Heat of the Night! (guy@research.att.com)
I Love Lucy in the Heat of the Night (VIKES42961)
To Tell The Truth, I Dream of Jeannie In the Heat of the Night (Eggggggg; also LWrig63)
Grace Under Fire In The Heat Of The Night (TRiStar111)
The Six Million Dollar Man Can't Hurry Love In the Heat of the Night (Belle10262)

To Tell the Truth, I've Got a Secret: I Dream of Jeannie in Living Color (MIDIMil)
I've Got a Secret: I Married Joan, I Love Lucy, I Dream of Jeannie. Hee Haw! Love American Style? The Facts of Life! (DOCTORGO)

I've got a Secret Mission. Impossible! (September)

Three witches and three warlocks commune with the spirit of Art Linkletter on:
Bewitched People Are Funny Friends (Stefspad)
The Flying Nun Bewitched Sisters (Playcraps)
Sisters Bewitched Frasier (JHFrancis)
The Munsters Bewitched The Simpsons (TRiStar111)
That Girl Bewitched All My Children (Kttylttr)
The Nanny Bewitched Columbo (Belle10262)
The Addams Family Bewitched This Old House, Believe It Or Not (rhand@fast.net)
Wild Discovery: Grace Under Fire Bewitched Geraldo (Pertex)

Lonesome Dove Cheers Empty Nest (Playcraps)
McHale's Navy Cheers Victory At Sea (JohnW80339)
Full House Cheers Monday Night Football (WendiSidy)
The Saint Cheers Highway to Heaven (Nancygum)
Roseanne Cheers the Girl with Something Extra (Oread)
Coach Cheers Beverly Hills 90210 (JHFrancis)
The Brady Bunch Cheers The Partridge Family Homicide (JConcan)
The Nanny Cheers All in the Family (Eggggggg)
Full House Cheers Home Improvement (lett@haven.ios.com)
"I love Lucy!" Cheers Frasier, Married with Children (ChalksBabe)
Spenser For Hire Cheers, "Let's Make A Deal!" (SStone8459)
Top Cops Dragnet Highway To Heaven; The Commish Cheers (Kttylttr)
Get Smart, Ironsides; The Peoples Court Cheers Perry Mason (Perdenales)

Get Smart, F Troop (TDarsey)
Hollywood Squares Get Smart (Dwteague)
The Beverly Hillbillies Get Smart. (Alamano)
Quantum Leap! The Three Stooges Get Smart! (And You)

The Smurfs Meet the Press (Cre8iv 4ce)
Dallas Cops Meet the Press (Nancygum)
The Dukes of Hazzard Meet The Press (matt.j.goers@medtronic.com)
Rocky and Bullwinkle Meet The Press (JConcan)

Top Cops Rescue 911 Little Rascals (VIKES42961)
Top Cops Rescue 911 Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles (Raviac)
Thirtysomething Nurses Rescue 911 Absolutely Fabulous Honeymooners (Sueweliky)
Laverne and Shirley, Bosom Buddies, Rescue 911 Friends (ChalksBabe)
The Munsters Rescue 911 Cops (Belle10262)

I Spy Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous (JHFrancis)
I Spy The Honeymooners Hurry Love (Kttylttr)
I Spy Alf Loving Roseanne (JConcan)
I Spy Wise Guy Shaft the Man from U.N.C.L.E. (tealexan@ca.oracle.com)

Hope and Gloria Shaft Batman and Robin (Playcraps)
America's Most Wanted: Hope and Gloria, Alias Smith and Jones! (MrsToonces)

As the World Turns, All My Children Search for Tomorrow (ChalksBabe)
The Young & The Restless Search For Tomorrow As The World Turns One Day At A Time (matt.j.goers@medtronic.com)
In Search Of The Fugitive Chips (StilWillin)
Beavis and Butthead In Search Of The Untouchables (And You)

Beavis and Butthead, The Young and the Restless (JHFrancis)
Beavis and Butthead: Married with Children (lett@haven.ios.com)
America's Most Wanted: Dr. Who Married... with Children! (Raviac)
America's Most Wanted Family, The Simpsons, Beat the Clock (ChalksBabe)
Married... with children In the House Too Close for Comfort (AnnSabb)
All My Children Mad About You Sewing Today (they're rather sensitive, poor dears) (Raviac)

Beavis and Butthead Laugh In The Naked City (G8ly)
The Simpsons Laugh In Happy Days (Eggggggg)
Hogan's Heroes Laugh In Firing Line CrossFire. (And You)

The Price is Right, Let's Make a Deal! (September)
The Price is Right, Laverne & Shirley (the girls turn pro) (Raviac)
Laverne and Shirley Rush Fat Albert (RHardin927)

The Simpsons Coach the Flintstones (RHardin927)
Golden Girls Coach Facts of Life (AlliGold)

Laverne & Shirley Leave It to Beaver (matt.j.goers@medtronic.com)
All my Children Leave It to Beaver (PokerBear)

Top Cops Dragnet to Catch a Thief (VIKES42961)
Perry Mason Partners Matlock to Catch a Thief (PokerBear)
It Takes a Thief To Tell the Truth (LesDan)
Eight is Enough Cops To Catch a Thief (Chin Ho 17)
Eight is Enough Designing Women (LRMarsh)

Rockford Files the Naked Truth Like It Is (Venus D 25)
Roc Rockford Files "Grace" Under "Fire" (Brash13)

sign in a bordello:
Upstairs, Downstairs Models, Inc.--Are You Being Served? (GumpForrst)
Geraldo, Are you being Served? (AnnSabb)
Roseanne, Are You Being Served Chips? (Vikes42961)
You Can Cook Chips, Wings (CindyBman)
The Frugal Gourmet Dining Alone (LRMarsh)

The Banana Splits The Fall Guy (And You)
The Banana Splits The Monkees (Chin Ho 17)

The Client Saved by the Bell (Belle10262)
America's Most Wanted Saved by the Bell (lett@haven.ios.com)
Geraldo Lost Civilizations' Happy Days, Saved by the Bell (Brash13)

The Brady Bunch Have Gun, Will Travel (matt.j.goers@medtronic.com)
Kukla, Fran & Ollie Have Gun, Will Travel Route 66 (Dwteague)

The Untouchables Welcome Back Kotter (matt.j.goers@medtronic.com)
thirtysomething Animaniacs Welcome Back Kotter (Alamano)

Bless This Old House (GRSGRS1)
Father Dowling, Bless This Old House (Gardenia)
This Old House: Almost Perfect Northern Exposure (Raviac)

Picket Fences: 60 Minutes Home Improvement (TDarsey)
Little House on the Prairie Home Improvement: Picket Fences (WendiSidy)

90210 Friends Can't Hurry Love (ClamJ)
Mad About "You Can't Hurry Love" (WendiSidy)

ER,... What's My Line? (September)

Car 54, Where Are You?" "Eerie, Indiana, Outer Limits" (Wolfe Nero)
Adam 12, Car 54, Where Are You? Emergency, Hotel Dallas, Room 222! (MrsToonces)

You're On Your Own: Fresh Prince Charles In Charge (TinLizzard)

Tales From The Crypt Alumni Fun: The Addams Family Masquerade Party (TinLizzard)

The Honeymooners Combat Family Matters Step by Step (Nancygum)

I, Claudius, I Love Lucy (PokerBear)

The Wonder Years One Day at a Time (LostnAustn)

Red Dwarf Growing Pains (Raviac)

Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous Dweebs (Raviac)

Barney Today, Night Stalker Tonight (RHardin927)

Beauty and the Beast Dating Game (RHardin927)

Touched by an Angel: The Naked Truth (GRSGRS1)

Please Don't Eat the Daisies, Lassie (Alamano)

For Your Pleasure Bosom Buddies Switch (Oread)

Taxi Race To Save The Planet (Kttylttr)

NBA Basketball: Quantum Leap (LRMarsh)

Copyright © 1995 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.