Our holiday gift to you, dear listener, is this- a discussion of the Mrs. Columbo episode, “Caviar with Everything.” Gather family and friends around the mp3 player on the mantel with room-temperature egg nog and listen to New York Times bestselling author Mallory Ortberg (Texts From Jane Eyre, the-toast.net) join Jon and RJ to talk about this slice of (not-very-good) television history. Kate Mulgrew stars as Mrs. Columbo, in a spinoff in which Lt. Columbo never, ever appears, but his car and dog do. She’s a reporter who becomes embroiled in a wicked tale of spurned lovers, catering and food allergies. Also, Jon and RJ are visited by The Ghost of Christmas Future (Leonard Pierce). Truly, holiday fun for all.
If, after all of this, you want to see the episode in question- it’s on YouTube.
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Great episode, and it’s nice to have Mallory Ortberg back.
The thing that struck me most about “Caviar with Everything” is how perfunctory it felt. With Columbo, you can tell that the people making the show knew they had a interesting format, a good lead, good writers, etc., so the resulting show had a feeling of enthusiasm about it. Even if a particular episode wasn’t particularly strong for whatever reason, it was always interesting.
With Mrs. Columbo, it seems as if the main goal of everyone involved was to produce between 45 and 48 minutes of television that would be acceptable as something that could fill in the space between ads.
I really think its possible that you guys put a lot more thought and effort into analyzing this show than anyone involved did in making it.
I liked how solicitous the hosts were about Kate Mulgrew’s career after this. I felt the same way. After all, a show this bad can ruin a career, somewhat as Can’t Stop the Music ruined those of almost everyone involved. (Yet Steve Guttenberg went on to fame and fortune, for reasons no one can understand.)
“Who keeps back the electric car?
Who makes Steve Guttenberg a star?
I noticed that your final image in your Tumblr photomontage alluded to Ortberg’s avatar. I appreciated that.
Thanks for the link to it on YouTube. I was having trouble finding it. I know you can’t recommend it, but I just have to watch it now. And now I have to find the pilot.
You’ll be pleased to know that the account that has the episode in question also has the rest! I’m about halfway through the complete Mrs.Columbo catalog at present, in case the doctors want to know how I died.