Mr. Smith and the Roach – the TV Show!

Mr. Smith and the Roach – the TV Show!

Last Monday, I introduced you to the actors who I envision as the “cast” for Mr. Smith and the Roach, since it began life as a joke about a fake TV show on a friend’s podcast.  I also mentioned that my fake online guide to the fake show disappeared when my website crashed a few years back.  Well, a couple of pages survived, courtesy of the World Wide Web Archive.  In particular, one of the episode pages is still viewable, and I present it to you below, so you can see (1) how much of a total geek I am, and (2) how much of that fake TV show made it into the book, once you’ve got the book to compare it to, in two weeks.  So without further ado, with some notes for context and comparison to the novel:

“The Courtship of Jeannie’s Uncle”


Abigail returns, this time to play matchmaker. First, she sets up her brother with a journalist friend; then she arranges a date for Jeannie with a former worker on their farm who now lives in New York. Meanwhile, Big Eddie Sluntkin makes advances towards Jeannie, Hilary Jackson shows jealousy over Mr. Smith, the Roach has a long talk with Big Eddie, and Dr. Brooks has a crisis of confidence.

(J.J.’s note – the episode title was too good to pass up, and it appears as a chapter title in the novel.  And the plot of Abigail setting up Mr. Smith on a date with a journalist friend survived into the book as well)

Guest Characters/Cast

Hilary Jackson (Kathleen Turner)

Edward “Big Eddie” Sluntkin (Danny DeVito)

Abigail Jeanne Marie Smith Frankenhurst Blakesley Morissey (Deidre Hall)

Sara Smith (Elizabeth Sladen) – An English investigative reporter who Abigail tries to set up with Mr. Smith

(J.J.’s note – Sadly, Elizabeth Sladen passed away in 2011.  So in the book, Sara Smith becomes Alexandra Smith, and she’s now “played” by actress Danielle Nicolet)  

David Clair (Peter Krause) – A former worker on the Smith family farm in Iowa, now working for an ad agency in Manhattan; Abigail tries to set him up with Jeannie.

Detailed Plot

(J.J.’s note – I never got around to writing this up.  Sorry!)

Production Notes and Trivia

Peter Krause and Lauren Ambrose played brother and sister on HBO’s “Six Feet Under”

(J.J.’s note – Lauren Ambrose was my choice to play Jeannie back in 2007)

Elizabeth Sladen appeared on “Doctor Who” for several years as investigative journalist Sarah Jane Smith; the episode leaves it unclear whether Sara Smith is intended to be the same character or not.

The scene in which Mr. Smith and Jeannie sing “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” (from “Fiddler on the Roof”) was ad-libbed; during a break from filming, Lauren Ambrose began singing, Michael Ironside joined in, and the producers liked it so much that a new scene was quickly improvised and shot.

Unanswered Questions/Unresolved Plots

Who did Dr. Brooks call after his breakdown?

(J.J.’s note – this didn’t make it into the novel.  Dr. Brooks has a smaller role than he did in my vision of the TV show, but he’ll have more to do in the second book of the series)

Was Sara Smith actually interested in Mr. Smith, or was she just pursuing the pension fund story? Was the pension fund explanation just a cover for her pursuit of another story entirely?

What was the Roach looking for in the building’s recycling bins? What is in the protected file on his laptop?

Memorable Quotes

Jeannie: My mom’s coming.

Mr. Smith: Is she bringing War, Famine and Death with her this time, or did she leave them at home?

(J.J.’s note – this quote and several others made it into the book)


Abigail: Sara Smith. You’ll like her. And she wouldn’t even need to change her name if you marry her.

Mr. Smith: Yes, that’s a wonderful basis for a long-term relationship.


Big Eddie: One date! What do you have to lose?

Jeannie: My dignity, my sanity, probably my wallet.


Sara: Your sister is very interesting.

Mr. Smith: So is nuclear war, but you wouldn’t want to be around when that happens, either.


David: That’s the strangest thing I’ve ever felt. It was just like…

Jeannie: If you say “kissing your sister,” I swear to God I’ll kill you.


Dr. Brooks: I don’t think I can deal with this.

Hilary: Well, you’ve come to the right place. I’d recommend the Sonoma Hills Sauvignon Blanc ’03. It’s a great “drink until you forget your own name” sort of wine. Third bottle’s on the house, if you’re still conscious by then.

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