Ah, Mister Garibaldi!
July 28, 2016 2:51 PM   Subscribe

R.I.P. Jerry Doyle. He was a star of epic science fiction tv series Babylon-5, then host of talk radio. Dead at 60. B-5 Great Maker J. Michael Straczynski confirmed this on Twitter and also wrote an obituary.
posted by doctornemo (105 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
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posted by drezdn at 2:56 PM on July 28, 2016


Never saw B5 but used to listen to his radio show. Intelligent and entertaining man. RIP.
posted by davidmsc at 2:56 PM on July 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by longdaysjourney at 2:58 PM on July 28, 2016


I've been trying to think of an apropos B5 quote since I heard this news. I haven't been able to come up with anything yet. But I'm sad; B5 was an important show for me in its time, and Mr. Garibaldi was an important part of it.

In lieu of anything else:
Fasten, then zip.

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posted by nubs at 3:03 PM on July 28, 2016 [6 favorites]


So many lost voices from Babylon 5, another gone to join the light.

We'll always remember your second-favorite thing in the universe.

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posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 3:05 PM on July 28, 2016 [7 favorites]


Oh, that's sad. I liked him best of the human cast of the show.

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posted by suelac at 3:05 PM on July 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by Smart Dalek at 3:06 PM on July 28, 2016


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posted by annsunny at 3:12 PM on July 28, 2016


Aw, fuck. We're in the middle of a B5 rewatch now - Garibaldi remains a standout in a show that, though it has aged unevenly, is still pretty full of likable characters.

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posted by brennen at 3:17 PM on July 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


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posted by cjelli at 3:27 PM on July 28, 2016


Oh man! He was great in B5, totally glued chunks of it together with his affable poor-man's-Bruce-Willis vibe.

I'm like three miles south of Garibaldi, OR right now and suddenly feel a little weird.
posted by cortex at 3:30 PM on July 28, 2016 [8 favorites]


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posted by Mooski at 3:31 PM on July 28, 2016


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One of my favorite Garibaldi moments: Breakfast Prank
posted by Hairy Lobster at 3:33 PM on July 28, 2016 [10 favorites]


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posted by ridgerunner at 3:35 PM on July 28, 2016


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posted by mfoight at 3:40 PM on July 28, 2016


"To absent friends—in memory still bright."
posted by Dark Messiah at 3:51 PM on July 28, 2016 [11 favorites]


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posted by Ber at 3:53 PM on July 28, 2016


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posted by allthinky at 3:53 PM on July 28, 2016


You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.

-Marcus Cole, Babylon 5
posted by Sparx at 3:55 PM on July 28, 2016 [46 favorites]


Has anyone written a B5 for newbies guide, like the Star Trek AskMe where folks listed the essential episodes? I've always wanted to get into it.
posted by kittensofthenight at 3:57 PM on July 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by MelanieL at 4:00 PM on July 28, 2016


🙏
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 4:00 PM on July 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


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To me, his character's name reads in my head in Londo's voice: "Mr. GARABALDI!" That, and his poster of Daffy Duck over his bed, as a "household god."

What is it with B5 actors? Not that I wish them harm, but ST:TNG came out 7 years earlier, yet the principal actors and actresses are all still here. We've lost 5 really talented B5 actors in the last 10 years.
posted by sbutler at 4:02 PM on July 28, 2016 [17 favorites]


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posted by adamsc at 4:09 PM on July 28, 2016


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Funny you mention that, sbutler, I was reminded of Peter Jurasik saying that when ever he needed to get into character quickly, he would draw himself up and call out "MISTER GariBALdi", and he'd have it.
posted by Zonker at 4:11 PM on July 28, 2016 [24 favorites]


I still remember the episode where Garabaldi was smuggling in the ingredients to make his mother's bagna cauda.


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posted by Thorzdad at 4:12 PM on July 28, 2016 [7 favorites]


Has anyone written a B5 for newbies guide, like the Star Trek AskMe where folks listed the essential episodes? I've always wanted to get into it.

You'll definitely want this.
posted by brennen at 4:18 PM on July 28, 2016 [8 favorites]


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posted by metaquarry at 4:24 PM on July 28, 2016


SIXTY! Way too damn young.

Another big B5 fan who loved Mr. Garibaldi.

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posted by Frayed Knot at 4:25 PM on July 28, 2016


Has anyone written a B5 for newbies guide, like the Star Trek AskMe where folks listed the essential episodes? I've always wanted to get into it.

I found this one, which isn't bad, but I disagree with it in a few places:

-I don't think The Gathering is essential; it's a nice to have, but in all honesty, there is a lot of clunk there. If you want to watch it, a remastered version was put out with the DVDs, I think - it has a better soundtrack and is tighter, more focused, than what was aired.
-I'm a little confused by the S1 list; because it lists both Ep 6 - Mind War, and Ep 8 - And the Sky Full of Stars as essential viewing (which is correct); and then lists "Ep 8 - And The Sky Full of Stars" in the recommended list. So yeah, don't go looking for that, as you should see both Ep 6 and Ep 8. I would also suggest that Ep 9 - Deathwalker is worth the time, as I think it touches on some important thematic elements.
-S2 - ep 21, Comes the Inquistor, is a good episode and well worth the time.
-Under no circumstances should you view "Grey 17 is Missing". It's not on the list, but I'm going to warn against it specifically.

S5 is not a bad season, but the essentially drivers of the story arcs are largely wrapped up in S4, due to fears that the show would be cancelled, and I find S5 suffers for it. That being said, for those of us who lived for B5 in its day, the final few episodes were a nice capstone to everything and all the dark years of wondering if the show would get its full run.


The Lurker's Guide is your friend; the episode summaries and notes are great, and the site still exists as it did in the time B5 aired. It might help fill in gaps in understanding from a condensed viewing schedule.

Please to note that many people find the performance of Michael O'Hare, who plays the station commander for S1, somewhat stiff and odd in places. After his death, JMS revealed that O'Hare was dealing with very serious mental health issues, which is why he left the show and also may explain some of what is coming across in his performance.
posted by nubs at 4:31 PM on July 28, 2016 [12 favorites]


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posted by tilde at 4:39 PM on July 28, 2016


"Hey, come on Chief, it's not your fault. I heard what happened. You offered to help, he walked away."
"Yeah, I know, but the thing is: sometimes people walk away because they want to be alone, and sometimes they walk away because they want to see if you care enough to follow them into hell. I think I went the wrong way."
-Zack and Garibaldi, Shadow Dancing

"What .. part of my message did you get? We've been having trouble with the com system, see, and--"
"The most important part. The part that said: 'I need you.'"
"And you came here just on that?"
"What more is there?"
-Garibaldi and Lise, The Wheel of Fire

(Via)
posted by fragmede at 4:40 PM on July 28, 2016 [9 favorites]


Anyways, I can't find it, but I recall reading an interview with JMS where he discussed casting Jerry for the role; he said that when they asked Jerry which part he was auditioning for and his response was "the one I'm going to get", JMS knew he had found Garibaldi.
posted by nubs at 4:45 PM on July 28, 2016 [14 favorites]


Londo: "It is good to have friends, is it not, Mr. Garibaldi? Even if, maybe, only for a little while?"
Garibaldi: "Even if only for a little while."
posted by nubs at 4:58 PM on July 28, 2016 [19 favorites]


B5 holds a lot of special significance for me, and it was Doyle/Garibaldi that got me there. Too soon, 60.
posted by ezust at 5:01 PM on July 28, 2016


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posted by BrashTech at 5:09 PM on July 28, 2016


What is it with B5 actors? Not that I wish them harm, but ST:TNG came out 7 years earlier, yet the principal actors and actresses are all still here. We've lost 5 really talented B5 actors in the last 10 years.

There's some kind of tragic curse on B5, I fear. Time may have changed the balance, and I'm no mood to calculate the grim equations, but there was a period when B5 had a higher death rate than ST:TOS, a show twenty years its senior.

Jerry Doyle called me "Sasquatch" once.

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posted by Faint of Butt at 5:12 PM on July 28, 2016 [9 favorites]


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Some of Garibaldi's plot threads in B5 really hit home for me. It was an amazing TV show.
posted by diziet at 5:24 PM on July 28, 2016


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posted by Mogur at 5:25 PM on July 28, 2016


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posted by oneswellfoop at 5:27 PM on July 28, 2016


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posted by Slothrup at 5:28 PM on July 28, 2016


There's some kind of tragic curse on B5, I fear. Time may have changed the balance, and I'm no mood to calculate the grim equations, but there was a period when B5 had a higher death rate than ST:TOS,

Personally, I blame the Shadows.
posted by nubs at 5:42 PM on July 28, 2016 [8 favorites]


not a fan of his post-B5 talk radio stuff, but man, Garibaldi is the ultimate guy you want at your back.
posted by mephron at 5:43 PM on July 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


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posted by mikurski at 5:47 PM on July 28, 2016


from the JMS link: "Of the main cast, we have lost Richard Biggs, Michael O'Hare, Andreas Katsulas, Jeff Conaway, and now Jerry Doyle, and I'm goddamned tired of it."

I looked up appropriate quotes and discovered that Tim Choate, who played the hapless Zathras who said "Zathras is used to being beast of burden to other people's needs. Very sad life... probably have very sad death, but at least there is symmetry", died just before his 50th birthday.

At least Stephen Furst and Bill Mumy are still here...
Vir Cotto: As Mr. Garibaldi would say, it's been one hell of a day.
Lennier: Yes. A hell of a day.
Vir Cotto: And a hell of a year.
Lennier: A hell of a five years.
Vir Cotto: Hell of a life.
Lennier: You win.

(of note, they're both about the same age as Doyle... and as ME)

Another of my favorite characters, Ivanova, played by Claudia Christian (who's about 10 years younger) made one of my absolute favorite B5 quotes (and one I DO quote): "No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There's always a boom tomorrow. Somebody's got to have some damn perspective around here. Boom. Sooner or later. BOOM!"

And she also said "There's nothing more annoying than Mr. Garibaldi when he's right."
Goodbye, Mr. Garibaldi.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:48 PM on July 28, 2016 [17 favorites]


He roughed up a guy who showed up not knowing his lines?

He sounds like... a liability in some ways, an asset in others. Part of me admires somebody who would rough up a guy who showed up not knowing his lines.
posted by tel3path at 6:05 PM on July 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


Jerry Doyle was kind of the Adam Baldwin cast member of the 90's, when you think about it.

Anyway, other than that sort of thing, I enjoyed the heck out of the character and his snark. I liked that he ended up with his true love, having become the richest man on Mars. Muahahahah there.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:11 PM on July 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


All this B5 talk is making me really want to re-view it, start to finish, but Netflix took it out of rotation a long while back, when I was still coasting on "oh, it'll be there..."

I liked Garibaldi. Gave some nice grit and humanity to the show. (I liked all the characters--except Sinclair and Sheridan, actually--and thought that Londo and G'Kar were one of the great TV pairings.) "Poor man's Bruce Willis" is an apt description, but he had his own thing going on too.

At any rate, thanks.

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posted by the sobsister at 6:13 PM on July 28, 2016


"I once saw an entire chorus line of purple wombats doing showtunes in my bathtub. Of course, I was pretty drunk at the time."

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posted by Mister Moofoo at 6:26 PM on July 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


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posted by evilDoug at 6:41 PM on July 28, 2016


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posted by FlyingMonkey at 6:53 PM on July 28, 2016


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posted by rhiannonstone at 7:10 PM on July 28, 2016


This year blows. This confirms it.

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posted by Archelaus at 7:10 PM on July 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


"According to the translator, it's either an aphrodisiac or a floor wax." *Pulls out cash*

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posted by Mitheral at 7:37 PM on July 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


oneswellfoop: ""No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There's always a boom tomorrow. Somebody's got to have some damn perspective around here. Boom. Sooner or later. BOOM!""

Do you make the hand motions?
posted by Mitheral at 7:47 PM on July 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


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posted by jameaterblues at 9:06 PM on July 28, 2016


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posted by sharp pointy objects at 9:06 PM on July 28, 2016


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posted by ChutneyFerret at 9:30 PM on July 28, 2016


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posted by temancl at 9:58 PM on July 28, 2016


Avoiding spoilers for those who haven't seen the show.

"Hello, old friend" is a line spoken to Garibaldi by one of the actors who pre-deceased JD. I've often recalled it since then, and thought it was a poignant bit of the show. Imagining it spoken to JD now on anohter vale makes it even more so.
posted by NumberSix at 10:12 PM on July 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


He's on B-4 doing what he was born for.
posted by Freedomboy at 10:38 PM on July 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


With all its flaws, B5 still was an entertaining and innovative show, and I liked Jerry Doyle's performance as Garibaldi a lot.

I know he had other interests besides acting (and count me among those who didn't care for his politics), but I have wondered a time or two why he didn't get more opportunities after B5 ended.

As several others have noted, on B5 he had kind of a Bruce-Willis-esque thing going on, and even though he wasn't really a recognizable/bankable star, there still are lots of smaller, supporting-player version of Willis-type roles - cops, soldiers, private eyes, etc - that he probably could have done well.

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posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 10:43 PM on July 28, 2016


It's way past time some network did a B5 reboot. The show suffered a bit because it was the 90's and everyone thought you needed 20+ episodes in a season. A lot of the least enjoyable episodes were filler ones, but the arch episodes were always strong.

I get a bit excited when I imagine it today in a 10-12 episode season format. Come on AMC or TNT or HBO. Even SciFi is getting back in the game (if you haven't see The Expanse, stop now and watch it).
posted by sbutler at 10:53 PM on July 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


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posted by Kevin Street at 11:49 PM on July 28, 2016


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posted by mikelieman at 12:02 AM on July 29, 2016


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Of the main cast, we have lost Richard Biggs, Michael O'Hare, Andreas Katsulas, Jeff Conaway, and now Jerry Doyle, and I'm goddamned tired of it.

What the hell?!
posted by sixohsix at 12:08 AM on July 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


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Too young, like all of the others.
posted by harujion at 12:59 AM on July 29, 2016


One Christmas, my brother gave us a framed piece of paper signed by Jerry Doyle to us. He got it when Doyle was doing something for his radio show - he lived in Vegas, my brother lives in Vegas, it made sense as a Christmas gift, since my husband and I met because of Babylon 5.

We still keep it on our bookshelf. And although we certainly didn't agree with his politics, and we always knew he was an asshole (there were convention stories passed around B5 fans), his portrayal of Garibaldi helped make Babylon 5 the beautiful thing it is. And I love him for it.

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FanFare rewatch, anyone?
posted by Katemonkey at 1:46 AM on July 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


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posted by harriet vane at 2:19 AM on July 29, 2016


He broke an arm during an action scene due to a stunt malfunction and didn't mention it. He had to do another take and broke the wrist of the same arm in that take. They had to do a third take, which was the one broadcast. You can see that his arm doesn't look right and that Zach is treating it very gently.

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posted by Warren Terra at 2:44 AM on July 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Another true story: He didn't get into acting until relatively late in life, so he decided to pad his sparse résumé by adding obviously false entries. One of them was "Dance Theater of Harlem." It stayed on his résumé for years, and nobody ever called him on it.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:46 AM on July 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


FanFare rewatch, anyone?
I would LOVE this.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 4:47 AM on July 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


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posted by dlugoczaj at 6:26 AM on July 29, 2016


I never agreed with his politics, but as an actor he really grounded the show. Beyond the highlights, his portrayal of the lowest points in Garibaldi's life was excellent and touching.
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(I normally avoid fan fare, but would so take part in a re-watch. Although I'll probably skip half of season 1.)
posted by Hactar at 6:34 AM on July 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


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I've repeatedly tried and failed to think of words that do justice; in the process I seem to have settled on instead favoriting all the things.

I'll just point out that, although he mostly "grounded the show", his delivery could be funny as hell when he needed that instead.

"I'm not authorized for that kind of information."

"But you are the head of security."

"Then what kind of head of security would I be if I let people like me know things that I'm not supposed to know? I know what I know because I have to know it. And if I don't have to know it, I don't tell me, and I don't let anyone else tell me either."
posted by roystgnr at 7:31 AM on July 29, 2016 [11 favorites]


have wondered a time or two why he didn't get more opportunities after B5 ended.

As several others have noted, on B5 he had kind of a Bruce-Willis-esque thing going on,


Didn't he actually get his start playing Bruce Willis' brother on Moonlighting? There was a interesting physical and presentation similarity with those two.

I'll just point out that, although he mostly "grounded the show", his delivery could be funny as hell when he needed that instead.

One of my favourite trivia tidbits about the show is in the S3 episode "Severed Dreams", Dolye broke an arm during the fight sequence. They still had one scene to shoot before wrapping production on that episode and he insisted on shooting it before getting the arm tended to; he wanted to get it wrapped up and done. And, the script had called for Garibaldi to have an injured leg after the fight; because they shoot the scenes out of sequence, he appears with a cane in the episode only to show up in the subsequent episode with his arm in a cast. It's not really a big continuity glitch in the grand scheme of things, but knowing what happened and the fact that he insisted on finishing the episode despite the break always made me admire him; he was a very dedicated actor, whatever else he was.
posted by nubs at 7:57 AM on July 29, 2016


What is it with B5 actors? Not that I wish them harm, but ST:TNG came out 7 years earlier, yet the principal actors and actresses are all still here. We've lost 5 really talented B5 actors in the last 10 years.

I attended a convention panel that featured Bruce Boxleitner and Mira Furlan, and one of the things that they mentioned is that the primary soundstage for the show was in a building that had been converted from its previous life as a hot tub factory. I honestly wonder if some leftover industrial contaminant seeping out from the walls might be at the root of this.

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posted by radwolf76 at 9:07 AM on July 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


What is it with B5 actors? . . . We've lost 5 really talented B5 actors in the last 10 years.

I was never a fan of B5 -- it was on a bit too late in the day for me.

But here's a sincere sympathy card for you all from the world of Star Trek fandom.
 
posted by Herodios at 9:12 AM on July 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


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posted by Dimes at 9:40 AM on July 29, 2016


"And if this leaves a waxy yellow buildup on ANYTHING....I'm coming back here."

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posted by Tailkinker to-Ennien at 9:42 AM on July 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


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posted by TrinsicWS at 9:45 AM on July 29, 2016


Didn't he actually get his start playing Bruce Willis' brother on Moonlighting?

Heh. That's you trying to retroactively make Moonlighting make sense. But you're right that he did get his start on an episode of Moonlighting because he looked kind of like Bruce Willis.

It was one of those weird meta-episodes they loved to do later in the show's run. Willis' "David Addison" ends up in jail after someone steals his ID and commits a crime, so he's stuck in solitary and nobody knows where he is. With him missing, we shift to the level of "Moonlighting is a TV show featuring 'Madelyn Hayes' and 'David Addison.'" (so not quite our reality in which those are characters played by Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis, but a level at which they spent a fair amount of time in the later episodes.)

But anyway with "David Addison's" whereabouts unknown, ABC decides to replace him and starts looking for a new one. Doyle plays one of the two people they consider for the part. (The other is Asian.) He's credited simply as "David Addison wannabe."

It was a weird start to a career, but there have been stranger ones, I suppose.
posted by Naberius at 9:54 AM on July 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


That's you trying to retroactively make Moonlighting make sense

The eighties were a rough time for everyone, man.

A Youtube of Garibaldi clips
posted by nubs at 9:57 AM on July 29, 2016


Bill Mumy had a nice remembrance on his Facebook page.
posted by ceejaytee at 10:01 AM on July 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


So every week, I meet up to watch sci-fi with my brothers. Ten or so years ago, one of my close friends recommended Babylon 5 to us. We were Star-Trek fans, I grew up with Voyager actually, but moved away from that and towards TOS when I watched those for the first time. When he recommended B5, he told me, 'just get through the first season,' and gave me his set. We started watching, and I remember thinking; "what the hell is this crap?" So about 7 episodes in, I tell my friend, "I like sci-fi but this show is close to unwatchable." He tells me again to trust him and stick with it -- meanwhile week after week my brothers are slogging through this show with me and it's bad and the hair is bad and the cheese is strong, the cg is dated even for the time, meanwhile I'm feeling guilty I'm making my brothers endure this show on my recommendation. We are so very close to pulling the plug, and when I mention it to my friend he tells me again to just stick with it. It gets better. Really. It does. At this point, I think my friend is just freaking weird and obviously has bad taste in sci-fi. But he makes me promise to keep watching until season two, and so reluctantly we keep going.

And man, this show. This show. I've never watched such a well crafted story unfold in the way that it did. And the highs-- the highs make up for the cheese, the bad cg, the hammy acting, Mollari's hair. Or perhaps it all merges together into something quite imperfectly beautiful. The emotions that this show made me feel, the things it did at the time-- I'm not sure anything but TOS has come close. I love Babylon 5, I hold it close in my heart, despite the very glaring flaws. The parts that are golden still shine with their own kind of brilliance even today. And it was amazing to notice the echoes of B5 in DS9. B5 did it first, and honestly, did it better.

Since then, I'm now the one telling people it's worth the ride. It is. It really is. And it's such a shame we've lost so much of the cast already.
posted by Dimes at 10:03 AM on July 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


And the highs-- the highs make up for the cheese, the bad cg, the hammy acting, Mollari's hair.

I concede most of these. But Mollari's hair? It was supposed to be ridiculous. Londo is supposed to start as a ridiculous, buffoonish character, just as G'Kar starts as an aggressive, problematic character; because of where their arcs take them. Those two are the moral centre of the show and I think every choice about their appearance, manner, and costuming takes it into account.

Bah! I shall not spend my day arguing about B5 on the internet as I did in my wasted youth, nor do I wish to be a moon-faced assassin of joy in a thread about another loss that 2016 has given us. Instead, I give you Peter Jurasik as Sid the Snitch on Hill Street Blues.
posted by nubs at 10:14 AM on July 29, 2016 [9 favorites]


We need a revival in interest in B5. Like a SyFy Channel remake, like they did for Battlestar Galactica. I was old enough to watch the original BsG, and B5 needs a LOT less work to fix its flaws (Creator JMS is talking about 'building his cred' enough to get a B5 feature film made to his specs, but I'd prefer a new TV series). I just dread the possibility of a sad-future obit of Bill Mumy that only mentions his child-actor work on Lost in Space and The Twilight Zone. (His contributions to Dr. Demento music as half of Barnes & Barnes is also important, but I digress) We need to see some surviving B5 actors in any new production: Mumy and Mira Furlan as senior Minbari diplomats, Stephen Furst and Peter Jurasilk as older members of some Centauri council (complete with ridiculous hair), maybe Boxleitner as the Evil Earth President from the later seasons, and Claudia Christian, who is only about 50, looks younger and was having too much fun at Comic-Com last weekend could come back and play Ivanova again. (Okay, you got me - she was my favorite on the show).
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:46 AM on July 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by coust at 11:16 AM on July 29, 2016


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posted by eternalstranger at 11:39 AM on July 29, 2016


If you accept the cheeseball that is B5 the same way you accept the cheeseball of ST:TOS, it's held up quite well.

JMS had a well thought out 5 year plan for the story that had had the gas pedal pushed down to the stop in Season 4 for fear of not having a season 5 (how would you have felt if we didn't wrap up the Shadow War or the Mimbari Civil War, or the liberation of Earth).

CG has come a long way since B5 and could probably do a 12~18 episode season that trims most of the one offs/sidebar that never really pans out (Do we really need the Mutai episode?) that tells the story in a proper Begining, Middle, End sequence and leave in place proper mid season/season end cliffhangers
posted by Hasteur at 11:58 AM on July 29, 2016


Londo is supposed to start as a ridiculous, buffoonish character
Not just any general "ridiculous", either, but "ridiculous because of the contrast between his pining for exaggerated glories of a lost past and his acknowledgement of a beaten-down, dead-end present". A haircut that would be out-of-place over-the-top regal pomp in the best circumstances but which is clearly also poorly-cared-for was an absolutely perfect metaphor for all of that; it was like seeing a lower middle class schlub who fantasizes about being Henry the 8th, walking through the modern UN building in atavistic Tudor fashion, except shabby and frayed to boot. As Londo becomes more important his style doesn't change, but it becomes much more kempt and the contrast becomes a bit creepy - like Hitler's mustache, where you'd certainly still want to laugh if only it wasn't a symbol of something nasty.

Getting back to the topic, IMHO that's part of what establishes Garibaldi's character, too - here's this utter joke of a sentient being, with little to admire and even less to offer... and Garibaldi seems to be the closest thing that he has to a real friend. The way that friendship suffers as Londo's character erodes is a small part of the best arc of the show.

If they ever do a reboot, the hairstyles are going to be a perfect bellwether for the direction to expect from it. Keep the ridiculous hair, which probably turned off more potential viewers than anything else about the show? (myself included! friends had to drag me into watching...) Or drop it, and miss out on one of the best bits of visual characterization there was?
posted by roystgnr at 12:11 PM on July 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


As Londo becomes more important his style doesn't change, but it becomes much more kempt and the contrast becomes a bit creepy - like Hitler's mustache, where you'd certainly still want to laugh if only it wasn't a symbol of something nasty.

Getting back to the topic, IMHO that's part of what establishes Garibaldi's character, too - here's this utter joke of a sentient being, with little to admire and even less to offer... and Garibaldi seems to be the closest thing that he has to a real friend. The way that friendship suffers as Londo's character erodes is a small part of the best arc of the show.


To me, that was part of what made B5 great - it took the primarily episodic SF storytelling that was all we had at the time, and gave it the extra layer of inter-episode continuity that we now have come to expect in our all our TV dramas, regardless of genre. Garibaldi and Londo start off as friends because there is something in common there - a sadness about the past that comes from different sources and a present that feels limited and trapped; but their decisions take them in different future directions and erodes that friendship. As he goes, Londo's hair becomes more kempt; his colour scheme remains the same, but his clothes have darker hues and finer cuts as his decisions gain him power but alienate him from almost everyone. Decisions and actions had consequences in the B5 universe, and I always liked how they came up at times in places you didn't expect.
posted by nubs at 12:33 PM on July 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


The "ridiculous hair" of Londo and the Centauri never bothered me; nor the weird 'shell heads' of the Minbari or the 'lizard look' of the Narn. After the NextGen look of the Klingons, it was just appropriate for "Alien Appearances" to broadcast their cultural norms. (I even accepted Rigel on Farscape for that reason.) If a space opera wants to take a real risk, they should try some serious counterintuitive looks for aliens (like the webcomic Schlock Mercenary does with some of its aliens. "The Ob'enn... the most xenophobic, bloodthirsty, and generally irritated races in the Galaxy" looked like koalas. Maybe that's why nobody wants to make it a movie or TV show.)
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:41 PM on July 29, 2016


You need the space kumite episode because of two things: the prominently-placed Zima ad in one scene in the bar, and the B-plot of Ivanova sitting shiva for her brother. Because how often do you get that on any show, let alone one set in an giant O'Niel colony?

Speaking of Londo, one of my favorite scenes: "Do you know what the last Zond said, just before he died? 'Aaaaaaaaaaaaah!'"
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 4:27 PM on July 29, 2016


Since Londo's hair served its purpose of being both ridiculous and making him resemble Napoleon, I had no problem with it.

If ridiculous characters with delusions of grandeur have the appearance of being ridiculous with delusions of grandeur, well, the styling is working isn't it?
posted by tel3path at 4:33 PM on July 29, 2016


"I believe that when we leave a place, part of it goes with us and part of us remains. Go anywhere in the station when it is quiet, and just listen. After a while, you will hear the echoes of all our conversations, every thought and word we've exchanged. Long after we are gone, our voices will linger in these walls for as long as this place remains. But I will admit that the part of me that is going will very much miss the part of you that is staying." ~~G'Kar (Objects in Motion)

(Via /r/bablyon5)
posted by fragmede at 5:23 PM on July 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


The one time I saw a commercial for B5 when it was airing live, I saw Londo and thought, "What is that, a space vampire?"
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:30 PM on July 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Babylon 5 was the show I watched in reruns in high school. It coordinated perfectly with my developing chronic depression and some self harm.

The closest I could ever come to articulating how I felt was a scene where Garibaldi has been brainwashed by some telepaths, comes out a shower and draws a face in the fog on the mirror. The face is simple: two dots for eyes and a straight line for a mouth. It speaks of a sad desperation that was exactly how I was feeling at the time.

That show still means a lot to me.

.
posted by clockbound at 6:39 PM on July 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have so much to say about this show, and it is a great loss. I think some of the lighter episodes highlight important relationship building and struggles the station add a since community.

Some of the commentary regarding being security over the poor parts off the station anf the balence between enforcement and relationships rings pretty true.

He great at that role and will be missed.
posted by AlexiaSky at 8:43 PM on July 29, 2016


There is no way to reboot B5 because every person was perfectly cast as the character they played. Instead of a reboot with a bigger budget and much MUCH less heart, we must enjoy the B5 acting and the superb storycraft amongst the budget-rate sets and special effects. And even that damn last season.

Thank you for making Garibaldi a real person, Mr. Doyle. No one else will ever fill those shoes.

.
posted by jbenben at 2:38 AM on July 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


@ oneswellfoop, you're gonna have to remember to invite Patrica Tallman. Pair her up with Claudia, and you'll have a winning show.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 6:54 AM on July 30, 2016


As is weekend custom in my house, I'm brewing a big pot of tea to go with breakfast. Reflexively, without thinking, I pulled out my B5 mug that I use, and now I'm looking at it on the counter. It's in good shape, given the years I guess - the logo is fading in places, but otherwise it's solid.

But it made me think of the actors lost, and the show, and yeah. A little faded, but still solid.

"Shining beacon in space, all alone in the night."
posted by nubs at 8:24 AM on July 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


.
posted by Gadgetenvy at 9:13 AM on July 30, 2016


"What is that, a space vampire?"
If you say this in Londo's voice, it becomes pretty dang funny.

I've started my own, truncated rewatch, using this guide: Everything You Need To Know About Babylon 5.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 2:42 AM on July 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


.
Too many of these this year
posted by Fibognocchi at 9:12 PM on July 31, 2016


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