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Tube Turns to Tomes

Book ’em, Danno

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This fall, books and literary references have been popping up all over television. Why is the vast wasteland becoming a home to the likes of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land?

*The John Larroquette Show Larroquette’s John Hemingway (!) collects original manuscripts, including that of Gravity’s Rainbow. An episode last season involved Dexter’s claiming he knows the reclusive Thomas Pynchon.

*Seinfeld Pendant Publishing, where Elaine worked as an editor, went belly-up. On this season’s premiere, Elaine dons a scarf and glasses and goes gunning for Jackie O’s old editing job at Doubleday.

*Ellen Ellen DeGeneres’ character is the owner of an L.A. bookstore called Buy the Book.

*All-American Girl The all-American Margaret Cho’s parents own and operate a bookstore — Kim’s Books in San Francisco.

*The Simpsons Marge reads Robert James Waller’s The Bridges of Madison County in bed and cries, ”This romance is so full of heartfelt passion, I can really identify with this corn-fed heroine.” Hubby Homer wakes up and throws the book in the fireplace.

*Frasier Another Waller reference — albeit somewhat veiled: On the season premiere, Frasier is horrified to discover that his teenage affair with his piano teacher is the stuff of a best-selling book, Slow Tango in South Seattle, written by an old acquaintance.

*My So-Called Life Angela is shown studying Kafka’s The Metamorphosis in English class — meanwhile, she and her friends are undergoing teenage changes of their own.