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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Quark: I've finally seen it and you can too!

The Zen Master of Pop Culture and my friend Matthew used to talk about a show starring Richard Benjamin called Quark. It was a sitcom about the adventures of a garbage scow in space in the year 2222.

The show starred:
Benjamin as Adam Quark, the captain of the United Galaxies Sanitation Patrol Cruiser
Cyb and Patricia Barnstable as the Bettys, clones who pilot and navigate the ship. You may recognize them as the Doublemint Twins from back in the day.
Tim Thomerson as Gene/Jean, a hermaphroditic alien with a split personality.
Richard Kelton as Ficus Pandorata, a plant based life form with lots of Spock-like characteristics.

Quark was created by Buck Henry, who also created Get Smart with Mel Brooks. I find it interesting that he worked with Brooks who would go on to create his own Sci-Fi parody a decade later in Spaceballs. Henry also appeared frequently on Saturday Night Live at the time.

Thanks to the miracle of YouTube, I finally got to watch an episode. Look for Joan Van Ark as Princess Libido. You can see part 1 All the Emperor's Quasi-Norms, Part 1:

Part 2 of Part 1
Part 3 of Part 1

This was a two part episode. You can see part 2 of All the Emperor's Quasi-Norms at this unofficial Quark site. The site also has some scans of TV Guide ads for the show, as well as some press release material and bios of the cast.

Quark has a bit of a cult following, but has never been released on DVD. The clip above seems to have come from the HA! cable TV channel which eventually merged with the Comedy Channel to become Comedy Central in 1990. I don't know if the show has aired on cable anywhere since then.

I was reminded of the show by this list of the 10 Worst Sci-Fi Shows Ever.
That led me to this list of The 13 Most Ridiculous TV Shows to Ever Get Green-Lit. Interestingly, Quark hits #2 on both lists.

The first list also includes another show that Matthew used to talk about, but I'd never seen called Far Out Space Nuts, starring Bob Denver of Gilligans Island. YouTube has lots of Space Nuts clippage for your amusement.

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