Stuff You Don't Know About Writers You Might

Last week, we discussed notable strikes in American history. Today's topic: notable TV writers. The idea came from newcomer Matthew Smith, who collaborated with mental_floss veterans Stacy, David, Becky and Kara to dig up stories about some of TV's greatest scribes.

1. J.J. Abrams

J.J. Abrams, who is the co-creator, writer, director and executive producer of Lost, has written for some very-unLost-like movies including Armageddon, Taking Care of Business and Forever Young. He also created and wrote for the TV show Felicity.

2. Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes of Grey's Anatomy also wrote the script for Britney Spears' bomb Crossroads. She got the inspiration for Grey's from working as a candy striper in high school.

3. B.J. Novak (===>)

B.J. Novak (Ryan Howard), writer/actor of The Office, went to high school with fellow castmember John Krasinski (Jim Halpert). Krasinski acted in one of Novak's plays while in school. Two of his on-screen co-workers are also writers: Paul Lieberstein (Toby, HR Director) and Mindy Kaling (Kelly, Ryan's enthusiastic ex-girlfriend). Three if you count Steve Carell, who wrote the season two finale.

4. Marc Cherry

Marc Cherry, writer/producer/creator of Desperate Housewives, received his first major writing credits on The Golden Girls. His first job in the industry was as a personal assistant to Dixie Carter of Designing Women. Ms. Carter's manageability came into question when Cherry cast her on Housewives as the wicked and maniacal Gloria Hodges.

Kenlevine1.jpg5. Ken Levine (===>)

The first episode Ken Levine wrote for M*A*S*H was "Out of Sight/Out of Mind." He bought a VCR "“ which cost $1700 at the time "“ so he could record the episode at home, particularly his name in the credits. Mr. Levine, whose writing credits include Cheers, Frasier, The Simpsons, Wings and Everybody Loves Raymond, is keeping busy during the strike by covering it on his blog.

6. David Mirkin

David Mirkin has written for a number of hit shows, including The Simpsons, Newhart, Get a Life and The Edge. But it was his job at Three's Company "“ his first-ever writing experience "“ that earned him a cat. David took the cat home after it was used in an episode. He nicknamed it T.C"¦short for "Televised Cat."

7. Sonia Manzano

Sonia Manzano is not only a writer for Sesame Street, she is also one of the well-known human characters "“ Maria. Now, imagine walking into a production of The Vagina Monologues and finding Maria up on stage talking about her intimate anatomy. It could happen "“ Sonia has performed in the VM on the New York Stage.

8. Stephen Hillenburg

Stephen Hillenburg created Spongebob Squarepants. But before that, he was a marine biology teacher at what is now the Orange County Ocean Institute. He worked as a marine biologist from 1984-1987.

man-in-cape1.jpg9. Aaron Sorkin

Aaron Sorkin of West Wing and Sports Night fame delivered singing telegrams and drove a limo when he was fresh out of college and looking for steady writing and acting work.

10. Larry David (===>)

We could (and should) do a whole post on Larry David. But here are two fun facts: he was considered for Billy Bob Thornton's part in Bad Santa, and he doesn't like cowboys. One more: he played the man in the cape who met mysteriously with George's father.

11. Sam Simon

Best known as a co-creator/writer of The Simpsons and for writing credits on Cheers and Taxi, Sam Simon also manages former WBO heavyweight boxing champion Lamon Brewster.

12. Al Jean

Although Al Jean is probably best known for his work on The Simpsons, he also used to write for ALF. Yes, that ALF. Some of his Simpsons nicknames include Anachronistic Al Jean / Atrocious Al Jean / Avuncular Al Jean / Awful Al Jean / Mean Al Jean. (A new nickname is given to each member of the cast every year for the annual "Treehouse of Horror" episode.)

13. Alan Ball

Six Feet Under and American Beauty writer Alan Ball wrote for Cybill Shepard's self-titled show (Cybill), and Shepard is rumored to be the basis for Annette Benning's self-absorbed character from American Beauty.

Every New Movie, TV Series, and Special Coming to Netflix in May

Netflix is making way for loads of laughs in its library in May, with a handful of original comedy specials (Steve Martin, Martin Short, Carol Burnett, Tig Notaro, and John Mulvaney will all be there), plus the long-awaited return of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Here’s every new movie, TV series, and special making its way to Netflix in May.


27: Gone Too Soon

A Life of Its Own: The Truth About Medical Marijuana


Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures: Season 1

Beautiful Girls


God's Own Country

Hachi: A Dog's Tale

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

High School Musical 3: Senior Year

John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous Live at Radio City

Mr. Woodcock

My Perfect Romance

Pocoyo & Cars

Pocoyo & The Space Circus

Queens of Comedy: Season 1

Reasonable Doubt

Red Dragon

Scream 2


Simon: Season 1

Sliding Doors


The Bourne Ultimatum

The Carter Effect

The Clapper

The Reaping

The Strange Name Movie

Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V: Season 2




A Little Help with Carol Burnett


Busted!: Season 1

Dear White People: Volume 2

End Game

Forgive Us Our Debts

Kong: King of the Apes: Season 2


My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman: Tina Fey

No Estoy Loca

The Rain: Season 1


Faces Places


The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale



Hari Kondabolu: Warn Your Relatives


Dirty Girl

MAY 11

Bill Nye Saves the World: Season 3

Evil Genius: the True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist

Spirit Riding Free: Season 5

The Kissing Booth

The Who Was? Show: Season 1

MAY 13

Ali Wong: Hard Knock Wife

MAY 14

The Phantom of the Opera

MAY 15

Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce: Season 4

Grand Designs: Seasons 13 - 14

Only God Forgives

The Game 365: Seasons 15 - 16

MAY 16


Mamma Mia!

The 40-Year-Old Virgin

The Kingdom


MAY 18


Catching Feelings

Inspector Gadget: Season 4

MAY 19

Bridge to Terabithia

Disney’s Scandal: Season 7

Small Town Crime

MAY 20

Some Kind of Beautiful

MAY 21

Señora Acero: Season 4

MAY 22

Mob Psycho 100: Season 1

Shooter: Season 2

Terrace House: Opening New Doors: Part 2

Tig Notaro Happy To Be Here

MAY 23


MAY 24

Fauda: Season 2

Survivors Guide to Prison

MAY 25


Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life

The Toys That Made Us: Season 2

Trollhunters: Part 3

MAY 26

Sara's Notebook

MAY 27

The Break with Michelle Wolf

MAY 29

Disney·Pixar's Coco

MAY 30

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 4

MAY 31

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman: Howard Stern

The First-Ever Troop of Homeless Girl Scouts Just Crushed Their Cookie Sales Goal

Selling 32,500 boxes of cookies in a single week would be noteworthy for any team of Girl Scouts, but it's an especially sweet achievement for Troop 6000: The New York City-based chapter is the first-ever Girl Scout troop composed entirely of children living in homeless shelters.

According to NBC News, this season marked the first time the troop took part in the organization's annual cookie sale tradition. In early April, they received exclusive permission to set up shop inside the Kellogg's Café in Union Square. They kicked off their inaugural stand sale aiming to sell at least 6000 boxes of cookies: At the end of six days, they had sold more than 32,500.

Some customers waited in line an hour to purchase boxes from the history-making young women. Others gave their money directly to the troop, collectively donating over $15,000 to fund trips and activities. After purchasing their cookies, customers could also buy special Girl Scout cookie-inspired menu items from the Kellogg's store, with all proceeds going to Troop 6000.

The troop formed in 2016 as a collaboration between the Girl Scouts of Greater New York, Mayor de Blasio, and the city Department of Homeless Services. Meetings are held in shelters across the city, and many of the troop leaders, often mothers of the scouts, are homeless women themselves. About 40 percent of New York's homeless population are children, and Troop 6000 had to expand last summer to accommodate a flood of new recruits. Today, there are about 300 girls enrolled in the program.

[h/t NBC News]


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