(artwork of couple watching 'Townies' on TV)

Upon first hearing that 1996's fall TV schedule included a show entitled Townies, we thought, great, someone's filming us behind our backs.

Though charmed at first, we soon became concerned about how our viability as a band might be affected by an identically-named entity (read: we didn't want everyone asking if we were touring with Molly Ringwald).

Upon contacting a legal person at ABC, we were basically told it was a working title for the show, and could possibly change at the last minute. Not quite the dismissal we expected, but we knew there was as much chance of The Sitcom changing its name as there was of a Partridge Family reunion.

In a bit of synchronicity, we were playing on stage at Black Cat the night the series premiered. When we finally viewed it, we couldn't help noticing the similarities between The Band and The Sitcom.

Curiously, no one from the network returned the courtesy by coming out to watch us perform.

So there we were, faced with the prospect of having to tell people who half-remember us, to forget what we were and remember we're something else. Hadn't TV learned anything from that whole Too Something / New York Daze hoo-ha?

TV fans that we are, we continued reading Ellroy, loitering on the Web, and otherwise waiting for the network brogan to drop. Then the ratings came in. Townies 1, Townies 0.

Far from having any hard feelings, we couldn't help wondering how the show would have done with a different title. After all, we've been Townies for six years, and just look at the high level of semi-obscurity we've reached.

(ABC-TV banner ad for 'Townies', with errors in spelling and grammar)

But then, maybe this ad from the network's web site led to the show's demise. If success was directly proportional to the use of a proofreader, we'd be as big as, oh, let's say, Dharma & Greg.

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