TV Article

'Alias': The Story Behind J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot

EW gets the story behind the goofy TV production-company logos for "Scrubs" and "Smallville"

True TV buffs realize that no episode of Family Ties was complete until those immortal words ''Sit, Ubu, sit. Good dog'' were uttered. Producers have always used creative production-company logos to spice up those boring end credits. And here are four of this season's finest final chapters.

1. SCRUBS (NBC) Company Doozer Inc. Image A hand furiously scribbles the word Doozer on a sheet of lined paper, making eyes out of the O's and adding a smile to create a happy face. A child then screams ''Bye-bye!'' Meaning Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence adapted his full name, William van Deuzer Lawrence, for the company's title. And that's Lawrence's one-year-old daughter Charlotte providing the voice-over. ''She's the cutest thing you've ever seen,'' swears associate producer Danny Rose. ''She walks around the house and every time somebody leaves, she goes 'Bye-bye!' That's all she ever does.''

2. REBA (The WB) Company Bee Caves Road Productions Image An armadillo wearing a Texas flag hops across a highway to the opening strains of ''The Eyes of Texas.'' Meaning Series creator Allison Gibson, a Houston native, fondly recalls the ''big, hilly, winding road'' called Bee Caves that once led to her family's house on Lake Austin. ''It's now sort of a big highway,'' she laughs, adding that she couldn't use the house's official address, Ski Slope Drive, because ''I knew that that would make no sense.''

3. ALIAS (ABC) Company Bad Robot Image Against a stormy backdrop, a boy runs by, a rickety robot glides on screen, and two kids' voices cry ''Baaad robot!'' Meaning The title came to creator J.J. Abrams during a writers' meeting, and he recorded his children, Henry and Gracie (ages 2 and 3), saying the words into his PowerBook's microphone. ''That day in the office while editing,'' says Abrams, ''I put together sound effects on my computer, burned a QuickTime movie on a CD, gave it to postproduction, and three days later it was on national television.''

4. SMALLVILLE (The WB) Company Millar Gough Ink Image A bottle filled with blood-red ink is smashed to smithereens by a mallet. Meaning Creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar intended their messy logo to be a commentary on the lack of respect for scribes in showbiz. ''It's like you're writing in blood, and somebody comes along and smashes you!'' laughs Gough. ''It's a very pretentious comment. Hopefully that's as pretentious as we'll ever get.''

Originally posted Dec 07, 2001 Published in issue #629 Dec 07, 2001 Order article reprints