3/7/13

The Boob Tube #38: Comedies


Many of you are already aware of my strong feelings toward Darrin Stephen (and I'm referring to both Dicks here - York and Sargent).  Why in the name of all that is holy did he not just let Samantha do her little witchcraft?  No, she had to do the laundry, the dishes, the cleaning all by hand..... and why? Because Darrin said so.

Sure, Darrin brought home the bacon, but he was an abject failure at his job.  Without the help of Samantha, Darrin would have been collecting unemployment before the first episode was over.  And guess what? It was often the witchcraft that got him out of the jam.

Did he have religious objections? Was he worried that this was black magic and may invite demonic spirits into the Stephenson home?  If so, then why did he marry a practitioner of the dark arts?  Perhaps I'm over-thinking things as usual - but I stand by my claim that Darrin is a certified douche.






Remember this TV adaptation of Animal House? I don't recall it being very good.  I do remember the Fast Times at Ridgemont High TV series - it didn't last long but I loved it.  I'm not ashamed to admit I actually taped it and watched it repeatedly.  As I recall, it starred Courtney Thorne-Smith in the Jennifer Jason Leigh role; Spicoli was played by one of the horror effects buffs in Summer School.  I'd love to see that show again.


And here's perhaps the best example of a movie adapted for TV done right.  In fact, I'm not really a big fan of the movie (the football scene drags on forever). The oddest TV adaption of all time has to be Alice.  The Scorsese film was grim; the show was nothing like it in tone.  They may as well have made Deer Hunter into a sitcom starring Donny Most and Skip Stephenson.


Another movie to television adaptation.  Like Delta House, this one didn't work out so well either.  For me, the worst movie to TV adaptation of all time is Sunshine; but that is topic for another day.


Mork & Mindy is one of those shows that just was "of its time" and doesn't hold up well in 2013.  Not too long ago, one of the channels had a Mork marathon, and I was really looking forward to it.  Sadly, I could barely make it through a handful of episodes.  And don't get me started on The Ropers.


If you can watch Benny Hill and not crack a smile, there is something profoundly wrong with you.  No matter how depressing your day, Benny is the perfect therapy. And it was bawdy as all get-out and didn't give a damn.  Sure it was sometimes lewd, but it was never mean spirited.  All in good fun.  We need more shows like this these days.




How this song wound up with its own show is beyond me. I mean, it was just a forgettable little ditty from the Meatballs soundtrack. Whatever the case, it wound up being a credo for the swingin' Boomers in the late seventies.

David "I'm a Pepper" Naughton was good in An American Werewolf in London; it's a shame he's got this on his IMDb filmography for all eternity.


Oh, hellz yes.  Gimme Bugs, Samantha, and Arthur Fonzarelli any day.  This is a lineup for The Ages; a late afternoon well spent by any standard.


The Bob Newhart Show may be my favorite program of all time; but his follow up sitcom was none too shabby either.  Anyone remember the annoying pathological liar neighbor, Kirk?  I don't think he was particularly a fan favorite because he only lasted for two seasons, but I happened to enjoy the character more than the later Peter Scolari yuppie charicature.


It was a dumb show, but Teri Copley more than made up for its shortcomings.  I had a "thing" for Ms. Copley - she could have starred on the early morning farm report, and I would have tuned in.


Not a huge fan of Mama's Family, but Jerry Reed? Count me in.  "East Bound and Down" has been my ringtone for the past several years.


At the time, I never knew Ellen Foley was the singer on Meatloaf's "Paradise by the Dashboard Light".  How odd that she ended up on Night Court.

19 comments:

  1. I guess the character of Darren in Bewitched was the same as the character of Tony in I dream of Jeannie, and some of the humor was written around the guys neurotic needs to keep their supernatural mates from using their hocus pocus, though not one episode went by where they did not. They also were anxious to a huge degree with trying to keep it all a secret form neighbors and bosses. Of course it made no sense to not have the gals employ a little magic sometimes in reality.

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  2. I hear ya regarding Mork & Mindy...but I did watch the episodes Raquel Welch were in a while back and, well, they have Raquel Welch in them! ;)

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  3. I hear ya about Darren. Endora wasn't too wrong about him. Still love that show. Love many of these cheesy classics, even Alice and Mama's Family, I'd watch if they were airing in reruns somewhere. Also was a huge Mork & Mindy fan. And, I will never, ever tire of viewing old TV Guide pages. Takes me right back to such a simpler time, for me at least.

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    1. > I will never, ever tire of viewing old TV Guide pages.

      Then you might enjoy what I'm trying to make as a regular feature on my blog:
      http://garagesalin.blogspot.com/search/label/TV%20Guide

      I had hoped for one a week. It will more likely be one a month.

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  4. I used to get so pissed off about the Darrin/Bewitched and the Tony/Dream of Jeannie deal too. It's the same problem I have with Trix cereal commercials. Why couldn't the rabbit have some Trix cereal? If I were married to a witch/jeannie I'd be "hell yes...use your magic to make my life easier".

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  5. Glad to hear some positive remarks about Benny Hill. He was a genuinely funny guy in the shameless tradition of British music hall ribaldry. And a sweet, harmless undertone to everything.

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    1. I read that Chaplin was a huge fan of Benny Hill's. He said he watched every episode many times.
      I loved Benny Hill in The Italian Job.

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  6. My current Netflix disc is the Bob Newhart Show. And talk about some minis!

    And I completely understand about Ms. Copley.

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  7. I remember seeing "Alice doesn't live here anymore"years after the show was finished and expecting it to be like the sit com.The show's producers probably wanted equal parts drama and comedy,then realized the audience responded better to silliness.I had a hard time warming up to both Mork and Mr Roper because I saw them as "bad guys" on their parent shows.As far as Benny Hill is concerned,it was worth staying up late Friday night to catch the occasional boob slip,keeping in mind I was 12 and we had no cable.British humor was visually appealing to me because of the physical antics,but it was years before I could decode the dialogue and learn it's subtlties.

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  8. Fast time pilot!
    http://youtu.be/6bld5qwVXnE

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  9. Ellen Foley's varied career is something I've never been able to get my head around. From Bat Out of Hell to Blue Oyster Cult's Mirrors to Sandinista! - in the space of three years?

    What's more, nothing in her solo career works, despite the participation of people like Ian Hunter, Mick Ronson, the Blockheads and the Clash. For goodness sake, Joe Strummer and Mick Jones even wrote songs for her. So, what's she doing two years later on Night Court?

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  10. The earlier seasons of MASH was great. Then they started getting to formulaic and annoying. Too much Winchester, Hot Lips' feathered hair, and frickin' BJ fer cryin' out loud. Ugh. But the movie is a completely different animal and is a masterpiece. Yes, even the football game. The wonderful vibe is carried through the entire film and the naturalness of Altman's signature crosstalk makes it all the better.

    That was the nipping-out singer on Night Court?!? Loved her nipples in that video - hated her on the sitcom.

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    1. Ellen Foley was the voice, not the nipples. Karla DeVito was lip-synching to Foley's vocals in the video for "Paradise."

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    2. Oh sure, go and ruin it for me. Actually, that makes it better; I'm glad the nipples weren't the annoying Night Court chick's.

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  11. The genius of MASH the movie was that it was actually an anti-Vietnam War movie set during the Korean War. Since the film was shot in 1969 and released in 1970, it is doubtful that the studio knew what Altman was actually up to while he was shooting. Fortunately, popular opinion about the war was changing rapidly during that time, and the movie arrived at just the right moment to coincide with a huge groundswell of anti-war, anti-establishment sentiment.

    The series never worked for me for the same reason that the movie did. While it was possible to use Korea as a stand-in for Vietnam in an extremely well-written and directed movie, the conceit fell apart with mediocre TV writers grinding out a script a week. Every time I try to watch an episode, something happens or a character says something that simply makes no sense whatsoever within the context of the Korean War.



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  12. No, no, no...Darrin and Tony are not the same! Darrin is very mean spirited about magic, absolutely banning it. This stems from his basic inadequacy and need to achieve everything by his own means...and his own means suck. In our house, we used to laugh at how bad his advertising campaigns were. Samantha was the brains and the charm of the outfit.

    Tony Nelson, on the other hand, didn't stomp over Jeannie's magic in the same way and their relationship early on wasn't that of husband and wife or even romantic partners (especially from his point of view). Tony's solution was more damage limitation than outright objection. He knew Jeannie could magic up anything and in small ways he didn't mind that...but Darrin never had Dr. Bellows on his case!

    I haven't seen Makin' It since 1978...and I can still remember the theme tune.

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  13. J. Bevington TaliaferroMarch 09, 2013

    Well, one reason Darrin had to keep the magic to a minimum was to set up the "situations" and keep Samantha from just solving every problem immediately. Then you wouldn't have had a show. But it was irritating. It made Darrin the bad guy for sure and was one of the earliest portrayals of the man of the family as an idiot. Something that is almost universal on TV shows now, but was not done so lightly back then.

    But really, if I had been Darrin, I think I would have backed away from marrying a witch. I have had the gals in my life get pretty darned angry with me in the past, and there have been times when I've been openly grateful that none of these pretty girls were also powerful as Hell WITCHES!

    I had a girlfriend once who enjoyed dressing kind of witchy from time to time, but that was a different kind of magic.

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  14. Odd that Ellen Foley bopped onto Night Court then fell off it never to be heard from again.

    It IS interesting how some comedies can be timeless, like Dick Van Dyke and Seinfeld, while others, #1 in their time slots, can't get past the five year mark. I agree with you about Mork & Mindy, a favorite of mine at the time. Now it seems so dated as to be antique. Three's Company is another I watched in reruns in the early 90s only to see it peal like bad paint.

    As for "We got it maid," remember, that was on NBC's "Must Watch" Thursday night line up with Cosby and Cheers. Hard to believe.

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    1. WE GOT IT MADE was the season before, when NBC was doing so poorly, there were those that felt that with the growth of cable, it wouldn't be long before one of the three broadcast networks would be shut down--and at the time it clearly would have been the Peacock that got plucked.

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