Here are this week’s Friday Questions. If you're just checking in, I also wrote another post today. Please scroll down to that. And before we start:
Congratulations to the cast & crew of INSTANT MOM starring Tia Mowry-Hardrick. Nick at Nite has picked them up for additional episodes this year and a full second season. Proud that my daughter Annie Levine and her partner Jonathan Emerson were part of the team.
Okay, now the questions.
Rich D gets us started:
I have a question brought on by the subject of "Very Special Episodes" and if I am mis-remembering things please correct me, but I don't recall an episode of CHEERS where Sam had struggles with his alcoholism or relapsed back to drinking. Was there a conscious decision to go down that road?
There was an episode the very first season called “Endless Slumper” written by Sam Simon that dealt with Sam possibly going back on the bottle. It was a wonderful (if not "very special") episode and featured an amazing stunt where Sam was able to slide a beer down the bar and it turned the corner.
And in a later season, Sam fell off the wagon because Diane was dating Frasier.
Melissa C. Banczak asks:
I ignored my husband today and read your book. It was good fun and I encourage everyone else to check it out. And post a review. I was surprised at how few reviews you have. As you were writing, were you worried that someone would decide they were one of the characters and show up at your door one rainy night?
The reviews are trickling in, and happily they’re very good. Thanks for getting my book. (You should too, hint hint.)
Most characters in the book are compilations of people. There’s no one character that is clearly a specific individual. (Except for the Lena Dunham character and if she came after me I wouldn't blame her.)
That said, every time we do write a specific character into a script and hold our breath that the person doesn’t get horribly offended, he will invariably say to us the next day, “Very funny. I know someone just like that.”
Quick question: was reading a book on M*A*S*H, and in it Larry Gelbart said that his problem watching reruns of the show is that he can't stop rewriting them in his head. Do you do that when you watch your old shows?
All the time. Especially MASH. When I watch many of our episodes I say, “I wish I had one more pass at this.” There are jokes that could be sharper, story turns better finessed. People love the episodes as is and God bless ‘em for that, but I always wish I could go back in just one more time.
Oddly, I don’t feel that as much watching old episodes of CHEERS or FRASIER that we wrote. Maybe it’s because they’re both multi-camera shows and we had more opportunities to polish them during the week of production, or just that I became a better writer with experience, but I can watch a lot of our CHEERS and FRASIER episodes and just enjoy them. It's a very nice feeling.
What’s your question?