Here’s one of those Friday Questions that became an entire post. Once I start writing about myself things naturally just get lengthy.
David (not Isaacs) asks:
What do you feel is the best stuff you've ever written or been apart of? Produced or otherwise. What are you proudest of? What would you consider to be the essential viewing for a fan of Ken Levine & David Isaacs?
Were someone to stage a Levine & Isaacs film festival (like that’s ever going to happen), here are the episodes I would have them show (in no particular order or ranking):
MASH – “Point of View” – An entire episode shown through the eyes of a patient. Clearly our most unique work. But I can’t mention it without acknowledging the extraordinary job that director Charles Dubin did. We visualized it; he realized it. Nominated for several Emmys. Sorry we didn’t win but still furious that Charles didn’t win.
MASH – “Goodbye Radar, Part 2” – Our swan song was Radar’s as well. I think what made this episode so powerful was that we didn’t give anybody a big speech. The tag still chokes me up. Nominated for an Emmy.
THE TONY RANDALL SHOW – “The People Speak” – Most of you are saying “What’s the Tony Randall Show?” This was an MTM series produced by the same people who did THE BOB NEWHART SHOW. Tony Randall played a judge. In this episode he runs for superior court justice and loses to a dead man. There are some big laughs in it.
CHEERS – “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” – Frasier’s bachelor party. What I love so much about this episode is that we broke from tradition and wrote it without any outline. Strictly free form. We wanted to create the feel of a real bar experience where conversations were varied and fragmented. The only “story” we had going in was that Frasier would question whether he wanted to go through with the wedding and decides by the end that he does. Wasn’t nominated for anything.
CHEERS – “The Big Kiss-Off” – There’s nothing socially redeeming about this one at all. It was just really funny. Sam and Woody make a bet to see who can kiss Rebecca first. Just silly fun. Not even considered for a Peabody.
CHEERS – “Rat Girl” – Lilith keeps a dead rat in her purse. We won the WGA award for this one, beating out a SEINFELD episode. Every time I see Larry David to this day he grouses about it.
CHEERS – “Death Takes a Holiday on Ice” – Eddie LeBec is killed by a Zamboni machine and Carla learns her late husband was a bigamist. Nominated for an Emmy (and told by members of the blue ribbon committee that we had won, but we didn’t).
FRASIER – “The Show Where Lilith Comes Back” – First season, first appearance by Lilith. Lost another Emmy but in this case we were just happy to be nominated. The FRASIER pilot won, as it should have.
FRASIER – “Adventures in Paradise Part 2” – Might be our single funniest episode ever. Frasier faking an orgasm still kills me.
ALMOST PERFECT – “Pilot” – Written by me, David, and Robin Schiff. I still think it’s a helluva pilot.
BIG WAVE DAVE’S – “Pilot” – We have never written any half hour before or since that got a ten-minute laugh spread.
BIG WAVE DAVE’S – “Him” – Aired once and never seen again (although it’s up on YouTube). The lead character experiences what it’s like to go through childbirth by trying to catch a marlin. How often do you see that storyline on a series?
THE SIMPSONS – “Dancin’ Homer” – Our first foray into animation. I also got to do a voice and create a character (the Capitol City Goofball – I still have my original drawing of it somewhere). This is probably the only credit many of my younger readers know.
Okay, there’s 8 fun-filled hours. If you have other favorites I’d love to hear ‘em and why. Thanks. As for producing, I have no favorites. Just thrilled that I was associated with so many great series.