Friday, December 13, 2019

Friday (the 13th) Questions

These are a bunch of Friday Questions from one person.

Andrew asked them.

What sitcoms are your guilty pleasures?

ONE DAY AT A TIME -- the original and the reboot

What formerly popular shows do you detest?

GOOD TIMES – Way too preachy. Characters spouting statistics. A weekly soapbox.
TWO AND A HALF MEN – Toilet humor
2 BROKE GIRLS – See above but worse

What are your favorite episodes from classic shows?

THE HONEYMOONERS -- $99,000 Answer
SEINFELD – Master of my Domain
SGT. BILKO – Private Speakup
THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW – Chuckles Bites the Dust
THE BOB NEWHART SHOW – The Thanksgiving episode
WKRP IN CINCINNATI – The Thanksgiving episode
MASH – The General Flipped at Dawn
CHEERS – Showdown Part 2
FRASIER – Room Service
DICK VAN DYKE SHOW – Coast to Coast Bigmouth
ALL IN THE FAMILY – the one with Sammy Davis Jr.

And what are your favorite shows in other genres - detective shows, for example?

Okay, for detective shows:


UPDATE:  Let me clarify.  My definition of Guilty Pleasure -- not a highly recognized or Emmy-awarded show.  It has nothing to do with the actually quality of the show.  A lot of these shows deserved more recognition than they received.   The only real exception on the list is GOLDEN GIRLS.  It did win some Emmys but I still feel it didn't get the respect of say TAXI or CHEERS although it should have.  


Bob Uecker is a National Treasure said...

So many of The Office blooper reels are Jim Krasinski or Rainn Wilson unable to stop laughing during a scene. As a comedy writer, were you proud when actors couldn't get through a scene without giggling? As a director, were you annoyed? And of the shows you worked on, which actors were most prone to giggling during multiple takes?

Justin Russo said...

Golden Girls is just perfect. Not guilty whatsoever!

Rob in Toronto said...

Bewitched is also one of my guilty pleasures. I especially love the one where Endora puts a spell on Darren.

PatGLex said...

OMG! Someone else watched Flying Blind! I loved that show.

Glenn said...

Ken, what exactly do you not like about Three's Company?

MikeN said...

Burke's Law, really?

Did you forget SHERLOCK?

MikeN said...


What would be the most interesting sitcom argument for you?

Andrew said...

Wow, Ken! What a privilege. Thanks so much for answering these questions. If I recall, I was just suggesting future topics for your blog, if you ran out of material. I never expected you to answer them all at once.

This is as close as I will ever get to a brush with greatness.

In particular, I will search out the "favorite episodes" from earlier shows that I have never seen. Much appreciated!

D McEwan said...

How can Newhart be a "Guilty Pleasure"? That'something you know is lousy but enjoy anyway, like my love of Survivor and Big Brother.

Newhart was a fine series. That pleasure carries no guilt.

Jeff said...

I am not sure why you feel guilty enjoying such good to great shows as Newhart, The Golden Girls, and Bewitched.

Frank Beans said...

NEWHART was a truly great show, at least its first few seasons. And the theme song by Henry Mancini? If that's not a genuine pleasure I don't know what is.

I got around to watching BEWITCHED just a few years ago. My wife and I both thought it was very funny and clever satire of suburban life, but it was kind of pointless after season 1, so we just left it there. Some shows only need one season, y'know? I think of another one, FRANK'S PLACE, The Tim Reid/Hugh Wilson show set in New Orleans from 1987-88. Brilliant episodes, but it doesn't really need to go on beyond that.

My guilty pleasure--I'll just come out and say it--QUANTUM LEAP. I mean, come on, time travel is fucking cool, and it's just about the only science fiction superpower I can suspend my disbelief for. And it's done so well.

John in NW Ohio said...

As to the part two of this Friday question, "What formerly popular shows do you detest?"

Family Affair. Just simply horrible. How did that ever get on the air?

That Girl. OMG. So stupid.

Happy Days was artistically great prior to when they went before a live audience. I know they made gazillions of $$$ when they went with the brainless humor story lines, but it was unwatchable to me.

Jeff Boice said...

I'd tell friends the black and white episodes of BEWITCHED were worth seeking out, but they wouldn't believe me. It was a very different show the first two seasons. "A IS FOR AARDVARK" justifies the whole series.

VP81955 said...

I got around to watching BEWITCHED just a few years ago. My wife and I both thought it was very funny and clever satire of suburban life, but it was kind of pointless after season 1, so we just left it there.

"Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" (aka "Bewitched" goes to high school) had similar problems once Nell Scovell left after its initial season. Apparently there's only so much you can do with a witch (though "STTW" handled it better than Endora's array of spells on either Darrin).

Mike Barer said...

I loved Two And a Half Men, so sue me. Guilty pleasures would be Gilligan, Get Smart, and the Beverly Hillbillies. Favorite comedies, All In The Family, Mash, Mary Tyler Moore, Frazier, and Seinfeld.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

While I agree that TWO AND A HALF MEN spent most of its run as "toilet humor", I will continue to maintain that the first season or two were actually a *lot* better show than they get credit for.


Gary said...

Not sure if they qualify as guilty pleasures, but OZZIE & HARRIET and LEAVE IT TO BEAVER were both well written shows, and often very funny. Wholesome doesn't automatically mean bad. And stretching the detective genre a little, THE FUGITIVE was one of the great shows of all time.

Anonymous said...

The All In The Family that is most loved at my house is when Edith went through the change. I rarely saw my dad laugh until he cried until that episode.

I never cared for Everybody Loves Raymond for various reasons, but two episodes do stand out as LMFAO, pee your pants funny. The PMS episode and Marie's statue. I couldn't catch my breath. The looks on the nuns faces almost made me pass out.

Pam, St. Louis.

Lemuel said...

What about 77 SUNSET STRIP? Now that was some hard-boiled cardigan.

mike said...

I'd put in a good word for Naked City re detective shows, lots of interesting guest stars, thought-provoking story lines and great location shots of NYC. Can't ask for much more than that!

Anthony Adams said...

Our tastes agree so much I cannot help but think that you have been a major influence on my attitude toward comedy. Or perhaps that we had similar influences.

but in light of what you said about Good Times, and I agree, what is your opinion of "Venus and the Man" from WKRP?

Matthew O'Hara said...

Please, somebody make MAGNUN P.I.

71dude said...

Three's Company
Mama's Family
Full House (the guys could be funny; the kids were a drag)
Facts of Life (the Eastland years)
Alice (with Flo)

Family Matters (the worst of the Miller-Boyett library)
Step by Step (not a single likeable character)
The Hogan Family (dull and lifeless)
Gimme a Break (see Step by Step)
Designing Women (talk about a preachy soapbox)
Too Close for Comfort (moronic)
Alice (without Flo - endless screaming and inanity)

Anonymous said...

Ken, how much Christmas Cheer had you had when you wrote out your detectives list?

Ironsides, Magnun, Lacey without the e ...

And for someone who rejects feel good comedies like Donna Reed Show, yet you still like Leave It To Beaver?

Re Three's Company:
I do agree that Three's Company could have been a lot better.

Unlike its English originator, most of the emphasis was put on John Ritter's character, at the expense of the two females, which weakened the show.

(In the English show there was a will they won't they relationship between Jhhn Ritter's and Joyce DeWitt's character)

But because the show rated, the producers did not budge.
(Although they did come up trumps with their invented Don Knotts character)

JerseyJen said...

Question. Fox just aired a three part series of Christmas with the Moony’s with Denis Leary. I enjoyed it but they aired it on a Thursday then Monday and then Tuesday. How can people remember when to watch it. Why not have it three days in a row or every Thursday for three weeks. They didn’t give it a chance to succeed.

Anonymous said...

The Flying Magnun

Barry Traylor said...

Regarding Magnum P.I., I assume you are referring to the original and not the reboot.

Anonymous said...

Leave it to Beaver may be the most misunderstood show in television history. (another candidate is the brilliant Candide-like satire The Beverly Hillbillies)
It is only a sitcom in the loosest sense of the word and is in fact as much of a drama as a sitcom.
But its a drama about young boys, their family who were the only ones they could truly trust (outside of a small group of characters such as a teacher and a fireman) and the alien world around them. In a sense it is more like Twilight Zone (and one episode parodies it) or Star Trek than Donna Reed or Ozzie and Harriet.
Of course there were episodes designed to make you laugh, but the writers made sure many of the shows carried a moral, something you didn't see on Ozzie and Harriet. Peer pressure was a common theme on LITB.(Of course Ozzie and Harriet had Ricky Nelson singing)
the show also dealt with alcoholism, racism, divorce - a decade before the sophisticated Norman Lear comedies.
And it dealt with those topics seriously from a child's view.
I'm not sure anyone does that even today.
The writer of LITB made sure to make it more than just a 1950's sitcom.
And by the way, June- Barbara Billingsley, an excellent actress - wore pearls to hide a cleft in there neck. Not because the show was clueless.

Guffman said...

Just finished watching season 3 of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel". Curious to know why you haven't weighed in on this show. I found the first season absolutely delightful, but now the initial optimism has been drained by increasingly dark story lines. Any chance for a review?

Rashad Khan said...

Just out of curiosity, Ken, what did you enjoy about the original "One Day at a Time"?

Muriel said...

Reviving "Will & Grace" was a mistake, IMO. I find the new episodes very weak and think they've tarnished the show's legacy...a legacy that was already on shaky ground as the original run isn't aging well. Too many dated references to things that were shallow when they were new and characters who became beyond cartoonish.

PolyWogg said...

Vega$ and Spenser for Hire aren't on your list? THat's it, we're done. :)


Joe said...

Tea Leoni in "Flying Blind" is a contender for hottest TV actress/character ever.

Lumpy said...

Totally agree about Leave it to Beaver. Having become shorthand for "blissful childhood environment," it's not been recognized in recent years for the truly smart show it was. And Jerry Mathers doesn't get enough credit for his comedy chops. I'm not sure anyone else could have made me crack up at the line "He's a kid too." Here's to you, Beav.

Do Guy said...

Friday Question. You may be my only hope in solving a mystery that's puzzled me for 20 years. I loved the show Stark Raving Mad with Shalhoub and Harris, and yet it only lasted one season, despite solid ratings, and, even in the vastness of the internet, I can't find a single hint as to why. Do you or any of your insider friends know why this sitcom got cancelled as it did?

MikeN said...

Leave it to Beaver is indeed a drama.

Eddie Haskell- eddy, adrift at sea
Ward- guard
June- goddess of home

VP81955 said...

Seeing the Tea Leoni of "Flying Blind" and "The Naked Truth" (at least its first season) waste her considerable comedic skills as an ersatz Hillary Clinton on "Madam Secretary" is as depressing as watching the lady in my avatar play a deadly serious nurse in "Vigil In The Night." Both well made, to be sure (George Stevens directed "Vigil," which also features a young Peter Cushing in a supporting role), but you want to grab Tea and Carole and tell them to please return to their natural element.

April Acton said...

Magnun, PI... The Flying Magnun... I am laughing so hard!

Mike Doran said...

Guilty Pleasures:
I gave up Guilt for Lent many years ago.

My bete noire is the Critical Darling.
The show you're supposed to like (or at least admire).
I got a long list of those …
One example to serve for many:
At least, the people who were making it seemed to have a good time …

ScottyB said...

Here’s a Friday Question for Ken: Have there been any sitcoms that lasted a single season that nobody watched that, in your estimation, showcased a certain or unusual *style* of humor that gave it a little something atmosphere-wise that made them little lost gems? I bring that up because on one of the Chicago broadcast TV stations, they’d show the 1970s Dom DeLuise vehicle ‘Lotsa Luck’ on late Saturday afternoons (right next to ‘The Paul Lynde Show’, which was pretty awful). DeLuise and the supporting cast was remarkable IMO, and DeLuise was always a fantastic funnyman even back when he was skinny.

Jahn Ghalt said...

My definition of a Guilty Pleasure is one that, if admitted, it casts doubt upon ones taste. For instance, if I ever actually watched it and liked it - 2-1/2 Men - or Ted (which I DID sit through) - the film featuring a vulgar teddy bear.

On Antenna TV (and with a flyer on some DVD's) I confirmed one that I still like:

Green Acres

Jahn Ghalt said...

The early seasons of The Beverly Hillbillies is another "guilty pleasure".

The joke was mostly on the "city slickers" - though there were plenty on Jed and family, too.

JS said...


Three's Company and the spinoffs - The Ropers & Three's a Crowd
The Beverly Hillbillies
Hogan's Heroes

Guilty Pleasures

According to Jim (the physical comedy is pretty good)
Alf (I love a smart-ass Alien)

John Pearley Huffman said...

I know it's just a typo... but I'd watch anything called Magnun P.I.

She's got a habit of solving crime!