Monday, September 03, 2018

Some random thoughts about this Labor Day

For the last few years on Labor Day I would bemoan not seeing Jerry Lewis host the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon. It just wasn’t the same without him. Now of course Jerry has gone to that big toteboard in the sky, and I’m not sure there even is a telethon anymore. And if it is, it’s shrunk in size to almost nothing. And Vikki Carr no longer guests.

I always find Labor Day depressing. It always represents the end of summer, although now with Global Warming it’ll probably still be 118 in November.

Some things never leave you – like the dread you have that school is just around the corner. It’s been x%id#7ow years since I’ve been in school but that visceral terror always returns on this holiday.

Labor Day is now the official beginning of the Christmas season. Expect to hear Nat King Cole any minute now.

My only solace is sports. College and pro football begin. The Chargers are still in LA, right? The baseball pennant races are coming to a close and the playoffs are just around the corner. The NHL and NBA resume as well. I don’t think you’ll see Donald Trump at a Lakers game, which is all the more reason to GO to a Lakers game.

But what’s really sad is this: I used the look forward to September because that’s when the new TV season began. NBC Week, when they’d premier their new fall schedule, was a major event. I’d send away every year for the free booklet. I couldn’t wait for the debut of THE MAN FROM UNCLE.

And now, honestly, I couldn’t give a shit. Do you? I’ve seen the trailers. A lot more of more of the same. And since there are so many shows on so many networks and platforms premiering practically every week, it’s no big deal to see something “new.”

Plus, even the “new” is now old with all the reboots. So if networks are going go down that road, how about rebooting the MDA Telethon? Live from Vegas for 24 hours. Jerry Lewis resurrected his career with that telethon. Mike Myers? Dana Carvey? Jim Carrey? Eddie Murphy? Roseanne? What are you doing next Labor Day?

Note:  I will not have internet access most of today so your comments will appear but not until tonight.


Jeff Alexander said...

Growing up, one of my highlights of the fall seasons was that Fall Preview Issue of TV Guide. The covers were usually artistically innovative, they would profile all the new shows in relatively short, editorially-detached paragraphs, with cast photos accompanying each writeup.
I vividly recall seeing a piece for "Snip," a sitcom (1976, I believe) that was to star comedian David Brenner and Lesley Ann Warren, taking place in a beauty salon. I even think it was going to air on NBC at 9:30 p.m., Thursdays.
But then the network got nervous about the blatant homosexual implications of one character and pulled the plug on the series before the TV Guide piece could be scrapped. It never aired.
Now, I doubt that I'd even glance through the fall preview issue of TV Guide while in line at the checkout stand. It no longer adheres to its name -- a guide to what is on TV -- but is more about "Schmoozin' with the Stars."

Bryan said...

And for many years Labor Day has marked the end of the Seattle Mariners season.

Janet Ybarra said...

Jerry Lewis was let go after making stupid comments in 2010 but the Telethon already was headed down hill.

By the time the ax finally fell a few years ago, it had shrunk to a 2 hour special.

Is there potential based on nostalgia and a retro factor? Probably.

The problem is what platform--network, cable or streaming--is going to turn itself over to a Telethon that lasts 24 hours or more?

You might get a small cable outlet to sign on for the positive publicity... but then you are limited by a relatively small audience (potential donors).

Maybe you could bring it back on a dedicated Internet stream. Aretha's 8 hour memorial was streamed that way and apparently it was quite a sensation.

Too Late said...

I still enjoy seeing the new shows and the return of old ones. I print out the schedule of season premieres and highlight ones I'll watch (one color for returning, another color for new). Between those and options on Netflix and Amazon Prime, there's always something to watch.

Maybe someday I won't find anything that interests me, but I've been doing this since I left college which is 35 years ago now, so I think it will still be a while. :)

Covarr said...

Jim Carrey won't have time for a telethon; he is currently shooting the role of Eggman/Robotnik in the upcoming SONIC THE HEDGEHOG movie. It kinda feels like this movie will either revitalize his career, or be another nail in the coffin.

Then again, Bob Hoskins recovered from the travesty of a film that was SUPER MARIO BROS., so I guess anything is possible.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

In the UK, the end-of-summer holiday is August Bank Holiday, a week earlier. I defy the end of summer by celebrating both - by watching the tennis at the US Open. New TV shows are a bonus, but the fall season doesn't start for another couple of weeks at least.

Why were you terrified of going back to school? My private school didn't resume until the end of September, long after everyone else's, and I always looked forward to going back. (We also ended at the beginning of June, so that was nearly four months of vacation...I was thrilled when it ended.)


blinky said...

Last century I used to scout out the network schedules and map out my viewing patterns: Monday at 8 ABC, 9 NBC, at CBS at 10 etc, etc. Today there is not one entertainment show I watch on the big three. Sports is the only thing they still have going for them.

Mike Barer said...

My thoughts exactly!

Tom Wolper said...

The closest we can come to a season premiere week now would be a day that all the fall shows get listed so we can program our DVRs.

Loosehead said...

Over this side of the pond, the first Monday in September is when the snot-noses and ankle-biters, aka kids, go back to school. Can you tell I'm retired? The roads start clagging up for those poor schmucks who have to go to work, and holiday resorts get a lot cheaper and a lot emptier. September 1st isn't all bad.

Dave Creek said...

Just from the promos, all the sitcoms appear to be comedy-free. MANIFEST caught my eye among the dramas, but not from the regular promos. I watched the first act, which NBC posted online, and it looks to be well-done, with a nice sense of mystery and sharp character drama. But it's essentially a variation on LOST, and I don't want to go down that rabbit hole again. These shows that feature a Big Mystery all suffer from the same problem -- how do you develop the mystery when you don't know how long your story is going to be? Will the show last three seasons? Seven? Or will the "Complete Series" Blu-Ray be out just in time for Christmas?

DBenson said...

I remember the fat preview issue of TV Guide. For a kid it was almost as important as the Sears Christmas Catalog.

My main focus was Saturday morning cartoons. The networks would run full or double page ads in the comic books AND prime time specials.

In time I drifted away from Saturday mornings, hurried along by a combination of puberty and the end of "violent" superhero toons. Kept following coverage of new prime time shows for a while, but the magic was gone. When interesting new shows did appear, they didn't seem to be tied to September any more.

Peter said...

Mike Myers and Dana Carvey should reunite to do Wayne's World 3. I miss those characters and I'd rather see them return than another Austin Powers, which wouldn't be right anyway now that Verne Troyer has passed away.

Talking of sequels I'd like to see, I've always wished Jim Carrey would return as The Mask. I love that movie.

A fourth Beverly Hills Cop has been in development for years. Eddie Murphy is in dire need of a comeback. I don't think another Beverly Hills Cop would do the trick. The whole fish out of water joke was exhausted by the second movie.

As for Roseanne....umm....

Joseph Scarbrough said...

Yeah, summer should be over by now, but unfortunately with all these tropical disturbances we have in the Gulf and Atlantic push heat inward, August will be lasting an extra week this year.

That's not as bad compared to 2016 when August lasted almost two months . . . seriously, the summer heat didn't finally die down until literally the last week of September . . . I . . . was . . . pissed. September's always my favorite month. I hate summer - it's like three months of being stuck in limbo, so for me, September is, "the beginning of new life" (like the way most people feel about spring) . . . but yeah, with Climate Change, September is always screwed anymore - 2017 was the first normal September we had since 2013! And now February is always screwed anymore as well. The last two years in a row, the last week of February was lost to spring-like temps in the 70s, and it was terrible - I don't know what people were bitching and moaning about January lasting through April this year and spring being late, because it was practically spring before Valentine's Day this year . . . that's too early, even for us in the southeast!

So, I'm pissed this week, but I'll feel better next week when we're back down to normal. In the meantime, I'll just watch certain M*A*S*H episodes like "The Merchant of Korea" and "None Like it Hot" on loop.

Cap'n Bob said...

During the promos for upcoming new comedies you would always hear the phrase "new hit series." How can it be a hit when no one has seen it yet? The suits must think we're all morons.

sanford said...

I wouldn't say the telethon resurrected his career. I think he was doing it while Martin and Lewis were still big. And his movie career was still big.

YEKIMI said...

I also used to park myself in front of the TV just to watch the MDA telethon at all hours. I'd like to see it hosted by Geoff Peterson [the skeleton from the Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson]. It's been long enough that you could slap a cardboard sign around his neck saying "Jerry Lewis" and have Rich Little do the voice of Jerry and people would probably buy it.

I live in the Midwest, I'll take a 118 degree day in the middle of November....or December, January or February any day! When that actually comes true, I may be long dead.

I actually heard the first Christmas commercial the third week of July on the radio. I almost put my fist through it. Big Lots stores in my area had a few Christmas items out in August. Quit rushing the season, assholes!

Sports on TV? Unless it's soccer, I rarely watch it and even then I have to turn on the OTA Spanish channel to watch it [since I don't have cable]. Can't understand a damn word being spoken so for all I know they could be singling me out as the lone Non-Spanish speaking schmuck watching and making fun of me.

The new TV season. I hardly watch anything anymore because if I get interested in a show the bastards at the network cancel it as soon as they find out I got interested it. So why bother? [Again, no cable, and the fact that since the switch to digital OTA channels I can no longer pick up CBS among a few other stations.] Funny how the religious and infomercial stations have no problem coming in no matter how far away their antenna is from me and even though the local CBS station has a repeater antenna 10 miles from's a no-show on my TV.

If Roseanne hosted the MDA telethon, I could see the tote board total after her hosting for 19 hours....."drum role please....our new tote board total is $125.66 cents!"

Pat Reeder said...

I feel the same way about the Labor Day telethon. I really miss it. With my nocturnal schedule, I got to see all the old, off-the-Strip Vegas lounge acts that performed at 3 a.m., plus Jerry Lewis at his most sleep-deprived. Dammit, that's entertainment!

powers said...

There are a number of returning TV shows that I am looking forward to seeing,Ken.
There are a few new shows debuting that I will check out.

However,I agree with you regarding the networks offering up the same old same old once again for the fall season.

Law enforcement shows,legal shows,& medical shows deluge viewers for the umpteenth time.The networks trot out these genres every single year.Talk about going down a well used trail.

The westerns died out on television years ago because folks became weary of 'em.How many ways can you do a western someone once said?

Apparently that same philosophy does not apply to the types of TV series I named above.Too bad.

Alan Gollom said...

I always looked forward to the new TV season. Every August had me salivating over the many great series that were about to
return or debut. Coincidentally, The Hollywood Reporter has an article in which they interview many of the surviving members of the fabulous series Taxi which debuted 40 years ago this month. There's even a scene featuring Ted Danson playing a gay hairdresser prior to his being on Cheers.

Lorimartian said...

This comment is off today's topic but concerns your post about actors enunciating so they can be understood.

Did anyone watch "Sharp Objects?" The mix of the eight episodes so favored the background music and effects, I couldn't understand much of the dialog, which was mumbled much of the time. They managed to make Amy Adams (not as much) and Patricia Clarkson unintelligible along with many of the others. WTF!! I couldn't even understand the pivotal final line delivered by the younger sister. I was so relieved when the limited series ended so I didn't have to expend any more energy trying to decipher what was being said.

I'm sure those in charge thought they were being all "realistic," having people talk in places playing loud music, etc., but that and the mumbling (even without background noise) made for a very frustrating viewing experience. Could I have been the only one bothered by this?

Mike Doran said...

Our long-standing joke:

Labor Day: The one day of the year when Jerry Lewis works, so the rest of us don't have to.

Today's joke:

"Donald Trump is playing golf today."
"What's his handicap?"
"His personality."
… or fill in with your own choice …

DBenson said...

Lately if a DVD has captions, I turn them on. Don't always need them (geezer in denial), but they're handy on British flicks and song lyrics.

The rebooted Mystery Science Theater 3000 is on DVD. The captioning includes both the movie they're mocking and the riffs.

Barry Traylor said...

My grandkids started school over a week ago. Not sure why that makes any sense. Some schools had to close early last week due to the heat.

Anonymous said...

Kids today don't worry about going back to school after Labor Day, they've already been at it for a week or two. They are worried about getting all their homework done because teachers see the 3 day weekend as an opportunity for extra homework since they will be missing a day. Nevermind that families have weekends planned.

James Van Hise said...

Back in the 1980s Jerry Lewis was on the Phil Donahue Show and a woman in the audience said that she really disliked his MS telethon. Jerry called her a Nazi. So Jerry Lewis was never at a loss for the wrong thing to say long before he got fired from his own telethon.

TruthandConsequences said...

Here's a hint as to when the new fall TV season stopped mattering: when was the last time you heard or used the expression "foreign car"?

After overseas automakers took over the U.S. market, TV ad sales were no longer dictated by the "big 3" domestic automakers' fall rollout campaigns for new models.

Andy Rose said...

That article on Taxi doesn't mention it, but the guy who wrote the New York article that inspired Taxi got a flat fee for every episode produced. It was like $3,000 per show. Not even 1% of the show's budget, and Marc Jacobson said some people told him he got hosed. But he was like, "I wound up getting more than $300,000 for doing nothing. What am I going to complain about?"

DwWashburn said...

In my former home town of Paris, Tennessee, school starts the second week of August. My sister was a teacher for 35 years and even she could not explain it to me.

I recall the NBC Week books but I also recall having to send in money to get them. I think for most years it was a quarter.

Cable killed premier week in TV. There used to be just the week in September that the three networks hyped starting in July. Then the graduated into a "second season" with the success of Batman. When cable stations and premium stations started making original programs they would premier them anytime thereby making the introduction of a new or returning series a non event. Of course, now that we are calling computer programs "TV" (Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, etc) we've not only lost premier week but we've lost the definition of television.

David G. said...

I decided that this year would finally be the year I watch every minute of the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon.