Saturday, May 25, 2019

Weekend Post

The live reboot of ALL IN THE FAMILY and THE JEFFERSONS got great ratings for ABC on Wednesday (although fewer people than watched JEOPARDY that night).  So the network is replaying it on Saturday night.   Depending on when you read this you might want to set your DVR or go to ON DEMAND or (and I know this is a bit radical) turn on the TV. 

But readers have asked what I thought and I must say I was surprised by my reaction. 


Seeing that JEFFERSONS set unleashed a flood of memories. 

THE JEFFERSONS was the first show my partner David Isaacs and I ever sold.   So I will always have a warm spot in my heart for that show... although I rarely watched it after our episode aired. 

Gordon Mitchell, the story editor of THE JEFFERSONS had read and liked our spec MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW.  He sent us a letter inviting us to call him and set up a meeting to pitch stories. I was thrilled just getting stationery that said THE JEFFERSONS.  This was June 1975.  The show had premiered earlier that year as a mid-season replacement and was a hit from day one (being sandwiched between ALL IN THE FAMILY and THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW didn't hurt either). 

At the time, they were doing the show out of CBS Television City so it was amazing to actually go to CBS for our pitch meeting.   I can still picture the wallpaper with the CBS eye logo.  This was the BIG TIME.   I'll probably do a podcast on this, describing in greater detail the process.  It's etched indelibly in my mind.  You never forget your first time. 

The night our episode was taped (also at Television City) I got to see those sets for the first time.  I must say of all the Norman Lear shows, THE JEFFERSONS had the coolest sets.   And here were the actual actors flitting about doing our script (or at least the few lines of our script that remained). 

Two years before I had been fired as a jock from San Bernardino and couldn't get another radio job to save myself.  Imagine being turned down for all-nights in Fresno.  And now I was writing on a top ten CBS Norman Lear TV show. 

So my reaction to the reboot was nostalgia, gratitude, and warmth.  And Wanda Sykes crushed it. 

We also pitched ALL IN THE FAMILY but they never bought one of our ideas so I was less nostalgic about that segment.

What did you guys think? 


Iconoclast Jones said...

Ken -- a bit off topic, but I couldn't find a way to contact you directly. I thought you'd appreciate this reference in a recently published Barclays Research report on the growth of alternative meat:

Why we believe the likes of Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods and others can gain mainstream appeal

Perhaps the character Norm from the classic sitcom Cheers was on to something when he
frequented a restaurant called The Hungry Heifer – a place that sells processed, synthetic,
meat-like substances called “beff” and “loobster”. While this episode was absolutely
hilarious (in our humble opinion), the potential opportunity for plant-based (and maybe
even lab-based) protein is no laughing matter.

Glenn said...

I don't know what the heck Woody Harrelson was trying to do, but he was pretty weak. If he was trying to imitate Caroll O'Connor, he missed by a mile. But Marissa Tomei was good as Edith. The Jeffersons cast wsa good, but I would have gone with a better episode.

Peter said...

When are we gonna get a live reboot of Small Wonder?

Mike said...

I posted my response in the Tuesday thread too. I didn’t like it. I didn’t see the point of simply reproducing the episodes, word-for-word, with the same sets, and bad imitations of the original actors. The original actors were so skilled at timing their lines while performing in front of an audience. The new cast did not have good timing, for the most part.

The whole thing just made me appreciate the talents of the original cast all the more. I went on YouTube and watched the “n-word” scene on the original show. Watch Roxie Roker’s performance there and her reaction to George. An underrated performer - I didn’t realize back then how good she was.

tavm said...

Marisa Tomei as Edith came off best of the rebooted cast followed by Jamie Foxx as George though his tallness is a demerit since that character was much lower in height as personified by the late Sherman Hemsley. Woody Harrelson, unfortunately, doesn't come close to the late Carroll O'Connor's take on Archie Bunker. All I kept seeing was an older Woody Boyd impersonating a character he saw on TV. Best moment was seeing Marla Gibbs return as Florence saying the exact same lines she originally did 45 years ago especially concerning that last one! Nice to know both her and Norman Lear lived long enough to be appreciated now especially during these trying times of political turmoil...

Steve Bailey said...

I thought the entire enterprise was surprisingly well done. Special kudos to Jamie Foxx for capturing the George Jefferson strut.

Arlen Peters said...

I had much interest and curiosity about this endeavor. I sat down to watch with high hopes ... then I saw Woody and Marisa at the piano attempting to sing 'THOSE WERE THE DAYS' ... I watched a few more minutes of Woody doing ... whatever it was he was doing ... then turned it all off. I just thought what a waste of time and talent. And "why" do it?
Of course this "stunt" pulled big numbers because network TV is now such a wasteland, people want anything different. And those numbers mean they will pull out original scripts of other classic fine shows and "update" them.
A suggestion: if the interest is so high and people want to go down memory lane, just take those original tapes, enhance video and audio and show them. I would watch ... but forget about these pale imitations. I thought I was watching a SNL sketch.

Wayne C said...

Harrelson had an impossible task, and probably would have been better off not trying to imitate O'Connor, but Jaime Fox was hysterical with his amped up version of Hensley. Props mostly to Tomei and Wanda Sykes for delivering the comic goods. Since the ratings were good, I look forward to seeing more of these live versions of classic shows.

Bruce said...

I'm all in on the "Small Wonder" reboot.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Jamie Foxx the tribute to Tim Conway, and to the cast for their tributes to Harvey Korman.

VP81955 said...

To Peter:

If you're going to reboot a syndicated sitcom from the late '80s, make it "Out Of This World." An underrated series produced by Burt Reynolds, who voiced the unseen alien that impregnated Donna Pascow's character; the result of that union was a teen girl with magic powers, essentially Sabrina Spellman a decade before Melissa Joan Hart.

Victor Velasco said...

Hits: Wanda Sykes, Marisa Tomei, Kerry Washington, Will Ferrell, Jamie Foxx, Marla Gibbs
Misses: Woody Harrelson, Anthony Anderson, Ike Barinholtz, Ellie Kemper, Stephen Tobolowsky, Jamie Foxx

Wanda's take on Weezy was all her while staying true to the character; same with Tomei, Washington, Ferrell, Gibbs and Foxx.

What Harrelson and Tobolowsky missed were the EYES. Carroll O' Connor's wide, blue expressive orbs conveyed so much. Paul Benedict always looked like he might become unhinged; Tobolowsky appeared medicated...Anderson was OK but they couldn't give him a bald pate like Mel Stewart?. Barinholtz showed none of Meathead's passion. Though Gloria Bunker became less wide eyed and sensitive as AITF went on, Kemper seemed to walk through her part. Jamie Foxx makes both lists because while he was superb in capturing all of George's mannerisms, he was just too damned TALL. George Jeffersons' strutting and rolling conveyed a tough little dude with a need; Jamie's real frame negates the reason for George's mannerisms

D McEwan said...

That was a grizzly hour of TV. Where to start? I guess with Woody Harrelson's cartoon New Yawk accent. Woody was terrible. The accent was ludicrous. Sounded like a high school production of Guys and Dolls.

Why was Sean Hayes playing what was supposed to be a straight character (Mentioned having a wife and a kid) as a screaming queen? He was gayer than he is on WILL & GRACE. (And if that was a "9-layer cake," then those layers were one-inch thick each.)

The farewell "party" for Henry Jefferson consisted of three Jeffersons and four Bunkers. WHERE WERE THE OTHER GUESTS? Louise Jefferson asked to borrow the Bunkers house to have a party at which the Bunkers are the only guests? Didn't Henry have any friends at all?

There was no excuse for Jamie Foxx breaking character and ad-libbing. This was not a recreation of a Carol Burnett Show sketch, where they tried to distract you when a sketch is second rate by concentrating on making Harvey Korman break up. It's a fucking sitcom. Be a friggin' professional, Mr. Oscar-winning actor.

How much was cut? Because between today's 15 minutes of ads per hour and all the extraneous crap of Jimmy Kimmell and the unneeded intros and outros, they had one hell of a lot less time for the scripts than they'd have had 44 years ago. How much was cut?

Jamie Foxx, more anyone else, was trying to recreate the actor he was filling in for. They gave him an excellent Sherman Hensley wig, and he successfully captured Sherman's cock-of-the-walk strut, though it was funnier on Sherman because he was so short. Jamie was so much taller than Sherman that the whole "Short Man Syndrome" that was so much a part of that character's bravado was missing. Jamie did capture Sherman's relentless obnoxiousness, which had been the primary reason I stopped watching The Jeffersons back after its first season ended.

Wanda Sykes was very good, and Jovan Adepo made a gorgeous Lionel. Jennifer Hudson tore up the place in her smoking rendition of The Jeffersons theme song.

Who doesn't want to hire a maid who is 88? "Why are you loafing? Chest pains? Finish those damn windows. You can go to the emergency room on your day off. No heart attacks on MY time!"

Look, Stephen Tobolowsky is a good comic actor. I've seen him do good work, but why on earth cast him as Bently? Bently is English! There was dialogue in the episode about him being English! He didn't even attempt an English accent, the opposite of Woody Harrelson doing a ludicrous accent. Tobolowky was not helped by the fact that the late Paul Benedict was a marvelous comic actor, utterly unique, and really the only reason for me to watch The Jeffersons at all. All Tobolowsky could be was "Not Paul Benedict."

And then came the horror, the unspeakable horror. With no advance warning that I saw, out came The Enemy of Comedy, Will Ferrell. I was so disgusted to see him that I almost just switched it off right then. And, as with Sean Hayes, I must ask, why was Will Ferrell playing Willis as a flaming gay stereotype? Ferrell's not gay. Willis is not gay. Why play him like a middle-aged gay theater professor?

And why live? We got a few screw-ups and Jamie Foxx's breaking character, and the boom mike had trouble staying out of shots, and the audience's unearned, annoying cheering, but what did we gain? No one out here saw it live, and I watched it recorded two hours after it aired here.

All in all, an experiment I'd chalk up as a failure, but the ratings were strong, so now they are eyeing performing the same atrocity on Maude and Good Times.

Peter said...

Kelsey Grammer was on British breakfast TV yesterday and he said there are six ideas in contention for a new series of Frasier.

E. Yarber said...

The idea of reusing old scripts goes back to the days of dramatic radio. Far from the range of foreign signals, Australia used to redo American shows like THE SHADOW with local casts. Some of those programs are included in bundles of the original episodes.

Dashiell Hammett's THE THIN MAN was popular as a weekly series, so ABC tried to get into the action by renaming Hammett's "Continental Op" character THE FAT MAN. (Appropriately enough, one of the sponsors was Pepto-Bismal). This was late in the radio drama game, however, so only a couple of the American shows survive as recordings. The majority available come from the Australian version.

When Bob & Ray were at CBS, they had access to the network's library in New York and would sometimes perform scenes from shows like YOURS TRULY, JOHNNY DOLLAR before twisting the original scenario off into insanity.

Matt said...

Maybe they could do an episode of Happy Days directed by Ron Howard.

Rick Kaplan said...

I was hoping the script would have been set in this era. The novelty of seeing the actors redo a 1973 script got old quickly. Nobody could come close to the original. Sundance TV was running All In The Family reruns and I switched to them. Imagine Archie Bunker in 2019.I was hoping that would have been the premise.

E. Yarber said...

And a lot of classic television came from reused scripts. The early seasons of shows like DRAGNET and GUNSMOKE were almost entirely composed of programs originally written for radio, while I LOVE LUCY reworked stories from MY FAVORITE HUSBAND. I think the ever-thrifty Jack Webb may have tried to double-down at one point by using the DRAGNET TV soundtrack for the still-running radio version.

A former radio writer once told me about seeing one of his audio stories turn up on a TV anthology show, the script credit going to the program's producer. The producer defended the move by saying the original play had been a work-for-hire job he adapted for the small screen.

Kosmo13 said...

It was great seeing Marla Gibbs reprise her old role from the real Jeffersons series. It also made me think of one of Simon Oakland's lines from the Kolchak: The Night Stalker series.

"Oh, that's a national disgrace, a man that age having to eke out a living as a busboy."

Is / was our economy so bad that an 88-year-old has to take a job as maid to support herself?

Mike Bloodworth said...

Since you're writing so many plays these days this seems applicable. I've never seen a Broadway play with the original cast. But, imagine seeing "The Odd Couple," for example, with Art Carney and Walter Matthau and then watching the movie and then the TV show. One couldn't help but to make comparisons to the original. The first time for anything is usually unique. Good or bad.
So, I look at this A.I.T.F./Jeffersons redo like the revival of and old play. Same words different cast. Some casts may be awful, some may be great. Some might even be better than than the original. Yet, in your heart the first time will always be the best.
That being said, I didn't watch Wednesday's broadcast and I won't be watching tonight.

Liggie said...

The idea of the event was to be an introduction of "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons" to viewers with no memory of them, and also the importance of Norman Lear. In that sense, it succeeded. I remember watching those shows when I was a kid in the '70s, and understood Archie was a grouch and George a loudmouth, but I don't recall the supporting characters / neighbors, and I had no idea of the social contexts. This will help me appreciate the shows more when I see them on the rerun channels, and I hope it would for those who were born after 1980 and know Rob Reiner as the "Princess Bride" director instead of as Meathead.

My main quibble was it being live. Without a crew well practiced for live TV like SNL, it opened the door for problems like the boom mic showing in the second act of the "Jeffersons" segment. Of course, we did get the Jamie Foxx line flub and brilliant recovery; the actors breaking out in smiles and Woody Harrelson turning to the backdrop to keep from cracking up were priceless to watch.

Speaking of Woody, here's a Friday Question. When you direct something new, do you discuss how a character's voice should sound with the actor? Harrelson as Archie adopted Carroll O'Connor's vocal mannerisms, and this was the first time I've witness a Harrelson character speak with a different vocal manner and tone than Harrelson's real-life voice (Jimmy Stewart also never changed his on- and off-camera voice). Meanwhile, Megan Mullally and Melissa Rauch speak at least an octave higher as "Will and Grace"'s Karen and "The Big Bang Theory"'s Bernadette than their regular voices.

cb said...

Sadly no longer true:

Drive down Fairfax, and the first window without a chicken in in is CBS.

Bradley said...

I was all prepared to hate it...and I loved it. The reverence in which it was produced, and the clear appreciation of the material by the performers (especially Marisa Tomei and Wanda Sykes) was exciting to watch. Very well done.

Frank Beans said...

I'm not going to win any friends for saying this, but I can't stand Norman Lear's brand of comedy. It's so on-the-nose, histrionic and didactic that it's just patronizing. It makes me feel like I'm a child being preached at--with values I share, nevertheless--but it's so heavy-handed that it's neither funny nor poignant.

The best socially-conscious comedies of the era--MASH and BARNEY MILLER, avoid this trap because they actually draw you in and make you think, and are original, complex, and funny. They throw some curve balls at you, instead of simply lobbing softballs across the plate.

Anonymous said...

I really liked it and I thought Jamie Fox did a great job in the ALL IN THE FAMILY sketch, but didnt capture the unhinged nature of George Jefferson in that episode. Wanda Sykes was perfect, not a thing to change about her performance and Marla Gibbs was GREAT, especially for her age. The live version of the Jeffersons theme really played well too. Very enjoyable.


Buttermilk Sky said...

I tried Wednesday and again tonight. No.

Unlike everyone else, I disliked Marisa Tomei, who evidently thought she was hired to impersonate Jean Stapleton. She and Harrelson provided faint copies of the originals instead of acting. No one else was really terrible except Stephen Tobolowsky, who I usually like. Did he not know Bentley is English? And that toupe was unspeakable.

But the deal-breaker was the audience of howler monkeys. I've heard less cheering for entrances at the opera. I first noticed on the old Letterman show that people no longer laughed at jokes, they applauded. When something was really funny, they screamed. (Colbert eggs them on even worse.) I suppose this is encouraged or demanded by the "warm-up comic" but I find it unbearable. And Mr. Lear might ease up on the self-congratulations. He thought he would end bigotry by holding up a mirror to it. How'd that work out?

Jeff Weimer said...

The whole thing probably would have seemed fine, except they showed clips from the original airings and that did the new version no favors. The original jokes shown landed better, the actors were more expressive to sell them, and it confirmed my suspicion that Woody and Jamie (and to a lesser extent Marisa Tomei) were trying too hard - they were attempting to play the actors playing the characters. Wanda Sykes was the best of the top 4, she played it understated and inhabited the role effortlessly. All in all, the AitF episode felt forced.

The Jeffersons was much better. Jamie settled down a bit and it helped immensely. Even Will Ferrell turned in a good performance. The best was that Marla Gibbs as Florence again and killed it with her lines, even though they were delivered quite differently, as the younger her was more expressive and the much older character was befittingly understated in her delivery.

Foxx is too tall for George - I had problem with his character but couldn't put my finger on it until I read the comments here. Part of the immense chip on George's shoulder comes from his "short man syndrome".

Jay said...

I'm 37 years old, so neither All in the Family nor The Jeffersons were a part of my childhood, but I am a comedy nerd, so I have seen many episodes of both shows thanks to syndication, and I fucking loved this live special event.

There was something about watching A- and B-list actors performing grade-A comedy live that felt very cool and special. Also, as a live event, it felt very well produced (the sets...Jennifer Hudson performing the Jeffersons theme live...the pitch-perfect casting of Marisa Tomei, Wanda Sykes, etc.).

This whole event felt like what Saturday Night Live wants to be but rarely achieves: fresh and surprising material being aired live...and with the Jamie Foxx flub, the Marla Gubbs surprise cameo and the whole feeling of topicality, it was very entertaining to watch unfold live. Also, unlike the over-rated SNL cast, the actors in this special didn't spend 70% of the time awkwardly looking at cue cards.

As a....ugh, millennial (I really fucking hate that label)...I actually hope ABC or any other big 4 network makes these live reboots of classic sitcoms to be a frequent special (and if it displaces those misguided live musical events, all the better). It would get me hyped uo about watching anything on broadcast TV.

Jay said...

Oh, I also forgot to mention: one of the things I enjoyed most about this live special, was that it felt like everyone had FUN.

Imagine that...actors, writers, directors, having actual fun creating comedy.

As much as I love comedy in 2019, very rarely do I find myself thinking: these artists are really enjoying themselves and not trying to send a message (the only thing I can think of within the last 6 months is "I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson" on Netflix...and even that is really just for fans of absurdist, heightened comedy, which isn't a comedy sub-genre that appeals to a lot of people).

VP81955 said...

One wonders whether Kimmel tried to get bantam rooster Kevin Hart cast as George Jefferson. He'd have been ideal, at least physically.

Kevin FitzMaurice said...

Regarding your first paragraph: That's how I felt essentially about "The Cosby Show," never a favorite of mine, even long before Cosby's personal problems became public.

Jeff Maxwell said...

I tried, but I didn’t get it. I don’t get it. They did it years ago, and they did it about as good as it gets. Make new versions of those shows for 2019, but to ask very good actors to recreate/imitate such iconic roles, actors and their accents? What? Give the same scripts to new actors and let them have at it.

In my humble opinion, it had the feel of skilled but senseless high school immaturity, not tribute.

If I had been the producer, I would have saved a lot of money and hired Dana Carvey to play all the parts.

Colin Stratton said...

Maybe the feud between Carroll O'Connor and Norman Lear was wasn't so one sided after all. The only reason Lear would allow such a train wreck is that his ego is as big as his bank account.

Jeff Maxwell said...

Jeff Maxwell said: "Give the same scripts to new actors and let them have at it."

That’s what they did, but why imitate the original actors and their characterizations? Did the producers (Jimmy Kimmel) feel Norman Lear’s words weren’t enough? I would’ve loved to have seen those same actors with their own interpretation of the roles, rather than watch them try to match vocal tones. I like Mr. Kimmel, but this was a Jimmy Gimmick.

I still don’t get it.

Mike Doran said...

After watching this, I dug out my copy of Carroll O'Connor's memoir, I Think I'm Outta Here.
O'Connor devotes an entire chapter to All In The Family,basically claiming credit for any and all success that the series ever had.
Specifically, O'Connor says that his involvement began with a man named Howard Edelman, with whom he signed the first deal for what was still 'Till Death Us Do Part, the British original.
It was ABC, which had first refusal on the project, who brought Norman Lear into the picture - and Lear subsequently aced Edelman out of the show altogether.
And (per O'Connor), it was Lear who would have turned the whole thing into a standard jokey sitcom, had not he (O'Connor) singlehandedly set everyone straight.
The whole book is this way: even for an autobiography, O'Connor's book is incredibly self-serving (a later chapter tells how O'Connor personally saved In The Heat Of The Night from failure and such).
Using a phrase I once read about someone else, Carroll O'Connor "claimed credit for the Earth."
Well, you know the old saw about "Victory has a thousand fathers …"
And the fact is that Norman Lear, still being alive and all, has won out in the end.
So There Too.

Robert Brauer said...

I liked it well enough, though I am not terribly familiar with the original material. If they do decide to do one of these specials again, my personal recommendation: Sanford & Son, with Tracy Morgan as Fred Sanford and Donald Glover as Lamont.

By the way, thanks for answering my Friday Question Ken. If I should ever meet Larry Bird, I'll ask him why decided to back out of doing Cheers.

Anonymous said...

...with all due respect. I think some of the commentors bars may be a little high for what qualifies as enjoyable TV entertainment. Just talkin about the opinions, not the people.


D McEwan said...

"Buttermilk Sky said...
I tried Wednesday and again tonight. No.

Unlike everyone else, I disliked Marisa Tomei"

Not everyone else. I thought Tomei was terrible. But that's the only thing in your comment I disagree with. You seem to have seen the same miserable production I saw, and yes, the audience was deeply irritating pouring out unearned cheers.

"Anonymous Jay said...
This whole event felt like what Saturday Night Live wants to be"

And therein lies a big part of why it sucked. SNL is SKETCH COMEDY. This was supposed to be a fucking sitcom, not a sketch. You can get away with screwing around, ad libbing and grossly pandering to your live audience in a sketch show, but NOT in a sit-com, where the acting is supposed to be more realistic, and the laughs earned. Impressions for characterizations works fine in sketches, but it ain't acting, and is disastrous in a sit-com.

And of course, SNL tries to be up to date, not re-cycling heavy-handed 50 year old scripts. The deft touch of the original actors took some of the heavy-handedness out of the shows then, but this time around, the material was being hammered onto us with sledgehammer deliveries to match the heavy-handed scripts.

"VP81955 said...
One wonders whether Kimmel tried to get bantam rooster Kevin Hart cast as George Jefferson. He'd have been ideal, at least physically."

Brilliant suggestion! You are right. Kevin would be ideal in the role. He and Wanda could have made a George and Weezie that actually worked, at least until The Comedy Black Hole Will Ferrell walked in and ruined things, and then they started interviewing an 88 year old woman to be the maid.

Ted Kilvington said...

I watched the show on Hulu last night. The acting all seemed to be caricatures of the original performances, and the style of humor was about four decades past its prime. Other than that....

Cap'n Bob said...

Didn't watch it then, didn't watch it now. That's nostalgia.

Mary Warwick said...

Friday question... Who is cashing in on the ratings juggernaut that is James Holzhauer? Affiliate stations? The show itself? I don't understand how ad rates are set for syndicated shows. Second question, would you ever want to be on Jeopardy? I wouldn't.

L. H. said...

Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion, and it's fine if you didn't like or enjoy the special...but wow, some of you people need to lighten up.

Gary said...

This whole exercise reminded me of when the movie PSYCHO was remade in 1998, with new actors following the exact same script. In both cases, all I could think of while watching was "WHY?"

Peter said...

Oh no...

Just saw a clip of Kelsey Grammer being interviewed by Christiane Amanpour last week in which he says he's a Trump supporter.

I've always known he's a Republican, which is fine. I'm a big fan of Clint Eastwood and Gary Sinise, who are Republicans.

But Trump...

Ken, you've been very clear that you've got no time for anyone who still supports Trump after the last two years. This must mean you wouldn't want to write on any new series of Frasier.

I'm so disappointed in Grammer. I still think he's a great actor, but I expected better of him. Lots of mainstream Republicans don't like Trump. I'd hoped he'd be one of them.

Storm said...

(Disclosure: I'm talking out my neck, because I didn't watch. However, part of my reasoning is listed below)

I'm glad I'm not the only one who had problems with casting on this; it's the main, if not only, reason I didn't watch. Take Jamie Foxx or leave him, he's a HEAD TALLER than everyone else, thus blowing most of the concept of George as a little big man completely. And yeah, my first thought was "Kevin Hart is in EVERYTHING, how is he NOT playing George?!"

Are there NO Englishmen in L.A. right now? WHY with Tobolowsky, who I love in so much other stuff? But then, even though I have a whole mental catalogue (see what I did there, lads? ;) of English actors that I adore, the first person to come to my mind was John Oliver. He does befuddled so well, and looks snazzy in a suit.

Lastly, lovely Miss Marla Gibbs, still turning it out at 88. See now, that is a lovely idea; the idea of an 88 year old maid is just cringey. So I ask, in the name of sanity, WHY didn't they have her in an episode where she could play Mother Jefferson?!?

Oh, and @Robert Brauer: I would watch the HELL outta that, SON!

Cheers, thanks a lot,


D McEwan said...

"Anonymous Mary Warwick said...
Friday question... Who is cashing in on the ratings juggernaut that is James Holzhauer?"

James is the one cashing in. And I know a number of Jeopardy fans, regular daily viewers for decades, who have stopped watching it until that creepy guy hogging all the money is off the show. They didn't stop watching when Ken Jennings was on, but Jennings wasn't creepy. Frankly, he makes my skin crawl.

"Gary said...
This whole exercise reminded me of when the movie PSYCHO was remade in 1998, with new actors following the exact same script. In both cases, all I could think of while watching was "WHY?""

On the nose! That was the most unnecessary movie ever made.

"Anonymous L. H. said...
Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion, and it's fine if you didn't like or enjoy the special...but wow, some of you people need to lighten up."

So we're entitled to our opinions being different from yours, but not that different? They need to not pass off crapola as prime time quality, nor to dishonor great shows with crappy remounts.

"Peter said...
Just saw a clip of Kelsey Grammer being interviewed by Christiane Amanpour last week in which he says he's a Trump supporter."

Yeah. That Republican swine has been dead to me for a number of years now.

Poochie said...

Fri Question;

Say they were to recreate this experiment with Cheers (a suggestion tossed by Alan Sepinwall), which episode would you pick and who you cast? It almost assuredly has to be a Sam/Diane centered season one episode doesn't it?

VP81955 said...

The most unnecessary movie ever made? How about the 1957 version of "My Man Godfrey"? Never knew there was one, did you?

This film's leads were David Niven (whom at least had a supporting part in a 1938 "Lux Radio Theater" adaptation of the 1936 original, with William Powell, Carole Lombard and Gail Patrick reprising their movie roles) and June Allyson, figuratively too small to step into Lombard's giant comedic shoes. Adding Technicolor did the remake no good, and the social point of the '36 version -- made in a society easing its way out of the Depression -- was entirely erased during Eisenhower-era prosperity. No wonder the remake is rarely revived.

E. Yarber said...

Another example of revisionist reimagining in the mid-50s: A year before the MY MAN GODFREY remake, MGM released THE OPPOSITE SEX, figuring that THE WOMEN would work much better with MEN in it.

D McEwan said...

"VP81955 said...
The most unnecessary movie ever made? How about the 1957 version of "My Man Godfrey"? Never knew there was one, did you?

I not only knew of it, I saw it before I saw the classic version. And yes, it's on the Unnecessary Movie List.

But remaking Hitchcock is like repainting DaVinci or rewriting Shakespeare.