Thursday, December 25, 2008

Worst Gift Ever

I searched Ebay for a good hour today looking for what would be the worst bit of sitcom merchandise ever and let's just say there are more candidates than American Idol.

The out and out winner had to be these promotional Alf records from Burger King, which feature hits such as "Melmac Rock" and "Melmac Girls", you get where this is going. The seller of this auction mentions that they've never been played, what a surprise.

How could you not just want to listen to these rare gems? I'm sure they've aged well.

I hate to leave on such a high note but this is the last SD post for the year, I will return in January after getting reaquainted with these people who call me "Daddy".

Thanks for your support and I'll see you in the New Year...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas, Ya Big Dummies!

Charles Dickens masterpiece "A Christmas Carol" is a yule tide tradition and of course, sitcoms ripping it off is also a tradition. It's a cheap way to make a quick buck before going to the Hollywood rap party. So I thought I'd present the greatest rip off adaptation of a Christmas Carol ever made, "Ebenzer Sanford".

The line about "Heart full of Christmas, face for Halloween" still makes me laugh...

G\\Redd Foxx bless us, everyone....

Monday, December 22, 2008

TVs Scariest Dad

Last week, Rob (from the wonderful Aquaman Shrine) suggested to me that John Amos from Good Times would be TVs scariest pop and I thought it would be an interesting topic. James Evans was the first TV dad that I can remember that genuinely yelled at his kids, I remember not liking his character much as a young padawan. He never truly scared me though, maybe it was the fact that he threatened and yelled so damn much. He never belted the kids like he promised too and I always got the feeling Florida kind of ruled that house in a kind of "Lady MacBeth" way.
If this wasn't solely a blog about sitcoms, I'd have to give the title to Guy Williams, the Dad on "Lost in Space". Something about Guy's performance on that show scared me, he never seemed to comfortable working with kids.

But for me, TVs scariest dad had to be Dan Lauria from the Wonder Years. It wasn't what he did but what he didn't do that I found, well, realistic. I admired the show and Lauria for this portrayal, he's the most realistic TV father I've ever seen.

Jack Arnold had an air of quiet malevolence, his family tiptoed around him, he hated his job and he had a temper. Also, he looked like a real "Dese, Dose and Dem" type! While it wasn't anything quite like my homestead, I have to say that the Wonder Years hit me at home more than once with this guy.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sweet, I'll say....

I have to honest with you, I have little to no nostalgia for the TV series "Gimmee a Break" as it stands although I always liked the Dad, played by veteran character actor Dolph Sweet.

Sweet was a grizzled mountain of a man who would at home with a fedora and a shot glass in front of him. His entire career is almost always cops, look him on IMDB, his characters are always named "Detective" or "Sherrif" and there's a reason, this guy looks like a cop!

Naturally for "GAB" he was "Police Chief Carl Kanisky" and he brought his gruff stage presence to the show and mostly played it straight, the straight man never gets enough praise in my book.

Sadly Sweet passed away during the show's 1985 season and even more sadly, they kept the show going and going. I lost interest after that but I don't think the show resembled it's original incarnation much.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Merch: Sweathog Grease Machine

This is a little bit of an obscure item that I didn't even know got released. This "Sweathogs Grease Machine" was made by the king of "rack toys" Azrak Hamway International or AHI for short.
Kind of weird considering i don't remember any Sweathog owning a car but I'm sure these sold for $0.59 so who gives a crap?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Animated: Mork

This morning over at Topless Robot, fellow contributor Chris Cummins put together a list of the Worst cartoons based on Television shows, while he seemed to forget about M*U*S*H, most of it is spot on.

In number one position is a Mork and Mindy cartoon, wow, I totally forgot this existed until he mentioned it. Now all the pain comes flooding back, thanks Chris! You'll be getting my therapist's bill for this gutpunch of woe you have unleashed today.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Finales: Good Times

I guess you should always be happy when shows get an ending but in the case of Good Times, should you pleased when the show get a super happy ending?

The Evans clan were pretty real when the show began but by the end, everybody won the lottery! Game over. Why do I hate the fact that they had a happy ending?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cartoons: The Oddball Couple

The Odd Couple was enough of a TV hit it inspired a cartoon knock off in the Depatie Freleng produced "The Oddball Couple". As a kid this was on Sunday morning and right before "Superfriends" so I never missed.

It was rather predictable fair, a messy dog and a neat cat isn't exactly going to be award winning. I have no desire to see anything past this starting.

Neil Simon was credited!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Merch: Good Times JJ Doll

I really like much of the output from Shindana but this one seems a bit weird, JJ in his pajamas was likely a big seller though.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Goodbye Mr Bentley

Sad news last week, veteran character actor Paul Benedict passed away at the young age of 70. Most people knew him as Mr. Bentley, the gentle but somewhat bumbling neighbor to the Jeffersons that proved to be a comic foil for George. While this is his most recognizable piece of work, he had a pretty distinguished career.

If you grew up in the Seventies, you'd recognize Benedict as the "Mad Painter" character on Sesame Street, the guy who painted numbers on bread with ketchup in vignettes.

Benedict also suffered from a rare condition called "acromegaly" (much like fellow actor Rondo Hatton, although less severely) which can distort your facial features, Benedict seemed to use this to his advantage as he was instantly recognizable on screen.

His post Jefferson's career included some success on broadway as both an actor and a stage direct and work in some popular films such as "A Mighty Wind"

As a kid, Mr Bentley was my favorite character, although I was convinced he was also the "Galloping Gourmet".

Friday, December 5, 2008

Spin Offs: The Ropers

I'm bittersweet about the Ropers honestly, mostly because while I do find Norman Fell hilarious and always have, it probably wasn't the wisest idea to take these two out of Three's Company and expand the "Roper Verse".

Just like "Three's Company" was based on a British Counterpart, (called "Man About the House") , "Ropers" was based on "George and Mildred" which is essentially the same thing. Both Ropers move to an upscale condo, both have yuppie neighbours and both Mr. Ropers don't want anything to do with sex with their wives.

The show was also my first introduction to actor Jeffery Tambor, who would later pop up in two of my favorite comedy series of all time.

My big problem with the show is likely that it removed the Ropers from "Three's Company" and they were replaced by Don Knott's Mr Furhley character. While the Ropers had some subtle charm, Knotts just went all "Cheaplaffs" for Furhley and the show became more cartoonish than it had to be.

I can't believe I just wrote a long ramble on the Ropers, I need some friends...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Merch: Shotz Beer Truck

Boy this kind of stretching it, a Shotz Beer Truck from Laverne and Shirley. I don't know if they ever showed one of these on the series ever but this is what it would look like.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Canadian: Learning the Ropes

How could I have forgotten mentioning "Learning the Ropes" earlier? Oh because it's completely forgettable that's why. Another Canadian attempt to crack into American TV "Ropes" stars Lyle Alzado as a single dad who works as a principle and masquerades as a Wrestler by night, hoping never to be discovered.

As I recall, that's the plot of every episode, zany as they come, eh? If you haven't already watched the (unbelievably long) opening for yourself, it's not some MadTV sketch, it's a real show.

Even the title sounds like something "Troy McClure" would star in. Anyway, if you were into Wrestling, you'd get to see celebs like Ric Flair or the Road Warriors. If you somehow missed the sweet siren song of "Sports Entertainment" you got weak plots and canned laughter, so it's win/lose!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Syndicated: Small Wonder

If you ever want to end an argument that society as a whole may be getting dumber, just blurt out the sentence "Small Wonder ran for four seasons!". That's it, game over, nobody can come back from that.

What is Small Wonder you ask? You're a lucky person if you don't know. It's a curious throwback to the 1960's and the concept of "My Living Doll" where an inventor builds a robot and then sort of adopts it. In this case, Ted Lawson builds an android that looks like a little girl in order to sell it as a servant (That's not all creepy) and then decides to keep it as the daughter he never had.

The Lawson family always run the risk of being caught mostly because VICI talks and acts just like a robot. The big danger is Ted's next door neighbor and boss, Brandon Brindle, their daughter Harriet is truly the most frightening child ever seen on TV.

The whole show is just surreal, you'd swear it was created recently to be a back story on "Arrested Development" or something but you can't make this shit up. It used to play on Saturday mornings in my area, which probably was wise considering children are the only people that could possibly be placated by this.

The show never explained why the VICI bot was getting taller but then again Star Trek never explained why data suddenly had a gut either....