Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Merch: The Odd Couple Sings

I'm actually shaking I want this so much, as a fan of embarrassing celebrity records, the thought of Jack Klugman singing is probably the best thing ever. Klugman has been open of his disdain for this project and one wonders who the hell thought this was a good idea?

You can listen here, I plan to spend the rest of my evening doing entirely that...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Review: Fox Sunday Night Schedule

Fox unveiled it's Sunday night block of cartoons last night and I thought I'd take a look at it. Fox has owned Sunday night in my house when my "house" consisted of a cinder blocked room with orange carpeting and stolen furniture, it's a tradition that I really enjoy.

The Simpsons: Somewhere a few years ago the Simpson's went from being a real laugh powerhouse to this sort of whimsicle series. Unlike a lot of my peers, I still enjoy The Simpson's. Now it's in 21st year, they proved that there is still life in those bones. The plot was somewhat recycled (how many hollywood productions will star Simpson family members?) but the Seth Rogan (who wrote the show) character kind of redeemed the piece as did the scenes of the final film.

The Cleveland Show: Family guy nieghbour Cleveland Brown (I just got that joke) gets his own series by moving back to his home state and marrying his high school sweetheart.

As pilots go, this one kind of clunked along and made me wonder if we have our first animated example of "Fish". Cleveland was a fun character on Family Guy but I never thought "Hey, I wanted more Cleveland in this one".

I've been wrong before so I'll give it a few more chances. I haven't watched "king of the Hill" in over five years, preferring to work online instead, so I'm not sure if I'll be productive or not at 8:30 this Sunday.

Family Guy: Last season was a bit dodgy for me and Family Guy, the show was really starting to show a few creaks but this opener was pretty terrific. I really didn't care if the multiverse idea found any sort of a plot, it was just kind of fun. I hope it gets revisited again.

Family Guy is the second stop into an hour and a half of Seth McFarlane programming, does anybody else wonder when he plans on sleeping?

American Dad: This series sure took it's knocks when it debuted but last nights season premiere shows how funny it can be. The Viet Nam reenactment piece was great as was Roger's subplot. Most likely my favourite show of the evening.

Over all I enjoyed the block and found it entertaining although I wonder if it will grind over time, apparently we are in for 35 episodes of "The Cleveland Show" whether we like it or not BTW.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Britcoms: The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin

One of Television's more interesting journeys has to be "The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin" a wonderful series about a man going through a mid life crisis. Reggie has a mundane life, a dull job, a doting wife and a happy family but one day he just begins to unravel. Reggie starts coming in late for work, he day dreams constantly (funny cutaway shots long before "Scrubs" or "Dream On") and begins lusting madly after his secretary.

The show just keeps twisting, with Reggie eventually faking his own death and becoming a pig farmer. He returns in the second season to his wife and opens a business intentionally bound for failure, a shop that sells useless items, it's a rousing success. He then hires idiots to help it fail and it becomes even more successful.

The third season has Perrin and his wife opening a commune of sorts and eventually has him returning to his life, dull job and all. It's exactly the sort of weird series that British Television nurtures and the American system tortures and kills, just due to their structure.

"Reginald Perrin" is a classic series and I wish there were more journeys like it.

There was a short run US version of this (called "Reggie") that I'll discuss at another time, I won't be gushing.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Short Lived: Payne

Fifteen years after "Amanda's" flopped, US producers tried again to capture "Fawlty Towers" with "Payne" this time with John Larroquette as "Royal Payne" (HA!) a man obsessed with the competition. This time he bullies around MO, an East Indian version of Manuel. Jo Beth Williams played Mrs Payne.

Just like Amanda's it was a mid season replacement and despite Laroquette being good casting, it was a miserable flop. I'd like to suggest to Hollywood that maybe the magic of Fawlty Towers cannot be recaptured but I know right now Kelsey Grammar is looking for a vehicle.....

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Short Lived: Amanda's

British Sit Com "Fawlty Towers" is just too good not to Americanize it seems, however with this 1983 ABC series, we learned one thing, The late Bea Arthur was no John Cleese.

"Amanda's" was about Amanada Cartwright who ran a sea side resort called "Amanda's By The Sea" and her trials with family and staff including a bumbling foreign assistant, this time played by Canadian SCTV alum Tony Rosato.

Despite Arthur's presence and Rosato being inspired as "Manuel", it didn't gel and was quickly axed. As a mid season replacement, it's fate was likely sealed before it hit the air. One of these days I've got to talk about "Condo" it's lead in show.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

DVD Release: 30 Rock Season 3

The big get on DVD today (unless you're a Spongebob Squarepants fan, which I totally am) would be Season 3 of 30 Rock, Tina Fey's Emmy award winning series about the back stage life at a comedy variety show.
I'm a believer that 30 Rock is the best sitcom on US television currently and while many complained about the over use of celebrity guest stars this season (and they are correct) the show's quality didn't waiver IMO.

Below is a series of highlights from Season 3, my two personal favourites:

  • Liz using the Lego train as a "Robot Penis" at the Six Sigma meeting. This is famous because my son happened to downstairs (he's supposed to be sleeping) when it was on and he hasn't let it go. He's six and that is the funniest thing he has ever seen.
  • Alan Alda making that "Guy crying over a Chicken and a Baby" comment. It seems almost taboo to mock the last episode of M*A*S*H and it was simply a bit of brilliance that you won't see on "According To Jim".

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Short Lived: Get Smart (1995)

If you didn't like last year's Steve Carrel movie based on the classic sitcom, you may want a reminder of how things could be worse. "Get Smart" had it's share of ups and downs since it's classic, original run in the 1960s. Max returned in a 1980 solo theatrical movie called "The Nude Bomb" which was indeed a bomb and later the franchise was redeemed with a great TV reuinion movie nine years later in "Get Smart Again"!

Then the franchise hit a real low point with this 1995 mid season replacement, which finds Max now the chief of control and his son now working as a fledgling agent. Zach Smart was far goofier than his pop, mostly because he was played by Andy Dick, yes that Andy Dick.

Damning the show further was the writing, Dick can be a funny performer when he's got some direction (see News Radio) but when he runs out in the pilot to distract some of the Villain's (Lars) goons by yelling "Hey, Lars sucks!" you know exactly why this wasn't on the fall schedule.

Andy Dick has had his share of dumb moves in his career but this version of "Get Smart" may highlight his brightest, while he was still under contract to Fox for potentially more episodes, he signed on to do "Newsradio" which aired a couple of months later. This could have gotten him in legal trouble but proved to be "smart" because Fox didn't come knocking again...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

DVD Release: IT Crowd Season 3

Hot Damn! My favourite situation comedy of the last few years has a new DVD release and the quality is still there. Season 3 has plots about being Roy and Moss becoming "real men", the horrors of facebook Friendface, Renholm's employee of the month and a topless nerds calendar.

Here are some scenes from Season 3 in no order and they won't make any sense, the embedding id disabled on my absolute favourite scene from this season but click on this link to see it: Electric Sex Pants:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Short Lived: Women in Prison

Ahhhh, the early days of the Fox network, where they were trying to make their name by offering things that no other network had before. This paid off with "Married with Children" their first big hit, so they tried the formula a half dozen more times. "The Simpsons" came out of the deal, so it wasn't all bad.

"Women in Prison" was one of those things that fell somewhat flat, the story of Vicki (Julia Campbell) a housewife framed by her husband and the folks she meets while doing time in prison. There's Dawn, the murderer (played by the very talented CCH Pounder, who probably doesn't include this in her resume), Pam the computer thief (sitcom veteran Wendy Jo Sperber) and the guards played by Denny Dillon (the first I had heard of her but she's better known for "Dream On") and always working charactor actor Blake Clarke.

After 13 episodes in 1987, the Women in Prison were set free or so I imagine. I think Fox didn't realise that if you remove the shower scenes from these kinds of things, nobody wants to watch 'em.

In a weird bit of trivia, actor Blake Clarke can be seen in costume on the set of WIP in the Ramones "Something to believe in" video, lord knows why...