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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Beginning The Honorable Mention Odyssey.

There will be roughly 35 sitcoms covered, including the Top Ten, which we will get to last.
The Honorable Mentions will precede them, and described in descending order, with the higher numbers worth less than the lower numbers.
I will cover as many each session as fills the page.
I may have more to say about some than others.
I will begin with #22, which includes all the shows I worked on intensely:
The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Busting Loose, Makin' It, and She's The Sheriff.
I enjoyed them all, enjoyed working on them all, but would find it self-serving to put any of them in the Top Ten.
And I don't really think any of them have earned it.
But they all deserve Honorable mention.
I don't want to rate them.
That's like trying to pick your favorite children.
So it's placing at #22 is not really reflective of how I feel about them.
It's just my attempt at diplomacy.

Our Miss Brooks.
Eve Arden when her timimg was impeccable.
The writing was funny and intelligent.
The supporting cast was first rate.
Gale Gordon was the perfect foil.
Much better than with Lucy.
If you've never seen Richard Crenna as the teenaged high-pitched voiced Walter Denton, you've missed major comedy.

Sanford and Son.
Good writing, but it mainly had a major force of comedic nature in Redd Foxx.
I defy anyone to watch that show and not find Redd Foxx hilarious.

The Burns and Allen Show.
Always funny.
Gracie was great.
Burns, particularly in his monologues, which broke the fourth wall, was brilliant.
Bea Benaderet was a major asset.
Another major innovation, particularly back then, was how George would sit in his den with the TV on and his show on the TV.
He'd watch it, and never tell any of the other characters that he was watching.
And he'd use this device to drive the other characters crazy and drive the story.
As imaginative as you could get.
A word of caution:
Don't watch too many episodes back to back.
You'll start to notice that it's essentially the same show every week.
Small doses.
The writing must have been particularly difficult.
The writers kept having to come up with straight-lines for other characters to feed to Gracie that can be taken in two different ways.
Gracie would invariably take the wrong one.


All In The Family.
I thought it was hilarious, revolutionary, controversial when nothing else was, well written, and extremely well-played.
It still is.
But it hasn't dated well.
It was always very topical, and very loud.
It now seems even louder, and it's topicality does not work in it's favor any more.

Web Therapy
A recent find.
Lisa Kudrow as a sham psychiatrist conducting three minute sessions with clients on the internet.
It is primarily about lying.
Lisa Kudrow is a major comedic treasure, and this show (Recently found on Showtime) already has it's shit together.

The Danny Thomas Show.
This was one of my favorite shows when I was a young teenager, before Rusty Hamer got too old to be funny any more.
It was solid hardball comedy.
Very solid scripts.
Thomas was very good.
It had Hans Conreid as Uncle Tonoose.
Nobody else did.
But the last ten minutes of each episode were usually pretty deadly.
It got sentimental to the point of treacle.
And he'd usually be singing, which I myself could always pass up.
I'd usually watch the last five minutes of "M Squad".
I think that this has been an auspicious beginning.
More next time.


My book, "Show Runner" can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store, if you search my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple, and Happy Days.
You might want to check it out.

The paperback, "Mark Rothman's Essays" is still available for people without Kindle. I have many readings and signings remaining, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.

You might want to check out the Kindle Store in general. It is the wave of the future, so consider me a surfer.


1 comment:

  1. If I remember right, Hans Conried wasn't on every show, which made it more special when he did show up.

    I will still stop and watch when channel surfing if Sanford and Son is on.



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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."