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Friday, June 13, 2014


Last time out, I took a crap on "Petticoat Junction".
Do I think it was the worst show ever to grace the airwaves?
It's said that nobody starts out to make a bad sitcom.
I think that this is true.
What's also true is that a whole lotta times, people start out intending to not necessarily make a good sitcom.
It's more a matter of indifference.
Or perhaps questionable taste.
Or lack of inspiration.
I think that this was the case with "Petticoat Junction".
It also applies to such shows as:

Family Affair
My Three Sons
Green Acres
The Doris Day Show
The Brady Bunch
The Donna Reed Show
Gilligans Island
Bridget Loves Bernie
Courtship of Eddie's Father
Mister Ed
My Favorite Martian
The Flying Nun
and countless others.
Mel Brooks has referred to these types of shows as "Hummers"
There's a noise in the living room.
A humming noise.
Somebody asks ""What's that humming noise?"
He then notices that the TV set is turned on, tuned to one of these shows.
He goes to the TV set, turns it off, and says "There.  That's better."
What "hummers" have in common is that they don't require your attention.
All they have to be is on.
What they all have in common is that they're all single-camera sitcoms.
And back in the day, they all had laugh tracks.
I don't think that laugh tracks exist any more.
I could be wrong.
If you did pay attention to them, you might notice that they were all pretty much bad shows.
But there was a high end for hummers:
The Andy Griffith Show.
Ozzie and Harriet.
Father Knows Best.
They all qualify.
The main problem is that many people actually prefer hummers to any other form of TV.
One of the most dismaying afternoons I ever spent was when we took a couple of episodes of "She's The Sheriff" to the Preview House to be tested and focus-grouped before we aired any of them.
In the focus group, one man piped up with "You know why I don't like this show?  Because you have to pay attention to it.  You can't just sit there and do a crossword puzzle or read the paper while it's on."
I don't think that this has changed.
If anything, it has gotten worse.
This is why I now prefer to write plays.
Even movies can be watched like TV.
But you have to sit in the dark to watch a play.
No crossword puzzles.
No Sudoku.


My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not
e-books. But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one. If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:



  1. No Sudoku? Didn't he sing BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO?

  2. Yes, I have always known people who turn on the TV first thing in the morning and leave it going all day and half the night. It's like wallpaper. It keeps them company if they are alone, or if the present company has run out of things to say to each other. When a show ends and there's nothing more to watch, it's best to just turn the tube off and get on with your life. Unfortunately, I think that way too much of today's programming has evolved into wallpaper. In fact, we have a cable producer in our town that sends HD cameras to all corners of the earth to record beautiful scenes of waterfalls, landscapes, wildlife, ocean waves, etc., in long, soothing segments with the camera stationary. They set the footage to beautiful music, and it almost literally becomes wallpaper for those who view it. Of course, they won't be hiring any script writers anytime soon!

  3. You could be eligible for a complimentary $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.

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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."