Thursday, May 26, 2016

Remembering Beth Howland, Vera from Alice; Another Period Renewed by Comedy Central

Beth Howland

Actress Beth Howland, who was best known for her role as Vera Gorman in Alice, has died. She died of lung cancer on December 31, 2015, in Santa Monica, California. As per her request, her death was not reported to the media until May 24. Ms. Howland was 74.

Howland's career began on stage on Broadway in 1959 with her role as Lady Beth in the Carol Burnett musical Once Upon a Mattress. She originated the role of Amy in the original Broadway cast of Stephen Sondheim's Company, in which she introduced the patter song Getting Married Today. Some of her other roles included the musicals Bye Bye Birdie, High Spirits, Drat! The Cat! and Darling of the Day.

Some of her early television guest appearances included Mary Tyler Moore (2 episodes), Love, American Style, Cannon, The Rookies, Bronk and Little House on the Prairie. She had uncredited roles in the films Li'l Abner (1958) and Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1972).

Alice

Howland starred as Vera Louise Gorman (later Novak) in Alice. Vera was a neurotic, scatterbrained waitress at Mel's Diner in Phoenix. She was accident prone. Her scene with the exploding straws in the pilot episode was used in the opening credits. The shy Vera married policeman Elliot Novak (Charles Levin) in the eighth season.

The popular series ran for nine seasons on CBS from 1976-1985. It also starred Linda Lavin, Vic Tayback, Philip McKeon, Polly Holliday (1976-1980), Diane Ladd (1980-1981) and Celia Weston (1981-1985). Howland received four Golden Globe Award nominations for the role in 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1983.

Some of her other television guest appearances included Eight Is Enough, The Love Boat (6 episodes), Comedy Factory, You Can't Take It With You, Murder She, Wrote, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Batman Beyond (voice), The Tick and As Told by Ginger.

She starred in television movies, including The Ted Bessell Show, You Can't Take It With You, The Wild Wacky Wonderful World of Winter and Agatha Christie's: A Caribbean Mystery. She appeared in the 1988 ABC Afterschool Special: Terrible Things My Mother Told Me.

Survivors include her husband, actor Charles Kimbrough of Murphy Brown fame, and her daughter, Holly Rowland, from her first marriage to actor Michael J. Pollard.

Ms. Howland was very funny as Vera. We wish someone would air Alice. It would also be great to have the remaining five seasons available on DVD. We thank her for the many laughs she brought us. She will be deeply missed.

Share your memories on our Alice message board. View photos in our galleries.


Another Period

Listen up peasants! The original ballers are back and here to stay. Comedy Central's turn-of-the-century historical and satirical scripted series, Another Period, has been renewed for a third season. The ten-episode second season, co-created by and starring Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome, directed by Jeremy Konner and executive produced by Ben Stiller's Red Hour, debuts on Wednesday, June 15 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. Prior to season two's premiere, fans can indulge themselves as the Bellacourts' would by binging on the entire first season of Another Period, available on the Comedy Central App and cc.com starting June 8. Another Period tells the incredible story of the Bellacourt sisters, Lillian and Beatrice (played by Leggero and Lindhome), who are defined by their family's wealth and care only about becoming super famous - which is a lot harder in 1902 - and follows the insanely decadent and outrageous life of the Bellacourt coterie. Before others claimed their fame, they were the one American family who epitomized all that was spoiled, shameless and stupid - with more servants than relatives and days filled with money, sex, drugs... and more money.

During the second season, the Bellacourts and the poor souls under their servitude return for a whole new season full of excess and debauchery with Lillian and Beatrice seeking advice on how to rebrand, attempting to divorce their gay husbands, pursuing new male suitors, fighting infectious diseases and, of course, still trying to become famous. Servants from downstairs head upstairs, sex is attempted to be had for pleasure, political scandals play out, and illustrious characters from our nation's past - such as Albert Einstein, Teddy and Eleanor Roosevelt and Harriet Tubman - pay visit to Newport's first family. On Tuesday, June 14, the day before the Season Two linear premiere, Comedy Central will provide fans the opportunity to experience, firsthand, a dinner with the Bellacourts via a 360ยบ virtual reality video available through Comedy Central's Facebook page the and Another Period Facebook page.

Season Two episodes of Another Period will be available the same day they premiere via cc.com and the Comedy Central app and will be available next day on iTunes, Amazon Video, VUDU, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, and Verizon Multi-Screen.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (May)

Mad About You - The Complete Series The Jim Gaffigan Show Newhart - The Complete Fifth Season The Facts of Life - The Final (Ninth) Season The Wonder Years - Season Five

05/03 - Mad About You - The Complete Series
05/03 - The Jim Gaffigan Show - Season One
05/10 - Newhart - The Complete Fifth Season
05/17 - Angie Tribeca - The Complete First Season
05/17 - The Facts of Life - The Final (Ninth) Season
05/24 - The Wonder Years - Season Five
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, May 26

Modern Family - "Clean Out Your Junk Drawer" (ABC, 10:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Gloria won a bid at the school auction for a family seminar with famed doctor and author Debra Radcliffe, whose self-help book ‘Clean Out Your Junk Drawer’ encourages people get out all their emotional junk to become healthier people and in turn better partners and spouses. Jay is resistant to the whole experience and can’t get away fast enough; Mitch and Cam decide to keep it very surface level so they can come off as super stable; and Phil and Claire also make it competitive and strive to be the best and strongest couple of the group. Things quickly escalate, though, as junk starts flying. Elsewhere, Haley and Alex meet up and counsel each other on their boy problems.

black-ish - "Sink or Swim" (ABC, 10:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After Dre notices that his neighbor Janine has never invited his family to any of her pool parties, he assumes she is racially stereotyping them as a family that doesn’t swim. The kids are shocked to find out that, in fact, Dre doesn’t know how to swim. At work, Dre shares the story with his colleagues, and Daphne Lido is not convinced it’s a race thing, so Dre confronts Janine directly. Meanwhile, Jack and Diane are a part of the Girls’ and Boys’ Rovers Organization, and they envy each other’s activities.

The Big Bang Theory - "The Empathy Optimization" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After having to deal with a sick Sheldon, Leonard, Penny and the gang try to treat themselves to a Sheldon-free weekend.

Life in Pieces - "Sleepy Email Brunch Tree" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Matt invites Colleen to brunch with the family, he coaches her through the difficult task of connecting with them. Also, John, Matt and Greg try to prove their masculinity by cutting down a tree in Greg's backyard, Tim has an adverse reaction to espresso, and a sleep-deprived Greg has a run-in with the cops.

Mom - "Terrorists and Gingerbread" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Christy and Bonnie have different ideas about forgiveness when Bonnie's mother, Shirley, who abandoned her as a small child, suddenly wants to be a part of their lives. Academy Award winner Ellen Burstyn guest stars as Bonnie’s mother, Shirley. June Squibb guest stars as Dottie.

The Odd Couple - "All About Eavesdropping" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After Oscar and Felix become obsessed with eavesdropping on their bickering neighbors, they try to subtly intervene and help them save their marriage. Also, Emily and Dani’s friendship is tested when they train together to race to the top of the Empire State Building.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 23)

Thursday, May 26

  • Lizzy Caplan (The Class/Party Down) - Catch Lizzy on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Mike Epps (Uncle Buck/Survivor's Remorse) - Mike is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Sarah Silverman (The Sarah Silverman Program) - Sarah visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. She also chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • David Alan Grier (The Carmichael Show/Life with Bonnie/DAG) - David stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Rebel Wilson (Super Fun Night) - Rebel is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • David Schwimmer (Friends) - David drops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • David Spade (Rules of Engagement/8 Simple Rules/Just Shoot Me!) - David appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS. He also talks about Netflix's The Do-Over on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Natasha Leggero (Dice/Another Period/Free Agents) - Natasha visits Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Andy is a guest on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Megan Fox (Hope & Faith) - Megan previews the film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Dave Coulier (Fuller House/Full House) - Dave appears on a repeat of The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • Michael Urie (Partners) - Michael is a guest on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Brandy (Zoe Ever After/The Game/Moesha) - Brandy opens up about her private health battle and how she fought her way back on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jennifer Lawrence (The Bill Engvall Show) - Jennifer and the cast of X-Men: Apocalypse will be interviewed on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family/The Class) - Jesse is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kevin Nealon (Weeds/Hiller and Diller/Champs) - Kevin appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jerrod Carmichael (The Carmichael Show) - Jerrod is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Janet Hubert (The Real) - Janet appears on a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.