Friday, November 24, 2006

Special Friday Review of The Great Book: Sitcoms of Norman Lear by Sean Campbell

Welcome to a special "Black Friday" edition of mini-reviews. Today on Black Friday, we will give you a bargain. A review of a great book that looks at the classic sitcoms of legendary producer Norman Lear. We have given you a few news items on the blog on this book before, so I'm sure some of you are familiar with it already. 17-year-old Sean Campbell has written a truly wonderful book and now skees53 has a review for us on The Sitcoms of Norman Lear:

The Sitcoms of Norman Lear by Sean Campbell

The Sitcoms of Norman Lear (McFarland, $35) is exactly what it sounds like--a book about the sitcoms of one Norman Lear, the man that changed television forever. Written by Sean Campbell, the book isn't just typical fluff; instead, it is a rather complete history of the successes (and sometimes even failures, believe it or not) of the television mogul and never casts any important details aside as being insignificant.
The book follows Lear's career from just before the days the hit sitcom All in the Family premiered on CBS, and covers all of his other major successes from the 1970s, including Sanford & Son, Maude, Good Times, The Jeffersons, and One Day at a Time. Not a detail is missing about these shows. In fact, there is a chapter for each one of these shows and includes all of the details of the shows (as well as a chapter dealing with the failures of Lear, even if it is hard to believe that a genius such as Lear could have any failures!), much like an E! True Hollywood Story, including the good things and the bad things that happened on the set. The book extensively covers the background of the show (such as what was going on in the world at the time of the show and how that may have influenced the show), the lives and attitudes of those involved with the show, the important episodes of the shows, and even how these sitcoms have changed the world (and television) into the 21st century. Whether it be Norman Lear writing an episode of All in the Family where Archie dies or CBS demanding that 26 lines be removed from the first episode of One Day at a Time, none of the important details are missing. Everything is well-researched too, with literally hundreds of citations from resources such as articles (from newspapers, magazines, and journals), statistics derived from opinion polls, books, interviews, and of course one of the best primary sources of all--the episodes of the sitcoms of Norman Lear!
The level of coverage varies for each show (All in the Family and Good Times seem to have the most extensive coverage, but that makes sense, because one All in the Family was the show that started it all and Good Times is a pop-culture legend in its own right), but regardless, each and every show seems to be covered rather thoroughly and this book is a must-own for anybody that appreciates the greatest sitcoms of all-time!
-- Reviewed by skees53
(5/5 stars)

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

Related links:
Official Website of The Sitcoms of Norman Lear by Sean Campbell


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, November 13

The Conners - "The Separation of Church and Dan" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Geena learns that D.J. hasn’t been taking Mary to church while she’s been away, she insists they go as a family to uphold her traditional values. To make matters worse, Mary refuses to attend without her cousins Harris and Mark, leaving D.J. in the last situation he wants to be in – at the mercy of Darlene. Meanwhile, Mark’s attempt to conduct an unbiased survey on the upcoming election for his school project goes south when Jackie volunteers to help.

The Kids Are Alright - "Peggy's Day Out" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
To hide a mess Eddie made, his girlfriend, Wendi, tries to distract Peggy by insisting she take a day off with a fun day out while they take care of the housework. To everyone’s surprise, Peggy accepts the offer and requests Wendi tag along, with the ulterior motive of teaching her a lesson. Meanwhile, Eddie enlists the help of his brothers to clean up and keep Mike out of the house while Wendi and Peggy are out. Elsewhere, Pat introduces Timmy to his secret dog.

black-ish - "Purple Rain" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
The family is shocked to learn that Jack and Diane are not familiar with the iconic music of Prince. One by one, each member of the family works to explain Prince’s tremendous impact on their lives through his music.

Splitting Up Together - "War of the Wagners" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Lena and Martin’s escalating battle for control of the house is put on hold when Milo announces he wants to go to a school for the gifted – to which they think he will not be accepted. Meanwhile, they both meet a contractor for the house, Vlad, but Lena undermines him and scares Vlad away. Things get uglier between Lena and Oliver after she introduces a new member to the family as payback for all the back-and-forth about the house. Elsewhere, Lena and Martin give conflicting advice to Mason on how to deal with his recent breakup.

The Guest Book - "Two Steps Forward, One Step Back" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Mike and his family hate spending every summer in a subpar vacation home far from the beach; in order to afford paying a booking fee for their dream house, the Barefeet Retreat, Mike pulls double shifts and ends up paying more than he bargained for.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 12)

Tuesday, November 13

  • Jason Mantzoukas (The League) - Catch Jason on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Jenifer Lewis (black-ish/The PJs) - Jenifer appears on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm.
  • Taran Killam (Single Parents) - Taran visits E!'s Busy Tonight at 10pm.
  • Paul Shaffer (A Year at the Top) - Paul stops by The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • The Cast of The Conners - Michael Fishman, John Goodman, Lecy Goranson, Laurie Metcalf and Maya Lynne Robinson are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Jamie Foxx (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Jamie previews the film Robin Hood on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) - Tig appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Tatyana Ali (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/Love That Girl!) - Tatyana talks about her upcoming two Holiday movies for Lifetime and Hallmark on E!'s Daily Pop at 12pm.
  • Damon Wayans Jr. (Happy Together/Happy Endings/New Girl) - Damon is a guest on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Bryan talks about The Upside Down and Network on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Ashley Tisdale (The Suite Life of Zack & Cody/Clipped) - Ashley appears on the BUILD Series at 4pm.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)

The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection Alice - The Complete Eighth Season Step by Step - The Complete Third Season

10/02 - The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 6th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 7th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 8th Season
10/02 - Ghosted - The Complete First Season
10/02 - The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One / Volume Two
10/02 - Police Squad! - TV and Movie Collection
10/02 - Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection
10/16 - Community - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
10/23 - Alice - The Complete Eighth Season
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Two
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Three
10/31 - The Bad News Bears - The Complete Series - All 26 Episodes
11/01 - Episodes - Season 5
11/05 - Robin Williams - Comic Genius (includes Mork & Mindy)
11/06 - American Dad! - Volume 13
11/20 - Step by Step - The Complete Third Season
11/27 - What I Like About You - The Complete Third Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest