Sunday, January 04, 2009
New Book on The Brady Bunch Variety Hour Coming in September; Make 'Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America Airing This January on PBS
ECW PRESS SIGNS 'BRADY BUNCH' STAR SUSAN OLSEN FOR NEW COFFEE TABLE BOOK
Brady Bunch star Susan Olsen and ECW Press announced their joint collaboration for the coffee table book: Love to Love You Bradys: the bizarre story of The Brady Bunch Variety Hour which is scheduled to be released in September, 2009. Susan's co-author is Los Angeles writer Ted Nichelson and pop-culture maven Lisa Sutton will serve as art director and designer.
This colorful, glitter-filled retrospective will take a look back at the most disastrous offering in television history and explain how and why the rarely seen Variety Hour was conceived, produced, and ended up ranked in TV Guide's top five “Worst Shows of All-Time.” Behind the scenes, this production was chock full of very serious human conflict: drug addiction, sexuality, weight issues, religion, and heated power struggles - all ultimately shattering the Bradys' perfect image and forever scarring the legacy of TV's favorite family.
Originally airing as a 60-minute special, The Brady Bunch Variety Hour was produced by Sid and Marty Krofft and premiered on ABC on November 28, 1976. It featured the actors from The Brady Bunch sitcom singing and dancing their way through the disco era on stage above an enormous swimming pool populated by the enchanting Krofftette Water Follies. Largely derivative of the hit series The Donny and Marie Show, from the same production team, the success of this special led to a semi-regular series of which eight additional 60 minute episodes were produced and aired as monthly specials from January to May 1977. None of the installments were ever repeated on network television. Now a confirmed cult classic, the Variety Hour has been successfully parodied on such recent hit television series as The Simpsons, That 70's Show, The Family Guy, Tiny Toons, and The Gilmore Girls.
The book features hundreds of never-before-published photos and interviews with cast, crew, and production staff, including the Brady Bunch, Sherwood Schwartz, Sid and Marty Krofft, Bruce Vilanch, Paul Shaffer, and Rip Taylor.
Did you hear the one about PBS airing a comedy series? It's no joke, but it is funny. In January 2009, PBS will present the series Make 'Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America, a six-hour comedy epic showcasing the most hilarious men, women, and moments in American entertainment and why they made us laugh. Hosted by America's favorite funnyman, Billy Crystal, the documentary explores the currents of American comedy throughout a century of social and political change, illuminating how comedy has tackled and poked fun at our political system, race relations, gender issues, and the prevailing American standards and taboos in everyday life.
Co-produced by Thirteen/WNET and Ghost Light Films, the series premieres nationally on January 14, 21, 28 at 8 p.m. and will repeat at 10 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings).
Melding performance, biography and history, Make 'Em Laugh features interviews with over 90 comedians, writers, producers, and historians including Judd Apatow, Roseanne Barr, Anne Beatts, the Smothers Brothers, Carol Burnett, Sid Caesar, George Carlin, Larry David, Will Ferrell, Leonard Maltin, Cheech Marin, Steve Martin, Chris Rock, Mort Sahl, Dick Van Dyke, and many, many more.
Each one-hour episode focuses on a distinct genre of American comedy – from the most ingenious physical schtick, to those fast-talking wiseguys, to the most incisive satire and parody – re-acquainting viewers with some of their favorite classics. Billy Crystal will introduce each episode and Amy Sedaris will narrate throughout.
Here is one episode that is devoted to sitcoms:
January 14, 9 p.m. (ET) Honey, I'm Home!: Breadwinners and Homemakers
The domestic comedy may be the most American of comic concepts. The moment that Burns and Allen admitted to their radio audience that they were a married couple, a tradition of laughter on the home front began. Groundbreaking television sitcoms like The Goldbergs, I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, The Dick Van Dyke Show, All in the Family, The Cosby Show, Roseanne, Seinfeld, and The Simpsons reflect the ongoing changes at home and in the workplace. Sitcoms continue to be a consistently humorous barometer of American gender roles and attitudes toward racism and politics.
Additionally, there is a seventh episode of the series that will air exclusively online on January 7. This episode will cover the growing phenomenon of Internet comedy. For more information on this episode, visit http://www.pbs.org/wnet/makeemlaugh/episodes/the-online-episode/episode-7-teh-internets/21/ .
For a listing of all episodes, visit http://www.pbs.org/wnet/makeemlaugh/about/ .
If you could use a laugh right now, check out the website for Make 'Em Laugh, http://www.pbs.org/wnet/makeemlaugh/, which is full of funny content including a promo video for the series featuring Jim Lehrer of PBS's Newshour.
New on DVD/Blu-ray (December/January)
12/06 - Family Guy - Season Fourteen
12/13 - American Dad! - Volume 11
12/13 - Newhart - The Complete Seventh Season
01/03 - Girls - The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray)
01/10 - Broad City - Season 3
01/17 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized)
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume One
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two
01/24 - Hooperman - Season One / Review
01/24 - Hooperman - Season Two / Review
01/31 - Ballers - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest
Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Tuesday, January 24
The Middle - "A Tough Pill to Swallow" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When a devastated Sue discovers that she has been kicked out of college because she forgot to renew her financial aid, Mike tries to come to her rescue and convince a tough college bursar to reinstate her. Meanwhile, having only taken oral liquid medication all of his life, a frustrated Frankie does everything in her power to teach Brick how to swallow a pill when he gets an ear infection; and Hutch becomes angry with Axl after he keeps driving the Winnebago without permission to Orson to visit new girlfriend April – leaving Hutch without any means of transportation to get to class.
American Housewife - "Art Show" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Anna-Kat draws a super plus-sized portrait of Katie for the school art show, Katie sets out to retrieve it by any means necessary. Meanwhile, with Katie away, Doris is left in charge of Oliver and Taylor. She’s determined to whip them into shape with her Tiger Mom skills, but she may have met her match.
Fresh Off the Boat - "Coming From America" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Louis flies the entire family to Taiwan in an effort to make things right with Gene (Ken Jeong). Upon meeting Gene’s beautiful fiancé, Margaret, and seeing the wonderful life he has built for himself, Louis questions whether his life in Orlando is just as great as it could be in Taiwan. Meanwhile, Jessica takes Eddie, Emery and Evan to her favorite childhood locales, including Dihua Street and Shilin Night Market.
The Real O'Neals - "The Real Match" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Jimmy recruits a reluctant Kenny to join his wrestling team for a one-time match, a surprise victory gives him the confidence to join the team full time to become the first, openly gay athlete at St. Barklays. Kenny’s newfound stardom makes Jimmy feel a bit replaced, but when an opponent refuses to wrestle his brother, Jimmy puts his feelings aside and rallies the team around Kenny. Meanwhile, Pat injures his back trying to help Eileen prepare for a weekend getaway, but things only get worse when she tries to be the perfect caregiver to impress VP Murray but fails miserably.
New Girl - "The Hike" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
While on a day hike, Jess and Robby (guest star Nelson Franklin) discover something unexpected about their relationship. Also, Winston throws a surprise welcome home party for Aly (guest star Nasim Pedrad). Meanwhile, Schmidt and Cece fail to impress their new neighbors.
The Mick - "The Master" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
All hell breaks loose, as the kids fight over who will take the master bedroom. Also, Mickey pursues a wealthy businessman who quickly discovers that she is not the prize he thought she was.
Teachers - "Stranger Danger" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
There’s a trespasser at Fillmore and a new security guard is hired. Ms. Snap and Ms. Bennigan hold a “Women Empowering Women” workshop, Mrs. Adler takes stranger danger too far, and Ms. Watson purchases a male safety dummy.
Tuesday, January 24
- Retta (Parks and Recreation) - Catch Retta on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 3pm.
- Claudia O'Doherty (Love) - Claudia is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
- John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) - John talks about Patriots Day on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- Yvette Nicole Brown (The Odd Couple/Community) - Yvette visits Harry, so check your local listings.
- Jennifer Esposito (Samantha Who?/Spin City) - Jennifer appears on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 1pm.
- Justina Machado (One Day at a Time) - Justina talks about the new Netflix series One Day at a Time on the AOL Build Show at 12pm.