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 (January/February)
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)
02/07 - Sabrina, the Teenage Witch - Sabrina Down Under
02/07 - So Little Time - Volume 1 - School's Cool - Boy Crazy
02/07 - So Little Time - Volume 2 - About a Family - Hangin' Out
02/07 - 227 - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek)
02/07 - Vice Principals - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
02/14 - Beavis and Butt-Head - The Complete Collection
02/14 - Grace and Frankie - Season Two
02/28 - Fuller House - The Complete First Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest
Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Monday, February 27
The Big Bang Theory - "The Dependence Transcedence" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Tensions rise when the boys struggle to complete their government project on time and Sheldon tries an energy drink to stay awake. Also, Penny and Amy go to a “party” at Bert (Brian Posehn) the geologist’s house, and Kooothrappali learns Bernadette’s true feelings about her pregnancy when they clean out the future baby room. Dean Norris returns as Air Force Representative Colonel Williams.
Man with a Plan - "Assisted Living" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Adam's parents visit unannounced, they reveal surprising plans for their future living arrangements. Emmy Award winner Swoosie Kurtz and Stacy Keach guest star as Bev and Joe, Adam and Don’s parents.
Superior Donuts - "Takin' It to the Streets" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Franco and Sweatpants discover their new landlord, Fawz, wants to convert their apartment building into luxury condos, they decide to organize a protest. Also, Randy realizes she needs to be nicer to James in order to get a good recommendation for her sergeant’s exam.
2 Broke Girls - "And the Dad Day Afternoon" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
When Han’s new therapist suggests that Max needs to confront her “daddy issues” and fear of intimacy, she reluctantly heads to Rhode Island to track down her birth father with the diner gang in tow. Also, Oleg is up in arms when Sophie wants him to help out around the house.
Monday, February 27
- Keri Russell (Running Wilde) - Watch Keri on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
- Connie Britton (Spin City/The Fighting Fitzgeralds/Lost at Home) - Connie appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Slink Johnson (Black Jesus) - Slick is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
- Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) - Adam drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Josh Henderson (One on One) - Josh appears on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo. He also talks about The Arrangement on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
- David Hyde Pierce (Frasier) - David chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
- Jerry O'Connell (We Are Men/Carpoolers/My Secret Identity) - Jerry is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- Leighton Meester (Making History) - Leighton stops by Harry, so check your local listings.
- Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For Your Love) - Holly visits Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
- John Lithgow (Trial & Error/Twenty Good Years/3rd Rock from the Sun) - John talks about Trial & Error on NBC's Today in the 9am hour and on the AOL Build Show at 1:30pm.
- Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly) - Billy dishes on how This is Us is following in Mike & Molly’s footsteps – and why both shows are so beloved on People Now at 8:30am.
- Lisa Kudrow (Friends/The Comeback) and Craig Robinson (The Office) - Lisa and Craig talk about their new film Table 19 on the AOL Build Show at 2:30pm.
- Sinbad (A Different World/The Sinbad Show) - Sinbad is a guest on Steve Harvey, so check your local listings.
- Bradley Whitford (Trophy Wife) - Bradley visits The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
- Craig Robinson (The Office/Mr. Robinson) - Craig appears on The Real, so check your local listings.