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 (March/April)
03/03 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Now... In Living Color! (Blu-ray)
03/07 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - Mama's Family - Mama's Favorites
03/07 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series - Flashback Edition (Blu-ray)
03/07 - What I Like About You - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - You Me Her - Season One
03/14 - Newhart - The Final (Eighth) Season
03/14 - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Season Two
03/21 - Master of None - Season One
04/04 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season
04/11 - Father Knows Best - Season Five
04/11 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Third Season
04/11 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/11 - Veep - The Complete Fifth Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest
Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Thursday, April 27
The Big Bang Theory - "The Cognition Regeneration" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Leonard isn’t thrilled when Penny considers taking a new job offered by her ex-boyfriend, Zack (Brian Thomas Smith).
The Great Indoors - "The Heartbreaker" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Jack sets up a double date to get Eddie out of a post-divorce rut, but the night gets awkward when they run into Denise (Essence Atkins), Eddie’s ex-wife. Also, when Emma decides to breakup with her boyfriend, Greg (Andy Ridings), Clark is torn between making a move on her and salvaging his friendship with Greg.
Mom - "A Cricket and a Hedge Made of Gold" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
When Marjorie takes a break from the group, Bonnie becomes the go-to for everyone’s problems, and Christy tries to overcome a painful memory from her past.
Life in Pieces - "Ear Scorn Registry Manuscript" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Colleen goes to Tim for help with an embarrassing ailment, she begs him not to tell the family. Also, Dougie (Fortune Feimster) enlists Joan to help her buy a gift for Matt and Colleen’s wedding; Heather gets jealous when her friends want to include Jen in their mommy group; and Professor Sinclair Wilde (Cary Elwes) encourages Joan to ask her family to read a draft of her book.
Superstore - "Ladies' Lunch" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
During the morning meeting, Glenn (Mark McKinney) accidentally tells the employees the real reason Amy (America Ferrera) has been late to work lately. Meanwhile, Dina (Lauren Ash) tries to cheer up Amy by kidnapping her for a "ladies' lunch." Jonah (Ben Feldman) and Garrett (Colton Dunn) invent a game to pass the time, tricking Glenn and Mateo (Nico Santos) in the process. Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom) helps Amy take a fearless step with a dramatic new look.
Superstore - "Cheyenne's Wedding" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
It's Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom) and Bo's (recurring guest star Johnny Pemberton) dream wedding, but not everything goes according to plan. Meanwhile, relationships unravel as Amy (America Ferrera) and Jonah (Ben Feldman) dodge relationship rumors. Glenn (Mark McKinney) tries to change Jeff's (recurring guest star Michael Bunin) mind after learning of upcoming layoffs, Dina (Lauren Ash) talks her way into the wedding party and Mateo (Nico Santos) dodges Jeff throughout the wedding.
Thursday, April 27
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep/The New Adventures of Old Christine/Seinfeld) - Catch Julia on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
- Kevin Nealon (Man with a Plan/Weeds/Hiller and Diller/Champs) - Kevin appears on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
- Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) - Thomas stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- Patton Oswalt (The Goldbergs/The King of Queens) - Patton is a guest on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Allison Janney (Mom/Mr. Sunshine) - Allison appears on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
- John Benjamin Hickey (The Big C/It's All Relative) - John visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
- John Leguizamo (The Brothers Garcia) - John guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- America Ferrera (Superstore) - America chats about Superstore on NBC's Today in the 10am hour and on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- Geoff Stults (Enlisted) - Geoff is a guest on Harry, so check your local listings.
- Michael Strahan (Brothers) - Michael plays Pyramid on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
- Perrey Reeves (Entourage) - Perrey makes a kale salad on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
- Jenna Elfman (Imaginary Mary/1600 Penn/Courting Alex/Accidentally on Purpose/Dharma & Greg) - Jenna will be on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
- Geena Davis (The Geena Davis Show/Buffalo Bill) - Geena talks about A League of Their Own on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
- Anna Baryshnikov (Superior Donuts) - Anna talks about Superior Donuts on the AOL Build Show at 1pm.
- Christopher Meloni (Surviving Jack/The Fanelli Boys) - Christopher appears on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.