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.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, December 12

The Middle - "The Christmas Miracle" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
It’s Christmastime, and Frankie and Sue are devastated after Axl informs them that he’s not going to church this year because he’s beginning to question his faith. Meanwhile, Mike goes to war with the Glossner kids after they keep defacing his new, giant inflatable snowman; and Brick goes all out in an attempt to wrap his first present for a planned Christmas Yankee Swap.

Fresh Off the Boat - "Do You Hear What I Hear?" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
As head of the HOA Christmas committee, Jessica threatens to cut the neighborhood caroling this year due to last year’s rocky performance. However, Deirdre says that her friend Holly (Paula Abdul), who teaches “Performance and Movement,” will help get everyone into tip-top, melodic shape. Meanwhile, Marvin becomes suspicious of Honey when she goes to see “Titanic” at the movies without him; Nicole develops her first girl crush and struggles with how to get her attention.

black-ish - "Sugar Daddy" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Dre is diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and after talking to Pops, he’s resolved to curing himself. Things come to a head at the Stevens & Lido holiday party. Meanwhile, Jack is convinced that baby Devante hates him, so he enlists Junior and Diane’s help.

The Mayor - "Grey Christmas" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
After visiting a homeless shelter on Christmas Eve, Courtney realizes things for the needy could be improved and pledges to make it a joyous Christmas that every family deserves. But when he learns he doesn’t have the budget to deliver on his promise, Courtney loses hope and his holiday spirit which leads to a magical “It’s A Wonderful Life” moment that makes him realize he has the gift needed to pull off a Christmas miracle.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "Game Night" / "The Favor" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Rosa asks for Jake's help to deliver important information to her parents, but their plan goes awry when they assume the two are in a relationship; Seamus Murphy comes back to redeem an ethically questionable favor owed by Capt. Holt.

Teachers - "Let It Flow" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Ms. Cannon discovers that one of her students is an artistic prodigy. Mrs. Adler and Ms. Watson take the mini-society competition to a new level.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 11)

Tuesday, December 12

  • Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies) - Catch Tom on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He also talks about The Post on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am.
  • Jane Krakowski (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt/30 Rock) - Jane appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ari Graynor (I'm Dying Up Here/Bad Teacher) - Ari is a guest on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Niecy Nash (The Soul Man/Getting On/Do Not Disturb/Reno 911!) - Niecy visits The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Bill Pullman (1600 Penn) - Bill stops by Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Miles Brown (black-ish) - Miles appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Ana Gasteyer (People of Earth/Lady Dynamite/Suburgatory) - Ana talks about Fox's A Christmas Story Live! on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Noah Galvin (The Real O'Neals) - Noah talks about Dear Evan Hansen on the BUILD Series at 4pm.


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

The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Third Season Living Single - The Complete Third Season Alice - The Complete Sixth Season One Day at a Time - The Complete Series Fuller House - The Complete Second Season

11/07 - American Dad! - Volume 12
11/07 - Family Guy - Season Fifteen
11/07 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Third Season
11/14 - D.C. Follies - The Complete Series
11/21 - Living Single - The Complete Third Season
11/24 - Grandfathered - Season 1
12/05 - Alice - The Complete Sixth Season
12/05 - One Day at a Time - The Complete Series
12/05 - The Simpsons - The Eighteenth Season
12/05 - South Park - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5
12/12 - Fuller House - The Complete Second Season
12/19 - South Park - The Complete Sixth Season (Blu-ray) / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest