Friday, August 25, 2017

Fri-Yay: TV on Other Platforms; Remembering Jay Thomas

It's time for another edition of Fri-Yay! That means we will take a look back on some sitcom happenings in recent days or weeks or other fun sitcomy stuff. It's a sitcom lover's paradise! Happy Fri-Yay!

Snapchat

by Vincent

Yesterday, there was an announcement that Snapchat would begin making scripted content for their platform. This shouldn't be especially surprising, given that nearly every website and app has expressed a desire to create scripted content, from YouTube to Vimeo to even DirecTV. But it continues to pose an interesting question as we loom deeper into this "Peak TV" era: how does the availability of content everywhere affect the "sitcom" as we know it?

Many people are constantly waxing nostalgic about how sitcoms have changed, and how they wish they could make them like they used to. Some of this may just be looking at things through rose-colored glasses, but there has been genuine change in the television industry. After all, until the 1980s, there were only a handful of television networks, so it was much easier for a sitcom like All in the Family or The Mary Tyler Moore Show to completely dominate conversation like they did during their runs. Television was a shared experience with an entire culture, and sitcoms were often the most popular television there was. If you watched an episode of Three's Company last night, chances are all of your friends watched it, too. This even continued after the advent of cable, with shows like Cheers and Frasier and Friends rising above the increased options cable provided to become genuine mass media experiences.

However, as choices continue to grow into streaming platforms and, well, mobile phone apps, it's hard for a TV show to make a splash across the entire culture, and if they do, it's usually a live reality show event or a live-tweeting-friendly drama with big twists - events that demand to be watched live. Sitcoms, then, have become much more catered to specific niches - hence why most of the big, acclaimed sitcoms of the past ten years haven't been huge hits but more fan-beloved cult hits such as Parks and Recreation or Broad City. Not to mention many people who might have been watching sitcoms in the past may be moving onto other buzzy mediums like YouTube. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it shows that sitcoms - like television - have evolved, and the big, mass appeal hits of years past may be just that - a thing of the past.


Jay Thomas

Emmy award-winning actor Jay Thomas, who was known for his roles in Mork & Mindy, Cheers, Love & War and Murphy Brown, has died. He died of cancer on August 24 at his Santa Barbara, California home. Mr. Thomas was 69.

Jay Thomas and Robin Williams - Mork & Mindy

Thomas' television career began with his role as Remo DaVinci in Mork & Mindy. He appeared in the second and third seasons from 1979-1981. Reno and his sister, Jeanie (Gina Hecht), owned the The New York Delicatessen in season 2 and DaVinci's Restaurant in season 3, where Mork (Robin Williams) and Mindy (Pam Dawber) spent a lot of their time.

Jay Thomas - Cheers

He had a recurring role as Eddie LeBec in 9 episodes of Cheers from 1987-1989. Eddie LeBec was a Boston Bruins goalie who began dating Carla Tortelli (Rhea Perlman). They later married, and had twin boys named Elvis and Jesse. In 1989, Eddie was killed by a Zamboni when he saved the life of another member of the ice show.

Jay Thomas - Murphy Brown

Thomas appeared as Jerry Gold in 9 episodes of Murphy Brown from 1989-1998. Jerry Gold was a tabloid talk show host, who became a friend of Murphy's and an occasional love interest, despite their significantly different journalistic values. Thomas won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series in 1990 and 1991 for the role.

Married People

He starred as Russell Meyers in the 1990-1991 ABC sitcom Married People. Russell was a freelance writer and house-husband who was married to Elizabeth (Bess Armstrong), who worked as an attorney. The series also starred Ray Aranha, Barbara Montgomery, Chris Young and Megan Gallivan.

Love & War

Thomas starred as Jack Stein in the 1992-1995 CBS sitcom Love & War. Jack Stein was a columnist for the New York Post. He had an on-again, off-again romance with Wallis "Wally" Porter (Susan Dey), a Chicago restaurateur. Dey was dropped from the show after the first season. Annie Potts joined the cast as Dana Palladino, who bought Porter's restaurant and also became a love interest for Jack. The series also starred John Hancock (1992), Charlie Robinson, Joel Murray, Michael Nouri, Suzie Plakson and Joanna Gleason.

In 1999, Thomas starred in the short-lived WB sitcom Katie Joplin. He played Glen Shotz, a radio station general manager. The series also starred Park Overall, Jim Rash, Jesse Head, Ana Reeder, Simon Rex and Majandra Delfino.

Some of his sitcom guest appearances included The Love Boat, Family Ties, The Golden Girls, Open House, Cybill, Bless This House, Ink, Working, The Simple Life, Run of the House, Retired at 35 and Shake It Up.

He had a recurring role as Marty Grossman in Ray Donovan. Some of his other drama credits included Spenser: For Hire, Almost Grown, Freddy's Nightmares, Hercules, Fantasy Island (1999), The Education of Max Bickford, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Joan of Arcadia, Boston Legal and Cold Case.

Thomas starred as Bill Meister in Mr. Holland's Opus. He played the Easter Bunny in The Santa Clause 2 and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. Some of his other film credits included C.H.U.D., Straight Talk, A Smile Like Yours, Labor Pains and Underdogs.

Thomas also worked as a radio talk show host. He was heard in New York in the mid-1970s on Top 40 station 99X, and in Los Angeles beginning in 1989 on KPWR "Power 106". He began hosting The Jay Thomas Show on SiriusXM Satellite Radio in 1999.

Survivors include his wife of 30 years, Sally, and his sons, Sam, Jake, and J.T.

Mr. Thomas was a talented and funny actor. His annual appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman where he told the story of how he met Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger) were always memorable. We thank him for the many laughs he brought us in his career. He will be greatly missed.

Share your memories on our message board. View photos in our galleries.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, April 19

I Love Lucy - "I Love Lucy Funny Money Special" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
I LOVE LUCY FUNNY MONEY SPECIAL, a new one-hour special featuring two back-to-back colorized episodes of the classic series, will be broadcast Friday, April 19 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

The two episodes, “The Million-Dollar Idea” and “Bonus Bucks,” are newly colorized with a nod to the 1950s period in which they were filmed. As with previous “Lucy” specials, the main titles and end credits are seamlessly combined into one set at the beginning and end of the hour, with no interruption between the episodes.

In “The Million-Dollar Idea,” Lucy and Ethel attempt to get rich quick by bottling Lucy’s homemade salad dressing. A commercial pitch on a local TV program results in hundreds of orders, but Ricky soon determines that the girls are not charging enough to cover the cost of production and distribution. They decide to fill the initial orders and get out of the business fast, but a second TV appearance, designed to discourage additional sales, results in even more orders!

In “Bonus Bucks,” it’s the Ricardos vs. the Mertzes when both couples claim ownership of a dollar bill worth three hundred dollars in a newspaper’s “Bonus Bucks” contest. To save their friendship, they decide to split the winnings, each couple keeping half the actual bill until it can be redeemed. Unfortunately, Ricky puts the Ricardos’ half of the dollar in his pajama pocket – and Lucy sends those pajamas to the laundry!

Last Man Standing - "Yass Queen" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
In an effort to help get her clothing line off the ground and into stores, Mike invites Mandy to sit in on a business meeting with an aggressive sales rep; Ed hires Kyle to transcribe his life story.

The Cool Kids - "Indecent Proposal" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
In an attempt to date a guy who is way out of her league, Margaret pretends to be someone she's not.

Sydney to the Max - "Little Shop of Reynolds" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Sydney and Olive decide to help Max at the bike shop's biggest sale of the year; when Leo's dad hires a girl to work at the arcade, Max and Leo compete to see who can impress her the most.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 15)

Friday, April 19

  • Beth Behrs (The Neighborhood/2 Broke Girls) - Watch Beth on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Henry Winkler (Barry/Out of Practice/Happy Days) - Henry appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Billy Crystal (Soap/The Comedians) - Billy is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Sarah Chalke (How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)/Mad Love/Scrubs/Roseanne) - Sarah appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Tichina Arnold (The Neighborhood/Survivor's Remorse/Happily Divorced/Everybody Hates Chris/Martin) - Tichina guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Keke Palmer (True Jackson, VP/Scream Queens) - Keke guest co-hosts ABC's Strahan & Sara at 1pm.
  • Bill Hader (BarrY) - Bill talks about Barry on Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • Rick Fox (The Game/Mr. Box Office) - Rick talks about Morning Show Mysteries: Countdown to Murder on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Jake Choi (Single Parents) - Jake talks about Single Parents on the BUILD Series at 11am.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (February/March/April)

Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season Alice - The Complete Ninth Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season

02/05 - Family Guy - Part 1 - Volumes 1-5
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 2 - Volumes 6-10
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 3 - Seasons 10-14
02/05 - First Lady of Television - Betty White Collection (40 rare and acclaimed episodes from her early days in television)
02/05 - Mama's Family - Seasons 1-6 - The Complete Series
02/12 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-3 (Blu-ray)
02/12 - Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season
02/26 - What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season
03/05 - Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
03/12 - Alice - The Complete Ninth Season (WBShop.com)
03/26 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
04/02 - Archer: Danger Island - The Complete Season Nine
04/09 - You're the Worst - The Complete Fifth Season
04/12 - Evening Shade - The Complete Collection
04/16 - The Big C - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

04/19 - Fri-Yay: Can One Day at a Time Be Saved?; ABC Honors All in the Family and The Jeffersons For One-Night Only and It's LIVE!
04/18 - Netflix Gets More Original Comedies Including Mike Myers Series; The CW Summer 2019 Schedule
04/17 - Archer: 1999 Launches May 29; Hulu Gets More Aidy Bryant
04/16 - Remembering Georgia Engel of The Mary Tyler Moore Show; BET Gets Another Comedy Series
04/15 - ABC Mid-Season Pilot Review: Bless This Mess - Premieres Tuesday (April 16); Hallmark Picks Up 7th Season of When Calls the Heart
04/14 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 15, 2019) 04/13 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Disney Announces New Streaming Service Including Every Episode of The Simpsons; NCIS Gets Renewal from CBS
04/12 - Fri-Yay: Why NBC's Abby's Deserves a Chance; Netflix Orders Adult Animated Comedy Q-Force
04/11 - ABC Summer 2019 Schedule; HBO Renews Barry for 3rd Season
04/10 - Younger Stays on TV Land for Season 6; ABC Gets Game Show from Ryan Reynolds
04/09 - Joel McHale Set for Card Sharks on ABC; Christine Lakin to Guest Star on American Housewife
04/08 - MeTV Presents Rarely Seen Carol Burnett Show Episodes; Sherri Shepherd to Host GSN Trivia Series
04/07 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 8, 2019)
04/06 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Could One Day at a Time Move From Netflix to a Linear Network?; Adam Sandler to Host SNL in May
04/05 - Fri-Yay: You’re the Worst Ends with a Memorable Finale; Family Guy Heads to Freeform and FXX
04/04 - ABC Season Finales for May 2019; Lily Collins Set to Star in Paramount Network Series
04/03 - BET Picks Up 2nd Season of Boomerang; FX Scores with Vampire Comedy Series
04/02 - Netflix Schedules Applegate & Cardellini Comedy; NBC Adds More to Summer 2019 Schedule
04/01 - Better Things Gets 4th Season in 2020; Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Returns in May on Fridays
03/31 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 1, 2019)
03/30 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Renewals for Law & Order SVU and More; Evening Shade Complete Series DVD Release Coming Soon
03/29 - Fri-Yay: Broad City Goes Out on a High Note; Freeform Summer 2019 Premieres Includes grown-ish
03/28 - NBC Mid-Season Pilot Review: Abby's - Premieres Tonight (March 28); Fox 2019 Finales and Summer 2019 Premieres
03/27 - Tiffany Haddish Says 'They Ready' for Netflix; CBS Summer 2019 Drama Schedule
03/26 - TBS Celebrates Family Guy's 20th Anniversary; Apple TV+ Launching This Fall
03/25 - Hallmark Channel Upfront: New Podcast; ABC Gets 2nd Season of The Conners
03/24 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of March 25, 2019)
03/23 - SitcomsOnline Digest: The Conners Renewed for a Second Season; (Almost) Everything Brady Related Coming to a DVD Box Set
03/22 - Fri-Yay: Original Comedies at Netflix; ABC Announces April Finales, Including TGIF
03/21 - Antenna TV's Gimme a Break! Spring Break Marathon; Netflix Gets Mindy Kaling Comedy Series
03/20 - COZI TV Celebrates April Fools with Pranks; HBO Comedy Gets 4th Season
03/19 - Sabrina Returns April 5 on Netflix; Remembering Character Actor Richard Erdman of Community