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.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July/August)

Father Knows Best - Season Six Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season Alice - The Complete Fifth Season Rhoda - Season Four Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four

06/13 - The Andy Griffith Show - Return to Mayberry
06/13 - That's My Mama - The Complete Series
06/20 - Workaholics - The Final (Seventh) Season
06/20 - Workaholics - The Complete Series
06/27 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Third Season
07/04 - Superstore - Season Two
07/18 - Father Knows Best - Season Six
07/25 - Diff'ernt Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season
07/25 - Girls - The Final (Sixth) Season (Blu-ray)
08/01 - Alice - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
08/01 - Crashing - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
08/15 - Rhoda - Season Four
08/22 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four
08/29 - Will & Grace - Season One (Universal)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Wednesday, September 20

The Goldbergs - "Graduation Day" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Graduation Day is quickly approaching, and Erica cannot wait to get out of the house, until it dawns on her how much Beverly’s love means to her. She attempts to delay her graduating so she can stay home. Later, Barry has plans for him and Lainey, but they turn to dust. Meanwhile, Dana makes a surprise visit just as Adam and Jackie officially become a couple.

Speechless - "C-A-- CAMP" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
As the family readies for their flight to JJ’s camp, Maya gets a surprise at the airport. Ray sees the summer as an opportunity to reinvent himself while Jimmy and Dylan turn the trip to camp into a father/daughter bonding moment.

Modern Family - "The Graduates" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Manny’s father, Javier (guest-star Benjamin Bratt), shows up for his graduation and takes him out on a wild night of celebration, and then Jay steps in to pick-up the pieces. Meanwhile, the Pritchett-Dunphy-Tucker clan is getting ready for Luke and Manny’s big day and dealing with the emotions that come with seeing your kids grow up and leave the nest.

American Housewife - "Can't Hide It Anymore" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Katie has been avoiding the mandatory volunteer hours at her kids’ schools all year. But when the other moms pressure her, she hits on a genius excuse after wearing a fake pregnancy “empathy” bump leads everyone to think she is pregnant. But things soon get out of hand after her former frenemies plan a baby shower for her.

Swedish Dicks - (Pop, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Ingmar and Axel get asked to find the breeding ram, Russel Crowe, but before they can start, Ingmar gets picked up by the FBI. Axel calls Sarah to ask her help Ingmar, while he himself continues to look for the missing animal. The situation looks grim for Ingmar, but the FBI seems to be willing to offer him a dangerous deal.

Swedish Dicks - (Pop, 8:30PM ET/PT)
A number of incidents convince Ingmar that he has to move back to Sweden. Sun is quick to take his place in the agency, but before Ingmar has time to leave, they get a case where his own daughter seems to be in danger. When it hits the fan, they all get dragged into the mess - in their most dangerous case to date - leading them towards Ingmar's mysterious past.

You're the Worst - "This Is Just Marketing" (FXX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Jimmy learns that his literary novel is being marketed as erotica. While doing Vernon's podcast, Gretchen realizes she's been letting Jimmy off easy. When Edgar and Lindsay babysit Tallulah, Lindsay learns for the first time that she's capable of love and Edgar tries a new technique to pick up women.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of September 18)

Wednesday, September 20

  • Adam Scott (Ghosted/Parks and Recreation) - Watch Adam on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Pamela Adlon (Better Things/The King of Queens/The Facts of Life) - Pamela is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Bobby Moynihan (Me, Myself & I) - Bobby visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He will also be on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am.
  • Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory/Blossom) - Mayim stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) - Tig drops by Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) - Kumail is a guest on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Jim Gaffigan (The Jim Gaffigan Show/My Boys/Welcome to New York) - Jim appears on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Garcelle Beauvais (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Garcelle guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Adrian Grenier (Entourage) - Adrian talks about his life after Entourage and his ocean conservation foundation's Strawless September Challenge on Harry, so check your local listings. He will also be on the AOL Build Show 4pm.
  • Christopher McDonald (Good Advice/Walter & Emily) - Christopher will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Walton Goggins (Vice Principals) - Walton shows Rach how to make his perfect cocktail on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Judith Light (Transparent/Phenom/Who's the Boss?) - Judith is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Christian Slater (Breaking In) - Christian talks about Mr. Robot on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Sky Katz (Raven's Home) - Sky appears on PIX11 Morning News on WPIX in New York at 8:45am.