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

Thursday, December 13

The Big Bang Theory - "The Procreation Calculation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
The Wolowitzes’ life gets complicated when Stuart starts bringing his new girlfriend home. Also, Penny and Leonard talk about starting a family while Koothrappali explores an arranged marriage. Keith Carradine returns as Penny’s father, Wyatt.

Young Sheldon - "Gluons, Guacamole, and the Color Purple" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Sheldon is no longer academically challenged at Medford High, he audits a college class taught by Dr. John Sturgis (Wallace Shawn).

Mom - "Foot Powder and Five Feet of Vodka" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Christy’s search for the perfect Secret Santa gift leads her to discover Adam has been hiding something from Bonnie. Also, Tammy looks for a job in order to avoid being sent back to prison.

Murphy Brown - "AWOL" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
A disillusioned Avery seeks career inspiration from his extended family at “Murphy in the Morning,” as the team tries to salvage a major story that hinges on a source in the Middle East who has gone silent. Series star Joe Regalbuto directed the episode.

Superstore - "Shadowing Glenn" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Glenn (Mark McKinney) drives Amy (America Ferrera) crazy with a new, over the top training system. Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom) and Mateo (Nico Santos) brainstorm a new business, while Dina (Lauren Ash) recruits Jonah (Ben Feldman) to help her when she starts second-guessing her own future.

I Feel Bad - "We're Not Fun Anymore" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Emet grows tired of her and David's life being overrun by kid-centric events, she contrives a weekend without the kids to rekindle the fun in their relationship - only to find out his idea of fun isn't the same as hers anymore. Chewey and Norman are stuck caring for Griff after he injures himself.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 10)

Thursday, December 13

  • Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) - Catch Miley on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Regina King (227) - Regina appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. She also talks about If Beale Street Could Talk on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am and on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Adam Pally (Making History/The Mindy Project/Happy Endings) - Adam stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He also talks about Champaign ILL on the BUILD Series at 1pm and on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Ron Funches (Powerless/Undateable) - Ron visits Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Leah Remini (Kevin Can Wait/The Exes/Family Tools/The King of Queens/Fired Up) - Leah drops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Jodie Sweetin (Fuller House/Hollywood Darlings/Full House) - Jodie guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT. She also talks about Hallmark Channel's Entertaining Christmas on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT and on KTLA in Los Angeles.
  • Sam Rockwell (F Is for Family) - Sam is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Busy Philipps (Vice Principals/Cougar Town) - Busy talks about E!'s Busy Tonight on Access Live (check your local listings) and on E!'s Daily Pop at 12pm.
  • Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years) and Dan Lauria (The Wonder Years/Sullivan & Son) - Danica and Dan talk about Hallmark Channel's Christmas at Grand Valley on Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • Karen Gillan (Selfie) - Karen talks about The Party's Just Beginning on ABC's GMA Day at 1pm.
  • Ashley Williams (The Jim Gaffigan Show/How I Met Your Mother/Good Morning, Miami) - Ashley talks about Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Northern Christmas Lights on People Now at 12pm.


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

The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection Alice - The Complete Eighth Season Step by Step - The Complete Third Season

10/02 - The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 6th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 7th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 8th Season
10/02 - Ghosted - The Complete First Season
10/02 - The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One / Volume Two
10/02 - Police Squad! - TV and Movie Collection
10/02 - Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection
10/16 - Community - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
10/23 - Alice - The Complete Eighth Season
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Two
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Three
10/31 - The Bad News Bears - The Complete Series - All 26 Episodes
11/01 - Episodes - Season 5
11/05 - Robin Williams - Comic Genius (includes Mork & Mindy)
11/06 - American Dad! - Volume 13
11/16 - Man with a Plan - Season One
11/20 - Step by Step - The Complete Third Season
11/27 - What I Like About You - The Complete Third Season
12/04 - Family Guy - Season Sixteen
12/04 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Sixth Season
12/18 - Our Cartoon President - Season One
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