Friday, February 02, 2018

Fri-Yay: One Day at a Time Season 2 is a Warm Delight; Remembering Louis Zorich from Mad About You

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!

One Day at a Time

by Vincent

Last year, One Day at a Time was one of the most surprisingly wonderful shows of 2017. In a year of seemingly endless reboots and navel-gazing at TV's past, One Day at a Time was perhaps the only remake that took its original series and made it feel current rather than being obsessed with the past. With an all new cast and little actual ties to the original series other than in structure, One Day at a Time transcended the label of "sitcom remake" and became a wonderful sitcom in its own right. By tackling social issues such as sexuality, mental illness, and veterans' rights in a way that also had a strong focus on character and never felt cloying, One Day at a Time felt truly special.

So it means a lot when I say One Day at a Time's second season may even be an improvement on its already excellent debut season. The series is slightly less serialized in its second season, making it feel even more like the past Norman Lear shows it's inspired by (Lear is an executive producer of the series, after all) - and yet, the lack of structure (although the season does have some structure, certainly more than most, say, '70s Lear sitcoms did) allows the show to put its characters through many varieties of situations that inform who they are and their own personal choices. The series also digs deeper into its characters this year - we learn more about their past and their journeys, even for characters like Schneider who have mostly been presented as comic relief. And yet, even through all of this, One Day at a Time always felt happy and joyous, even when dealing with some pretty intricate and heavy topics. Frankly, One Day at a Time feels a little bit like the sitcom version of a warm hug. It's comforting and makes you feel better even when things are rough. What could be better in our current society?

Oh, and yes, it has a live studio audience. No, it's not distracting. Please don't let that turn you off of this incredible show.


Louis Zorich

Actor Louis Zorich, who was best known for his role as Paul Reiser's father, Burt Buchman, in Mad About You, has died. He died in his sleep on January 30 in New York City. Mr. Zorich was 93.

Brooklyn Bridge

Zorich starred as Jules Berger in the 1991-1993 CBS dramedy Brooklyn Bridge, which was set in the middle 1950s in Brooklyn. He was married to Sophie Berger (Marion Ross) and was the grandfather of Alan Silver (Danny Gerard). The Gary David Goldberg created series also starred Amy Aquino, Peter Friedman, Matthew Louis Siegel, Adam LaVorgna, Jenny Lewis, Jake Jundef, Aeryk Egan and David Wohl. It won a Golden Globe for Best Television Comedy or Musical and was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1992.

Paul Reiser and Louis Zorich - Mad About You

He appeared in the recurring role as Burt Buchman in 70 episodes of the NBC sitcom Mad About You from 1993 to 1999. He was married to Sylvia (Cynthia Harris) and was the father of Paul (Paul Reiser). His signature line when he visited Paul and Jamie's (Helen Hunt) apartment was "It's me, Burt! Burt Buchman--your father!" The series also starred Anne Elizabeth Ramsay, Leila Kenzie (1992-1998), Richard Kind (1992-1993, occasional 1994-1999) and John Pankow.

Some of his television guest appearances included Encounter, Hudson's Bay, Cannonball, Naked City, Route 66, Kojak, Ryan's Hope, The Equalizer, Spenser: For Hire, Kate & Allie and Law & Order.

Survivors include his wife, actress Olympia Dukakis; their three children, Peter, Stefan and Christina; and nephew, Chris Zorich (former NFL player).

Mr. Zorich was a fine actor. He was very good as the family patriarch in Brooklyn Bridge. It would be great to revisit that series on DVD one day. It was always fun when he stopped by to visit on Mad About You. He will be greatly missed.

Hugh Wilson

We also remember director, writer and television showrunner Hugh Wilson. He was the creator of WKRP in Cincinnati and Frank's Place. He died on January 14 in Charlottesville, Virginia, from lung cancer and emphysema. Mr. Wilson was 74.

Wilson created WKRP in Cincinnati for CBS in 1978. The series was based upon his experiences working in advertising sales at Top 40 radio station WQXI in Atlanta. The popular sitcom ran for four seasons from 1978 to 1982. It starred Gary Sandy, Gordon Jump, Loni Anderson, Richard Sanders, Frank Bonner, Jan Smithers, Tim Reid and Howard Hesseman. The catchy theme song was written by Wilson and performed by Steve Carlisle. Wilson also wrote 14 episodes, provided the story for three episodes and directed two of the episodes.

He later created the sequel series, The New WKRP in Cincinnati, which aired for two seasons in first-run syndication from 1991 to 1993. The series starred Gordon Jump, Richard Sanders, Frank Bonner, Mykelti Williamson, Tawny Kitaen and French Stewart. Howard Hesseman appeared in a recurring role.

In 1986, he created the short-lived NBC sitcom Easy Street. The series starred Loni Anderson, Jack Elam, Lee Weaver, Dana Ivey, James Cromwell and Arthur Malet.

Wilson worked with Tim Reid again in the critically acclaimed, but short-lived dramedy Frank's Place. The series aired on CBS for one season in 1987-1988. It also also starred Robert Harper, Daphne Maxwell Reid, Francesca P. Roberts, Frances W. Williams, Virginia Capers, Tony Burton, Charles Lampkin, Lincoln Kilpatrick, William Thomas Jr. and Don Yesso. Wilson also worked as writer s and directed seven episodes of the series. He won an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series" in 1988.

He created the short-lived 1989-1990 CBS sitcom The Famous Teddy Z. The series starred Jon Cryer, Milton Selzer, Jane Sibbett, Alex Rocco, Tom La Grua, Erica Yohn and Josh Blake.

His other directing credits included The Tony Randall Show (also a producer), Easy Street and The Famous Teddy Z. He directed the films Police Academy, Burglar, Guarding Tess, The First Wives Club, Blast from the Past and Dudley Do-Right.

Some of his other sitcom writing credits included The Bob Newhart Show, The Tony Randall Show and The Famous Teddy Z.

The Archive of American Television conducted an extensive interview with him on November 26, 2015.

Survivors include his wife, five children and four grandchildren.

We thank Mr. Wilson for the great sitcoms he brought us over the years. He will be missed.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Monday, December 10

The Neighborhood - "Welcome to the Stolen Sneakers" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Malcolm is robbed and won’t reveal the culprit, Calvin and Dave team up to crack the case of the missing sneakers. Also, Tina takes a unique approach to teaching Gemma self-defense.

Happy Together - "Home Insecurity" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When one of Cooper’s stalkers sneaks into Jake and Claire’s house, they reluctantly decide to install a home security system.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 10)

Monday, December 10

  • Ellen DeGeneres (Ellen/The Ellen Show) - Watch Ellen on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Pete Holmes (Crashing) - Pete appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • John Mulaney (Mulaney) - John stops by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Vanessa Hudgens (Powerless) - Vanessa is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Bryan drops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Sean Hayes (Will & Grace/Sean Saves the World) - Sean appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Wilmer Valderrama (That 70s Show) - Wilmer is a guest on E!'s Busy Tonight at 10pm.
  • Steve Harvey (The Steve Harvey Show) - Steve visits The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Sherri Shepherd (Less Than Perfect/Sherri) - Sherri appears on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Odette Annable (Breaking In) - Odette and her husband Dave talk about Freeform's No Sleep 'Til Christmas on Access Live (check your local listings), on E! News at 7pm on E! and on KTLA 5 in Los Angeles at 9:15am PT.
  • Robert Townsend (The Parent 'Hood) - Robert talks about Making the Five Heartbeats on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Jake Johnson (New Girl) - Jake talks about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse on ABC's GMA Day at 1pm and on the BUILD Series at 1pm.
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar (The Crazy Ones) - Sarah will be on ABC's GMA Day at 1pm.
  • Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) - Miley can be heard on The Morning Mash Up on SiriusXM.


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
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest