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

Sunday, April 22

Bob's Burgers - "Cheer Up Sleepy Gene" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Gene gets invited to his first sleepover, and things don't go as planned; Bob and Linda record themselves while sleeping to prove who snores more.

Bob's Burgers - "Go Tina on the Mountain" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT)
The Belcher kids go to Outdoor Education only to have it rain; Tina meets a hermit living in the woods; Bob and Linda experience what it's like to be empty nesters.

The Simpsons - "Lisa Gets the Blues" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When the Simpsons' flight is rerouted to New Orleans, Lisa rediscovers her passion for jazz; Bart is intrigued by voodoo; Homer is intrigued by drinking.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "Gray Star Mutual" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When a fire destroys Charles' food truck, Pimento unexpectedly shows up to the scene as the insurance agent; Rosa helps Amy to see that it's okay to get excited about picking her wedding dress; Gina and Terry coach Holt in the art of social media.

Family Guy - "'Family Guy' Through the Years" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
A reimagining of the show as a series that's been on the air for 60 years; a look back at the cultural events and issues tackled on the show through the decades.

The Last Man on Earth - "The Blob" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
A thermal heat detector reveals a potential sign of life, but Tandy doesn't want the group to split up to investigate; Todd and Erica have trouble seeing eye to eye.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 16)

Sunday, April 22

  • Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs/Rules of Engagement/Reno 911!) - Catch Wendi on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.


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

Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Seventh Season Green Acres - The Complete Fifth Season Mayberry R.F.D. - The Complete First Season One Day at a Time - Season Two Perfect Strangers  - The Complete Third Season

02/06 - All in the Family - Seasons 1-5
02/06 - Bosom Buddies - The Complete Series
02/06 - Women of the House - Complete 12 Episode Series
02/13 - Broad City - Season 4
02/13 - Three's Company - The Complete Series - Come and Knock on Our Door Collection
02/27 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Seventh Season
02/27 - Green Acres - The Complete Fifth Season
02/27 - Mayberry R.F.D. - The Complete First Season
03/06 - Atlanta - The Complete First Season
03/06 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Ninth Season
03/13 - The New Adventures of Old Christine - The Complete First Season
03/27 - One Day at a Time - Season Two
04/03 - Ballers - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/03 - 90's Sitcom (Just Shoot Me!/The Larry Sanders Show/Wings) Starter Set - Season 1 & 2 Bundle
04/10 - Vice Principals - The Compelte Series
04/17 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Third Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest