Saturday, December 08, 2007

TV Rebels: The Dick Van Dyke Show; Solomon's Weekly Rant: Disappearing Tuesday Sitcoms on ABC; Frank TV Airs Too Late; Morning Show Wedding Dance

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for mini-DVD reviews and Solomon's Weekly Rant! But wait! This Saturday we won't have the regular mini-DVD review as we have a special for you! However don't worry, Solomon's Weekly Rant is still on in its regular day and spot.
We have gotten special permission to publish at least 6 different essays on TV shows that will be featured in the upcoming book TV Rebels: 100 People and Programs That Shaped the Medium by author Lou Orfanella. The book is still in the works and will be released in 2009. Once a month, each month (for the next six months at least) we will bring you one of his excerpts from his pending book. So, this is a little exclusive and will help you prepare for the book coming in 2009!
But first here is a little about Lou: Lou Orfanella's latest book is the fiction collection In a Flash: Twenty-One Short, Short Stories. In Excursions: Poetry and Prose he brings together many genres of literature including the direct address, fiction, collaborative writing, and a novella in poems. He is the author of the poetry collections Streets of New York, Allurements and Lamentations, Composite Sketches, The Last Automat, Permanent Records, How I Happened and Summer Rising, River Flowing and the work of nonfiction Scenes from an Ordinary Life: Getting Naked to Explore a Writer's Process and Possibilities. He contributed chapters to the books Reel Rebels, When Genres Collide, and Rationales for Teaching Young Adult Literature. His columns, essays, articles, reviews, and poems have appeared in many national and regional publications. He holds degrees from Columbia University and Fordham University and teaches writing at Western Connecticut State University and English in the Valhalla, New York school district. He has presented dozens of public readings of his work and offers individual and group workshops on topics including poetry, fiction, memoir, journalism, and family history. He can be contacted at LORFANELLA@hotmail.com.

So without further adieu, we bring you the first column of TV Rebels:

The Dick Van Dyke Show: The Sophisticated Ensemble Comedy
Two years before the 1961 premiere of The Dick Van Dyke Show veteran television writer Carl Reiner had created a series for himself called Head of the Family. The pilot failed to sell but was seen by producer Sheldon Leonard who suggested a casting change for the lead role. Although young comic and daytime TV host Johnny Carson was considered, the role of Rob Petrie went to the multifaceted entertainer Dick Van Dyke who had gained national recognition via his Broadway and motion picture performances in the musical Bye Bye Birdie. While Van Dyke's name graced the title of the series, it was an ensemble that relied as much on co-stars Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Richard Deacon, and occasionally Reiner as it did on the headliner himself. Additionally, it leaned on a more sophisticated humor than most of the comedies to that point.
Situations comedies had generally been produced as pure family fare with an attempt to cram in as many quick laughs as possible. Entertain the kids, don't offend the adults, and don't require too much thinking on the part of the audience. "Dick Van Dyke was the first sitcom that was rated A-for Adult. Rob and Laura Petrie were sensible, grown-up people. They were funny and they did funny things. They were not the Burnses, who were zany and did zany things. Nor were they madcap Margie and her foolish father or the warbling Partridges. Laure and Rob Petrie were not silly people. They didn’t act; they behaved. They were substantial-more so than Donna and the rest of the Stones. That's just it: the Petries weren't stone, they were...clay. They were like real people. Real people who made jokes, but weren't jokes." (Mitz 181). The Dick Van Dyke Show helped television grow up a bit.
A major change brought about by The Dick Van Dyke Show involved the way writers looked at their audiences. Audiences were given credit for more intelligence than had been the case in the past. While most sitcoms focused on a main character cooking up schemes and finding him or herself in ridiculous situations and took place primarily in one venue, be it the home or workplace, here in an almost literary style, Rob Petrie had both work and family lives and it was assumed that audience could accept the two "plot" lines. Sight gags and slapstick pratfalls were part of Van Dyke’s repertoire of comedic techniques, but were not, as was the cast with so many previous comedies seen as essential to getting a laugh from the audience. Good writing and intelligent dialogue were trusted to lead to the payoff. Another sign of growth was the deeper character development that was afforded others in the cast. What was happening to, and thought about by, wife Laura and coworkers Buddy and Sally was as significant as what Rob was experiencing.
"The show's unique blend of wit and warmth would prove beyond any argument that a situation comedy could be sophisticated and urbane-and still deliver a sizable audience. In the space of only five years, Carl Reiner and his company of actors, writers, and fellow producers had succeeded in creating a work of such consistent intelligence and invention that it would set a new standard for quality television-a standard that still serves as a benchmark for prime-time comedy to this day. As few television shows had done before, and very few have done since, The Dick Van Dyke Show would forever alter the way we watch television." (Waldron 300).

Works Cited
Mitz, Rick. The Great TV Sitcom Book. New York: Perigee, 1983.
Waldron, Vince. The Official Dick Van Dyke Show Book. New York: Hyperion, 1994.

Stay tuned next month for another installment of TV Rebels as we take a look at the legendary Norman Lear! Should be fun!


Solomon's Weekly Rant
Saturday, December 8, 2007
"Disappearing Tuesday Sitcoms on ABC; Frank TV Airs Too Late; Morning Show Covers Wedding Dance"
By Solomon Davis

What's up with the disappearance of Caveman AND Carpoolers on Tuesday nights? It seems like its one preemption after another with no new episodes in sight. Are the ratings that bad for both shows? It's easy to just do a time slot change instead of leaving both shows in the timeslot to fail. ABC just go ahead and make the announcement that the two shows are not coming back because I already saw that next Tuesday in the 8pm Hour they will be preempted again for holiday airings of Shrek the Halls and Winnie the Pooh & Christmas, Too. The only thing the specials are doing is making viewers forget all about the the two comedies which is probably their plan anyway so they can have a reason to pull both shows.

Why does TBS have to put Frank TV in the 11pm slot on Tuesdays? I mean for me it conflicts with local news and SportsCenter on ESPN and even the re-airing is after 1am in the morning. How bout having Frank TV air between 8pm and 10pm and CUT DOWN some of the encores of Family Guy? Family Guy is on from 8pm to 10pm and I'm sure Frank TV being a new show can fit somewhere in there. I mean does TBS want people to see the show or not? But they do label it as a late night TV show.

There was a clip of a recently married couple on YouTube dancing at their wedding reception and the mornings shows like Good Morning America and The Early Show wanted to keep showing them dancing OVER and OVER. Who cares that they were dancing at their wedding reception? And did the wedding couple really need to be interviewed by the Early Show just because they were dancing and acting silly? The Early Show can't find any other story to talk about and have to discuss YouTube videos of married couples dancing to rap music? Is that all it takes to get a interview on TV these days? Clearly the DUMBEST feature story of the year. Maybe I should record a video for this blog with me laughing at Emmit Smith on ESPN while I eat nachos. I wonder if The Early Show would interview me?

My Weird TV Moment of the Week:
Thursday, December 6, 2007: During the Bears/Skins game on the NFL Network, a fan ran out of the stands and attacked a player on the field and NFL Network immediately CUT away from the situation. WHY?? Security Had already tackled him so what did NFL Network think was going to happen?


Agree or disagree with Solomon? Discuss it here.

DISCLAIMER: Remember, Solomon is not the voice of SitcomsOnline. He is just stating his opinions and does not reflect what SitcomsOnline says or thinks. It is just his 'View' but it is always quite entertaining.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Saturday, June 6

none scheduled

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of June 1)

Friday, June 5

  • Lisa Kudrow (Space Force/The Comeback/Web Therapy/Friends) - Watch Lisa on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Maria Bamford (Lady Dynamite) - Maria is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Elijah Wood (Wilfred) - Elijah appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Yvonne Orji (Insecure) - Yvonne will be on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Ricky Gervais (After Life/The Office) - Ricky is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Retta (Parks and Recreation) - Retta will be on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Matt Fraser (Meet the Frasers) - Matt appears on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Annie Murphy (Schitt's Creek) - Annie is a guest on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Valerie Bertinelli (Hot in Cleveland/CafĂ© Americain/Sydney/One Day at a Time) - Valerie makes spicy feta dip on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Joel McHale (Community/The Great Indoors) - Joel talks about Becky on People Now at 1pm.
  • Yvette Nicole Brown (The Mayor/The Odd Couple/Community) - Yvette talks about Crossing Swords and The Big Fib on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • Josie Bissett (The Hogan Family) - Josie talks about Wedding March 5: My Boyfriend's Back on a repeat of Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Kevin Hart (The Big House/Undeclared) - Kevin is a guest on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.


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

Martin - The Complete Series Step by Step - The Complete Seventh and Final Season The Good Place - The Final (Fourth) Season Head of the Class - The Complete First Season Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season

02/04 - Martin - The Complete Series (WBShop.com)
02/11 - Step by Step - The Complete Sixth Season (WBShop.com)
02/18 - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
02/25 - Better Things - The Complete Third Season
03/17 - Crashing - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/07 - Cheers - The Complete Series (2020 Release)
04/14 - Police Squad! - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
04/14 - The Righteous Gemstones - The Complete First Season
04/21 - Step by Step - The Complete Seventh and Final Season (WBShop.com)
05/05 - Kidding - Season 2
05/19 - The Good Place - The Final (Fourth) Season
05/19 - The Good Place - The Complete Series - Collector's Edition (Blu-ray)
05/26 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
05/26 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Series
06/02 - Work in Progress - Season 1
06/09 - Head of the Class - The Complete First Season (WBShop.com)
06/09 - Letterkenny - Seasons 3 & 4
06/09 - Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season
06/23 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Third Season (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

06/06 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Roku Adds Over 100 Linear Channels; Remembering Mary Pat Gleason and Peggy Pope
06/05 - Fri-Yay: Space Force on Netflix Thoughts; BET+ Comedy Gets Binge Premiere
06/04 - Antenna TV's Coach Father's Day Marathon; The CW Acquires Patrick Dempsey Thriller for Fall 2020
06/03 - HBO Max Comedy Starts Strong; Alexa & Katie Returns in June for Final Episodes
06/02 - Ted Lasso Coming Soon to Apple TV+; Quibi Picks Up 2nd Season of Dishmantled
06/01 - Disney+ Orders Second Season of Diary of a Future President; Young Sheldon Streaming on HBO Max
05/31 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 1, 2020)
05/30 - SitcomsOnline Digest: HBO Max Acquires Young Sheldon; Simpsons Now Available in Original Aspect Ratio on Disney+
05/29 - Fri-Yay: Brooklyn Nine-Nine Continues to Delight and Improve; Remembering Richard Herd of Seinfeld
05/28 - Apple TV+ to Reboot Fraggle Rock as Series; Virtual Table Read for Bless the Harts on June 1
05/27 - 2021 Programming Set for FX; Hollywood Game Night Returns for 5 Episodes
05/26 - FX Orders 3rd Season of Comedy; Adult Swim Brings Back Haddish and Wong Series
05/25 - Memorial Day 2020 TV Marathons
05/24 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 25, 2020)
05/23 - SitcomsOnline Digest: ABC Fall Lineup Looking to Include Fewer Sitcoms; Head of the Class Arrives on DVD
05/22 - Fri-Yay: Will HBO Max Work?; ABC Announces 2020-21 Season Programming
05/21 - Freeform Announces 2020-21 Slate; Fox Brings Back Last Man Standing, Prodigal Son and The Resident for 2021
05/20 - Summer of Me Returns June 1 on MeTV; FXX Orders More Dave
05/19 - CBS Upfront 2020-21: Fall 2020 Schedule; Remembering Ken Osmond of Leave it to Beaver
05/18 - Pop TV Slates Date for One Day at a Time Animated Episode; Remembering Fred Willard of Modern Family, Everybody Loves Raymond and Fernwood 2 Night
05/17 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 18, 2020)
05/16 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Renewals and Cancellations of 2019-2020 (So Far); Soaps Running Out of Episodes
05/15 - The CW Upfront 2020-21: Fall 2020 Schedule; Fri-Yay: Quarantine Reunions - An Emerging Trend
05/14 - Dads Documentary to Premiere on Apple TV+ on June 19; Amazon Picks Up 2nd Season of Upload
05/13 - COZI TV Slates The Office "Best of Jim" Stunt; AFV Slates at Home Special, Extends Season Thru June 14
05/12 - Remembering Jerry Stiller of Seinfeld and The King of Queens; HBO Max Announces Santa Inc.
05/11 - Fox Upfront 2020-21: Fall 2020 Schedule; CBS Orders Three New Series for 2020-21
05/10 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 11, 2020)
05/09 - SitcomsOnline Digest: At Home Version of America's Funniest Home Videos; Younger Spinoff in the Works
05/08 - Fri-Yay: What Effect Will the Coronavirus Have on TV Sitcoms?; Freeform Orders Coronavirus Comedy
05/07 - CBS Announces 23 Series Renewed for 2020-21, Fall Schedule to Be Announced May 19; Robbie Premieres on Comedy Central
05/06 - TBS and truTV Present I'm Sorry Mother's Day Marathon; HBO Max Orders Comedy with Jean Smart