Saturday, January 12, 2008

TV Rebels: Norman Lear; Solomon's Weekly Rant: Crazy Glue Good Times, Beverly Hillbillies for Three's Company?, Carpoolers Time Change

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 the second installment of TV Rebels! However don't worry, Solomon's Weekly Rant is still on in its regular day and spot.
As we did last month, 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.

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

Norman Lear: Changing the Face of Comedy
On Tuesday, January 12, 1971 at 9:30 p.m. Eastern Time, the first episode of a series that seemed destined to fail finally aired on CBS and the television situation comedy was never the same. Producer Norman Lear had been fighting unsuccessfully since 1968 to get his American adaptation of the British hit Till Death Us Do Part on network television. After multiple pilot films, cast changes, and title changes (Archie Justice and Those Were the Days were discarded choices), All in the Family debuted to less than stellar ratings, but leaving no doubt that new territory was being explored.
Blue collar bigot Archie Bunker, his devoted wife Edith, daughter Gloria, and son-in-law Mike made up the immediate family residing at 704 Hauser Street in Queens, New York. Archie's conservative rants and endless stream of ethnic slurs were far removed from even the most bombastic characters to rule the airwaves previously. "Even after the '60s lowered the bar for acceptable public expression, it was hard not to notice a fat white guy sitting in his chair, cigar in hand, railing against everybody else" (Hinckley). And notice they did. By the 1971-1972 television season All in the Family was the number one show on the air and would remain so for five years running.
By the fall of 1972, All in the Family had spawned Maude, the Beatrice Arthur character who had appeared as Edith Bunker's liberal cousin. One of many Lear "spin-off" series, Maude was to become another ground breaking comedy during its six year CBS run and another piece of the foundation which would support the growing empire that was Tandem Productions, the company of Lear and partner Bud Yorkin. While All in the Family had brought reality into the genre, "...from social politics to bathroom use, and dealt with them in language franker than TV audiences had ever heard. Maude wert even further in its weekly squabbles. The first season's 22 episodes...dealt with topics like racism, infidelity, sexual equality, divorce, menstruation, malpractice and, most notoriously, abortion, when Maude found herself pregnant at 47" (DeCaro).
The Lear productions continued to flourish throughout the 70's with hits like Sanford and Son (another adaptation of a British series, Steptoe and Son), The Jeffersons (another All in the Family spinoff), Good Times (a Maude spinoff), and other traditional/formulaic sitcoms. Lear would attempt to push the envelope with Hot L Baltimore on ABC in 1975. Set in a rundown hotel (hence the missing "e" in the sign/title) and based on the off Broadway show of the same name Hot L Baltimore's characters included a prostitute, a homosexual couple, and a never seen practical joker named Moose. The series boasted some cutting edge dialogue but it failed to click with viewers and vanished after 13 episodes.
Lear would hit pay dirt again in 1976 with the syndicated soap opera spoof Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. After being turned down by the networks in spite of his track record as a television innovator, Lear sold Mary Hartman to local station where it became a late night hit. Once again, Lear pushed the boundaries of controversial subject matter and outlandish plotlines. And once again, it worked.
Norman Lear's place as a television rebel was likely secured that night in 1971 when the public was first introduced to Archie Bunker, though he continued to travel uncharted waters. "In a few short years after All in the Family’s debut, Lear had influenced all of TV comedy and dominated much of it, to the extent that by 1975, critic Michael J. Arlen wagered, 'it's probably a good bet that roughly a hundred and twenty million Americans watch Norman Lear comedies each week-which adds up to a total of roughly five billion viewers each year.'" (McCrrohan 137).

Works Cited
DeCaro, Frank. "Archie Bunker's Feisty Feminist Flip Side." The New York Times 22 April 2007:AR30.
Hinckley, David. "Change of Life: Archie Bunker." The New York Daily News 12 October 1999:17.
McCrohan, Donna. Archie&Edith, Mike&Gloria: The Tumultuous History of All in the Family. New York: Workman Publishing, 1987.

Stay tuned next month for another installment of TV Rebels as we take a look at the sitcom That Girl!


Solomon's Weekly Rant
Saturday, January 12, 2008
"Crazy Glue Good Times; Beverly Hillbillies for Three's Company?; Carpoolers Time Change"
By Solomon Davis

This month marks the 4th anniversary of Good Times on TV One and I can't believe after 4 years we are still going to see a marathon next month based around the Michael character. Good Times to TV one is like how Fresh Prince is to Nick at Nite, it's the network's favorite show and everyone with 20/20 vision must be reminded of that all the time. I mean how many more years is this show going to be presented to TV One viewers like it's a new addition? I was hoping the year of 2008 would push some shows off the TV One schedule so some new shows can be pushed in and given a chance to gain an audience. And just once if TV One is going to air this show all the time at least feature the show's best years and not the Penny/Carl/Keith era.

OK I'm not a fan of The Beverly Hillbillies and never intend to be, but why did TV Land have to replace Three's Company at 1am so that The Beverly Hillbillies can be seen? The show already airs in the daytime and evening, while Three's Company will now only be 4am (it will gain 11am in February though). That replacement makes no sense at all and now I have absolutely no reason to turn to TV Land from 11pm to 2am since there is nothing on from the 1970's era just all Andy Griffith, M*A*S*H (this is '70s but boring '70s), and the newly re-acquired Beverly Hillbillies. But now the 2am hour is different with Sanford and Son airing in that slot so they think they could squeeze a 60's sitcom in the 1am slot now. They should air a new type of 60's show like Gomer Pyle. TV Land is definitely a channel that should be under the pre-basic cable package.

I was all set to get back into Carpoolers this past Tuesday and ended up forgetting to watch the show because of the new time ABC scheduled the show to air. It was originally airing at 8:30pm and now has been moved to 9:30pm which made it very easy for me to forget to watch the show and have to try again next week. So what's probably going to happen is most people will forget about the new time slot (since that's not a time they were used to watching the show) combined in with the fact that show hasn't even been seen since October which will lead to cancellation avenue. So that strategy by ABC will definitely have Carpoolers in the "goodbye" list in about 4 months.


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

Sunday, June 13

none scheduled

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of June 7)

Friday, June 11

  • Kathryn Hahn (Central Park/Happyish/Transparent/Free Agents) - Catch Kathryn on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Jean Smart (Hacks/Samantha Who?/Designing Women) - Jean appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Michelle Buteau (Bless the Harts/Enlisted) - Michelle chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) - Zooey talks about The Celebrity Dating Game on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Wilmer Valderrama (That '70s Show) - Wilmer appears on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Ellen Burstyn (The Ellen Burstyn Show) - Ellen will be on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am. She also talks about Queen Bees in the 10am hour.
  • Jasmine Cephas-Jones (Blindspotting) - Jasmine talks about Blindspotting on ABC's GMA 3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.
  • Rob Riggle (Rob Riggle's Ski Master Academy/Golan the Insatiable/Gary Unmarried) and David Koechner (Superior Donuts/F Is for Family/The Golbergs/Hank/The Office) - Rob and David talk about The Big Slick Benefit on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Jane Curtin (United We Fall/Crumbs/3rd Rock from the Sun/Kate & Allie) and Loretta Devine (Family Reunion/The Carmichael Show) - Jane and Loretta talk about Queen Bees on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (February-June)

Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series Happy Together - The Complete Series 'Til Death - The Complete Series Fuller House - The Complete Series Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series

02/02 - Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In - The Complete Series (2021 Retail Release)
02/16 - Fam - The Complete Series
02/23 - Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series
03/02 - Blue Mountain State - The Complete Series
03/02 - Happy Together - The Complete Series
03/02 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-4 (DVD) (Blu-ray)
04/20 - 'Til Death - The Complete Series
05/11 - Dead to Me - Season Two
06/08 - The Critic - The Complete Series
06/08 - Fuller House - The Fifth and Final Season
06/08 - Fuller House - The Complete Series
06/08 - Our Cartoon President - Season 3
06/15 - The Office - Season 1 (Blu-ray) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9
06/15 - Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
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