Tuesday, November 03, 2015

SitcomsOnline Book Club Review - Andy & Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show; NBC Schedules Mid-Season Comedies with America Ferrera and Eva Longoria

Andy & Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show

SitcomsOnline Book Club Review - Andy & Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show

by Skees

Andy Griffith and Don Knotts came from somewhat similar (but different) backgrounds, both from working-class and low-income families from the south, and both had dreams and aspirations to get to something bigger. Daniel de Visé's biography, Andy & Don, takes readers on a behind-the-scenes tour of how these two actors from the south came to know each other on the stage on Broadway, and proceeded to head their own direction in their careers shortly thereafter... only to find that a big part of their success came in working with each other.

The primary focus of the book, of course, is on the one place that almost every fan of the actors associate them with: The Andy Griffith Show. More than a third of the book is dedicated to this, carefully detailing everything from the moment that the show was born, the insistence of Griffith to cast Knotts in a role in the series. The book continues to follow through with all of the ups and downs of the series, including casting and some behind-the-scenes drama. As most fans know, Knotts left the series after the fifth season, but the book gets readers a bit more in-depth on the exact reasons why, and they're not quite as many believe. It also discusses how the series proceeded without Knotts, and later without Griffith, and it seems that neither of these shakeups were ones that Griffith enjoyed.

Despite all of the success that both of them had throughout their life, the book also exposes how both of them had some rather large dry spells in their careers, and how they spent their personal lives during those spells. Griffith, in particular, struggled following the completion of The Andy Griffith Show. A handful of short-lived series didn't quite give him the satisfaction in life that he was hoping for, and things got much worse for him after a paralyzing illness in 1983. Meanwhile, Knotts had a string of movies that weren't exactly blockbuster hits after leaving The Andy Griffith Show, though he did land the role of Mr. Furley on Three's Company, a role that was nearly as iconic as his role of Barney Fife.

It was that relationship between two men, though, that brought them one last big round of success together, with the series Matlock. The series finally brought Griffith back into the spotlight (and managed to keep him there) after over a decade and a half of struggling to find a role that actually worked for him. The series was a success for him when he was alone, but by the third season, at the insistence of Griffith once again, he was reunited with Knotts, as Knotts began a recurring role on the series that lasted for four seasons (he disappeared around the time that the series shifted from NBC to ABC).

The book concludes with "Death in Mayberry," a nice tribute to the final days of both Knotts and Griffith. There are also some acknowledgements of how the author came to know Don Knotts (they were in-laws) and Griffith (it came much later in life), and finally a synopsis of what the author considers to be the twenty great episodes of The Andy Griffith Show.

As much as I've admired the work of both Andy Griffith and Don Knotts over the years, I've honestly never stopped to look into much of their lives beyond their TV success. This is a particularly well-written book that gives more insight into their personal lives and gives a lot more background into how their frequent appearances together over a span of five separate decades was not just mere coincidence, but had a lot to do with their own personal friendship. Even more importantly, with a few exceptions, both of them seemed to thrive most when they were on screen together.

This book is one that great read for fans of either of these actors, although given how much of their career has been together, it is highly unlikely one would be a fan of one and not the other. This isn't one of those books that just repackages information readily available online and adds more to it as filler, it is a well-written and heavily sourced book with details that may be new or even surprising to some fans.

(4/5 stars)

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NBC will ring in the New Year with the launch of two of its highest profile comedies on Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, but viewers will get an early look at both Superstore and Telenovela with sneak previews for two consecutive Mondays in late November and early December behind live episodes of The Voice. On Monday, Nov. 30, two original episodes of the ensemble workplace comedy Superstore, starring Emmy winner America Ferrera, will air back-to-back from 10-11pm ET following the two-hour telecast of NBC's Emmy Award-winning musical competition The Voice. Back-to-back episodes of the behind-the-scenes comedy Telenovela, featuring Eva Longoria as the star of a hit Spanish soap opera, will air Dec. 7 from 10-11pm following the penultimate Monday telecast of The Voice. Both series will then make their official launches on Monday, Jan. 4 with Superstore" premiering at 8pm and Telenovela at 8:30pm.

Superstore

In Superstore, America Ferrara (Ugly Betty) and Ben Feldman (A to Z) star in a hilarious workplace comedy (from the producer of The Office) about a unique family of employees at a super-sized megastore. From the bright-eyed newbies and the seen-it-all veterans to the clueless summer hires and in-it-for-life managers, together they hilariously tackle the day-to-day grind of rabid bargain hunters, riot-causing sales and nap-worthy training sessions. The cast includes Mark McKinney, Lauren Ash, Colton Dunn, Nichole Bloom and Nico Santos.

Telenovela

In Telenovela, if you think the steamy sex, sensational scandals and wrenching heartbreak on Latino soap operas are a little extreme, just wait until you see what happens behind the scenes. Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives) stars in this new comedy about Ana Sofia, a sizzling TV superstar and her lively family of cast and crew all competing to steal the spotlight. When the cameras turn off, the drama turns up as Ana battles pesky network execs, drunken script writers, narcissistic co-stars, and an unfortunately familiar new onscreen love interest. The cast includes Jencarlos Canela, Diana Maria Riva, Jose Moreno Brooks, Alex Meneses, Amaury Nolasco, Jadyn Maria and Izzy Diaz.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, July 27

The Goldbergs - "Couple Off" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Barry and Joanne crash Erica and Geoff’s peaceful weekend camping trip, they end up in a competition to see who is the better couple, causing some unexpected shifts in relationships. After learning that Brea thinks Adam has an easy, privileged life, Adam seeks to prove her wrong by getting a job but quickly learns she might be right.

Home Economics - "Mermaid Taffeta Wedding Dress, $1,999" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
The Hayworth family is invited to the wedding of longtime family friend Spags. When Connor enlists Tom’s help to write and re-write a wedding toast, things take an unexpected turn between the brothers. Sarah realizes Denise is upset they never had a real wedding, while Marina meticulously plans her drinking schedule for a night out without the kids.

The Conners - "Promotions, Podcasts and Magic Tea" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Darlene earns a promotion at Wellman Plastics, while Ben decides on a new career path. Meanwhile, Jackie tries an herbal tea leading to an emotional revelation.

black-ish - "Our Wedding Dre" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Pops and Ruby are getting re-married! And Dre’s intimate wedding plans go awry when Pops’ brother, Uncle Norman, shows up unexpectedly for the festivities. Meanwhile, Ruby refuses Bow’s offer to help with preparations until an unanticipated situation gives her an opening to save the big day.

Miracle Workers - "Oregon Trail: Hunting Party" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Ezekiel signs up for a buffalo hunting expedition to prove his manhood. Meanwhile, Benny teaches Prudence how to be a bandit.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 26)

Tuesday, July 27

  • Anthony Anderson (black-ish/Guys with Kids/All About the Andersons) - Anthony guest hosts a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Dwayne Johnson (Young Rock) - Dwayne appears on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jake Johnson (Hoops/New Girl) - Jake will be on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Kym Whitley (Young & Hungry/Animal Practice/Sparks) - Kym is a guest on a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Megan Fox (Hope & Faith) - Megan appears on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Ron Funches (Final Space/Powerless/Undateable) - Ron is a guest on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community) - Ken appears on a repeat of The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Laura Benanti (The Detour/Go On) - Laura talks about HBO Max's Homeschool Musical: Class of 2020, a special based on the social media movement she started giving students whose spring musicals were cancelled due to the pandemic the opportunity to perform, on a repeat of The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Abigail Breslin (Scream Queens) - Abigail talks about Stillwater on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • D.L. Hughley (The Hughleys) - D.L. talks about ABC's GMA 3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (March-July)

Fuller House - The Complete Series Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Third Season Family Ties - The Complete Series (2021 Re-Release) Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Re-Release)

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)
07/07 - No Activity - Season 2
07/13 - The Unicorn - Season 2
07/20 - Head of the Class - The Complete Third Season
07/27 - Family Ties - The Complete Series (2021 Re-Release)
07/27 - Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Re-Release)
08/03 - I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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