Friday, August 25, 2017

Fri-Yay: TV on Other Platforms; Remembering Jay Thomas

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!

Snapchat

by Vincent

Yesterday, there was an announcement that Snapchat would begin making scripted content for their platform. This shouldn't be especially surprising, given that nearly every website and app has expressed a desire to create scripted content, from YouTube to Vimeo to even DirecTV. But it continues to pose an interesting question as we loom deeper into this "Peak TV" era: how does the availability of content everywhere affect the "sitcom" as we know it?

Many people are constantly waxing nostalgic about how sitcoms have changed, and how they wish they could make them like they used to. Some of this may just be looking at things through rose-colored glasses, but there has been genuine change in the television industry. After all, until the 1980s, there were only a handful of television networks, so it was much easier for a sitcom like All in the Family or The Mary Tyler Moore Show to completely dominate conversation like they did during their runs. Television was a shared experience with an entire culture, and sitcoms were often the most popular television there was. If you watched an episode of Three's Company last night, chances are all of your friends watched it, too. This even continued after the advent of cable, with shows like Cheers and Frasier and Friends rising above the increased options cable provided to become genuine mass media experiences.

However, as choices continue to grow into streaming platforms and, well, mobile phone apps, it's hard for a TV show to make a splash across the entire culture, and if they do, it's usually a live reality show event or a live-tweeting-friendly drama with big twists - events that demand to be watched live. Sitcoms, then, have become much more catered to specific niches - hence why most of the big, acclaimed sitcoms of the past ten years haven't been huge hits but more fan-beloved cult hits such as Parks and Recreation or Broad City. Not to mention many people who might have been watching sitcoms in the past may be moving onto other buzzy mediums like YouTube. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it shows that sitcoms - like television - have evolved, and the big, mass appeal hits of years past may be just that - a thing of the past.


Jay Thomas

Emmy award-winning actor Jay Thomas, who was known for his roles in Mork & Mindy, Cheers, Love & War and Murphy Brown, has died. He died of cancer on August 24 at his Santa Barbara, California home. Mr. Thomas was 69.

Jay Thomas and Robin Williams - Mork & Mindy

Thomas' television career began with his role as Remo DaVinci in Mork & Mindy. He appeared in the second and third seasons from 1979-1981. Reno and his sister, Jeanie (Gina Hecht), owned the The New York Delicatessen in season 2 and DaVinci's Restaurant in season 3, where Mork (Robin Williams) and Mindy (Pam Dawber) spent a lot of their time.

Jay Thomas - Cheers

He had a recurring role as Eddie LeBec in 9 episodes of Cheers from 1987-1989. Eddie LeBec was a Boston Bruins goalie who began dating Carla Tortelli (Rhea Perlman). They later married, and had twin boys named Elvis and Jesse. In 1989, Eddie was killed by a Zamboni when he saved the life of another member of the ice show.

Jay Thomas - Murphy Brown

Thomas appeared as Jerry Gold in 9 episodes of Murphy Brown from 1989-1998. Jerry Gold was a tabloid talk show host, who became a friend of Murphy's and an occasional love interest, despite their significantly different journalistic values. Thomas won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series in 1990 and 1991 for the role.

Married People

He starred as Russell Meyers in the 1990-1991 ABC sitcom Married People. Russell was a freelance writer and house-husband who was married to Elizabeth (Bess Armstrong), who worked as an attorney. The series also starred Ray Aranha, Barbara Montgomery, Chris Young and Megan Gallivan.

Love & War

Thomas starred as Jack Stein in the 1992-1995 CBS sitcom Love & War. Jack Stein was a columnist for the New York Post. He had an on-again, off-again romance with Wallis "Wally" Porter (Susan Dey), a Chicago restaurateur. Dey was dropped from the show after the first season. Annie Potts joined the cast as Dana Palladino, who bought Porter's restaurant and also became a love interest for Jack. The series also starred John Hancock (1992), Charlie Robinson, Joel Murray, Michael Nouri, Suzie Plakson and Joanna Gleason.

In 1999, Thomas starred in the short-lived WB sitcom Katie Joplin. He played Glen Shotz, a radio station general manager. The series also starred Park Overall, Jim Rash, Jesse Head, Ana Reeder, Simon Rex and Majandra Delfino.

Some of his sitcom guest appearances included The Love Boat, Family Ties, The Golden Girls, Open House, Cybill, Bless This House, Ink, Working, The Simple Life, Run of the House, Retired at 35 and Shake It Up.

He had a recurring role as Marty Grossman in Ray Donovan. Some of his other drama credits included Spenser: For Hire, Almost Grown, Freddy's Nightmares, Hercules, Fantasy Island (1999), The Education of Max Bickford, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Joan of Arcadia, Boston Legal and Cold Case.

Thomas starred as Bill Meister in Mr. Holland's Opus. He played the Easter Bunny in The Santa Clause 2 and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. Some of his other film credits included C.H.U.D., Straight Talk, A Smile Like Yours, Labor Pains and Underdogs.

Thomas also worked as a radio talk show host. He was heard in New York in the mid-1970s on Top 40 station 99X, and in Los Angeles beginning in 1989 on KPWR "Power 106". He began hosting The Jay Thomas Show on SiriusXM Satellite Radio in 1999.

Survivors include his wife of 30 years, Sally, and his sons, Sam, Jake, and J.T.

Mr. Thomas was a talented and funny actor. His annual appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman where he told the story of how he met Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger) were always memorable. We thank him for the many laughs he brought us in his career. He will be greatly missed.

Share your memories on our message board. View photos in our galleries.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, January 21

Young Sheldon - "Freshman Orientation and the Inventor of the Zipper" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
College orientation does not go as Sheldon planned. Also, Mary is invited to a party when she’s mistaken for a university student, and George Sr. helps Pastor Jeff set up a children’s nursery.

B Positive - "Open Heart Surgery" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Gina needs to keep herself together to pass a psych evaluation while dealing with the news of an ex’s engagement.

Mom - "Woo-Woo Lights and an Onside Kick" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bonnie and the ladies indulge Jill when she goes to extremes to get her relationship with Andy (Will Sasso) back on track.

The Unicorn - "The First Supper" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Wade decides to introduce Shannon to his friends, the get-together quickly takes an awkward turn. Also, Noah tries to fit in with the older kids since he’s tired of being one of the babies.

Call Me Kat - "Therapy" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
When Sheila comes to stay with Kat to avoid being home alone, Sheila's lack of boundaries leads them to try therapy; Phil and Randi make a road trip to buy Phil's mother medicinal marijuana.

Last Man Standing - "Jen Again" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Mike surprises Vanessa with a visit from Jen that might last longer than expected; Ryan asks Chuck for advice to impress his new corporate boss on the golf course.

Mr. Mayor - "The Sac" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
A special assignment forces Jayden and Arpi to get to know each other; Neil sets out on a mission to reconnect with Orly after she gets into a little trouble.

Superstore - "Biscuit" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
After returning from quarantine, Glenn enlists Cheyenne and Bo's help to get Dina to relinquish control; Jonah and Mateo have second thoughts about helping Sandra with her cat's medical needs; Garrett struggles with customer returns.

grown-ish - "Public Service Announcement" (Freeform, 8:00PM ET/PT)
After dropping out of Cal U and diving into her dream job, Zoey balances the demands of her work life and her personal life.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 18)

Thursday, January 21

  • Allison Janney (Mom/Mr. Sunshine) - Catch Allison on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Alison Brie (GLOW/Parks and Recreation) - Alison appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Regina King (The Boondocks/227) - Regina is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Jane Krakowski (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt/30 Rock) - Jane will be on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Francia Raisa (grown-ish) - Francia appears on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Yara Shahidi (grown-ish/black-ish) - Yara talks about grown-ish on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Candace Cameron Bure (Fuller House/Full House) - Candace is a guest on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Morris Chestnut (Out All Night) - Morris talks about The Resident on a repeat of Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • Sara Gilbert (The Conners/Roseanne/Living Biblically/Bad Teacher/Twins) - Sara talks about The Conners on a repeat of Access Daily, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (September-January)

Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season Mom - The Complete Seventh Season The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season The Office - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

09/01 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Season 14
09/01 - What We Do in the Shadows - The Complete Second Season
09/01 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
09/15 - Mom - The Complete Seventh Season
09/15 - South Side - Season 1
09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Second Season
09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Third Season
09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Fourth Season
09/22 - Man with a Plan - Season Three
09/29 - The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete Series (2020 Release)
10/13 - The Jetsons - The Complete Series (Diamond Collection)
10/13 - Our Cartoon President - Season Two
10/23 - Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em - The Complete Collection
10/27 - The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
10/27 - Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
11/10 - Letterkenny - Seasons 5 & 6
11/10 - The Office - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
11/10 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Collection
11/17 - Carol's Second Act - The Complete Series
11/17 - Robbie - Season 1
11/24 - Corporate - Season 1
11/26 - Man with a Plan - Season Four
12/01 - The Neighborhood - Season Two
12/15 - Avenue 5 - The Complete First Season

More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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