Friday, April 23, 2021

Fri-Yay: Netflix's New Jamie Foxx Sitcom Has Potential But Not Quite There Yet; Remembering Felix Silla of The Addams Family and James Hampton of F Troop

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!

Dad Stop Embarrassing Me

by Vincent

Last week, Netflix premiered Jamie Foxx's new sitcom Dad Stop Embarrasing Me, the latest in a line of big stars taking their comedy stylings to Netflix. Netflix is somewhat lacking in new comedy content as of late - although there was the excellent Never Have I Ever last year, overall the streamer hasn't had a good, reliable sitcom in a while. Dad Stop Embarrasing Me has some potential, and it's a comforting enough classic multi-camera sitcom, but it's also somewhat lacking, mostly due to the way it repeats generic sitcom premises without much in the way of originality.

The show revolves around a tragic circumstance. Brian (Foxx's character) has to become a single parent of his teenage daughter Sasha after the unexpected passing of their mother. Like many sitcoms that started with a similarly sad premise, the show doesn't spend too much time on the serious side of the situation and instead plays up the laughs - which is totally fine, but the laughs aren't as plentiful as you'd hope from a sitcom. The best part of the show is the relationship between Brian and Sasha, and if the show gets renewed, its best path to being a reliable comedy would be to hone in on that relationship. The relationship at the center of the show being so strong is promising - the show just needs to work out its kinks and joke issues. As of now, it's not a hugely encouraging reversal of Netflix's comedy drought as of late, but it does at least have some potential.


Felix Silla

Italian-born American actor and stuntman Felix Silla, who played Cousin Itt on The Addams Family, has died. He died on April 16 from pancreatic cancer in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mr. Silla was 84.

Felix Silla

Silla appeared in the recurring role of Cousin Itt on 17 episodes of the 1964-1966 ABC sitcom The Addams Family. Cousin Itt was Gomez's (John Astin) cousin. The costumed character was composed entirely of floor-length hair accompanied by a bowler hat and sunglasses. He speaks in rapid, unintelligible gibberish that only the family can understand. The voice was provided by studio sound engineer Anthony Magro. Roger Arroyo appeared in two additional episodes as Cousin Itt. The cast included Carolyn Jones, Jackie Coogan, Ted Cassidy, Blossom Rock, Ken Weatherwax, Lisa Loring and Ted Cassidy.

Some of his sitcom guest appearances included Grindl, Petticoat Junction, The Monkees, Bewitched, Mork & Mindy (uncredited) and Married with Children. He played the Polka Dotted Horse and various characters on the 1969 NBC children's series H.R. Pufnstuf, which was created by Sid and Marty Krofft. He appeared as Colonel Poom on the 1971-1973 ABC Sid and Marty Krofft series Lidsville.

Felix Silla - Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

Silla was responsible for the physical performance of the robot Twiki on the 1979-1981 NBC science fiction adventure series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Twiki's voice was mainly voiced by Mel Blanc, with Bob Elyea being a temporary replacement in 1981.

Some of his drama guest appearances included Bonanza, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., Night Gallery (uncredited), Battlestar Galactica (uncredited) and The Dukes of Hazzard.

Silla played one of the hang glider Ewoks in the film Return of the Jedi (1983). Some of his other film credits as an actor or stuntman included The Towering Inferno (1974), The Hindenburg (1975), The Black Bird (1975), Spaceballs (1987) and Batman Returns (1992).

Survivors include his wife, Sue, whom he married in 1965, and their children, Bonnie and Michael.

Mr. Silla did a fine job playing the beloved hairy Cousin Itt. He should have been in more episodes. We thank him for the laughs and entertainment he brought us. He will be greatly missed.

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

MeTV will air The Addams Family weeknights at 6:00pm starting Monday, May 3.

James Hampton

Actor, director and screenwriter James Hampton, who starred as Private Hannibal Shirley Dobbs on F Troop, has died. He died of complications from Parkinson's disease on April 7 at his home in Fort Worth, Texas. Mr. Hampton was 84.

James Hampton - F Troop

Hampton starred as Private Hannibal Shirley Dobbs on the 1965-1967 ABC sitcom F Troop. Private Hannibal Shirley Dobbs was F Troop's inept bugler, originally from New Orleans, who can only play "Yankee Doodle" and "Dixie" with regularity. The series also starred Ken Berry, Forrest Tucker, Larry Storch, Melody Patterson, Frank de Kova, Don Diamond, Bob Steele and Joe Brooks.

He appeared as Leroy B. Simpson, the handyman at the ranch, on the CBS sitcom The Doris Day Show. Hampton was a regular the first season (1968-1969) before appearing in one episode in season two and one episode in season three. The cast in the first season included Doris Day, Denver Pyle, Fran Ryan, Philip Brown, Todd Starke and Naomi Stevens.

Maggie

Hampton starred as Len Weston on the short-lived 1981-1982 ABC sitcom Maggie. Len Weston was the husband of Maggie Weston (Miriam Flynn). He was vice principal of schools in Dayton, Ohio. The series also starred Doris Roberts, Judith-Marie Bergan, Margie Impert, Billy Jacoby (also known as Billy Jayne) and Christian Jacobs.

Some of his sitcom guest appearances included Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., Who's the Boss?, Punky Brewster, She's the Sheriff, Mama's Family, Full House, Perfect Strangers, Newhart, Get a Life, Evening Shade, The Hogan Family, Hearts Afire, Hope and Gloria and Fired Up.

He later worked as a director for a number of sitcoms. His directing credits included Evening Shade (16 episodes), Hearts Afire (6 episodes), Kirk, Hudson Street, Boston Common (8 episodes), Grace Under Fire (4 episodes), Sister, Sister (9 episodes), The Tony Danza Show (2 episodes), Rude Awakening, Smart Guy (8 episodes), Katie Joplin, Linc's (3 episodes) and Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane (3 episodes).

Some of his drama guest appearances included Dr. Kildare, Death Valley Days, Gunsmkoke, Rawhide, The F.B.I., Mannix, The Rockford Files, The Dukes of Hazzard, Boone, The Greatest American Hero, Matt Houston, Simon & Simon, Murder, She Wrote and Melrose Place.

James Hampton - Teen Wolf

He starred as Caretaker in The Longest Yard (1974). He played Harold Howard, the father of Scott Howard (Michael J. Fox) in Teen Wolf (1985). He voiced Harold Howard on the 1986-1987 animated Teen Wolf series. In 1987, he returned as Uncle Harold Howard in the sequel Teen Wolf Too. Some of his other film credits included Hawmps! (1976), The Cat from Outer Space (1978), The China Syndrome (1979), Condorman (1981), Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach (1988) and Sling Blade (1996).

Survivors include his wife, Mary Deese, sons Jim and Frank and daughter Andrea, and three grandchildren.

Mr. Hampton was very funny and memorable on F Troop. He was a solid and dependable character actor who made a great sidekick. We thank him for the enterainment he brought us during his long career. He will be sorely missed.

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

Anne Beatts

Comedy writer Anne Beatts, who worked on Saturday Night Live and was the creator of Square Pegs, has died. She died on April 7 at her home in West Hollywood, California. Ms. Beatts was 74.

Beatts worked as a writer on Saturday Night Live from 1975 to 1980. She received five Emmy nominations, winning once in 1976 for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy-Variety or Music Series.

Square Pegs

She created the 1982-1983 CBS sitcom Square Pegs. The series follows Patty Greene (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Lauren Hutchinson (Amy Linker), two awkward teenage girls desperate to fit in at Weemawee High School. Beatts appeared in two episodes as Miss Rezucha. The series also starred Merritt Butrick, John Femia, Tracy Nelson, Jami Gertz, Claudette Wells, Jon Caliri, Basil Hoffman, Steven Peterman and Caitlin Adams.

Beatts was a producer for the first season (1987-1988) of the NBC sitcom A Different World. Her other sitcom writing credits included Murphy Brown and Committed (2 episodes).

She was interviewed for The Interviews: An Oral History of Television on May 7, 2009.

She is survived by her daughter, Jaylene Beatts.

We thank Ms. Beatts for bringing us the cult-favorite Square Pegs. It's worth checking out on DVD if you've never watched it before. She will be deeply missed.

Discuss Square Pegs on our message board. View photos in our galleries.

Walter Olkewicz

Character actor Walter Olkewicz, who appeared as Dougie Boudreau on Grace Under Fire, has died. He died after a long illness on April 6 in Reseda, California. Mr. Olkewicz was 72.

The Last Resort

Olkewicz starred as Zach Comstock on the short-lived 1979-1980 CBS sitcom The Last Resort. The series centered on a group of college students working in a hotel kitchen. It also starred Larry Breeding, Stephanie Faracy, Zane Lasky, Ray Underwood, Dorothy Konrad, John Fujioka and Robert Costanzo.

Walter Olkewicz - Grace Under Fire

He appeared as Dougie Boudreau on the ABC sitcom Grace Under Fire from 1993 to 1996. Dougie Boudreau was a crew worker at the local oil refinery. He was a regular for the first season before recurring in the second and third seasons. The cast included Brett Butler, Dave Thomas, Julie White (1993-1997), Casey Sander, Jon Paul Steuer (1993-1996), Sam Horrigan (1996-1998), Kaitlin Cullum, Dylan and Cole Sprouse, Peggy Rea (1995-1998), Charles Hallahan (1993-1994), Don "D.C." Curry (1997-1998) and Lauren Tom (1997-1998).

Some of his sitcom guest appearances included Alice, Barney Miller (2 episodes), It's a Living, Taxi (2 episodes), Cheers, The Love Boat, Making the Grade, The Duck Factory, Newhart, 227, Designing Women, Family Ties, Married with Children, Mr. Belvedere, Who's the Boss?, Night Court, Seinfeld and Dharma & Greg.

Olkewicz starred as Marko in the short-lived 1983 CBS adventure series Wizards and Warriors. He played Harmon Shain in the short-lived 1984 NBC detective drama Partners in Crime. Some of his drama guest appearances included The Rockford Files, Hart to Hart, Trapper John, M.D., The A-Team, Riptide, Hardcastle and McCormick, Falcon Crest, Moonlighting, L.A. Law, ER and Twin Peaks.

Mr. Olkewicz was a good character actor. He was a familiar face in many TV series over the years. We thank him for the laughs and entertainment he brought us. He will be greatly missed.

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


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Saturday, May 8

Side Hustle - "Rat Busters" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
After accidentally setting their principal's boat on fire, best friends Lex, Presley and Munchy create an app to get jobs to pay off their debt.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 3)

Friday, May 7

  • Maya Rudolph (Bless the Harts/Forever/Big Mouth/Up All Night) - Watch Maya on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Anna Kendrick (Love Life) - Anna is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Marlo Thomas (That Girl) - Marlo and Phil Donahue are guests on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) - Nick appears on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Jerry O'Connell (We Are Men/Carpoolers/My Secret Identity) - Jerry guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Christian Serratos (Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide) - Christian (Netflix's Selena: The Series) on portraying Tejano star Selena and the pressure to carry on her legacy on Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
  • Laura Benanti (The Detour/Go On) - Laura is a guest on Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
  • Vanessa Hudgens (Powerless) - Vanessa appears on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Justin Long (F Is for Family/Ed) - Justin and his mom Wendy are guests on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Jane Levy (Suburgatory) - Jane will be on Couch Surfing at 8am.
  • Arica Himmel (mixed-ish) - Arica talks about mixed-ish on ABC's GMA 3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.


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

Corporate - Season 2 Fam - The Complete Series Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series Happy Together - The Complete Series Til Death - The Complete Series

01/22 - Corporate - Season 2
01/22 - Corporate - Season 3
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

More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

05/08 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Trailer Released for Upcoming Rugrats Reboot; Final Airdate Set for Conan
05/07 - Fri-Yay: Rolling Stone's 100 Best Sitcoms of All Time; Marion Cunningham Greatest Classic TV Mom in New Poll
05/06 - E! Reunites TV Casts in Reunion Road Trip; Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Mr. Corman on Apple TV+
05/05 - COZI TV's Roseanne Mother's Day Mom Genes Marathon; Conan's Final TBS Episode to Air June 24
05/04 - NBC Orders Night Court Revival to Pilot; House of Payne and Assisted Living Return May 25 and Ordered for Additional Season
05/03 - Young Rock and Kenan Set to Return for Season 2; Schmigadoon! A New Apple TV+ Comedy Coming This July
05/02 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 3, 2021)
05/01 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Night Court Reboot One Step Closer to Reality; IMDb TV Picks Up Comedy From My Name Is Earl Creator
04/30 - Fri-Yay: Rewind TV Offers Sitcom Lovers a Chance to Watch Their 80s/90s Faves; CBS Announces Season Finale Dates
04/29 - ABC Revises Summer Premieres and Finales, Announces Drama Finale Dates; IMDb TV Gets Greg Garcia Comedy
04/28 - Fox Producing New Flintstones Series Titled Bedrock; Sarah Silverman Joins Damon Wayans Jr. TBS Pilot
04/27 - Antenna TV's Companion Network, Rewind TV Launching September 1 with 80s and 90s Series; Remembering Sitcom Writer Bernie Kahn
04/26 - Disney Channel Orders Second Season of Time Travel Comedy; Selena Gomez Returning for 3rd Season of HBO Max Series
04/25 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 26, 2021)
04/24 - SitcomsOnline Digest: How I Met Your Mother Spinoff Picked Up at Hulu; Complete Series of Baywatch Arriving on DVD
04/23 - Fri-Yay: Netflix's New Jamie Foxx Sitcom Has Potential But Not Quite There Yet; Remembering Felix Silla of The Addams Family and James Hampton of F Troop
04/22 - Hulu Orders How I Met Your Father Starring Hilary Duff; Robot Chicken Takes on Riverdale
04/21 - Ted Lasso Returns July 23, Mark Your Calendars; ABC Comedies Season Finale Dates
04/20 - FXX's Dave Season 2 Premiere Set for June; HBO Max Orders Michael Che Comedy Series
04/19 - Starz Announces Courteney Cox Comedy; Fox Pulls The Moodys
04/18 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 19, 2021)
04/17 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Will Sasso Joins HBO Max Sitcom Pilot; Home Economics Off to Solid Start
04/16 - Fri-Yay: Home Economics Is a Solid Addition to ABC’s Comedy Block; Mr Inbetween Season 3 Premiere Date Set
04/15 - Aidy Bryant Comedy Shrill's Final Season; ABC's Sesame Street: 50 Years of Sunny Days
04/14 - Superstore Star Lauren Ash Signs Development Deal with NBCUniversal; Jenna Dewan Joins New CBS Dance Series
04/13 - NBC Schedules Peyton Manning Game Show; Apple TV+ Comedy Mythic Quest Returns in May
04/12 - The Price Is Right at Night Welcomes Two Funny Celebs; Peacock Comedy Girls5eva Premieres May 6
04/11 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 12, 2021)
04/10 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Nash Bridges Reprisal in the Works?; Season Finale Dates Set for Last Man Standing and MacGyver
04/09 - Fri-Yay: Fox Cancels Bless the Harts, Leaving Questions About Animated Block; Variety and Lifetime Presents Power of Women Comedians
04/08 - ABC Summer 2021 Schedule; Fox Summer 2021 Schedule