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 / Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows

Tuesday, May 28

none scheduled

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 27)

Tuesday, May 28

  • Cole Escola (Big Mouth/Search Party/Difficult People) - Cole appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Reba McEntire (Malibu Country/Reba) and Sherri Shepherd (Mr. Iglesias/Trial & Error/Sherri/Less Than Perfect/Suddenly Susan) - E! News has an interview with Reba and Sherri at 11pm on E!.
  • Bobby Cannavale (Angie Tribeca/Will & Grace) and Rose Byrne (Physical) - Bobby and Rose talk about Ezra on The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Scott Caan (Entourage) - Scott talks about Fox's Alert: Missing Persons Unit on a repeat of Access Daily with Mario & Kit, so check your local listings.
  • Paul Scheer (Black Monday/Fresh Off the Boat/The League) - Paul is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.


New on DVD/Blu-ray

Father Knows Best - The Complete Series Three's Company - The Official 40th Anniversary Collection Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Too Close for Comfort - The Complete Series Check It Out! - The Complete Series

12/05 - Father Knows Best - The Complete Series
12/05 - The Odd Couple - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
12/12 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Complete Series
12/12 - Looney Tunes Collector's Choice - Volume 2 (Blu-ray)
12/12 - That Girl - The Complete Series
12/15 - Letterkenny - Season 11
12/19 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Official Restored Complete Series
12/22 - Three's Company - The Official 40th Anniversary Collection (includes The Ropers and Three's a Crowd)
01/09 - South Park - Seasons 11-15 (Blu-ray)
01/16 - Ghosts (UK) - Season Five
02/13 - Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
02/27 - The Really Loud House - Season One
03/12 - Ghosts (UK) - The Complete Series
03/12 - Looney Tunes Collector's Choice - Volume 3 (Blu-ray)
03/12 - Rick and Morty - Season 7 (Blu-ray Steelbook) (Blu-ray) (DVD)
04/03 - Too Close for Comfort - The Complete Series (VEI)
04/08 - Check It Out! - The Complete Series (VEI)
05/21 - Frasier (2023) - Season One

The Odd Couple - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) That Girl - The Complete Series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Official Restored Complete Series

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