Friday, September 10, 2021

Fri-Yay: A.P. Bio Quietly Continues Its Daring Humor on Peacock; Remembering Producer/Writer Irma Kalish, Michael Constantine of Room 222 and Art Metrano of Joanie Loves Chachi

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!

A.P. Bio

by Vincent

If I had to pick one sitcom that's been consistently overlooked, it's A.P. Bio, which started its fourth season on Peacock this past week. A.P. Bio started off with a shaky first season on NBC and just barely squeaked out a second season renewal after low ratings and so-so critical reception. But over the course of the second season, the show began to garner a fanbase for the way it brought cable-like humor to a network sitcom environment. The show was cancelled by NBC after Season 2, but NBC Universal noticed the show’s growing fanbase and decided it was a good choice to use the series to help build the company's new streaming service, Peacock.

Since the move to Peacock, the show has gotten even better, feeling more comfortable to explore its dark side and bringing out the best of its characters even more. Sometimes it feels like the show doesn't quite get the hype given its a Peacock exclusive, but it really does deserve to be mentioned along the best sitcoms on TV right now. It's funny, sarcastic but even has a little bit of heart. I really like the series, and I think anyone looking for a good, sardonic modern sitcom won't be disappointed.


Irma Kalish

Television producer and writer Irma Kalish, who worked on F Troop, Family Affair, Maude, All in the Family, Good Times, Too Close for Comfort, The Facts of Life and 227, has died. She died on September 3 from complications of pneumonia at the Motion Picture & Television Fund cottages in Woodland Hills, California. Ms. Kalish was 96.

Kalish married her husband and writing partner Austin "Rocky" Kalish in 1948. Their writing careers began on radio for The Martin and Lewis Show, which starred Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

Some of her early sitcom writing credits included The Millionaire, The Patty Duke Show, I Dream of Jeannie, Gidget, My Favorite Martian, Please Don't Eat the Daisies, The Hero, That Girl, F Troop (8 episodes), He & She, The Flying Nun, Family Affair (22 episodes, also a story consultant for 41 episodes) and My Three Sons (8 episodes).

They wrote the 1972 two-part Maude episode titled "Maude's Dilemma," in which Maude contemplates an abortion. They worked on four episodes of All in the Family, including "Gloria the Victim," in which Gloria is the victim of an attempted rape and "Edith's Christmas Story," in which Edith has a breast cancer scare. Some of her other 1970s writing credits included Nanny and the Professor, Anna and the King, The Bob Newhart Show, The Brian Keith Show, Dusty's Trail, Good Heavens, Good Times and Carter Country.

Some of her 1980s writing credits included Too Close for Comfort (8 episodes), Foot in the Door, Oh Madeline, The Facts of Life, 227 and Sugar and Spice (also one of the creators). She was one of the writers of the 1985 TV movie I Dream of Jeannie... Fifteen Years Later.

Irma and Rocky produced 48 episodes of Good Times from 1976 to 1978. They produced 40 episodes of Too Close for Comfort from 1980 to 1982. She was an executive producer of 46 episodes The Facts of Life for the final two seasons from 1986 to 1988. She was interviewed for the E! True Hollywood Story on The Facts of Life in 1999. Irma was an executive producer of 39 episodes of 227 from 1988 to 1990. Some of her other producing credits included Good Heavens, Carter Country, Out of the Blue (1979), Foot in the Door, Oh Madeline and The Hogan Family.

Rocky and Irma Kalish

Irma and Rocky were interviewed for The Interviews: An Oral History of Television on December 21, 2012. They were married for 68 years until Rocky's death on October 5, 2016.

Survivors include her sister, Harriet Alef; son, television writer-producer Bruce Kalish and his wife and actress Leah Ayres; grandchildren Matthew Biederman Sr. and his wife Cassie Fink, writer-producer Mackenzie Kalish; and great-grandchildren Nicholas and Caden Biederman.

Ms. Kalish was a prolific and pioneering sitcom producer and writer. She worked on around 30 sitcoms in her career. We thank her for the laughs and entertainment she brought us. She will be deeply missed.

Michael Constantine

Emmy-winning actor Michael Constantine, who starred as high school principal Seymour Kaufman on Room 222, has died. He died on August 31 of natural causes at his home in Reading, Pennsylvania. Mr. Constantine was 94.

Constantine's early television credits included Brenner, The Detectives, The Defenders, Naked City, Dr. Kildare, Ben Casey, The Untouchables (5 episodes), Bonanza, Gunsmoke, The Eleventh Hour, The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Perry Mason, Death Valley Days, I Spy and The Fugitive.

His first sitcom starring role was as Jack Ellenhorn on the 1966-1967 NBC sitcom Hey, Landlord. Jack Ellenhorn was a photographer and tenant at a New York City brownstone apartment building in Manhattan's East 30s. The series also starred Will Hutchins, Sandy Baron, Pamela Rodgers, Miko Mayama, Ann Morgan Guilbert and Kathryn Minner.

Room 222

Constantine's best known television role was as Seymour Kaufman on the 1969-1974 ABC comedy-drama Room 222. Seymour Kaufman was the dryly humorous school principal of the fictional Walt Whitman High School, an extremely racially diverse school in Los Angeles, California. The critically acclaimed series ran for five seasons and 113 episodes. Constantine won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 1970. The cast included Lloyd Haynes, Denise Nicholas, Karen Valentine, Howard Rice (1969-1971), Judy Strangis, Heshimu, Pendrant Netherly (1969-1971), David Jolliffe (1970-1974), Ta-Tanisha (1970-1973) and Eric Laneuville (1971-1973).

Sirota's Court

He next starred as Matthew J. Sirota on the 1976-1977 NBC sitcom Sirota's Court. Matthew J. Sirota was a night court judge in a large metropolitan city. Constantine received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Television Series - Comedy or Musical for the role in 1977. The series also starred Cynthia Harris, Kathleen Miller, Fred Willard, Ted Ross and Owen Bush.

My Big Fat Greek Life

Constantine reprised his role of Gus Portokalos from the 2002 film My Big Fat Greek Wedding on the short-lived 2003 CBS sitcom My Big Fat Greek Life. Gus and Maria Portokalos (Lainie Kazan) owned a neighborhood restaurant. The series also starred Nia Vardalos, Steven Eckholdt, Louis Mandylor, Gia Carides, Andrea Martin and Victoria Adams.

Some of his sitcom guest appearances included Hogan's Heroes, The Double Life of Henry Phyfe, My Favorite Martian, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Jean Arthur Show, The Good Guys, The Odd Couple, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Love, American Style (1972), Benson, Amanda's, The Love Boat, Mama's Family, Free Spirit, Cosby and In-Laws.

His other film credits included The Last Mile (1959), The Hustler (1961), Skidoo (1968), The Reivers (1969), The North Avenue Irregulars (1979), Prancer (1989), Thinner (1996) and My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (2016).

Mr. Constantine was a talented and versatitle character actor. He was outstanding on Room 222. It would be great if the remaining three seasons would be released on DVD. We thank him for the laughs and entertainment he brought us. He will be greatly missed.

Share your memories on our Room 222 message board. View photos in our galleries.

Art Metrano

Actor and comedian Art Metrano, who starred as Rico Mastorelli on Joanie Loves Chachi, has died. He died on September 8 at his home in Aventura, Florida, of natural causes. Mr. Metrano was 84.

The Chicago Teddy Bears

He starred as Nick Marr on the short-lived 1971 CBS sitcom The Chicago Teddy Bears. "Big" Nick Marr was a small-time gangster who wants to take over a Chicago speakeasy. The series also starred Dean Jones, Marvin Kaplan, Mickey Shaughnessy, Jamie Farr, Mike Mazurki, Huntz Hall and John Banner.

Metrano starred as Tom on the short-lived 1977 CBS sitcom Loves Me, Love Me Not. Tom was Dick's (Kenneth Gilman) best friend and his editor at the newspaper. Tom's wife, Sue, was played by Phyllis Glick. Susan Dey starred as Dick's wife, June.

Tough Cookies

He starred as Lt. Iverson on the short-lived 1986 CBS sitcom Tough Cookies. Lt. Iverson was Det. Cliff Brody's (Robby Benson) tough superior. The series also starred Lainie Kazan, Adam Arkin, Matt Craven, Elizabeth Pena and Alan North.

Scott Baio, Art Metrano and Erin Moran

Metrano starred as Rico Mastorelli on the 1982-1983 ABC sitcom Joanie Loves Chachi, which aired for two seasons and 17 episodes. Rico was Chachi's (Scott Baio) uncle who was the band's manager and helped Joanie (Erin Moran) and Chachi advance in their careers. The series also starred Al Molinaro, Ellen Travolta, Robert Pierce, Derrel Maury and Winifred Freedman.

Some of his sitcom guest appearances included The Good Guys, Bewitched, Nanny and the Professor, That Girl, The Partridge Family, The Partners, Adam's Rib, Love, American Style (1972, 1973), Barney Miller, All in the Family, The Ted Knight Show, Benson, WKRP in Cincinnati, Punky Brewster, Lenny, The Golden Girls, Nurses, Empty Nest, The John Larroquette Show, Herman's Head and Police Academy: The Series.

He starred as Detective Rod Pena on the 1974-1975 NBC police drama Amy Prentiss. He played Moose on the NBC adventure series Movin' On from 1975 to 1976.

Metrano starred as Lt./Capt./Cmdt. Mauser in Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985) and Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986). Some of his other film credits included They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969), The Heartbreak Kid (1972), Slaughter’s Big Rip-Off (1973), History of the World, Part One (1981), Breathless (1983), Teachers (1984) and How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998).

Survivors include his wife, Jamie; his first wife, Rebecca; children Harry (and his wife, Melissa), Zoe (Mark), Roxanne and Howard; and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Art Metrano - Joanie Loves Chachi

Mr. Metrano was a solid character actor and comedian. We thank him for his work on many television series and in films. He will be sorely missed.

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

Willard Scott

Finally, we remember legendary The Today Show weatherman Willard Scott. He had an occasional role as Peter Poole on Valerie's Family/The Hogan Family. He died on September 4 of natural causes in Delaplane, Virginia. Mr. Scott was 87.

His career with NBC began as a 16-year-old, working in 1950 as an NBC page at WRC (AM). From 1959–1962, he portrayed Bozo the Clown in the children's television program on NBC Washington, D.C. affiliate WRC-TV. He was the creator and original portrayer of Ronald McDonald from 1963-1965. He became the weatherman for The Today Show in 1980. He announced his full retirement from television on December 11, 2015.

Willard Scott and Edie McClurg

Scott had an occasional role as Peter Poole on five episodes of the NBC sitcom Valerie's Family/The Hogan Family from 1987 to 1989. Peter Poole was the jovial husband of Patty Poole (Edie McClurg), who was the busybody neighor of the Hogan family.

Mr. Scott was a great televison personality with a career spanning 65 years. His tribute greetings segment for people celebrating their 100th or above birthdays were always fun. It's sad that he didn't make it to his 100th birthday. He will be greatly missed.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, May 24

Young Rock - "You Gotta Get Down to Get Up" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Memphis, 1996: The WWF sends Dwayne to Memphis to develop his wrestling skills; when a booker bullies Downtown Bruno, Dwayne decides to fight back; in 2032, candidate Johnson's conflict with Dr. Julien comes to a head.

Young Rock - "Let the People Decide" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
In 2032, candidate Johnson rides the ups and downs of election day; in 1984, Rocky and Ata are at a crossroads with their futures in wrestling; in 1987, teenage Dwayne learns that the family is leaving Nashville.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 23)

Tuesday, May 24

  • Annie Murphy (Kevin Can F**k Himself/Schitt's Creek) - Catch Annie on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet) - Drew is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Chris Parnell (Happy Together/Suburgatory/Big Lake/Miss Guided) - Chris appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ben Schwartz (The Afterparty/Space Force/House of Lies/Parks and Recreation) - Ben will be on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Mila Kunis (Family Guy/That '70s Show) - Mila is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Sherri Shepherd (Mr. Iglesias/Trial & Error/Sherri/Less Than Perfect/Suddenly Susan) - Sherri guest hosts The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jenna Fischer (The Office/Splitting Up Together) and Angela Kinsey (The Office/The Hotwives of Orlando) - Jenna and Angela are guests on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Molly Shannon (The Other Two/Divorce/Kath & Kim/Cracking Up) and David Arquette (In Case of Emergency/Double Rush/Parenthood) - Molly, David and Michael Vartan are part of a Never Been Kissed reunion on a repeat of The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jon Hamm (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) - Jon talks about Top Gun: Maverick on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Michelle Buteau (Bless the Harts/Enlisted) - The Good Dish has Michelle's plum upside-down cake, so check your local listings.
  • Kristin Chenoweth (Trial & Error/Kristin) - Kristin puts a creative spin on a classic recipe that will have you singing for your supper on The Good Dish, so check your local listings.


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

ALT= Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (2022 Release) Brooklyn Nine-Nine - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Fourth Season Becker - The Complete Series (2022 Release)

02/08 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Ninth Season
02/22 - Everybody Hates Chris - The Complete Series (2022 Release)
02/22 - Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (2022 Release)
03/08 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Eight
03/08 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) (DVD)
03/15 - Head of the Class - The Complete Fourth Season
03/15 - The Proud Family - The Complete Original Series - Anniversary Collection
03/22 - The Honeymooners Specials - The Complete Collection
03/29 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-5 (Blu-ray) (DVD)
03/29 - Young Rock - Season One
04/05 - Up All Night - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
04/26 - The Danny Thomas Show (aka Make Room for Daddy) - The Complete Fourth Season
04/26 - Jackie Gleason TV Treasures - 70th Anniversary Collection (including Honeymooners Rarities)
05/03 - No Activity - Season Three
05/31 - Becker - The Complete Series (2022 Release)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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