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 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

Sunday, November 28

The Simpsons - "Mothers and Other Strangers" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Teenage Homer and Grampa take a road trip to look for his mom.

The Great North - "From Tusk Til Dawn Adventure" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Former celebrity mountain man, Tusk Johnson, returns to Lone Moose with a big favor to ask of Beef and Wolf; Honeybee enters a contest to win her own mall kiosk.

Bob's Burgers - "FOMO You Didn't" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Susmita offers to help Tina with a photography class assignment; a woman who used to live in the Belchers' apartment comes for a visit.

Family Guy - "The Fatman Always Rings Twice" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
In noir-style, Peter/Mac investigates the disappearance of Meg/Sister Megan.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 22)

Friday, November 26

  • Kal Penn (Sunnyside/Deadbeat/We Are Men) - Watch Kal on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Paul Rudd (Living with Yourself/Friends/Wild Oats) - Paul appears on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Dan Aykroyd (Soul Man) and Ernie Hudson (Grace and Frankie/The Last Precinct/Highcliffe Manor) - Dan and Ernie are guests on a repet of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt/The Office) - Ellie appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm/Seinfeld) - Larry is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Drew Carey (The Drew Carey Show/The Good Life) - Drew chats with the ladies of The View on a repeat on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Dove Cameron (Schmigadoon!/Liv and Maddie) - Dove will be on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Sherri Shepherd (Mr. Iglesias/Trial & Error/Sherri/Less Than Perfect) - Sherri guest hosts a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Yvonne Orji (Insecure) - Yvonne appears on a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Fortune Feimster (Kenan/Sunnyside/Champions) - Fortune is a guest on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jennifer Aniston (Friends/Muddling Through/Ferris Bueller/Molloy) - Jennifer appears on a repeat of The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kristin Chenoweth (Schmigadoon!/Trial & Error/Kristin) - Kristin performs on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (August-November)

Young Sheldon - The Complete Fourth Season Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Mom - The Eighth and Final Season Punky Brewster (1984-88) - The Complete Series (2021 Release) I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

08/20 - The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet - Deluxe Edition (100 Episodes) (Time Life)
08/20 - The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet - Standard Edition (50 Episodes) (Time Life)
08/24 - The Jim Gaffigan Show - Season 2
09/07 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
10/19 - Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
11/02 - The Honeymooners Specials - A Christmas Carol
11/02 - Mom - The Eighth and Final Season
11/02 - Punky Brewster (1984-88) - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
11/02 - Sex and the City - The Complete Collection (Blu-ray)
11/09 - Saved by the Bell (2020) - Season One
11/09 - Younger - The Complete Series
11/16 - Kevin Can F*** Himself - Season 1 (Blu-ray)
11/23 - Dead Pixels - Seasons One and Two
11/30 - I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series (Mill Creek) (2021 Release) (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

11/27 - SitcomsOnline Digest: MacGruber Series Premiere Date Set; Saved by the Bell Pays Tribute to Dustin Diamond
11/26 - 2021 Antenna TV Christmas and New Year's Schedule
11/25 - 2021 Thanksgiving TV Marathons on TV This Holiday Weekend Include The Jeffersons on Starz Encore Black
11/24 - First Look at Peacock's Bel-Air; Dollface Returns Feb. 11 on Hulu
11/23 - Paramount+ Celebrates the Holidays with Sitcom Classics; HBO Max Gets in Holiday Spirit as Well with Christmas Comedy Series
11/22 - Apple TV+ Announces The Afterparty Premiere Date; SNL Closes Out 2021 with 2 New December Episodes
11/21 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 22, 2021)
11/20 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Netflix Orders Last Blockbuster Video Comedy Series; Party Down Revival Set at Starz
11/19 - Fri-Yay: Sitcom Thanksgiving Episodes to Be Thankful For; Live in Front of a Studio Audience Returns Dec. 7 with The Facts of Life and Diff'rent Strokes
11/18 - COZI TV's 2021 Unexpected Guests Thanksgiving and Christmas; How I Met Your Father Premieres January 18 on Hulu
11/17 - Freeform Announces January Schedule; Starz Releases Premiere Date for Shining Vale with Courteney Cox
11/16 - MeTV Network Loses Columbo, Adds Andy Griffith and M*A*S*H Sundays; Remembering Gavan O'Herlihy, the Original Chuck Cunningham on Happy Days
11/15 - NBC Winter Midseason 2022 Schedule; And Just Like That... Premieres Dec. 9 and Airs Thursdays
11/14 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 15, 2021)
11/13 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Night Court Reboot Set for 2022-2023 Debut on NBC; The Harper House Cancelled at Paramount+
11/12 - The Newlywed Game Coming to BUZZR; Nick Renews Tyler Perry's Young Dylan for Season 3
11/11 - CBS Winter 2022 Midseason Schedule; The Wonder Years Series Premiere Grows in Multi-Platform Viewing
11/10 - HBO Max's Search Party Sets Final Season Launch on Jan. 7; The Wall Returns to Fill in on NBC
11/09 - Fox Winter Midseason 2022 Schedule; The Righteous Gemstones Returns Jan. 9 on HBO
11/08 - The CW Midseason 2022 Schedule; Dolly Parton to Appear on Final Season of Grace and Frankie
11/07 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 8, 2021)
11/06 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Season 2 Premiere Date Set for The Righteous Gemstones; Complete Series of The Andy Griffith Show Headed to Blu-ray
11/05 - Fri-Yay: black-ish to Debut Final Season in January; Fox's Fantasy Island Gets Holiday Special and 2nd Season
11/04 - NBC Slates Comedy Previews in December, Including American Auto & Grand Crew; It's Always Sunny to Surpass Ozzie & Harriet for Live-Action Comedy
11/03 - 2021 Freeform's 25 Days of Christmas Schedule - The 25th Anniversary; The Simpsons in Plusaversary Special
11/02 - ABC Winter Midseason 2022 Schedule; HBO Max Acquires Mr. Cooper, Martin, Jamie Foxx and More
11/01 - Ovation TV Acquires Hart to Hart; MC Lyte Sitcom Premieres on ALLBLK
10/31 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 1, 2021)
10/30 - SitcomsOnline Digest: IMDb TV Orders Comedy from Creator of The Good Place; ABC Gives Full Season Orders to The Wonder Years and Home Economics
10/29 - Fri-Yay: Curb Your Enthusiasm Still Produces Reliable Laughs 11 Seasons In; Jon Hamm Fox Animated Comedy Coming in 2023
10/28 - South Park Streaming Specials to Premiere on Paramount+; Martin Stars Return to Host Soul Train Awards
10/27 - ABC Picks Up The Wonder Years & Home Economics for Full Seasons; The Critics Choice Awards to Air on The CW and TBS