Friday, December 03, 2021

Fri-Yay: It’s Always Sunny Returns, Bold and Funny as Ever; Jon Stewart Joins Live in Front of a Studio Audience for The Facts of Life; Remembering Eddie Mekka of Laverne & Shirley

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!

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

by Vincent

This week, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia returned for its landmark 15th season on FX. The show has remained one of the funniest shows on TV through and through, and even though it isn't always as consistent as it was in its prime, it's incredible that it still manages to be as funny and consistent as it has been.

Always Sunny season 15 has promised to bring some of the realities of our world to the show's twisted universe. Being the show's first season since 2019, the world has obviously become a very different place since then, and without giving too much away, the premiere addresses this in typically funny Always Sunny ways. The ending of the episode in particular is one for the ages, and shows that even as the world changes, Always Sunny will always be its twisted, reliable self.


Jon Stewart

Live in Front of a Studio Audience: The Facts of Life and Diff'rent Strokes adds more star power to its cast ahead of the live show airing on ABC, Tuesday, Dec. 7 (8:00-9:30 p.m. EST). Jon Stewart takes on a mystery role in The Facts of Life episode. Who will he play? You'll have to tune-in to see! There will be other special cameos as well. Still no word on which episodes are being recreated, but for Diff'rent Strokes the word is that it will be "Willis' Privacy" from season one which had Arnold as Super Arnold.

The live special event produced by Sony Pictures Television will feature reenactments of the hit series The Facts of Life, created by Dick Clair and Jenna McMahon, and Diff'rent Strokes, created by Bernie Kukoff and Jeff Harris, and will reunite executive producers Norman Lear, Jimmy Kimmel, Brent Miller, Kerry Washington, Will Ferrell, Justin Theroux and Jim Burrows. Previously announced cast members taking on the famed Diff'rent Strokes roles include John Lithgow, who will play Mr. Drummond; Kevin Hart, assuming the role of Arnold; and Damon Wayans, who will play Willis. The Facts of Life will feature Jennifer Aniston, playing the role of Blair; Gabrielle Union, taking on the role of Tootie; Allison Tolman, who will play Natalie; Kathryn Hahn, recreating the role of Jo; and Ann Dowd, who will tackle the role of Mrs. Garrett in both episodes.

Eddie Mekka

Actor Eddie Mekka, who was best known for his role as Carmine Ragusa on Laverne & Shirley, has died. He died in Newhall, California, on November 27. Mr. Mekka was 69.

Laverne & Shirley

Mekka starred as Carmine Ragusa on the 1976-1983 ABC sitcom Laverne & Shirley. He appeared in 150 of the 178 episodes during the show's eight seasons. Carmine was Shirley's (Cindy Williams) high-school sweetheart and on-again, off-again romance. He was known by the name "The Big Ragoo" and was a part-time boxer and former Golden Gloves champion. He owns a dance studio and was constantly working to make it big as a dancer and singer. Mekka appeared as Carmine Ragusa in two episodes of Happy Days. The cast of Laverne & Shirley also included Penny Marshall, Michael McKean, David L. Lander, Phil Foster, Betty Garrett (1976-1981), Carole Ita White (1976-1977), Ed Marinaro (1980-1981) and Leslie Easterbrook (1980-1983).

Blansky's Beauties - Eddie Mekka and Nancy Walker

He starred as Joey DeLuca on the short-lived 1977 ABC sitcom Blansky's Beauties. Joey DeLuca was the choreographer of the Las Vegas showgirls' big numbers at the Oasis Hotel. He was a younger cousin to Carmine Ragusa, Mekka's 1950s-era character on Laverne & Shirley. The Garry Marshall created and produced series also starred Nancy Walker, Caren Kaye, Lynda Goodfriend, Johnny Desmond, Scott Baio, George Pentecost, Taaffe O'Connell, Rhonda Bates, Bond Gideon, Gerri Reddick, Shirley Kirkes, Antoinette Yuskis, Jill Owens, Elaine Bolton and Pat Morita.

Some of his sitcom guest appearances included The Love Boat (3 episodes), The Munsters Today, Family Matters (2 episodes), California Dreams, Dream On, Weird Science, The Jamie Foxx Show, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Pastor Greg (2 episodes) and Childrens Hospital.

Some of his drama guest appearances included Fantasy Island (4 episodes), Moonlighting, True Blue, The Big Easy, Power Rangers Wild Force, 24, Crossing Jordan and ER. His soap opera guest appearances included Guiding Light, The Bold and the Beautiful, Sunset Beach and The Young and the Restless.

He had a small role as the dance partner of Mae (Madonna) in the bar in the 1992 film A League of Their Own, which was directed by Penny Marshall. Some of his other film credits included Top of the World (1997), Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (2003), Dreamgirls (2006) and C Me Dance (2009). He played Detective Murdoch in the 1998 Fox television movie Catch Me If You Can.

Mekka was also known for his theater work. He was nominated for Broadway's 1975 Tony Award as Best Actor (Musical) for The Lieutenant. He performed in Hairspray at the Luxor in Las Vegas, Nevada and in a national tour of Grease with Cindy Williams.

Eddie Mekka

Mr. Mekka was a man of many talents as an actor, dancer and singer. He was very funny and memorable as Carmine Ragusa. We thank him for the laughs and entertainment he brought us. He will be greatly missed.

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


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Wednesday, May 18

The Goldbergs - "Adam Graduates!" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Graduation day is approaching and everyone, especially Adam, is ready – except for Beverly who is not coping well with the idea of an empty nest. Meanwhile, with Geoff’s encouragement, Erica decides to try out for Cyndi Lauper as a one-time backup singer replacement. Ultimately, resurrecting her singing dreams doesn’t manifest, but bigger and exciting new beginnings await her and the Goldbergs.

The Wonder Years - "Love, Dean" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
It’s the end of the school year, and summer excitement is all around. When Bill and Lillian each receive major career opportunities, tension builds as they decide who will handle more of the household responsibilities. Meanwhile, Dean and Keisa take shelter together as a tornado tears through Montgomery, providing the perfect moment for Dean to tell her how he really feels.

The Conners - "A Judge and a Priest Walk Into a Living Room..." (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
The Conners gear up for a megawedding! Jackie and Neville, Darlene and Ben, and Harris and Aldo are planning for a shared big day, but along the way they discover that some of the couples may not be on the same page about their happily ever afters. Meanwhile, Dan and the family have decked out the house for the occasion, but will all six of the lovebirds make it to “I do”?

Home Economics - "Ticket to Space, $1 Million" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Tom attempts to keep Connor grounded after he announces his plans to go to space then falls into a rough patch himself after learning some bad news. Meanwhile, Marina gets stuck while trying to transform their attic into a writing space for Tom.

Tyler Perry's House of Payne - "Woman to Woman" (BET, 9:00PM ET/PT)
When Christian wins Student of the Year, Laura gets him an autographed football jersey from a popular NFL player; Miranda takes umbrage with the gesture, citing the player's history of domestic violence.

Tyler Perry's Assisted Living - "Wobble Wobble" (BET, 9:30PM ET/PT)
The Pleasant Days crew is worried about Vinny's libertine lifestyle of drinking, smoking, poor diet and no exercise; he's not as young as he used to be, so they want him to clean up his act.

The Ms. Pat Show - "Girls Night Out" (BET, 10:00PM ET/PT)
After Pat catches Terry watching porn on his phone, Denise decides they need a girls' night out, while the children wonder if their parents are going to split up.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 16)

Wednesday, May 18

  • John Mulaney (Mulaney) and Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - John and Andy guest host Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm/Son of Zorn/Suburgatory) - Cheryl is a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Sarah Silverman (The Sarah Silverman Program) - Sarah will be on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Rhea Seehorn (Whitney/I'm with Her) - Rhea appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ricky Gervais (After Life/The Office) - Ricky unpacks his new comedy special SuperNature on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Quinta Brunson (Abbott Elementary) - Quinta returns to talk about the hit ABC series Abbott Elementary on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Caroline Rhea (Sydney to the Max/Sabrina the Teenage Witch) - Caroline guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Ali Wentworth (Nightcap) - Ali appears on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Rose Mclver (Ghosts/Woke) and Utkarsh Ambudkar (Ghosts/White Famous/The Mindy Project) - Rose and Utkarsh are guests on CBS Mornings sometime between 7-9am.
  • Mario Lopez (Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The College Years) - NBC's Today catches up with Mario in the 9am hour.
  • Hilary Duff (How I Met Your Father/Younger/Lizzie McGuire) - NBC's Today catches up with Hilary in the 10am hour.


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


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

05/17 - ABC Upfront 2022-23: Fall 2022 Schedule; Pete Davidson Comedy Adds Edie Falco
05/16 - NBC Upfront 2022-23: Fall 2022 Schedule; Fox Upfront 2022-23: Call Me Kat and Welcome to Flatch Renewed, Adds Two New Animated Comedies and Three New Dramas
05/15 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 16, 2022)
05/14 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Looking at Fall Renewals and Cancellations; Married... with Children Animated Reboot in the Works
05/13 - NBC Renews 3 Sitcoms, Cancels 2; CBS and The CW Hand Out Orders & Pink Slips; Remembering Mike Hagerty and Sitcom Producer/Writer George Yanok
05/12 - NBC Orders Lopez vs. Lopez Sitcom for 2022-23 Season; Amazon Renews Upload for Season 3
05/11 - Disney's Bunk'd Returns June 10 for Season 6; Paramount+ to Be Exclusive SVOD Home of Ghosts
05/10 - MeTV Network Adds The A-Team for The Summer of Me; HBO Max Renews Two Comedies for Season 2
05/09 - Never Have I Ever Season 3 Premieres August 12; Netflix's The Upshaws Return in June
05/08 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 9, 2022)
05/07 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Saved by the Bell Reboot Canceled; Quantum Leap Reboot Picked Up at NBC
05/06 - Hulu Comedy Maggie Gets Premiere Date; Chad Returns July 11 on TBS, While HBO Max Series Get Second Runs on TBS and TNT; Remembering David Birney of Bridget Loves Bernie
05/05 - Freeform Summer 2022 Schedule; The Waltons Return to The CW This Holiday Season
05/04 - Netflix Orders No Good Deed, from Dead to Me Creator; Cristela Alonzo Returns for New Comedy Special
05/03 - That '70s Show Cast to Reunite on That '90s Show; Teri Hatcher and James Denton Reunite Again
05/02 - Antenna TV's Always Mother's Day Marathon; The Real Celebrates Mother's Day with Classic TV Guests
05/01 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 2, 2022)
04/30 - SitcomsOnline Digest: The Conners Close to Season Five Renewal; James Corden Leaving The Late Late Show
04/29 - Fri-Yay: Netflix's Struggles Create Question for the Future of Television; Hulu Acquires Schitt's Creek
04/28 - Starz Comedy Run the World Returns with More Stars; HBO Max Orders Spin-off of Harley Quinn Animated Comedy Series
04/27 - Freeform Orders Single Drunk Female Season 2 & New Series While You Were Breeding; Peacock Brings Back Wolf Like Me
04/26 - The Orville Returns for Season 3 After 3 Year Hiatus; Fox Announces More Stars for Fantasy Island Season 2
04/25 - Abbott Elementary Finale Hits Multi-Platform Highs; Arnold Schwarzenegger Netflix Series Announces Cast
04/24 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 25, 2022)
04/23 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Could Wilmer Valderrama Reprise Fez Role?; CNN+ Announces Shutdown After Less Than One Month
04/22 - Netflix Announces God's Favorite Idiot Release Date; TV Stars Join Freeform's Cruel Summer Season 2
04/21 - Reelz Announces May Premieres, Including Love Boat Special; Hulu Hockey Comedy Shoresy Premieres May 27
04/20 - The Goldbergs Renewed for Season 10 on ABC; Roku Picks Up Children Ruin Everything for Season 2
04/19 - Antenna TV and Rewind TV Spring 2022 Schedules; Starz Comedy Blindspotting Gets More Stars
04/18 - black-ish Finale Celebration This Tuesday; Remembering Liz Sheridan of ALF and Seinfeld
04/17 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 18, 2022)