December 21, 2015

Five Animated Christmas Specials I Hate

I’ve spent the last month gong over animated specials I just loved. But of course, there are some I did not like, and it seemed only fair to discuss those too. Here are five animated specials which don’t work for me.




Family Circus Christmas
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I found this on YouTube an it was just so boring! I really don’t have anything else to say about it. I like the comic ok but this sucked.





Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
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Rankin/Bass didn’t always hit gold. Anyone remember their version of Jack Frost? Or Pinocchio’s First Christmas (I still haven’t sat through that), or the painful Rudolph and Frosty:Christmas In July? But there is one that I flat out hated! Life and Adventures of Santa Claus was based on a L Frank Baum book. Of course Baum is famous for The Wizard of Oz, and while I am sure the special is a faithful adaptation it is just        boring. And the story is really, really stupid. It involves a council of eternal people deciding to give Santa immortality. They then discuss Santa’s backstory…and it’s just real stupid. Not to mention the fact that the Santa Claus they establish here bears only superficial resemblance to the Santa we know popularly. There was one decent song and the whole special is better left forgotten. The saddest part is the last special R/B would produce. They should have gone out on a higher note.


December 19, 2015

Top 10 Favorite Animated Christmas Specials-#1

Welcome as I continue counting down my top 10 favorite animated Christmas specials. My #1 is a pretty obvious choice, but what else could it have been? When I was a kid watching this kicked off Christmas for me in many ways. In fact, just seeing the ad in TV Guide was enough to get me excited.  I give the you the granddaddy of all Christmas specials. Simply known as :



zz title_rudolph_red-nosed_reindeer_blu-ray 

The ironic thing is that this feels so dated. The animation is crude, even by Rankin/Bass standards, and the story is full of things you’d never see today. From the bullying of Rudolph to the flat our sexism (at one point Donner when heading out to find Rudolph says “No, this is man’s work!” and when the abominable is defeated they worry about getting “the woman folk” home. Those poor defenseless women…who set out by themselves to find Rudolph!).

Anyway, I am getting off track. This is of course based on the famous song and one thing the special has over the song is that everyone apologizes to Rudolph before he is asked to guide Santa’s sleigh. That’s a big thing, I think anyway. But the story stays true to the song which is good (even if the song sends a bad message). The story is simple, Rudolph and Hermie feel rejected so they run away.

But the story raises so many questions. Why is Santa such a jerk? Does he have to gain weight every year? Why does the elf leader’s voice change before the elf song? Why does Rudolph’s nose exclude him from reindeer games? Who in the world made those misfit toys anyway? If children rejected them why does Santa think the kids he sends them to will like them? Why did the abominable wait so damn long to eat the reindeer he captured? How exactly did Cornelius survive the fall and reform the snow monster? He says they bounce but that’s not enough! Why is the snow so bad this winter compared to other years? It’s never been stormy before? When did Santa stop going down chimney’s? Actually the last one has a partial answer. Believe it or not, the Land of Misfit Toys ending was not in the original special. It was added when people wondered what the heck happened to them. Originally the elves just threw packages down.

Like with Charlie Brown the first broadcast was different then one we grew up with. It was black and white, there were GE commercials through the show, and some scenes were deleted and changed. Anyone remember the Peppermint mine scene? Yeah if you didn’t know, the reason Cornelius keeps licking his pick ax is that he is looking for peppermint. We see this and Hermie’s exasperated reaction to it in this cut moment after Rudolph takes off (along with a glimpse of Donner, Clarice, and Rudolph’s mother looking on and commenting how proud they are of him). The scene was removed for the aforementioned misfit toys scene (and more commercials of course). These quick scenes give closure to the characters, without them they just kind of disappear after the “Holly Jolly Christmas” song.  Speaking of songs, another change was “Fame and Fortune”, the song which replaced the “Couple of Misfits” reprise Hermie and Rudolph sing after they meet.  By the way, “Misfits” is much better, I think and fits the story better. Rudolph and Hermie aren’t looking for fame and fortune, they’re running away because they’re a couple of misfits! Both these are restored in he DVD version I own and I can’t even watch the edited TV version anymore.

December 17, 2015

Top 10 Favorite Animated Christmas Specials-#2

Welcome as I continue counting down my top 10 favorite animated Christmas specials. I wont lie, the last three slots were very hard to sort. It’s a bold statement saying one special is better than all of them! I mean, where the heck is Frosty? How could I leave of The Flintstones? What about Mr.Magoo???? But I chose this to be my second favorite because it’s a character that I have adored for as long as I can remember. I am talking about, who else?….
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GarfieldChristmas-Title 


This special has kind of disappeared from network TV, I’m sorry to say. It was re-run for a long time in the 80’s and 90’s but I haven’t seen it on TV in a long time. Thank goodness for DVD (or VHS in my case). So, what is it about this special that makes it so awesome?

First of all, there’s Garfield. Yeah I know that’s a no brainer but what some people forget is that Garfield loves Christmas. So while he gets a little sentimental here it’s still very much in character. It starts out like it’s going to be a big kind of special with Garfield getting wild gifts..until we find out that’s just a dream. The real story and is much simpler. It turns out Jon is taking Garfield and Odie to the farm for Christmas.

One question I see a lot is “Why do people like Christmas?” Well his special is a perfect example of why. If you can’t get into the religious reasons anyway. The special is a family getting together for Christmas Eve, and simply enjoying each others company. Perfect. Some of the little things are perfect. Like the mother making to much food for dinner, the family singing by the piano, decorating the tree, and even Garfield snuggling up with grandma as she looks out the window and waxes nostalgia. She talks about how Christmas wasn’t always easy, but it was always special. That’s what Christmas is all about to me anyway.

The family is just perfect. Having spend time on a farm I can say that these characters all ring true. The mother is sweet, the father is gruff, and the brother is a lovable dope. And of course, the grandmother is just cool! Pat Carroll is a great voice actress and she really makes this character memorable and believable at the same time. Carroll is just awesome, of course she can a good villain too (what was that Disney movie she did? Something about a little mermaid I think).

December 15, 2015

Top 10 Favorite Animated Christmas Specials-#3

Welcome as I continue counting down my top 10 favorite animated Christmas specials. Today let’s talk about one of the quintessential specials which has aired every year for the last fifty! Yep, my #3 is….






Title-charliebrown



This is good timing, since this year is the 50th anniversary of the Charlie Brown Christmas. It’s also bad timing because Nostalgia Critic just did an editorial on this special and said what i would have..and much better than I would have!

Anyway, moving on. Like Dr.Seuss, I never read Peanuts growing up. However, unlike The Grinch I did see the TV specials. And loved them. Ok I liked the Halloween one more, but that’s another discussion my friends. The funny thing is that this special has things in it that would never appear today. I’ll get to Linus in a second, but there are other things too like the bullying on poor Charlie Brown. Some of those kids are little rough on him. I mean it’s not hard to see why Charlie thinks everyone hates him! Nice to see that gets understated in later specials (except Lucy who gets meaner, weird). Also Snoopy is not as defined as he would later be. Yeah his lights up his doghouse and freaks out Lucy, but he still isn’t quite the Beagle the would later become.

This is a slice of life story, in fact isn’t the whole special one day? It almost feels like we are just watching a random day in the lives of these kids. But the plot, let’s  be honest, isn’t very strong. It starts out good with Charlie Brown feeling sad. Then he talks to Lucy who decides she has the answer, direct the Christmas play! That’s when things get…well, draggy. We spend all this time building up this play..and then we get this story about the little tree. I mean what was the point of making Charlie the director to make him feel self confidence when it fails miserably, and then disappears from the story? Instead it becomes all about him buying a “stupid” tree? It feels like two different ideas being forced together. I would have cut the crap with the play and introduced the tree earlier. But..they didn’t ask me and it was 1965, so I can’t that hard on this.

In my opinion it was when Charles sets out to but the tree that we finally get to the real good stuff in this. We know the tree will be rejected by all since it isn’t anything special, and yet Charles sees something in it. As Nostalgia Critic said, they kind of sums up the way people feel about the special. I never understood why he is surprised at the reaction, what did he think the others would say? Someone else would have defended the choice but Charlie Brown is, well, Charlie Brown. That leads to the best scene, when Linus recites a passage from the bible! Are you kidding? Just try to do that today! It’s a beautiful scene and makes the entire special worth it. And so the special ends quietly, with not only Charlie but everyone realize how to see beauty in anything.

December 13, 2015

Top 10 Favorite Animated Christmas Specials-#4

Welcome as I continue counting down my top 10 favorite animated Christmas specials. Disney specials can be hit or miss at Christmas, but here is one that is just fantastic. I am speaking of:


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This one has only been around since 1991, which amazes me. I would have sworn it was much older! It’s probably the my favorite Winnie The Pooh special. Most of these don’t seem to do anything for me. The Halloween one feels unfocused. The Thanksgiving one feels rushed. And there are others that aren’t even memorable (Valentine’s for example). This one has aired almost every year, either on ABC or ABCFamily (though I may have spoke to soon can’t find a listing for it this year), and I think it’s fair to say that it’s considered a Christmas classic. Why, when all the other specials have faded into DVD oblivion?

So what’s the story? Winnie The Pooh is trying to find a way to get the letter he and his fiends wrote to Santa to The North Pole in time for Christmas. Now, in another special this would be a crazy journey ending with Pooh Bear arriving at the North Pole. (Muppet Letters to Santa for instance). Not here, the story stays tightly focused on the characters. And maybe that’s what makes Pooh different from other cartoons.

After writing their letter to Santa, they realize Pooh never asked for anything. So they get the letter back and add honey. After he fails getting the letter to The North Pole, he tries to play Santa and give his friends the gifts they wanted. This is a cool segment because all the characters get a chance to be in the center of the special. That’s another reason I like this one, everyone gets something to do. Except Owl, Kanga, and Roo who aren’t in it. It is later retconned that Kanga and Roo hadn’t moved there yet. So where the heck is Owl? Anyway, when Pooh’s attempts to make his friends happy by playing Santa fails, Pooh decides the only logical choice is to take the letter to Santa himself.

December 11, 2015

Top 10 Favorite Animated Christmas Specials-#5

Welcome as I continue counting down my top 10 favorite animated Christmas specials. So how about something a little offbeat? About fifteen years ago (lord time flies) I heard about a new special on TV. At first I ignored it, but it had Drew Barrymore in it and got good reviews. So I checked it out…and got a new holiday tradition! I am of course talking about….

OliveTheOtherReindeer-Title 


I avoided this because I was afraid it was going to be one of those stories where a reindeer was jealous of Rudolph and his fame. But that isn’t the case at all. Even though the title is derived from a line in that famous song, Rudolph is just an urban legend in this universe!

And that brings me to one possible problem with this special. You have to kind of go in with the right expectations. This was created by Simpsons creator Matt Groening and is definitely a bit usual. And I don’t just mean the odd animation style which I assume is meant to resemble the story book this was based off of. This is a world where dogs walk on all four’s, order from menu’s, and befriend talking scam artist penguins. A world where Santa is real, and the North Pole is a mere bus ride away. It’s a bit weird, but you look past that I think you’ll see there is some real good stuff in this.

The plot is pretty simple, after Blitzen is injured in an accident and can’t fly (see what I mean?) Santa says he hopes he can make it with all of the other reindeer. Olive thinks he said “Olive, the other reindeer” and sets out to be the eighth reindeer to save Christmas. Did I mention she was just a dog? The villain is a postman who wants to cancel Christmas because it adds to his work load. Why can’t he just quit his job? Yeah if we try to use logic this whole thing will make no sense at all.

December 9, 2015

Top 10 Favorite Animated Christmas Specials-#6

Welcome as I continue counting down my top 10 favorite animated Christmas specials. There are some Christmas specials…which aren’t really that good. They are cheesy and corny, and we know they are cheesy and corny. But when the subject is a program that you adored as a child and was a major part of your life growing up you want to give it a pass, it’s a guilty pleasure to be sure. So today my #6 favorite animated Christmas special is:



He-Man & She-Ra A Christmas Special 


What can I say? I adored He-Man as a child, watching the cartoon as much as possible not to mention having every action figure, vehicle, and/or playset I could get my hands on. So considering how huge this franchise was, this was almost inevitable. Is it good? 


Well to be fair, at least they gave it a story and used the characters. It wasn’t like the awful Power Rangers Christmas which featured only Alpha and a bunch of kids singing carols. Give this special credit, it has a plot! But at the same it’s barely a “Christmas” special. It feels more like an extended episode of He-Man guest starring She-Ra. Though that’s kind of a positive, it could have been like “The Star Wars Christmas Special” which doesn’t even feel like it remotely belongs in that universe. But still it doesn’t feel “special” to be a special, heck even IMDB calls it a “special Christmas episode”. At least they did try to make it work in the context of the two series. Yeah it feels more like a big ad for She-Ra, since she has more to do and more of her cast are involved, but that’s Ok.


There’s no point in trying to nitpick this since it’s been reviewed by Nostalgia Critic, Phelous, and many others.  The plot is simple, Orko rescues two children on Earth and they end up getting returned to Eternia. The rest of the special are out villains trying to kidnap the children to prevent them from spreading the “Christmas spirit”. Which doesn’t make sense since He-Man is already a source of hope and they do have celebrations on Eternia. If this was a dark and depressing planet this plot would be OK. Here it feels forced. Also in the original show it seemed liked Earth was not very convenient, and yet in this special not only does Orko end up there but Man At Arms is somehow able to view the children after they return. How the hell did he do that exactly??

December 6, 2015

Top 10 Favorite Animated Christmas Specials-#7

Welcome as I continue counting down my top 10 favorite animated Christmas specials. Of course there’s no way I could do this without something from Rankin/Bass. Yeah yeah..you could pick on the stop motion and how dated it is. But I choose to look past that and focus on the characters, stories, and memorable music. There is a reason most of these specials are still with us today. And today we are discussing two that I love. Why two? I couldn’t choose so I made it a tie :



SANTA-CLAUS-IS-COMIN’-TO-TOWN-09     yearsantalogo


besides Year is a sort of sequel to Comin to Town. Well, Mickey Rooney did the voice of Kris in both anyway. And did a fantastic job I might add.


There was a time when neither of these was never aired. The networks never re-ran them and there was no ABC Family to show it a hundred times in December. So Santa Claus is Comin to Town was the special I sort of remembered but never got to see. And Year Without a Santa Claus was the special I heard of but had never watched. Today, I can’t imagine Christmas without either. So what is the appeal of these two specials?


In “Town”, it may be the villain. Paul Fress voiced many many characters but I think the one everyone remembers is the Burgermeister Meisterburger. He’s so nasty and with no real reason. Though I do give the special credit that the villain has a reason to hate toys. He broke his ankle tripping over one. Yeah it’s a stupid reason but at least it’s a reason, that puts this special above others specials where the villains just hates the holiday…for reasons. Also the villain never really gets defeated, which is an interesting choice. I guess we can blame that on the time period, we can’t show violence and having Santa Claus beat the bad guy wouldn’t work,  so he dies off screen. That was common with these, the villain either reforms or just kind of disappears off screen. No one ever dies. Heck even in Rudolph Cornelius stays “dead” for a whole two minute in the film!

December 4, 2015

Top 10 Favorite Animated Christmas Specials-#8

Welcome as I continue counting down my top 10 favorite animated Christmas specials. Not every animated Christmas special is considered “iconic” or is so popular that it airs on prime time network TV to this day. Some are a little more obscure, but no less cherished. My #8 choice is….
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The funny thing is that I was never really a Yogi fan. I watched the cartoon as a kid and it never did much for me. It was a one note cartoon with the same old gag (bear steals picnic basket, hijinks ensue). It was just that the characters were well done, they stood out and became memorable. So it says a lot that I really like this and still remember it.


I didn’t get the chance to watch this again so forgive me for doing this based on memory. Yeah the cartoon is full of silly contrivances, but I guess that it’s in keeping with the character. The ranger keeps trying to get Yogi to hibernate but instead the owner of the ski resort or whatever it was keeps promoting him after seeing him do some heroic rescues (that the villains set in motion to ruin everyone’s fun). I remember one involved a ski lift, have to watch this again!


Speaking of that, the thing that I always remember about this was the “villains”. We have two, a snotty brat named Snively (whose name I remembered without looking it up) and a hermit named Herman. Herman is sort of like the Grinch, he hates Christmas (and people) so he tries to ruin it for everyone. The brat is, well, a brat but I like how his aunt isn’t the cliche’d “my nephew is perfect” kind of aunt. She acknowledges his misdeeds and is punshing him through the special and I always admired this cartoon for hiving us a responsible parent (or parental figure).


December 2, 2015

Top 10 Favorite Animated Christmas Specials-#9

Welcome as I continue counting down my top 10 favorite animated Christmas specials. I Wanted at least one thing on this countdown which is more contemporary, and this has been out for a few years now. It was either Shrek The Halls or…



Prep-and-Landing

and while I do like Shrek the Halls, Prep & Landing is more appealing to me for some reason.


This came out a few years ago and in some ways feels like a poor man’s version of Arthur Christmas. I can almost believe Prep and Landing are in the same universe. But putting that side, this is a charming special which has become a holiday tradition for me.


It’s a story about the elves who go ahead of Santa and “prep” the house for his “landing”. It’s kind of a clever idea. Our main characters are Wayne and Lenny. Wayne is expecting a promotion when he gets Lenny as a new partner. Lenny is clumsy but has a good heart. So when he doesn’t get the promotion Wayne stops caring which almost blows an assignment, and he is nearly caught. But when he realizes his behavior could ruin Christmas for a little boy, he gets his confidence back. When Santa almost has to miss the landing Wayne and Lenny get the job done.


Ok that summation was kind of weak, it really is a cute little cartoon. The action moves fast and the voices are great from Dave Foley to Sarah Chalke as the high strung Elf who runs the whole show. The cool this in this is all the little bits of technology that help the elves “prep” the house. From scanners, to sleep devices,  and security overrides so Santa can get in and out safely they have every thing they need to make sure that the house is prepped and ready. And for some reason we never actually see Santa’s face, which is an interesting choice.


November 30, 2015

Top 10 Favorite Animated Christmas Specials-#10

Last Year I did my favorite Christmas TV episodes, This year, I present my top 10 favorite animated Christmas specials. In the past I have done run downs of all the specials, and singled out a few that I hated, but these are the ten that are the cream of the crop. Ten specials that I just can’t imagine Christmas without. I wasn’t originally going to limit these to animation but the list kind of ended up that way. But it makes sense, from The Smurfs to Inspector Gadget to Pac-Man to The Flintstones the amount of animated Christmas specials is staggering. And yes I am including CGI and stop-motion animation. Sadly this does leave off The Muppets, maybe I will discuss them a in a separate article if I have the time.


So since these are pretty much familiar to everyone, all I will probably do is go over the special briefly and give my two cents worth on why I think it’s so great…and maybe a few gripes thrown in. I am spreading this out over the month of December, so let’s start with my #10 choice….




the-grinch-cartoon 


This may shock some, #10??? But it took me a looong time to get into this. I never really watched it a as kid and did not grow up with it like so many did. When I did finally see it…yeah it’s really really good. The message is so simple and sweet that it’s just impossible to not get drawn in.


The story is a simple one really, I think we’re all familiar with it. All the who’s in Whoville loved Christmas a lot. Except The Grinch, who did not! I am not really a Dr.Seuss fan. I am one of the few people in the world who can say I did not grow up with these stories when I was a child. But this one is really good and it’s no surprise that it has endured and last as long as it as. The Grinch is a fantastic character, one children will be enjoying for decades I imagine.

November 26, 2015

Six Great Commercials for Stupid Products

A few weeks ago I talked about memorable commercials, and one of them was for the Colgate Pump. I noted that it was a really good commercial…for a really stupid product. It doesn’t even exist anymore. For the record I had the Crest Pump and it was..Ok I guess.


Don’t remember it? Here is the ad:



But this product wasn’t the first time, or the last time, a great ad was made for a product that turned out to be a dud. Of course a new product needs heavy advertising but sometimes the great commercial is about the only good thing about the product, which vanishes never to be heard from again.


Here are five examples of what I mean:


November 22, 2015

Analytical Episode Review:Frasier, “A Lilith Thanksgiving”

Wow, I haven’t done one of these since my Super Bowl article. Yikes. It is hard to pick episodes that I hope people will be familiar with. Since it’s Thanksgiving I decided to single out a Thanksgiving episode. I covered all the Roseanne episodes two years ago and did a Cosby episode last year. Not to mention listing ten episodes I loved in a very early article. In fact it seems I’ve mostly talked about episodes I like. Are there Thanksgiving episodes that drive me crazy? Oh my yes, the one I wanted to discuss today comes from a little show called:



Frasier-600x337 




There were two Thanksgiving episodes involving Lilith. One called “The Apparent Trap” was pretty good. This one….ugh. Let’s discuss it.




“A Lilith Thanksgiving”
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Aired Nov 26,1996

November 19, 2015

Ten Reasons I Love The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

 
There are just some traditions that I have had my whole life, and probably always will. As I have hit the age of 40, a lot of things I grew up with are gone. Bob Hope Specials? Gone. New Year’s Rockin Eve with Dick Clark? Gone. Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon? Gone. But there is one that I am pretty sure isn’t going anywhere soon.




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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is an institution, and I could do a whole aricle on the history of this wonderful event. How it started and the issues it’s had, good and bad.  But that’s boring and can be found elsewhere. Instead, here are ten things I love about the parade which still airs every Thanksgiving Day on NBC.






10.The Broadway Shows
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This part probably bothers people, and I’ll be honest I can find it boring too, but in order to kill an hour before the parade can get to Herald Square NBC shows off some Broadway shows that are playing. And it’s cool seeing these since I don’t follow this stuff. I still remember Bebe Neuwrith singing “All That Jazz” long before I saw the movie Chicago. Nice. I also saw Kristen Chenowith perform a song from Wicked, which while I have not seen it is one I want to.


November 15, 2015

Reconsidering “Back to the Future:Part III”

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It’s funny how time can change your mind on things. When I first saw Back to the Future part III I did not like it. And one of my first articles was about the movie and the things I did not like. But looking back, I realize it wasn’t that bad. Part II was faster and more fun, but it also doesn’t have the heart that the first had. The third does, though with a slower pace.


Back over four years ago I did “five things I hated in Back to the Future Part III”. I decided to go back, now older and wiser,  and see if maybe I had changed my mind on any of them.


The parts in italics are the original entries, I am copying the earlier segments directly from the blog and keeping them exactly as a I wrote them.


#5. The opening. I still remember seeing this movie at the theaters and after the exciting re-cap of the ending of the 2nd movie, we get the action and thrill—of a rainstorm. I mean, I realize they wanted to change the tone of the movies a bit but that opening was such a letdown. We see the rain as Marty gets Doc back to his house. We are treated to a pan of the house while the dullest music ever plays. I know the first movie has kind of a quiet opening, but we don’t need to establish Doc’s character this time and for me this was just a disappointment.

Well, when you think about it they really need that tonal shift. The movies needed this break to pause and breathe, and while it was jarring when I saw it at first I get it now. Besides I love the beautifully recreated set for Doc’s old mansion (you’d never guess five years had passed!) and all the stuff in 1955 is really well done.


November 13, 2015

Ten Commercials I Can Never, Ever Forget

I talked awhile back about commercials with mascots which became so famous that they ae almost household names. (Don’t remember it? Here it is)


However, a good commercial doesn’t have to have a silly cartoon character to be remembered. A catchy jingle and/or catchphrase is enough to make people remember it. In some cases, you never forget it.


Here are ten ads that I never forgot, in no particular order.



10.Verizon
Give Verizon some credit, they took a small ad and made a catchphrase out of it. I still think of this ad when I am having trouble with a cell phone and asking the caller if they “Can hear me now”.





9.Old Navy
These commercials were so stupid, so inane, so nonsensical….that I loved them and still remember them. They are cheezy, goofy, and just fun.


November 5, 2015

TV Characters That Knew They Were On TV Shows

Every show will have a fourth wall gag once in awhile. Happy Days ended their run with Howard thanking the audience for watching, Cliff and Clair danced through the fourth wall at the end of The Cosby Show. One episode of Just Shoot Me ended with Brook Shields breaking character to question the ludicrous scene she was in. Even Seinfeld couldn’t resist a wink to the audience at the end of “The Race”. Hard as it is to believe Star Trek also did it once when McCoy flat out addressed the audience at the end of an episode. This goes back to Burns & Allen!





But occasional winks to the audience is one thing. But sometimes these go behind just gags, they’re a part of the show that the character or characters know they are on a TV series. And the gags about that are almost constant. Here are five examples:



Malcolm from Malcolm in the Middle
malcolm middle

I was never a fan of this show, but it came up in my research so I checked it out. And yeah, Malcolm was constantly breaking the fourth wall to address the audience. I tried to watch a whole episode…and couldn’t do it. Just not for me.


November 2, 2015

Ten Prime Time Cartoons Inspired by “The Simpsons”

One of the more annoying things in my opinion is when something new is a huge hit, and all the clones start to appear. These are obvious desperate attempts to cash in on a trend. The worst part of this trend is that these copy cats are almost always duds! They are so blatantly rushed and/or trying to copy the success of the first show that it’s just lame.


This happened with game shows when Who Wants to be a Millionaire spawned crap like Greed and Twenty-One. It happened when Survivor (and later American Idol) spawned reality TV junk like “The Apprentice” and to many others to name (I thank god this reality craze has died down a bit). And the success of Seinfeld and Friends spawned garbage like “These Friends of Mine” (later “Ellen”) and the very short lived “Coupling”. We could be here all day listing examples of this.



And then we have the prime time cartoon craze that began in the 90’s. When The Simpsons came around in 1989, it was the first successful prime time cartoon series since The Flintstones and The Jetsons. So of course what happens when a new idea is a big hit? We get the god awful copy cats!!!! Ok, some worked. Family Guy and King of the Hill and Futurama, were all good. Ok, The Critic wasn’t that bad either come to think of it. And Duckman was a huge success though I never watched it. And of course South Park, which I really can’t stand though I guess it can be funny.

familyguy_logo_281futurama-logo-with-charactersKing-of-the-Hill
The-Critic-Season-1-_Alt_ duckmanSouth_Park



But while those were hits, most were not so lucky and were here and gone in a flash. Here are ten other shows which did suck, at least in my opinion. Some were rushed to meet the Simpsons craze, some were trying to flat out copy the Simpsons, and some were just…stupid as all hell.



Capitol Critters
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This was an animates series about the lives of mice and roaches who reside in the basement and walls of The White House. Intrigued yet? Yeah this is a lame show and only lasted thirteen episodes. Neil Patrick Harris was in it, but to be fair this was long before “How I Married Your Mother” made him a celebrity again so I can forgive it. This show demonstrates a very important lesson that others did learn-it takes more than a cool setting to make the show gritty and adult! I watched it a little and it felt like a stupid Saturday Morning Cartoon, non and adult Prime Time Cartoon.


October 25, 2015

Five Favorite Supernatural DC Comics Villains

I week or two ago I did my top 5 supernatural heroes, so doing the villains seemed a natural. But it wasn’t so easy. This was a hard category to research. Can you guess what came up every time I put “Supernatural Villains” into google? Yeah. It’s pretty clear that while the Supernatural Heroes of the DC Universe are big names and stand out, the villains aren’t quite household names the same way.


I did manage to find five, so here we go in no particular order.



Solomon Grundy
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This is a zombie super villain who was very powerful. And at the same time was sort of tragic figure. I guess most zombies are. I first became aware of him by his portrayal in the old Superfriends cartoon.Why did they use him? Good question. (even dumber? He was in the live action Legends of the Supeheroes. WTF??) Anyway after fighting the Golden Age Green Lantern in the old days, he fought Superman and Batman before getting all tied into the Swamp Thing’s mythos. There was a time when he was loyal to Jade and even helped Infinity Inc, until he is tricked into attacking and killing several member and became evil again. He also appeared in the Batman story The Long Halloween which I considered reviewing for this year. Maybe next year.


October 21, 2015

Random Thoughts-Happy Back to the Future Day!

I’m know I know, but how could I resist talking about this one? Back to the Future was a movie I adored and watched a million times. Then Back to the Future II was released, and it was one of the coolest movie experiences ever. Seeing the scenes from the first movie recreated was something that amazed me for years. We take things like that for granted today. The bifforhific 1985 was just awesome, and what can I say about the future portrayed in the movie? Which is, today Wednesday, October 21, 2015!



Yeah there were problems. The story could be picked apart. And one thing that bothered me was all the promo’s for the third movie. I mean, we had Doc wearing a western shirt, Doc exclaiming the old west was his favorite time period, Marty playing a western shooting game  on a video game, Biff watching a Clint Eastwood movie (gee, I wonder if the scene he’s watching would come back to the play in he next film?), and the Delorean inexplicably show the date of 1885 a couple times in the film. Not to mention the trailer at the very end which for some reason made it on to the VHS release. That always bugged me, why end with a cliffhanger just to spoil it? These teases hurt the second movie and for me anyway, spoiled the third in many ways.



Ok, getting way off track. Of course the reason why this day is special is because the date that Marty and Doc went to in the future was in fact October 21, 2015. And I am not going to lie…that is so cool! It also makes me feel old, since it means it’s been nearly 25 years since I first saw the movie. I love that this movie is so famous and so loved that BTTF Day is a thing. When most movies set in the future hit their predicted date no one cares, or notices. Not with this movie! We have a beautiful book coming out, a new release for the movie, and countless articles and tributes. As I said before these articles seemed to start as soon as 2015 did. This trilogy doesn’t often get the respect it deserves which I get. Putting it up against trilogies like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings it probably doesn’t measure up. But the fans of this movie are loyal and passionate about it and this movie will never go away. I could do a list (and probably will) of hit movies that no one hears about anymore. This is not one of them! So why is this future so loved? Because it’s a happy one not an apocalyptic hell!


October 18, 2015

Top 5 Supernatural DC Comics Superheroes

A few months back I spent a lot of time talking about my favorite characters in the DC universe. I covered heroes, villains, supporting characters, and even favorite teams. But there is one small group I left off, and since we are in October it seemed to the perfect time to go through them. The magic based characters.


DC has a very rich line of supernatural characters, from heroes like Animal Man to villains like The Floronic Man. But which one’s to do I especially love?



#5.Deadman
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Deadman is another one of those characters I know from his crossovers with other characters, like Superman and Batman. He is a, well, dead man who was once a circus performer. After he was killed his spirit is given the power to possess any living being by a Hindu god named Rama Kushna. The cool thing is that the guy has a very strong personality and the character is one that is easy to like. The best thing he ever did was infiltrate the alien alliance during the “Invasion” even in 1988.




#4.Zatanna
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One of the first comic books I ever read had the mistress of magic in it, and I had no idea who she was at the time. But I learned. Daughter of a golden age hero named Zatarra, Zatanna was awesome! She had unlimited magic, well ok limited to the fact that she had to recite her spells backwards. Which was kind of cool! She was a member of the Justice League of America back in the day. At first we was a novice hero and her powers were pretty basic. As time went on as her character evolved so did her powers until she was more mystical in nature, even resurrecting the devastated city of Metropolis in one appearance.

October 15, 2015

Fifteen Scary Superman Stories for Halloween

When I was a kid I used to read specific comics at Halloween which were either set at Halloween or creepy enough I decided it counted. The big one was Superman! I know Batman seems to be more closely associated with Halloween, but Superman is no slouch in dealing with the occult.




Then a week ago Longbox of the Damned featured Superman #344 where he fought Dracula and Frankenstein.

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And…the story sounded stupid. Throwing The Phantom Stranger in as a deux ex machina at the end. It got me thinking of those stories I read as a kid, and I was able to cobble together a list of other Superman issues which are good enough to read on Halloween. The Man of Steel has fought everything from ghosts to vampires, and the stories are usually creepy and even scary.



I am including a few books that I did not read but thought were worth a mention, and a few that Superman was in but even if he wasn’t the focus of the book.



This list started out as 5. Yeah, I know. Anyway….



Justice League of America #145
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Of course Superman is part of the story, so it counts. Superman fights for his soul in the afterlife while the rest of the JLA must defeat Count Crystal and the Carnival of Souls. It’s a pretty spooky tale which includes The Phantom Stranger yet again.


October 8, 2015

Special TV-“The Simpsons” Halloween Specials, Six Segments I Loved/Hated

Last year I focused on the Halloween episodes Roseanne had, not mention discussing my absolute favorite Halloween episodes (and a few I hate). But with all of that there was one series that got seriously snubbed, with barely a mention. A series which goes above and beyond every Halloween, with a new classic every year. Yes of course I am referring to:


Treehouse_of_horror



Why didn’t I talk about it last year? The Simpsons had so many great Halloween episodes how could I pick just one!! Ah, The Simposns….I was never a major fan. It just never grabbed me though I did see many episodes in college when the show was in re-runs. However, even I have to admire the Halloween specials (or Treehouse of Horror if you prefer, I miss the old name). They are clever, well made, and usually a lot of fun. Since they take place outside the show’s time lime the creators can do whatever they want. And they do!


Pic  tumblr_mby5t6ET2H1qzwaoqo1_1280



So today I wanted to discuss six (well, seven you’ll see what I mean) of them that I just love, and to be fair more that didn’t do anything for me. Before I begin let me make this clear, I am going mostly by memory for these. I would love to sit and review every single episode, and maybe if they are ever released all together on a DVD I will (there is one DVD out but it only has a sample of episodes, and I ran out of time or I would have ordered it off Netflix). But for now this is what I have. And I would be lying if I said I remember, or have even watched, every episode. So obvious one’s will be missing like “The Devil and Homer Simpson” where Ned Flanders turns out to be the devil. If I saw it I don’t remember it. And “The Shinning” seems to top everyone’s list but somehow I missed that one. Besides having never seen the classic movie the parody would be a bit lost on me.



homershining_0    The-Simpsons-The-Devil-and-Homer-Simpson





So these are the standout’s that I enjoyed and still remember. By the way these are in no particular order.



The Raven (Season 1)
thesimpsonsraven
I really can’t say what it is about this one, it’s really nothing amazing. It’s just James Earl Jones narrating while Homer recites Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven”. But something about it just works. Is it because Jones is bad ass no matter what he does? Is it because the poem is just awesome? Is it because Homer’s reactions are classic Homer? Is it because it is simple, but effective? Whatever it is, I love it.



October 5, 2015

Underrated Trek:Distant Voices (DS9)

Welcome back to Underrated Trek, where I take a special look at Star Trek episodes that I love…which may not be the most popular or even liked by most. This is probably my last of these this year as we get into the holidays. This episode was pushed off my DS9 list I did a month or so ago, so I decided to give it it’s own special article. Besides, it isn’t the worst but its not the best either. The real amazing thing? They managed to do a interesting episode around Bashir as a character. That’s a freaking miracle!








Can a Bashir episode actually be good? Let’s take a look




2008-09-25-Distant_Voices

October 2, 2015

Five TV Shows I’d Love to see on DVD

TV Shows on DVD is truly an awesome thing. Not only do you get to see your favorite shows whenever you want, but they are usually remastered and unedited!  But despite the vast library of TV shows on DVD, there are still a few I would love to see but most likely will not. Even some that make sense, like WKRP for instance which had tons of music in every episode, still manage a full series DVD release. While other shows still have not seen the light of day. WTF? Until last year or so the Batman TV Series would have been on here, but that finally came out and I own the whole things



Here are five I would love to see someday:



Head of the Class
Head_of_the_Class_(title_card)
I’ve gone on and one about this show, one of the more underrated shows from the 80’s. When it was good, it was really good. I am not even much of a Howard Hesseman fan but he was cool here. It was a series of genius’s in a high school but was well cast and all the characters were likable So, why isn’t this series out on DVD? I mean it was a reasonably big hit in is day. Heck not even the first season has even seen the light of day! I’d love to see the first few years of this show released. I mean, Coach manages to get released but no this show?




September 27, 2015

Five Favorite Transitions & Bumpers From Kids Shows

We talk a lot about TV shows we love but sometimes one of my favorite things are  little things we often overlook. For instance the commercial bumpers. On most shows it’s just a person announcing that they would be right back after these messages over a shot of the title, and sometimes it can be extremely lazy as they will just Photoshop an image over the title announcing the ad break. You see this a lot in syndicated re-runs. But once in awhile they can be a little extra special. Like on Alf when he usually had a clever joke. Or on A Different World which would tease the second half of the episode rather than just say “We’ll Be Right Back”. Of course Linkara on AT4W came up with clever ways to announce those annoying midrolls.



I also like clever scene transitions. It’s one thing to change scenes, with adult shows it’s simple a dissolve followed by a new location shot. Oh, some shows do different things. Home Improvement used silly animations of the Home Improvement logo to break the scenes up, Roseanne shows pictures of various locations around Lanford, Big Bang Theory uses a shot of a molecule to transition between locations, Caroline in the City used to use cartoon drawings to establish new locations which was kind of different, and of course 3rd Rock From the Sun used those cool animations of the solar system as transitions and those were always clever and well done.



About two years ago I talked about famous network bumpers. For that article click HERE. But when kids show and cartoons do these kind of things they become, in their own way, as much a part of the show as anything else. It sounds silly but just hearing a silly scene transition is enough to make you smile. Here are five examples of scene transitions which I love!




He-Man
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He-Man’s transition image was a shot of the sword, and that was Ok. But I loved the bumpers, which had Orko announcing the commercial. My favorite one is when he breaks through the wall announcing the break, and when we return we see Orko taping up the damage as he announces it’s back to the show. By the way,  yes She-Ra did the same gimmick with Kowl or whatever his name was, but since that was the girl show I of course did not like it as much.



September 23, 2015

Random Thoughts-The Muppets

If you haven’t watched the new Muppets TV series yet, spoilers below. Be warned.



I was kind of hyped about The Muppets coming back to TV. The last series they did was Muppets Tonight which, while I was not a big fan, wasn’t the worst thing in the world either. Tonight’s show might be. I just watched and had some random thoughts I decided I had to share, mostly to see if anyone else watched and what they think. So, here we go.




I can live with The Muppets being darker. I love The Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie and there are darker elements in that movie. But the Muppet charm still shines through. This show….I don’t know what the thought process was.



Ok, fairness time. The idea is good. Piggy hosts her own night time talk show and we see the behind the scenes antics (ala 30 Rock). Fine, but why did they have to go on step further and include the personal lives of The Muppets? It’s like, as another critic noted, The Larry Sanders Show minus the swearing.


Here is the big question. Why are The Muppets so mean? Kermit is a negative whiner, Piggy is just a bitch not to mention a huge egomaniac, Fozzie is…the same but his story about dating a human girl is just icky. Even Scooter has an attitude! What the hell, Scooter is one of the easiest going Muppets ever! Did I mention the adult jokes (which no kid would understand to be fair, but seriously an AA joke?)? And before everyone screams there have always been adult jokes with The Muppets, yes that’s true but they were accompanied by funny bits and I didn’t see anything funny in this.


September 21, 2015

Six Blown Reveals From “Star Trek” Episodes

I spoke a few days ago about “The Lights of Zetar”. I commented that when the characters finally figure out what is happening, the reveal is not that interesting because the audience has already figured it out! But it’s dragged out anyway and gets dull. Though we dont know the backstory which we learn with teh characters, so good job there keeping that reveal a secret till it was time to be revealed. But this isn’t always the case. Star Trek, like any show, very often tries to surprise their audience with the cause of their troubles and/or the big solution that saves the day. And sometimes, it works. Another example is from “The Deadly Years”, where the answer to why Chekov didn’t age was held until the last five minutes, but it makes sense and I think it’s safe to say may not have been guessed yet when it is revealed. In TNG’s “The Survivors” they drag out the secret of the old couple for the whole episode, and while Picard is on to them the audience is left with an interesting mystery right until the end.



And yes it’s not uncommon to reveal the villain early on, but usually something is kept quiet until the characters figure it out. The motivation, how they did their deed, or some other surprise twist. However, some episodes blow the twist to early and it hurts the episode! It bores the audience and makes the characters look stupid. It’s almost as if the creators don’t realize how smart their audience is.



Here are six examples of what I mean from Classic Trek and Next Gen.


“Who Mourns for Adonais” (TOS)

Ok this one isn’t the worst, or even that big, but it’s really blatant how they dragged it out. As the crew discuss how Apollo could be able to channel the power to do his stunts, McCoy mentions that he discovered that Apollo has an extra organ in his body that he has no clue about. Kirk begins to ask the obvious question when he is cut off. It’s like twenty minutes later when Kirk finally finishes the qustion, asking McCoy if the extra organ is how Apollo channels the power he does. It’s not a big thing, but what was the point of holding that off? Did they really think we wouldn’t have figured it with Kirk? Just get it revealed and move on!


September 18, 2015

Underrated Trek:The Lights of Zetar (TOS)

Welcome back to Underrated Trek, where I take a special look at Star Trek episodes that I love…which may not be the most popular or even liked by most. Ah, third season Classic Trek. We make fun of it but there were some good episodes to be found. “The Enterprise Incident” for instance. I already talked about third season episodes “Turnabout Intruder” and “And The Children Shall Lead” which are both hard for me to admit I like since they are each pretty cheesy. This one is different, I proudly like this episode even if I am in a minority. This is :


tosr073_title_card 



Written by Jeremy Tarcher with his wife Shari Lewis (yes, THAT Shari Lewis. She loved the show and even wanted to play Lt.Romaine) we get an average but still decent episode. So, what makes it so good?



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September 15, 2015

Five Horribly Miscast Movie Roles (That I’ve Seen)

I’m not a huge movie fan. I don’t ask for much when I do see a movie, it takes a lot for something in a film to really bother me. Product placement? Whatever. Another thing that doesn’t usually bother me is casting. For a role to be so horribly miscast even I’ve noticed means someone somewhere really failed along the way. Once in awhile an odd casting choice pays off. Who would have imagined how great Michael Keaton would be as Batman? That was inconceivable when it was first announced! Who could have pictured Richard Gere in Chicago? Hey it worked, he was great! Chris Pine as Captain Kirk? Hey he pulled it off. Kevin Costner in Prince of Thieves? I must have to re-watch this because I remember him being good, it seems I am in the minority on that one.




But usually odd casting is just that, odd and doesn’t work. Rosie O’Donnell as Betty Rubble in The Flintstones? No! Ben Affleck in Daredevil? No! John Wayne as Genghis Khan? WTF???? But those casting choices were DOA in my opinion, sometimes you have hopes it may work….and it doesn’t.


Here are five more roles I had hopes for, but were so badly miscast even I couldn’t help but notice!



Pierce Brosnan in Mama Mia
still-of-pierce-brosnan-in-mamma-mia!-(2008)-large-picture
Ugh. Maybe it was because I saw the stage play (on Broadway!) that this really stood out for me. But was I the only one who could see how wrong Brosnan was for this? I know I wasn’t but if it was THAT obvious to me…I hope the casting person lost their job. Even if he could sing, he was still way out of place. And he couldn’t sing…at all! Actually nearly the whole cast was miscast. Christine Baransky is cool but was wrong for that character. The worst was Brosnan though, who couldn’t sing to save his life. Oh, and speaking of musicals you my wonder what I thought of Russell Crowe in Les Miserables. I’ve only seen pieces but it’s clear they hired him for the name appeal, and not because he could sing.


September 13, 2015

A Look at “The Best of Saturday Night Live”

Last February, SNL celebrated it’s 40th anniversary. This inspired me to go back and check out their “Best of” collections. Actually there were two. One was a large collection released in the 90’s. featuring every year and many of the hosts. I had a ton of these which I loved to watch…and sad to say I gave them away. That still pisses me off, but I can always get them back if I really wanted.




The other set was a big group release starting in 1999, distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment. This lasted until 2005 when NBC ended that deal. But there were still several of these released, and over the last six months I have seen most of them. I couldn’t find any to buy to I got them off Netflix. So I thought it would be fun to go over them, and let you know what I thought. These are only the one’s I saw, a few will be missing like Steve Martin, Gilda Radner, and John Belushi. I just don’t care about that real old stuff. Also Chris Rock and Tracy Morgan’s DVD’s I  have not seen yet and not sure I ever will. I also find it curious that nothing from the 1980-1985 made it, except Eddie Murphy who I also did not watch.




So enough about what I didn’t see, let’s discuss what I did see:




SNL: The Best of Adam Sandler
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If you ever thought this guy was overrated, this DVD will confirm it. I mean was this boring! It was mostly him singing his dopey songs. I think all of three whole sketches make it, one he was barely even in! I guess if you liked his singing you will love it but this DVD was a fail for me.


September 8, 2015

Top 10 Favorite Deep Space Nine Episodes


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You may have noticed that as much as I discuss Star Trek, DS9 does not get mentioned nearly enough. I was never a major fan, but did watch it and enjoyed several episodes. So since I haven’t given DS9 enough love, here are my favorite episodes. I will say up front, these are favorites and may not be literally the best episodes ever made. In fact at least one is a bottle show which wasn’t that remarkable, as you’ll see. And almost nothing from the war episodes are on here, not because they were bad it’s just those episodes were not my favorites. To me they’re like seeing a gritty war film while well done it’s not the kind of thing you pop in to watch over and over again. These are episodes I loved the first time and can watch over and over again.


And if you’re wondering why no least favorites list, it’s because I managed to avoid those episodes which sucked a lot. Except “Move Along Home” which felt more like a crappy season 2 TNG episode. And I talked about Q-Less already. Oh and that awful “Resurrection” episode which was boring but since the crew were coming off the war arc I can forgive it. And “Defiant” was a let down.



Ok, onto my favorites–




#10.”What You Leave Behind” (Season 7)
leave_behind_633
Yeah I know weird to start with the final episode, but in some ways I liked Voyager’s more. Not to mention TNG’s. Why? As I said in the opening I was not a loyal DS9 fan and this episode was definitely aimed at loyal fans as a way of saying goodbye. So while it didn’t leave the biggest impact, it was still a damn good final episode and a very strong way to end the series. Credit where credit is due.



September 5, 2015

Five “WTF??” Awkward Moments From Live TV

Live TV is a lot of fun. They say that anything can happen, and sometimes that’s just what happens. Anything! Mistakes or accidents are inevitable when the show is live and there is no way to stop and re-do a take. Embarrassing moments are going to happen. There are tons of these from Geraldo Rivera finding nothing in Al Capone’s vault to Michael Jackson's curious 1993 Super Bowl Halftime show to his sister Janet Jackson’s memorable wardrobe malfunction in another Super Bowl.




I could go on and on, but today I wanted to discuss five live moments that did not go as planned which were not funny, they were just plain awkward. Leaving many people, including the people there, wondering WTF they just saw! And these are from entertainment broadcasts, no news moments since those kind of stories aren’t funny right now.



Tonight Show w Jay Leno (Cheers Show)
CHEERS -- "Final Show Party" Episode 25 -- Air Date 05/20/1993 -- Pictured: (l-r) George Wendt as Norm Peterson, Woody Harrelson as Woody Boyd, John Ratzenberger as Cliff Clavin, Kelsey Grammer as Dr. Frasier Crane, Rhea Perlman as Carla LeBec, Ted Danson as Sam Malone, Jay Leno as Himself (Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Man was this a bad idea. Love or hate Jay Leno, you had to feel bad for him here. The night that Cheers went off the air, Jay Leno hosted a live show at the real Bull and Finch Bar in Boston. This was a BAR. Can you see the mess up here? Yeah everyone was drunk, I mean really drunk, which caused Leno to scramble. Some sketches had to be scrapped and it was basically a very strange hour. Leno would call the show a “mistake” and he made sure that didn’t happen again. I read that Ted Danson apologized the next day with flowers, but knowing Leno he just shrugged the whole thing off as one of those mistakes we make in life.



September 1, 2015

Things I Just Love-TV Guide

TVGUIDE-logo 

This is something I have wanted to talk about for a long time. But how? Well let me start at the beginning. It may be hard to believe for those very young, but there was a time when TV Guide was the coolest magazine in the world. If you loved TV as much as I did anyway. It’s kind of hard to explain, and maybe it’s just me, but I adored this little book. When a new issue arrived every week it was exciting, I’d sit down and pour through it looking at all the awesome new shows that were coming the next week to look forward to. Then it was by my side as I watched TV through that week. At the end of the week, it had been so worn out that very often the cover had even fallen off.



Jerry Seinfeld himself summed it up in this clever bit you can see HERE



These go way back my friends, to the 50’s since Desi Arnaz Jr as a baby was the very first cover. These things were collectors items, and no just because they could be worth money, and why not? They’re like little time capsules for what was happening every week years ago. I know what you might think, it’s a program guide so what? It’s hard to explain but I guess the one thing to remember is that this was before the internet. We maybe had Entertainment Tonight and that was about it. There was no Entertainment Weekly or cable guides. There were no spoilers or previews. And the best alternative for TV guides were the lame program grids in newspapers which told us nothing. TV Guide was all we really had to wet our appetites and make us look forward to whatever was coming along that next week.


How did they do that? Well you had the simple descriptions which not only old you the show but a simple plot summary. As I said this was before spoilers so we literally had no clue what the next episode was until we read it. It also gave you the whole week, daytime and nighttime, along with previews for things even further away. Then there were the ad’s. The kick ass ad’s! The ad’s in TV Guide were awesome, not to mention powerful things. I watched the first episode of The Cosby Show based solely on the beautiful ad that appeared in TV Guide. The ad that ran when Bo and Luke returned to The Dukes of Hazard was just beautiful (couldn’t find a good pic). And I watched the 80’s TV movie Crash Course based solely on he ad that appeared that week, which got me excited about the movie.


Here are a couple ads I found online just so you can see what I’m talking about :












But the big thing most people remember from TV Guide were the awesome covers. Each one brings back memories, if not to a personal memory than at least to that time in TV history. These covers are awesome, and that’s what I want to focus on. Now as I said these go back to the 50’s and the covers were amazing even then. However since I’m not THAT old, I am only focusing on the 1980-2005, which is when they chucked the digest format that made them famous and turned the magazine into just another entertainment magazine. Boring.  Damn I miss these today. And yes I went through every cover on TVGUIDE.COM to pick my favorites, and there was a tear of nostalgia in my eye as I did.



So hear now are my 20 favorite covers (yes, 20! But that’s a drop in the bucket really).
fall prev 3fall prev 2fall prev 1
I picked three of these as examples, but let me tell you about the fall preview issues. I think Christmas Day was the only thing more exciting than when these came out. I would move hell and earth to get it, and read every stinking page. Not only did they tell you every new show coming out, good and bad, but the ads inside were always something awesome to see, bigger and better for all the season premier’s. Even for someone who loved TV Guide, these issues were extra special! The sad part is while I have saved a couple issues I didn’t save any of the Fall Preview issues. Damn it. These are especially fun to look back on and see what the editors thought would be hits…and how wrong they were!