February 28, 2017

Five Ways TV Shows Work Around Pregnant Stars




I talked about how Patricia Heaton was pregnant on Everybody Loves Raymond, twice actually. But she sure isn’t the first woman to be pregnant on a sitcom that refused to acknowledge the pregnancy on camera. Of course sometimes they do acknowledge, but that causes other headaches. Like when Lucille Ball was pregnant and couldn’t use the word, for reasons I’ll never understand.









So how do you keep the actress on the show when she is getting bigger and bigger? Well some shows have to resort interesting extremes. Others don’t do very much at all. Here’s a look :







Close Up’s and other Camera Tricks
This is an easy one, but editing and camera tricks help a lot. Pre-production helps to, like how a lot of Amy Poehler’s scenes were filmed in advance on Parks and Recreation. Or how they shortened the season of Sex and the City when Sarah Jessica Parker was pregnant. There are close-up’s like the one’s I mention in my ELR reviews. You can tell by the tight shots of Debra that something is off.



February 27, 2017

Analytical Episode Guide:Everybody Loves Raymond (Season 4, Part 2)




 Season 4, Episode 6
The Sister

Plot Summary-Debra’s sister visits and announces she’s going to become a nun.

Nitpick of the episode-Why is Debra such a witch when Ray tries to talk to her about what is bothering her? Even Ray points out its ok for to psychoanalyze him up and down but god forbid he try to get to the root of her problem.

Best Line-“Ray and Robert, they have this, like, completely screwed up relationship, but at least they have each other, you know? I mean, they fight, they compete and they blame their lives on their parents. They’re real brothers!”…Debra

Episode Fun Fact –Debra’s sister appears for the one and only time

Deleted Scenes-Ray tells Debra what he warns for breakfast

Syndication Edit-Ray and Robert singing a song, this brief scene makes when Ray calls back to it in the next scene make more sense

Best Character-Marie, the scene where she comes over with the cake shaped like a cross is adorable

Worst Character-Debra, this was a tough call but I gotta pick her for that scene I mentioned in my nitpick where Ray is trying to be supporting but all she can do is scoff at him.

Final Thoughts-This episode works because the actress playing Jennifer is just great. She feels real and I totally buy her being Debra’s older sister. We barely heard of this character so don’t really care if she is being a nun, but the writing makes up for that. I also get what Debra’s problem is, by the time we get it out of her anyway. Debra doesn’t have a brother or sister she can count on which probably does suck sometimes. The one lame thing is how the family acts around Jennifer after announcing she’ll be a nun. Like they have to be all religious or something. The worst is Franks crazy question which is a bit out there even for him. Who wonders that? The scene between Debra and Jennifer is just great. The only annoying thing I guess is that the only thing Robert contributes is more crying about he second rate status in the family.

Grade-A-

February 23, 2017

Analytical Episode Guide:Everybody Loves Raymond (Season 4, Part 1)




Welcome to season 4, which is the best season of the show in my opinion. All the characters are clicking and pretty much every episode is a classic!





Season 4, Episode 1
Boob Job

Plot Summary-Debra gets insecure when Ray suggests he’d like it if she got a boob job

Nitpick of the episode-who has a parents night in a parents home? Isn’t that usually in school?

Best Line–“Marie did it the natural way. Pound cake!”…Frank

Episode Fun Fact –The funny thing is that Patricia Heaton really did have a boob job over the hiatus.

Deleted Scenes-Frank won’t let kids watch tv (this is an alternate opening)

Syndication Edit-Ray yelling up the stairs to Debra

Best Character-Frank, in this episode when he sees Debra with the boob job he is clearly aroused but it’s underplayed unlike later episodes

Worst Character-Debra, setting Ray up like that was awful. The fact that Ray even said his initial comment about Debra getting a boob job is because she asked. Granted he should have just said no but she’s the one who read into it. Talk about going the extra mile for an argument and prove a point that didn’t need to be proven.

Final Thoughts-I would win this one, hands down! If my wife told me she had surgery without talking to me I promise I would not be staring at her with my tongue hanging out! This is going to come up again but here we go with the “its ok for women to look at men but men can’t look at women” double standard. And why do women expect men to stop looking after they’re married, they’re not dead! But I think I’ll save that rant for another episode. While it’s true Ray asks like a horny idiot when he sees Debra she did go out of her way to trick him. And I agree with him 100% when they finally do get to the argument.

Grade-B-


February 21, 2017

10 Great NBC Shows The 90th Anniversary Special Forgot

 





So NBC aired a special Sunday night. Celebrating the 90th anniversary of NBC (including radio). The Paley Center sucks, I always hate their specials. This one was, not as bad. They did manage to hit almost everything they should have. But as you may guess there was no way to get everything in there, and there were some glaring omissions.








It may have been better if they did it by era rather than genre. Lots of stuff from the old days were overlooked (car 52, Flipper, I Spy) and the 70’s was kind of blended with the 80’s shortchanging both. I can understand why mentioning Disney would be awkward but that was a fixture on NBC for a long time. And If you’re wondering, yes they did mention The Cosby Show but it was understated. They hardly showed any clips or mentioned the impact the show had on NBC. And not one image appeared in the ads for the special, even though The Cosby Show put that network on the map. But I’ll take what I got, better than nothing.


Sadly a few other shows weren’t so lucky. I understand not mentioning some shows like TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes (which I loved as a kid), Amen, Empty Nest, Caroline in the City, Dear John, Blossom…but they do mention 227? Yeah that got a nod! Don’t get me wrong that show was OK and I liked it, but…. what? And again I get it, even in three hours you can’t cover everything. They didn’t even get into movies and mini-series! Not to mention daytime. But there were some omissions I just can’t ignore.





So here are a ten great shows that were ignored and deserved at least a passing mention in my opinion :




A Different World

Probably the biggest oversight considered how groundbreaking it was. Yeah an African American cast was old news but the issues they covered weren’t. This was one of, if not THE, first sitcom to tackle AIDS. Hope it wasn’t overlooked because of the Cosby connection, because that’s not fair.

February 20, 2017

Analytical Episode Guide:Everybody Loves Raymond (Season 3, Part 4)

 




Got a couple extra episodes to wrap up Season 3…




Season 3, Episode 19
Big Shots

Plot Summary-Ray takes Robert to the baseball hall of fame

Nitpick of the episode- What was Ray’s problem here? Why didn’t he just get in the damn line?

Best Line-“How often do I get to see the ray doesn’t get everything show?”…Robert

Episode Fun Fact –the real 1969 Mets appear, as a Red Sox fan it means nothing to me  J

Deleted Scenes-Ray and Robert in the car on the way to the Hall of Fame (too bad they deleted it we needed more of ray and Robert in the car)

Syndication Edit-top of the teaser, Ray watching boxing with frank

Best Character-Robert, because it can’t be Marie, Frank, or Debra who barely get a line

Worst Character-Ray, not only does he spoil the day for Robert but he acts like a big baby about it later. It’s established that he’s a famous name but that doesn’t mean he’s the big shot he acts like here

Final Thoughts-I said in the other article we would get through all the Debra-less episodes in one shot.. I forgot one extra, though this isn’t the worst by far. Like the Marie and Frank episode it’s mostly about Robert and Ray and like that one the two alone gets old. Though not as bad as “franks tribute” did. Maybe the scene in the hall of fame would have work d better if the guard was a jerk, rather than a patient guy who gave Ray every to chance to comply. The diner scene is good but the stuff with ray and Robert in the car drags on forever. I could pick on the cop who pulls the two over later but having gotten a speeding ticket once in that part of the state I can say, yeah the cops are jerks there.

Grade-C+



Ok I promised better episodes this time, so lets talk better:

February 17, 2017

Top 6 Favorite Sitcom Suck-Up’s

 


In sitcoms, you can’t really have villains. So antagonists take other forms. They can be bullies who like to inflict harm on our main characters (see Newman on Seinfeld, or Louie on Taxi) or they can be rivals who are always bickering but deep down care for each other (Alex and Malory on Family Ties, Will and Carlton on Fresh Prince, Carl and Urkel on Family Matters, Sheldon and…everyone on Big Bang). Or they are just obnoxious people who have no respect for things like privacy, but damn it we love them anyway (Schneider on One Day at a Time, Charlie on Empty Nest, Lenny and Squiggy).




But often these characters are sniveling suck-up’s. They are constantly kissing up to the boss (or whoever the authority figure is) and doing whatever they can to advance their goals, usually at the expense of our main character who of course comes out on top in the end. Usually making our suck up’s suffer at the same time. They are selfish, self-absorbed…and we love them!
Only one rule, these have to all be supporting characters. Lead characters who snivel and bow to the boss are a different category.




#6. Dan Fielding in Night Court

I have this one high because Dan is better known for being a lecherous greedy person. But he was a suck-up. Ok maybe not so much with Harry, but he would suck up to whomever he had to if it meant advancing his career, getting something he wanted, or even sleeping with a hot girl. But unlike others on this list, Dan does have a line he wont cross and we see that he is a good person, deep down.  John Larroquette was perfect and we loved to see Dan suffer for his selfish deeds.


February 16, 2017

Analytical Episode Guide:Everybody Loves Raymond (Season 3, Part 3)



And we start the Debra-less episodes. I don’t blame Patricia Heaton of course, but fact is her absences hurt the show. Thank goodness the show survived, but before it would we need to slog through the next six episodes. The good news is that these were all on one disc, which mean we can get this over with in one article. So yeah don’t be surprised if there isn’t much high praise in this one folks.





Season 3, Episode 13
Ping Pong

Plot Summary-Ray is determined to beat his father at ping pong

Nitpick of the episode- So Ray found out that Frank lied to him about the ball back in season one and in an episode of Cosby found out he lied to him about his old high school days. Why does the whole ping pong lie bother him so much? Why Ray really that proud that he beat his father?

Best Line-“Zero serving zero. Ray can kiss my rearo”…Frank

Episode Fun Fact –If you get the DVD there is a blooper from this episode where we see just how pregnant Patricia Heaton was at this time. No wonder she had to be covered in a blanket.

Deleted Scenes-none

Syndication Edit-teaser, Ray is happy to be traveling (I love the huge blanket Debra is wearing!)

Best Character-Frank, Peter Boyle once again takes something that would make another person a jerk and actually makes it charming.


Worst Character-Ray, suck it up you’re an adult now

Final Thoughts-I’ll probably says this a lot this time, but I’m not sure how to feel about this episode. It feels like the same idea from “The Ball”, only with ping pong this time. Sometimes I think Marie and Frank’s basement is a magic one with all the things that appear and disappear. In this episode a ping pong table that wasn’t there before and will never be there again. The episode isn’t god awful but it also isn’t the best either.

Grade-C

February 13, 2017

Analytical Episode Guide:Everybody Loves Raymond (Season 3, Part 2)






Season 3, Episode 7
Moving Out

Plot Summary-Robert moves out and into a house with a couple who act a lot like Marie and Frank

Nitpick of the episode-Kind of hard to believe Robert didn’t see how close a resemblance Rita & Harry had to his parents before Ray pointed out.

Best Line-“I don’t really want him to go. If he goes, it’s just me and her!”…Frank (this is one of my favorite lines of the whole series)

Episode Fun Fact –

Deleted Scenes-none

Syndication Edit-Robert and Amy at the top of the teaser

Best Character-Ray, he did a good thing encouraging his brother to move (even if his mother didn’t think so)

Worst Character-Marie, classic Marie who makes it all about her when Robert moves out.

Final Thoughts-If you can accept the absurd premise, this is a funny episode. Seeing Rita and Harry act like Marie and Frank is funny, it’s good to know that there are other couples out there like that. I guess I can see how Robert was so used to his parents he couldn’t even see that this couple were the same. I gave worst character to Marie but Debra deserves an honorable mention. Of course when Marie spends more time at their house as a result of Robert moving guess who Debra blames? She even makes Ray get Robert to move back, screw what’s good for Robert if it inconveniences Debra!

Grade-C+


February 11, 2017

Five TV Shows That Ended with a Different Cast Than it Started

It’s not unusual for an actor to leave a series at some point, forcing the show to replace the character they played. Hopefully people like the new character as much as the old (Kirstie Alley for Shelley Long on Cheers for instance, or Sandy Duncan for Valerie Harper on The Hogan Family, Ashton Kushter for Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men, and Lisa Bonet leaving A Different World actually helped that show). Of course replacing the main cast usually doesn’t work, take The Dukes of Hazard as a prime example (who here remembers Coy and Vance?) or Three’s Company (did anyone work after Suzanne Somers left?).



Likewise it isn’t unusual for a character to be added for one reason or another, and hopefully they fit in very nicely (Betty White on Mary Tyler Moore is a great example. And Seven of Nine anyone? And MASH was amazing, every new character added to the show rather than subtracted!). But some shows will have so much cast turnover that it results in a show with that doesn’t even seem like the same series anymore!


Whether it be by circumstance or actual decisions,  here are five TV shows that ended up with an almost entirely different cast than they started:




Beverly Hills, 90210

The funny thing about this is that the cast changes were so dramatic it actually changed the premise of the show. At first, 90210 was about The Walsh family moving to Beverly Hills from Minneapolis. But then Shannon Doherty left, which honestly didn’t hurt the show much I thought Tiffani-Amber Thiessen was great. Then the parents left, making guest appearances later on. When Jason Priestly finally left we had a whole new show! Producers were so worried about losing viewers they actually got Luke Perry back on a semi-regular basis. The funniest part? The Walsh House was still very much an active location in the show. Sure.

February 9, 2017

Analytical Episode Guide:Everybody Loves Raymond (Season 3, Part 1)





Welcome to Season 3! As I noted last time, the season started really good, but there were a lot of clunker episodes after Patricia Heaton became pregnant. But at least today we have some great episode to look over. Let’s dig in:




Season 3, Episode 1
The Invasion

Plot Summary-When termites invade, Ray and Debra are forced to stay with Marie and Frank

Nitpick of the episode-Seriously Ray and Debra have the quietest kids in the world we never hear them making noise or playing or anything

Best Line–“You don’t know a monkey wrench from a monkey’s ass.”…Frank

Episode Fun Fact – New opening and the best, set to Ludwig van Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (better known as “Ode to Joy”) as Ray and Debra panic to lock the door as the family arrives.

Deleted Scenes-Debra calling an exterminator , Ray gets an estimate while Debra books a hotel room (apparently the episode originally had a longer opening)

Syndication Edit-part of the teaser, other assorted dialogue

Best Character-Frank, man does he remind me of my dad in this episode. The best is that last scene where he finds the remote in Roberts room. We don’t hear or him do anything but we don’t have to. We know these characters well enough that the look Frank giv s him is all we need.

Worst Character-Marie, I’m with Debra on the whole “I need my space” crap that Marie pulls. What? And what did she do to her kids to make them tremble with fear every time things don’t go her way?

Final Thoughts-This episode has a good idea in it but I think it gives up by the end. Because Marie and Frank learn nothing. Though seeing Ray and Debra try to turn the tables on them is still kind of fun. And it’s is cool to see life at Marie and franks for once. Watching Debra mess with Marie is great since of course she isn’t terrified of her like everyone else is. However Marie is smart and knows how to turn things on Debra so she has to suffer more!

Grade-A


February 7, 2017

Five Beloved TV Series I Hate The First Season of



So as I went over the first season of Everybody Loves Raymond, one thing was very clear. I didn’t care for that season very much. Usually the first season of a series is the best because everything is fresh and new (Cosby Show, Who’s The Boss, Home Improvement and Big Bang Theory for instance). But some shows have trouble finding a voice or experience other growing pains. The result is a weak first season that makes you wonder how the shoe made it past it. Seinfeld is a great example, with Kramer being odd and the creators having to figure out you need a strong female in there. Everyone knew “The Seinfeld Chronicles” was weak but the network saw the potential and thankfully let the series grow. But while those episodes are clearly not that great, they aren’t horrible either. Same with Star Trek TNG and DS9, the episodes aren’t god awful but it’s clear that neither show had really found their stride yet. Even Cheers, while the show was pretty much as we would know for eleven years I never could get into those early episodes. Maybe because I didn’t really watch the show until they had found their niche, making the earlier episodes seem less than spectacular.


But while Cheers, Seinfeld and Star Trek were at least decent, some first seasons are almost unwatchable for me. And it’s almost amazing that the show we would love actually emerged from it. And here are five that are like that, for me anyway.




Family Ties

Yeah this may be just me but I always hated the first season. The show felt like so much, safer. If you’re ever confused on how Michael J Fox saved the show, watch that first year before he became the break out star. The episodes were good but it’s clear that the show had some growing up to do.

February 6, 2017

Analytical Episode Guide:Everybody Loves Raymond (Season 2, Part 5)







Let’s wrap up season 2…….



Season 2, Episode 21
Traffic School

Plot Summary-Robert tries out teaching traffic school to the family by using a puppet named Timmy

Nitpick of the episode- It drives me nuts when Robert says that if it had been Ray’s traffic school they all would have sat quietly. Does Robert not realize that the family does give Ray a hard time once in awhile too?

Best Line-“The binder’s not just a guide, Debra. The binder is… binding.”…Robert

Episode Fun Fact –Amazingly Timmy would appear again

Deleted Scenes-Frank and Marie about the answering machine

Syndication Edit-top of the teaser and the second act where Marie singles out ray for laughing at Robert (even though they all were)

Best Character-Frank, I love the “revenge” he gets on Timmy in the end!

Worst Character-Robert, this is his episode but seriously dude, get over it already

Final Thoughts-I’d really like to know where the heck this idea came from. This is an interesting dive into Roberts psyche. It gets downright uncomfortable. But as the episode goes on we see that the problem is Robert holds on to everything. The whole bit with Timmy is odd. I like the talk in the end between Ray and Robert, where Ray tells him being smothered was just as damaging as being neglected. And Rays right, Robert doesn’t own messed up. But it’s a decent episode especially for season 2.

Grade-B+

February 4, 2017

A Quick Look at the ELR Crossover’s

So I thought it was only appropriate to take a second and talk about the Everybody Loves Raymond crossover’s. CBS actually loved doing this back then, and so Ray appeared on a few shows. Let’s discuss them real quick:


Cosby, “Lucas Raymondicus”


Yeah no pic for this one. Hilton contacts Ray Barone after Ray writes that his father one a championship that Hilton actually won. Ray says Frank has been telling him that his whole life. At first Hilton is willing to along with the lie until Frank hogs to much glory. Peter Boyle obviously also appears, and this episode is a great example of what happens when you take a character and put him on a different show with different writers. All of Frank’s likeability is gone, and he’s just an insufferable ass! I have no copy so am going by memory from the one time I watched this episode, and hated it.



The Nanny, “The Reunion Show”

This was really just a quick cameo, probably to plug ELR, as Fran runs into Ray Barone at her high school reunion. Ray gets out some stand up lines regarding living near his parents and Fran notes how “everybody loved raymond!”. The funny thing is that Drescher and Romano really did go to the same high school together. My favorite part is the end of the bit, Fran notes that his wife (offscreen) looks annoyed that he is talking to them. Yeah sounds like Debra.




February 2, 2017

Analytical Episode Guide:Everybody Loves Raymond (Season 2, Part 4)






Season 2, Episode 16
The Checkbook



Plot Summary-When Ray says he could do the checkbook better than Debra, she gives him the chance.

Nitpick of the episode-OK so it’s been six weeks and Ray is already getting turned off by the power company. Um, what electric company just shuts customers off with no notice? And only after a month? And if they did notify Ray, how did Debra not become aware? Were there no phone calls? Did she avoid all the mail since Ray was doing the bills? And how in the world did Ray pay the bill first thing in the morning? They were open? And Debra didn’t notice the clocks were off or the fridge was defrosting? And did he really think making a fake checkbook was the answer? Even Debra asks why if he had time to make a fake checkbook didn’t he just do it right???  Arrrgh…. I think THIS CLIP sums it up!

Best Line-“Ray, when you’re on the Titanic, you load the lifeboats, you don’t stop to yell at the iceberg.”….Debra

Episode Fun Fact –The other officer in the bank scene is Ray Romano’s real brother

Deleted Scenes- none for the episode

Syndication Edit-top of the teaser, ray complaining about money, also Andy at Nemo’s before ray enters

Best Character-Robert, nice of him to lend ray the money but……..

Worst Character- Robert, not only is his asking Mari to give Ray check the contrived it’s just stupid since Robert isn’t that big of an idiot. He should know ray didn’t need Marie knowing what was going on.

Final Thoughts-This is one of those episodes that makes Ray a little too stupid. I can maybe buy that he had no idea how to balance a checkbook, but if he didn’t why didn’t he seek out help earlier? Some things you don’t fool around with which his friend Andy points out at one point. The scene at the bank is interesting since we don’t hear any dialogue we just see Ray panic to make the deposit before Debra could cash the check. Which is stupid because even then there’s no guarantee the money will be all available. But it’s a different kind of scene for this show and it’s always cool when shows try something different. This episode makes me appreciate computers today, I hated balancing the check book.

Grade-B-