September 29, 2013

SPECIAL Face-Off - Peanuts vs Garfield

I have decided to settle once and for all who were the better characters. Were they the Peanuts gang, or Garfield and co who have been going strong for 35 years! This is a grudge match of epic proportions!

As you may guess I am using the format of my sitcom face-off's, with some tweaks of course. I have confessed my love for Garfield before but promise this will be fair.

Peanuts was created by Charles Shulz in 1950. Garfield was created by Jim Davis and premiered in comics in 1972. Both have been enormous successes with a long lasting and enduring appeal. But which is truly better?


September 26, 2013

Sitcoms Based on Hit Movies

ASH was one of the best comedies every to air on TV. It was well written, had a stellar cast, and the finale set records that still have not been met. The funny thing is that MASH was a  hit movie. Of course, MASH was a Robert Altman film (that I hated, but I digress) and it successfully made the transition to TV series. This can happen once in awhile. Private Benjamin is another example. Alice was a successful adaptation And what do you think of when I say Buffy? However, the sad fact is that the majority of attempts to adapt hit movies into TV shows fail pitifully.

Normally I only discuss shows which had a short lifespan here, but I am going to go against that so I can discuss a few shows which did manage to last for a bit. Here are a few examples of sitcoms based on movies.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

I already did a whole article on this, so rather than repeat myself I will share the link if you're curious what I thought about this awful series.

The Courtship of Eddie's Father

I hated this show, and that's all I have to say about it. Oh, ok. It starred Bill Bixby as a single father and basically the premise was that the kid keeps trying to set his father up with women. Kind of like Sleepless in Seattle I guess. I just could not get into this show, but I respect Bill Bixby and the series did have a healthy run. The movie starred Glen Ford and Ron Howard.

September 23, 2013

Five Funniest Sitcom Moments I ever Watched

Have you ever laughed so hard that you remember laughing, even years later? Humor is subjetive, what makes one laugh may not make another laugh. I have seen lots of sitcoms, and many didn't really make me laugh. I mean really laugh, so hard that you never forget it. However, a few did and here are the top five scenes and/or episodes from classic sitcoms that made me laugh so hard that I still remember it, even thrity years later!

#5. Seinfeld "The Contest"

This episode wasn't funny the first time I saw, the second time I found it extremely funny. Now there's a very personal admission. But this episode set a standard, being able to discuss a touchy subject by never specifically using the specific word they are discussing. I have seen shows do this since and it usually works, but Seinfeld was the first. The other reason the show works is because it's just quintessential Seinfeld. We see Jerry sitting watching TV in one scene. The scene has nothing really to do with the plot, any other show would probably delete it and lose nothing. But its here because Seinfeld captured everyday life so well. However, the best part of the episode is the opening scene which is so funny, and so genuine. Leave it to find Seinfeld to find a way to make talking about a sensitive subject into the funniest thing ever.

September 22, 2013

Random Thoughts-To Boldly Flee:One Year Later

Doing something a little different, I had some thoughts I wanted to share and will be doing this off the cuff so to speak. This article is directed to fans of TGWTG, so if you aren't then you may find this article confusing.

It was a year ago (give or take a week or two) that To Boldly Flee ended and we were all left in shock. No more Nostalgia Critic??????? I knew it was coming but that didn't lessen the impact. I mean, wow! Nostalgia Critic had come into my life at a very low point and become a very important routine. The laughs I got from watching were genuine and real, and I couldn't imagine not having him around.

However, we know now that even Doug Walker himself couldn't imagine having him around and the critic was back six months later. True, the character has changed a bit but it's still funny and I still enjoy it. But it raises the question, how does his return affect the ending to To Bodlly Flee? Is it still as strong now that the critic is back?

Let's talk about the amazing 4th anniversary movie for a second. It was a space story and considering the time and budget, done very well. All the characters, and there were a lot, got their big moment and the story makes sense. Yeah it could have used a little trimming here and there. They should have dropped the Prick character entriely and they never did resolve the SUCKA story line. All the acting was decent and yes the references got annoying but overall they were used in a context that made sense. For instance Lupa didn't just rip off the line from Alien for no reason, it made perfect sense in the context of the scene. But the plot hole stuff was done well and had a satisfying payoff.  The final space battle was awesome, including Linkara's appearance in Comicron One which I loved!

September 20, 2013

Look at Sitcom Cliches:Locked In

In the past my articles on sitcom cliches have included tropes that often find their way into other kinds of TV. For instance its safe to say soap operas have cornered the market on amnesia. And doppelgangers are used a LOT in drama.

But this one is sort of specifically a sitcom one, and I am amazed Ihaven't discuseed it before. We are today talking about the cliche of having two characters locked away for an episode, and this has happened MANY TIMES!

The trope has two basic rules. The two characters are usually two who are at odds, and being locked away gives these two a chance to mend fences and have some actual development. The second rules is that whatever development happens has to be canceled out in the end and the status quoe re-established. Sometimes these episodes are played for laughs, and other times can be more serious as the character or characters find themselves in real peril.

The Dick Van Dyke Show

Leave it to Carl Reiner to do things against type. In one episode Laura gets her toe stuck in a bathtub. The funny part of the episode is that Laura is off screen, which makes her siuation funnier since we have to imagine it.

September 16, 2013

Special TV:John Denver and The Muppets-Rocky Mountain Holiday (1983)

Last week I did an article on Muppet productions which sucked. When it was done I realized I had missed something which could have easily been a seventh slot. So since I can't go back and re do that list, I will just talk about this show here. I give you:

John Denver had a long association with The Muppets. He was on The Muppet Show, did a Christmas special and album with them, and then there was this show. I watched it as a kid....and hated it. Simply, it was boring. For years in fact I mixed this up with the Christmas show, thinking they were one and the same. I always wondered why the Christmas special had a campfire scene. It was my friend Les who straightend me out a few years ago.

It is on YouTube so I decided to give it another look, now thirty years later. So is this special really as bad as I remember, or was I just looking at it through very young eyes? Let's take a look.


September 14, 2013

Top 5 Least Favorite Episodes of AT4W

I love AT4W. After The Nostalgia Critic, Linkara is my favorite internet personality. I look forward to every new episode and watch his old stuff all the time. Just about a year ago I revealed my favorite episodes. So today I wanted to talk about the other side of the coin, five episodes I just do not like.

#5.The Live Shows

This is kind of a cheat, but I am not a huge fan of the live shows he posts. It isn't the same show and the annoying audience members make it worst. It is probably lots of fun to see the show live, but watching it later fails for me. Now of course he has done a few by now and I liked some more than others. The one thing I do like is the Q&A he does after the show, that is worth tuning in for.

#4.Freak Force #1

Linkara had a story line where he disapeared, and was missing for a month. In the meantime he had others host his show. And these three episodes sucked. It pains me to admit it, but the first one Liz hosted was only ok. I know it's not her fault, it wasn't the worst and I love Iron Liz. But the episode was only ok. The one with Harvey Finevoice was only so-so. The worst was this one, with 90's kid. I love 90's Kid as much as anyone, but no way he can carry a whole review. In fact the end feels lile it gave up. Nice try but these episodes, especially this one, are total fails.

September 11, 2013

Top 6 Muppet Productions Best Forgotten

It's time to play the music
It's time to light the lights
t's time about The Muppets again!

I have talked about how I loved The Muppets. From the fantastic TV show to the great movies. But fair is fair, and not everything the Muppets have touched has been gold. Today I wanted to talk about six Muppets productions which were not so great.In fact, they are best forgotten!

From "it could have been better" to "that just plain sucked", here are 6 Muppet Productions that just did not work IMHO.

#6.Muppets Tonight

Was this the worst thing ever? Heck no. Was it really good? Heck no. This was an attempt to revive The Muppet Show but in a sleeker format...minus the charm that made The Muppet Show so awesome. it had lots of issues. Like, why were the main Muppets barely in it? Kermit made cameos, Fozzie is a total no show. How about the fact Kermit is not the host, instead we got Clifford who was alright but never really clicked for me. It did stick to The Muppet Show formula in many ways, but something always felt missing. Each episode of the Muppet Show had a structure which was absent in this. And the sketches were awful random, sometimes not even coming to a conclusion before we cut away! While it's true it introduced some new characters who have stuck (including Pepe), I've noticed that this whole show has kind of faded from "Muppet canon" if there is such a thing, and maybe that is for the best. It was a good idea but needed some real work. I will give it one thing, the opening theme was really cool!

September 9, 2013

Top 5 Notoriously Horrible Product Ideas

Movies bomb and TV shows wont even make it 13 weeks. But failures are not restricted to movies and TV. Sometimes a brilliant idea for a new product just doesn't work. Usually the failure just kind of comes and goes, but once in a while the failure is big news. So much money and hype went into the product that the fact that it bombs makes the company end up looking foolish. Here are five of my favorite examples of horrible marketing ideas.

#5.The Ford Edsel

I have no use for cars. I mean, they're great for transpotation but that's as far as it goes for me. I don't care about models, styles, etc. But even I know what it means when someone refers to something as an "Edsel". Ford came out with these back in 1957, and they were expecting great things from these cars. Instead they were just terrible and nobody bought them. They were expensive with a very unappealing design, and they were not built very well. Funny, while Edsel became a term to describe a disaster, the Deloeron which also failed became a cool car thanks to a little movie it was featured in.

September 4, 2013

SNL Recurring Characters/Sketches--The Honorable Mentions & Characters I Hated!

The other day I posted my top 12 favorite Saturday Night Live recurring characters and sketches. But in my work to get the list ready I ended up having to remove or leave off several other great recurring sketches that deserve to be mentioned. So here are the honorable mentions, the sketches I love which did not make my original list.

These are in no particular order.

Hardball with Chris Matthews

For some reason Daryl Hammond was another amazing talen which did not make it on my list. He was on the show for a long time and did some amazing impressions, including Al Gore and an eerie Bill Clinton. But my favorite has to be the parody of Hardball, and his take on Chris Matthews was simply laugh out loud funny!

Celebrity Jeapordy

Man this came close to being on the main list. This was consistently funny, every single time it came on. The idea isn't original, we know how dumb celebrities look when they play Jeopardy, but for some reason the writing on these sketches was always top notch as was the celebrity impressions. Alex Trebek was always Will Ferrell, and speaking of Daryl Hammond his Sean Connery became a regular. Always teasing Trebek. These were always, always funny and for SNL that's an accomplishment.

September 3, 2013

Top 12 SNL Recurring Characters/Sketches

I Love Saturday Night Live! Well, I did anyway. When I was younger. Before it got stupid. After I hated the show. For no good reason.

Ahem, maybe I should start at the beginning. My parents were strict and never allowed me or my brother to stay up for SNL. When I did get older I had built up this misconception in my head, that the show was dirty and filthy and just raunchy. Ok, that can be the case but the truth is that when this show is funny, it's funny as hell! It does great parodies of news and entertainment and features fantstic and memorable recurring characters. I just wish I hadn't waited so long to find that out, I missed out on some great stuff.

I grew to adore this show especially the period in the late 80's thru the Will Ferrel era. Am I the only one who liked G.E. Smith and the Saturday Night Live band? So today I wanted to discuss my ten favorite recurring characters or sketches. I am going to try to be fair and not keep it in one era of the show, but it's hard not to favor that period where I really loved SNL. I triedto pick characters who remain popular even if they are no longer on the show.

Man was this a hard list. Not only did I want to make sure it covered all SNL history, but was fair male/female and I did not have the same performer to many times So rules :. No parodies, it had to an original character. I tried to make it only one character per performer, unless a duo with someone else.

#12.Toonces the Cat

How? How can a dumb idea like this be so funny over and over and over? It is really amazing, it even earned a prime time special! It was the same gimmick, someone thinks the cat can drive and he does...for a little while before careening off a cliff! This was done several times and it was always fun to see Toonces again. The best was probably the Terminator spoof, where Toonces became a Terminator chasing after John and Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton was hosting). It was a silly sketch that made no sense, and yet it was always funny. 

September 2, 2013

Look at Sitcom Cliches:FIRE!!!

Having your home or business catch fire is quite possibly one of the biggest tragedies anyone can face. To have everything you cherish lost in an instant, is something I couldn't handle. In fact a fire has always something I always feared. Of course there is also the sad possibility of loss of life. I don't know how firefighters do what they do everyday.

For many years now sitcoms have captured this dramatic life event, sometimes for drama and sometimes more for laughs. It makes sense a fire is one of those things that make you realize what is really important, and brings out emotions that you don't see in most events. But it seems many shows have done an episode where something burns down or nearly burns down. These episodes are usually dramatic with good acting, and yes can be played for laughs as we will see.

All in the Family

A fire in the bathroom drives the family out of the house in the middle of the night. The rest of the episode is about Archie and his hopes for a big insurance check.

The Facts of Life

One season premiere began with the girls returning from vacation only to find Edna's Edibles had burned down. To be fair, this episode does not compete with the others I list here but it still hit the right notes. It was just a set-up to revise the location into the retro store it would become later on.