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Oh Look! There is Paco!

To understand this post, you will have to realize that my mom and I LOVE entertainment trivia. We love to find an actor or actress in a television show or movie that we already know from another project. It is even more fun when it is an old show you are watching and you find someone who has since become famous. (This is the 50% of my mother that I love. See People of Interest if you don’t get this percentage reference.)

This all started before there was an Internet, before there was an IMDB.com. While IMDB is handy, it sort of takes the fun out of having to memorize all these actors and roles. My mom doesn’t have a computer and I am usually too lazy to turn mine on just to verify a past role, so we usually do things the old fashioned way–with our brains.

In this way, my mom and I have a code for certain actors. No one else would know who we mean.

This drives my husband nuts.

I will include the most often used nicknames below:

BIG BROTHER

Eric Allan Kramer
Photo: comicbookmovie.com/fansites/CookiepussProduction/

There used to be a short-lived sitcom on television called “Down Home”, which starred Judith Ivey, Dakin Matthews, and Gedde Watanabe. On the show, there was a big burly blond guy who played Judith Ivey’s brother. I don’t even know if he WAS her BIG brother. But this role was played by Eric Allan Kramer. Ever since, we just refer to him as “The Big Brother”. He also was in “Robin Hood: Men in Tights”, and often plays a bodyguard (such as on the most excellent “Growing Pains”). He was also on another of my favorites, “The O.C.” (as Ryan & Luke’s soccer coach). Kramer is great in whatever he does. Currently he stars on Disney Channel’s “Good Luck Charlie”.

CLAIRE DANES

Laura Prepon
Photo: Wikipedia.org

My mom started this nickname. One time she was like “You know, that big redhead from ‘That 70’s Show’. Claire Danes!” Although I quickly assured her that that role was not in fact played by Claire Danes, the nickname has stuck. So, anytime my mom or I see actress Laura Prepon in something, we say “Hey, it’s Claire Danes.”

HONEY & FRISKY

Photo: Lucywho.com

Photo: Lucywho.com

Photo: tvlistings.zap2it.com

Photo: tvlistings.zap2it.com

This one is my fault. I frickin’ loved the 1990’s television show “Homefront”. One time I was trying to tell my mom about a storyline with the black servant couple on the series. I couldn’t remember their names, so I just called them “Honey & Frisky”. The name has stuck. The actual names were Gloria (played by Hattie Winston) and Abe Davis (played by Dick Anthony Williams). They are both very excellent actors. Honey went on to be a series regular on “Becker” with Ted Danson. IMDB.com just gave me the terrible news that Frisky died last February:( See what I mean? IMDB.com can be a blessing and curse.

CHARLIE’S STALKER

Melanie Lynskey  Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris – © WireImage.com

Melanie Lynskey
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris – WireImage.com

My mom used to watch “Two and a Half Men” pretty regularly, although I am guessing grandmothers in their 60s are not their target demographic. She seemed to be fond of Jake (Angus T. Jones), until he recently got all crazy Kirk Cameron religious. My mom ain’t down with that shit. But because my mom watched that show, now actress Melanie Lynskey will forever be known to us as “Charlie’s Stalker”. Which I must say is a lot shorter than saying “There is the chick who had her baby in a bar”, referencing one of my favorite movies, “Sweet Home Alabama”. Lynskey was also in “Coyote Ugly”, another of my favorites. She was very good as a disturbed teenager in Peter Jackson’s “Heavenly Creatures”, her first role. She is probably the best in the role we will forever identify her with, Rose, Charlie’s Stalker.

PACO

Carlos Lacamara Photo: IMDb.com

Carlos Lacamara
Photo: IMDb.com

What of the Paco in the title, you ask? Once upon a time on NBC there was a little show called “Nurses”. It was a little, unassuming show that could be easily forgettable. Actor Carlos Lacamara played Paco on the show. Paco was always in romantic pursuit of one of the nurses (I don’t remember her name or face. Go figure.). Paco has worked A LOT in television and movies. My mom & I will always be “Hey, that’s Paco!” I always add “Paco! I love Paco!” Sidenote: Paco also played a character named Paco in the memorable episode of “Night Court” with all the pregnant chicks. Sometimes I have a little crush on Paco. He was also in episodes of some of my favorite shows, such as “Misfits of Science” (subject of a future post), “Growing Pains”, and “Friends”. Also was in the movies “License to Drive” and “Independence Day”.

I am sure there are way more of these type of nicknames, but I can’t remember anymore right now. These are the big ones. If I come up with a long enough list of actors I forgot, then I will make another post.

1/13/13
MOM: Am watching independence [day]. Think I saw paco. 12:05PM
MOM: Is Paco Carlos LaCamara? 2:32PM
ME: Yes. 2:33PM
MOM: Then he is in Indep Day. 2:34PM

HOMEFRONT: The Greatest TV Show Ever


Homefront is the greatest show ever. It had quality writing and acting. It won a 1992 People’s Choice Award for Favorite New Dramatic Series and a 1993 Writers Guild of America Award for Original Long Form. Do you recognize the names Kyle Chandler and John Slattery? Chandler won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2011 for Friday Night Lights. Slattery has been nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for Mad Men for four years straight. If you ever watched Homefront, you would know that these talented men deserved those awards back in 1992.

Homefront was a drama that ran on ABC from 1991-1993. It centered on the lives of the rich Sloan family, the working class Metcalf family, and the black Davis family in fictional River Run, Ohio in 1945. The pilot episode featured family members returning home after WWII, some in better condition than others. The show was about WWII, unionization, civil rights, baseball, women’s rights, polio, religion, the holocaust, life, death, and relationships. I was only fifteen when I stumbled across the pilot episode, but I knew this was great television. (And that Kyle Chandler was freaking hot!) No one else I knew watched this show. Which is a shame, and probably why the series had an untimely demise.

Homefront’s beauty was in how the acting, writing, and authentic hairstyles/sets/costumes/cars all melted together to make you feel like you were using a time machine to peak into someone’s window. I liked it when they would have each of the families having the same argument at the same time, all intercut together. It showed we all have beauty and prejudices in us. And that we are all not as different inside as our skin or wallets might show us to be.

Jeff (Kyle Chandler) and Ginger (Tammy Lauren) were my favorite characters on the series. I loved watching them bicker. They got together out of loneliness at Jeff’s brother’s wedding, both having to see the people they loved with someone else. They dated, became engaged, broke up, and got back together during the two seasons of the series. The series finale featured their wedding.

I think part of why Homefront went off the air was because ABC didn’t market it correctly. I am sure some people were scared off by the fact it took place in the 1940’s. ABC needed to push the fact that it was a soap opera with themes that transcended what decade they were taking place in. And they should have played up all the attractive men and women in the cast. ABC did do one thing right. They told the creators that the show would be cancelled enough in advance that they could create a satisfying ending.

This is a postcard postmarked March 2, 1993 that I received from ABC in response to a letter I had sent. The series finale aired April 26, 1993.


If Homefront came on today, I think it could have had three or four seasons at least. Homefront had a small but rabid fan base. The kind of fan base today that can create a big stink and following on the Internet. But in 1993, most people either hadn’t heard of the Internet or didn’t know how to use it. I wouldn’t use it for another year. The sad truth is that Homefront has never been available on VHS/DVD/streaming. I have written many a letter over the years trying to rectify this injustice to no avail (availability, that is). To get a taste of Homefront yourself, you will have to hunt down various clips on YouTube.

Think of the success Mad Men is having now. Others have tried to duplicate it’s vibe of a time in the past, such as Pan-Am and Playboy Club. They both failed. Homefront was the original.

It was a show before it’s time.

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