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What I Learned This Week – 2/8/15

This week I learned about the 80’s TV series The Facts of Life.

The Facts of Life aired on NBC from 1979-1988

The Facts of Life aired on NBC from 1979-1988

Entertainment Weekly, which seems to be trying to gain more readers by being the go-to pop culture binge one-stop, put an in-depth article about The Facts of Life on their website. You can check it out here: http://www.ew.com/microsites/longform/facts/

Actually, a lot of it I already knew, but just forgot. Tidbits, like that Nancy McKeon (she was always my favorite) was up for the role of Monica on Friends (Courtney Cox is the best Monica). Or that Mindy Cohn was not even an actor–she was just a regular girl at a private school giving show creators a tour of her school (she proved to be a very important quarter of the show). Or that Geri Jewell was the first actress with cerebral palsy with a recurring role on a TV series. Or that they tried to make a spin-off at the very end about students at Eastland again, featuring young Juliette Lewis, Mayim Bialik, and Seth Green. But, it wouldn’t have lasted, even if they did pick it up. Because it looked like a lot like the first season of The Facts of Life. Mostly taking place in the common room of a dormitory, which had proved unsuccessful previously. The show was its most successful and engaging when it centered on only Mrs. Garrett, the four girls, and the cafeteria.

The article mentions all the “special episodes” that occurred over the years, including racism, “abortion, adoption, drug abuse, alcoholism, rape, and suicide at various points”. But they forget to mention the episode where Tootie talks to the young prostitute in a New York City, and almost gets recruited herself. The prostitute was played by a very young Tammy Lauren, later known for playing Ginger Szabo on ABC’s post-WWII masterpiece “Homefront”.

In the 1980’s, The Facts of Life made me want to create a male version of the show.  I wanted to have Dick Clark as the head master, then all the trouble-making school boys would be played by all the young, male actors that I had crushes on at the time.  It would have been a hit with tween girl audiences.

If you want to reminisce about all things Facts of Life, including Andy, Pippa, George, and Beverly, check out the link above.

The paint fight is always my favorite.

My first book, The Wind Could Blow a Bug is NOW AVAILABLE!

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Grand

A few weeks ago, I talked about the TV show “Phenom”, and said that I would have more Sara Rue for you. And, here it is…

Years ago on NBC, there was a little TV show called Grand. The details of the show are very foggy to me now. But I always make a point to think of the title every now and then so that I don’t forget it. I search Amazon.com for DVD of it. I search WarnerArchive.com for it. I search Nexflix to stream it.

Hmmm.  When was this available on DVD?  Not now... Photo: Wikipedia.com

Hmmm. When was this available on DVD? Not now…
Photo: Wikipedia.com

No luck. And that is no big surprise. It is not a show that anyone would still want to view. Except for me.

It didn’t have any super famous stars. It didn’t create any breakout stars during its barely two season run. Although there were many fine character actors. It was offbeat at a time before people were into that. It would probably be a huge hit now, in a time of 30 Rock and New Girl quirkiness.

Grand was the name of the town in which the show took place. What I remember about the show most is that it was soap opera like. I mean, there was a lot of comedy and it took place in situations, so I guess it was mostly a sitcom. But it was a sitcom wanting to be a soap opera, in the same way that the classic TV comedy “Soap” was. There was a rich family and a poor family. The poor family featured a mother and a daughter, played by Pamela Reed and Sara Rue, who lived in a trailer. Being a daughter who lived with her mother in a trailer at the time, I deeply identified with them. They were my favorite characters. I believe Pamela Reed worked as a maid for the rich family. I also believe that they had the most realistic set of a trailer I had ever seen depicted on TV. It conveyed how cramped it was to live in one, always on top of each other.

There was also a cute policeman played by Andrew Lauer. He was on every show at that time (Going to Extremes, Caroline in the City). Sara Rue’s character was in love with him. (I was too.)

Everyone on the show seemed to be an oddball. Pamela Reed’s character often seemed like the only semi-normal one. Maybe that is why I liked her the best and remember her the most.

I wanted to write about this show:

1. So that I don’t have to hold this information in my head any longer.

2. Maybe this post will help others remember this show.

3. Maybe someone will see my post and actually release this on DVD, so that I can watch it again.

4. Maybe Sara Rue will send me a “What’s up, girl?” on Twitter. (I don’t know her. But she seems like she has a “What’s up, girl?” personality, doesn’t she? I always watched her on Less Than Perfect, with Andy Dick and Sherri Shepherd.

The cast of Less Than Perfect, Sara Rue - center

The cast of Less Than Perfect, Sara Rue – center

5. My blog gets many hits from people searching for the show Homefront daily. I am lucky to remember a high level of facts about it. I feel people are search on the Internet for random scraps of knowledge to find out what that show was that they loved about life in America, just after WWII. They are grasping on to tiny little facts about Homefront, as I am about Grand.

So, in order to be a more useful search engine result, I am going to supplement my limited memories from above with this info from Imdb.com

GRAND (1990)
NBC

ACTOR … CHARACTER
Pamela Reed … Janice Pasetti
Bonnie Hunt … Carol Anne Smithson
John Neville … Desmond
Joel Murray … Norris Weldon
Sara Rue … Edda Pasetti
John Randolph … Harris Weldon
Mark Moses … Richard Peyton
Jackey Vinson … Dylan
Michael McKean … Tom Smithson
Andrew Lauer … Off. Wayne Kasmurski

This is about the total amount of footage from the show that I could scrap up on YouTube for you enjoyment:

Interested in my Top Ten Favorite TV Shows of all time? Please click on the tab at the top of the page!

Watch Super Fun Night Tonight!

The season finale of Super Fun Night is on tonight on ABC at 9:30Pm/EST.

(I promise, this will be a short post.)

I didn’t fall in love with this sitcom right away. I had never seen Rebel Wilson in anything. I have to admit, it bothered me that her character of Kimmie Boubier breaks into song unexpectedly. And she talks in a breathy voice all the time. Apparently, this is her version of an American accent, because she is actually Australian.

The Cast of Super Fun Night

The Cast of Super Fun Night

But I kept watching because I liked her relationship with her roommates, Marika (Lauren Ash) and Helen-Alice (Liza Lapira). They are all quirky and dorky. They are not classy or refined. Marika is set-up as a butch type. Helen-Alice comes across as nerdy and shy, but is very outspoken with her friends. I relate a lot to Helen-Alice.

I think the title was supposed to come from them deciding to go out and try new things together, in the process, possibly meet men as well. But this ritual seems to fall by the wayside pretty quickly.

I was also bothered that Kimmie was supposed to be a lawyer. I saw it as too unbelievable. But, apparently, the show was created that way because Rebel Wilson herself has a degree in law. Still unbelievable.

There is also a character named Kendall, who is played by Kate Jenkinson. She adds a dose of b*tch to the show. She would be the villain to Rebel’s Kimmie. She provides balance to all the odd jokes I don’t quite get and the spontaneous singing. Except Kendall’s walls are slowly coming down to reveal that she is not all bad. On several occasions, she ends up hanging out with Marika and Helen-Alice. Kendall acts like it is a horrible experience for her. But it keeps happening.

Maybe I am more of a Kendall…

Why do I want you to watch?

1. I love Richard Royce.

Kimmie and Richard on Super Fun Night

Kimmie and Richard on Super Fun Night

He is played by British actor Kevin Bishop. I didn’t know him before this show, but apparently he was the boy in Muppet Treasure Island.

I totally ship Richard and Kimmie. Richard is goofy and nutty in the same way that Kimmie is. And he is cute and looks good with his shirt off. He is the funny, nice, cute guy we all hope really exists in the world and not just in sitcom scripts.

Kimmie has a boyfriend who is nice enough, but she should be with Richard.

THIS happened last week (Click to watch):

Click to watch!

Click to watch!

2. People need to watch the season finale so that it will get renewed, so that this doesn’t end up being the series finale.

At my press time, this show still has not been announced for a second season. And I feel as though its chances are very low of being saved.

A few weeks ago, Bob Saget guest starred as a client. This week’s guest star will be Charles Shaughnessy (The Nanny). As he is British, I am betting he will come in and play Richard’s father, who owns the law firm Richard, Kimmie, and Kendall work for. Since I watch the show for Richard, this should give him a bigger part tonight. It will be fun to see how Richard and his father interact with each other. Oh, and what if his father doesn’t like Kimmie, thinks she is too unprofessional, and wants to can her. Then Richard would have to step in and fight for her honor. *Swoon*

The series is executive produced by none other than Conan O’Brien. Episodes have been directed by Ken Marino (MTV’s The State, Reaper) and Fred Savage (you should know him!), and Michael Showalter (MTV’s The State) is also a writer. There are some good people behind the scenes here.

So, I beg you, watch the season finale. If you don’t like it, you won’t ever have to watch it again. And, if you DO like it, well, you can watch the rest of the episodes when it hits Nexflix or Hulu and be sad that there will never be any more episodes.

And I’m sorry, but this did not turn out to be a short post. I also told myself I would post it by 11:00AM EST. That didn’t happen either.

Bosom Buddies

Bosom Buddies is more awesome than I remember.

I went shopping last weekend with my asbestos friend.  We went to Target.  While looking at the DVDs, in a chance encounter she read off the title of Bosom Buddies.  I was like “What!  I have never seen that one in a store!  I must own it!”

If you don’t remember (But, how could you not!), Bosom Buddies was a sitcom starring Tom Hanks (as Kip) and Peter Scolari (as Henry) that debuted in 1980, and ran for two seasons. It was about two young guys who worked at an ad agency. They find a cheap place to live, but it is a women’s only hotel. So, they do the logical thing. They dress up like women to live there.

Photo: IMDb.com Bosom Buddies

Photo: IMDb.com
Bosom Buddies

I started watching my season one dvd box set right when I got home.  I was instantly disappointed for two reasons.

1. They changed the theme song.  Originally, it was Billy Joel’s “My Life”.

And it does say on the box “Some music has been changed for this home entertainment version.”  And if I had seen that before purchase, I would have instantly known that, of course, Billy Joel doesn’t want them using one of his songs if he can’t make mucho money off of it.  I am surprised that Billy Joel allowed them to use it as the theme song on televison in 1980.  And I am sure he never dreamed they would be asking permission to use it on a DVD 34 years later.

Who in their right mind would still want to watch a show about cross-dressing guys in the 80’s 34 years later?  (Not me.  I want to watch it, but I am not in my right mind ;P )

But it made me sad.  The theme is such an ESSENTIAL PART of the show!  I may not have bought it if I had seen the warning first.  And the song they replaced it with is heinous.

So, how did I cope?  I muted the TV for the first 90 seconds of every episode and sang the Billy Joel song myself.  (If he had heard this, Billy Joel might have taken pity and let them use the song…)

2.  The first couple episodes dragged.

Or maybe it just took that long for me to get back into it again. The first episode sets up that they are moving into the hotel and dressing like women, “Buffy & Hildy”. The second episode introduces them to the women who live in the building as Buffy & Hildy’s brothers.

But by episode 3, the hot neighbor across the hall that Kip has a crush on comes to stay in their apartment, and wacky high-jinks ensue.

I watched all 19 episodes of season one within about 36 hours.  I love binge watching.

I watched Bosom Buddies at the time it originally aired, and a little bit when it was in syndication. This was still probably 30 years ago. I forgot how utterly annoying Tom Hanks was when he first started out. So goofy and lanky and loud. He seems to have figured out how to harness that over the years to make boring, Oscar-winning roles. I still believe he has all that energy and goofiness trapped inside him somewhere. Maybe he only lets it out when he voices toy cowboys.

Photo: IMDb.com Peter Scolari, 1980

Photo: IMDb.com
Peter Scolari, 1980

I forgot how CUTE Peter Scolari was. He was always my favorite. As Henry, he was the one with all the heart, while Kip was a jerk a lot of the time. And I have liked Peter in everything he has done through the years. Except maybe Newhart, because that was a really dull show to watch, especially in my teens. I liked Dweebs, another short-lived show that you might remember for Corey Feldman being a part of the cast.

Bosom Buddies also starred the great Wendie Jo Sperber (Back To The Future, Babes), the super Telma Hopkins (Gimme A Break, Family Matters) and the wonderful Holland Taylor (The Practice, 2 And A Half Men). This show had a great, talented cast with great comedy and timing chops. It is too bad that the writers seem to only be able to give Telma stereotypical black girl punch lines to spout. Her part on Gimme A Break several years later with Nell Carter would be much more well-rounded. Holland comes off as the old chick on that show, playing their boss. But when my husband and I thought about, she was probably only in her late 30’s at that time–and I am that age now!

In one episode, they are at a club that has a comedian. It is Bob Saget. Bosom Buddies was produced by Miller-Milkis-Boyett Productions. Seven years later, Full House would premiere starring Saget, produced by Miller/Boyett Productions. Could it be that is how he got on the radar to play Danny Tanner? While Danny Tanner was a giant dork, no one else could have played him as lovingly as Bob Saget.

The clothes are not yet over-the-top 80’s fashions, but you can tell they are approaching. Fast.  I liked how they would have to come up with more and more inventive places to change their clothes on the way to work or back home again. It is bothersome that as I got further into my season one episodes, they seemed to show them dressed up as women less and less often. I wonder if that was a change that the network may have asked for. It is missed, especially since that is the whole premise of the show! Kip and Henry hang out with these girls from the building more and more as just Kip and Henry. Now, wouldn’t it be weird if you suddenly started hanging out with the “brothers” of the women who lived across the hall from you, but they themselves were never around? Some episodes make up excuses for it, like that Buffy and Hildy are sick in bed. But usually, it is just not brought up at all.

I noticed there are two rainbows that hung on the wall in the office behind them at their work. Could that have been some sort of support for the gay community? Or just leftover groovy 70’s style?

Apparently, in the second season they leave the ad agency and buy a commercial production house. I don’t really remember that. And that makes me torn as to whether I should purchase season two or not.

But it is a great TV show.  Be sure to play the theme song video above.  If you already did, please play it again.  Then, the next time you hear “My Life” playing in the grocery store, you will think of Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari in drag.  And that brings a smile to everyone’s face… 🙂

What I Learned This Week – 2/16/14

This week I learned what “THAT” is, as in when Meatloaf sang “I will do anything for love, but I won’t do that.”

With Valentine’s Day this week, you may have seen this underwear on the Internet, especially as a Facebook joke meme:

Front: I would do anything for love Back: Butt I won't do that

Front: I would do anything for love
Back: Butt I won’t do that

The lyrics being a little unclear, I believe a large amount of the American population wonders if that is what the song actually means.  But, Meatloaf clears it up in the clip below (click on the picture):

Yahoo Daily Shot

Yahoo Daily Shot

He says the line of each verse is what he will NEVER DO,  and then “I’ll do anything for love, but I won’t do that” relates back up to it.  Apparently the songwriter told him no one would understand it, but he was like “How could people not?”  Below are the ones he lists in the clip:

“I’ll never stop dreaming of you every night of my life….I’ll do anything for love, but I won’t do that”

“I’ll never forget the way you feel right now….I’ll do anything for love, but I won’t do that”

Hmmm.  I just read the lyrics online, and I am still confused by this song, even with his explanation.

The cast of Phenom (1993-94) Angela Goethals, Judith Light, Todd Louiso & Ashley Johnson

The cast of Phenom (1993-94)
Angela Goethals, Judith Light, Todd Louiso & Ashley Johnson

This week I was also presently surprised to find Todd Louiso pop up in my Entertainment Weekly, with his reaction to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death.

Go ahead.  Ask.

Who the hell is Todd Louiso?

Well, after a quick check of IMDb.com, he has apparently been steadily working for years and I just didn’t know it.

I know and love him from a short-lived sitcom from 1993 called Phenom.  He played the older, neurotic brother of a tennis phenomenon.

I looked it up and sure enough, someone put a whole bunch of episodes TV-to-VHS-to-YouTube.  And I see why I watched this show in the first place.  It would have been Judith Light’s first show after Who’s The Boss? and Ashley Johnson’s first show following Growing Pains.  (I LOVED Who’s the Boss and especially Growing Pains .)

This comment from IMDb.com describes why I watched the show as well as I ever could:

The premise for the t.v. show “Phenom” was actually pretty original but the show was not particularly amazing. It was just ok. What I found myself tuning in to see was the older brother character played by Todd Louiso. He was neurotic and funny, not to mention much less gifted than the main character (played by Angela Goethals). He was a very original character for a sitcom…

You can watch the pilot on YouTube here:

Apparently, Todd has recently been on Suburgatory recently as “Bob”.  I watch Suburgatory religiously every week and I have no idea who that character is 😦

I appologize for the Phenom theme song.  It is, well, bad.  It makes me want to tune out before the show even starts!

If you want to hear about an even OLDER TV sitcom with a much BETTER theme song, stop back buy on Tuesday for my next post.

Sara Rue was on Phenom as well.  I love her.  Stay tuned to I’m Not Stalking You, and in a few weeks I will talk about another old show that featured Miss Rue.

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