Monday, September 20, 2010

WE INTERRUPT THIS REGULARLY SCHEDULED BLOG TO BRING YOU THIS IMPORTANT TELEVISION PROGRAM

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We here (me, myself and I, and the 666 voices in my head) at STUFFS made the decision to participate in Alex Cavanaugh’s ‘Top Ten TV Shows’ Blogfest. Come on in, it’s festival style seating, too, so just plant it wherever ya want.
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The observant readers will notice that every show on my list is a comedy. (Well, actually, now that I’ve mentioned it, some of the nonobservant readers might notice it too.) No dramas (and damn sure no reality shows!) made the grade. In my opinion, probably no television dramas have ever been produced that are worth watching regularly for an extended period of time . . . except for ‘Columbo’ and ‘The Twilight Zone’.
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If you’ve got the buttermilk and the popcorn, we’ve got the television shows. So, sit back and relax – put your shoes back on and take your feet off the coffee table; don’t relax THAT much! – and enjoy the shows.
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What follows is my all-time top 3 favorite TV programs, in order of rank, and after that, the next 7 in only alphabetical order.
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TOP 3 FAVORITE TV PROGRAMS:
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THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW – 1960-1965
The Andy Griffith Show (TAGS) was always on the tube at our house when I was growing up because it was also my Pa’s favorite show, so I was virtually raised on it. The down-home atmosphere, the clean humor, the wholesome messages delivered to an older generation that still possessed a moral compass makes TAGS unequivocally my all-time favorite TV program. If told I could only watch one show for the remainder of my life, TAGS would be it!
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Although the show ran up until April of 1968, sadly, it deteriorated badly after Don Knotts left. Don, as Barney Fife, was the most indispensable character (even though barber Floyd Lawson was my favorite). This rule of thumb will keep you from wasting your time: If the episode is in color, you should probably skip it. Knotts left after the 5th season, and the show upgraded to color from black & white beginning with the 6th season, so with the exception of a few guest appearances, color means “no Barney”.
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My favorite episode is “The Case Of The Punch In The Nose”, when Barney being Barney inadvertently brings the whole town to blows. But the episodes about Aunt Bee’s “kerosene cucumbers”, Floyd’s… uhm… exaggerations to a “lonely widow” in a Lonely Hearts Pen Pal Club, and Barney’s first car are also way high on my list. And as if all that weren’t enough, the show’s theme song – although an instrumental – had a good beat and you could whistle to it.
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I have a litmus test to determine whether or not there is any chance I might develop a good friendship with another person. If that other person dislikes The Andy Griffith Show and the music of Roger Miller, there’s no chance.
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I’d like to give a shout out to Mrs. Wiley.
How do you do, Mrs. Wiley?
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FRASIER – 1993-2004
Although TAGS is #1 on my list, I have to admit that Frasier is actually the FUNNIEST show ever produced. A combination of great characters; extremely smart and witty writing; and almost magical casting of even minor characters blended together to make one deliciously humorous drink… er, show, I mean. This is one sitcom that actually makes demands on the viewer. If you don’t have at least a reasonably good grasp of history, culture and literature, a good many jokes will fly right over your head.
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I could go on and on about Frasier, and in fact, that’s what I did in November of 2008 when I posted an entire blog bit about the show here at STUFFS. Rather than repeat myself, I’ll just post a link to it at the bottom of this installment. You should read it because it includes lots of dialogue from the show, so it’s pert dern funny!
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ALL IN THE FAMILY – 1971-1979
One of the things that tickles me about All In The Family is that the leftist producer of the show, Norman Lear, meant for the lead character, Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor), to be the buffoon that every American laughed at and poked fun at. But in an American society being quickly changed by young radicals, Archie, with all of his many foibles, still represented something down-to-earth and “blue collar working man” that many Americans could relate to. Sure, we laughed at him, but we liked him too, and much of America (the nonradical America, anyway) definitely empathized with Archie.
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Originally, “Meathead”, Archie’s son-in-law, was supposed to be the protagonist, he was supposed to represent the voice of knowledge and reason and hip awareness. But as the show went on and it became increasingly apparent that We The People loved Archie best and felt that he was right at least as often as he was wrong, more and more the producer and the writers began to distribute some of the buffoonery and wrongheadedness to Meathead. Like what happened years later with the show The Simpsons, the program’s creator had one idea about who the protagonist was, but the viewers had a different idea and the creators were forced to adapt.
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I know it must have stung leftist Lear when we embraced Archie more than we despised him, and the faux “Archie Bunker For President” campaigns must have irritated him no end. Of course, the fact that Lear had a huge moneymaking hit on his hands was probably a balm to his wounds. Never mind what they say, frankly, I suspect that every socialist secretly wants to make as much money as he or she can. Politics usually ends where the dollar begins.
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I felt that after some years, Carroll O’Connor began to portray Archie as more of a caricature than a real, breathing, feeling person. You could see all of the familiar mannerisms coming from a mile away. But for awhile, O’Connor gave television the best acting it has ever known. Someday I must acquire the early seasons of All In The Family on DVD. One episode that still stands out in my mind is the one where Archie and Meathead are accidentally locked in the basement together and find a bottle of liquor. That was some freakin’ A-List acting!
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“Oh, the way Glenn Miller played, songs that made the Hit Parade; guys like us, we had it made. Those were the days! And you knew who you were then; girls were girls and men were men…”
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THE NEXT 7 FAVORITE TV SHOWS IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER:
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BATMAN – 1966 & 1967
You know what’s funny? What’s funny is that when I was watching Batman as a 7-year-old boy, I didn’t know it was funny. To me, that was deadly serious business! Now, of course, I’m amused by the preposterousness and the cleverness of it. Batman, answering Commissioner Gordon’s call to save Gotham City yet again, arrives at City Hall in the Batmobile and screeches to a stop. But he pauses long enough to put some money in the parking meter, reminding Robin, The Boy Wonder, that they must do their civic duty. Now THAT’S funny stuffs!
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Although Batman ran for part of a third season, sadly, after two seasons, it really had lost the spark that made it a hit with little kids and college students alike. Julie Newmar, the only actress to play Catwoman purrfectly, nailed it when she explained what really ruined the show:

“You got a sense of the rhythm, the sense of the straightness of it. You played it very, very straight. Those people who camped it up too much spoiled it. Many people, even good actors, had a tendency to ham it somewhat, and it didn’t need to be, because it was already campy.”
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Now let me relate to you a funny story that writer Stanley Ralph Ross once told:
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“I had used some obscure dirty words in the scripts – obscure in other languages. And they got some flack. They got some letters from people who thought it was funny that I used these obscure dirty words. But the network warned me not to do that again, and I said I wouldn’t. Then I was doing a show where they had this sheik that had to be weighed. I called him the Missentiff of Furderber. Furderber is a friend of mine, Skip Furderber, and Missentiff I got from W.C. Fields. Well, the network said that sounds dirty, so I changed it to Sheik Ibn Kereb which in Arabic means ‘son of a bitch’. They never caught it.”
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By the start of the third season, the show was already in big trouble and foolishly they thought maybe adding a Batgirl might help save it. Yeah, that’s just what the show needed, another character! Batgirl added nothing to the show but another cape, and – Holy Curtains! – it was the end for Batman.
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My favorite episode? Any one with Julie Newmar in it. As a little boy, I always loved those scenes in which she had Batman all tied up, but I didn’t know why I loved them. Now I do.
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THE BENNY HILL SHOW – 1951-1989
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People always think I’m joshing when I say this, but Benny Hill was a genius. He was a genuine comedic genius. How he was able to come up with so many exceedingly clever situations and gags on such a demanding time schedule is beyond me. As geniuses go, I’d rank him just below Twain and just above Einstein.
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I remember one sketch in which Benny was playing the Queen of England (as if that’s not funny enough!) who was being interviewed remotely, but there was a delay or lag in the transmission signal. As a result, the Queen unknowingly fell one answer behind and so her every response was in fact an answer to the previous question. As bad luck (and great writing) would have it, everything the Queen said seemed like a sexual reference. So there’s the Queen of England saying something dirty and then smiling big for the camera. Too funny! Only a genius of comedy could have conceived of that scenario. Benny Hill: genius.
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And let’s be honest, this world would be a little less entertaining had there never been a Fred Scuttle:
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Now, who can tell me the name of the song that brought The Benny Hill Show to a close while everyone chased everyone else around in fast-motion?
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EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND – 1996-2005
The show had been on for years but because I hardly ever watch television, I’d never seen a single episode of it. I remember seeing promos for it one time and remarking to my Ma that it looked like a dumb show. She replied, “Actually, it’s pretty funny.” So sometime later, I found myself watching an episode of it with my brother, Napoleon, on his tiny black and white television. Pretty soon I was laughing and before long I was watching it regularly with Nappy. We lived together (still do, in fact) and became big fans of Raymond (and Frasier) at the same time.
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Nappy and I watched Raymond for a couple of years on that dinky black and white TV of his before we finally saw an episode “in living color” on a full-sized television screen. I remember saying, “So THAT’S what color Marie’s kitchen is.”
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Everybody Loves Raymond had a good cast, but to tell you the truth, it was definitley the actresses Patricia Heaton and Doris Roberts, in the roles of Debra and Marie respectively, who really made the show for me. My favorite episode was probably the one where both Raymond and Debra refused to remove the suitcase from the staircase. Marie gave Debra some good advice: "Don't let that suitcase be your big fork and spoon."
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I was known to sometimes tell people that my Ma was “just like Marie Barone, but without the good cooking”. That may seem cruel to you, but then you didn’t know my Mother, did you? But she always did it "out of love for the family!"
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GET SMART – 1965-1970
Brought to you by the same wacky mind that gave you ‘Blazing Saddles’. Ya gotta love 86, 99, the Chief, and The Cone Of Silence. I said, “THE CONE OF SILENCE!” Nappy and I have recently watched some episodes of Get Smart after having not seen it for a number of years and it holds up great! Funny stuffs. But would you believe?… it almost missed making my list by that much.
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Check out this truly classic scene from Get Smart.
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MOONLIGHTING – 1985-1989
Moonlighting is the closest thing to a drama on my list – and it ain’t really that close. This is the show that turned an unknown New York bartender into a superstar. In searching for the right actor to play screwball, hungover, wisecracking private investigator David Addison, Cybill Shepherd said that the moment wannabe actor Bruce Willis entered the office she knew instinctively that they had found their David.
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Right from the pilot episode you could tell that this show was going to be an intelligently written winner… and different. Lots of cop shows have had car chases but this was something new: an elevator chase.
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The writers really fouled up the show when they decided to have David and Maddie Hayes sleep together and the great sexual tension that really held the show together was lost. And if they WERE going to have them “do the thing”, it certainly should have been very romantic after all of the build up to it. Instead, we got this silly, contrived, mistaken identity nonsense in the bedroom. The show was never quite as good after that, but it did finish with a final episode that nearly matched the standard for quality that Moonlighting was known for. Rarely does a sitcom conclude so well.
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I loved the writing and the occasional breaking of “the fourth wall”. Favorite episode? Well, Moonlighting’s version of Shakespeare’s ‘Taming Of The Shrew’ was definitely a standout. In my opinion, the theme song, featuring a vocal performance by Al Jarreau, is one of TV’s best.
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THE ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE SHOW – 1959-1964
This was the first really popular cartoon for adults. Oh sure, we kids loved it – after all, it was a cartoon – but the clever wit and deliberately bad puns are really aimed at adults who will understand all of the sly nods to historical events and famous personalities.
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The Rocky And Bullwinkle Show is one of the great works of satire, and both this blog and my other blog is replete with references to it. OK, replete with lines and jokes stolen from it. Anyone who hasn’t noticed this hasn’t been paying close attention to my writing, or knows nothing about Rocky And Bullwinkle, or hasn’t been reading my blogs at all. Whether it’s this, that, or the other, shame on you!
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One segment of the show doesn't hold up so well for me now. Namely, Peabody and Sherman. But speaking of Peabody and Sherman, did you know that Mr. Peabody was recognized as a puppy prodigy when he recited Friedrich Nietzche’s “Beyond Good And Evil” by memory in Latin, Russian, and his native tongue, Dog? Heck, I couldn’t recite it at all, and I’ve only read it in the language of Mumbo-Jumbo.
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I love the Fractured Fairy Tales segment, and, of course, the adventures of Moose and Squirrel. The narrator (Bill Conrad) says great stuffs like this:

“Last time, you remember, our friends were stranded in the middle of the desert with the sun setting fast. Well, they shivered their way through the long, cold night, and in the morning, gazed out over miles and miles of… miles and miles.”
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One time, the narrator accidentally called our antlered hero “Bullwinkie”. The Moose was not amused.
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If you think that The Rocky And Bullwinkle Show is just for kids, you’ve got a lot of growing up to do.
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[Test your knowledge of Rocky And Bullwinkle trivia by clicking on the link at the bottom of this blog bit. ]
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THE TONIGHT SHOW Starring Johnny Carson – 1962-1992
"Heeeeeeeeere's Johnny!" coming to you live from beautiful downtown Burbank. (If you’ve never been to Burbank, you never got the joke.)
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In my opinion, this is the late night television talk show by which all others must be measured. The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson is indeed the gold standard, and I’ve yet to see another host measure up to it.
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Look, if a show where a bunch of celebrities sit around and yak keeps me from going to bed, you KNOW it’s good! Johnny in all of his various characters, including, of course, Carnac the Magnificent, Art Fern, and Ronald Reagan, was always entertaining. Heck, even when he wasn’t funny he was funny! If a joke died, Johnny was sure to make some insulting remark to the audience that would get the laugh the first joke didn’t.
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Favorite episodes? Oh, there were too many to remember them all, but certainly the first time Johnny brought out Tiny Tim was a classic, and I always loved Johnny’s ad-libbing whenever Joan Embery would visit and bring her animals to interact with him. Johnny Carson had style, charm, wit, and he represented the best of late night television, and the Jazzy theme music was topnotch, too.
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Well, folks, that’s my list and I’m sticking with it because it was good.
You: “How good WAS it?!”
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Please don’t tell me you disliked it.
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. . . “I asked you not to tell me that. Wossamotta U.?”
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Ukulelely Yours,
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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Links:
TV Or Not TV: That Is The Question [Why Frasier was TV’s funniest show.]
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EDJUCATION-R-US: We B Edjucatin' U.; Issue #2: Rocky & Bullwinkle Trivia Test
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YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
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38 comments:

Karen Peterson said...

All I can say is that everybody does NOT love Raymond.

Otherwise, pretty good list!

Judy Harper said...

These are some of my favorites as well, except I never cared for "All In The Family", "Batman" and Rocky and Bullwinkle. The others are great!

arlee bird said...

At last a list where I recognize everything and have actually seen episodes of all of them (except "Moonlighting") and seen many episodes of a lot of them.
I jumped on the "Batman" craze when it came out-- I guess I would 15 or 16 at the time.
"Andy Griffith" episodes I watched over and over and over and........
Classic list.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Summer Ross said...

awww-- I miss rocky and bullwinkle

Jennie Bailey said...

Moonlighting! GREAT show! As was All in the Family! I love all the shows on your list.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've driven through the real Mayberry - Mt. Airy, NC. And I can do a wicked Bullwinkle impersonation!
Thanks for participating in the blogfest!

iZombie said...

bullwinkle, andy...
such great choices, so many to choose
:)........
iZombie

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Thanks for your visit Stephen, your comment about The Anique Road show being intelligent, I hope you don't think I am a shallow sort of a person, I do like the odd discussion now and again but at the moment am into the reality sort of programmes , it takes away the harshness of what's happening in the world.

Take care.
Yvonne.

Clarissa Draper said...

These are some great old and new shows! I love the Get Smart show.

CD

Ellie said...

I love the details about each show. Thank you!

Top Ten TV Blogfest

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

KAREN ~
Whaddaya mean? WHO doesn't love Raymond?!
;o)



J!3 ~
Why didn't you participate? I was interested to see which ten you would list. Bad, bad girl!



r-LEE-b ~
Thanks, Brother. Old classics like us like the old classics, eh?



SUMMER ~
I don't miss Rocky And Bullwinkle because I have the first 3 seasons on DVD and I'm due to buy season 4 be4 2 long.



JENNIE ~
Thanks! You have GREAT taste in television.
:o)



ALEX ~
The pleasure was all mine. Thanks again for putting the Blogfest together. I'm still working my way through everyone's list. And hey, I've been to Mount Airy, North Carolina, too! What major fan of TAGS can resist making a trip there?! And I do wish I could hear your Bullwinkle.



iZOMBIE ~
u zombie? I stay away from u.
Thanks!



YVONNE ~
There's "harshness" in the world? When did that happen?
;o)
Well, there's a reason every one of my favorites is a comedy.



CLARISSA ~
Max may have been a dummy, but the show was "smart", eh?



ELLIE ~
Thanks. Yeah, I yak and yak and yak and yak.
...and yak.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

aspiring_x said...

i haven't seen many of those! but everyone loves raymond was pretty cute!

Karen Walker said...

One of the fascinating things about this blogfest is how different people are. Our lists are completely different, yet I love several of the shows you list here.
Karen

Hart Johnson said...

I really liked Frazier--I actually have a character modeled on the dad in the cozy I am writing (he is my MCs dad)... and I've been wondering for half the day how Get Smart didn't make my list--THAT was sublime TV!

DiscConnected said...

Holy Rabbit Ears, McDoggMan!

You've actually got shows that were filmed in color on this list!

Most of this was not a surprise-Moonlighting was a suprise, though.

And I'll bet you've done the only in depth analysis ever done of Bullwinkle!

LC

RaShelle said...

Yep, Everybody Loves Raymond is the one we had in common. =D Used to watch reruns of Batman and Rocky and Bullwinkle sometimes too.

Ishta Mercurio said...

I put Get Smart, too! And you have so many other great ones on this list. Super job with this!

Ishta Mercurio said...

Oh, and The Andy Griffith Show was me-and-my-dad time. :-) Great memories.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

ASPIRING X ~
Uhm... yeah, it was.



KAREN ~
Thanks for stopping by. I know I've already seen your list - because I've now seen everyone's list - but I'll check it out again because I'm not sure what was on it.



HART ~
"Get Smart" didn't make YOUR list?! Why that's... that's... that's... not impossible to believe. Would you believe... it barely squeezed onto my list when I decided at the last... Mmmm... five and a half hours before lift-off, to choose it over SCTV?



DISCDUDE ~
Ahh, you snuck in from long distance and at the eleventh and a half hour, eh? Fashionably late. Good job, Bro.


>>Holy Rabbit Ears, McDoggMan!

Ha! :o) Someone knows his Batman!

>>You've actually got shows that were filmed in color on this list!

Are you saying I'm old? Why if I could find my teeth I'd put 'em in and yell at you!

>>Moonlighting was a suprise, though.

Oh my gosh! As big a smart-ass as I am and you're surprised to find David Addison's show on my list? Where do ya think I learned my chops?

>>And I'll bet you've done the only in depth analysis ever done of Bullwinkle!

Aww, shucks, that ol' thing? Heck, I only wear that when I don't care HOW I look. I could do six months on Rocky And Bullwinkie if I really wanted to.



RaSHELLE ~
The day I realized that I didn't understand much of what was being said on Rocky And Bullwinkle is the day I decided it was time to edgeukate myself. I locked myself in the UCLA library for ten years, and when I reemerged into the daylight, I found that I now got 90% of the Rocky And Bullwinkle jokes.

I'll be going back to earn a higher R&B degree in 2013... if the world survives that long.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Angela M. said...

The Andy Griffith Show was fantastic, a show that never really gets old. After so many years, it's still so darn watchable. Love that you put Rocky and Bullwinkle on here! Now I'd really like to see Alex's impression of Bullwinkle...

Lynda Young said...

I'd forgotten all about Moonlighting. I loved that show! And Batman was hilarious. It was like a cartoon. Great list.

Lyn
W.I.P. It: A Writer's Journey

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

ISHTA ~
Oh yes, I see where you wrote of Get Smart: "The ultimate spy spoof." Well, there's certainly no arguing against that. And yeah, The Andy Griffith Show always reminds me of my Pa also, as he's the one who turned me onto it when I was very young. It was always his favorite, and over the decades it's proven to be my favorite, too.



ANGELA ~
I own every episode of TAGS on DVD from the first six seasons, and so I still watch it pretty regularly. And not when the TV networks decide to put it on, but when I DECIDE to put it on. (Gotta love the technology that gave us our favorite movies and television shows to own!) Heck, it might be 110 degrees on an August day in Phoenix, but I can watch Jimmy Durante narrate the story of Frosty The Snowman... if I wanna.
:o)



LYNDA ~
Yeah, yer right, Batman WAS like a cartoon - a live action cartoon (with all the bright colors of a cartoon, too). But it was a smart cartoon. One thing I like about my own list (if I may sorta boast momentarily) is the intelligence of all these programs. There's really a deceptive genius to all of the shows I've listed, including Batman and Rocky And Bullwinkle.

The writers of all these programs were actually very bright and historically and culturally aware. (On Moonlighting, too.) On the surface, the concept of cartoons like R&B and Batman might lead one to believe falsely that these were just silly, superficial, empty shows, but in truth, the many references one finds in them proves that the writers were really quite well educated.

It's like, for example, the movies of Monty Python. They seem at first glance to be just ridiculous nonsense, but those writers really knew "stuffs" - stuffs about history and literature, etc. In one episode of Batman, Robin says, "Holy priceless collection of Etruscan snoods!" THAT was definitely NOT written with 7-year-old boys in mind.
;o)
Thanks for stopping by!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Journaling Woman said...

I am ashamed that I did not put Andy Griffith in my top ten. I watch reruns all the time and love it. I also forgot Moonlighting which was one of my favs.

I am so overwhelmed by all show I have forgotten. They give me their best years and then I...forget them. What kind of a friend am I? Don't answer.

Teresa

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

TERESA ~
>>I am so overwhelmed by all show I have forgotten. They give me their best years and then I...forget them.

Ha!-Ha! :o)
Don't beat yourself up over it. We all make mistakes - it's part of being human. You must learn to forgive yourself, put it behind you and move forward.

I'm sorry, but I'm afraid our time is up.

>>What kind of a friend am I

Well, you're the kind with a good sense of humor and a guilty conscience.

EGBOK: "Everything's Gonna Be OK."
;o)

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Kelley said...

Frasier and Everybody loves Raymond i think are the only two shows i have seen on your list but i think they are both hilarious

DEZMOND said...

I also DON'T like Raymond :))) but I did love MOONLIGHTING as a kid watching Bruce and Sybil was so great.

Ellie said...

STEPHEN-GREAT list! I loved Fractured Fairy Tales, I would love a whole show, with just this segment!
I watched Batman, with the big words and flash of lightening bolts~
Everybody Loves Raymond is hard for me to watch, I have a MIL like Marie...
I loved Frasier and Johnny Carson, even though I was suppose to be in bed ;-D
Thanks for the memories~

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

KELLEY ~
You must not like TV much or else you must be pretty darn young. Either way, that's good. It's good to be young, and it's good to not watch TV much (that stuffs'll rot yer brain).



DEZMOND ~
Yeah, it seems several people who participated in the Blogfest stated that they didn't like "Raymond". I guess I can understand that - watching such a dysfunctional family an' all. (But it DID make me laugh.)



ELLIE ~
Ya know, you CAN buy a DVD with just "The Best Of Fractured Fairy Tales" on it. Such a thing does exist. (Personally, however, I would miss Rocky, Bullwinkle, Boris & Natasha. Those "goodnicks" and "no-goodnicks".)

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

DiscConnected said...

Stephen-

You have some of my favorites here.

Except for TAGS, Frazier, All In The Family, Benny Hill, Moonlighting, Johnny Carson, Batman, Get Smart, Everybody Loves Raymond and Rocky And Bullwinkle, it's like we have the same list.

Did I say this in my earlier comment? I kind of expected to see MASH on your list.

LC

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

DISCDUDE ~
>>it's like we have the same list.

Oh, yeah, I noticed that. Believe me, I NOTICED!

>>Did I say this in my earlier comment? I kind of expected to see MASH on your list.

No, you did not say it.
Would you care to say it now?

As I mentioned to "the other Cavanaugh", although I made a lot of money from the show, I never was a fan of M*A*S*H. I am able to see why it was so popular with so many folks, but it was too liberal for me, and politics aside, I would still think it overrated. ["Biting the dog that feeds you" - that's what I just did. Ha!]

Welcome home, Toddfan Discman.

~ Stephen T., the Non-M*A*S*H-lovin' M.F.

Sheboyganboy #VI said...

GREAT LIST!

I am not sure how to spell it, but the Benny Hill song was "Yakkety Sax".

Benny Hill? Pure genius... ranking just ahead of Einstein and Twain, and just behind O. Henry. BTW: did you know that Jane Leeves from Frasier was once a "Hill's Angel"? Woo-hoo!

I can only assume that I would really like the shows on your list which I have NOT watched, since we agree in virtually all that I have seen. I have never watched Moonlighting or Everybody Loves Raymond, so I'll have to take your word that they are great.

I like TAGS a lot and watched it all I could as a kid.

I completely agree that Frasier is the funniest sitcom ever. I thought Seinfeld was extremely funny too.

My "favorite" show ever (as you know) was The Beverly Hillbillies. When I watch that show I laugh aloud several times an episode. The characters are all likable and their innocent, gentle nature and selfless desire to help their fellow man is wonderful.

I LOVED Rocky and Bullwinkle as kid, and got most of the jokes then, too. I still stop and watch it whenever I stumble upon it on TV.

As usual... my comments come late to the "blog comment party". Sorry!

Paul

DiscConnected said...

Interesting-MASH was too liberal but not Frasier?

I may be typing out of ignorance-I didn't watch much of the spin-off.

My memory from Cheers was that Frasier was pretty liberal (and a pansy, which is why I never watched his own show).

It's good to be back, STMcC!

LC

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

SHEBOYGANBOY SIX ~
Thanks, Bro!

>>I am not sure how to spell it, but the Benny Hill song was "Yakkety Sax".

Atta-boy! You were the only person to take a shot at it and you got it RIGHT! You da man, man! That was another great theme song.

>>Benny Hill? Pure genius... ranking just ahead of Einstein and Twain, and just behind O. Henry.

Wha-?! Yer puttin' O. Henry ahead of Twain? Now there's something you don't see every day, Chauncey. (Gimme that "Atta-boy" back!) :o)

And no, I had never heard that Jane Leeves had been a "Hill's Angel". She seems like she would have been too young for that, however, she WAS English, and she WAS hot, so it makes sense. (I always knew where Niles was coming from when it came to Daphne - I felt the same way about her. Woo-Hoo is right!)

>>I have never watched Moonlighting or Everybody Loves Raymond, so I'll have to take your word that they are great.

Well, I do think you would like Moonlighting because, for all its silliness, it was a very intelligently written show. Raymond I'm not so sure about. It's about a semi-dysfunctional family and there's a lot of arguing. The first couple of episodes I saw, I just kind of shrugged, but as I came to understand the characters and especially the dynamic involving Raymond's Mother and his Wife, I found myself cracking up. That was some superb acting from the females, and Raymond was such a doofus that it's almost impossible not to laugh at him.

Occasionally, I'll even find myself protesting something a la Raymond: "No. NoOOO!"

And by the way, the woman who played Debra, Raymond's wife, in real life is an anti-abortion conservative. Points for that!

>>I like TAGS a lot and watched it all I could as a kid.

Greatest show ever. I own Seasons 1-6 on DVD, but had already seen all of those episodes on TV probably 10 or more times each, BEFORE buying the DVDs. That's how much I dig TAGS.

>>I completely agree that Frasier is the funniest sitcom ever. I thought Seinfeld was extremely funny too.

Yeah, Seinfeld WAS extremely funny too. Not as funny as Frasier, and not in my Top Ten, but still extremely funny. George makes that show for me. Take George out of it and it would collapse, in the same way that TAGS collapsed when Barney disappeared.

>>I LOVED Rocky and Bullwinkle as kid, and got most of the jokes then, too.

Heck, I still don't get all the jokes. But I just purchased Season 4. The writing for that cartoon was better than the writing for most live action sitcoms today. Remember the episodes when the World Economic Council met because the global economy was crashing due to the counterfeiting of cereal box tops? Or the episode in which Rocky and Bullwinkle's airplane ran out of fuel and was going to crash, but Rocky, speaking into the gas tank, read from the Congressional Record and all that hot air kept the plane in flight? Few of today's writers are that clever.

>>As usual... my comments come late to the "blog comment party". Sorry!

Better late than... showing up undressed.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

DISCDUDE ~
>>Interesting-MASH was too liberal but not Frasier?

I would describe M*A*S*H as being politically liberal, where Frasier is socially liberal.

Now you know I don't like ANY form of liberalism, and so, yes, there are aspects of Frasier that kind of make me squirm a little - all that extramarital sex, for instance; characters sleeping together on first dates - you know, all the usual stuffs that happens in all sitcoms today.

So in that respect, Frasier has always been a guilty pleasure. (Surprisingly, actor Kelsey Grammer is a registered Republican.)

But at least I don't feel I'm being preached at by liberals when I watch Frasier, as I do when I watch M*A*S*H.

>>My memory from Cheers was that Frasier was pretty liberal (and a pansy, which is why I never watched his own show).

Well, HE IS a pansy! And so is his brother, Niles - two psychiatrists desperately in need of psychiatric help. That's part of what makes it so funny.

Frasier is this conceited, overly-cultured, snob - totally unathletic. He can't even ride a bicycle. Literally! There's an episode where he's trying to master the bicycle for a public charity event. Frasier and Niles sip sherry while their Dad - a former cop and "real man" - drinks Ballantine beer and wonders how these two pansies could have come from his loins. (Ha! Come to think of it, he really does call them "pansies" in one episode!)

Oh, once you've got a handle on the characters, their quirks and their viewpoints, it is just a hysterically funny show. Brilliant, brilliant writing, very sophisticated in a way and clever as hell!

Click on the "TV Or Not TV" link at the bottom of this blog bit and you'll see what I'm yakkin' about.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

CWMartin said...

Wow! If you take out Frasier, Moonlighting, Raymond, and Benny and replace with Gilligan's Island, Barney Miller, Are You Being Served, and Bonanza, you pretty much have my list.

Nothing against the others, mind you. Not really a lot of exposure to Benny and Moonlighting, and I liked Frasier and Raymond.


I can tell you the best all time Carson episode. It was a Joan Embrey episode that started with Johnny trying to mention Fess Parker during the monologue and it came out "Pess Farker". It became the running joke, and climaxed when a ring-tailed cat Joan brought climbed aboard Johnny's head. He gave his best in-the-camera look and said, "Pess Farker"- just as the animal peed on his head!

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

CWM ~
>>... Wow! If you take out Frasier, Moonlighting, Raymond, and Benny and replace with Gilligan's Island, Barney Miller, Are You Being Served, and Bonanza, you pretty much have my list.

Ha! You and DiscConnected are two peas in a pod! In other words, if I change nearly half of my list it's identical to yours?!

Dude, 'Gilligan's Island'? Tell me you're not serious. Even if you are, please tell me you're NOT!

'Barney Miller' was good - not Top Ten for me, but I always liked it. I've seen some episodes of England's 'Are You Being Served?' and it would probably grow on me after awhile.

You like 'Bonanza'? Rent or buy the first couple seasons of 'ALIAS SMITH AND JONES' - best TV Western series ever, ever, ever!

I don't recall that specific episode of 'JOHNNY CARSON' but, according to your description, it seems as though it really could be the best episode ever. I do know that EVERY TIME Joan Embrey appeared on the show with her animals, it was an episode worth watching. Johnny was quick-witted and always reacted to Joan's critters in a humorous way.

The very first time TINY TIM appeared on Johnny's show is another episode I would rate very highly. Johnny's reaction to Tiny Tim was not unlike his reaction to Joan Embrey's critters. Ha!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

CWMartin said...

YES, I'm serious!!! I was weaned on Gilligan, know every episode by heart. Sometimes it doesn't have to be sly, subtle, or social commentary- it just has to be FUNNY.

I do remember Alias Smith and Jones- but just barely, as it wasn't on very long. If it was a western, Mom watched it. Also liked the "how the west was won" comedy. But then, you'd expect that from a Gilligan fan.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

BROTHER MARTIN ~
'ALIAS SMITH AND JONES' was my favorite TV show when it first aired, but I hadn't seen it since then.

My friend DiscConnected bought the DVDs and loaned them to me. I was fairly sure the show would seem kinda stupid to me now, but was SHOCKED to discover how great it was (until Pete Duel committed suicide and was replaced by a much inferior actor).

The stories were really clever and complex with lots of surprising plot twists and Pete Duel was one outrageously charismatic dude.

I realize now that when I was watching the show as a kid, the stories were going completely over my head - by no stretch of the imagination was I able to follow those storylines at such a young age. I must have loved it just because it was "cowboys" (have always adored Westerns!)

Late into the second season Duel committed suicide, but check out the episodes up until then.

I don't think anyone would attempt to produce a show like that today because today's audiences have been too dumbed-down to be able to follow the complexity of the stories.

Fantastic TV Western, best I ever saw and by far!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'