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The Proud Family (2001)
Not So Bad.. Lighten Up!
I cannot believe some of these reviews.. C'mon, it's a CARTOON! I'm sure some of these same people watch "The Simpsons", and consider it a "classic". Not to mention "King of The Hill" and "Family Guy". Is this really any worse? The only difference is this is on Disney, and they are on FOX.
Sure, Oscar Proud is childish, whiny, and immature. So, is Homer Simpson. Even one of my favorites, Fred Flintstone, was not too bright, but we still love him. Just like Wilma was the wiser of the two within the marriage, so is Trudy. As for the white kids, I don't see Zoey bending over backwards to fit in. They accept her for who she is. In regards to the other characters, yes they can be silly and annoying- just like real people. Are any of the kids on this show more pathetic than Bart Simpson?
People still want to go back to "The Cosby Show", the "perfect" example of what every African-American show should be. There have been complaints about it too, how it's "too white", "unrealistic", and two of the children are "too light". It seems every TV show of color is destined to be criticized and torn down beyond belief, more so than their white counterparts.
Honoring Our TV History
I do not remember The TV Land Awards getting as much attention as it has this year. Its ratings were the highest ever. Then again, when you have Bill Cosby, John Travolta, and Michael J. Fox in the same setting, the shows they were a part of getting honored at the same time, that makes news. The ninth annual TV Land Awards did not disappoint.
The show, which was taped in New York City for the first time, opened with Liza Minelli's rendition of the Frank Sinatra classic "New York, New York". The audience ate it up. There was no host this year. Having remembered the Golden Globes and Oscars from earlier this year, smart move. Besides, some of those opening monologues can make you cringe. Stevie Wonder took the stage to present the cast of "The Cosby Show" with the Impact Award. He reminded us how the Huxtables took us to higher ground, which prompted him to head into singing several lines from "Higher Ground". It caused Bill Cosby to turn into Cliff Huxtable, doing one of his dances at the table. "The Cosby Show" cast looked elegant, polished, and classy. Bill Cosby spoke for everyone, while they respectfully looked on. The rapport between he and Stevie Wonder was easy and comical. Absent from the event was Lisa Bonet, who has had a strained relationship with the show since she was fired in 1991. She has never returned for a reunion of the show. Cos seemed to indirectly "disown" her from the cast. After having given a gracious shout-out to "Family Ties" (the two shared the Thursday night lineup on NBC), he went to on say they were a family for the entire eight years, that no one ever stomped off mad, or showed up late. Of course, all of this was behavior exhibited behind the scenes by Lisa at some point and time. This appeared to be him saying the invites were over, and they would now be moving on without her. This was sad in a way. Denise was always my favorite. I will say this- she was missed, but not needed.
The cast of "Hot In Cleveland", minus Betty White, presented the cast of "The Facts of Life" with the Pop Culture Award. It was fantastic to see Blair, Jo, Natalie, and Tootie publicly back together again, along with Charlotte Rae, Geri Jewell, and Cloris Leachman. Seeing Cloris was a nice surprise.The women looked absolutely radiant. The speeches the ladies made were very touching, with Geri Jewell's taking the crown. When she said kids were no longer afraid of her, and wanted her autograph after being cast in "The Facts of Life", I almost lost it.
Next, was a spoof of the film "The King's Speech". In this case, it was "Cindy's Speech", with Cindy being Cindy Brady. It was delightfully funny and good-natured. Afterwards, Regis Philbin was presented the Legend Award from Barbara Walters. That red dress was made for her. He was visibly moved to be honored. I was happy for him.
The cast of "Family Ties" was up next, receiving the Fan Favorite Award. Brian Bonsall was missing again, but neighbor Skippy was there. During the montage of clips, Billy Vera took the stage to sing "At This Moment", which was a huge hit my sophomore year of high school. It was Alex and Ellen's song, if you recall. As a result, their tribute was the longest of the shows. Everyone looked wonderful. Producer Gary David Goldberg and Michael Gross mentioned "The Cosby Show", in response to Bill Cosby's earlier compliment.
The Real Housewives of New York where on hand to pay tribute to some of TV's most unforgettable housewives, including Wilma Flintstone, Louise Jefferson, Donna Stone, Laura Petrie, and Lucy Ricardo. Aretha Franklin's "Respect" played in the background. In attendance was Joyce Randolph, who portrayed Trixie Norton on "The Honeymooners". Dressed in a chic black outfit, it was a real treat to see her there.
Next, Daryl Hall and John Oates took the stage, belting out their '70s classic "Rich Girl". Afterwards, Paul Reiser presented them with the Icon Award, with Daryl Hall saying it was "the coolest-looking" award he had ever been given.
Lastly, it was time to pay tribute to the Sweathogs, and the 35th anniversary of "Welcome Back Kotter". Jane Lynch from "Glee" presented the award, which in the words of Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, was "overdue". Unfortunately, Ron Palillo, who played Arnold Horshack, was absent due to having fallen ill at the last-minute. However, people were so excited and fired up about John Travolta being there, no one seemed to care. His sister, Ellen, also came. She played Horshack's Mother. Another nice surprise. Speaking of John Travolta, he is amazing. Not only did his lovely wife, Kelly Preston, come with him, but every time the camera cut to him, he had a smile on his face. He was genuinely enjoying himself. You could tell the gang was happy to be back together, as we were happy to see them. When Barbarino and "Boom-Boom" Washington came to life on stage, it was impossible not to laugh. It was terrific all the way around.
The TV Land Awards are the only award show that means anything to me now. I have never missed one. I look forward to next year. I would like to see "A Different World" recognized. I bet Lisa Bonet would show up for that.
Make Me Laugh (1979)
It Made Me Laugh
When I read one of the previous reviews, I had to reply with one of my own. He mentioned being a senior in high school during the run of "Make Me Laugh", and how he lived in Houston at the time. So did I! He said it came on Channel 39, at 9:30 each night. He is RIGHT. I had forgotten which channel it was, although I knew it was one of the independent ones. I also recalled it was on at night. I just didn't remember the exact time, until I read his review. THANK YOU for bringing it all back! While he was in high school at the time, I was in elementary school. Yes I agree, it was a good way to unwind, and end the day. The comedians were often funny. Sometimes, they could be more silly, but it was all good, fun entertainment. The celebrity guest was something I always looked forward to. They would play for a random member of the audience. My favorite remains Shirley Hemphill, who did not crack a smile.
For me personally, what made the show was the host, Bobby Van. He was always so likable. He seemed so nice, sweet, and down to earth. He really appealed to me, with his adorable smile. Had he been with us longer, I'm sure the show would have continued on for a few more years. I hate he passed away so early. His passing was a sudden, unexpected shock for me, which haunted me for years.
"Make Me Laugh" was a significant part of my childhood. From the disco theme song, to the fashions and hairstyles of the day, the thought of it alone continues to bring a smile to my face :)
Another Typical Battle
You can tell when a good thing has just about run its course, and that was pretty obvious here in Battle 17. It was more of the same thing we'd seen before- the usual events, the TV stars you were thrilled to see be a part of the competition, the ones you were indifferent towards, and the ones you downright could not stand, and of course, the unforgettable Howard Cosell. His co-host this time was Shari Belafonte Harper. A very interesting twist was how this battle's commissioner, Bob Uecker, was so caught up in the competition. Bob was commenting on everything, and having a ball. He was more like an additional co-host. No previous commissioner had ever been this involved before. I found it quite humorous. The team captains were obviously back to prove points of there own. Bill Shatner, ABC captain, wanted another victory. CBS captain Bill Devane wanted to extend his winning streak, after having won Battle 16, while Mark Harmon wanted to make up for NBC's previous loss by taking matters into his own hands, and becoming captain. Back again as well on the ABC team was adorable, yet athletic, Heather Locklear. Charlene Tilton and Doug Sheehan were on the CBS team again, and in addition to Mark Harmon, both Michael J. Fox and Kim Fields returned for another shot at victory. I hate Lisa Whelchel wasn't back again. She was a bright spot throughout Battle 16. Watching this battle was entertaining, but unfortunately somewhat boring, and redundant. The competitions seemed to have reached a stalemate. By late 1984, which is when this was originally shown on ABC, they were in need of an overhaul, and something fresh. I guess those in charge noticed this as well, which is why for battle 18, shown in May of 1985, they moved the competition from Pepperdine in CA, to Mexico, and replaced Howard with Dick Van Dyke. Neither move was a smart one, but that's another story. ABC and NBC won all of the events, with poor CBS not winning in any. That surprised me, because with team members like Parker Stevenson, Timmy Reid (Howard's words), and the beautiful Deborah Shelton, they appeared to be a strong team. I felt the pain Jennifer O' Neill endured when she severely injured her knee during football. She cried out in such pain. After the kayak race, when Tony Danza's boat went into the CBS lane, Bill Devane angrily launched a protest, to no avail, since there was no contact. The biggest irritation to me personally was the presence of Tracy Scoggins on the ABC side. She seemed like a petty bully, with a chip on her shoulder, and this came out during football when she accused (falsely) Teri Copley of NBC of interference when she failed to catch some passes. There was interference on Copley's part once, but that was it. Scoggins looked like she was ready for a throw down, but Teri was not backing down. She wasn't intimidated by her bullish demeanor. Brenda Vaccaro from ABC was only seen at the beginning of the baseball dunk when NBC's Marc Singer chose her to be the dunkee. It took her the longest to get positioned on the swing, probably due to some sense of fear of the possibility of being dunked, which she was- twice. This was the only event she was a part of, possibly due to Bill Shatner, and how strategic he always was in placing certain people in certain events. Then again, maybe that's the way she wanted it. Tony Danza's gruff demand to Charlene Tilton to get on the swing was laughable, since he failed to dunk her one time. He did, however, hit the target once, and score one point for his team, which caused them to barely edge out NBC, 13 to 12. Each team had strong men, but the NBC team seemed to have an edge. In the running relay, when Heather Locklear was running anchor for ABC, as fast as she'd always been, she was no match for Marc Singer. NBC took the lead, just before the tug of war. Kim Fields came on strong too, passing Deborah Shelton in the running relay, and while Michael J. Fox is small, he's fast. Poor Constance McCashin from "Knots Landing" should have been exempt from the running relay. She was a very slow runner. In good natured fun, the entire CBS team emerged from an ambulance before the running relay, in fake arm casts and bandages, to show how they landed in last place. I think they stayed under the 300 mark throughout the competition. Bill Devane, who was removed from the ambulance last on a stretcher, would not return as CBS captain again for the two remaining battles. This could be the reason why. The tug of war did not last very long, with NBC coming up on top. I was wondering whether I watched this in 1984 or not, but when I saw James Skilling as anchor for NBC, I remembered having seen that before. Funny how just one thing can easily trigger your memory. In addition to Bill Devane, Bill Shatner would not return as ABC captain. Mark Harmon's time was up too, wanting to go out on top, no doubt. As Battle 17 came to an end, with the NBC team gathered around Howard, you could tell these fun, awesome battles would not last much longer. They had just about run their course.
The Missing Link
This is a difficult installment of Battle of the Network Stars to comment on. However, it is equally difficult to ignore. This is the one episode which seems to be lost forever. Other than a few small clips I saw on a later battle, plus a picture I ran across online a few nights ago, it has not been seen anywhere since February, 1977. It is as if it has vanished from the face of the earth. Well, from the information I have managed to gather, this was NBC's first time to win. Considering the big running relay controversy their team was involved in during the previous battle, I find myself feeling happy for them. Interestingly, the only two team members who returned were captain Robert Conrad, and Karen Grassle of "Little House On the Prairie". Everyone else from Lynda Day George and Jane Seymour, to Kurt Russell, were completely new. Telly Savalas was once again captain of CBS, with Gabe Kaplan head of ABC. Instead of Robert Hegyes, his sweat hog/teammate this time around was Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs. Other new faces were the lovely Jaclyn Smith, who proved during the running relay she can run fast as the wind, and Levar Burton, fresh from the blockbuster miniseries "Roots". Actually Farrah Fawcett (Majors) trained for battle number two, and was part of the team. However, at the last minute, she realized she was too tired to compete, so co-star and friend Jaclyn Smith took her place. The CBS team included Sonny Bono, Linda Lavin, Mike Farrell, Rob Reiner, and Marcia Wallace. CBS finished third this time, which might be an indication why Telly Savalas was never CBS captain again, while Kaplan and Conrad each were captain several more times. I am sure it was the huge ratings success ABC was hoping for. After all, there were many other battles to come. Fortunately, none of them would disappear the way this one did.
My Two Cents...
I remember watching this battle about 2 weeks before my 13th birthday. I still remember my Mother passing through, noticing Lisa Whelchel stretched out on the ground during the tug of war, in total agony, asking me "what's wrong with Blair?" That still amuses me. I watched this episode again recently for the first time since it originally aired. All three teams were out to win, obviously. ABC was conceited as always, but seemed somewhat unsure of themselves this time around. John James of "Dynasty" was team captain again, while new faces included C. Thomas Howell and Ted Lange. CBS was unusually cocky, and overconfident. William Devane was team captain once more. I was most delighted to see Celia Weston from "Alice" as a part of the CBS group. NBC was my personal favorite of the teams. I really liked this group. Then again, I always found myself rooting for the NBC team in the mid to late '80s. The disappointment in the equation is the rapport between captain Flip Wilson and his team. He did not seem to know quite how to relate to them, nor did they appear to know how to relate to him. There was an obvious barrier between them, which was uncomfortable to watch. While John James and Bill Devane were easily interacting with their teams, Flip was mostly to himself, or awkwardly standing by. At the beginning, when their team was being introduced by co-host Debby Boone, he complained no one had said anything to him. I am assuming the "no one" was his team. When he would attempt an interaction with them, it was strained and tense. This took away from NBC, and might have contributed to their inability to clinch the victory in the end, much to my personal dismay. A good rapport between a captain and their team is essential to achieving a win. Other than his baseball dunk interaction with Shari Belafonte-Harper, in which he got dunked, he seemed totally out of place, as if he was wondering what was he doing there. Howard Cosell later criticized his treatment towards Debby Boone at the end. When he said he did not appreciate his attitude towards her throughout the entire competition, Flip's response was to silently walk away. Makes you wonder what he did. Another annoying, and highly bizarre event belongs to Charlene Tilton during the bike relay. She and Richard Dean Anderson were the third group of the CBS team to race. At first, she was pedaling normally, then all of a sudden, she stopped for the remainder of the race. Go figure on THAT one... Who knew Lisa Whelchel was so athletic! She made a superb catch in 3 on 3 football, and owned the obstacle course, along with Mark Harmon. Meanwhile, poor Kim Fields looked like she wanted to cry each time she went underwater in the baseball dunk. During the running relay, NBC was in third place, until Michael J. Fox came on strong, causing them to finish second, and giving them a place in the infamous tug of war. Although they made a big comeback with the bike race and running relay, ABC came in third place this time. When they realized the competition was over for them, and had it finalized by Howard, they all looked so pitiful, I felt sorry for them. One humorous moment came prior to the tug of war, when both Heather Locklear and Ted Lange showed their support for the NBC side. Heather appeared to be giving Flip words of support, while Ted was standing on the sidelines cheering them on. CBS won, with Charlene Tilton jumping up and down like a 5 year old. In regards to NBC, when I saw Mark Harmon was NOT going to be a part of the tug of war, but stood on the sidelines instead, I knew a huge mistake had been made. This definitely cost them the victory. All in all, watching this again brought a huge smile to my face. Seeing snooty Blair, and ultra-conservative Alex P. Keaton, along with Tootie, and Mother Harper from "Mama's Family" on the same team??? Priceless! That's what made these battles so much fun to watch- and still does.
Car 54, Where Are You? (1961)
A Hidden Classic
I first became acquainted with "Car 54 Where Are You" almost 20 years ago. I was 18, fresh out of high school, and loved to get my "nightly dose" of Nick at Nite. I'll admit, I did not connect with it right away, however, one night, everything changed. In the beginning, I would glance at the show in passing, but one night, I sat down and watched an episode in its entirety, and immediately became hooked! I fell in love with the guys at the 53rd precinct in the Bronx. Not only was the casting superb, but so was the writing. The show would win an Emmy for outstanding direction in 1962, an honor rightfully deserved.
I could not imagine anyone else other than Joe E. Ross and Fred Gwynne being Gunther Toody and Francis Muldoon. The two were completely different, both on screen and in real life. Toody was short, stocky, nosy, and not very bright. He lived with his loud, domineering wife, Lucille. Muldoon was very tall, quiet, and more intelligent. He was a shy bachelor, who still lived with his Mother, and had two younger sisters. Joe E. Ross dropped out of high school, and became a singing waiter, before becoming a stand-up comic, while Fred Gwynne graduated from Harvard. However, the chemistry between the two was undeniable and amazing. The two policemen each had a heart of gold, and the zany adventures they would get caught up in were outrageous! Other cast members included Beatrice Pons, Al Lewis, Charlotte Rae, Nipsey Russell, Ossie Davis, Paul Reed, and Hank Garrett. This was one of the first shows to regularly feature actors of other ethnicities, and they were not there to be the "butt" of everyone else's jokes. They were simply there because it was an accurate representation of the real world, a rather significant step for a television show in the early 1960s.
If you ever get a chance to watch an episode or two, please do so! You will be blessed to discover a REAl gem, and you will be a fan for life;-)
The T.A.M.I. Show (1964)
A Piece of Music History!
I was born 7 years after the T.A.M.I. Show, and became a teenager 20 years later, but I'm a HUGE fan of music, and I always know something that is good, or in this case GREAT, when I see it. I love '60s music, and just about all of the performers here are favorites of mine. This concert is absolutely AMAZING, to say the very least. Just imagine, some of the biggest musical legends of all time- Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, James Brown, the Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, and the Beach Boys- in the same setting, performing on the same stage... The thought of it alone is mind-boggling... Had I been a teenager of the day, I would have been there screaming my head off! I wouldn't have missed this show. Everyone's performance is terrific. Jan and Dean hosted the show, and did a great job. They introduced each act, sang themselves, after Lesley Gore, and clowned around in between. They also sang the show's theme song. Chuck Berry starts it off, going on down to the Rolling Stones. I loved watching all of the singers and groups. Everyone sang their most famous hits. Lesley Gore sang "It's My Party," the Beach Boys performed "I Get Around," the Supremes did "Baby Love," and Chuck Berry told us about "Maybelline." In most copies of this show which exist, the Beach Boys are cut out, due to a legal dispute. It's unfortunate, because they sing 4 songs, and look and sound fantastic.
However, it was James Brown, and his marvelous Flames, who completely stole the show. His "Please, Please, Please" alone is an unforgettable experience to watch. You want to watch it over and over again. The man is simply DYNAMIC! They came on before the Rolling Stones, who held their own very well with "Time Is On My Side" and "It's All Over Now" among others.
At the end, all of the performers meet up on stage at the same time, to dance to the Stones' final song, and to dance and move with the background dancers. Btw, look for Terri Garr during the Supremes' set, wearing a shirt with a bullseye in the middle. Her dancing is quite sexy. Just seeing everyone looking so young, and being so vibrant and energetic is great. Like I said, it's definitely a piece of music history, that is a real pleasure to watch. You'll NEVER get tired of it!
The Getaway (1972)
Ten times better than "Bonnie and Clyde!!"
I thought "Bonnie and Clyde" was a good movie- this one is so much better. It's terrific! It has become one of my very favorite movies. Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw are the perfect couple, who are deeply in love, in addition to being partners in their escape. This love followed off-screen, which also intrigues me. This is a very exciting, entertaining film, about a very thrilling, exciting adventure. You can easily tell it was filmed in my home state, Texas. The prison scenes are very real. I also see Sally Struthers in a different light after seeing her in this movie. Her performance is very good, and adds to the film. Quincy Jones' musical score adds the magic touch. I adore this movie. It even makes me laugh in parts. The excitement never ends. I can't get enough of it! A real winner.
The Cincinnati Kid (1965)
You never know what will happen next!
I recently rented this movie, and I'm so glad I did. It has become one of my favorite movies. Steve McQueen is awesome! The other characters aren't bad either. I really like the rapport between Steve, and the kid that shines shoes. It makes me laugh. This is a film that will keep surprising you all the way through. You don't know what will happen next. I highly recommend it. Don't just rent it- buy it!