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The Osbournes (2002)
Like a PBS Comedy Gone Awry
Funnier than the average family; the charm of this show is that you can easily take a lot of the plot twists, sum them up for the cable guide listings and not have them sound more radical than the average sitcom. "When the dogs misbehave in the house, Sharon calls in a pet therapist--much to the dismay of Ozzy." "When Kelly gets a tatoo, the vastly decorated Ozzy discovers he lives by a double standard." It is outrageous yet familiar at the same time. The unaware who stumble across this show may wonder if they are watching a Spinal Tap spinoff or a PBS comedy gone awry. If the sight of the Osbourne's fluffy grey cat curled up next to Ozzy on the couch does not warm your heart, you are a stone.
The Howard Stern Show (1990)
IMBD reviewers may have little recognition of this classic, since it was carried on superstation WWOR; unless you had a cable system that carried it or lived in the New York City vicinity, you may have only heard about it. In many ways this was far superior to the later CBS Saturday night syndicated show. Social commentary was mixed with satire--the hypocrisy of a real-life priest accused of exploiting the teenage boys in the shelter he ran was immortalized in a spoof of a K-tel type commercial. It parodied songs such as Ringo Starr's "Photograph" with "I like to take boys and make photographs...I can't believe that people think I'm so nice." A politically incorrect classic. Who can forget loveable Stuttering John getting berated by baseball legend Ted Williams--for asking him if he ever broke wind in the catcher's face! It was a little rough around the edges, like an upscale public access show, but the obvious low budget and cheesy set only added to its mystique. But do not be fooled; a lot of hard work and funny writing went into this. As the radio show gained more exposure over the years through syndication, there are probably many newer fans who are even unaware of the existence of the "Channel 9 show," as it was often called. They deserve a chance to witness it for the first time, and the rest of us deserve to savor it again.
Hard to Hold (1984)
Hard to Hold Down Lunch
If you are going to go through all the trouble of making a movie, how much more of an effort is it to make it somewhat clever, or at the very least moderately fun? This looks like a quickie vehicle slapped together to capitalize on Rick Springfield's 80s popularity. It was his era; he could have belched the alphabet and it would have gone gold. Expanding on that theory, we have "Hard To Hold" as the cramp-producing result.The woman he is pursuing is all wrong for him; you cannot possibly get what he sees in her. She is totally unsympathetic, unlikeable and miserable, seemingly in a chronic PMS state for the majority of the movie. Someone should have given Patti Hansen more to do, as her character lends the only semblance of crediblity to this career-squelching morass of mediocrity.
Makes me want to dig out my copy of "Rumors"
This was actually considered racy back when it originally aired (or atleast the subject matter of teenagers losing their virginity on network TV was). Back in 1978, I gathered with two close friends to watch it in private at one of their houses, since her grandmother went to bed early and we could discuss its implications without our parents around. Watching this movie now, it is almost quaint. If you remember when Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" was on radio every 10 minutes, you will want to watch this for historical purposes. They actually play Pong, THE original video game, in this, and it was considered cool! They play RECORDS at parties! The one thing I could not relate to was dancing to dorky songs like "Right Time of the Night" at supposedly cool parties, with guys in polyester shirts. No, no, no; not at any of the parties I attended. Because of the sensitive nature of the subject matter, I suppose we must tolerate a couple of moral things thrown in, like responsible birth control, but atleast we didn't get a lecture on teenage drinking (thank you, Judy Blume!).
Then Came You (2000)
For those of you that blinked and missed the few episodes aired, the premise of this show was a divorced professional woman in her thirties living in a posh hotel who becomes involved with a considerably younger hotel worker. Of course you are going "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" at this point and I'm sure this is what ABC was hoping to accomplish. The concept is much more interesting than the execution; witness the short lifespan of this show. The two lead characters are about the same ages as my husband and me when we first met, so I feel well qualified to judge this show. Quite honestly, the only way anyone would have been able to maintain the physical standards implied on this show is to have absolutely have no outside life or obligations whatsoever and be wealthy enough to go live in a hotel and not do much else. You do not root for this couple because you cannot fathom how they could possibly have any sort of future together outside of a hotel room. You do not sense any sort of emotional connection or attraction. For the sake of realism, it would be refreshing if we heard a realistic ambiguity from Billie, such as "Oh my gosh, I can't believe that when I was a college freshman you were in kindergarten!" The whole younger man/older woman concept is used here for titillation purposes mostly. I do not expect it to be a politically correct vehicle to show how these relationships can actually work, but making it so shallow helped to determine its doomed fate. This show, or atleast the premise, would have been better suited to a something in the vein of "Once and Again." It can be done with some romance, drama, a touch of humor and emotion, and the concept hasn't been beaten to death, either.
An Overlooked Classic That Deserves A Better Fate
MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS! Sadly, while "Peanuts" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" are sentimentally celebrated, digitally remastered and shown in their original entirety in network primetime, this classic has been shuttled off to cable hell. Don't get me wrong, I love those specials as much as I love this one, but it deserves a lot more respect than it gets. If you get this one confused with the other Animagic specials, just remember this is the one with "Put one foot in front of the other." Need I say more? Of course you know it. And you are probably doing it now! By all means, if you or your children have never seen this, be sure to rent or buy it. What you see now on cable is a watered-down excuse to run a bunch of Christmas commercials. Watch it and you will swear you have developed Attention Deficit Disorder. Oops, here's a clip of the show! Hey, quick, three commercials! Now, another clip of the show! OOh, two commercials... The show itself seems to have been thrown in as an afterthought. If you read the other reviews and have only seen this version, you may ask yourself, when did Jessica break into song, surrounded by the psychedelic swirling colors? When did the Burgemeister burn all the toys? Not happening in this cut-and-paste version; trust me. I personally took offense to the deletion of the song that starts "If you sit on my lap today, a kiss a toy is the price you pay..." Someone with half a merchandising brain would release a holiday CD of these songs (I've looked; it doesn't exist) and a line of Christmas ornaments (Fred Astaire's mailman in that adorable mail truck come to mind)and plush toys (picture The Winter Warlock and the penguin Topper). Three boos and coal in the stocking for the cable Scrooges that have deemed this a holiday afterthought. Ignore them and go enjoy yourself.
The Beatles (1965)
Does this stick out in anyone else's mind?
I couldn't have been more than four or five when this show came out! Many years later (like 25!) "I'll Follow The Sun" came on the radio at work. I mentioned to my friend how whenever I heard this song I could vividly recall how it was featured in one of the episodes of the cartoon, even though I only saw the episode once in my life. She said she saw it as a child as well and clearly remembered the scene, with the sun in one corner and the Beatles in a cluster looking up and following it. And strangely, it was the one and only element either one of us could remember about the series at all. I would love to have the opportunity to see this series again, perhaps on Cartoon Network or TV Land.
A Night in Heaven (1983)
If You Expect the Worst, You May be Surprised
I rented this movie as a total goof with a friend about a year after it came out, expecting it to be as cheesy and pathetic as the trailer. This is not great cinema by any means. But some actual thought went into the making of this and it was a lot better than I ever anticipated. In fact, back in the day, Siskel and Ebert actually gave this two thumbs up, for the chemistry between Lesley Ann Warren and Christopher Atkins. It has been said that he was so into his character that after the filming it took him a long time to get over his costar. Lesley Ann Warren's shocked expressions are priceless. The great Bryan Adams songs are relevant; not just tacked on because they are cool and will sell soundtracks. This is not a movie you would ever want to admit aloud that you like. But you may be surprised to find that you're secretly admitting it to yourself.
"Alice" Meets "The Flintstones"
Am I the only one who ever caught this? There is an episode of "The Flintstones" involving Fred and money hidden in a bowling ball, where he gets a burglar to write a fake apology note explaining the disappearance of the money even though he is the one that really took it. The writers were so lazy that they actually took that episode and converted it, virtually line for line, into an episode of "Alice." What were they thinking, "HooHaa, anyone who watches this show is so stupid they'll never realize it!" ? Talk about reheating those leftovers in that diner! Think I'll pass.
I Loved This
I started watching this during junior high school. I was probably a little older than the "target" group, but the kids on the show were about my age. At first a few of my cool friends laughed at me, but pretty soon they were hooked and we all watched it together. It was like a secret society. But it still appealed to us, as the features and segments were interesting and well-done, educational but not boring and preachy. It worked because the creators did not treat kids as morons and had respect for their audience's intelligence.