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JANUARY 2015 TV DISCUSSION

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I think Sirens is funny. It's probably the most vulgar program that has ever aired on a basic cable station.

Last season was phenomenal. Wasn't terribly impressed with the season premier eps.

Thanks guys, watched the first two eps of Season 1 and was impressed, the gay dude is very funny.

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Y'all need a Harris' Favorite TV Shows thread.

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I can't concentrate on Sirens anytime Jessica McNamee is on screen, god damn she is beautiful.

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Titus was incredible for the time. Remember, they were still dumb and canceling Family Guy, which meant that the reason Titus got cancelled after three seasons was because they had their heads up their collective asses. (That reason being an unaired episode on a child molester coming back into his family's life.) Titus himself said he was really hoping to get to 100 episodes for syndication rights, but it never got there. Total shame. The DVDs are now pretty rare (Going for anywhere from $70-$100 on Amazon) but they can be found on YouTube easily.

 

Frasier really is tremendous, but I'll have to see if I like it more than Cheers. As great as Seinfeld was, Cheers was really the perfect sitcom. I loved Frasier for the timing and the intelligence of some of the jokes, but Cheers in its heyday is the best sitcom I've ever seen.

 

Parks and Rec, Archer, Broad City, all have been good. I'm happy to hear good things about Sirens. Will have to check that out.

Well that and Titus told the head of the network(or another VIP at close to that level) to go fuck herself(more or less). He tells the story in his special, the Voice in my head. . . 

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And now it's time for another installment of OLD LADIES YOU SHOULD LOVE!!!!!

 

Guys, I'm kind of drifting into a dangerous IMDB freefall right now.  It all started when I was watching an episode of BARNEY MILLER that was particularly great.  A guy (The great Kenneth Tigar who will someday get his own post) reports that he has been mugged and beaten by "a woman in her early 70s."  So they go to their mugshot books (remember those on cop shows!) and haul in a bunch of OLD ASS ladies with violent criminal records.  Needless to say, I am instantly in heaven.  I may spend to rest of the month unraveling the riches of this episode.

One of the old ladies was Florence Halop, immediately recognizable to any 80s person as Flo, or "the second old lady bailiff" from NIGHT COURT,

 

Florence_Halop.jpg

and as Mrs. Hufnagle from ST. ELSEWHERE.

In this clip she's hanging out with Murray Rubin, playing a character named Murray Rubin.  Murray Rubin is a story in his o...NO STAY ON TRACK!!! DON'T SPIRAL!!

I do a google image search on Florence Halop and find this, from the 1930s:

 

Florence_Halop_11.jpg

That is Florence Halop getting ready for a radio broadcast written and directed by ORSON FUCKING WELLES!!! Florence Halop was a child radio star.  A what now?  A CHILD RADIO STAR!!! How is that even a thing?  By the time she four, so by 1927, she was one of the most famous voices in radio.  Her brother, you see was Billy Halop, one of the original "Dead End Kids" who eventually morphed into the Bowery Boys.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YR9gtwpB2cM
This stuff was huge.  They made 89 movies centered on this group.  It all started on Broadway in 1935DAMMIT STAY ON TOPIC!!! HOLD IT TOGETHER...

So Florence Halop was a radio star by the age of 4.  She ended up part of Orson Welles Mercury Theater on the Air.  That is some serious sit.  She was basically making the rounds on every possible show from then until the late 50s.  
sandra_gould_eddie_green_charlie_cantor_

She was also one of those people who crossed over from radio to the very early days of t.v. along with some of those shows.  She has fantastic sounding t.v. credits like "Don Ameche's Musical Playhouse"  WHAT THE FUCK IS DON AMECHE"S MUSICAL PLAYHOUSE AND HOW DO I GET IN!!!!????? NO.. STOP...Do NOT google Don Ameche's Musical Playhouse!!  We are NOT DONE with Florence Halop.

But that's only one reason to love this lady.  She was also preternaturally old, which means once she went into t.v., she basically played old ladies for a solid 35 years.  Here are the opening credits for a really obscure early CBS radio show turned sitcom called MEET MILLIE, about a wise-cracking secretary.  This show was a huge hit in the 40s on radio.  It was basically the MAD MEN of its day.  Florence Halop is 28 in this.  


You're thinking maybe she's the wise cracking secretary? Nope.  At 28 she's playing "Mama."  The old lady.  Thus begins her Odyssey as one of the great "PEOPLE WHO WERE NEVER NOT OLD!"

She played some version of "Mrs. Kravitz" "Mrs. Kowalski" "Old Lady on phone" "Mean old librarian" "Little Old Lady" "Aunt Esther" "Aunt Gussie" From 1951 to her death in 1986.  That is a long old lady career that spans old lady roles from I LOVE LUCY up through ALICE, GIMME A BREAK, HILL STREET BLUES, and of course, NIGHT COURT.

She voiced 40 DIFFERENT CHARACTERS on CAPTAIN CAVEMAN AND THE TEEN ANGELS alongside Mel Blanc.

But maybe most importantly, she was on this, which opens with the following message:


 

 

Hello, I'm Conrad Baine.  Tonight on Different Strokes, we are presenting the second half on a two-part show on a very important subject: the dangers of hitchhiking.  We urge families, children and parents to watch this special episode together because some of the material presented might be disturbing to younger children. Thank you.

OH YEAH!!  FLORENCE HALOP WAS THERE WHEN ARNOLD AND KIMBERLY GOT KIDNAPPED!!!  Florence Halop was there for everything.  including Super Password with Richard Moll, who is essentially still dressed like Bull the Bailiff.

 



But something else caught my eye.  Something from 1985 called GEORGE BURNS COMEDY WEEK.  Did George Burns have a sketch comedy show int he 80s?

According to this, yes.



WHAT IN THE LIVING FUCK WAS THAT????  WHO COMMISSIONED THAT  CARNIVAL FROM HELL OPENING MUSIC??? WAS THAT DON RICKLES AND DON KNOTTS TOGETHER???  WAS THAT JOE PISCOPO!??? WHAT IS HAPPEING???

 

Here's the thing.  George Burns was in none of this.  It was a backdoor for CBS to dump a bunch of failed pilot ideas.  Burns showed up and did a little soft shoe and told a joke and then got the fuck out of there and went to the track.



and then INSTEAD OF GEORGE BURNS we were into something like this...Dave Thomas and Bronson Pinchot as Russian Cosmonauts who crash land in Las Vegas...guys, this is going to be horrible.



But goddamn it I know I saw a bit in that where Don Rickles and Don Knotts were doing something together and I WILL NOT REST UNTIL I SEE THAT!!!!

georgedondon887873848404.jpg

 

LOOK AT THAT!?!?! WHAT IS THAT????? 

 

Anyway, Florence Halop was great.  She played six different characters on BARNEY MILLER which believe it or not only puts her in a tie for third on the list of "most different characters played on BARNEY MILLER."

 

I LOVE YOU FLORENCE HALOP!!!!

 

duffyflorence.jpg

RRRRROWWRRRR!!


 

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I've seen a few episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm. It's undoubtedly very funny, but it does seem be just one joke. As opposed to Arrested Development, Bob's Burgers  or The Simpsons which work on a few different levels.

 

Not to mention, Cheryl is just a terribly written character.  This is the same guy who gave us Elaine?

This isn't really a character you can get a handle on from watching a "few episodes".

 

 

Curb is a show that you get it or you don't.  If you don't, I can't help you.

 

But Curb initially was one of the funniest shows ever.  Loved it.  But then it started getting kinda bad.  Predictable.  You knew where the jokes were going. Basically it turned into Seinfeld's last seasons.  I was pretty much about to give up on it.  And then he gets divorced, and I can't even tell you how much better it became.  Cheers is one of the few shows to survive a major change but Curb is one of the fewer shows to take a MAJOR plot change and make it so much better. 

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Piranesi, I worked with Ken Tigar on three different shows at the Cleveland Playhouse, Lake George and Urban Stages in New York. He is awesome and absolutely deserves his own post. Strangely, despite working with many people that are probably more well known, Ken Tigar was the only name I worked with that ever impressed my dad, because he knew him as the werewolf from Barney Miller. 

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Piranesi, I worked with Ken Tigar on three different shows at the Cleveland Playhouse, Lake George and Urban Stages in New York. He is awesome and absolutely deserves his own post. Strangely, despite working with many people that are probably more well known, Ken Tigar was the only name I worked with that every impressed my dad, because he knew him as the werewolf from Barney Miller.

 

 

FUCK YEAH!  Mr. Koepeckne! 

 

Kenneth Tigar has a Ph.D. in German Lit. from Harvard.  His dissertation (1970) was titled:

 

Arnolt Bronnen: a spiritual biography of a Weimar dramatist.    Wiki-Wiki describes Bronnen's plays as "stuffed with perversities and sado-masochistic motifs"  YEAH GERMAN EXPRESSIONIST THEATER!!!!

 

They also have an undergraduate honors paper on file that he wrote in 1964 on Holderlin.  I may have to order a copy of both.

 

I'd like to think Hal Linden was constantly pestering him about Brecht and Tigar would be like "Ask Vigoda, he was there!"

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I'll share one Ken Tigar story and then let Piranesi do what he does, which will inevitably be more entertaining. Anyway, Ken did a recurring role on Dallas for a while, and one day, he was shooting a scene where he had a (lengthy for television) monologue. Apparently, they had to shoot the scene a few times, and he kept doing the monologue over and over, without the help of cue cards or cheats. Tigar's ability to memorize a minutes worth of text in an afternoon amazed Priscilla Presley, who for the rest of the shoot thought Ken was some sort of super genius until one of the costumers told Presley "Oh honey, he's one of those theatre actors. They can all memorize like that". After that, I think she was still impressed, but moreso that there were thousands of people like him that could memorize something quickly and effectively. 

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We should cut her a break.  Her first husband couldn't be bothered to memorize the words to Burnin' Love:

 

 

 

Note: There are roughly 30 words in Burnin' love.

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Carl Reiner said to tweet him and he would pass the sentiments on to mel

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A part of me would love to geek out and put Firefly #1, but in terms of my top shows of all time....

1. Frasier (Quality IN quantity. There's no "down" period in this show. There's a bit of a drop-off at the last season, but it's really tiny. They put out quality work throughout.)

2. The West Wing (John Wells found his feet in the last season and the first three stand out as amazing television.)

3. M*A*S*H (Even more so than my top two, this show needs to never be forgotten, and never be out of syndication)

4. Batman: The Animated Series (I defy you to name a BETTER American cartoon. You can get funnier. You can even get better animated. You will never get better.)

5. Golden Girls (A lot of 80s shows don't hold up for me now. I like Cheers, but not as much as I used to. It's depressing how little I like Night Court, now. This is the exception.)

6. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine/Star Trek: The Next Generation (tie) (I go back and forth between these. At first, TNG was my touchstone. Later in life, I appreciated the story arc better, and for a while held up DS9 as my preferred Trek series. Having watched TNG rerurns on BBC America lately, they've been brought back into balance. DS9 had some amazing writing, and the last few seasons are great, but TNG had a better cast, and on balance probably more success as an episodic show. I'm torn.)

8. Roseanne (Ok, so the last season sucked. Before that, though.)

9. Firefly (This is as low as I'm going with this. By which I mean it's the highest I can justify something with 14 episodes.)

10. Pushing Daisies (I had really no idea what to put here. Nothing was coming to mind as my "Yeah, that's what I want to put here!" finisher, to the point where I was skimming through IMDB's top-rated shows, and this one clocked it at #178, showing that even among cult fans, it's sadly underrated.

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Oh top shows is very different from top sitcoms...

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I dont know if i still have the results, but when we did the DVDVR "top 150 shows since 1980" poll, the Simpsons won.

Of course, all i remember is the (shocking to me) top ten showing of Boy Meets World.

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Well, going with top sitcoms, you've got my first 4 there, in Frasier, M*A*S*H, Golden Girls, and Roseanne. If I've got to round out a top 5, I'd throw in Daria, which I loved to an unhealthy degree in my late teens.

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Top sitcoms. I would have to think about this some more but I would assume Seinfeld, Fresh Prince, Married...with Children, Boy Meets World and Roseanne would be my top 5. I might be forgetting something.

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Dick Van Dyke show has to rate over a lot that's been mentioned.

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Well, going with top sitcoms, you've got my first 4 there, in Frasier, M*A*S*H, Golden Girls, and Roseanne. If I've got to round out a top 5, I'd throw in Daria, which I loved to an unhealthy degree in my late teens.

I had such a crush on Daria back in the day. . . . 

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I don't think I really appreciated DARIA until around 2004 or so when there was an old Shoutcast t.v. station that ran it 24/7 and I would gorge on it every night until the wee hours of the morning. 

 

Oh, Winamp!  I miss those glorious days of early streaming where I would literally watch some idiots desktop and listen to his stupid techno just because of the novelty of it.

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Daria was a beacon of light for those of us the same age back then, regardless of our gender. Such a great show. 

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Daria is one of the many things back then that just never spoke to me.  Kids my aged latched onto it, and bands like Nirvana, and I'm like "get the fuck over it".

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