What Once Beloved TV Character Now Strikes You As Being Annoying?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Professor Echo, May 6, 2013.

  1. John Hermes

    John Hermes Screenwriter

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    How about "The Duenia", where Ricky has a date with a Mexican girl who can't speak English. Ozzie plans to meet Harriet at the same place later so he accompanies Ricky. The girl brings along a chaperone who ends up having the hots for Ozzie. Ozzie's broken Spanish is hilarious, and he's really in a pickle when Harriet shows up. Just one of about 400 other great O&H shows.
     
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  2. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    John, thank you so much for reminding me of this episode. I had only faint memories of seeing this one decades ago, and had somehow skipped it on the massive "Best Of" set that Mill Creek released way back when. I plugged it in this evening and my family and I thoroughly enjoyed it, laughing at every turn. As you mentioned, Ozzie's broken Spanish was indeed hilarious as he kept saying "Chihuahua" (very confidently) whenever he was thanking someone for something. It was truly hysterical. I owe you for mentioning that one, buddy!


    Gary "hoping this series will indeed see legit season set releases at some point down the road" O.
     
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  3. JohnMor

    JohnMor Producer
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    One of the best things about the "classic" comedies of the past, is that they had such varied types of humor, from slapstick to verbal repartee to gentle comedy. You watched different series for different types of humor. Nowadays almost all sitcoms have the same tone: post-modern, cynical and slightly surrealistic. They all have the same rhythm almost too. It's not that they can't be funny, but it's all the same humor today, or at least pretty similar. Sometimes I really miss sweet, gentle comedy. It's a lost art. Now they clock laughs per minute. Part of it is the term "sitcom." I don't think the people who make them these days even know what "situation" comedy is or why the term was even coined to differentiate it from stand-up comedy.
     
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  4. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

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    John, the trouble comes from just about every "sitcom" today feeling it must be filmed in front of a live audience. I remember reading an essay in FILM COMMENT back in the late 70's that said shows like THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW and GREEN ACRES could never be done again because no one wanted to make laugh track sitcoms anymore. They were considered horribly dated and stupid, especially after Alan Alda so vocally campaigned against using one in MASH. But the essayist praised the laugh track, saying when used correctly it was not such a bad thing for shows that had less than uproarious humor every second; not the overdone laugh tracks of THE ADDAMS FAMILY or other shows from that time which didn't know how to properly utilize it, but for little sitcoms that needed a tiny observational chuckle to remind you of how silly life can be.

    The problem with a live audience is that ever since HAPPY DAYS producers have acted scared to death of an in studio audience being silent for any length of time, which results in perpetual gag fests and deliriously loud, laughing, even screaming audiences. This too has contributed to very easy targets for cheap laughs, much of the time on a junior high school level.
     
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  5. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Since the turn of the century, the opposite has been the case. There are still live audience shows, but one-camera stuff is all the rage in the industry, and Malcolm in the Middle, the UK Office and Arrested Development sparked the trend.
     
  6. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

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    I haven't seen those. I'm just aware of the live audience sitcoms my gf watches and they are extremely noisy. ;)
     
  7. Ejanss

    Ejanss Banned

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    Wait...Are you saying that the current crop of mean "slobcoms" like 2 Broke Girls, Mike & Molly and How I Met Your Mother are filmed in front of real flesh-and-blood audiences?

    No, seriously: I know Disney Channel's tween-coms live in the writers' and producers' 80's Facts of Life and Diff'rent Strokes childhoods, and use the same canned laughtracks from Saved By the Bell to go with the same diner set--
    I just thought, y'know, we haven't had that many on the free networks for a few years before now, so thought the practice had caught on with some of the lazier new comics and producers who wanted to get that network sitcom deal rolling without the trouble and expense--Too hard to get one-set audiences these days, they just pasted the new laughtracks on the style of gags and acting they remembered from the Friends reruns.

    Big Bang Theory still has some Cheers-era sense of human interaction between the laugh-ers and the laugh-ees, but Whitney?? C'mon. You couldn't get a real audience to do that.
    Go out there with that material in front of a real studio audience without a net, and those actors would REALLY be scared to death.
     
  8. jimmyjet

    jimmyjet Producer

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    few actors are similar to the roles they played. take a look at carroll o'connor and his real life versus archie.

    put me in the camp of liking ozzie a million times better than aitf, with all its bigotry displayed.
     
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  9. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I don't even want to get into this (especially since I'm not much of a fan of All In The Family) but AITF is not a bigoted show, it's a show about a bigot. There's a massive difference.
     
  10. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Cinematographer

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    They seem to think that AITF was bigoted against conservatives, but Mike was shown to be a fool just as much as Archie was.
     
  11. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    I wouldn't agree with that. Yes, a couple episodes would show the Meathead to be arrogant and condedscending but *never* was he shown to be wrong on a political issue. If we had to hear something on gun control, affirmative action, religion, economics etc. the script was always going to come down on inevitably the same side that a Herbert Brodkin produced drama was going to come down on.
     
  12. FanCollector

    FanCollector Producer

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    I agree that the show never took the conservative side of a political issue, but Mike as an individual is shown to be hypocritical in his politics several times. His response to the women's movement is portrayed as not only disgraceful, but potentially indicative of a callousness on the part of male liberal leaders in general.He is also taken to task in Games Bunkers Play and Edith Writes a Song for generalizing about black people and taking a condescending attitude to them. Later, in Mike's Move, his ideals about affirmative action don't pass the test of his real life experience.Like Maude the series, AITF does embrace the liberal political viewpoint. But like Maude Findlay, Mike Stivic is often shown as not living up to his philosophy. And it's more than just him being personally arrogant; he really does come down on what the show sees as the wrong side of several issues. Also, Archie is never proven right (at least from his starting point) on any political issue, but Archie is sometimes allowed to be morally superior. In Oh Say Can You See and Amelia's Divorce (among others), his old-fashioned loyalty, fidelity, and sense of responsibility are celebrated in contrast to the decaying values around him.
     
  13. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

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    FanCollector, thank you for a learned, balanced, interesting post that actually conveys facts and perspective rather than just blanket generalizations designed to inflame.
     
  14. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    Good, well-rounded comments from FanCollector that I agree with 100%. I realize AITF is considered a classic sitcom and I respect that many people love the show. But since it's been on display a bit here over the last day or so it gives me a chance to correct a wrong impression about my personal dislike for the series. It's absolutely N-O-T all about the Lear worldview factor. Not even close. Here are some of the other reasons:

    1) Anyone that knows me here understands that I don't care for any series, of any genre, that is filled almost exclusively on a sound stage. AITF does this in spades and it comes off as very claustrophobic, as did all the Lear shows, so they don't appeal to me personally.

    2) I've never been a fan of the video-taped sitcom. I much prefer shows that were filmed.

    3) Urban settings in sitcoms have never been my thing. I prefer rural or small town settings. Again, I think the claustrophobic feel that a lot of small houses jammed together in a neighborhood create has a lot to do with it. When I'm watching a TV show I don't want to feel walled in. Just me.

    4) As mentioned here earlier, the 70's sitcoms seemed to bring a real drab feel with them. Viscerally, it's a turnoff to me to see the lack of beautiful colors in these shows that were so prevalent in the late 60's sitcoms.

    5) I just don't like the caustic attitude between the characters. It seems like they are always fighting or arguing, and that's not something I find entertaining. It wasn't the way I was raised and I honestly don't care to see it played out on TV.

    Again, I'm not in any way trying to tear down another poster's favorite show. I'm only explaining that my general dislike for the Lear sitcoms had a lot more to it than just one particular thing. For me it was a combination of factors that lead to a perfect storm that was very unappealing. But we all are different and what one finds unappealing another will find appealing. That's what makes the world go round. :)


    Gary "hang in there, everyone - and have a great day" O.
     
  15. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    Regarding the Lear worldview on AITF, I remember seeing Rob "Meathead" Reiner on the Johnny Carson show discusssing the show when it was at the height of its popularity. On the same show was actor Walter Matthau, who had been on earlier and had already moved down to the next seat. Reiner was going on about how the show was popular because of the views it espoused. Matthau interjected and said: "That's not why your show is popular. Your show is popular because everybody agrees with Archie Bunker". Meathead was beside himself, saying "that is not true; that is absolutely not true!" Matthau just sat there shaking his head and remaining as impertubable as always. It was such an amusing moment i have not forgotten it.

    I enjoyed AITF during it first run, but I just cannot get into 70's sitcom reruns. Some eras evoke nostalgia in me, like shows from the late 50's and early to mid 60's. As I said earlier in the thread, comedies generally do not hold up on repeat viewings for me. Even if I loved a comedy on its first run or in the early rerun stage, I seldom feel the need to re-visit the show on video.
     
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  16. FanCollector

    FanCollector Producer

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    I like AITF, but certainly don't expect everyone to feel the same. All artistic tastes are subjective and none more so than comedy. Gary, you never need to defend your likes and dislikes, but thanks for the thoughtful breakdown in this case. I understand how people can not care for the show; I just wanted to illustrate the truth of the producers' claim: their political viewpoints (and they always admitted to having them) were never placed ahead of characterization in the show. One of the reasons I do enjoy the series is that the characters and relationships were clearly the top priority and that politics and controversy came out of those characterizations rather than the other way around.That being said, Gary, you will feel vindicated to note that a 1970s study found that the average decibel level of AITF was considerably higher than any other entertainment series on the air.
     
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  17. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    Thanks for writing that. I do appreciate it. Normally, I'd never break down the reasons I dislike a show the way I did here. Had I not been publicly "psychoanalyzed" earlier in this thread I would have never even considered doing it. But after that I wanted to make it clear there were multiple reasons I personally don't care for many early 70's sitcoms. Worldview is only one small part of the equation in my case.


    Gary "take care, everyone - moving on to other threads now" O. :3dglasses:
     
  18. Rob_Ray

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    I watched "All in the Family" during its initial run, but it doesn't hold much nostalgia for me, because the decibel level WAS so high. We didn't yell like that at our house, and it grew tiresome after awhile. However, my Dad, who was certainly no more bigoted than the average man born in 1917 was, absolutely loved the show. He never called it "All in the Family." It was simply "Archie." "Archie's comes on tonight!". And though my dad loved watching Meathead put Archie in his place, secretly I think Walter Matthau's comments quoted by David were on the money. Archie was the everyman who, though he was prejudiced against everyone not like him, dared to say what people of my Dad's generation secretly thought and struggled with internally.

    The only sitcoms from the seventies that I have a genuine fondness for are the MTM shows, especially "Mary Tyler Moore" and "Bob Newhart." Those two are in the same league as The Dick Van Dyke Show, which, for me, is still the best written sitcom ever.
     
  19. JohnMor

    JohnMor Producer
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    One of my favorites and one of the best eps they ever did, IMO. Even Lionel calls him on his hypocrisy and Gloria tells him his behavior (in this particular instance) is worse than Archie's ever was.

    Thanks to FanCollector and Gary OS for such thoughtful posts.
     
  20. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Cinematographer

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    I want to say I did not personally "psychoanalyze" Gary O. I talked about something that is part of being human, part of every single one of us -- something called "confirmation bias." His dislike of AITF, including the new reasons he listed above, proves that. He doesn't like the show because of personal reactions to several of its elements. That's what confirmation bias is -- it's not a bad thing. It's part of what makes us human.I feel almost the exact opposite about AITF. I like the shows done on stage sets in front of live audiences, because they're more like a theatrical experience, and I like the theater. I also like the shows done with single cameras on film, because they're more like movies, and I also like movies.By the way, it's true that AITF is drab and not colorful. Norman Lear wanted it to be in black and white, and of course CBS said "no way" -- everything had been in color for years. So he did the best he could to take all the color out of it with drab settings and costumes.As for the family being dysfunctional and fighting all the time, as opposed to the too-good-to-be-true families like the Nelsons and Cleavers (and I like, those, too) -- both views are an extreme. But comedy is all about exaggeration. (And yes, "Games People Play" is one of the best episodes of any sitcom in history, and probably a million times more true to life than any episode with people named Ozzie, Beaver, Bud or Opie in it -- and I like "Beaver" and "Father Knows Best" more than AITF. It's great to have these different views of life. It would be nauseating if we only got the one kind and not the other.)
     
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