Category Archives: TGIF

Reginald VelJohnson in Uniform Moment of the Week: What Hell Hath He Wrought?

We’re going way back to Season 1 of Family Matters this week to bring you our Reginald VelJohnson in Uniform Moment of the Week.  In this episode, the show’s twelfth and Steve Urkel’s first appearance, Carl arranges for Steve to be Laura’s date to the school dance.  It proves to be a monumental mistake that will haunt Carl, and viewers, for years to come, as Urkel, originally intended to be a one-shot character, became the show’s breakout star and our lives were never the same.  Yes, Carl, you did do that.

The beginning of the end!

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Filed under Reginald VelJohnson, TGIF

Gratuitious Search Term Bait of the Day: By George, We Think They Got It

A rather odd search term today, part of which we understand, part of which we’re not so sure about, as one of today’s top phrases was “jason feeny.”  Certainly, we could see why someone would end up on this site by searching for Feeny, as Boy Meets World’s Mr. Feeny (as portrayed by the esteemed William Daniels) is one of our all-time favorites, someone whom we should write about more.  We’re thrilled if this is where searching for “feeny” takes you.  And we cite the name “Jason’ at least once a week, thanks to our preferred SNL cast member, Mr. Jason Sudeikis.  But “Jason Feeny?”  We don’t know who that is.  So since you get enough Sudeikis on this site (for example, earlier today, for no reason at all), we’re going to devote this post to the distinguished, debonair,  George Hamilton Feeny.

In a post we hope to craft soon we’re going to argue that the shows that comprised TGIF (Family Matters, Full House, Perfect Strangers) weren’t entirely terrible.  They certainly had their deficiencies, and no one would confuse them with truly smart, groundbreaking television.  But they had their time and their place, and we’re important shows of their era.  However, the cream of the crop from that block was Boy Meets World, which joined the TGIF line-up in 1993.  In fact, it’s probably the only real quality show from that group by most criteria, and while we would accept a case that Full House and Family Matters were lackluster sitcoms, we’ll go to our graves defending Boy Meets World.

Lasting seven seasons, just barely making it to the new millennium, the show (through a few time jumps) followed Cory Matthews from elementary school to college, often reinventing itself in the process.  Over its run the show featured new characters and locations, and even a change in comic sensibilities and personalities, but the one constant was Mr. Feeny.   He started as school teacher to Corey, his brother Eric, his longtime love Topanga and best friend Shawn, then became their principal and finally their professor.  But through it all he was their mentor, their guide, dispensing equal parts wisdom and tough love.  So it was fitting then that the series ended with those children, now grown, thanking Mr. Feeny for teaching them, for caring about them, and for shaping them into who they are.

Did you cry?  A little bit?  That’s okay.   Us too.

Two more Feeny moments and an overdue thank you…

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Filed under Feeny, Gratuitous Search Term Bait, In defense of:, TGIF

Whooo Isss It??? It’s ‘Bosom Buddies’, Finally Getting the Recognition It Deserves!

We were pleased to encounter some well-earned commendations for Bosom Buddies this week, from two relatively varied sources.  First, in the AV Club‘s truly excellent Primer on 1980s sitcoms, they list Buddies as one of the cult hits from the decade that played with traditional sitcom conventions.  Article scribe Todd VanDerWerff continues:

Bosom Buddies, which debuted on ABC in the fall of 1980, has a reputation as one of the worst shows of all time in some circles, but it’s actually a surreal work of near-genius and the only good show to ever emerge from the Miller-Boyett factory. Miller-Boyett assigned a young writer named Chris Thompson to work on a TV spin on Some Like It Hot, and he cast Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari in the lead roles…Thompson, who would go on to work on The Larry Sanders Show, filled the series with strange sight gags and mostly abandoned his central premise as soon as he possibly could. The show allowed Hanks and Scolari to improvise freely, often leaving the script for far funnier, stranger tangents.

Some might question the rank of “near-genius,” but we’re here to defend it.  We recently used Blizzpocalypse as an excuse to revisit the series, and it’s impressive how well it holds up.  And, as a bonus, there are jokes that I didn’t get upon first viewing that, with the benefit of age and wisdom, I now understand (although, there are still others I didn’t get then and don’t get now).  However, we’re not exactly sure that we’d qualify the program as “surreal;” certainly, the premise that Hanks and Scolari, in the roles Kip and Henry, were required to dress in drag in order to maintain residence at a “hotel for women” was somewhat off-beat for the time, but, as the writer mentions, since the show was loosely based on Some Like It Hot it’s not exactly a novel premise.  But VanDerWerff is right on when he notes that they wisely jettisoned the drag plotlines, in favor of letting the talented cast (including Holland Taylor, Wendie Jo Sperber, Donna Dixon and Telma Hopkins) utilize their immense chemistry and crack timing in more successful, less gimmicky storylines.

(we urge you to go over to the AV Club and read the comprehensive essay as soon as you finish this post.  You’ll need to set aside a good 20 minutes, more if you want to watch the accompanying videos (primary source materials), but it’ll be worth it.  And be certain to also study their 1970s sitcom Primer, either before or after (however, we do take umbrage with the 80s Primer’s criticism of the shows that comprised TGIF.  Certainly, those sitcoms don’t represent the best the decade had to offer, but they have their redeeming qualities.  However, that’s a defense for a later post.))

Continue to see what a certain The Office star also has to say about the show…

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Filed under Buffy & Hildegarde, Fashion Show at Lunch, Good with Coffee, Hanx, Internet Killed the Print Media Star, Interweb, Mancrush, Nostalgia Corner, Other people's stuff, TGIF

Gratuitous Search Term Bait of the Day: Gold Medley

Today it appears that many of you found this blog by searching for “jimmy fallon tgif themes,” ostensibly referring to the TGIF theme song medley performed on Late Night last April by a capella superstars Straight No Chaser.  While those readers were on the right track, the video from Late Night is, unfortunately, no longer available.  However, fret not, because we’re going to do better than that TGIF-only medley.  Below, find a more inclusive sitcom medley from Straight No Chaser, one that will satisfy your TGIF cravings (Full House, Perfect Strangers), but will also ask you to show them that smile again.

And, just because, here’s SNC (as their fans lovingly refer to them) with their rendition of one of our all-time favorite jams:

It’s Wednesday night and, thanks to Straight No Chaser, we feel all right (also, we’re getting pizza!).

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Filed under Gratuitous Search Term Bait, Growing Pains, TGIF, Tyranasaurus Sex, Wake Up, SF!

Reginald VelJohnson in Uniform Moment of the Week: Debut Edition!

We recently had the pleasure of viewing Die Hard for the very first time (seriously!) and we were struck by a number of things.  For example, it’s really, really good, Bruce Willis had a lot more hair; Alan Rickman is super creepy; you can totally see its influence on Community‘s paintball episode; and the late 80s were a weird time when computer screens only broadcast in two colors, green and black.  But perhaps our biggest takeaway was this: Reginald VelJohnson sure does play a lot of cops and other uniformed personnel.  And with that small thought, that tiny light bulb, was birthed yet another Jumped the Snark semi-regular feature.  So, without anymore hesitation, our first installment of the “Reginald VelJohnson in Uniform Moment of the Week:”

Yes, we did that.

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Filed under Greendale Human, Reginald VelJohnson, TGIF, The Big Screen

What Was ‘Perfect Strangers’ Trying to Tell Us About 9/11?

We were on Wikipedia this morning reading about old TGIF shows, as is our Thursday morning custom, and we were stunned to learn that the exterior Chicago shots in Perfect Strangers’ opening title sequence were shot on September 11, 1987.

Normally we might not think anything of this, but after reading this yesterday we’re not so sure.  If The Simpsons foretold the events 9/11 four years before they happened, could Perfect Strangers have been warning us fourteen years in advance?  What did they know??

Here’s the video in question:

And now think about the lyrics:

Standing tall, on the wings of my dream.
Rise and fall, on the wings of my dream.

Tall?  Fall?  Wings?  C’mon, guys, pretty prophetic stuff.

MIND. BLOWN.

In addition, the USA Network stopped rerunning the show in syndication as of September 11, 1998, eleven years after the opening sequence footage was shot.

BOOM.

Anyone know if Bronson Pinchot is in the Illuminati?

And that’s not all; Wikipedia also notes that Lost‘s Elizabeth Mitchell appeared in the pilot episode of the classic 1980s Nickelodeon show You Can’t Do That On Television.  However, the show originated out of Canada, while Mitchell was born in LA and grew up in Dallas.  EXPLAIN THAT ONE!  Another one of Lost‘s mysteries that will remain unresolved?  Or is it part of a greater conspiracy?

Think about it.

You’re welcome.

 

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Filed under Conspiracy Theory, LOST, Makes You Think, TGIF

Nostalgia Corner: ‘Valerie/Valerie’s Family/The Hogan Family’

Every era has its own specific genre of TV show, and within that genre there’s a hierarchy: the forerunners, the second-rate but solid middle class and the imitators.  For example, in the late ’90s you had shows like Friends and Seinfeld at the forefront of the “good-looking single young people in NY” genre, and then a second tier, with shows like Mad About You, that were good, not great, but still run for over 100 episodes, and then you had outright copycats like The Single Guy and It’s Like…You Know that burn out after one or two seasons.  Or in the 1970s (as you can read much more about in the AV Club’s70s Sitcom Primer), you had the top dogs like All in the Family and Mary Tyler Moore, then a second level with series like Maude and Rhoda, and then the bottom rung with shows we’ve never heard of because we’re too young (but possibly including Bridget Loves Birney).  Likewise, the late ’80s/early ’90s was the golden age for saccharine, safe, wholesome family sitcoms, a genre which basically dominated the airwaves from about 1986 until Seinfeld and Friends changed the game in the mid-’90s.  Your preeminent shows in this era included The Cosby Show, Growing Pains and Full House, who were a cut above other successful shows like Who’s The Boss?, Family Matters and Major Dad; and then you had the bottom layer, cheap xeroxes and flashes in the pan like Baby Talk, Getting By, and Day By Day.  Right there, in that second tier – the shows that never set the ratings world on fire, programs that are not looked back on as innovators in the genre, and yet ran for many seasons in first run broadcast and in syndication – you can find The Hogan Family.  Premiering in 1986 as Valerie, starring Valerie Harper (of MTM and Rhoda, mentioned above), and morphing into Valerie’s Family and ultimately the Hogan Family after Harper left the show due to creative differences following the second season (killed off via car accident on the show), the show ran for 6 seasons with 110 ten episodes across two networks.  It never won any major awards, was never critically acclaimed, and was never atop the Nielsens.  And yet it was a staple on NBC for many seasons (paired with ALF, natch), and could be seen for years in reruns on local channels and basic cable networks.  Buoyed by Sandy Duncan, who stepped in for Harper as Aunt Sandy (creative!), it was a workhorse; a dependable, middle of the road sitcom that perhaps defines the era.  Also, no other show featured Edie McClurg and Willard Scott.

Before he was Michael Bluth, Jason Bateman was David Hogan, and if not for the brilliance of Arrested Development (which couldn’t be further from The Hogan Family on the sitcom scale) that could have been his most memorable role (besides Teen Wolf TooAnd this).   But The Hogan Family is where he cut his chops (and for which his work as director qualified him as the youngest ever member of the DGA), and you can see a little bit of oldest brother David Hogan in most responsible brother Michael Bluth, both of whom often had to play the father figure in their respective TV families.

Indeed, one could argue that Bateman’s finest work can be found in the Hogan Family episode “Burned Out, as the Hogan clan, still reeling from the loss of their matriarch, must watch helplessly as their house burns down, the result of a rogue lamp in the attic (because that sort of thing happened in those days).  Scroll to approximately 6:00 to see Bateman work his magic.

Interesting bit of trivia about this episode, courtesy of Wikipedia:

The episode had a commercial tie-in with the McDonald’s Corporation, who financed the expenses accrued in damaging the set for the fire. As a sponsor that evening, McDonald’s commercials aired promoting fire safety.

Because that makes sense.

McDonald’s, we know we speak for Jason Bateman  when we say thank you.  Thank you.

And, because it’s somewhat relevant, let us again remind you about Justine Bateman.

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Filed under Bob Loblaw, Good Humor, Growing Pains, Lists, Nostalgia Corner, Seinlanguage, TGIF, Wake Up, SF!, Who's the Boss?