Tag Archives: Fox

Tyler the Destroyer: Steven Announces Retirement from ‘American Idol’

Everyone is reporting on this, so we will too, even though getting emotionally invested in Steven Tyler leaving American Idol to focus on Aerosmith and kicking ass making no sense is just as silly as getting emotionally invested in Steven Tyler leaving Aerosmith to focus on American Idol and kicking ass making no sense.  But Tyler leaves a big, scarf shaped hole to fill, and it will be hard for Idol to find a replacement who looks so much like our mom and dresses so much like our grandma.

But, more importantly, it leaves Randy, once again, without one of his dawgs.  He had so much admiration for Steven too.

At this point Fox should just combine Idol with Kids Say the Darndest Things and call it a day.

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Filed under All the sudden I could really go for a Coke

21 Jump Streets Ahead: Officer Hanson Doesn’t Like Chocolate Milk

Last week dear Jumped the Snark friend Eliot Glazer co-hosted a night of trivia in Brooklyn themed around the two great female-ensemble sitcoms of the late 80s/early 90s – Golden Girls and Designing Women.  In between rounds Glazer and co-host H. Alan Scott played clips from each series, highlighting not just how smart, funny and fresh the shows still are, but also how they weren’t afraid to confront taboo issues of the time, including AIDS and homosexuality.  These serious, socially conscious moments reminded us of another show from that era that wasn’t afraid to push the envelope.  In fact, this show seemed to make taking on controversial issues its main agenda.  And that show was 21 Jump Street.  Yes, it’s wildly different from those double X chromosome comedies above, and does not hold up a fraction as well (we now wonder if it even held up in its time), but, looking back, 21 Jump Street was often going out there on a limb on the nascent Fox Network, bringing uncomfortable, sensitive but relevant issues to the forefront.  We’re going to make an attempt to semi-regularly feature some of these moments, starting right now.

It’s really hard to believe that we were watching this show at six-years-old, first because it’s often slow, melodramatic and pedantic (as was the style of the time), and doesn’t star any cartoon ducks, and shouldn’t hold a six-year-old’s attention,  and secondly because it frequently contains a great deal of mature content, an amped up after-school special on five-hour delay (but compared to Silk Stalkings, which we began watching regularly a couple of years later, this was Green Acres.  Also, good parenting, Mom).  Even if an episode didn’t tackle a controversial issue of the time, it probably involved some kind of drugs and/or violence, or why else would Johnny Depp and Peter DeLuise go undercover as the McQuaid Brothers?  But the show frequently went beyond fake IDs and selling “dope” in the locker room, covering such topics at bigotry, racism, bullying, child abuse, class warfare and, in one single episode, HIV-AIDS and suicide.

In that episode, “A Big Disease with a Little Name,” Officer Hanson (pre-Jack Sparrow Johnny Depp and our first man-crush) is tasked with protecting Harley, a teenager with AIDS who continues to attend his high school despite protests from local parents and the hostile atmosphere fostered by his fellow students (also, unsurprisingly, Harley has an affinity for motorcycles).  Hanson isn’t afraid to sit at the same table as the kid, unlike much of the student body, but he’s not exempt from the same kind of prejudice, fear and ignorance, as we see when he declines Harley’s offer of chocolate milk.

But, as was often the case, 21 Jump Street functioned as an educational tool, teaching us there are three ways to contract HIV, and chocolate milk is not one of them.  And, as also was often the case, by the end of the forty-four minutes Hanson not only learned the lesson but took it to heart.

We don’t actually remember this episode from our childhood – perhaps it didn’t get much syndication play – but we do know we weren’t afraid of a little chocolate milk.  Maybe we have 21 Jump Street to thank for that.*

*Probably not.  

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Filed under Golden Girls, Jump Streets Ahead, Makes You Think, Mancrush

In Memoriam: Stephen J. Cannell

Fuck. That’s about all we can say about this one.

Back in the late 80s, pre-Simpsons, there were exactly two shows on FoxMarried with Children and 21 Jump Street.  The latter was brought to us by the legendary Stephen J. Cannell.  We were too young at the time to fully appreciate his already cemented TV legacy – creator of The Rockford Files, The A-Team, Greatest American Hero, Baretta, among others – but we knew that we loved his undercover cop drama, and we also grew to recognize the Stephen J. Cannell Productions logo at the end  of his shows as a symbol of quality programming.  In the 80s it ran neck-a-neck with “Sit, Ubu, sit,” for foremost production company tag, but we always found Cannell’s footnote to be the gold standard, a warm, fuzzy blanket, a comforting old friend.  And when we heard that crescendo and saw the typewriter paper flying at the conclusion of later favorites like The Commish and Silk Stalkings, we knew we were in the capable hands of one of the all-time masters, a TV titan.

We’ll leave the in-depth retrospectives and the analysis of his influence on current television to the real critics, those who have a better appreciation for the breadth of his career.  So we’ll just say thanks for the great stories and compelling characters, and we’ll always yearn to see you at your typewriter, finishing a script with a flourish.

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Filed under In Memoriam, Jump Streets Ahead, Nostalgia Corner

The Original ‘Jersey Shore’?????

A lot of television programs can take credit for somewhat inspiring MTVs STD-documentary The Jersey ShoreThe Real World: Las Vegas, The Sopranos, The Real Housewives of NJ, Jon Bon Jovi, and, most notably, True Life: I Have a Summer Share – but is it possible that the show owes its greatest debt to an early 90s Fox sitcom?  Is Jersey Shore really just a reality show rip-off of Down the Shore?  Take a look and you decide:

Pretty open and shut case if you ask us.

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Filed under Century 21 Reality, Flashback!, Makes You Think

In Memoriam: ‘Lone Star’

Well, Fox, you’ve done it again.   Axed a show before it even had a chance to reach its bris.   Lone Star is officially dead.

But this feels somehow different.  This was not The Pitts, or Brothers, or even Kitchen Confidential.  This was a show that arrived with critical praise, almost unanimously hailed as the season’s “best new network show.”  It had a beautiful backdrop to match its beautiful young faces.  It had Jon Voight.  And, most importantly, it had an original, complex story.  While a lot of shows come and go, and a lot of them deserve to be banished (looking at you, Outsourced), this is certainly not the first series unfairly cut down before it’s time.  It joins a group of shows like Love Monkey and Action that share the unfortunate distinction of a premature demise, depriving the viewing public of quality television.  Lone Star is not the first and it won’t be the last.  But why then is this particular cancellation so troubling?

Read on: The end of network TV as we know it?

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Filed under Analysis, Best Show You're Not Watching, Dillon Panthers, In Memoriam