Tag Archives: Sandy Duncan

‘Survivor: Filippines’ – Deal or No Deal

You may recall in our first Survivor:Filippines recap that we related a story about a friend asking us if and how Survivor can possibly still be entertaining after so many seasons, and we noted that despite over a decade of challenges and Tribal Councils and blindsides, the show manages to somehow, incredibly, keep offering something we’ve never seen before. And this week’s episode was yet another example of that, and it kind of left our jaw on the ground (just COVERED in mud).

It all unfolds at the Reward Challenge (and boy are we happy that, with the three tribes whittled down to two, we’ve narrowed the focus and returned to separate Reward and Immunity Challenges). The challenge begins promisingly enough, first with our first glimpse Jeff Probst, always a delight, and second with the introduction of the challenge course, which is essentially a single-ball version of American Gladiators’ Atlasphere. However, unlike his namesake, Michael “Two Skupes” Skupin, is not as successful in navigating the field as legendary Gladiator champion Wesley “Two Scooops” Berry. Pretty soon, it just turns into a mud stalemate.

And then Howie Mandel appeared, as if out of thin air…

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Filed under Analysis, Century 21 Reality, Crucial Taunt, Mustachio'd, Tribal Council

Groaning Pains: Matthew Perry Goes On to a Better Place; Or How We Learned About Drunk Driving

With the proper premiere of Go On this week and its promising ratings, it seemed like the appropriate time to revisit our Groaning Pains series, specifically Go On star Matthew Perry’s short stint as Carol’s ill-fated boyfriend, Sandy. In other words, it’s time to discuss how we learned about drunk driving (and that a guy could be named “Sandy”).

When Friends premiered back in 1994 we may have been the only eleven-year-old in the country who thought to himself “there’s the guy who was in the Married with Children backdoor pilot and there’s the guy who was Carol’s boyfriend on Growing Pains that died from drinking and driving.” The former is Matt LeBlanc, whose Married With Children character Vinnie Verducci – Joey Tribbiani’s spiritual predecessor – was spun off with his father Charlie  (the immortal Joseph Bolonga) into the very short-lived series Top of the Heapand the latter is, of course, Matthew Perry. For years, Matthew Perry stuck in our mind because of his role on Growing Pains – 1) because his arc ended so tragically, and 2) because we never could quite wrap our heads around the fact he was named Sandy – and it would take a little while for us before we thought of Perry as Chandler Bing and not as Carol Seaver’s love lost, a cautionary tale.

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Filed under Growing Pains, Makes You Think, Nostalgia Corner, Sha la la la

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?