Thursday, December 27, 2018

TMP Television Edition: Comedies

We've reached the last Thursday of 2018, so I had to make sure I didn't miss this week's edition of Thursday Movie Picks. Of course, it's also the last Thursday of the month of December which means it's a TV edition. The topic is comedies. Hmmm....that's rather broad. Cool. Let's see how I get some of my giggles.

The Honeymooners
Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason) is a hard-working bus driver, just trying to do right by his wife Alice (Audrey Meadows). This often means some get rich quick scheme or some other misadventure that's bound to be a disaster. Usually, Ralph's partner in crime is his bestest buddy Norton (Art Carney) who lives upstairs with his wife Trixie (Joyce Randolph). Hands down, this is my favorite TV show of all-time. There are only 39 episodes and every one is pure perfection.

I used to watch this every day as a kid and I had no idea it was a comedy. It was just a never-ending string of fun adventures starring Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward). Of course, there was also the rotating roster of villains that added to the excitement. When I watch it now, I realize it's really a slickly done sitcom satirizing the serials of the 1940s and playing cat-and-mouse with the censors of the day through the relentless use of double entendre. And it's damn funny.

Sanford and Son
The titular characters are Fred G. Sanford (Redd Foxx, and the "G" stands for whatever he wants it to) and his adult son Lamont (Demond Wilson). They run a junkyard together out of their own yard. As a youngster, I think it's appeal to me was rooted in the portrayal of a father-son relationship which I didn't have. Having it wrapped in absolute hilarity was a plus. Looking back on it as an adult, I still laugh at the jokes because Redd Foxx is funny as hell, but they definitely had a co-dependent relationship that bordered on being unhealthy. Fortunately, the cast of colorful characters that were always coming through their house distracts from all of that.

As mentioned, we're getting down to the last few days of 2018. For movie fans that means two things: looking back at the year that was, and looking ahead at the year to come. Last week, the topic was 2019 movies we're looking forward to. Since I missed last week, I'll talk about those, now.

Avengers: Endgame
I may often masquerade as a movie snob, but at the end of the day, Disney and the MCU get so much of my money, I'm pretty sure Mickey Mouse knows the pin number to my debit card. And they're going to get more because I'm one of those folks who think Avengers: Infinity War is amazing and can't wait to see Thanos get his comeuppance.

So, I was watching Split and thinking "This is pretty good." As it got close to the end, I was like, "Man, this is really good." Then the last minute happened, and I was like, "Oh shit! When is the next one coming out?" January. The answer is January.

The Lion King
You did catch what I said about Disney and my money, right? Rail against Walt's evil spawn and their needless live-action remakes all you want, but I was sold on this one the moment I heard it was happening over a year ago. Then, when the trailer played on Thanksgiving Day, it looked great, AND I heard the voice of James Earl Jones reprising his role as Mufasa, oh boy! Just kicked me right in the feels.

Speaking of trailers, this one took over the internet when it was released on Christmas Day. If you're somehow unaware, this is Jordan Peele's follow-up to Get Out. That alone meant I was looking forward to it and would most likely see it in theaters. After watching that trailer, and being blown away by it, there is a 99% chance I'm going to see it opening weekend.


  1. Batman. Adam West... Batman Classic. That's all that needs to be said and there's no shame in doing the Batusi. Sanford and Son. I used to watch that show as a kid when it was on TBS. That shit was funny.

    We share a pick on Avengers: Endgame. Us looks insane. I so want to see it.

  2. I've see clips of that old Batman show and it looks pretty funny. Sanford and Son is the only one of your picks I think I've seen an entire episode of.

    I'm so excited for Endgame and Us too! Disney probably knows my pin number as well.

    1. Batman is wackiness at its wackiest and loads of fun.

      Damn Disney.

  3. Us looks so awesome. I really think there are going to be some unique twists and turns in that movie and it's amazing to finally see Lupita being treated like she always should have been - so talented and gorgeous yet for years after she won the Oscar she was in so underseen films

    1. I'm really excited for what she might do in Us. I can hardly wait.

  4. While I don't love it as much as you do The Honeymooners deserves its reputation. Gleason and Carney made an amazing simpatico team as Gleason did with that queen of the slow burn Audrey Meadows.

    BATMAN!!! What a wacky mess that show was! Adam West, Burt Ward and the core cast (I was crazy for Madge Blake as the dotty Aunt Harriet) held it together by playing it straight no matter how absurd the situation but it was the guest villains who made it tick. There may have been several woman who played her but the ONLY Catwoman is Julie Newmar!!!

    We were in such sync until your last pick. I hated Sanford & Son! Redd Foxx's appeal will always elude me.

    I also went vintage with mine and I love all three.

    The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966)-Brilliant comedy that still holds up today. Rob Petrie (Dick Van Dyke) is the head writer on The Alan Brady Show (played by series creator Carl Reiner) along with his team Sally Rogers (Rose Marie) & Buddy Sorrell (Morey Amsterdam) and lives with his wife Laura (Mary Tyler Moore) and son Richie in New Rochelle, New York. The show follows the clan’s various adventures and misadventures with insight and humor.

    The Carol Burnett Show (1967-1978)-Sketch comedy driven by the comedy queen and her merry band of clowns usually comprised of Tim Conway, Harvey Korman, Vickie Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner. Some of the better known skits include The Family (which was eventually spun off as Mama’s Family), As the Stomach Turns, and the classic Went With the Wind among many, many others.

    WKRP in Cincinnati (1978-1982)-Program director Andy Travis (Gary Sandy) arrives for his first day of work at elevator music playing radio station WKRP in the title city and turns the place on its ear by changing it to a Rock n Roll format. Along for the ride is a colorful assortment of characters including curvaceous receptionist Jennifer Marlowe (Loni Anderson), DJs Dr. Johnny Fever & Venus Flytrap (Howard Hessman & Tim Reid), goofy but lovable managing director Mr. Carlson (referred to as The Big Guy) and other wacky characters. Quirkily humorous and the classic Thanksgiving episode “Turkeys Away!” is a must see.

    1. No love for Redd, huh? I guess nobody's perfect.

      I love The Carol Burnett show and WKRP. The former was undeniably hilarious. The latter was also funny, but was also sooooo cooooool. There was a brief time when I wanted to be Venus Flytrap. There was an even briefer time I wanted to be Johnny Fever, but even at my young age I could see that the dude was a trainwreck, lol. And Loni Anderson was definitely an early crush of mine. I liked The Dick Van Dyke show, too, but I was never crazy about it. I just thought it was alright. I came across a few episodes about a year ago, and yeah, same thing.

  5. We're much farther apart on upcoming films though. I'm burnt out on the Avengers so I'll give that a pass. People seem to love Split but it left me cold so Glass holds no allure. I'm not keen on the Lion King remake and I haven't seen Get Out yet so I'm reserving judgement on Us until then.

    I'm looking forward to these:

    Greyhound (Tom Hanks & Elisabeth Shue)-Nazi U-boats pursue a convoy of Allied ships during the early days of World War II. Love Hanks and Shue and like war films so if everything comes together it should be good.

    Rocketman (Taron Egerton)-A biopic about Elton John. It's a well worn genre but at least the music will be good for sure and I think Egerton is good casting.

    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Brad Pitt & Leonardo DiCaprio)-In 1969 Los Angeles, a former Western star and his longtime stunt double struggle to find success in a Hollywood that they don't recognize anymore. I'm variable on Tarantino and I'm very concerned how Sharon Tate's and the other murders will be presented but with that cast I'm willing to wait and see.

    1. I've only heard the title for Greyhound, but not what it was about. Sounds interesting.

      Definitely seeing Rocketman.

      Once Upon a Time in Hollywood worries me. I actually love most of Tarantino's movies, but he isn't exactly known for tact. This subject matter seems to demand lots of it. I hope he pulls it off without pissing everyone off - not that he would care.

    2. Tarantino's reputation for excess concerns me as well but he has pulled together an impressive cast which is the main attraction for me. I know that Sharon Tate's sister Debra had major reservations about the film and meet with him both before and during production and felt reassured afterwards that he would handle the murders with dignity. He was at least sensitive enough to insist the studio reschedule the release date from the original August 9th-the 50th anniversary of the killings to a later date. So we'll see.

    3. I hadn't heard that Tate's family met with QT. That makes me feel a little better, but I'm still wary.

  6. The Honeymooners is a great show even though that apartment is the worst one ever. Batman is so over the top and o e of the first tv shows where many stars clamoured to be on it although I could have dealt without Batman dancing the Batusi. Sanford and Son is one of many tv shows, along with Sll i. The Family and The Jefferson’s that would never make it today. I love it although I love the other 2 more. It looks like M. Night is f8nally coming out of his horrible movie making slump. We match with the Avengers movie but that last one creeps me right out.

    1. Oh, the Kramden's apartment was the very definition of cramped. Judging by what went on, so was the whole neighborhood. Think about how many times Ralph opened the window and had arguments with either his neighbors in the building or with people standing on the street. Perhaps me being a native New Yorker and growing up in a crowded place helped it appeal to me.

      No love for the Batusi? Shame.

      So many shows from the 70s just wouldn't get the green light today. Sanford and Son and the others you mention are definitely among them.

      Yup, the trailer for Us is supremely creepy.

  7. I have to admit, I haven't seen any of your picks �� Shame on me!
    Definitely need to do some catching up as all of your choices sound great.

  8. I've only seen bits and pieces of Batman and it was okay.

    I also picked Endgame last week but now I'm much more excited about Us. I can't wait to see it!

    1. That Us trailer really got me going. I'm so ready for that.