Everywhere You Look: 90’s Sitcoms, Revisited

One of the benefits of working frequently between the hours of 4 PM and 2 AM is that you are available to watch some great afternoon TV.  Recently, I discovered that MTV2, in addition to actually existing, shows two hours of Saved by the Bell and Boy Meets World back-to-back from noon til 4.  As you’d imagine, this was a revelation and ever since I’ve been reliving some of my favorite childhood shows.  What follows is the third of several look-backs at some of those incredible shows and what made them so (not-so) great.

Let me say that while I never was a die-hard Full House guy, the show was fantastic. When you look at the show conceptually you have to admit it was pretty well done, especially for what it became. The dynamic between the sisters (how often do you see shows with no brothers of any kind?), the fact that the mom was killed off before the show even started (Single fathers? What is this, a Matthew Modine film? Dated reference in a dated blog post, hey now!), and the idea of three men (one nincompoop best friend, one studly, albeit too cool for school, brother-in-law, and a neat-freak morning TV show host—now how’s that for diversity?).  All of those ideas were and continue to be fairly original in the world of sitcom television (which isn’t such an original place to begin with).

There was also a really neat little theme song (ridiculously/unnecessarily long version, yes sir) and all of the cheesy cheese we come to expect and love from these type of shows. And, all of the cast members seemed to actually get along.

Maybe I did like it more than I remember… I digress.

I think the important thing to note (besides the Uncle Jessie-led efforts of a Full House movie, but more on that later) is that any serious discussion about Full House should truthfully start with the debate over which of the women on the show was the hottest.  Then, and now.

Recasting Space Jam: 2012

Recently, I was on twitter and I saw something that caught my eye. Somehow I landed on LeBron James’ page* and came across the following diddy:

Besides from the obvious (that LeBron James is clearly unaware of how to properly answer a question tweeted at him), I couldn’t help but think about what this movie would be like if it was made over again, for this upcoming season. The only thing I think I wouldn’t touch would be the soundtrack.  There were some classic bangers on that cd and even though a lot of it hasn’t stood the exact test of time, it’s still worth putting out there again.

The first hurdle to clear is obviously, who replaces MJ? Kevin Durant, LeBron or Kobe? While it pains me to say it, I think LeBron has to be the guy that gets the nod. He may not be the next Michael Jordan, but he’s the closest thing we have going. Is he a pompous doosh? Sure, sometimes (although I’d argue he’s the same phony personality he’s probably always been, the Decision notwithstanding, which is to say he’s like just about every other spoiled athlete).

Kobe could’ve been the guy… maybe 4 years ago. I like Durant as the new lead, but I’m just not sure he’s good enough to beat the Monstars. Has he gotten better, stronger every season? Yes.  But, has he ever had to go up against this guy? I don’t think so.

The rest of the cast needs a similar makeover. Read on.

Five Thoughts Longer Than 140 Characters

The following are scattered thoughts too long for twitter and too long for their own post.  They are presented in no particular order of importance or design.

1. Sometimes I’m convinced I could be a big-time movie writer.  Premium Rush, with budding über-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, came out 2 weeks ago and I was convinced when I saw the trailer that it had to be a joke. Forget what it’s called or who it stars, if I told you I had an idea for a film where someone needs to deliver a package of the utmost importance while being chased by cops and bad guys and all sorts of folk and he’s going to be doing it all on a bike, you’d laugh in my face.  How is this movie any more than, at the most, 10 minutes long? Are the people chasing him also on bikes? Is this some futuristic world where no one is allowed to drive cars or use any machine with an engine?  Honestly, it would be like if they made a movie where Jason Statham starred as a mounted police officer that apprehends criminals and somehow he manages to do an amazing job, despite the fact that most criminals in 2012 aren’t committing their crimes on horses.  You could call it Equine Justice, or Extra Premium Rush.

2. A couple of days ago I watched Batman Forever and Batman and Robin and still, several days later, I can’t decide which of them was worse. I had so many questions. I do remember enjoying those movies when I was younger, but was that just because I was a kid and didn’t know any better? Were those movies intentionally awful? How did we get from the first two good Batman movies to these two? Did people back then think they were as campy and ridiculous as they appear now? How did Tommy Lee Jones, George Clooney, Nicole Kidman and Uma Thurman EVER agree to put their names to these movies? Was the Bane character made of the same material as those weird inflatable NBA mascots? How many other actors were sick the day that Val Kilmer tried out for the role of Batman? How had I never heard of this movie and why wasn’t it made? Also, Batwoman? Batgirl? Alicia Silverstone?

3. I wish there was one day a year where you couldn’t exaggerate. Everything you said had to be true and accurate. I bring this up because I recently found out that Jersey Shore, a show I used to watch (scout’s honor… watched it like a fiend those first few seasons, haven’t tuned in since), is closing up shop after this upcoming season.  The men in the house would sleep with all sorts of gals and if one of them wasn’t particularly attractive, there would be a whole slew of things said about her… like say, calling her a cow. But how funny would it be if The Situation actually did sleep with a cow. The next morning she leaves the shore house in his studded, designer sweatpants and as she does so the whole house wakes up because, after all, she is a cow and the bell around her neck is a nuisance.  Then, the next night when the gang is back at Karma again, the cow is there with her friends (who, by the way, are humans).  There’s those solo shots of Mike and of the cow awkwardly avoiding each other, drinking and dancing alone.  Ultimately, Mike gets drunk and winds up doing body shots off the cow’s udders and the two sloppily go home together once again.

4. I’m reading 50 Shades of Grey right now and I’m not sure what’s worse… The fact that I want to finish it and see what happens or the writing and grammar contained within.  Maybe I’m just a little jealous because I’ll never sell a zillionth of the copies that this woman has, but I have to believe it’s more than just that.  This book is, frankly, poorly written and the whole scandalous, sexy nature of it is lost on me.  Why? Because I have the internet at my house and there’s some photos of naked women on there.  Videos too, I’ve heard.

5. I’m really happy Roger Clemens is trying to make a comeback at this point in his life.  Nothing says legitimate like a 50-year old, past-his-prime guy trying to pitch for the worst team in the league at a level he clearly isn’t ready for. I’m sure this has nothing to do with pushing Hall of Fame clocks back or selling tickets.  Here’s what likely will happen: Clemens will do fine in his last Atlantic League start this Friday, the Astros will sign him to a contract, he’ll come in and pitch one or two meaningless regular season home games, do alright, and leave to a standing ovation.  Here’s what should happen (aside from the Astros saying, “Hey wait a minute… We’re the worst team in the league by far, in the midst of a youth and league movement, and trying to get out of a nearly decade long doldrums, we shouldn’t be helping a 50-year old, out-of-his-league former flamethrower make a mockery of this system and game): he’ll get signed by the Astros and then get the absolute shit beaten out of him by actual major league players because 85 mph fastballs and hanging curveballs don’t tend to work the same against major leaguers as they do against Bridgeport Bluefish. Houston area fans shouldn’t be supporting this. It’s a farce and should be treated as such by fans that deserve better.

It’s the Bigger Love of the Family: 90’s Sitcoms, Revisited

One of the benefits of working frequently between the hours of 4 PM and 2 AM is that you are available to watch some great afternoon TV.  Recently, I discovered that MTV2, in addition to actually existing, shows two hours of Saved by the Bell and Boy Meets World back-to-back from noon til 4.  As you’d imagine, this was a revelation and ever since I’ve been reliving some of my favorite childhood shows.  What follows is the second of several look-backs at some of those incredible shows and what made them so (not-so) great.

Before I get into this wonderful show, I think it definitely bears mentioning that it’s no longer in syndication. Anywhere. Aside from how big of a crime against humanity that is*, I’m sure it helps me remember it fondly.

When your only memories of a show are from 5, 10, 15 years ago, it tends to play with exactly how well you recall each and everything about it.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way… I’m not sure Family Matters was my favorite family sitcom of the 90’s (although, it’s certainly close), but it may have been the best.  It had basically everything** that makes a show great, almost literally from start to finish.  Let’s take a look.

The Elephant In The Room: Which Disney Character Would You Most Enjoy Sexual Intercourse With?

I thought about how I wanted to do this for a few days now.  Did I want to do a top-10 style list?  Maybe I could figure some way to set up groups and rank that way?* How about taking those groups and doing some sort of outlandish, March Madness-style tournament?** What about using an excerpt from my soon-to-be-published novel where the characters briefly discuss something similar?

Ultimately, I decided against all of those for the following reasons… 1) played out… 2) way too much effort… 3) not even I’m that big of a self-promoter (or, am I… as you read a site written by me created by me with the partial intent of promoting a book by me?)

I settled on just picking a handful, and breaking them down.  Simple, to the point.  Let’s get started.

Boy, Meet World: 90’s Sitcoms, Revisited

One of the benefits of working frequently between the hours of 4 PM and 2 AM is that you are available to watch some great afternoon TV.  Recently, I discovered that MTV2, in addition to actually existing, shows two hours of Saved by the Bell and Boy Meets World back-to-back from noon til 4.  As you’d imagine, this was a revelation and ever since I’ve been reliving some of my favorite childhood shows.  What follows is the first of several look-backs at some of those incredible shows and what made them so (not-so) great.

It should be clarified, Boy Meets World was never one of my must-watches as a kid.  Something about the show, even then, pissed me off.  Watching it as an ‘adult’, I’m now able to pinpoint exactly what that was: incredible amounts of unnecessary drama.

Maybe I’m imagining this, but I feel like there was a 3 to 4 season span where every single scene that involved Shawn Hunter* had something to do with him doing one of the following things: 1) Telling Cory he “just doesn’t understand”… 2) Running away, but “this time I mean it”… 3) Feeling like an outcast for no particular reason.

Looking back, I think what made it so frustrating on the whole was that all the characters changed almost completely throughout the course of the show.  Except of course for Mr. Feeny but his refusal to either move to another part of town or simply get a job at any other college in the United States has to serve as a demerit on his personal character.  Hard to take life lessons from a guy that decides it’s a good career move to teach the same group of kids from 6th grade to college graduation.  Anyway…

Cory starts out as the plucky, precocious one looking to find his way (listening to Phillies games on the radio in class, what a kidder!) and ultimately winds up married to his high school sweetheart (fine) and acting like a goofy, old grandfather at age 22 (not OK).  I could describe Eric’s transformation for you, but Wikipedia does it justice in a way it does no other entry on the entire site:

Early on in the show Eric is portrayed as suave and popular, this contrasts with Cory, who has trouble finding his niche in school. Eric’s character devolves from a suave elder brother to an irrational moron serving as comic relief.

He went from being the cool older brother dating the hot chicks in school to the moron that one of the Lawrence brothers (does it really matter which it was?) had to literally put in a helmet to make sure he didn’t hurt himself when they left the apartment. Again, not OK.

Topanga doesn’t really change much, at least not her character, so I guess I’ll give her credit for that.  However, was there a more ambiguous “hot/not hot?” female character in a 90s kids sitcom?  Some episodes she was hot, some she was cute, some she was fat, and some she just looked like a caveman with longer than normal hair (that space between her eyebrows and hairline could most aptly be described as a twohead.  Hiyo)**

Even the theme song changed a bunch of times, starting off in the first few years with that paper airplane and goofy tune.  Then it went to the open road scene and finally settled on the one where everyone is having a fun time on the street, dumping buckets of water on people and ending with the catchy, original line “when this boy meets world”. Personally, I was a fan of the last.  The characters seemed to have more fun during that little open than at any point in the episode.

The only thing the show had going for it was that it didn’t do anything ridiculous as a final episode.  Everyone kind of goes their expected ways and shockingly Mr. Feeny has just one more life lesson: don’t expect to have a real career after spending the first seven years of your acting life on a overly dramatic, horribly overacted, morally heavy-handed tv show.

A few quick hits before I go…

  • Am I the only one that was amazed by how much black leather Shawn/college girlfriend/the enormous redhead wore around campus? They looked like they were ready to go and shoot up a middle school in those trench coats.
  • Speaking of that enormous redhead, how tall was she?  5’10” is what I found online, but I have to believe it was closer to 6’6″, 6’8″.  That girl’s neck and dome were at least 3 and a half feet alone.
  • Mr. Turner, despite wearing WAY too much denim (even at the time), was and still is the man.  Well, I have no idea what Mr. Turner is currently doing, but it’s for damn sure he didn’t follow his students to college like a loser (ahem, Mr. Feeny).***
  • The whole “bully-groups” in high school lead by Harley and later Griff (yes, that was Adam Scott) was too unintentionally funny to be left out of here.  Not only did Harley look to be at least 35, but he and his goons spoke like they were uneducated street urchins that had just got done selling newspapers on the corner for a nickel.  Griffin Hawkins… well, his name was Griffin Hawkins.  ‘Nuff said.

*The actor that played Shawn was Rider Strong which has to be one of the few people with a way, way cooler name than the made-up character he was famous for.  While we’re on the subject of Strongs, his dad is King Strong and he was a firefighter.  No joke.  With a name like that, I have to imagine Rider’s pops was the inspiration for the Bill Brasky character from SNL.

**Speaking of female characters and hotness… the actress who played the early version of little sister Morgan (not only an oft ignored character, but a completely meaningless one as well, a true double whammy) turned out to be quite hot.  Lily Nicksay.  Look her up.  Or, just click on the link and save yourself the time.

***If I had to bet I’d put some serious cash on his current actions involving riding motorcycles and reading X-men comic books.

Good News: The Olympics Are Over

Before we get started here, let’s make one thing clear for all the morons out there: you’re not anti-American if you don’t like the Olympics.  You’re just honest.

Let’s break down the Olympics for what they largely are.  We’re talking about a collection of sports, by and large, no one watches for 205 out of every 208 weeks featuring athletes, again by and large, no one has even remotely heard of.  Oh yeah, throw in the additional fact that these events normally are taking place in a part of the world where it rates somewhere between moderately and extremely inconvenient to watch them live.

I’ve never enjoyed watching the Olympics and honestly can’t figure out why anyone does on more than a passing level*.  Then again, I was raised in a family with a father who hated Halloween, loves rooting against his favorite baseball team, and doesn’t like going to the beach.

So, maybe it’s me, but I doubt it.