Monday, April 11, 2005

I Want My Re(tro)-TV!

While doing some spring cleaning recently, I ran across a handful of VHS that, of course, were not labeled (I lack the discipline to label my VHS). So, when I got some free time, I sat down and went through them all. Most of them can be recorded over, since they contain stuff that has since been released to DVD. However, more than one of them contained marathons of some of my favorite shows, namely The Facts of Life. I just loved that show. Especially the early 80's episodes when the girls were still at school. Those are my favorites:

Tootie's rehearsal of Some Enchanted Evening, for the school musical, being ruined by a jealous Natalie and her roaming coconuts.
Natalie gets a 'bad' reputation.
• Visits from Blair's cousin Jerri.
Tootie becomes a high-fashion model.
Natalie's 'exam hat' working at "half wattage" during an all-night cram session, studying for finals.

Sigh...good times. With that said, my only question is why the hell isn't this show on DVD yet? Meanwhile horseshit like Punk'd and Boy Meets Boy is on DVD? WTF is that about? Frustrating.

Walking down memory lane with The Facts of Life (1979), I got to thinking about all the great TV shows I loved, and miss. There was Alice (1976). LOVE Linda Lavin! Little House on the Prairie (1974) (Ironically I had a crush on "Willy" as he got older and better-looking, as well as Laura's adopted brother, on the show, Albert. ROWR! So cute!). Naturally, I loved Nelly (Nancy, her adopted doppelganger of a sister, was introduced later) and her snotty mother, Harriet. Total bitches. The episodes where they are featured are among my favorites. You can keep the "good feelings" and Jesuslicious episodes.

Naturally, I could never forget the #1 most influential show I grew up with: The Incredible Hulk (1978). DAMN! I was/am SO into that TV series. Apparently I must be the only one who found his transformations (re: ripping out of his clothing...sweet, sweet music to my ears) a turn-on. God, that was HOT. I lived for the transformation scenes. Those bouncing pecs mesmerized me. And therein lies my infatuation with Lou Ferrigno to this day. As well as finding the whole "Hulking out" process titillating, I also loved the kitschy episodes that involved discos, disco balls, rock music, hallucinogenic drugs, lasers and the like. God, they just don't make 'em like that anymore.

Then there was one of my all-time favorite 80's time capsule, the short-lived Square Pegs (1982). If I could have married that show, I would have. I never missed an episode. I loved everything about it: the characters, the storylines, the music, the guest stars. It was awesome. What other show was cool enough to have The Waitresses play at their school dance, DEVO play at snotty Muffy's bah mitzvah, Father Guido Sarducci perform an exorcism (during the episode where Marshall gets Pac-Man Fever) and Bill Murray plays a substitute teacher? Fuckin' AWESOME! The Halloween episode remains one of my favorite episodes.

Among some other memorable favorites that had short shelf-lives, yet left a lasting impression on me, were: Madame (1982), the sarcastic, puppet, operated by Wayland Flowers, had her own TV show (as well as having a regular stint on Solid Gold) and it was hilariously edgy and surreal. Definitely WAY ahead of its' time. My fondest memory of the show was seeing Tony Longo for the first time. You may remember him best as Jake's best friend, in the movie Sixteen Candles. At the time he was really buff. Bodybuilder-buff. Unfortunately he's since been reduced to playing the heavy (no pun intended) in various movies. But, to a pre-teen me in 1982, I thought he was perfection.

I also have fond memories of Double Trouble (1984), another 80's time capsule. It was like Flashdance meets The Parent Trap, for teens. The show revolved around real-life twins whom were polar opposites (natch). They were Katey Sagal's younger sisters, whom you may remember played Peg Bundy on the TV series Married With Children.

Then there was my first exposure to a gay character on television, Brothers (1984). I remember it aired late late at night, and I would stay up religiously to watch it. The premise of the show was about 3 brothers: Joe, who was an ex-place kicker for the Philadelphia Eagles, who opens up his own bar after retiring. Lou, his gruff older brother and Cliff who just came out of the closet. Being the early 80's, a lot of the plots revolved around both the straight brothers trying to "cure" Cliff, but ultimately learning to accept him for who he is (insert canned muzak here). On some level I found the show somehow dangerous because of the adult humor, double entendres and innuendos. Not to mention it was like a blueprint for what I thought homosexuality was all about, plus it was just a lot of fun.

Mama Malone (1984) was another show I enjoyed, that had an extremely short shelf life. It was about an Italian woman who had to balance her own cooking show while dealing with her wacky dysfunctional family. Being a sucker for the stereotypical New York Italian hunk, the show offered plenty of eyecandy. Another show I loved was the Polly Holliday spin-off from Alice, Flo (1980). It wasn't great eyecandy, but again, I distinctly remember an episode where one of the characters flexes his biceps. I was sold.

The Hardy Boys (1977) was another favorite, that I am happy to report is being released to DVD soon. I never really was much of a fan of Shaun Cassidy (he always looked kinda weird to me), but I thought Parker Stevenson was dreamy. Ironic how Shaun went on to write/direct one of my other favorite TV shows: American Gothic. God, that was a great show. Gooood television. Wish that would be released to DVD.

And last, but certainly not least, one of my most intense addictions: Twin Peaks (1990). Wow. That show really sparked my love of David Lynch. It had me riveted from the onset. I immediately connected with the characters and found the whole thing, from the dark, surreal visual style to the music to be jaw-droppingly beautiful. I still have all my memorabilia: Trading card set, assorted books, CDs, even a Fire Walk With Me coffee mug. It remains one of my all-time favorite television shows.

Honorable Mentions: Though these shows technically aren't old enough to be considered "classics" yet, they hold a special place in my heart.

- Zoe, Duncan, Jack and Jane (1999) This short-lived WB series only lasted one season, but I remember it fondly. I was pleasantly surprised to see a grown up (and cute!) David Moscow, on the show. You may remember David as the young counterpart of Tom Hank's character in the movie Big. I had a crush on the entire cast: David, Azura Skye, Michael Rosenbaum and Selma Blair.

- Good Girls Don't (2004) I absolutely could kick the Oxygen network's ass over the loss of this one. I was SO excited about this show. Though, I am hopeful. According to, the show is being considered for a second season. If they're smart they will renew it. I just loved it. The entire cast was great, the episode plots were new and fresh and the music rocked. I never missed an episode (thank God I recorded them all).


Anonymous Dave2 said...

Back in the old "FidoNet" days before there was in "Internet Movie Database," individual movie info pages were maintained by volunteers. One of my pages was for the movie "Feds" which featured Tony Longo as "Sailor in Bar." In all these years, it never dawned on me that he was the same guy who was doing chin-ups with Jake in "Sixteen Candles!"

I owe you for that one. :-)

Monday, April 11, 2005 3:03:00 AM  
Blogger Kirkkitsch said...

I loved Feds. I love Mary Gross! Another one of those movies I wonder why isn't on DVD. I mean c'mon, if 'Ghoulies III: Ghoulies Go to College' is on DVD, surely Feds must warrant a DVD release.

I'm glad that I played a small part in your Sixteen Candles epiphany.

BTW, speaking of Sixteen Candles, a friend of mine recently sold some earrings to Carole Cook, who played the red-headed grandmother in Sixteen Candles. You know, the one who "fixes breakfast" by opening a box of donuts and presenting them "Voila!" Lol! Classic!

Sunday, April 17, 2005 8:17:00 AM  

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