“The TV Junkie” by Penny Landau **** Reboots are abounding all over the major networks, some good, some great and some in the “what were they thinking?” category. Most of them are game shows resurrected from the depths of the ’60s and ’70s, along with a few major series like “S.W.A.T,” which premieres his fall along with “Dynasty” and the best of the current lot, “Hawaii Five-0.” Rumor has it that “Miami Vice” is planning on making a re-appearance, also. Me, personally— I’m waiting for “Will & Grace,” which just got a two-season deal. My take on all of these reboots, most of which I lived through, is a tale of fun, nostalgia and “shoot me now.”
Let’s start with the game shows, which were the ’60s and ’70s reality TV. The fun shows are a change-up on those that made use of celebrities paired up with regular everyday folks, and none did that better than “$20,000 Pyramid.” Now back at the “$100,000 Pyramid,” what with inflation and all, hosted by Michael Strahan, the show holds up with tense moments and the panic of “will I slip up and ruin this poor person’s life?.” “Family Feud” has morphed into a celebrity version, hosted by the ubiquitous Steve Harvey, and is passable, but is way more risqué than in the old days, when you couldn’t even say the word “breast” on TV. As for “The Match Game,” well, Alec Baldwin. Need I say more? If you think “Family Feud” is risqué, “The Match Game” is XXXXX-rated!
My all-time favorite of the reboots is, beyond a question, “Battle of the Network Stars.” This old 1970s warhorse, once hosted by Howard Cosell as part of ABC Sports, is bringing back the TV stars of yesterday, like Anson Williams from “Happy Days,” Gabrielle Carteris and Ian Zeiring of “Beverly Hills 90210,” Michael Fishman from the soon-to-be resurrected “Roseanne,” 1980 “Battle of the Network Stars” champion Donna Mills, from “Knots Landing,” who even brought her battered trophy with her, and Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox, everybody’s favorite CHIPS. Each week, the show pits TV sitcom stars vs. TV cops, or prime-time soaps vs. ABC stars and it’s loads of fun to see these stars today, relaxed and having as much fun as the audience, and those old gold ABC sport jackets add just the right touch of nostalgia to the show.
In keeping with ABC Sports, along comes the train wreck that is “The Gong Show” and it reeks of the “agony of defeat.” Why? Why? Why? Without Chuck Barris, as we say in Brooklyn, “what’s the pernt?” Shelve this one and file it under “hot mess.”
Hey, Five-O, WTF???
Speaking about “Hawaii Five-O,” Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park have left the show after CBS failed to pay them a salary equal to that of their white co-stars. I understand that one of the new actors cast is Hawaiian, but that doesn’t make up for the bad treatment of Kim and Park. Shame on you, CBS, for letting these two people go.
Easy come, easy go…
My old pal Mario Cantone was all set to slice and dice Anthony Scaramucci and what does the White House do? They fire him and the internet goes wild. Not because he was fired, but because we were all looking so forward to Mario doing what he does best, making us double over with laughter. No word if “SNL” is planning on resurrecting “The Mooch” in the fall.
And for us Whovians…
Please note the picture. I was at Florida Supercon with Randy Jones, the Cowboy from the Village People, when this guy said his clients wanted to have their picture taken with Randy. He smiled and I almost dropped dead. The only other people I wanted to meet were Karen Gillan and Peter Capaldi, and thanks to my special Cowboy, mission accomplished!
Randy Jones, Karen Gillan, Penny Landau & Peter Capaldi
Don’t tell anyone…
I have it on good authority that another VERY popular sitcom might also returning to TV. As soon as I know for sure, you’ll know… what could it possibly be?
“The TV Junkie” was preceded in her family by a large mahogany cabinet that housed a small screen with a large speaker below. Thus began her love affair with the older sibling in the living room. Theirs was a tenuous relationship, prone to mishaps (forgetting to use the special “screen” for “Winky Dink”), joyous events (“Julie & Carol at Carnegie Hall”), sad moments (Clarabelle saying goodbye to the Peanut Gallery) and a wide range of emotions (the funeral of John F. Kennedy and the Inauguration of Barack Obama). From “Captain Video” to “Star Trek” to “Lost;” from “A Brighter Day” to “The Edge of Night” to “General Hoapital;” from “Peyton Place” to “ “Dynasty” to “Desperate Housewives;” there has never been a greater love, than that of “The TVJ” and the best friend a girl could ever have.
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