Great Moment: Samantha meets Darrin. Nose twitching and mother-in-laws will never be the same…
Great Moment: Samantha meets Darrin. Nose twitching and mother-in-laws will never be the same…
Show: The Brady Bunch (1969 – 1974)
Character: Jan Brady
Actor: Eve Plumb
Basically: Jan Brady is the quintessential “middle child.” Even when she and her sister’s blend with the Brady boys, she still managers to find herself stuck right in the middle. She’s less attractive and popular than Marcia and not nearly as cute as Cindy (who I never thought was particularly cute). And she’s not the smartest Brady either (seriously, they couldn’t have even let her be the brainy one?), in fact, there is little if anything special about her, which leads to her general sense of self-loathing, jealousy towards siblings as well as very few “Jan Episodes” in which she’s portrayed in a positive light.
Jan! Jan! Jan!: I submit that Jan (after those awkward single ringlets were straightened out) was probably the most attractive Brady, (a fact that no doubt embitters Maureen McCormick to this day). In the absence of her obnoxious siblings who were unable to mind their business, EVER, I think Jan could have thrived socially. Like really Marcia? You’re going to rat her out for not wearing her glasses to the library to meet a boy? She’s insecure as it is, give her a break already. Actually, as I think back on Jan and how great she probably was, it is slightly difficult to separate her relatively normal television character with her mildly retarded movie version character. So I’m just going to move on.
Groovy Favorites: How can I not mention the classic “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” moment here. It’s one of those classic television moments that no matter how uncomfortable it makes you (I need to wash my hands) it still makes you feel nostalgic, of a time when television plot lines conveyed sibling jealousy with a new catch phrase instead of murderous revenge. However, my favorite Jan moment, also a classic, is when she makes up a boyfriend TO IMPRESS HER OWN FAMILY. What is wrong with you Jan? I just defended your sanity, and now you’re going to fabricate both a person AND a relationship and keep this up this ruse with fake phone calls and flowers from George GLASS? Really? You thought this up and went through with it, and when you needed a name, glanced and uttered the first item you saw? Glass? His name is George Glass? On second thought, you’re completely mental.
Desperate Housewives sixth season premiered last night on ABC and what a treat it was. I cannot believe I can still sit in front of this program and accept the things they have written down on paper and acted out before me. First of all, the cliffhanger is resolved in the most predictable fashion EVER. Ohh, it’s such a mystery! There’s a wedding, but did Mike marry Susan?? Or Katherine?? Hmm!? I wonder. Duh, obviously he married Susan, big surprise. Come on DH, your payoff sucked. And as for Crazy Dave who rammed his car into another car (in a plot to kill M.J. Delfino, human giga pet) we’re just not going to go there? No mention of his condition? Is he alive or dead? WAIT A MINUTE! Maybe he’s the guy that choked out Julie Meyer (who returned to the show for the apparent sole purpose of being strangled and left to die by the trash cans) in the final moments of the episode. Actually, that’s sort of a decent guess, because the new neighbor boy, who clearly has some secret issues in his past, is far too obvious.
Lynette is annoying as ever. She’s three months pregnant with twins and after an ultra-sound tells husband Tom that she “doesn’t love these babies.” Well, Lynette, you are a coldhearted bitch and if you didn’t think you were going to love them, you should have done something about that three months ago. I’m not going to listen to you bitch for the next 18 seasons about these damn menopause babies. Shut up and deal with it, or give them up for adoption. Better yet, go back to stealing other children’s Ritalin, you were interesting then.
Gaby and Carlos become the legal guardians of Carlos’ wayward niece, who happens to be the hottest girl on Wisteria Lane. Gaby feels compelled to show some tough love to this hardened teen, ripping her out the club in an embarrassing manner and forcing her to wear appropriate clothes to school. I couldn’t care less about this story line (except I sort of think that Jesse Metcalfe is going to re-enter the picture as her love interest, fingers crossed), but I did LOVE the part where Juanita (Gaby and Carlos’s obese kid) ghetto snapped and yelled “Oh snap!” when Gaby scolded the niece for her slutty appearance. What is this? An episode of That’s So Raven?
As for Bree, she’s busy having a somewhat seedy affair with Susan’s ex-husband/Bree’s ex-lover Karl Meyer. My hope is that it gets ACTUALLY seedy, and not just “seedy for Bree.” Stop with the flowers and the high thread count sheet bullshit, this story line has potential!
And now to my favorite new development of the season: Katherine is now crazy. First, she shows up to the new neighbor’s house (ahem, DREA DE MATTEO, what?) where all the other ladies are enjoying tea and crumpets to drop something off for Bree. When someone points out that the buttons on her shirt are misaligned, she perks out of normal and has a “Oh yea, it’s cause I’m crazy” moment. The following day, she commandeers Susan’s wedding dress and wears it while cooking red pasta sauce and taunting Susan. At the last second she snaps out of it, and again, realizes she’s crazy and gives the dress back. Finally, she shows up at the wedding, threatens Susan with a scene, Susan locks her in the closet, she gets out just in time and scampers down the aisle just as Susan and Mike are traipsing out. Susan makes a public apology to appease her, but because she’s CRAZY she doesn’t accept, but pretends to. This is what I was talking about when I say, “I can’t believe someone wrote that down.” Sure, Katherine’s lover (Mike Delfino) left her for her friend (his ex-wife) but come one, eat a bucket of ice cream, burn some photos and move on with your life. Seriously, I’m pretty sure when the script came out it just said, “Katherine is now batshit. Please act accordingly. – M.C.”
Moment: George recounting how he saved a beached whale while posing as a marine biologist, the conclusion coming full-circle with Kramer’s new hobby of hitting golf balls into the ocean. It’s not so much the reveal that I love as much as George’s posturing, as if he’s retelling The Old Man & The Sea. “The sea was angry that day, my friends. Like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.”
This is a cry for help. I have a problem, and I’m willing to admit it, but unwilling to get help. I completed yet another season of Dallas in record time, because every episode was spectacular. This season, which is actually season 3 on television (DVD box sets consider the Miniseries to be Season 1) marks the first year that Dallas reached number 1 in the ratings. The “Who Shot J.R.?” reveal episode, “Who Done It?” gained the highest rating of any television episode in U.S. history, a position it held until the final episode of M*A*S*H aired in 1983. It remains the second most watched television episode of all time. This season of Dallas was also nominated for six Emmy’s, and with good reason, they really outdid themselves this season and it was TERRIFIC.
Kristin Shot J.R.
FINALLY! After two days (the American viewing public waited eight months in 1980, I waited two days for DVDs to arrive in the mail) the mystery of “Who shot J.R.?” was solved, but not in the first episode of the season, nor the second, viewers had to wait until the fourth episode to discover that Sue Ellen’s sister, Kristin Shepard shot J.R. late that night in the Ewing Oil office, but not until after Sue Ellen had spent a few nights in jail, because her fingerprints were the only ones on the gun. The gun of course, belonged to J.R. and Sue Ellen had taken it into town to kill J.R. But, because she’s Sue Ellen, she got piss ass drunk first, and believing that he was at her sister’s condo, went there to shoot him. She woke up the following morning in her car in the airport parking lot, with ZERO memory of the night before. We find out in episode 4, “Who done it?” That despite Sue Ellen’s inability to come up with a solid alibi, she remembers going to Kristen’s, and having a drink (at which point she set the gun down, and Kristin took it). This inconsistency comes up during hypnosis and because Jock and Miss Ellie found the gun in Sue Ellen’s closet, yet she KNOWS she didn’t have it when she returned to Southfork from the airport parking lot and the only one home was Kristin. In the final moments of the reveal episode, Sue Ellen approaches J.R. who is sitting by the pool in his wheelchair. Terrified for his life, he tries to get to the phone before she reaches him. Kristen enters the scene, the truth is revealed and just as you think J.R. is about to kill her (or call the police), she claims that she is pregnant with his baby. J.R. refuses to press charges and runs Kristen out of Dallas.
Other Highlights Include
Lucy gets married to a poor medical student, Mitch Cooper and holds the wedding right on the back patio at Southfork. Seriously guys? I know that the ranch is a beautiful piece of property, but you’re worth billions, rent a banquet hall already. Mitch and Lucy fight every episode about money, because Mitch has none and so Lucy gets a job (as Miss Young Dallas, what is this?) and makes ten times what he makes.
Pamela finds her long lost mother, almost has an affair and also gets a dreadful perm (which they tame by the end of the season). Bobby becomes the new president of Ewing Oil while J.R. is recovering, he successfully buys a refinery, which J.R. was never able to do, but in the end returns the helm to J.R. (with stipulations) because he hates the “wheeling and dealing.” He is then elected to the state senate, where he must first vote on a land issue that pits Jock against Miss Ellie (who has filed for divorce over the matter.) And then sit on the committee that is investigating J.R. for overthrowing a foreign government (because thats what state senate committees do). J.R. drugs Cliff, gets all the evidence ahead of time and bribes the right people and is found innocent.
Sue Ellen, ooohhh Sue Ellen, re-unites with her college boyfriend, Clint at Lucy’s wedding, but after noticing she’s being followed, seeks to find out by who and why. After some stealthy detective work, she arrives at the mansion of whomever is funding the P.I. following her. And wouldn’t you know it! It’s Dusty Farlow, he didn’t die in the plane crash after all, and despite his paralysis, Sue Ellen devotes herself to him and they make plans to get Sue Ellen and little John Ross out of Southfork and onto the Southern Cross Ranch where Dusty’s family (equally as wealthy as the Ewings) live.
OH YEA! We learn that ranch foreman Ray Krebbs is actually Jock’s son, making him a Ewing heir (making Miss Ellie none-too-happy), but the most interesting part is, Ray is now biologically Lucy’s uncle, so no one ever mentions how the two had an affair in the barn throughout season 1.
Included in this box set, was a little reunion special entitled Dallas Reunion: Return to Southfork, which was, nothing if not completely awesome. The original cast, Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, Victoria Principal, Linda Gray, Ken Kercheval, Steve Kanaly, Charlene Tilton and later, Mary Crosby, all rolled up to Southfork (a real ranch apparently) in the SAME CARS they drove during the series! And J.R. landed in the Ewing helicopter. Let’s just say, that I was about as giddy as I get for the 90 minutes that this terrific production lasted. (Like I said, I have a problem). The characters “caught up” with each other, told hilarious behind the scenes stories, and they showed both a blooper reel (where sweet old Miss Ellie drops the F-bomb a number of times), a series of “practical jokes” cast members played and some footage that Larry Hagman had taken with his own video camera, in which Linda Gray is always dancing. They also showed the un-aired footage of each cast member “shooting J.R.” which was delightful. Sadly, P.Duff and Victoria Principal have received some less than stellar face lifts. Patrick’s is, can I say tolerable? His face is tolerable. But Victoria looks sort of like Dolly Parton and sort of like an 80’s prime-time soap star action figure.
Well, they couldn’t very well outdo last season’s cliffhanger (Who shot J.R.?), no one can, but they did their best. In the final scene Cliff Barnes arrives at Southfork for a meeting with Bobby. As he is approaching the back door he notices a body floating face down in the pool and jumps in to rescue it. When he looks up, he sees J.R. standing at the edge of the balcony, where the railing is broken and proclaims, “She’s dead! Yoooouuuu bastard!” FREEZE FRAME. Leaving us to wonder, (A) Whose body was floating in the pool? (B) Did J.R. do it?
Guess we’ll have to wait and see. . . (oh wait I already found out, because season 5 arrived in the mail yesterday. Seriously CRY FOR HELP!)
5. ER – Chloe gives birth to Baby Susie in “Motherhood” (May 11, 1995)
A lesser TV authority would never have included this on their list. A main character’s sister gives birth and it makes a Top Five list? Who does that? Well, I do, and here’s why. First of all, we’re talking ER season 1, when this show was the greatest program I had ever watched, and not just Law & Order‘s fiercest competition for longest running show and most frequent cast changer. I was OBSESSED with the Chloe/Susan plot line. Check it, Susan is an ER doctor, her sister Chloe, is a junkie. When she turns up pregnant, Susan takes her in but despite her best efforts, Chloe just can’t stay clean. Obviously she gives birth in Susan’s emergency room, in a memorable scene in which she yells for The Beatles “Blackbird” to play as her daughter is being born. Following the birth of Baby Susie, Chloe and Susan’s mother, COOKIE, arrives at the hospital since the plan all along was for Cookie to raise the baby. At the last minute though, bitchy/flaky Cookie (seriously, you can’t trust anyone called Cookie) decides she’s taken care of Chloe long enough and by default, Susan is now the mother of the possible crack baby that was named after her. Important to note: Quentin Tarantino directed this episode.
4. Roseanne – Jackie has Andy out of wedlock in “Labor Day” (March 8, 1994)
Coming in at number four, Roseanne manages to eliminate the sappy emotional swill of the Very Special Birth Episode in exchange for madcap hilarity, sitcom style. I believe Jackie’s surprise pregnancy was written into the show, on account of actress Laurie Metcalf’s real life pregnancy, which explains how her terrifying pregnant belly in the hilarious bathroom scene with Roseanne looks so damn real (and terrifying). Expecting for Jackie to remain in labor for several hours, Roseanne and Jackie hesitate to call Fred, who barely makes it to the hospital in time to see the birth of his child. Remember though, it is a sitcom, and he is required to be in the room, in order to faint at the first sign of anything grotesque. In the final moments, they forgo the usual eight month old baby covered in goo scheme and use the camera instead, giving the audience the newborn’s P.O.V. Just watch:
3. Weeds – Nancy forces doctor to remove baby ASAP in “Where the Sidewalk Ends” (July 20, 2009)
Things start to get a little creepy when Nancy discovers a “birthing room” in her Mexican drug kingpin boyfriend’s house. She’s pregnant, and because she narked out Esteban’s trafficking operation, it’s the only reason she’s still alive. When she realizes that this powerful man is going to force her to have this baby at home OFF THE GRID, and then probably murder her, it’s time to take action. She needs a birth certificate, and witnesses. It’s a matter of life and death. Fortunately, ol’ Andy Botwin is there to save the day (in the General Lee) and rushes Nancy to none other than Dr. Alanis Morissette, who induces labor immediately, after hearing the story of the whackjob drug kingpin baby daddy. When Esteban arrives at the hospital he insists that Nancy leave immediately, it’s too late though, and the nurse presents his son, Stevie Ray Botwin.
2. Murphy Brown – Single working mom, Murphy has a baby boy in “Birth 101” (May 18, 1992)
Much to Vice President Dan Quayle’s chagrin, a fictional unmarried career woman gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on May 18, 1992. In an episode that was both heartwarming and hilarious, the entire news team works together to get this baby born. From Jim’s awkward attempts to take Murphy’s mind off the pain and his total discomfort with the mere thought of her lady parts, to Frank’s idiotic antics and attempts to empathize, Miles inability to focus on anyone but himself (granted, he was shot at while trying to locate Eldin) to Corky’s rush to the pharmacy to refill her prescription to birth control pills, this episode is comedy gold, and a major watercooler moment in television history. Eldin shows up at the last minute (after a jaunt to Maryland for some crabcakes) and the baby is born. The news team comes in for a final congratulations, with Phil in tow (let’s just say this, if I ever have a baby, I hope my favorite bartender is among the first visitors, too) before Murphy holds her son for the first time. “Hi. I see you got a little hat,” she says, before Frank re-enters to tape their first moment together and Murphy begins to sing Carole King’s “Natural Woman” and I start crying.
1. Dallas – Drunk Sue Ellen gives birth to John Ross Ewing III in “John Ewing III Pt.” (April 6, 1979)
It’s a wonder little John Ross isn’t retarded. For the entirety of Sue Ellen’s pregnancy she not only drank, but drank to total blackout most, if not all evenings. She was reeling from the breakup of her most recent affair with Cliff Barnes (the Ewing’s arch-nemisis) and wasn’t even sure if the baby was Cliff’s or her husband J.R.’s (we find out later it is, in fact, J.R.’s). Weeks before the baby was born, J.R. checks Sue Ellen into a sanitarium (rehab would be used today, but hey, it was the 70’s) where she bribes an orderly for booze. Once she’s good and liquored up, she escapes lockdown, steals a car and smashes it right into a telephone pole. She is rushed to the hospital and gives birth to a baby whose life is clearly in danger. Sue Ellen isn’t doing so hot herself, either. Eventually the baby is deemed in good health, but then is kidnapped, before he makes it home to Southfork. Sue Ellen continues drinking and neglects her child until midway through the following season.
We love babies in this country. Don’t believe me? Just ask Utah. Or, better yet, US Weekly. US Weekly is so in tune with our lust for babies and pregnant women and people with babies and women with babies who lost all the baby weight and baby fashion lines and baby FEUDS (it’s coming, trust me. That Maddox looks like trouble) that little Suri Cruise is practically a cover staple. And though we weren’t always so obsessed with celebrities’ real life spawn (think about it- ten years ago, would the name of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner’s toddler daughter come rolling so easily off your tongue?), we have ALWAYS had a soft spot for that Very Special Episode- “So and So Gives Birth.”
With that, I give you my Top Five TV Births. Let the contractions begin! And the epidural! Where’s my champagne? Where’s my salami?!*
WARNING: Searching for baby-related TV clips on YouTube is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. Proceed with caution if you don’t want to see a lot of homemade delivery videos (and I am not talking pizza. Mother of GOD)
5. Full House– Rebecca Gives Birth to Twins and the Most Ridiculous Living Situation/Solution Ever
Remember when Aunt Becky was pregnant with twins? And everyone (including me, shut up) was really, really excited? And then they went and were born on Michelle’s birthday (Michelle’s not special anymore. Awesome) And then, instead of MOVING OUT like normal human beings, they move back into the attic of their brother-in-law’s house and force the twins to live in a closet? Good times…
John Stamos, how much longer do you think you can get by on being COMPLETELY adorable?
4. Sex & The City- Miranda Gives Birth to “Oh, right. I have a baby.”
I love the Miranda-Mommy episodes. I can’t think of another show that’s tackled the whole notion of “I hate kids but I guess I’ll love my kid” issue before Miranda gave birth to Brady, her son with quasi-retarded bartender Steve. She’s just so bemused by the whole thing. She thinks baby showers are stupid, she hates being pregnant, she has NO CLUE what she’s supposed to do with a baby. Right up until the delivery, Miranda’s got rules about how it’s going to go down- she doesn’t want the nurses to be all cheery, she wants Steve to suck it up with all the man-crying and she wants it over and done.
Add her water breaking on Carrie’s heels and we’ve got ourselves some TV.
3. Friends– Phoebe Gives Birth to Her Brother’s Triplets
Now, there are some missteps in the Phoebe gives birth to triplets episode (mainly the whole thing with the doctor who’s obsessed with Fonzie although I do like that “dilated-amundo” joke) but I love it. I can’t help it. It’s all so good. Chandler and Monica are hooking up in the closet in secret. Joey and Ross are pushing out a kidney stone (changing forever how I say “KIDNEY STONE” ie with an Indian accent) in a lovely dual-montage with Phoebe’s birth (“Ow. Ow, ow, ow. OW.”) Phoebe tells Rachel that she wants to keep one of the babies (Rachel: “Oh, I’m going to be on the news.”) The fantastic Giovanni Ribisi running out and announcing the birth of his kids, dazedly walking back in as he realizes he now has THREE babies. Him making out with Kitty from That 70’s Show, another actress I would like to be in just about everything.
Sadly lacking in Friends clips on the old YouTube.
2. The Cosby Show– Sandra Gives Birth to (Surprise!) Twins
I will admit to loving it when the Huxtables go all soft and mushy on their kids. It’s rare but it happens. I ALSO love any time we get a “My BA-by!” out of Claire, preferably when she’s throwing her arms up in the air. It’s almost as good as when she gets really, really angry. Almost.
So Sondra finally gives birth, the big surprise being that it’s twins! (Unfortunately naming them “Winnie” and “Nelson”, the today equivalent of naming your twins Barack and Obama which I’m SURE has been done somewhere in America already) Obviously, the nicest part of the episode is her moment with Cliff and, apparently, the little speech she gives him about what a wonderful father he’s been was ad-libbed on Sabrina La Beauf’s part. So unbelievably sweet.
1. I Love Lucy– A Tiny Bongo is Born
Well, now. I have to end this on the biggest television birth in history. I’m a professional, after all. The episode “Lucy Goes to the Hospital” coincided with Lucille Ball’s C-section of her second child, Desi Arnaz Jr, culminating in the most watched television episode of the day.
And it’s so, so good. Ricky in his show makeup, in the waiting room and, one of my favorite scenes of all time, the “Ricky, it’s time” fiasco. It’s pure screwball, with Fred tripping over the phone, the suitcase spilling open, everyone stepping on each other and Ricky completely losing his cool. All culminating in them running out the door, leaving Lucy to wail, “Hey! Wait for me!”
*Classic line from E! one-season wonder Love is in the Heir. Anyone? Hello?