Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Frasier’ Category

by Beal

8

There are very few (if any) holidays that are as inherently zany as Halloween. From the boatloads of candy to the low rent pranks to the costumes (oohh the costumes!), not to mention all the scary stuff, this spooky pagan holiday is ready made screwball entertainment and I for one LOVE IT. Seriously, there’s nothing better than a quality HALLOWEEN-ISODE if you ask me. Sure it’d be fun to cobble together a costume, go out trick-or-treating and engage in neighborly shenanigans, but isn’t it so much more enjoyable to curl up on your couch with a plastic pumpkin full of fun (okay fine, KING) size candy bars and watch your favorite television characters do it for you? Their costumes are so much more elaborate and well-fitting, their top-notch pranks go off without a hitch and their haunted houses seem really fun. That said, if I had my way, EVERY sitcom (and most serialized dramas*) would be REQUIRED to air a Halloween Special ANNUALLY or risk  a hefty fine.

However, most shows don’t take advantage of the intrinsic amusement that IS Halloween. The following are five shows that did, in a memorable fashion, commemorate Halloween with special Halloween-isode:

5.  My So Called Life “Halloween” 1994

halloween my so called lifeInterestingly (or maybe not so much) this is my LEAST favorite episode of this show. Now that’s not to say this episode wasn’t good, because it was, it just always pissed me off when I was really in the mood for some teen angst and flannel and what I got was a bizarre ghost story. If I remember correctly, legend has it that some punk kid in the 1960’s (whose 90’s counterpart is obviously Jordan Catalano) named Nicky Driscoll attempted some prank in the high school gymnasium and fell off the ceiling rafters only to be impaled by a high-heeled shoe on the floor. (I’m pretty sure I didn’t make this up). The spookiest part? Angela totally finds a library book he once checked out! And for the rest of the episode, sees his ghost around the school. Wait a minute? Was this a very special episode? Was this “The One Where Rayanne Drops LSD in Angela’s Sunny-D?” Because it might as well be. Let’s also not forget that kid sister Danielle dresses up as Angela to go trick-or-treating with cat/rat/slut Sharon, Rayanne and Brian sleep together (literally sleep) in the boiler room at school and Mr. and Mrs. Chase make everyone throw up with their gratuitous, I’ll just leave it at that.

4.  Frasier “Room Full of Heroes” 2001

RoomFullOfHeroes-smallWell, it wouldn’t be a party at the Crane’s if it wasn’t pretentious, uncomfortable and psuedointellectual and a costume party should be no exception, which is why Frasier decides to throw a douchey “dress as your hero” party, that no one wants to attend, as evidenced by the fact that no one but Niles, Martin, Daphne and Roz attended. (Really think about that. Imagine if you threw a PARTY and the only people that came were your brother, your father, your father’s housekeeper and your pathetic co-worker. Time to re-evaluate your life). At any rate, Frasier dresses up like Sigmund Frued because he’s obvious and a tool, Martin dresses as Joe DiMaggio, Niles as Martin (in a blatant attempt to suck up, but, because it’s a sitcom this obviously takes a comedic 180), Daphne as Elton John (what?) and Roz as, wait for it, Wonder Woman. Initially, she pretends that she misunderstood and thought the party was a superhero party, but later we discover that in fact, Roz’s hero is actually Wonder Woman–It must feel awesome to get mocked at a party where you were the only person attending that is not directly related and/or employed by the host.

3.  Family Matters “Dog Day Halloween” 1990

ve4pir.jpgBank robbery hostage situation combined with Halloween? Uh, yes please! I’m a little fuzzy on the details, but for some reason Steve Urkel and Laura Winslow make their way into the bank on the evening of October 31 just as some crooks roll in for a stick up. What business two 9th graders had at the bank of an evening, we’ll never know. The important thing is that Laura is rocking a terrific Tina Turner get up and poor cheese-loving Steve, dressed as Superman, fails to save the day (enter the fattest Chicago P.D. ever Carl Winslow). Oh, and if you thought Laura’s costume was impressive, get a load of Judy’s (Ms. Jackson’s if you’re nasty), which is the most authentic looking child’s Halloween Costume I have ever seen.

2.  Freaks and Geeks “Tricks and Treats” 1999

freaks-tricks-715848Talk about a fun old fashioned Halloween! The Weir’s and their friends really bring it! Mom’s in the kitchen baking festive cookies that all the trick-or-treaters are tossing on her lawn for fear of poison and razor blades. Dad’s bitching about every aspect of the holiday. Lindsay’s ditching her mom and their annual tradition of handing out treats together in corresponding costumes to engage in local mayhem with her friends and little Sam is dressing up in a makeshift robot costume and going trick-or-treating with two other virgins-for-life who’ve dressed as Charlie Chaplin Hitler and the Bionic Woman. Things get tricky when Lindsay inadvertently targets Sam in her Halloween havoc by nailing him with a couple of eggs, RUINING his Halloween night. Oddly, Lindsay felt awful about hitting her little brother and his cohorts with eggs and hustled home to finish handing out treats with her mother in lieu of smashing mailboxes and pumpkins with her friends. Sam [probably] went to his room, removed the silver painted cardboard box from his person and cried like a bitch.

1.  Roseanne “Trick Me Up, Trick Me Down” 1991

Deadgar and MortyIt would have been easy to populate this list exclusively with episodes of Roseanne. When it came to the Halloween Special, this sitcom was not fucking around. Along with The Simpsons, the program really cornered the market on spooktacular (Oh, I just had to use that word at some point. HAD TO) specials. In this installment from season 4, the Queen of Halloween lures her stick-up-her-ass neighbor Kathy Bowman into the house so that she will discover Dan’s bloodied body on the kitchen table with his guts hanging out. Rosie cruelly enters the room with a bloodies shirt, wielding a rather large knife, scaring the bejesus out of Kathy, forcing Roseanne to spend the rest of the night stalking Kathy at the Lodge costume party, in order to quell any attempt at revenge. The greatest scene in this episode however, is Dan and Roseanne’s vaudevillian-esque dead ventriloquist show, it “kills” me every time!

“Say isn’t that Jackie over there? I hear she’s a truck driver now!”

“Well that’s a switch, Jackie in the front seat with her feet on the floor.”

 

*It would be ridiculous for say, Lost or 24 to include a Halloween special in their plot-line, but welcome nonetheless.

Read Full Post »

Why NBC, you’ve done it again! I had lost all hope in you when your Thursday night lineup slummed to Joey, Will & Grace, The Apprentice and ER. It was like, just because Friends and Seinfeld had played out, you didn’t have to give up completely, but you did. I believe it was your shit Thursday that singlehandedly took your network to #4 in the ratings. Up to that point, I had always flipped to NBC when I had nothing in particular to watch during prime time, because your programming was generally better than any other network.

But then, you put Law & Order “spin-offs” [read: exactly the same show with a new tagline] (and what the hell was that one with Bebe Neuwirth?) on every single night, in every single time slot, and I had to let you go. It was a sad era for television, and I, along with the masses, said to hell with network and began obsessions with HBO and cable programming. 

Which brings me to last night. NBC, you’ve won me back!!

You have created a “Must See TV” lineup like no other, and I thank you for it. I submit that it’s better than its last heyday(s)The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Cheers, Hill Street Blues—Wings, Seinfeld, Frasier, L.A. Law—and later—Friends, Seinfeld, ER.  [Yes, I intentionally didn’t mention the shitty shows that appeared amongst these gems: Boston Common, Mad About You, etc.

murray

Last night, I laughed OUT LOUD, alone, during each of the situation comedies you featured. Parks & Recreation was as funny as I could have hoped for, which obviously means it’s going to be cancelled, but I say please, please give this one a fair chance. Amy Poehler was the only reason I continued to watch SNL once it turned terrible, so I thank you for putting her in prime time. Her character is hilarious. When she rolled in in the duck taped travel pillow, pretending it was a neck brace from a fall she had endured into a pit, I peed a little. So so funny. And The Office can be totally hit or miss, but it’s funny more often than it’s not, and Michael Scott only forces me to change the channel sometimes. 30 Rock, hilarious, hilarious, hilarious. I won’t say any more. 

6a00d83451c17f69e201156f481229970b-800wi

As for Southland, I plan on giving it a fair chance and reporting back. My Name is Earl is a throw away show that’s essentially a bad skit gone on far too long. But that I can accept. Your new lineup with it’s new name COMEDY NIGHT DONE RIGHT, is no longer a lie. You win.

Read Full Post »

Perhaps I’ve mentioned it before, perhaps everyday, but I like to watch The Golden Girls each night from 1 am to 2:30 am on the Lifetime network. It’s the perfect wind down from an otherwise turbulent day of searching for something great to watch on television. I’ve also gotten myself into the habit of watching Frasier for an hour before GG begins. Upon consulting the guide to determine which episodes would be on tonight (only two are usually on on Mondays, because Rita Rocks reruns at 2). At any rate, Desperate Housewives was positioned in the 1 am block. What the fuck is this? What asshole is trying to destroy the one and only thing I can actually call a “routine” in my life? 

I don’t know how I am going to function. I can’t find a new show to watch, The Golden Girls is absolutely the only program that will suffice!! Ugh, I’m never going to fall asleep again!!!!

Wait a minute, hold up, what’s that? HALLMARK CHANNEL YOU’VE SAVED THE DAY! 

goldengirls460

Whew! Crisis averted. And check out these added bonuses:

1. The Golden Girls are on from MIDNIGHT to 2 am  night (except Sunday– BTW what’s up with that? Lifetime didn’t air it on Sunday either. Is there some sort of Sabbath rule on watching the elderly date promiscuously?) so I can function almost normally, and maybe even fall asleep a half hour earlier each night.

2. Hallmark is airing I Love Lucy at 2 am. Perfect! Thank you! I can handle a zany half hour of olden timey situation comedy as I fall asleep. I back this little mix-up.

3. At 2:30 am, Lifetime converts to paid programming. Not only does Hallmark provide an extra half hour of regular programming, wait for it, they fill that half hour with Cheers

4. And, if all that wasn’t enough, the 11 p.m. Hallmark hour is filled with Murder, She Wrote. Are you kidding me right now? What a terribly terrific program! Angela, I foresee a beautiful friendship burgeoning here. 

5. Although I was briefly furious with Lifetime for removing GG from their lineup, they did replace one hour of it with one of my favorite guilty pleasures, Desperate Housewives–which I watch solely for the Karen McClusky character, and so in the event that GG is one I’ve watched too recently, I have a satisfying alternative.

So, let’s review. On any given night, nestled in my own bed, I have the potential for one of the greatest lineups in all of television history:

11:00 Murder, She Wrote

12:00 Frasier/The Golden Girls

12:30 Frasier/The Golden Girls

1:00 The Golden Girls/Desperate Housewives

1:30 The Golden Girls/Desperate Housewives

2:00 I Love Lucy

2:30 Cheers

 

–BEAL

Read Full Post »

Lilith Sternin

I’ll admit it. It’s been years but the decision to split up Cheers’ Frasier and Lilith still makes me scratch my head. I guess some people would say it’s a no brainer that eventually warm, caring, perpetually misguided Frasier Crane would eventually come to his senses, ditch the icicle at his side and move to Seattle so he could resume a life of bachelorhood (may I say, “ew”).

But really, keeping these two together would’ve been so much more entertaining, in my humble opinion. Eleven guest spots on “Frasier” just don’t cut it. I would’ve loved to have seen Niles and Lilith face off on more of a daily basis. Watch Frasier continue trying to be everything to everybody while Lilith acts as the dead voice of cynicism and doubt, constantly undermining his good intentions by cutting right to the chase. How can you not love her? Anyone who walks around thinking they can solve all your problems for you needs to be cut down to size daily. Unfortunately, they decided to give the job to John “I’m INCARCERATED, Lloyd!” Mahoney instead of keeping it in Lilith’s capable, bird-like hands where it belonged.

Better yet, forget Frasier altogether. If they had to split them up, they should’ve just given the spin-off to Lilith instead. She’s the strangest character ever but she works and she’s endlessly fascinating to watch. Bebe Neuwirth manages to keep her dead cold, monotone, dry as my skin in winter and seriously funny, which is a solid accomplishment for a woman whose career would eventually come to be better known for posing in “Chicago” and throwing benefits for out of work dancers. Lilith is always completely nonplussed and even-steven, the original ice princess, and watching her navigate a warm and cuddly sitcom world by herself would’ve been so much fun. (How does she raise a CHILD? It’s FASCINATING.)

Sigh. At least we’ll always have our “what ifs”. And reruns.

– Judi

Read Full Post »