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Archive for the ‘thirtysomething’ Category

by Beal

In the first grade, local weatherman Kevin Orpurt visited my elementary school. The student body gathered in the gymnasium and sat on the floor (wow, this is even more low rent than I originally remembered) for Kevin’s captivating presentation about weather patterns and storm facts, probably, I can’t actually remember, because I was SO EXTREMELY PUMPED THAT I WAS MEETING A REAL LIVE TELEVISION STAR. Now, keep in mind that I was six and I had no idea what a “local affiliate” was or that MY “local affiliate” was located in Terre Haute, Indiana. What I thought was that Kevin Orpurt was the WORLD’S meteorologist and that me and my school were so special that he traveled all the way from 30 Rock to share his love of climate with us. Eventually, my excitement for meeting Mr. Orpurt turned to shame and a source of family mockery. Sixteen years later, I moved to Los Angeles where celebrity sightings are typical and routine so when I encountered one in the drugstore, the post office or a coffee shop my reaction was more of a “oh cool” than “HOLY SHIT HE’S ON TV!!!” Excitement-wise, nothing can compare to the Kevin Orpurt incident (that’s the saddest thing I’ve ever typed) but here are a few TV STAR ENCOUNTERS that come close. . .

5.  Jasmine Guy — Whitley Gilbert in  A Different World (1987-1993)

Jasmine Guy/Whitley GilbertYou know what’s greater than seeing Jamie Lee Curtis or Meredith Baxter Birney walking into an A.A. meeting? Seeing Jasmine Guy approaching the facility in which the meetings are held at the time in which they are held. See, I used to work four doors down from a church that held celebrity-studded alcoholics [not so] anonymous meetings on Thursday mornings at 9 a.m. The first time I saw Jamie Lee (who once called me “lovey”) I thought, no shit? what’s she doing walking around here at 9 a.m.? Until my boss informed me what all those people that smoked in front of the church were there for. Now Jamie didn’t smoke, and I can’t say that I ever say M.B.B. did either, and that doesn’t really matter, because the point is those two SEEM like they could be alcoholics. BUT WHITLEY GILBERT??? You’ve got to be kidding me. I’ve never been closer to figuratively shitting my pants. I had roughly a solid minute of Jasmine Guy approaching me head on, since I was walking up the street towards my office and she was walking down the street, POSSIBLY towards this meeting. Now, I can’t say for certain, but she had parked up the street (meaning she didn’t live in one of the houses down the street) and the only thing between her and the church was a nail salon, a waxing store (what do you call those?) and a boutique. HOWEVER, none of them opened until 10 a.m.! So, by the powers of deduction, Jasmine Guy may or may not have a drinking problem and I [sort of] witnessed it first hand.

4.  Patricia Wettig — Nancy Krieger Wilson in thirtysomething (1987-1991)/Holly Harper in Brothers & Sisters (2006-present)

patwettigPerhaps Patricia Wettig isn’t exactly who you think of when you think “Television Star,” but she made my list because of the frequency in which I ran into her, literally one time RAN INTO her (incidentally on the same day I “ran in” to her co-star, please see #1). From what I gather, Patricia (and her husband Ken Olin) must live in Pacific Palisades, a smalltown-esque celebrity enclave nestled on the bluffs between Malibu and Santa Monica. We share a favorite restaurant, Cafe Vida, because I saw her there at least once per week. It’s a small place, less than 20 tables, so no one could come in without you noticing (which Heidi and Spencer, vomit, did on the daily). I always really wanted to approach Patricia, and tell her I really liked her show, but I could never bring myself to do it, for fear of appearing as if I cared about celebrity (so instead I am blogging about it years later). The last time I saw her was at the CVS on 26th and Santa Monica Blvd. I was visiting L.A. the week before Christmas, stopped at the drugstore for something and as I rounded the corner of one aisle I smacked head on into another person. When I looked up and made eye contact, it was none other than Patricia Wettig. We said, “Excuse me” to one another, all the while making solid eye contact, and for a brief moment I considered sparking up a conversation. However, she seemed to recognize me (no doubt from our regular luncheons) and that was more satisfying to me than mentioning that strangely (and sounding made up) I had just seen her co-star at the mall.

3. Will Smith — Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (1990-1996)

Will Smith/Fresh PrinceSpotting celebrities in traffic is pretty spectacular. It’s like they think that within the confines of their $100,000 automobile, they are invisible. It’s quite the opposite actually. You see a retardedly expensive/shiny car and, as much as you wish you didn’t, you wonder who is inside. Nine times out of 10, it’s a nobody with a car payment that will bankrupt him before his cheating trophy wife can do it but once in awhile it’s Dennis Quaid or THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR! Heading into Hollywood one sunny afternoon I noticed a lustrous black Bentley convertible to my right. From a slight distance the driver appeared to be a Laker, but when the light turned red and I rolled up directly next to the vehicle, a perfect place to cock my head and stare, I noticed that it was, in fact, Will Smith. It was Will Smith, sitting in traffic next to me biting his nail. It was Will Smith spitting his finger nail into mid-air in the general direction of my car! The light turned green and, partly horrified, I continued east on Sunset Boulevard. Traffic is thick and another light turned red, aligning Smith and I for yet another couple minutes. I played it cool, nonchalantly looking to my left away from Smith and wouldn’t you know it, there he was again, this time as Hancock on an excessively large billboard. I turned back to my right, as it was exciting having both a picture of his face and his actual face on either side of my vehicle. THIS TIME, Will, a friendly guy, noticed me staring. He gave me a head nod which I returned (desperately wishing that I had “Gettin’ Jiggy With It” in my stereo) before he pulled in front of my car and turned left on Laurel where low-lifes like me, fear to tread.

2.  Ali MacGraw — Lady Ashley Mitchell in Dynasty (1984-1985)

Ali MacGraw/Lady Ashley MitchellPerhaps Ali MacGraw (no relation to Phil) is better known for her Academy Award nominated performance in Love Story than she is for her role in Dynasty, where she was killed in the Moldavian Massacre, but humor me. Now, admittedly, Ali MacGraw isn’t really on my celebrity radar. In fact, I had no idea who she was until after our chat. I was in a boutique store in L.A. trying on jeans when someone else came in to look around. I heard her tell the manager/my friend that she’d been keeping busy “working for Vogue.” Being that there was no mirror in the dressing room, I was soon forced to exit in order to use the large one located in the middle of the store. I plant myself in front of the mirror, and Ali MacGraw says to me, “Oh my god, those jeans were MADE for your body. You really have to get them.” Now, maybe she was just being nice, or maybe I was having a skinny day, or maybe the jeans were just high-waitsed enough to hide my muffin top BUT I will never be above taking false fashion compliments from a maiden of Vogue. I decide to purchase the jeans and for the next 15 minutes chat with this lady about her new home in Sante Fe, how she doesn’t miss L.A. and how much she loves this one kind of sandal that my foot is too fat for. After her departure, I was told who she was and thank god I didn’t know before or I may have had a Sweet Dee-style dry heave right in front of her or more likely done the ever-rude “My MOM loved that when she was a kid”. I still have the jeans, which I refer to exclusively as “my Lady Ashley Mitchell jeans.”

1.  Calista Flockhart — Ally McBeal in Ally McBeal (1997-2002)/Kitty Walker in Brothers & Sisters (2006-present)

Calista Flockhart/Ally McBealThe story I’m about to tell you is true. I almost [accidentally] killed Calista Flockhart. Part of me is glad that this was an “almost” situation and the other part of me wonders what doors would have opened up for me if I had, in fact, killed Ally McBeal or at least maimed her. Last December, L.A. was unseasonably cold, and rainy so instead of shopping outdoors on Melrose or the Promenade, I was relegated to the indoor Westfield Shopping Center in Westwood on Pico. Apparently the same thing happened to Calista. Now, I wasn’t actually living in Los Angeles at the time, only visiting,  and my friend Bic (you know, the girl who likes pens) was kind enough to loan me her apartment and brand new car for the week–the car that nearly killed Calista. As an Angeleno, parking AS CLOSE or CLOSER to the entrance as humanly possible is requisite. I noticed a spot and headed straight towards it at a reasonable speed. From the corner of my left eye I noticed a quick flash of a vehicle’s tail lights, no doubt the result of someone pushing the lock button on their deal. WITHOUT LOOKING FOR CARS, said person steps directly into oncoming traffic (me, in Bic’s car) FORCING me to SLAM on my breaks. This person gets out of harm’s way somehow (I couldn’t see my head was flying forward due to the violent slamming of the breaks) and is now standing directly next to my driver’s side window. I look over and wouldn’t ya know it! It’s Ally McBeal! She makes an “oops” face, smiles and politely waves. I smile awkwardly and wave back–a mutual exchange of “I’m not sure which one of our scatter brains lead to this almost tragic accident.” (Classic Ally). I quickly parked the car and spent the next hour stalking her and her family in Nordstrom.

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by Judi

Picture 1Show: The West Wing

Character: CJ Cregg

Actor: Allison Janney

Actor Not To Be Missed In: Let’s put it this way. Allison Janney should be in EVERYTHING. But if you’re looking for specifics, try Drop Dead Gorgeous, where she gets to play white trash to the nines, decked out in skin-tight leopard print and a teased ‘do, flirting with hunky bartenders at the “hotel by the airport”, cheering on her best friend’s daughter after a devastating fire hot-glues a beer can to poor Ellen Barkin’s hand, chain-smoking and otherwise being awesome on a full-time basis.

Picture 2

Basically: Claudia Jean Cregg is the White House Press Secretary for President Bartlett and it’s hard to picture anyone else in the job. Sharp-tongued, poised and cool under fire, CJ is remarkably adept at managing to charm the members of the White House press corp (eventually marrying that adorable guy from thirtysomething) while keeping them at bay. She can also hang with the boys, whose affection and respect for her is unending.

Why CJ Rocks: CJ is basically the kind of woman you wish you could be. She doesn’t apologize for her brains or her ambition and the fact that she’s still single isn’t an issue because she doesn’t make it an issue. Which isn’t to say she won’t hook up with hot Secret Service protector (Mark Harmon), assigned to protect her and oh, so much more.

Favorite Moment:

Lord, there are so many. CJ sings ‘The Jackal’, for instance, is a classic for its plain weirdness but also the dorky reverence everyone has for it is just adorable (side note: IMDB tells me that lip-synching ‘The Jackal’ is actually Allison Janney’s own party trick and Sorkin wrote it into the show which makes me love Janney even more). I also thoroughly enjoyed the Thanksgiving episode when the boys put the “to-be-pardoned” turkeys in her office, leaving them to wander around and poop over all of her things. And there’s the classic “Cheese Day” when a team of bizarre animal activists politely request a $900 million dollar budget to build a “wolf-only” highway throughout the Western United States. To this day, CJ’s burst of laughter at that still rings in my ears.

But this one takes the cake. In one of my favorite West Wing episodes of all time, the show flashbacks to when current President Bartlett’s team came together during his first election. Here, Toby goes to recruit CJ and apparently, he picked the right time as she’s living in LA and was just fired from her high-paying PR job working for a slimy, hot-shot movie producer.

And, I mean, she made Toby laugh. I think it’s the only time in West Wing‘s seven season run, frankly, and it was so worth it.

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I’m partly ashamed of exactly how I decided that I desperately needed to know what ever happened to Kelly Brown, but I believe the thought process to be nearly as valuable as the information regarding the whereabouts of Ms. Brown. Here goes:

While watching the Merecedes episode of The Golden Girls on the Hallmark channel last night, a commercial (not surprisingly) for denture adhesive came onto the screen. . .

OBVIOUSLY, this little ditty reminded me of a very special episode of Hey Dude! when Ted is leaving the Bar None Ranch and serenades his fellow employees to the same tune featured in the above commercial for Sea Bond– Bye bye Brad! Bye bye Melody! See ya Mr. Ernst! See ya Mr. Ernst! How I could possibly remember a 30 second scene for 19 years is a mystery, but not nearly a big of a mystery as I was about to discover when I began researching the cast of Hey Dude!

Melody (Christine Taylor) is the easy one. Apparently the only break-out star from the early 90’s Nickelodeon gem, Taylor married actor Ben Stiller and has appeared in dozens of semi-decent movies since Hey Dude went off the air.

Mr. Ernst (David Brisbin) has appeared on like, every show the 90’s had to offer from NYPD Blue to The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ellen, Seinfeld, thirtysomething and more. He even did 19 episodes of ER.

Ted (David Lascher) ended up on Blossom, Clueless and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. And will likely play the role of the romantic lead’s best friend in my first Lifetime MFTVM.

Now here’s the mystery: What in the hell every happened to BRAD? DANNY? LUCY? BUDDY?

Not one of these “actors” ever worked again! How is this possible? Fine, these people weren’t the greatest thespians in the world, but come on! They couldn’t even appear as a suspect on Law & Order? I’ll give you Danny and Buddy. They clearly won some kind of Nickelodeon casting sweepstakes, neither of them were playing a role, so much as they were playing themselves but in a dude ranch setting. Lucy I could give or take, I never really identified with her because she seemed old. Brad (Kelly Brown) on the other hand, I feel like was a real talent.  

However, Hey Dude! remains the ONLY acting credit to her name. I feel like she was the beautiful, feminine 90’s version of Jo Polniaczek (Nancy McKeon who still appears somewhat regularly on television).

I am thoroughly saddened by the disappearance of Kelly Brown, and her absence from my television screen. Furthermore, it is upsetting to find ONLY the following information about her current whereabouts, courtesey of Wikipedia. . . 

After Hey Dude, Brown left acting, got married, and started a family. She is last known to be living in upstate New York.

–BEAL

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With the unseasonably warm weather drawing me outdoors this week, I’ve missed out on a great deal of fabulous television, however anything important that I missed over the past week, was picked up by the miracle that is DVR. Still, not even DVR can bring back the shows I really miss. In no particular order, here are my top ten favorite shows I can’t find anywhere (cable, Internet, DVD:

1. Just the Ten of Us

2. The Jetsons

3. thirtysomething

4. Small Wonder

5. The Wonder Years

6. I’m Telling

7. Salute Your Shorts

8. Duckman

9. Murphy Brown (only season 1 was ever released on DVD)

10. Mr. Belvedere

I’m sure there are many many more that both time and I have forgotten, but for now, I’d love nothing more than a one day marathon of each of the above shows to appear on TNT or the USA network, or for the love of god on Hulu or DVD.

–BEAL

Ok, first of all- I REALLY miss Just the Ten of Us too and seeing this old commercial my brother sent me just makes me miss it more…


Second of all, I cannot believe thirtysomething nor Murphy Brown are not on DVD. I’m reeling in shock and dismay over here. Remember when the TV Gods bowed down to Murphy Brown? (Wow, I really regret that sentence).

My List could be on DVD but really needs to go back to syndication (aka Free)

1. Boy Meets World

2. Hey Dude

3. Taxi

4. California Dreams

5. Fifteen

6. Welcome Freshmen

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to do a little more panicked research on the possibility of a Moonlighting movie…

– Judi

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