Sadly, All in the Family is Still 100% Relevant in 2019

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First of all, I didn’t really know anything about this other than that Marisa Tomei was involved and I was totally and completely on-board. Secondly, I started thinking about how Archie Bunker’s Nixon-era logic fallacy-driven paradigm of bigotry and misogyny (okay that’s it for the one’s that end in y so go ahead and insert all of the ones that end in “ism”) is sadly relevant to our current political climate.

Even in the 1990’s with all of it’s poorly aging depictions of gender (ahem I’m looking at you, many of the jokes from Friends), I could at least look at All in the Family and feel like “my we have come so far” but nowadays I feel like I may just meet Archie Bunker anywhere I go except he’d be wearing a MAGA hat and scrolling through Fox News on his iPhone News app and then sharing some weird shit on Facebook and then probably getting into a fight with Mike Stivic in the comments section — okay, have I taken this run-on sentence far enough?

None of this will come as a surprise to anyone. Norman Lear even said it in his intro. So here’s my bullet point thoughts on this one-off reboot:

  • Woody Harrelson is a wonderful actor, but he’s no Carroll O’Connor. There were also moments where I felt like his accent was more Boston than Queens–too much time behind the bar at Cheers?
  • Ike Barinholtz KILLED it as Michael Stivic.
  • I love Ellie Kemper and I think she’s a great comedian, but something about her line delivery/timing as Gloria felt off. Maybe she isn’t used to live shows? It seemed a little like she didn’t know how long to wait for the laughs and wasn’t sure what to do when she was in the background of a wide shot. Her accent was also problematic as it oscillated between bad and nonexistent.
  • I loved the interplay between Marisa Tomei as Edith and Wanda Sykes as Louise. I forgot how the women were more progressive than their husbands. It’s been a little while since I’ve seen either of these shows!
  • Marisa Tomei really captured Edith’s sweet spirit.
  • Ike Barinholtz and Woody Harreslon had such good chemistry that I kinda got over my Carroll O’Connor issue from earlier.
  • I don’t remember the original Henry Jefferson — apparently he was only in twelve episodes — but I really love Anthony Anderson and I feel like he was very well cast in this role.
  • Lionel Jefferson was one of my favorites in the original cast. He was so easy-going but also so quick-witted. He could out-argue Archie with a joke. I’m sure that wouldn’t be fun to have to do in real life, but it was always fun to watch. Anyway, I’ve never seen Jovan Adepo in anything before. But he did such a good job as Lionel that I have a crush on him now.
  • I also had a hard time with Jamie Foxx as George Jefferson because, like Carroll O’Connor with Archie, Sherman Hemsley is SO iconically George Jefferson. I also felt like Jamie hammed it up so much that was kind of distracting. If I was watching a Sherman Hemsley George Jefferson impression I would say this nailed it, but I didn’t want to watch an impression. I do have to give Woody Harrelson props for staying out of impression territory with Archie. (Or maybe it’s just that his impression was so bad it didn’t feel like an impression?) However, once Jamie Foxx messed up his line in the flub heard round the world, he seemed to drop a lot of this impression schtick, and I think his portrayal of George was all the better for it.
  • Did not know Jennifer Hudson was going to sing the theme song from The Jeffersons! This was a lovely surprise!
  • Will Ferrell and Kerry Washington were great, but I just never really liked the Willises and I still don’t.
  • Heheh the old bait and switch with Marla Gibbs in the role she originated as Florence instead of Justina Machado was wonderful. Also have fun would it have been to have been Justina Machado and have been in on the con???
  • Also, major shoutout to Stephen Toblowsky and Sean Hayes who each did a fabulous job.  Although I couldn’t stand the character Sean Hayes had to play, I seriously didn’t recognize him. He did a great job.
  • If I had to pick an MVP from each family it would be Ike Barinholtz and Wanda Sykes. Like I could straight up watch them in a full order of episodes for both All in the Family and The Jeffersons. (But can I also add Jackée Harry on as a bonus MVP since she was technically a guest star?)

It makes me sad that we needed a little 1970s refresh to hopefully sort our shit out, but I really hope this got people talking. It’s definitely still relevant and I hope one day we’ll really have moved past it. I truly believe the only way to do this is through meaningful intimate conversations with friends and family, which is what was so great about these shows in the first place. They modeled how to do that and we need them now more thane ver.

 

 

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Regarding: “One Day at a Time”

Hello, hi. It’s me again! I know it’s been a while. In fact, I haven’t even been watching that much television lately because I’ve been busy devouring Bad Blood (the book about Theranos) and listening to “The Drop Out” (the podcast about Theranos). Should my next blog be about grifters?

Anywa, I’m here today to appeal to you about “One Day at a Time,” a.k.a. the only good reboot of the recent reboot trend (and I will die on this hill!) I reviewed the first episode of the first season way back when it was first released.

But I’m bringing it up again now because the show has just returned for its third season and word on the street is that renewal is not exactly a lock. And that would be so, so terrible.

This is the best possible reincarnation of the classic sitcom I like to write about on this blog. The new One Day at a Time is tackling “very special” issues in a way that is neither silly nor trite. In fact, I can hardly write about it because it is a vast improvement on the old school shows I grew up with. But I’m writing today to make a simple plea that you give it a watch. It’s the kind of show I would want to watch with my kids, if I had them, and that I would have loved to have the opportunity to watch when I was growing up.

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Kristy and The Great Reboot Idea

ec64c567-ea00-4d5e-89be-225938f4cfbaFYI the latest reboot is The Baby-Sitters ClubI seriously could devote an entire blog to reboots at this point, but that is NOT my vibe.

The original BSC series was my jam. It originated on HBO in 1990, but those of us without that cable-packaged movie-channel add-on luxury were lucky enough to catch it in reruns on The Disney Channel in the mid 90’s.

So with this reboot I’m having a mixture of feelings, even more so than usual, because the news of this reboot makes me feel simultaneously very happy and very old. I didn’t realize how old the original series was until this very point in time. I was like “wtf it’s not like as old as Magnum, P.I.” But the thing is, it is like as old as Magnum, P.I. *Insert light weeping noises here.*

But in the spirit of summer, I’m going to bury bummer feelings into a glass of rosé and review every damn episode of this magical series in order because it is TIMELESS and I’m just majorly bummed that reboots have killed reruns. If they reboot Cheers, I will lose my mother-effing mind.

That said, the original BSC series is available on Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix. Watch along, won’t you?

First post on Friday.

Cobra Kai: The Best (Reboot) Around

I am so excited that Cobra Kai is finally out and available! FYI the first two episodes are free on YouTube! (Episode 1 is embedded at the bottom of the post).

Early on in the episode we learn that Daniel LaRusso is a car salesman, who uses his Karate prowess to advertise his business. That’s pretty lame, even for a car salesman.

DUDE, ED ASNER IS IN THIS! Was he in the original Karate Kid? It’s been so long that I cannot remember. He’s playing Johnny’s stepdad, so maybe we’ll see more of him.

Anyhow, Johnny isn’t doing too well. He’s an alcoholic with a record and he just lost his job as a handyman. When some teenagers total his car (one of whom we later learn is Daniel’s daughter) he has to head to LaRusso’s body shop to pick it up. (Whoops, just spoiled the hell out of that episode for ya. Sorry, I’m used to working with older material.)

Narratively, the episode is told from Johnny’s perspective. Episode two is told from Daniel’s perspective, while moving forward chronologically.

After his encounter with Daniel, Johnny is motivated to restart the Cobra Kai dojo with his first student being–get this–a bullied teen who is new in town.

William Zabka is GREAT and I’m so glad we get to see a little more depth to Johnny’s character. I think it will be interesting to see how the plot plays out, especially if they continue to switch protagonists with each episode. That said…it will take many a good review to make me consider paying for a YouTube Red subscription just to watch the full series. (Or maybe I’ll free trial it?)

Girl Meets Goodbye

Girl Meets World aired their series finale last night. You all know how I feel about this show, so I may as well have called this post Girl Meets Good Riddance. But I am excited to post about it because this is finally the episode with the gigantic Boy Meets World reunion!! (Including both Morgan’s!! Cannot wait to see how they do that!)

BACK ROW: RIDER STRONG, CHERYL TEXIERA, DANNY MCNULTY, WILLIAM RUSS, BETSY RANDLE, LEE NORRIS, WILL FRIEDLE, ANTHONY TYLER QUINN; FRONT ROW: AUGUST MATURO, DANIELLE FISHEL, SABRINA CARPENTER, ROWAN BLANCHARD, WILLIAM DANIELS, BEN SAVAGE, URIAH SHELTON, LILY NICKSAY, LINDSAY RIDGEWAY, MICHAEL JACOBS

The episode starts off with Maya asking Riley if Topanga has made a decision about taking a job in London (meaning the entire family will move away from New York City). Cory teaches some overbearing lesson to the class about “Belgium 1831” and how it’s all like what they’re going through (namely, what HIS kid is going through) right now. UGH these kids better not be Millennials. We don’t need anyone else accusing us of being self-centered like this! When were these children born? They better be in a different generation! (Ugh, crap. Apparently Millennials were born all the way until 2004. We’ll I’d just like to divest the late 80’s/early 90’s babies from that set, PLEASE.)

So Topanga assembles everyone important to her to bounce around some ideas. (This includes former school bully/current school janitor, Harley. And Minkus…who we didn’t even seen for the last several years of Boy Meets World, but I guess he’s kind of a big deal now because he’s Farkle’s dad.)

Morgan_Matthews(s).pngAs far as both Morgan’s are concerned, they address them both as Morgan. Both as “their sisters.” This is horrible. I REALLY REALLY dislike this. Also, Mr. Turner isn’t even here. This episode super sucks. Oh wait, jk. He literally just walked through the door.

The only cool thing is you get to see Feeny and Eric talk. They’re still funny together. Also, Shawn announces he’s going to adopt Riley. Topanga is mad because she wants to talk about the job offer and she feels like they’re stealing her thunder. Uh, sorry Topanga. A kid just gained a dad today, you jerk.

The Morgan’s offer Cory and Topanga’s youngest kid some advice. They tag-team out mid conversation. This is weird. Maya is really sad and she says that Riley won’t leave because they belong together, but then Josh comes over to talk with all of them and Maya decides that life is replacing Riley with Josh (because she’s a self-centered person who gives a bad name to us older Millennials). They all say they hope to get to keep being themselves and blah blah blah.

Oh, whoops, guess what! Topanga decides they won’t move!! (So really they totally ripped off the end of That 70’s Show where they think they’ll sell the house and move but then they actually don’t. Is this a trope? How many other shows have done this?)

Ugh, now we’re back to Corey talking about “Belgium 1831” and how it applies to their small little lives again. Like seriously, there are like 5 kids in this class who ever cared about the move and the other 12 kids must be so pissed. If my kid had a teacher who taught around 5 kids, I would be calling the PTA like crazy. Cory must be really taking advantage of tenure.

Then there’s a flashback to Cory’s last monologue from Boy Meets World (to original Josh, who I think is the show creator’s son). Now, THAT was a good finale. And then we return to Girl Meets World. As they wrap up their chat inside Topanga’s bakery, a patron comes in and I am 99% sure that he is the grown up version of that OG Josh. By the way OG Josh is a lot older than replacement Josh. They like definitely aged that character down. And then that’s the end! This writing is so bad, it’s literally just the nostalgia factor that kept this show going. OMG it HAS to be. So yep, good riddance.

Anyhow, if you made it all the way end to this crappy post about a crappy show, tell me in the comments which Morgan you liked better on Boy Meets World. I’m team OG Morgan, Lily Nicksay.

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One Day at a Time, a Very Special Reboot

I have been seeing a lot of buzz around my social media accounts about how awesome One Day At A Time is on Netflix. I have only seen the original once (back when I did “The Runaways” episode for the A to Z Challenge). Since I don’t have a strong attachment to the original, I was perhaps more open to giving the modern version a chance. But I think it’s more likely that Netflix’s One Day At A Time earned this positive press in its own right. 

Most people I’m friends with on Facebook are also Millennials and for reasons totally lost on me, most of them do not also worship at the house of canceled sitcoms. Suffice it to say, I think this is one Netflix reboot (more like “revamp” honestly) that will survive on scripts, not fan service. This ain’t Fuller House

So what I’m going to do now is talk about all of the fluffy aesthetic things that I noticed on a totally nerd level. Then I’m going to talk about why I’m geeking out on this show on a sociocultural level in the next paragraph. Basically, if puff pieces aren’t your thing (How did you even find this blog? How have you read this far??) skip to then next paragraph. Oh great, you’re still here! So having only seen the original One Day At A Time once, I can tell you that the first thing I noticed was that the main set of the apartment is remarkably similar, if not identical. But as a casual viewer, I will leave that to a bigger fan than I to investigate. The similarity of set intrigued me in two ways. One, it made me feel cozy and familiar both in that I had seen it before on television and in that the layout feels very late 70’s (so I had more or less seen similar styles as a kid at Grandma’s). But ultimately, it’s just a great layout for a wide angle lense with lots of areas for staging without looking, well, “staged.” Similarly to the original, mom and grandma are raising two kids alone (a boy and a girl this time instead of two girls) and their landlord is very involved in their lives (in a non-creepy way, unless you count cracking corny jokes as creepy). They also kept the original theme song and revamped it in a wonderful way that kind of makes me want to play it on repeat. But you know I love theme songs. I also love Gloria Estefan.


In another difference from the original, the family is Cuban-American. The matriarch is glorious EGOT Rita Moreno from West Side Story and The Electric Company. Her daughter is played by Justina Machado (who I’ve seen as a guest on many shows but never as a lead). Justina Machado is the X-factor here and why you should be watching. You can tell this script is important to her. She’s really connecting with it and she’s having fun with it. And that’s exactly what she should be doing not only because it’s literally her job as an actor, but also because this script is both important in content and fun in delivery. 

In the pilot episode, which shares a title with the theme song “This is It,” we learn that Rita Moreno has moved in with daughter, Justina Machado, to help raise her kids–a feminist teen girl and a materialistic preteen son–while her husband works abroad in a private security firm. We learn that both parents are army vets, but by the end of the episode it’s clear that Justina’s character is not on-board with the separation. Basically, she’s a single parent so her husband can have the job he wants instead of one closer to his family. 

She’s also struggling with anxiety and depression. Much of the first episode deals with whether or not she will take an anti-depressant medication. As a nurse, she’s okay with it. But as an individual, she feels weird about it. She seems to have internalized some of the stigma around mental health, even as a medical professional. It’s interesting to see her grapple with this and I truly hope it’s an ongoing theme. This in an important conversation. 

But that is not to say that One Day At A Time is a downer. It’s anything but. The show is COZY, which makes it more comfortable to have these conversations. The issues are modern but this reminds me more of Growing Pains than Modern Family. It’s a traditional sitcom format. You won’t be laughing at one-two punchlines and little quirks or awkward slapstick situations. But the issues are real, both the kids and parents are legitimately funny, and everyone seems like a human. And yes, maybe the anti-depressant issue is resolved a little too neatly in 30 minutes (though it’s definitely not “very special”). But this is a sitcom after all. As much as I malign them, at best they’re 30 minute conversation starters. I hope the conversation doesn’t end here. 

Fuller House: Happy New Year Baby

Fuller House was not messing around with the holidays this year! They covered the 4 major Fall/Winter holidays, so this year I bring you a New Year’s episode.

We FINALLY Get to see Kimmy Gibbler wearing her pizza sweater from the promo shots in this episode. (Please, people of the internet, tell me where I can get one of these. If you own an Etsy shop, link me to it in the comments!) She also has a pizza topping scarf and a pizza bow, but I’m not as excited about either of these. Her pizza earrings are pretty sweet though.

DJ is throwing a big New Year’s party. And Steve tells her that he wants to propose to CJ at DJ’s party. (CJ is Steve’s girlfriend this season and she’s eerily similar to DJ not only in name but also in personality.) He also wants her to write his proposal for him…ugh weird.

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Shortly after Steve makes this big announcement, Danny, Jesse, Becky, and Joey and the freaking woodchuck puppet show up. (Insert loud crying emoji here). Beck and Jesse are apparently in town to adopt a new baby. This came up briefly in a previous episode, but I still don’t understand it to be perfectly honest.

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fh_212_unit_01445_r_crop-minWe also get to hear Joey do a very poor Marlon Brando impression when Jesse asks him to be the baby’s godfather. Danny gets pretty touchy about not being offered the godfather-ship. So the three guys start arguing about how much Danny saved them in rent over the years vs. how much they saved him in baby-sitting. (It’s San Francisco real estate dudes, you got the much better deal.) But Danny goes for the jugular when he tells Jesse that Forever is “not [his] favorite song.” Well, we were all thinking it… Joey (who is also upset because Jesse tried to placate Danny by telling him he could be the godfather instead of Joey) agrees with Danny. So Jesse tells Joey that Mr. Woodchuck sucks. THANK GOD WE ARE FINALLY ADDRESSING THIS! Then Joey tells Jesse that the only reason people watch “Wake Up USA” is because they want to watch Becky. Ouch. I mean. Hm. This one feels hurtful where as the others were like things that NEEDED to be said. This is Danny’s whole career! It’s not one dumb song or puppet!

But out of the mouths of babes, DJ’s middle child saves the whole situation when he comes outside looking for advice on how to forgive his older brother for being a jerk to him at the New Year’s party. The three grown men say that nothing is more important than loving your brothers. (But like…they’re not actually brothers…okay fine…ugh Jesse even hugs Mr. Woodchuck…oh wait it’s just a fake out to throw him over the fence. YAHOO!)

As predictable as this show is, I’m sure you could all tell as soon as I mentioned that Steve needed DJ’s help his proposal that CJ would mistakenly think that Steve was involved with DJ. BUT I be you didn’t guess that DJ would ultimately propose to CJ on Steve’s behalf and that a very confused Matt would enter the party in the midst of this.

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The next morning, Jesse and Becky bring their new baby to see everyone. They name her Pamela after the girls’ mother and Jesse’s sister. All of the actors of varying talent seem to genuinely tear up over this. Maybe they felt like Pam was a real character on the original show even though we only saw her for like 2 seconds in a home video in the show’s original run. But honestly, I teared up too because dammit it’s a sweet sentiment.

Also, DJ reveals that she was going to pick Steve before he got involved with CJ, but now she’s happy with Matt. Something tells me we haven’t seen the ends of this love triangle…