Thursday, July 22, 2010

Where Washed-Up Sitcom Stars Go To Die

Last night we were flipping channels and came across the new Betty White vehicle for TV Land, Hot in Cleveland. Despite my husband's protests, I kept it on for a few moments for shits & giggles, and before a single scene had concluded we were both laughing. Not at their jokes (sorry, Betty), but at the fact that it is so terribly cliche and so filled to the brim with aging sitcom stars.

All four lead actresses are iconic by their own right; each is well-known for bringing a character to life on a long-running TV series. Who could ever forget Rose Nylen (Golden Girls), Daphne Moon (Frasier), Nina Van Horne (Just Shoot Me), and, "that one with Schneider," (as my husband called her)(One Day At A Time)? Even though they're all in a new show with a new set and new story lines, they're all the same as ever.

Also? Their new characters are decidedly similar to their old well-known characters. Betty is the delightfully dippy senior citizen who shocks us all with her zingy one-liners about bedazzling her old-lady sweater. A Vajazzling joke would have been funnier and more current, but whatev. Wendie Malick wears chic zebra stripes and has a haughty "Socialite in the Country" persona. Jane Leeves is a working class gal from Manchester now leading a more urbane lifestyle. Valerie Bertinelli is perky and relate-able with her glass of wine and harping mother.

It's basically a recycled sitcom filled with recycled characters played by recycled actors. As if to illustrate this point, Jim and I both nearly spewed our drinks when Barney Miller sauntered onto the scene.

Because yeah, who among us hasn't wondered what Hal Linden has been up to recently?!

Hot In Cleveland
, much like the network on which it's aired, is a dumping ground for washed-up sitcom stars.

It got me thinking. Who's next on the line-up of previously-popular TV characters in need of a career make-over? I'd love to see the following folks join the Cleveland cast:

MacGuyver's Richard Dean Anderson.

Good Times' Jimmy Walker.

Cheers' George Wendt.

Say it with me, "NORM!"

Webster's Emmanuel Lewis.

Balkie Bronson Pinchot from Perfect Strangers.

The possibilities are limitless!! Who would you like to see make a come-back on a second-rate sitcom?

One last thing - feel free to check out my 10 Funny Sex-Ed posters post over at List of the Day today!

Have a great one, folks.


MJenks said...

Norm and I share a little something in common. George Wendt is a ND alumnus. He lived in the dorm where the "easy girls" live now.

It's where the infamous "I about threw up in my date's face" story took place.

Heather said...

My mom DVRs this shitty sitcom and makes me watch it with her. I love me some Betty White, but this show makes me vomit.

I wanna see Six from Blossom, except she's a stripper now so that might tramp it up too much but it would def add some dynamic!

Bev said...

Jenks - Wow, that makes you guys practically brothers! COOL!

And I remember (and love) that story.

Heather - Ha! So that's who watches this crap! Poor you.

Six is a stripper?! Yowza.

Salt said...

My husband and I were JUST talking about Balkie last night. And Cousin Larry. WTF happened to Cousin Larry!?

I almost want to watch that new show if only because of Betty White.

Frank Irwin said...

I played blackjack with Cousin Larry in Vegas, many years ago. I couldn't understand why the floorman was so all over him, as we were playing at a $5 table, until someone later (at a poker table) told me who he was. Nice enough, but quiet, guy.

Obviously, I never watched that show; I couldn't stand Balkie.

As far as Hot in Cleveland, I also watched it last night, to see Betty White. I didn't think much of the show, either, but was expecting all old stars to appear as the parents. I didn't recognize either of the mothers, though "the one with Schneider's" mother looked like Sally Struthers at first glance.

Kate said...

Tori Spelling! Oh wait, she already has her own "washed up star" show.

I know, I know, 90210 was *technically* a sitcom, but I always lumped it in that category.

Elliott said...

Hey, Heather...Cleveland has strip clubs, I've seen them. (Sadly, only from outside.) Six might just work. However, I was so offended by the first ad I saw for it, since, though not a native, I do call Cleveland my home, and have always been bothered by mainstream television's interpretation of solid midwesterners. (Except Fonzie. Fonzie was dead-on.)

I actually have a whole post written about Valerie Bertinelli, maybe it will make it into production tonight. I was looking for a way to link it back to your blog, now I have the perfect segue.

TS Hendrik said...

Well Richard Dean Anderson did have the whole Stargate thing. That in itself was kind of sad.

I watched an episode but couldn't bother to tune in again. All your points are dead on. I miss old TV Land when they used to actually play 'classic' television.

I'd much rather see Betty White in an old episode of The Mary Tyler Moore show than playing the same character that has been done to death the past 6 months.

MtnMama said...

Most of the old tv actors I used to watch either segued into movies, are still on tv, or have died. NYPD Blue, Designing Women, ER, Night Court, Hillstreet Blues, LA Law, Wonder Years, Kate & Allie, Moonlighting, Murphy Brown, Quantum Leap, and Thirtysomething. In no particular order.

I about died when Hal Linden walked out. Yee gods, what happened to his face? That can't be ALL old age. I was a big fan of Barney Miller in the day.
Yes, I've watched HIC. I wanted it to be funny.

Heidi Renée said...

I had such a crush on Richard Dean Anderson in elementary school. MacGyver was always on after WWF wrestling, which I got to watch every other weekend at my dad's. Did you know there's a MacGyver movie in development? It's true!

Senorita said...

I saw the print ad for "Hot In Cleveland" and everything you just said about it here confirmed what I was thinking about when I saw the picture ad. Totally cliche.

Bev said...

It's kind of sad when you truly sit down and ponder what became of certain celebs, right? Uncle Larry with a gambling problem (kidding!), Six working a stripper pole, Tori Spelling with her horrid boob job.

Fame isn't all it's cracked up to be!

Damn, I loved Kate & Ally! Recently I saw the kid who played Chip as a grown-up and called what sitcom he'd been on - my husband was both proud and mortified. ;)

Mala said...

Wait? Did little Emmanuel die recently? Oh, no... that was the other one. nevermind.

I'd like Alf to show up in Cleveland.

Bev said...

ALF! Great choice. :)

Cary McNeal said...

I would say Capt. Stubing from The Love Boat, but he washed up on The Suite Life On Deck the other day (hey, my kid watches it, STFU).

I nominate Horshack, Potsie, Les Nessman, Bailey Quarters, Vera from Alice (the nervous one), Pam Dawber, Peter Scolari, Charley & Laverne from Empty Nest, and that dude with the giant 'fro from Room 222. Oh, and James at 15 (or 16 or whatever he was).

Cary McNeal said...

I forgot Larry, Darrell and Darrell and Blossom.

"Tonight on a very special Blossom..."

Frank Irwin said...

Not James at 1x! I hated that guy!

Bailey and her big glasses, however...yum!

Bev said...

Cary - My kid watches that crap too, but I go somewhere else in my mind whenever it's on (picture Homer's oompa band and that's kind of like what's happening in my noggin when Nick is on), so I missed Captain Stubing!

Love your suggestions. Less Nesman?! That's a name I haven't thought of in ages. I was always a Johnny Fever gal, myself.


Frank - Bailey was cool, for sure. Pretty AND smart!

That was a great show.

Frank Irwin said...

Speaking of the James at 15 kid....