Thursday, June 28, 2018

Thursday Movie Picks #207: Spinoffs (TV edition)

This being Thursday, it's time for another edition of Thursday Movie Picks, the blogathon run by Wandering Through the Shelves. We're in the last week of another month, which means it's time for another TV version. This month, the theme is spinoffs, when they take characters from one show, change the situation, and voilĂ , you've got a new show. It wasn't too difficult to come up with three shows, although I was able to come up with a theme-within-a-theme this week:

The Jeffersons (1975-1985). George Jefferson (Sherman Hemsley) was the next-door neighbor of Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor) on All in the Family, and during the 1974-75 TV season, George and his wife Weezy (Isabel Sanford) moved on up to a deeeeee-luxe apartment in the sky as George's dry-cleaning business became a success. The Jeffersons' neighbors (Franklin Cover and Roxie Roker) were an interracial couple, something rarely seen on TV at the time. For those of you in the US, MeTV has been running the show at 5:00 PM ET on Sundays; check local listings if you've got a MeTV affiliate.

Archie Bunker's Place (1979-1983). After the death of Archie's wife Edith (Jean Stapleton), Archie bought a bar, co-managed it (Martin Balsam played the business partner for two seasons), and took in a foster child (Danielle Brisebois; Celeste Holm played her grandmother).

Gloria (1982-1983). Archie Bunker's daughter Gloria (Sally Struthers) married Meathead (Rob Reiner) and later divorced; this spinoff has a divorced Gloria taking her kid and moving to a small town where she goes to work for a veterinarian (Burgess Meredith). The show was not a success and was cancelled after one season. Sally Struthers got fat and

begged people to feed starving children, something which would become subject for parody:


Daniel said...

Almost went this route myself, although I would have picked Maude over Gloria (never saw the latter) and technically I don't think I've ever seen an episode of Archie Bunker's Place (although it's possible I did and just assumed it was an All in the Family rerun lol.

Brittani Burnham said...

I've seen episodes of The Jeffersons but never the other two. This also just randomly reminded me that I could've used The Facts of Life.

Wendell Ottley said...

Love the theme-within-the-theme and yes, more love for The Jeffersons. Couldn't get into Archie Bunker's Place, but I didn't think it was terrible. I know I saw Gloria, I just don't remember anything about it. However, I clearly remember those damn commercials since I saw them every f'in night for years.

joel65913 said...

I'm a bit flabbergasted that The Jeffersons is the title of the week but at least it was a good show. I didn't care too much for Archie Bunker's Place, it was fine but once Jean Stapleton left the heart went out of the show. The less said about the misguided Gloria the better. Oy those commercials!!

My first originated from an All in the Family guest shot but my other two were long-time characters on their respective shows before branching off at the original’s conclusion.

Maude (1972-1978)-Topical comedy of liberal feminist Maude Findlay (Beatrice Arthur) living in Tuckahoe, NY with 4th husband Walter (Bill Macy), divorced daughter Carol (Adrienne Barbeau) and Carol’s son Phillip and the social issues that she outspokenly debates with best friend Vivien (Rue McClanahan-playing a character very close to Golden Girls Rose Nyland), housekeepers Florida Evans (Esther Rolle-who eventually was spun off onto her own show Good Times), tippling Englishwoman Mrs. Naugatuck and her prig of a neighbor Dr. Arthur Harmon (Conrad Bain). While geared to comedy this tackled serious hot button issues such as abortion, alcoholism, facelifts, nervous disorders and prescription drug addiction. Maude was introduced as Edith Bunker’s cousin and Archie Bunker’s nemesis on Norman Lear’s groundbreaking “All in the Family” and proved so popular she was spun off to her own wildly popular show.

Lou Grant (1977-1982)-Continuing his character from the iconic Mary Tyler Moore show Edward Asner takes Lou Grant from the cozy hilarity of the Minneapolis WJM-TV to the far more serious drama of the daily newsroom of the Los Angeles Tribune. Working closely with his two strongest reporters Joe Rossi and Billie Newman (Robert Walden & Linda Kelsey), managing editor Charles Hume (Mason Adams) and the paper’s publisher Margaret Pynchon (the great Nancy Marchand) they cover various stories each week. One of the very few shows to move a sitcom character to a dramatic setting successfully this became another awards magnet winning multiple Emmys including Outstanding Drama as well as for Asner who became the first performer to win the statue for the same character in both comedy and drama.

Frasier (1993-2004)-When the sitcom Cheers closed up shop in 1993 hard luck psychiatrist Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) packed up his bags and moved from Boston back home to his native Seattle and became a radio shrink for 11 eventful seasons. He deals with life with his father-retired cop Martin (John Mahoney), dad’s live-in physical therapist-the somewhat psychic Daphne Moon (Jane Leeves), his fun-loving show producer Roz (Peri Gilpin) and persnickety brother Niles (David Hyde Pierce) a psychiatrist as well. There’s also his perpetually unsuccessful love life including occasional drop-ins from his severe ex-wife Lilith (Bebe Neuwirth-another Cheers alum). Full of expert writing, superior comic performers and a satellite cast of daffy, endearing and hysterical characters (brash sportscaster Bulldog Briscoe, fussy food critic Gil Chesterton, Niles never seen but wildly eccentric wife Maris, and best of all Frasier’s agent Bebe Glazer-a woman totally without shame or scruple) this was as strong when it ended as when it began because the characters evolved over the season while remaining true to their original intent.