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Posts posted by upperco

  1. Oy, putting me down for loving FRIENDS and then singing the praises of crud like Married With Children, surely you jest!


    I would never put you down, Claude! I like FRIENDS as well. And though they are opposites in many ways, I think the quality of the comedy vs. the actual script construction in both shows is quite similar. Mindless. Good for some laughs. But certainly not of the aesthetic beauty of an I LOVE LUCY or MARY TYLER MOORE, for example.

  2. With regards to MODERN FAMILY: I feel like the show is very hit and miss. I find the writing very formulaic, despite the show's insistence that it's original and hilarious. Vergara is a dynamic performer, but I can't seem to get on the Bowen bandwagon. I think much of the series' success rides on the existence of Cam and Mitch, who indeed are the most original thing about the show. And while O'Neill and Vergara always score with laughs, I have never found Bowen or Burrell especially entertaining. Not an awful way to spend a half hour, but its Emmy wins speak more to a lack of competition than anything else. In my opinion, of course.


    I much prefer MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN, a true parody of the domestic sitcom. Which, although made of a cheaper cut (like FRIENDS and THE GOLDEN GIRLS), could fairly regularly deliver some of television's most uproarious laughs. It's rude, it's crude, but we don't take it seriously. Unlike FRIENDS, THE GOLDEN GIRLS, and the other domestic sitcoms of the '70s and 80s, there are no attempts made to pull at our heart strings. It's refreshing, as long as you aren't too turned off by the crassness and the cheapness of some of the jokes that miss. It's no where near I LOVE LUCY or its quality, but if you want a quick and easy laugh, MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN is ideal.

  3. My point exactly. I watch it to be entertained by characters that never disappoint me, they make me laugh and I love all of them. Not so Archie Bunker, or Frasier or the foursome that drove me up the wall with their neurotic behavior on Seinfeld. Such lovable eccentric behavior, as killing one's future wife by using cheap glue on wedding invitations, and then acting as if nothing special happened when she dies. The soup Nazi, a clown wanting to kill a character, how long one can go without masturbating, and oh yes, the last show where they see a crime, ignore it and get jailed for their inaction, OH MY GOD, WHAT WRITING, WHAT A RIOT! LOL! Gimme shows I can relate to, I am not a neurotic Jewish New Yorker, but I have friends, oh and I never could have participated in the masturbation contest, MUCH TOO HARD! No pun intended.


    Different strokes for different folks. (Pun intended. :lucythrill: )


    I completely understand what you're saying but I don't think relatability is essential in distinguishing good comedy from middling comedy. Certainly it helps when ascertaining one's personal tastes.


    Anyway, FRIENDS will always have a following because the shows are often funny. But I still think the writing, even by many of its fans, has never been considered brilliant. And while most people think the things they enjoy ARE brilliant, I do think we can sometimes distinguish between our own personal pleasures and the seriously exceptional pleasures. I think FRIENDS is actually a lot like THE GOLDEN GIRLS: strong performers and characters, with many laugh-out-loud moments. But the writing and comedy, especially in the later seasons, is just cheaper to me. I think this is especially evident when we compare the writing of other successful shows. But taste is all subjective. When the people of 2200 examine sitcoms, they'll undoubtedly compare all of these shows as we are doing now. Though they may like FRIENDS, I don't think they'll classify it with I LOVE LUCY.


    As I said earlier, SEINFELD might still be well regarded... but by then, the novelty could have worn off. People of 2200 might indeed be turned off by the neurotic-ness. Everyone's mileage varies, as they say! I LOVE LUCY will always have the notability of being a pioneer. And I think there will always be people who adore it. In terms of quality, it's my absolute favorite. However, it would be much more interesting to compare LUCY to other shows with, I think, stronger writing. In my mind, some of those include: THE HONEYMOONERS, DICK VAN DYKE, MARY TYLER MOORE, ALL IN THE FAMILY (early years), and CHEERS.


    Also, a contemporary of SEINFELD and FRIENDS that I think might have a shot at more lasting notoriety is EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, which I think is arguably the best written domestic sitcom of the late '90s and early '00s. It's no early season FRASIER, but the scripts are much more consistent, I feel, than FRIENDS. As a domestic sitcom, this might be the poster child of the era.


    But, as always, to each his own. :D

  4. Continuing with my thoughts on HERE'S LUCY...


    Season One really surprised me upon my first viewing. I thought the episodes were better than the Public Domain Season Five LUCY SHOW episodes. (I hadn't seen any of the Post-Viv official releases yet.) The kids are VERY difficult to swallow, and many of the stories are silly, but again... my favorite episodes from this series come from this season. (fixer, matchmaker, caesar romero, shopping, jack benny). I laughed more this year than in some other previous seasons. And "Lucy, The Fixer" is one of my absolute favorite Lucille performances.


    Season Two was a major disappointment for me. The location episodes didn't strike me as great, and without any real standouts like last season, the middling level of quality was entirely too apparent. There were some stronger episodes near the end of the season, and I think the Burnett episode is one of their best joint performances together.


    Season Three has the big episode. And I enjoy Burton and Taylor's appearance just fine. Plot isn't new, but THE ring makes it specific to the couple and the script works. Unfortunately, I think many of the episodes this season do NOT work. And I think this season contains some of the worst installments. (Ma Parker, anyone?) I have always been surprised to see people adore this season. Maybe I'm missing something.


    I'm a little mixed on Season Four. There were episodes that made me laugh and then episodes that are truthfully best left forgotten. I didn't miss Craig, but Kim's character had definitely improved. There are a lot of little things I like here and there, but nothing major. (And I've never cottoned to Vivian's appearance this season. Have always preferred her Season One guest shot.)


    Season Five is a definite improvement. I'd heard that Lucille's broken leg brought continuity and a little more heart into the series, but honestly, the leg episodes are the low points of the year for me. Things really take off in the second half with some excellent (for HERE'S LUCY) installments. (group encounter, mechanics, pot, hips). And, okay, maybe it's just me, but Totie Fields cracks me up! In comparison to the three preceding seasons, this one looks stellar.


    Season Six was also surprisingly funny. I laughed more through this season than any other since Season One. Several episodes really worked for me. (widow, tenant, joan rivers, cops & robbers, wandering mother) I liked that Lucie, who by now I could appreciate, was recurring. I liked that Mary Jane got development. And I just felt that Lucy was looser this season. To me, it looked like she had more fun. Some of the funniest episodes come from this year.


    If I had to rank the seasons, I'd do: 6,5,1 all tied for first. Then 4. And then 2 and 3 tied for worst. Now, because this topic was THE LUCY SHOW vs. HERE'S LUCY, I'm going to rank them against each other.





    HL6, HL5, & HL1





    HL3 & HL2


    So, I obviously like the Vivian years of THE LUCY SHOW best. But the best episodes of HERE'S LUCY (which I generally find in Seasons One, Five, and Six) are better than the California years of THE LUCY SHOW. And the worst episodes of THE LUCY SHOW are still better than the worst episodes of HERE'S LUCY.

  5. I catch Friends any time I find a rerun because it is one of the best sitcoms ever created with the perfect cast and it's quite funny. I have all ten seasons and replay the Ross/Rachel dilemma often. The one scene where she finds out he loved her from the very beginning and was going to take her somewhere when her date never showed still puts me away every single time I watch it. I have all six seasons of Seinfeld also but never ever play any of them, bad enough some reruns of that show still play sometimes, I would only watch a few of them as I just never liked the show or thought it was that funny, which is why I never saw Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm as HE was the inspiration for George and I've been George'd up to here! But Kramer I liked!


    To each his own. I think SEINFELD boasts better writing than FRIENDS, but the latter does have a "feel good quality." FRIENDS will probably serve as a hallmark for the generation that watched it first run. It's exactly what a sitcom should be -- mindless entertainment.


    But if we're examining the series technically, it doesn't hold a candle to I LOVE LUCY. (Though, not many do.) Sure, its apples and oranges, but FRIENDS outstayed its creative welcome. It's one of the first shows that comes to mind (next to ALL IN THE FAMILY, BEWITCHED, and FRASIER) when thinking of sitcoms that really FELL in terms of quality.


    But I don't think anyone, no matter how much they love the series, looks to FRIENDS as a paradigm of excellent television. Its job is to entertain. Usually, I think it's pretty successful. They scored with some well developed characters (some of whom DEvolved as the show went along, but that's another story!) and the obligatory rom-com "hook" in Ross and Rachel. FRIENDS is a good show, and a sitcom worthy of some praise, but in my honest opinion, there are better shows -- funnier even -- with less schmultz and smarter jokes.

  6. Perhaps you're right. Perhaps FRIENDS will never lose its popularity. But I don't think the scholars or historians will ever classify FRIENDS as a show of similar quality to LUCY. Meanwhile, SEINFELD has and probably will continue to be (for a while, at least). FRIENDS was always... I like the show and I don't want to be harsh, but... triter. Characters devolving and writers going for easy jokes. And though it's always been well liked, it was never as awarded or as regarded as the early years of FRASIER, which I think are brilliant. (My tastes are DEFINITELY not representative of the majority of television viewers, however.) I think FRIENDS is a THREE'S COMPANY to FRASIER's TAXI. One is fun and enjoyable to watch, the other is well crafted. However, I think SEINFELD, like LUCY, is both funny and well crafted, but I think the latter is still in a league of its own.


    (P.S. And then there's CHEERS which I think is one of the most consistent sitcoms, next to I LOVE LUCY, of course.)

  7. Without a doubt, the best post-Ricardo Lucy season is Season One of THE LUCY SHOW. The funniest episodes from the entire series and the only episodes that, if I'm being honest with myself, can make me laugh as frequently as an I LOVE LUCY, are featured in this year as well. (Shower, antenna, boat, mattress, sister, fireman, dates) And, though it pains me to admit it, this is the only post-Ricardo season that I think is truly, no-strings-attached, great.


    I have never understood the praise for Season Two of THE LUCY SHOW. I suppose I could say it's one of the series' most consistent years. But I don't think the base level of quality was as high as it had been the previous season. Furthermore, I think it was clear that our beloved Bob and Madelyn were burnt out of ideas for Mrs. Carmichael. Are there some strong episodes? Of course. (Symphony, lease, vault 2 parter). I know many will disagree, but this is probably the least funny of the Vivian years for me.


    Now, Season Three has very strange vibes. The scripts are less consistent, and its obvious a change of *some sort* has occurred off camera. That being said, if I evaluate the season honestly, I laughed much more during these episodes than I did in the previous batch. Lucy was put in funnier situations. Were they less motivated? Depends which episode you're talking about. Some stuff fell flat for me. (Coin collector, stamp) But others were hilarious! (Cook, pinch, stockholder, disk jokey, all of the countess episodes) Not of the same quality as Season One, but funny in itself.


    I have more mixed feelings about Season Four than any other season. I want desperately to like it a lot and sometimes I can almost convince myself that I do. I knew Vivian's loss would be a big one, but I was impressed that the show could take such a risk and change formats. In the beginning, when the location seemed fresh, it was exciting. But the year wore on and I just felt like the ball was dropped. So many middling episodes that just aren't as funny as they should be and don't show Lucy in the best light. The difference between Season One and Season Four is startling.


    I first saw Season Five in a public domain release. Having only seen I LOVE LUCY at the time, I found it shockingly inadequate. My opinions of the episodes improved by the time the official release came out. But I have to be honest and say, this is probably the season I like least from this series. I suppose my problem is, not only are the scripts just weaker, but the Lucy character lacks nuance, development, and at times, likability. More importantly, she plays off of average guest stars and lacks a strong supporting cast. Gale is one note, Mary Jane rarely gets the chance to shine. The stability of her early years seems completely eradicated. I just felt like there was little to grasp on to and feel good about.


    I thought Season Six was the best Hollywood season of THE LUCY SHOW, simply because it made me laugh the most. I thought some of the premises were more interesting, and I felt Lucy was, in general, looser and more honest this season. Some truly funny stuff this season. (little old, involved, stole)


    If I had to rank THE LUCY SHOW seasons: 1,3,2,6,4,5. As for which series I liked better, I'll tell you when I post my thoughts on HERE'S LUCY.

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  8. SEINFELD is usually a very well-written series. But I think it's of its own time. All shows are period pieces and representative of the times in which they were produced, but SEINFELD's humor is much more topical. I don't think SEINFELD will be as accessible to audiences of 2200 as I LOVE LUCY will be. Also, I think audiences of 2200 will not think the show as fresh or innovative as it was perceived in 2000. I LOVE LUCY's legacy as a pioneer will exist forever. As will the respect for the series.


    In regards to THE GOLDEN GIRLS... It's an incredibly accessible and "laugh-out-loud" show to audiences of all ages. But the writing (especially in the later seasons) is formulaic and -- with all respect to the series because I do love it too -- cheap and gimmicky. I LOVE LUCY has a much higher and noticeable standard of quality. THE GOLDEN GIRLS is a great show, but not quite in I LOVE LUCY's league. It never really was.



    Meanwhile, THE SIMPSONS is an animated series and I've personally never even classified it with the sitcoms I adore -- I LOVE LUCY, CHEERS, DICK VAN DYKE, MARY TYLER MOORE -- because it's a different type of show. (Furthermore, regarding my personal tastes, I would never ever consider it in I LOVE LUCY's league. Ever.) So no comparison can really be made here.

  9. What do you think are some of Lucy's funniest TV scenes that aren't physical (So, no "Job Switching", "Lucy And Viv Put In A Shower", "Lucy, The Fixer," etc.)? Scenes with sharp dialogue and huge laughs that don't hinge on physical bits.



    I'll start. Off the top of my head (I will add more later), I think the fight between Lucy and Ethel in the latter's apartment from "Ethel's Birthday" is hilarious.

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  10. Yes you can, if you have ten different ones, list them in no order.


    Okay, let's see...


    "The Girls Want To Go To A Nightclub"

    "Ricky And Fred Are TV Fans"

    "Never Do Business With Friends"

    "Lucy Is Envious"

    "Ethel's Hometown"

    "Lucy Gets In Pictures"

    "The Star Upstairs"

    "Lucy Gets A Paris Gown"

    "Return Home From Europe"

    "Off To Florida"

    "Lucy Wants To Move To The Country"

    "Lucy Raises Tulips"


    As I look at the list now, I can tell you that my favorite is probably either "Ricky And Fred Are TV Fans", "The Star Upstairs", or "Off To Florida."

  11. Got this wonderful set for Christmas and have paced myself. Only watched half of the episodes so far. All of them for the first time.


    "Lucy And Danny Thomas" - Love them both, fine story, some funny moments, some overly sentimental moments, it was OKAY

    "The Big Game" - Really enjoyed this episode, Lucy was loose and fun, VERY GOOD

    "Lucy's Tenant" - Really enjoyed this episode too, some great zingers and Lucy was great, VERY GOOD

    "Lucy And Joan Rivers Do Jury Duty" - Great episode, Lucy and Joan were great and funny, the charades bit is overrated, but the episode is well written and funny, GREAT

    "Tipsy Through The Tulips" - Never was a huge fan of his, but it was an okay episode, OKAY

    "Lucy Plays Cops And Robbers" - Some really fun moments, very funny spots, great guests, VERY GOOD

    "Lucy And Chuck Connors Have A Surprise Slumber Party" - Okay episode, nothing struck me as hilarious, OKAY

    "Lucy Is N.G. As An RN" - Heard great things about this episode, didn't find it to be anything special, OKAY

    "Lucy, The Sheriff" - Okay episode, some really stupid moments, OKAY

    "Mary Jane's Boyfriend" - Mary Jane was really strong here, but the writing was subpar, OKAY

    "Lucy Carter Meets Lucille Ball" - Inventive plot, but an obvious plug for MAME, and not many huge laughs, OKAY

    "Where Is My Wandering Mother Tonight?" - Funny episode, best Kim episode I've seen yet, GREAT

  12. When Fred calls Lucy "Little Orphan Annie" in "Lucy Wants New Furniture"

    When Ethel crows in "Tennessee Ernie Hangs On"

    When Ethel is trying to distract Ricky in "The Star Upstairs"

    When Lucy is trying to be seductive in "The Great Train Robbery"

    When Lucy pretends to read the paper in "Lucy And The Loving Cup"

    When Tallulah croaks, "P-T-what??" in "The Celebrity Next Door"

    When Vivian tries to use the ladder as a seesaw in "Lucy Puts Up A TV Antenna"

    When Vivian wakes up in "The Loophole In The Lease"

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