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Neil

All in the Family/Good Times

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I see they're going to do another All in the Family.  There's no denying the greatness of "AitF" and Norman Lear's contribution.  But to me, the lasting appeal is in the performance of Carroll O'Connor.  Beyond Family, I'm not much of a Norman Lear's 70s  "relevant comedies".   They're too broadly played, very "presentational", WAY too LOUD with everybody YELLING; and not all that funny.  Their social themes are hammered with the subtlety as that garlic sandwich.  Plus they ushered in that era of videotape instead of film.  Thankfully the MTM crowd stuck with film.  Positive note on the Lear shows: I liked their theme songs.   I have to give them chutzpah credit for attempting to recreate episodes from the original scripts.  I saw the last one.  I can't say they really succeeded, but it's always fun to see something LIVE.   So "All in the Family": fine, but "Good Times"? Really??  Maybe I never saw a good episode.  Personally I'd rather see a cast recreate "Lucy is NG as RN"!

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11 hours ago, Neil said:

I see they're going to do another All in the Family.  There's no denying the greatness of "AitF" and Norman Lear's contribution.  But to me, the lasting appeal is in the performance of Carroll O'Connor.  Beyond Family, I'm not much of a Norman Lear's 70s  "relevant comedies".   They're too broadly played, very "presentational", WAY too LOUD with everybody YELLING; and not all that funny.  Their social themes are hammered with the subtlety as that garlic sandwich.  Plus they ushered in that era of videotape instead of film.  Thankfully the MTM crowd stuck with film.  Positive note on the Lear shows: I liked their theme songs.   I have to give them chutzpah credit for attempting to recreate episodes from the original scripts.  I saw the last one.  I can't say they really succeeded, but it's always fun to see something LIVE.   So "All in the Family": fine, but "Good Times"? Really??  Maybe I never saw a good episode.  Personally I'd rather see a cast recreate "Lucy is NG as RN"!

 

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I have to agree with Neil on his Good Times assessment. Perhaps whatever episode they've chosen to recreate has themes that relate to some important issue going on today. Also, Good Times has a handful of cast members who are still with us, so I wouldn't be surprised if we got one or two cameos. I thought that The Jeffersons cast pulled it off better than the AITF cast last time, but they didn't pick a very good showing for the Bunkers.

Personally, I think these specials are a great idea, because Norman Lear's shows are so very theatrical. Next to All in The FamilyMaude is probably his greatest show, but I have no clue who could fill Bea Arthur's shoes today. Then again, you'd never think of Marisa Tomei as an Edith Bunker type. 

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8 minutes ago, Freddie2 said:

Next to All in The FamilyMaude is probably his greatest show, but I have no clue who could fill Bea Arthur's shoes today.

That's a really good question. Wendie Malick came to my mind as a possibility. She can be fiery and feisty...maybe not to the same degree as Bea, but perhaps she'd put her own stamp on it.

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I was involved in an earlier iteration of this project. The dream Maude the producers went into pitch this idea with was Julia Louis-Dreyfus. (Incidentally, Louis C.K. was the dream Archie Bunker -- pre-2017 -- with Molly Shannon as the ideal Edith.) 

As for Good Times, all the producers wanted to do Sanford And Son as the last of the big four, but because that was a Yorkin series with which Lear had limited involvement, the latter insisted upon Good Times instead. 

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Wendie Malick is a great choice, Mot! She has the "bite" that Maude should have, but would certainly bring her own thing to the role. As much as I enjoy JLD, I really can't see her playing the character. I think Louis CK would've been an awesome Archie Bunker. His first sitcom, Lucky Louie, was pretty obviously inspired by Lear's works. Let's not forget that Maude has been remade before, as Nobody's Perfect in the UK with Elaine Stritch and Richard Griffiths! 

Re, Upperco: I remember reading on your blog that you were involved with this endeavor at one point, and it's a shame that they aren't still consulting you. Hardly anybody has such terrific insight into what makes great television.

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3 hours ago, upperco said:

I was involved in an earlier iteration of this project. The dream Maude the producers went into pitch this idea with was Julia Louis-Dreyfus. (Incidentally, Louis C.K. was the dream Archie Bunker -- pre-2017 -- with Molly Shannon as the ideal Edith.) 

As for Good Times, all the producers wanted to do Sanford And Son as the last of the big four, but because that was a Yorkin series with which Lear had limited involvement, the latter insisted upon Good Times instead. 

Thanks for the fascinating insight!

After the first telecast, a lot of people online seemed to want Allison Janney to play Maude. She seems like a good choice, although she is tied to a CBS show. 

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I never understood why there weren't a few cross over episodes with All in Family and Edith's cousin Maude.  Her appearance with Archie was stupendous and better than anything that happened on "Maude".  As far as I know, there wasn't a reference to the other's cousin ever again on either show (except of course for the Maude pilot).

Speaking of crossovers, "Here's Lucy" and "All in the Family" aired during the same 3 1/2 seasons (2nd half of 70-71 through 74) so why not a crossover reboot?  which I'll call

"Ball in the Family":  The Bunkers are in Van Nuys visiting Edith's cousin Lucy.  When the cousins see a TV ad for a Lucille Ball Lookalike contest.  Lucy urges Edith to enter (Edith: "I may look like her now but when I was young I looked like Jean Stapleton!").  When Edith is given what she thinks is the brush, Lucy persuades Archie to accompany her to Universal Studios to confront Miss Ball in person.  On their way to Lucy Lane, they pass through the set of "In the Heat of the Night" coincidently conducting their own lookalike contest of their leading man.

All in Family trivia (may be well known, but...)  All in the Family premiered mid-season in January of 1971 in an unenviable time slot: Tuesday at 9:30, recently vacated by "The Governor and JJ", cancelled mid-season despite the Golden Globe recognition and Lucy Carter's poison pen letter.   It took a while to catch on and probably didn't reach its Tuesday night ratings peak until the summer, which as I understand it, is not figured in when the season ratings are tallied.   And I can't resist re-posting this for the umpteenth time, but I'm still amazed:  Despite this, in 70-71  "Here's Lucy" was the #1 comedy on the air (and CBS's highest rated show) over any of the Best Comedy Emmy nominees: Family, MTM, Odd Couple, Arnie (??) and Love American Style (???).  I don't remember Arnie.  "Love" never appealed to me.

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