Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Laughter In the Rain

Started off a sunny, hazy morning with breakfast and Split Second. This time, there was a clear winner. The champ pulled ahead the entire time, and though the one man initially got ahead of her in the Countdown round, she came from behind and won. Alas, she didn't choose the car and opted to return.

Having enjoyed It's a Living last night, I decided to sample other vintage sitcoms streaming online and see what else I felt like doing a marathon for. Started at Hulu with MASH. "Crisis" from the second season is entirely too appropriate right now. The supply lines for the 4077th have been cut off, leaving many shortages in the middle of brutal winter weather. Colonel Henry Blake (McLean Stevenson) keeps losing his office furniture to the surgeons chopping it for firewood, Frank Burns (Larry Linville) totes a rifle and is hoarding hams with Hot Lips (Loretta Swit), and no one is happy about sharing quarters to conserve heat.

Clouds were starting to build in the distance as I switched to The Bob Newhart Show, also on Hulu. Bob played a psychiatrist with a lot of nutty patients and Suzanne Pleshette was his smart wife Emily, but "Bob and Emily and Howard and Carol and Jerry" from the first season focuses on their three supporting friends. Their neighbor Howard (Bill Daily) manages to charm Bob's receptionist Carol (Marcia Wallace) when he's high on laughing gas, but he can't even remember her name when they actually go on a date. She eventually goes on a date with Bob's dentist friend Jerry (Peter Bonnerz), but Howard is still interested in her and wants to try again.

By the time I'd moved to What's Happening!! on The Roku Channel, we were in the middle of a very loud, full-on thunderstorm. I quickly threw down all the windows in the apartment as "The Maid Did It" played behind me. Mabel King was the head of family who is fired from her maid job when she's accused of stealing a ring. Her son Roger (Ernest Thomas) and his friends Dwayne (Haywood Nelson) and Re-Run (Fred Berry) take it on themselves to find the real thief.

(Incidentally, something I didn't realize until I read the credits - well-known composers wrote the themes for at least two of the shows I watched yesterday and today. Leslie Bricusse did the infectious showtune title song for It's a Living; Henry Mancini wrote the funky instrumental theme for What's Happening!!)

Though the thunder was gone by the time I was on NewsRadio, it continued to rain fairly hard. I have an odd soft spot for shows about failing radio stations. WKRP In Cincinatti was one of my favorite sitcoms as a kid, and I still adore the underrated AMC historical dramady Remember WENN. I probably would have gotten more into NewsRadio if it hadn't been on around the same time as WENN. I did like what little I saw at the time, but I haven't seen it since the late 90's.

For some reason, Roku currently only has seasons 3 and 4. I went with "Complaint Box" from season 3. News director Dave Nelson (Dave Foley) installs a complaint box (with a buzzer), but it's quickly overwhelmed with with jokes and nonsense complaints. Dave's first horrified when he somehow loses the box he hears his boss Jimmy James (Stephan Root) through, then angry when lawyers take the complaint from Lisa Miller (Maura Tierney) seriously.

Even waiting out the rain didn't make taking Uber during a storm any cheaper. Not to mention, I forgot to confirm the first ride and had to do it again. Thankfully, the young man was able to avoid traffic, and I got to my appointment just in time, by which time the rain was gone and the sun was just emerging.

It took about 15 minutes for the doctor to take me this time, and there were several other people in the room, including a man getting a cast on his hand taken off and an elderly mother and her daughter. The ultimate verdict from Dr. Ramerez was about what I figured it would be. The fracture is healing, but not 100 percent better yet. I'm to leave the sling off at home and do light arm therapy on my own whenever I can.

The Uber took longer to get home than it did to get to Cooper. The guy who drove me there took the highway, but the man going back to Oaklyn took the back roads, where there were tons of downed trees and large limbs from the earlier storm. Saw a lot of downed trees at Newton Lake Park as we drove past too, including one that was blown over with a ton of roots and dirt intact.

Ran Tattletales as I had a snack and got organized when I arrived at home. This time, Orson and Carolyn did the worst of the three, only getting two questions. The winners were comedian Army Archerd and his equally funny wife Selma, who got everything right.

Switched to writing after the show ended. As Charles and Clifton start the music, Richard attracts a bevy of adoring beauties. Among them are are Fannie's stepsisters, bubbly Meredith and grumpy Vicki. Neither of them will take "no" for an answer on that dance...until Larry announces a beautiful and mysterious newcomer...

Had leftovers and a salad for dinner while watching Match Game. Both episodes got pretty wild today. The first one began with Earl, the young man who slides the question and answers on the Audience Match board, missing his cue and forgetting to slide the question.The second episode brought legendary announcer Johnny Olsen in when a question asked about what he says to his wife to wake her up at nights. As the long-time announcer for The Price Is Right, he got to say that famous "Come on down!" Gary Burghoff even dashed down the stairs in imitation of an excited Price contestant.

Yesterday's champ on Sale of the Century just couldn't get anything going today. The young man playing against him bought all three Instant Bargains and still killed everyone in the speed round. He too opted to return and try for better prizes.

Finished the night with four more classic sitcoms, starting with the first season of The Golden Girls on Hulu. Ironically, Rose Nylund (Betty White) faces a similar dilemma to Vicki last night in "Rose the Prude." She has a wonderful new boyfriend named Arnie (Harold Gould) who has asked her on a cruise, but she's not sure if she's ready after her husband died. Unlike Vicki, her roommates are able to convince her to make the leap and go further in the relationship.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show is also currently on Hulu. In the fourth season, Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper) drags her best friend Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) to New York for her sister's wedding in "Rhoda's Sister Gets Married." While her noisy aunt (Brett Somers) is squeezing them a little too tight, Rhoda's mother (Nancy Walker) is worried that her unmarried daughter might be jealous. Rhoda's more concerned that her mother is going to ruin her sister's wedding because of her.

The first three seasons of That Girl are currently free at Tubi. Mary Richards is hardly the only working woman on TV to run into problems with her jobs and love life. Went with the series' first episode, "Don't Just Do Something, Stand There." Ann Marie (Marlo Thomas), an aspiring actress, is thrilled when she's offered a commercial that's filming right at the news stand where she works. She's supposed to play a girl who gets kidnapped, but Don (Ted Bissell), a writer in the same building, thinks she's being kidnapped for real and tries to save her. To make up for yelling at him over it, she attempts to buy him the desk they both had their eye on.

The last show I watched before tonight's syndicated Match Game premiere was The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, which is also found on YouTube. "The Spirit of the Law" from the second season brings a power company workman (Jack Burns) to Gull Cottage in the hope of putting up power pylons on their land. When the Captain's sabotage gets her into hot water, Carolyn  (Hope Lange) opts to go to jail and let it go to trial rather than cause further damage. Claymore (Charles Nelson Reilly) tries to play lawyer and help out, but it's not until the Captain takes over his body and recalls an earlier case of unlawful demolition that the Judge (J. Pat O'Malley) takes them seriously.

Oh, and the storms returned in force tonight, twice in a row, actually. It doesn't sound like they'll be going anywhere for the next few days...which isn't good, as I still have errands I need to run.

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