Monday, October 26, 2020

Take the Long, Dark Way Home

Began a dreary, wet morning with breakfast and The Muppet Show. The appearance of Vincent Price in the late first season prompted the show's first "themed" episode. Monsters ate each other to the tune of "I've Got You Under My Skin," living furniture ate the newscaster, and real-life gourmand Price brought along a huge fuzzy friend who decided to eat everything in sight, including Kermit.

Broke to work on writing for an hour. Gene's boss Mark Goodson calls him up to his office to discuss the faltering ratings on Match Game and his hosting style. Goodson isn't a bad man, but he's a bit pretentious and a stickler for The Rules. He wishes Gene would emphasize the game over the goofing off and points out how much different Richard is on Feud. Gene counters by reminding him that, quite frankly, the show's format is deadly dull. The two times they tried to emphasize the game, when the original first began in 1963 and the remake started in 1973, they almost ended up going off the air. The show needs the comedy to distract from how simple the actual gameplay is.

Speaking of Match Game, I watched an episode from 1977 while eating a quick lunch and getting ready for work. Towering-yet-boyish Peter Issakson joins Fannie, Mary Wickes, Gene, and the regulars for jokes about Ugly Edna and a "Don't ___ It" Audience Match. Towards the end, we're introduced to a new challenger with a twin sister in the audience who does, indeed, look just like her.

Headed straight off to work after the show ended. No problems there whatsoever. In fact, we were dead right up until rush hour. It's the end of the month, and the gloomy and humid weather wasn't exactly conductive to a lot of running around. It did pick up a little towards the end of the night, but I was still able to shut down and head out with no problems.

At least until I tried to get on my bike. Despite being fine when I went to work, the chain had somehow slipped off between then and my going home. I ended up walking home in the dark. I couldn't see to fix the chain, and I had no desire to call anyone at 7 PM. Rose was probably dealing with her kids, and Jodie usually goes to bed around 9. (And as it turns out, she wasn't home when I got in anyway.)

When I did finally get home, I was so tired, I spilled sugar all over the kitchen. Other things went better. What I saw of Sale of the Century was a blast. The three contestants were neck and neck, even after the one woman won the Instant Cash. The slightly older gentleman came from behind to win the Speed Round; had no problem with the bonus round, either.

I was also greatly cheered by the arrival of my final purchases from Amazon and eBay. Found another set of True Value Happy Holidays LPs, 19 and 20 from 1984 and 1985 respectively, and the Verasae Sarabande Broadway collection Unsung Sondheim. Picked up the 1929 Rio Rita from the Warner Archives for review next month or early next year. 

It took me so long to clean up, get everything together, and take as shower, I had just enough time for two Halloween sitcom episodes on Hulu before and after tonight's syndicated Match Game premieres. Larry Appleton and his cousin Balki hold a Halloween party to watch a horror marathon in the season 4 Perfect Strangers episode "Aliens." Even Balki gets spooked and bails out before the end, leaving Larry to watch the whole marathon alone. He eventually has a nightmare about Balki being an alien from the planet Mypos who has come to take over the Earth.

"Trick or Treated," from the final season of MASH, is only slightly less weird. The members of the 4077th are about to hold their Halloween party when they're interrupted by a flood of wounded soldiers. Some of them, like the Marine who somehow got a cue ball stuck in his mouth (George Wendt), or the really drunk soldier who drove through a chicken coup (Andrew Dice Clay, and yeah, that sounds like something he'd do), are more overly enjoying Halloween partying than hurt. There are some genuine wounded among the partiers, though, including a poor guy who hasn't eaten since his buddies were blown up in a fox hole and another who isn't as dead as everyone thinks. 

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