Well, as we approach a new year I have approached a minor milestone myself. This will be my 200th blog! If you’re wondering why the tallyon the channel is so far off, it’s because there is a lot from TGWTG where Istarted which I never copied (and for the moment, never will). For the record,this does not include my wonderful collab with Les which I hope to do more ofand also omits a few others for personal reasons (updates, etc.). My first blogwas written on August 25, 2011 and it has been a fun ride. Sure there have beensome misses along the way like my Do You Know? series which never wentanywhere, but overall the experience has been a positive one. I am thankful forthe loyal friends who support and encourage my work.

I do sometime wonder if I am good enough here, I see so manygreat things on here and wonder I I will ever reach the point where I am not so“amateurish”. But then again I am always hard on myself, though I may be reaching the point where it is time to go to the next step, but video reviewswould be very tough for me to pull off. So for now, we stick to what Ilove…writing! I just may have to change what it is I write about.

But for now we have a milestone to celebrate, and I promise that is it for the self-loathing.  So what should I do for this auspicious occasion? I have decided to do something kind of personal and discuss my all time favorite TV shows. The shows I didn’t just liked, but flat out adored!

“People’s reactions to opera the first time they see it isvery dramatic; they either love it or they hate it. If they love it, they willalways love it. If they don’t, they may learn to appreciate it, but it willnever become part of their soul.”….Edward (Pretty Woman). Why am I sharing this quote which is one of my favorite movie lines ever? Because while I never loved opera I feel that TV and movies have the same impact. Loving a TV show from thefirst time you see it is very different than learning to appreciate it later on(although there are exceptions as you’ll see).

While I have never outright stated my favorite shows, if youread my stuff than you know what they are. But why are they my favorite shows? What makes me cherish them more than others? What makes me watch them every day(if I can) and never tire of them? Here are my all-time favorite televisionshows. But since these are not real shocks, what I want to do is try to explainwhat makes them my favorite shows beyond the fact that they are funny and wellwritten. For some it is memories, for others it there is just something specialabout the characters which take the show to another level.

First, some quick honorable mentions. I like these shows butI can’t say I loved them. ER, Who’s The Boss?, The Big Bang Theory, Knight Rider, Family Ties, and  Will & Grace just to name a few.  There are also those shows I never watched that some may wonder where they are. Like Dr.Who, TheSimpsons, or Married…With Children. Sorry just never got into them. Family Guy?Yuck! One show that almsot made this list is Alf. Monday nights with Alf followed by The Hogan Family were a special memory, but I decided it just wasn’t enough t qualify for this list. Night Court would have made it, if they hadn’t ruined the show with those awful last three seasons!

Now to the shows I really love. These are in no particular order.

You Can’t Do That on Television
I have talked about this in depth before so will keep it short and sweet. I loved this show as a kid. Sure I was a fan of He-Man and theMasters of the Universe as well as other cartoons, but this show was somethingspecial. I really think you had to be the right age when it was on to get it.If you were too old it seemed stupid, and younger people watching it may lookat it and wonder what the big deal was when compared to newer thingsNickelodeon has today. This show was just great, and not because of the oldjokes or green slime but because of the kid actors who made up the cast. Theywere kids who were very likable, and you felt like you were hanging out withfriends when you watched. When I watch an episode today, it’s like catching upwith old friends all over again. Yeah I know it sounds corny but that’s howspecial this show was to me. It also has a lot to do with the now late Canadianactor Les Lye who did a fantastic job as the only adult male in the cast. Heportrayed so many recurring characters, most of which I loved and had to see atleast once an episode. If you’ve never heard of him look him up, he was a truetalent.

America’s Funniest Home Videos
I haven’t talked about this much, so here we go. I realizet his show is still on today, but I am not talking about the version we havenow. I am talking about the original version starring Bob Saget. I know whatpeople say about him, I know I will never forget the first time I saw his standupact. My jaw dropped to the floor. However, he was really well suited for thisshow and did a great job in my opinion. Why am I talking about this? This showwas a big deal for me growing up. This was what we watched Sunday night at 7,for about six years anyway. Solid Gold was like this in the 80’s but I don’thave many memories of that show. AMHV was different.  I loved the show because in the age way beforereality TV and social media, it was easy to forget there were other people inthe world. This show gave us a small window which reminded us that there werepeople out there, and doing something like tripping and falling happens to thebest of us. As for the Tom Bergeron version we have today, yeah I have watchedit but the classic version is and will always be my favorite. By the way, Igrew up in the Boston area so knew Tom Bergeron loonng before the rest of thecountry did, I used to enjoy his local talk show all the time here (thatdoesn’t mean I can stand Dancing with the Stars, just saying). Oh, and FullHouse is not on this list because it was more of a guilty pleasure even thoughI liked Saget in that also.

Everybody Loves Raymond
I could list the reasons for me to hate this show. Ray is ahorny idiot, Debra is a huge witch, and the format is very confining as we have entire episodes which basically never leave the house. I also discovered this show late, not watching it until the third season. But when I did I discovered something very interesting. While the characters were not altogether likable,there was something familiar about them. My family is a tad dysfunctional, andI see so much of them in the characters on this show. My father could be a pain about things and was always yelling like Frank. My grandmother is so similar to Marie that it is downright eerie. And maybe I know how Ray feels,just trying to keep everyone happy but never succeeding. Not only are the characters familiar but the stories are to. The episodes are very small, and Ilike that. One episode is about the daughter getting picked on, that’s it.Another episode is about Frank having to renew his license because he isgetting older and can’t see when he drives. Another episode is all about Debra hogging the bed. We have all had experiences like these and it is these simple little slices of life are what make me love the show, because it reminds us ofwhen they happened to us and that is a really special thing. Have you everremembered something you haven’t thought about in years? You always end upsmiling and this is what this show does even if the characters are not the most likable.

Benson
This is the first sitcom I ever loved, and I mean that sincerely, even though I watched it in re-runs since I was hardly born when itstarted. To put simply, I loved this show. For those who don’t know, this was aspin-off of the successful “Soap” which ran in the 70’s. It starred Robert Guillaume as Benson and he worked in the governor’s mansion in somenever named state. The governor had a big heart but was a bit dim witted. There was also the German Ms. Kraus who was at odds with Benson from the start, the self-centered chief of staff Clayton, who was played but Rene Auberjonois years before Star Trek-DS9, Missy Gold as the governor’s daughter (and sister to Growing Pains’ Tracy Gold) and Pete played by Ethan Philips years before StarTrek-Voyager. This show was simply funny, especially the one liners that Bensonwould quip. He always had a comment or an insult ready. Sure there were badepisodes here or there and some got downright silly. But what made me love thisshow? There was something about the characters which made me really care about them. I wish I could explain what, especially since these were not the most fleshed out characters ever. They were cartoons in many ways to be honest. Butyou really cared for them. When Caroline McWilliams left the show, her character Marcy had a huge emotional sendoff which was almost unprecedented fora TV series. But it worked because we really cared about these people, so much so that I used to imagine episodes set after the series concluded, I wanted to know what happened to these people and since the creators chose to never show us I created my own episodes in my head. This was before I wrote stuff down unfortunately.

The Cosby Show
Everyone has that show that they grew up with. While I did watch re-runs of The Brady Bunch as a kid (a lot!) this show was something special. When the series premiered in 1984 I did not know it was coming. I was ten, and didn’t pay attention to things like the new fall lineup. One night I was looking through the TV Guide and saw a beautiful ad for this great new show starring Bill Cosby. I already liked Bill Cosby from his work in children’s programming and the comedy film “Bill Cosby…Himself” which you have to see ifyou haven’t. I have seen it a hundred times and still laugh at it. So I decided to turn this new show on, I watched the premiere episode, and loved it! It was simply one of the funniest things ever. I just remember laughing so hard (do you remember anything you laughed at in 1984? Ok, Ghostbusters is a good example). This was my first “water cooler” show, except I talkedabout it in school the next day. When this show premiered I was in the 4thgrade. I used to watch it every Thursday night with my brother, we both loved it. The first two or three seasons especially were so great, I cherished every episode so much I made recorded them all on VHS. Yes I have the DVD’s today. The show was there right through junior high and high school, and I graduated from high school almost the same night the show finally went off the year in 1992.This show was a major part of my childhood, and will always be special to me even though there were bad episodes and even seasons.  In fact this series was the only time I wished my family was like the one I saw on TV, after the episode where the family shows Theo what the “real world” is like (“Theo’s Holiday”;). I have seen that one a thousand times, it may be the favorite half hour of television ever.Never seen the episode? Go see it!

Star Trek-The Next Generation
Yeah this one isn’t a sitcom, but it’s also not a shock either. My first real exposure to Star Trek was the movies, which I liked but without the context of the original series I missed a lot. I watched the original series as a kid, but didn’t get the stories really. Then the announcement was made-a new Star Trek series! I wish I could convey the excitement that generated, and the eager anticipation of it mixed with shockthat it would not involve the original cast. It’s funny; my mother was a fan ofclassic Trek and reacted in horror to TNG much the same way I am appalled bythe JJ Abrams reboot movies. Anyway, when this show finally took off it wasreally something special. I fell in love with the characters, which was the onething missing from the three later shows. Yeah the stories could be interesting and there was action, but I never really cared for the characters quite the wayI did with TNG. I loved Data and Riker and Wesley…no, I hated Wesley too. I hated Picard at first, but he grew on me. When the series went off the air in1994, I was absorbed in the hype surrounding the finale and, as you probablyknow, the final episode is just one of my favorite episodes of anything I haveever seen. Also like The Cosby Show this is one show which my brother and Ishared a love for, which brings back some nice memories. I watched this show onre-runs every night until fairly recently, and just adored every episode (ok that’s a lie, there were some horrible episodes). What else can I say? I am a story person more than an action person, and maybe that is why this show appealed to me since it was more cerebral than action oriented. But more than that, the characters were strong and I adored them.

The Brady Bunch
Do I really need to say more? You either hate this show or love it, and I loved it. I watched it over and over as a kid and never got bored with it. What is wrong with a happy family on TV? I never got why so many people hate it, why would you rather watch a horrible family who doesn’t get along? As I said a few weeks ago the reputation this show has is a little unfair, the kids did not smile every second of every episode and while theproblems were simple, the focus was on the kids and when you’re a kid it’s the little things that seem like the end of the world! Ok, before this becomes a full rantI will stop here. The show is simple and sweet, and I love it to this day. “It’sthe story, of a man named Brady…..”

Seinfeld
Duh, right? The reason I love this show is similar to that of The Cosby Show, but even more so. Like Cosby this show was a major part of my life after high school. Though I do remember watching when this show first came on and I was in school. But this show was there through college and marriage and there are tons of memories watching this show with friends and later my wife. But what makes it more so than Cosby? Because this show was much more consistent in quality, and relatable in its premise. The Cosby Show hadmany episode especially later on which were so boring or not funny. This show always delivered, even in its later years. I don’t want to go to long because Ithink I said all there is to say after I reviewed every single episode last year, but everything about this show worked from the writing to the situations to the characters which we loved even if they weren’t the nicest people. Is ita perfect show? Well, maybe not but it is darn close in my book.

Home Improvement
I hesitated putting this on here, because I came into this show really late. I hated Tim Allen, so much that it kept me away from this show. I had the same problem with Roseanne, but Roseanne I only learned to appreciate while Home Improvement I grew to really love. Yeah the gags about Tim blowing things up every episode got old after a while, but what was really behind this series was a family show. In case you haven’t guessed by now, those are the types of show I love. I think it comes from coming from a family whichwas not the happiest; it was nice to be with one on TV for a half hour or so.It was pure escapism (and may help to explain why not one drama appears here).So if you forget the Tool Time gags and Tim being an idiot and look at the stories, you see the same thing I saw in The Brady Bunch, Cosby, and Raymond.Stories about a family and their everyday struggles, and it was done with just enough humor that it worked. I also noted back on Mother’s Day that Jill Tayloris one of my favorite sitcom mothers because she was allowed to be imperfect,with flaws and insecurities that you don’t often see in sitcom parents. By the way, after this, Galaxy Quest, and The Santa Clause I am much easier on Tim Allen these days.

Friends
What is it about this show that I just love? Is it the relatable characters? Is it the very funny lines? Is it the fact that we have all been where these people are in our lives? I am not sure, but I simply loved this show and I couldn’t get enough of it. The fact that it could go ten years and still be fresh and funny with the exact same cast it started with is just remarkable. I think this show hit all the points I listed.  Like the others this show was around for a large part of my life, this time starting in college and right through my married years. I was the age these characters were for the most part, which made this very relatable in a timely way. Also I loved the characters, not enough to write my own episodes but I loved how the characters were allowed togrow and evolve rather than stay exactly the same week after week. And thestories were good, the episodes always had three so even if one story wasboring there was another which would be interesting and that made the show worth watching.

I love this show so much; I have decided that it is going to be my focus as I return my Analytical Episode Guide next week. This year itwill be Friends! I know many people don’t share my love for this show, but that’s cool. Maybe this will be a chance to change some minds or open adiscussion about the problems. Just because I love it doesn’t mean everyone has to, and I always welcome different opinions.  I will get into this more later, but the format will be slightly changed because, well, Friends was a different showthan Seinfeld. I also will try to do more than one a week (or maybe more thanfive per article) because this show ran 10 seasons and, frankly, I am not interested in working on this until next October!

But I hope you will check it out and my other ideas I have coming which include a couple new top 5 lists one which discusses another showI loved which is not on this list and seems like it has been missed by so many.

That’s where we are as we approach 2013.

Oh, I almost forgot….HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!

By richb

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.