With Mother’s Day coming up a special treat. Unlike say Christmas or Halloween, there aren’t a great deal of Mother’s Day specials. Sometimes someone will do one since it is May, and sitcoms have devoted episodes to Mother’s Day which I have gone over elsewhere, but actual specials are far and between. Today I wanted to talk about a certain one which aired in 1993, and I am not so proud to admit I do have on videotape.
Just as the Olsen twins were starting to become the major media monsters they would become (they had at least one TV movie under their belt at this point) we get this cute special. Airing on May 5, 1993 was it good? Let’s discuss it.
The Plot-There was no real plot, this was more of a throw back to the old variety show with comedy and music bits. The only theme was that this was the special the girls made for their mother. Uh yeah, we’ll get back o that! Co-hosted by Jerry Van Dyke (for some reason). So let’s run down the segments I liked and didn’t
What I Liked-
Mary Kate and Ashley. What can I say, they were still in their cute phase and pretty much every segment with them is fun.
While I am not sure why Jerry Van Dyke was here, he did a good job. He was funny in pretty much everything he was in. Including a silly gag with a talking horse and a number with a pack of dogs doing tricks which i will give a pass to since Van Dyke made it watchable. I guess they did kind of need an adult and since Van Dyke already worked with he girls in a Christmas movie (not to mentionÂ also having a show on the network) it was a good pick.
The opening song was very good. It was upbeat and it sounded like the girls were actually singing. They even had some scenes shot at the Minnestota Twins home park (because they’re twins….get it?).
Louie Anderson did some stand up comedy and I have always liked his comedy. Not sure what happened to him but his set was very good here.
In another segment the girls want to get professional photos of themselves for their mom. So they visit Kim Alexis to learn how to be a model. Yeah that makes no sense to me either but it’s a cute segment anyway.
What I Hated-
Tim Allen is in this and it’s so bad. Well, to be fair he is in it twice. The first time he teaches the girls how to grunt. Fair enough. The second time we drop in on him visiting his mother. And we watch them have a conversation for what feels like an eternity. What do they talk about? I don’t know I keep falling asleep. Don’t get me wrong she seems like a lovely lady, but man is that boring. I get the feeling Allen was forced to do this by ABC so just half assed it as best he could.
Peobo Bryson and Lea Salonga. Now let me explain, they are great and I loved “A Whole New World”. It’s just that when Aladdin came out in 1992, ABC exploited the hell out of that song. Putting it in everything they could! It was in a Christmas special that aired six months later also (and it made less sense there!!). This was more than six months after the movie for pete’s sake! (Aladdin came out in Nov ’92). While technically nothing wrong with it, the number just doesn’t need to be here and I was sick of that song by this point. Thank god Disney doesn’t do this anymore, and maybe I should just Let It Go. 😉
Actually I really hated the other music numbers. One was Kid N’Play. And this is just me I am not a fan. The other was Joey Lawrence. Yep, that Joey Lawrence. Who remembers how back in the early 90’s when Blossom was going strong how he tried to make it big as a big time singer? There were videos and concerts and….it went nowhere. I think The Brady Kids made a bigger impact on music.
The last number is only OK. It sounds like the girls were tired and about to go to bed, but it’s a nice song. Variety shows always had a hard time figuring out how to end in a big way. Carol Burnett managed to do a great job, but she was an exception.Â Very often these shows just sort of, stopped…. as if they had run out of time or just had noting else to do. Even The Muppet Show suffered from this, very often the credits would just kind of start rolling. And that’s what it feels like here. But they do end on a funny joke so there is that.
Finally, I wish they had been more honest about this title of this one. Why couldn’t this have been called “A Tribute to Mother’s Hosted by Mary Kate and Ashley”? I ask that because it’s pretty clear that the network (or Dick Clark since it was his production company) was behind this. Are we supposed to believe the girls mother really cared about Kid N Play? Or Tim Allen’s Mom? Oh and what shows are plugged? Coach, Home Improvement and Full House-what network were they again? (what’s that? Blossom was NBC? Guess who produced it…Touchstone!! aka Disney!).
It’s just that they make such a big deal about it was the girls idea to do this special for their Mom. Right. I mean Jerry Van Dyke does a lot of the work introducing segments and appearing in some of the acts, and gets a credit as if he makes just a cameo. It was clear Van Dyke was not the host, and he himself notes how he didn’t get in on the really cool stuff, but he still did a lot of work and deserved more credit. Heck he even flat out states that the special is really dedictaed to mother’s everywhere! It’s not a big thing, you know me I love to nitpick.
Final Thoughts-This was, OK. Sweet and harmless fun. Sure there are some slow parts like any variety show, but for the most part it works and isn’t the worst thing to watch.Â In fact this aired the same nigh as a Kathie Lee Gifford Mother’s Day Special. And that is a snooze fest! It may be one of the most boring TV programs I ever saw.
This special is all over YouTube so check it out. I still have my original copy.