Day: June 30, 2020

Reiner mastered the modern sitcom

Carl Reiner packed a lot of lives into 98 years.
He was the perfect straight man for Sid Caesar and Mel Brooks, the ideal mentor for Steve Martin. He wrote seven movies, directed 15 of them (including “Oh, God” and four of Martin’s films), acted in tons more. He wrote a novel and memoirs.
But TV viewers will mainly remember Reiner, who died Monday, for one thing: He created the predecessor for sharp situation comedies rooted in real life.
That was “The Dick Van Dyke Show” (shown here in a colorized episode). It “was one of the few smart sitcoms of the 1960s,” David Bianculli wrote in “The Platinum Age of Television” (Doubleday, 2016), “a decade in which the genre was awash with flying nuns, talking cars and subservient witches and genies.” Read more…

Here’s a guide to at-home 4th

So now we face the prospect of a stay-at-home 4th of July.
In many places, that means no fireworks, no parades, no music. In others … well, it still seems safer to stay away this year.
Not to worry, television is ready to fill in … just as it did for Easter and Memorial Day. It has two big-deal shows, with music and fireworks – PBS (see separate story, alongside this one) in Washington, D.C. (shown here), NBC in New York. It also has shows aimed at the day’s emphasis on history or music; here’s a guide: Read more…

Best-bets for July 2: ‘Dads,’ ‘Dark’ dramas

1) “Council of Dads” season-finale, 8 p.m, NBC. Last week ended with a fierce hurricane ripping through town. People huddled in Oliver’s home, where he delivered the baby he and Peter hope to adopt. Robin left to save her son Theo and was trapped … until Anthony arrived. Now this strong finale surveys the damage (shown here) and answers questions: How is the baby? Will Peter accept him? Did the restaurant survive? Can Anthony be forgiven for lying and leaving? Will Robin imagine one more chat with her late husband? Read more…

Supervise my bath, please

Sometimes, you pass by a sign that jolts you.
That happbned to me today. It was an election sign that simply said: “Curtis For Bath Supervisor.”
What? We elect people to supervise our bathing? The mind jumps to — well, Ernie (shown here) singing “Rubber Ducky.” Or Marilyn Monroe in a bubble-bath secne or some such.
It sort of needs context, I guess. Like the time I saw a sign that said “Rich Girls Track Team.” Read more…