What was your favorite episode?

The fantasy of every child — to have unlimited power against grown-ups — is made horrifyingly real.

clete robertsThe evil Tom the Mayor, who I used to like before I realized he was evil, asked:

What was your Favorite episode of MASH? Or Twilight Zone? Or Saturday Night Live? And what was your number one, favorite Movie of all Time? No lists pick one!

Evil, I tell you. But I’ll play along.

MASH: It has to be from the first eight seasons because the last three were retreads.

The Interview (season four, episode 24):

“Larry Gelbart left MAS*H at the end of the fourth season, having helped the show transition from smart-ass tomfoolery to something more frequently somber and daring. Gelbart went out on a series high: “The Interview,” in which real-life reporter Clete Roberts asks scripted questions about life in the Korean War and the cast (mostly) ad-libs responses, in character. Shot in black-and-white, with long takes for the more serious monologues and quick cuts for the jokes, “The Interview” is both unusual and exceptional.”

It was the first of the really oddball episodes used on the show.

Here it is on Vimeo
Twilight Zone: one of the two series I own on DVD

Oh, Amy the Sharp Little Pencil, interjected:

Yes, Twilight Zone! Is it the Helen Foley episode, because you went to Binghamton?

No, it’s not Nightmare as a Child from season 1. It’s It’s a Good Life (season four, episode 8):

“The fantasy of every child — to have unlimited power against grown-ups — is made horrifyingly real in 1961’s “It’s a Good Life.” Bill Mumy plays six-year-old Anthony Freemont, a boy with incredible psychic powers who holds everyone around him hostage. It’s sort of like Game of Thrones if little King Joffrey could simply think you out of existence for displeasing him. The adults tiptoe around the kid, but it never really matters, because he’s six, and six-year-olds aren’t particularly rational in the first place. That ever-present sense of menace exuded from the adorable face of Mumy is what makes things work.”

I think I related to this strongly because I was only eight years old at the time. When I watched Billy Mumy in Lost in Space four years later, I still found him a tad scary.

That episode is available on Hulu
Saturday Night Live: I watched it nearly religiously for 24 years, much more sporadically subsequently.

William Shatner (season 12, episode eight)

“The late ’80s represent a peak of professionalism; with solid pros like Phil Hartman, Jan Hooks, Dana Carvey, and Jon Lovitz in place and more or less sober, things were running as smoothly as they could be without the show becoming less-than-half live, the way it sometimes seemed to be under Dick Ebersol. These conditions must have been highly amenable to the guest performers, and Shatner used his hosting gig to launch a second (or third, fourth, somewhere in there) phase of his career by publicly announcing that he was in on the joke. He was greatly assisted by the Star Trek convention sketch (‘Get a life!’) contributed by a writer who established himself as one of the most distinctive behind-the-scenes comic sensibilities connected to the show since Michael O’Donoghue: Robert Smigel, whose “TV Funhouse” cartoons were often all that the show had to hang its hat on in the ’90s.”

I seldom thought of SNL as whole shows. Like most people, I do remember specific sketches. “Get a life” was perfect for a guy who worked in a comic book store, and attended conventions; in fact, I would leave FantaCo within a year of this episode. Coincidence?

One can have the “separating the artist from his personal life” discussion ad naseum.

For me, it’s Annie Hall, for reasons explained HERE.
Amy also asked:

My question. Hmmmm… OK, which Republican candidate do you think will drop out next? Not the strongest question, but you know me, hee hee hee.

See, I have NO idea why Jim Gilmore or George Pataki even gotten in. I’d have to think Jindal or Santorum go. Walker leaving gives Kasich more reason to stay to get that “centralist” governor vote that won’t support another Bush, though maybe there isn’t an audience, given his sagging poll numbers in New Hampshire.

Lindsey Graham I think wants to stick around until the South Carolina primary. Christie thinks too highly of himself to quit. Paul is enough of an anti-surveillance guy to think he distinguishes himself. Cruz and Huckabee are ideologues who want to stick around if/when Trump folds. And Rubio can fly under the radar as everyone’s second or third pick, and, arguably, most electable.


Woody Allen is 75

Last month, TV writer Ken Levine wrote an open letter to Woody Allen, which suggested that Woody:
Take a break.

I have noted more than once that Annie Hall is my all-time favorite movie; moreover, it was commercially successful and critically acclaimed. Nominated for five Academy Awards for the 1977 season, it won four – Best Picture, Best Actress (Diane Keaton), Best Director (Woody Allen), Best Original Screenplay (Allen and Marshall Brickman), losing only Best Actor (Allen).

Yet, when making a list of his six best movies – ZELIG, PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO, HUSBANDS AND WIVES, VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA, BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, MATCH POINT – Annie Hall was not among them. Is it unreasonable to suggest that a director is mistaken about his own films?

I saw all the movies mentioned except Match Point; I can say that Vicki Christina Barcelona clearly does NOT belong on this list. I’d be hard-pressed to actually come up with my other five on a list – Hannah and Her Sisters, and Zelig, for sure, maybe Bananas, Broadway Danny Rose, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Purple Rose of Cairo, Radio Days, or even Manhattan if the parallel with his actual life didn’t creep me out so much.

Slate takes a crack at Copy-Editing the Culture: The Rise and Fall of Woody Allen, as Experienced Through His Punctuation.

Last month, TV writer Ken Levine wrote an open letter to Woody Allen, which suggested that Woody:
Take a break.
Stop making movies.
At least for now.
It’s time.
It really really is.

An interesting discussion ensued.

Read some interviews, some recent, some historic, that delve into Woody’s mind. Also, on May 6, 1971, Johnny Carson’s guest host on The Tonight Show was Woody Allen, whose guests included Bob Hope and James Coco.

Happy birthday, Woody. No matter how much I think you’re off your game, you provided me with great cinematic pleasure for many years.

30-Day Challenge: Day 2: Favorite Movie

I wish I could pull out a Marshall McLuhan to shut down an arrogantly wrong comment.

Considering all of the movies I’ve seen, all the GREAT movies I’ve ever seen, it is surprisingly easy for me to pick my favorite:

Annie Hall (1977).

It was my touchstone picture for a number of years. I saw it four times in the movie theater, and it was one of the first films I purchased on VHS.

It’s the roller coaster in Coney Island, which I loved as a child. It’s early Christopher Walken, bizarre as he would later become.

The opening of the film was more story, fewer jokes, my kind of humor. It reminded me of seeing Woody Allen on Ed Sullivan in the 1960s. The film also features Paul Simon, one of my music icons of that decade.

I related to Alvy Singer. Many is the time I wish I could pull out Marshall McLuhan or an equivalent person to shut down an arrogantly wrong comment. I have an aversion to driving. I hate going into a movie after it’s started. I came to believe that, “A relationship, I think, is like a shark. You know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark.”

Annoyingly, I used to say “la-di-dah, la-di-dah, la-di-dah” a lot. Incidentally, Diane Keaton won an Oscar for this role, though I always thought it was REALLY for her acting in that same year in Waiting for Mister Goodbar.

But mostly, in Annie Hall, it’s the split screenshot of Annie and Alvy with their respective therapists:
Alvy’s Therapist: How often do you sleep together?
Annie’s Therapist: Do you have sex often?
Alvy: [lamenting] Hardly ever. Maybe three times a week.
Annie: [annoyed] Constantly. I’d say three times a week.

It defined how two people can experience the exact same events, yet see them very differently. This is a useful lesson when dealing with most human interactions. For instance, a Protestant and a Catholic can both take communion; for the Protestant, it’s representational of the body and blood of Christ, while Catholics believe that transubstantiation takes place. still, it’s the same act, for presumably the same God, and the chasm that exists over this seems unnecessary.

Other contenders: Groundhog Day, West Side Story (not a great movie, but a great musical), Young Frankenstein.

Oh, and one other: Star Wars, with the retronym Episode 4: A New Hope (meh). The Empire Strikes Back may be the better picture, but this one started it all. Star Wars lost the Academy Award for Best Picture to…Annie Hall.

Two long-running television shows end Monday night.
24 (FOX) will be over after eight seasons, and I’ll be happy about that. I fear that people have confused the fiction of the former CTU operative with real life. the United States Attorney General just recently was compelled to say, “We’re not Jack Bauer.” The TV Guide article about the show’s ending asks cast members, “What’s your favorite scene?” I watched the first season, but as the writers/producers decided how much more Jack can take, and deliver, I bailed.

Law & Order is gone after 20 years, after NBC failed to get a cable company to purchase reruns of season 21. I must admit I pretty much stopped watching it when the late Jerry Orbach left about eight years ago, but I’ll watch one more “ripped from the headlines” vignette.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial