Dream three-hour night of television

In my mind Frasier was just an odd continuation of Cheers.

Someone asked Ken Levine, who wrote for the TV sitcoms Cheers, Frasier, MASH, and several other shows: “What’s your dream three-hour night of television, including any shows from any decade, including now.” He explained: “I’m going to cheat. I’m just going to concentrate on comedies. Dramas take up two slots. So here are my all-time favorite sitcoms.”
10:00 MASH
10:30 CHEERS

Keeping that in mind, I picked:
The Simpsons – OK I haven’t watched more than thrice in the last decade, but those first years are strong enough
The Dick van Dyke Show – compare and contrast the family dynamic of these first two shows
The Mary Tyler Moore Show – and back-to-back MTM
Barney Miller – one of those perennially underrated shows
MASH – even though it should have ended when Radar went home early in season 8, rather than dragging on a couple more years
Twilight Zone Hey, I have this (and Van Dyke) on DVD

But his respondents had some great cheats. One wrote: “My 10 o’clock hour would be a rotating mix like Four in One (1970-71) or its successor the NBC Mystery Movie, but would involve the hour-long MTM shows: Lou Grant, The White Shadow, Hill Street Blues, St. Elsewhere, etc.” I rather like that, even that short-lived James Earl Jones show called Paris. And indeed, if I could do the same with the comedies, all the better; Mary Tyler Moore would share the slot with Newhart, WKRP in Cincinnati, even The Tony Randall Show, in which he played a judge.

Also, in my mind, Frasier was just an odd continuation of Cheers. With that cheat:

The Dick Van Dyke Show
The MTM sitcoms
Twilight Zone
The MTM dramas

What would YOU pick?
A production number from the 1986 Emmy Awards. “It’s a mess of TV stars singing snatches of — or merely walking on to — their shows’ theme songs.”


A television meme

I so seldom watch TV in real time anyway.

SamuraiFrog says the “questions here are taken from the defunct TV Tuesday blog.”

1. What is your favorite “Classic” TV show?

The Dick Van Dyke Show, followed by The Twilight Zone; these are only two series I own in their entirety (although I would have bought the MAS*H box when it was on sale had the packaging not been reviewed so poorly by several folks on Amazon.)

2. What character from a “Classic” TV show would you like to be?

Alan Brady from the Dick van Dyke Show.

3. On which “Classic” TV Show would you have loved to have a walk-on role?

Probably Star Trek.

4. Can you remember a line you liked from a “Classic” TV show?

Yes. Maybe even more than one.

5. Which TV doctor would you choose to remove your appendix?

Marcus Welby.

6. Which TV doctor would you not let touch you with a 10-foot pole?

Jack “Boomer” Morrison on St. Elsewhere; he was well-meaning, though.

7. Which TV doctor/hospital would you choose for the best medical care?

The OTHER hospital in town besides St. Eligius (a/k/a St. Elsewhere).

8. Everyone knows nurses run the hospital. Who was/is your favorite TV nurse?

The nurses of China Beach, especially McMurtry.

9. Do you consider yourself a “fan” of reality TV?

No. I’ve watched it in the past – Real World, Survivor – but I’ve totally burned out on the genre. Unless you count Who Do You Think You Are?, which is a genealogy search.

10. What’s your “can’t miss” reality TV show (or shows)?


11. What reality TV show do you suppose the devil plays on the TV in Hell as punishment?

Any of those shows involving 16-year-old girls who are either wanting a lavish party or are pregnant.

12. If you were given a free ticket to be on any reality show, which one would you choose?

The Amazing Race. It doesn’t interest me, but it doesn’t offend me either.

13. What shows would make up a perfect night of TV viewing for you?

I so seldom watch TV in real-time anyway. So, JEOPARDY!, Who Do You Think You Are (about the only 8 o’clock show I watch), Modern Family, 30 Rock, Grey’s Anatomy.

14. What show(s) would you cancel without a moment’s hesitation?

This would involve actually watching a show enough to hate it. There’s a wide swatch I just ignore.

15. Is there a show (previously canceled or just no longer airing) that you’d bring back, original cast and all?

No. Shows for their own time.

16. You get to create one show to put on the schedule, with any stars you choose. Who and what would it be?

I can’t imagine doing that. Even shows that are on currently that seem decent (Castle immediately comes to mind) I’m not watching because I don’t have time, so adding another program to the mix seems counterproductive.

17. Is there a game show (past or present) you think you would do really well on, as a contestant?

Password. Or Pyramid.

18. Is there a game show you think is the stupidest thing you’ve ever seen?

Well, yeah, but it was so dumb I don’t recall it. I do hate the whammy on Press Your Luck.
I was going to link to a bomb that Jackie Gleason hosted called You’re In the Picture – noted last year by Mark Evanier – but it seems to be removed from the Internet, but the apology still remains.

19. Is there a game show you watch but don’t like to admit to watching? (A guilty pleasure!)

No. At this point, I just watch JEOPARDY!, without guilt.

20. Who is your favorite game show host? Who is your least favorite?

i watched a LOT of game shows in their prime, and I thought most of the hosts were quite competent: Bill Cullen, Bud Collyer, Garry Moore, Dennis James, Alex Trebek before JEOPARDY! I don’t think I disliked any, really, though Howie Mandel on Deal or No Deal is a bit peculiar.

21. Who is your favorite (past or present) TV cop?

Barney Miller.

22. Which TV cop do you think was the most crooked, or the most inept?

Barney Fife.

23. Which TV show had the best ensemble cast of police officers?

Barney Miller. Or Hill Street Blues.

24. You need to hire a bodyguard for yourself. Which TV cop do you choose?

Mick Belker from Hill Street Blues. He was nuts.

25. Who is your favorite stand-up comedian of all time?

Bill Cosby, followed by Bob Newhart.

26. Which one could you do without? (Not your type of humor, or just plain stupid!)

Benny Hill. Actually, there are a lot of them, but I just don’t keep track of things I dislike.

27. Which comedian do you think has gone on to have a great career aside from doing stand-up?

Steve Martin, clearly. I’ve seen one of his plays a few years back.

28. If you went to a comedy club on an amateur night, and they gave you some jokes and a microphone, would you go onstage?

Not on your life.

29. Who is/was your favorite TV mom?

Timmy’s mom on Lassie, played by June Lockhart.

30. Was she a realistic mother, or more of a TV fantasy type?

Very real.

31. Which TV mom did you find the most unrealistic? Or if you’d rather: creepy – sappy – mean – you choose the adjective, and you name the mom.

My Mother, the Car.

32. No disrespect to your dear old mum, but which TV mom did you think it might be neat to have as your own?

Laura Petrie!

33. What show would you like to see brought back for an hour or two episode, to see how the characters are doing now? (This should be a show that it might be possible to do a reunion on.)

Freaks and Geeks

34. Pick a show that could not realistically be brought back for a reunion, because some or all of the cast members are gone. What if they could have done a reunion before it was too late? Name the show you’d most like to see.

Barney Miller.

35. Which reunion show have you watched and thought “Wow, they should have left that one alone!”

Haven’t watched one in years, but there was a particularly cloying episode for the Brady Bunch.

36. Which do you prefer- a “reunion” episode of the series or a “cast reunion” where the actors sit around and talk about the making of the show?

I’m very fond of the MAS*H cast reunion, and even Happy Days, which was an OK show, but hardly one I watched regularly.

37. What is your favorite TV theme song?

Hill Street Blues. Or Perry Mason.

38. Which song drives you crazy enough to hit mute on the remote?

Nothing comes to mind.

39. Which song are you proud to say you remember (most of) the lyrics to???

Proud is not the word. I do know the lyrics to Mr. Ed, Beverly Hillbillies, Gilligan’s Island, and Green Acres. Do they still do TV themes with lyrics?


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