My Wife, The Ghost got voted back… hanging by a thread. I don’t think it went over at the screening very well and was fully confident we were going to get cancelled and became despondant.
While waiting for the results, Kirk and I watched an episode of The Bob Newhart Show, which I got on DVD. I’ve started renting sitcoms from Netflix as research for our projects.
I got the first season of Bewitched earlier, and was taken aback by a.) what an asshole Darrin started out as—why would you marry such an emotionless self-absorbed prick much less give up awesome magic powers for him—and b.) how fucking hilarious Endora was—she was really nasty in these early ones, shades of Patsy and Edina.
The creepiest episode was one where Darrin’s bosses force him to have this party (meaning Sam does all the work) for 50 people or whatever, including their client who’s a womanizing drunk (which they have a good laugh about). At the party, the dirtbag makes all these really unsavory comments about Sam in front of the boss and then in front of Darrin and they brush it off. Then he corners Sam and grabs her and starts forcing himself on her and she turns him into a dog. Which, granted, wasn’t the most obvious thing to do, but I assume she panicked.
Anyway, she tells Darrin and he flips out (he’s very wooden and angry in the early episodes) and she says “he was attacking me” and he says something along the lines “you should have taken it like any good wife would have.” Now, this would have been the point where she unleashes some Avada Kadavra on him or at the very least, flown out the window or something (she goes back to Mother in another episode for a lesser offense). But instead she makes him sleep on the couch. Lame.
He redeems himself by punching out the guy after he plays grabass with Sam (in his office) by punching the guy in the face. (Just like My Wife, The Ghost episode 3) He quits his job and goes home but for some reason the client, appriciating his moxie, signs with their Ad Agency anyway pointing out “some of my best friends have punched me in the face.” Dude, you have a problem.
This episode also contains an unsettling reference to body shaving.
The Bob Newhart Show I had never seen before (though I’m familiar with his other show) but I saw a biography on Bob Newhart and thought I should check it out. 70s sitcoms always seem weird and claustrophobia-inducing to me… too much rust and brown and orange and wood-paneling. Every scene looks like a basement. They all seem very flat and play-like to me, even revolutionary stuff like All in The Family.
The episode we watched was pretty stock sitcom crap and the online reviews said it took a couple seasons to pick up. But it had a couple of funny elements to it… completely bizarre editing. As soon as the punchline at the end of the scene came… the actors’ mouth is still open… it would just FREEZE, play a blast of the theme song and cut. The theme song was very jarring and not what I expected. The big yellow Cooper Blac-esque all-caps titles . The mundane credit sequence that was like Taxi
onfoot. So wonderful. I also never noticed that both Bob and Marcia Wallace had lisps.
I will work my way through the rest of the episodes on this disk and then I’ll wait for season 4 or 5 to come on DVD before I try it again. In the mean time, I’ll be seriously rocking out to my new summer jam