Live! All in the Family & The Jeffersons
Last night’s live event on ABC was a project from Jimmy Kimmel which was inspired by live musicals. Two episodes from these TV shows were performed word-for-word from the original scripts. (Only one word was repeatedly bleeped out: any guesses?)
Some of the impersonations were spot on. Some didn’t even try, but the overall effect was surprising: who knew that political and social issues from all those years ago would be so relevant? For example, a discussion about why there wasn’t a black president was met with Gloria’s rebuttal about having a woman president some day. I’d forgotten that.
But we think Archie Bunker was the creation of Norman Lear. No, he wasn’t the original bigot: Alf Garnett was…
British Shows that Spawned American Copies
Till Death Us Do Part
The family dynamic of an opinionated man, his browbeaten wife, his grownup daughter and his liberal son-in-law living under one roof only really makes sense in the UK. (Anthony Booth’s daughter, Cherie, will one day marry Tony Blair…)
Love Thy Neighbour
Recently, Cedric the Entertainer has brought this old gem back to life by reversing the roles and calling it The Neighborhood, as in ‘there goes…the neighbourhood’.
Man About the House
This was the prototype for Three’s Company but the original romantic pairing got changed from the guy and the dark-haired beauty to the guy and the blonde, mainly due to the charisma of Suzanne Somers. Even the spin-off, The Ropers, was based on the original spin-off George and Mildred. And, of course, no one remembers Robin’s Nest being the basis for the spin-off Three’s a Crowd.
Steptoe & Son
Norman Lear mined this gem to produce Sanford & Son, a series about a pair of junk dealers. Their rough life and fractured relationship was a direct steal. But Redd Foxx made it work so very well.
I know I’ve said this before, but there truly is nothing new under the sun. “Case closed.”