This Clip Defines the Term "Time-Waster" - Macleans.ca
 

This Clip Defines the Term “Time-Waster”


 

After I used the Going Places theme song for my “30 Rock Retooled” video,  I was asked by TGIF nostalgia types whether there were any clips of this one-season bomb available online. At the time, the answer was no, but now it turns out that there is a clip. And it shows in graphic detail why this show was too crummy even for an all Miller/Boyett lineup, and why Heather Locklear and Alan Ruck needed to wait a few more years to become successful again. However, it does allow one to play a game of “spot the terrible sitcom clichés.” These include the “gypsy curse” plot, which used to happen on a lot of shows and fortunately seems to be dead now, and such hacky jokes as:

– “Are you [name]?” “No, I’m [insert name of celebrity]”
– Wacky incorrect pronunciations of words and names
– Jokes about “will this be cash, charge or credit card?”
– The rhythmic rhymed chant, with dancing and clapping

The point being, you’ll never get far through this clip, but at least it will remind you that whatever struggles the multi-camera sitcom is going through now, it had its own problems in 1990, too.

Oh, and a thing I’ll never get a chance to mention anywhere else is that whereas a lot of people in the industry think of film as classy and tape as cheesy, in the ’80s and early ’90s it was probably the other way around: filmed sitcoms, with their distant look, bellow-y sound recording and over-use of music, were generally much cheesier-looking than their taped counterparts (with some exceptions like Cheers). This may have been simply that some of the hackiest producers, like M-B, preferred to work on film, but it was not until the early ’90s boom in sophisticated filmed sitcoms — Seinfeld, Frasier, Friends — that filmed comedy once again seemed truly “classy.”


 
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