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Kendra - Sliding into Home
I'll be the first to admit that I am addicted to almost every reality show on E!. The channel rarely changes in my household. I used to be an avid viewer of Girls of the Playboy Mansion (Girls Next Door to those of you in the USA). Now I didn't particularly warm to the characters or envy their dating habits, but something about it was fun to watch. Whether it was just something I hadn't seen before, or the fact they led interesting lives, to say the least!
If you watched to too, you will know that Hef's girlfriends were Holly, Brigit and Kendra. All extremely different personalities, although you'd be forgiven for thinking they were the usual stereotype, slim, tanned and blonde.
Kendra was the youngest of the bunch, whilst moving into the mansion when she was just 18. Strange lifestyle decision for some, but it worked for her. Life ran its course at the mansion and Kendra and Hef decided to go their separate ways. Kendra now had to make some bold decisions about moving out of the mansion and standing on her own two feet - a concept she hadn't had to deal with up until that point!
Kendra got signed up to her own reality show to follow her living her single crazy party girl life style with a few guest appearances from her old Playmate friends. Although before filming began, Kendra had met the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with, Hank Basket (an American Football player for those of you who don't know). The show was a hit and there have already been a few series to date. It was then that Kendra decided to set a few records straight and write her autobiography.
The book, although not set to win any sort of awards or prizes, was an easy read. It wasn't too taxing and it wasn't hard to follow. We're used to seeing Kendra on telly as a fun loving, ditzy girl who doesn't take anything seriously. You discover another dimension to her whilst reading her story.
Serious drug abuse, running away from home, an estranged relationship with her father and sexual promiscuity were a few issues raised. I don't want to give too much away, but now we watch Kendra and Hank, married and parents to Hank Jr, you can be glad of a happy ending for them.
The book isn't a kiss and tell, although we find out details of life at the mansion and orgy's involving Hugh Hefner himself and various other Playboy Bunnies. She's certainly had a colourful life, with a lot of low points and now it's comforting to see her enjoying the highs.
If vulgar language isn't your thing, then steer clear of this book. It's written as though Kendra is telling you herself, so you can imagine the words used! The book covers almost every experience she has been through in life, so definitely not for the faint hearted.
I think you would probably need to be a fan of Kendra or related TV shows to appreciate and enjoy this book. She's a bit like marmite. So if you are undecided on her, I would give it a miss.
'm not usually one to watch these types of programmes. I love my reality shows, but I tend to watch the ones that feature America beautiful rich people, where the scenes are quite clearly re-enacted for dramatic affect. However I ended up watching the first episode of The Biggest Loser UK out of boredom and I was hooked from that moment on. It doesn't take much to get me hooked for the record!
The Biggest Loser follows pairs of overweight unhappy and unhealthy people, whether they are mother and daughter, cousins, sisters-in-law etc, who have all made the decision they want to change their lives and ultimately win a prize fund at the end of the series.
The show starts by introducing us to each of the contestants and showing us a bit of a back story, so we can learn about how they got to the weight they are currently at. Watching the show is an emotional rollercoaster at times, with the joys when weight is lost and changes are being made, to the rocky moments when they have to confront their pasts, feelings and fears to be able to overcome them and make significant changes.
There are two trainers Rob and Angie, who shout like drill sergeants at the contestants and certainly put them through their paces in workouts, whether they are in the gym or in the great outdoors. Not content until their team are breaking a sweat in every orifice of their bodies possible!
Davina McCall presents the show. Every week Davina summons the contestants up on to what I can only describe as the Worlds Biggest Scales. For the weekly weigh in, contestants are in competition with each other as to who can lose the most weight. Their weight loss gets put down as a percentage on their whole body weight. Whoever has the lowest percentage at the end of the weigh in, risks being voted off by their fellow competitors.
Every week the competition gets shaken up in some way, whether it is changing the teams around, mixing the original couples up and given them various temptations for the chance to win advantages at weigh in.
The contestants live together in a house and have to learn how to cook filling and nutrious meals for themselves, so they can continue to diet and exercise in the event of them being sent home. Even if the contestants get sent home, they still stand a chance to win the other prize of who loses the most weight out of everyone who left the competition early.
What I find nice about this programme, is it actually does help and change the lifestyle of these people and quite honestly the prize fund is literally just icing on the cake. The real prize is having a new skinny lease of life that they have never experienced before.
My favourite part of the programme has to be the moment that everybody waits for, which is the finale, when we see all the contestants in their final weight and find out the winner after weeks of rooting for various different people.
Some people are seriously unrecognisable from when we first met them. Although the competition is tough between them, it really does seem as though everyone is happy for each other when all is said and done.
I'd recommend watching The Biggest Loser to anyone, because it motivates you in ways you wouldn't even think of. Not all of it is about weight either and it really gets you thinking.
If you are anything like me, you will have great memories of watching Saved by the Bell and dreaming of attending a high school just like it. I used to watch and wish I was just like Kelly and that I had friends just Zack and Slater! Then there was Screech....he never really fit in now did he?
Bare in mind that Screech (played by Dustin Diamond) was only about 12years old when they started filming and that the rest of the cast were a few years older - that might not sound like a big age gap however when you are going through puberty etc, it feels like a lifetime apart.
So everything we were lead to believe whilst watching Saved by the Bell, such as the wholesome all American teens, all doing well at school, all gorgeous and healthy/athletic, living model lifestyles, couldn't of been further from the truth of what was happening off screen - well, according to Dustin Diamond anyway.
Now this review is purely based on my opinions when reading Behind the Bell, which was so bad, I couldn't put it down! The first thing that popped into my head was that he must be broke - why else would he be selling a tell-all type of book about the rest of his cast mates. However, whilst I was reading it, I formed the opinion that he was still a bit bitter, about being the geeky type, never feeling like he got enough credit for his character and ultimately, trying to make the reader believe he didn't care about fitting in with the rest of the group, when it clearly affected him. Whilst reading the book, he sounded like an outsider looking in on everyone else's experience with fame. On a side note, the rest of the cast did a reunion photo shoot for People magazine a few months back, on the terms of Dustin not being a part of it. That pretty much sums it up!
I had read reviews of the book before I bought it, as I could never find it cheaply and wanted to make sure it was worth it. I hadn't found a positive review of it, and I had even read exerts of it, which weren't exactly selling it to me. Nevertheless, what with me being such a geek for all TV shows from my childhood, I was intrigued and decided to buy it off of Amazon with a voucher I had been given.
When the book arrived I got stuck in, it didn't take long to read. I must say, that after expecting scandal and secrets, I was bitterly disappointed! I was expecting some dirt to be dished and what I actually got was a few rumours and accusations.
Don't get me wrong, it was interesting stuff...but no proof, no merit and pretty much no point in reading.
Dustin explains how they all had it all, even though they were under paid and overworked. He tells of how the younger cast (Kelly, Zack, Slater, Jessie and eventually Lisa) all had secret dressing room relations (wink, wink) at one point or another. He tells of drug experimentation (one accusation of Zack being addicted to steroids). Even tells us of legal allegations of Slater raping a girl - he seems to believe he was guilty, even though the whole case was settled and he found he was innocent. He tells us of how Zack and Kelly would go into Peter Engels (SBTB Producer) office for close the door meetings that would last for hours - and then tells the reader to draw their own conclusions - I did just that - Dustin Diamond is clutching at straws.
Out of all the outrageous rumours that Diamond writes about, the person that comes off the worst is Diamond himself. He tells of all of his underage sex, how he was always with older women - about how he would lie about his age (now surely, this is unethical in itself Dustin?). He writes about how he would go to Disneyland with his friends and pick up chicks and get up to all sorts of unhygienic behaviour on the rides. How he would dabble with different drugs and use drugs recreationally, buy fake ID's, drink underage - on a regular. He also keeps reminding us how he has slept with thousands of women (the sad thing is, I think he's the type to keep count in a little black book somewhere) and has a massive penis - pass the sick bucket, I almost had to stop reading there and then!
The one person he praises from start to finish, is a woman who used to produce the show. He claims he had some sort of relationship with her - even though she was a professional woman who had worked with him since he was 12. The thing that striked me as odd about this, was that this lady passed away a few back from cancer and was no longer around to deny these shocking claims.
Another viewer's favourite was Mr Belding, who Dustin also holds in high regard. This may be because they both continued to work on Saved by the Bell the New Class, whilst the rest of the original crew had moved on with their careers. Mr Belding (Dennis Haskings) remains friends with Dustin to this day, whilst he is no longer in contact with the rest of his cast mates.
My views on the content of the stories in the book are purely my negative opinions, whereas many other readers would think that they just bought a book full of great gossip and stories they'd of never guessed. The following will be fact and not opinion, about the book. Maybe I am fussy, but I would certainly not expect this from any other book, so I'm certainly not accepting it from Screech! ....
The spelling is atrocious, I am not the best speller and we all make mistakes, however they shouldn't be as often and as bad as the spelling, especially in a book, which must have a proof reader or at least a spell check?!
The grammar is awful; it means that while reading various sentences, you will have to reread them, just to make sure you are understanding it correctly.
Diamond's use of made up words. Mostly slang terms to describe someone he doesn't like or (bleugh - wait for it) his penis. Marvellous. My favourite being Douche Nozzle. There's one I've never heard before.
Here's the straw that broke the camels back for me. I was reading along, around about three quarters through and I thought I was having a déjà vu. A WHOLE paragraph reappeared. That's right people, a whole paragraph completely doubled in front of my eyes...maybe it was to check we as readers were paying attention and hadn't completely fallen asleep whilst reading his self indulgent "poor me" memoirs.
Back to my opinion - if you do buy this book and are one of the unfortunate people who will waste a few hours of their lives that they will never get back by reading this - look out for the cat chapter. The cat chapter, I hear you ask? Let me explain. The cat chapter is all about how Dustin discovered a cat in his garden, (Dustin hates cats by the way) and feeds it, until it keeps coming back, one day gives birth to a whole mess of kittens and Dustin takes them all in. Fascinating stuff! Real "on the edge of your seat" reading. On the other hand, maybe not.
I will not recommend this book. I will also not try to steer you away from purchasing it, as if you are anything like me, you will do so anyway, just to see what it's like. Plus I need some poor soul to buy the copy I am about to put on Amazon.
I used to love watching Home Improvement! I remember they used to play repeats on the Disney Channel in the evenings and I would stay up late to watch it. Its probably one of my favourite family friendly sitcoms of all time.
Home Improvement ran from 1991 to 1999, with 8 series and a total of 204 episodes. I was so disappointed when it finished, but I think it had definitely run its course. It was good to finish before everyone got sick of it.
The basic premise of the show was about a family and all the mischief they'd get up to. The mum and dad would bicker between themselves, mainly to due to the dads stupidity! His habits for restoring old cars and trying to fix things that weren't broken, led to a few funny twists and turns. Not to mention he had his own TV show; "Tool Time", so their problems never quite stayed within their four walls. They had three sons, who were well behaved for the most part, but had to deal with their own issues of growing up. This really was a great show, that I think they could get away with still showing today, as its not too dated yet.
Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor (played by Tim Allen) was the head of the family. However he was also the most immature. He was always trying his new inventions, that were doomed for failure, this includes things that didn't need inventing in the first place! His mistakes or questioning of things usually led to his signature grunt noise! Tim loved his wife, but they made good sparring partners, their relationship was believable so it was funny to watch. His wife Jill (played by Patricia Richardson) must have been a saint for putting up with him! I'm sure she reached the end of her tether a fair few times. Their arguments were always funny and Jill usually made the best points.
The eldest of their sons Brad (played by Zachery Ty Bryan) was popular at school and had a girlfriend for a long time throughout the show. He was closest to his younger brother Randy (played by Jonathan Taylor Thomas). I used to fancy Randy so badly, but always thought his name was embarrassing (now that's embarrassing to admit!). Randy was the sensible middle child who unlike Brad preferred school work to sports. They would both tease and gang up on the youngest Mark (played Taran Noah Smith). Mark had a huge growth spurt in the last few series, which was weird to see. I suppose that must've been the point where they realised they were outgrowing the show.
Not only did they have a solid cast for the family, but the supporting people were just as great. There was Al Borland (played by Richard Karn) who was Tims co-star on Tool Time and also grew to be a good friend. Tim would constantly pick on Al and the fact he was close to his mother and how he always wore the same flannel shirts. Tim was secretly jealous that Al was the brains on Tool Time.
Not to mention my least favourite character Wilson (played by Earl Hindman) who was the Taylor families next door neighbour. The on going gag was that we never saw Wilsons face and I remember as a child watching and trying to catch a glimpse of it between the fence panels but never managing it! It was funny, but as the series' went on, the jokes grew a bit tired. I found his character very boring.
Pamela Anderson also got her first role in a TV show as Tool Times assistant Lisa. It was only a small role, she didn't appear in every episode. She left after the first two years and got a part in a show, you might of heard of...Baywatch!
I really miss Home Improvement, I remember it as being one of the only programmes I could sit and watch with my mum and we'd both genuinely enjoy it. It was lovely family entertainment.
The great thing I have to comfort myself with is that all 8 series have been released on DVD, so one day I can sit down and reminisce on an old favourite.
***Please note that this review is on iCarly the TV Show - not the DVD***
I have to blame the fact that I've seen this show on my niece. However I am guilty to asking her if she'd like me to put it on! I think this is a great kids show, that I would've enjoyed when I was younger.
The plot of the show is, Carly lives with her older brother Spencer, who is sensible when he needs to be, but it seems like Carly takes care of him most of the time. Carly and her friends Sam and Freddie have their own web show and each episode shows them performing a new episode on icarly.com
So far there have been 3 series of iCarly, with a total of 64 episodes. They are due to make a new series though, which is good as Nickelodeon seem to show the same episodes over and over again.
Carly Shay (played by Miranda Cosgrove) is the star of iCarly. She is the main character on the show. Carly is popular at school and a pretty and confident young lady. One thing I have figured out whilst watching the show (keeping in mind that I haven't watched it religiously since the beginning - so this could be something I've missed), is where Carlys parents are and why her older brother is her legal guardian? Maybe someone out there can tell me? I've certainly not heard it mentioned. Miranda Cosgrove has been rumoured to have signed a seven-figure deal, for the new series! Not bad for a teenager. She also sings the theme tune "Leave it all to Me" for the show.
Miranda Cosgrove doesn't seem to be as well known over here as she is in America. But that will probably all change soon enough, as she also stars in The Troop and Drake and Josh (which are also aired on Nickelodeon). You can't seem to escape from her!
Spencer Shay (played by Jerry Trainor) is Carlys 26 year old brother. He is always up to something, usually something to do with his job of creating art sculptures. Most of the physical humour of the show comes from Spencer, he is always the one getting stuck somewhere or falling off of something. I must say, although he is wacky and slightly annoying, his character is actually really funny. He has the silly/sensible balance just right!
Sam Puckett (played by Jennette McCurdy) is Carlys best friend and co-host of iCarly. She is a complete tomboy, who will stick up for herself at any cost. She loves food, especially if it's meat of some description! Sam is usually found picking on Freddie or any other boy for that matter, but she has been seen to have a soft side. I think sometimes she does a bit too much physical bullying (pushing people into lockers for example), but my niece seems to realise its for comedic effect, so maybe its just me!
Freddie Benson (played by Nathan Kress) is Carlys other best friend and neighbour. He is a technical whiz who also produces iCarly for the girls. Freddie has always had a massive crush on Carly, but accepts that they will be nothing more than friends. Freddie and Sam have a bit of rivalry, which is probably due to them both wanting Carlys attention! I think little thing things like the fact Freddie has a Pear laptop (isn't of Apple), really clever and funny! They have a lot of alternative brand names.
There isn't much more to the show than that. Its not targeted for teenagers, so we don't see any storylines to do with drugs or alcohol etc its more to do with the funny wacky stories, such as competitions and friendships! It's a pretty innocent show, that I think is quite refreshing, as its not often you watch kids shows these days that adults can watch too and not be driven round the bend!
There is also a website to accompany the show. Icarly.com has clips of the episodes and you can see extra features with the main characters. The website also gives the audience a chance to share their views on the show and send in their own videos, for a chance to feature on the website.
I think that we haven't had the full effect of what iCarly is exactly yet...it might not be as big as High School Musical, but its definitely one of the most popular shows on Nickelodeon at the moment. It would be nice if it got a bit more recognition over here, as its obviously doing brilliantly in America.
***Please note this review is on Blossom the TV Show - not specifically the DVD***
Blossom was a teen comedy/drama sitcom from the early 90's. Whilst I wasn't an avid viewer, there was something about it that I loved.
The show aired on Channel 4 over here in 1990, but in later years would be repeated on the channel Trouble. I don't remember it being on very often, so I'd always watch if it was on.
Blossom wasn't your usual teen comedy show, it was a little bit edgier. It was more realistic. I think it must have been targeted for older teenagers, as it covered a wide range of subjects such as drug abuse, divorce and alcoholism, not just your average teen crushes or acne problems.
Blossom Russo (played by Mayim Bialik) wasn't the usual lead role type girl. She wasn't blonde, she wasn't perfect, in fact she had a rather long face, big features and a deepish voice. Although I suppose it made it easier to relate to her character as she was normal looking. I remember always thinking she had great hair, I was so jealous! Blossoms mother left her family to persue her dreams in the first episode. This meant Blossom had to adapt to being the only female in a house full of men.
Nick Russo (played by Ted Wass) was Blossoms sweet and understanding father. He was a musician who played many instruments, including the piano in the opening credits! Nick had to keep the family afloat after being left by his wife. In later series Nick eventually remarried.
Anthony Russo (Michael Stoyanov) was Blossoms eldest brother. He added the edge to the show, as he was a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. I don't remember thinking he was very funny, but then again, it was a long time ago that I watched this! I always used to think that Anthony and Blossom really looked like brother and sister and Joey must have been adopted as he was too good looking to be in their family!
Joey Russo (played by Joey Lawrence) was the middle child. He was the heart-throb of the show! Joey was the dumb baseball player, with a good heart. He was famous for his catchphrase "Woah!" that he'd say in a funny voice. Even though Joey played Blossoms older brother, he was actually a year younger than her in real life.
Six LeMeure (played by Jenna Von Oy) was Blossoms best friend. I always thought her name was ridiculous and the story was that she was named Six, as she was her parents sixth child. Six was a lot better looking then Blossom, but still had her fair share of drama (drug addiction and pregnancy scare for example!). She would talk really really fast without taking a breath and I would try and copy her! Still don't know how she managed it!
You must remember the opening credits, where Blossom would do different styles of dancing, in different outfits with the other cast members. As expected from my reviews, I will now get the theme tune to stick in your head!
Don't know about the future, that's anybody's guess.
Ain't no good reason for getting all depressed.
Buy up your pad and pencil, I'll give you a piece of my mind,
In my opinionation, the sun is gonna surely shine.
Stop all your fussin',
Slap on a smile
Come out and walk in the sun for awhile.
Don't fight the felling, you know you want to have a good time.
And in my opinionation, the sun is gonna surely shine.
You know you'll be singing that all day now! Remember Blossom doing backbends and jumping around in those floppy flower hats, that you know you all used to own! Or tap dancing on the piano, which I was always worried she would break or fall off of!
I think, if you haven't seen Blossom, you haven't missed out on too much. It was never the most uplifting kids show, but it was entertaining never the less. I've got good memories of watching it and I hope I've brought back some memories to you too.
This is going to be a tricky one to review. I'm at a disadvantage having only ever seen repeats of this on Comedy Central. Its been on our screens for a good few years now and I thought I'd seen enough of it to form a decent opinion. When I started looking up information for writing this review though, I have come to the conclusion that I haven't seen half as much of this as I thought I had.
For instance, I had no idea that the King of Queens ran for as long as 9 years! From 1998 to 2007. It lasted 9 series, with a total of 207 episodes. I'm pretty sure I've only seen a couple of series of this show and definitely not in any sort of order.
The story of the show is that, funny man Doug, who is a little on the large side, marries gorgeous slim Carrie and they live happily together childless in Queens. Carries oddball (seriously, the best word to describe him!) father Arthur moves in with them after accidentally burning down his own house.
Doug Heffernan (played by Kevin James) is an easy going sort of man. He enjoys watching sports, drinking beer and of course, eating. Doug works as a delivery driver for IPS and thoroughly enjoys his job. I love Doug, he is sort of like a living version of Homer Simpson. He's a bit silly sometimes, but ultimately has a kind heart and good intentions, even though sometimes his actions can be viewed as selfish.
Carrie Heffernan (played by Leah Remini) is Dougs wife. She is slim and beautiful and everyone always wonders how Doug managed to pull a girl like her. The simple answer to that question is that not many men could put up with her attitude! She's sarcastic and rude and will always be around to put people in their place. Carrie works as a secretary and has a stressful job. Her and Doug work perfectly as a double act. They are probably one of the most believable and realistic married couples ever to come from a sitcom! They will hilariously insult each other but at the end of the day, they know they wouldn't be happy without one another.
Arthur Spooner (played by Jerry Stiller) is Carries dad. He often tells tall tales, which are so farfetched its unbelievable, but he will swear to the death that he's telling the truth. Arthur lives in Doug and Carries basement and is always up to something. He always has a scheme up his sleeve, but they usually end in disaster.
Along with the main three characters, the show also has a whole bunch of friends who are a great support cast. There's Deacon Palmer (Victor Williams) and his wife Kellie (Merrin Dungey) who are Doug and Carries best friends. They bounce really well off of each other and have often been given really big storylines.
Spence Olchin (Patton Oswalt) is Dougs friend who gets teased by the rest of their gang. He is into comic books and science fiction and has much more feminine interest then the rest of the guys. He shared a flat with Dougs cousin Danny Heffernan (Gary Valentine - who is Kevin James' brother in real life! They both adopted stage surnames for acting.). Doug initially disliked Danny a great deal, but over time they became closer. Danny and Spence were often mistaken for a couple, and had a hilarious on screen partnership.
Doug had a friend Richie (Larry Romano) who was in the show for a few years, but eventually got written out. I'm glad he didn't last the duration as I thought he was very annoying! Poor acting and a ridiculous accent. He also used to call Doug "Moose" all the time, which they never explained (as far as I can tell) so it was just a random overused nickname.
The only other people worth mentioning is Holly Shumpert (played by Nicole Sullivan) the dog walker, who was employed by Doug and Carrie to walk Arthur! She was so funny and played the insecure single girl perfectly. They wrote her out of the show in the end of Series 8 (not entirely sure why) but she appeared in the final episode, heavily pregnant.
Lou Ferrigno joined the show in 2000 as Doug and Carries next door neighbour and lasted until the shows end. I don't really understand why they added him to the cast, as he didn't really do anything other than a couple of Hulk jokes, but amusing none the less.
Ricki Lake also appeared in a few episodes as Dougs sister Stephanie. Ray Romano appeared in a few episodes, as the same character he plays in his own show Everybody Loves Raymond. His appearances actually led to quite a few characters from Everybody Loves Raymond making cameos in King of Queens.
Like I said at the beginning of the review, I haven't seen this show in the correct order. I actually realised half way through writing that I haven't even seen the first series or anything. When I was reading Wikipedia, I discovered that Carrie had a sister who was in the first six episodes, but they dropped from the cast after they couldn't think of any storylines for her and she was never mentioned again. They even later refer to Carrie as being an only child. You've got to love that - only happens in TV land!
King of Queens is funny, its not in the same league as hit shows like Friends or Frasier. It would definitely hold its own, up against Everybody Loves Raymond or Scrubs. Even though the whole cast are a tad mad and act completely crazy, you find yourself warming up to them. Every character is likeable in some way and you hope for things to go their way, even when they are in the wrong. Kevin James is great with the physical comedy, always falling about or getting himself stuck somewhere, and Leah Remini has the funniest facial expressions and plays the unapproachable hard faced cow brilliantly. The original thing about the show is that the episodes don't finish happily ever after. The ending is usually a final kick in the teeth after coming close to resolving that episodes story or problem!
If you haven't seen the show, you should tune in for an episode and see if you like it. I know its not everyones cup of tea, but you'd probably find yourself laughing at least at one of the characters. I think its quite underrated.
I shouldn't be reviewing The Golden Girls. It started being made before I was even born! Sorry if that makes you feel old. But I used to love watching this when they were showing it a few years back on Living TV.
The Golden Girls was a pretty original concept for a sitcom. It featured a cast of four women who were considered "over the hill". I know people who would never even watch it because of what they assumed it would be like, but trust me, these ladies had a knack for getting a laugh.
The show ran from 1985 to 1992 - not bad! It lasted 7 series and clocked up 180 episodes in total. To be honest, I think they stopped the show at the perfect time. It was still a success and they left on a high, with everyone wanting more. I think this is why it is still so watchable and a complete classic today.
Blanche Devereaux was a widow who owned a house in Miami, Florida. Blanche put up an advert to rent out the empty rooms in her house. This is how she comes to meet Rose Nylund and Dorothy Zbornak. They moved in and the rest was history. After this Dorothys mother Sophia Petrillo moves in with them after her nursing home Shady Pines, burns down.
Blanche Devereaux (played by Rue McClanahan) was the southern belle, affectionate, well dressed lady. Who could actually be more accurately described as a man-eater! She shared a bed with various men, I think that's a pretty polite way of putting it! Blanche would never reveal her true age and always pretended she was years younger than she was (she was 12 years younger than the rest of the cast in real life). Blanche would bring every subject or discussion back to sex and men. She would often have men trouble, which she would seek advice from the rest of the girls over a cheesecake!
Rose Nylund (played by Betty White) was an innocent woman who had led a sheltered life in a town called St Olaf, Minnesota. She was considered stupid, by her fellow housemates, usually taking every saying literally, but would often be the one to talk the most sense and think logically in tricky situations. Rose was also a widow, but had a few romances throughout the years on the show. Rose would often bore the rest of the girls with strange tales of her childhood on the farm etc, but the stories would usually make a roundabout point in the end!
Dorothy Zbornak (played by Bea Arthur) was a tall, deep voiced, sarcastic woman. People would often say that Bea Arthur was like a man in drag. Dorothy would come out with some classic one liners and put downs. She was the most level headed and intelligent of the bunch. Unlike her housemates, Dorothy was not a widow, she divorced her husband Stan, who often appeared on the show, with various attempts to win her back. Dorothy was very protective over her mother and would be the one most likely to lose her temper.
Sophia Petrillo (played by Estelle Getty) was Dorothys mother. Sophia was put into Shady Pines Retirement Home, after she had a stroke, Dorothy thought it was in her best interests. However Sophia was often heard telling anyone who would listen, what an awful place Shady Pines was and would make accusations about the way she was treated there. She was born in Sicily and would love nothing more than reminiscing and telling the girls stories from her past, hinting at her families connections with the mafia. Sophia was older than the rest of the girls by a mile, at this was emphasised by her forgetfulness. (Although in real life she was younger than both Betty White and Bea Arthur!)
The great thing about The Golden Girls is that they were all portrayed as independent self sufficient women. They all had jobs, active love lives, busy social lives and different relationships within their families. Age wasn't even an issue. I suppose because this format of four older women as the sole cast hadn't been done before, they could be quite original in their storylines. Each episode had the same format, one of the girls would find herself in a tricky situation or predicament, would share her problem with the rest of the girls (usually at the kitchen table at night, over a cheesecake or cake of some description!). Someone would pipe up with a story where they were in a similar situation, they would find the answer to their problem and everyone would have a happy ending.
Unfortunately The Golden Girls isn't currently being aired on TV over here. But all series are available on DVD. I would definitely recommend seeing this. People have preconceived opinions of what it will be like, but I have managed to convert a whole bunch of people into Golden Girl fans, just by convincing them to watch one episode!
It was only a matter of time before I reviewed Saved by the Bell. This is where I get beyond geeky with my knowledge of cheesy 80s/90s TV shows. I love this show and to be honest, I think it was probably one of the best programmes EVER! I don't know anyone who doesn't know/like it.
Saved by the Bell started in 1989 and only lasted until 1993. There were only 4 series made, with a total of 87 episodes. This is amazing, as the show still has cult like status to this day! I could've sworn that it lasted longer than 4 years, but I guess not.
Saved by the Bell is the ultimate sitcom for young people. It was funny, fresh and entertaining. I remember watching the repeats of this years after it was originally aired, and thinking it was the best thing since sliced bread! I cant honestly think of any other show that has lived up to SBTB and I don't think there ever will be anything that can fill its shoes.
But did you know...Saved by the Bell was actually a spin-off of a show called "Good Morning, Miss Bliss"? I found this out by accident, when I was watching telly in a hotel on holiday in New York one morning. I kept waiting for Kelly, Jessie and Slater to appear, thinking it was SBTB. However when it finished it was a completely different theme tune, and I was so confused! It was never aired over here (to my knowledge), so there you go...a completely useless fact for you! Good Morning, Miss Bliss only lasted for one series, with only 13 episodes under its belt. It later got referred to, when shown on TV in the USA as "Saved by the Bell: The Junior High Years". NBC acquired the rights to the show and decided to give it a bit of a makeover. This is when Saved by the Bell was created.
Mr Belding, Zack Morris, Samuel "Screech" Powers and Lisa Turtle, were the only characters to survive and make it onto the new format of the show.
Saved by the Bell was a programme focusing on a group of friends and their lives at Bayside High School in California. The kids would usually be going through a problem, which they would then be able to solve with the help of their peers. The show was not all sweetness and light, it also addressed the usual teen dramas we've got to know over the years, such as drug abuse, family issues, falling out with friends, money problems, hanging out at The Max (the local diner) and forming a band (The Zack Attack! Cringe!).
Zack Morris (played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar) was the leader of the gang. Zack was a heart throb for all the girls at Bayside, although he usually only had eyes for Kelly. Zack loves nothing more than a money making scheme or any kind of scheme for that matter. Zack would sometimes talk to the screen, as if talking to the audience at home (this is called "breaking the fourth wall"). He could also freeze time, by saying "time out!" and making a "T" shape with his hands. Zack would usually be the one to mess up or hurt his friends, mainly by putting himself first.
Kelly Kaposi (played by Tiffani Amber-Thiessen) who was the most popular girl at school. She was a cheerleader, who would run for homecoming queen, as well as being on the volleyball and swim teams! She was the perfect looking princess, who seemed to have everything she wanted. Both Zack and Slater had major crushes on Kelly over the first series. I don't know any bloke who used to watch and didn't fancy Kelly!
Lisa Turtle (played by Lark Voorhies) was the chatterbox gossip queen! Her family were wealthy, so she always had the latest fashions and would always be on hand for fashion advice for her friends. Lisa was constantly adored by Screech, however she would always turn him down and reject all his affections for her.
Samuel "Screech" Powers (played by Dustin Diamond) was the biggest geek at school! I always used to wonder why if he was such a loser, how he was best friends with the coolest kids at Bayside and why he didn't used to hang out with the rest of the nerds and their pocket protectors?! In hindsight its probably because he was Zacks friend since the Good Morning, Miss Bliss days - I knew that information would come in handy at some point! Screech did get himself a girlfriend once, her name was Violet (played by Tori Spelling) and was also a bit of a geek. I remember Kevin, the robot he created that he kept in his room. I wanted one so badly!
Albert Clifford "A.C" Slater (played by Mario Lopez) was the tough guy of the group. He was a "jock", who was a member of the schools wrestling team and a quarterback for the football team. Slater fancied Kelly in the first series and used to constantly argue with Zack, however they ended up becoming firm friends. Throughout the show Slater and Jessie have an on/off relationship. Jessie constantly calls A.C names such as "chauvinistic pig" as his views often differ to hers.
Jessica Spano (played by Elizabeth Berkley), nicknamed "Mama" by Slater, was probably the most annoying character of all. I remember her being the one that most of my friends disliked too! She was a serious know-it-all argumentative bore, who never wanted to have fun! She was a keen feminist, environmentalist and loved a good old protest. Jessie softened up when she was with Slater, although not very much.
Finally, who can forget Mr Belding (played by Dennis Haskins)! The only authorative figure to have appeared throughout the whole duration of the show. Usually heard saying his catchphrase "Hey, hey, hey, what is going on here?" or his annoying laugh! Mr Belding genuinely cared about the gang and only wanted the best for them. I remember thinking he seemed pretty cool for a teacher.
Another character, that not everyone remembers, is Tori Scott (played by Leanna Creel). She was a tough girl, who rode a motorbike and wore ripped jeans and a leather jacket - all the time! At first Tori and Zack were against each other, but a romance soon blossomed between them. She was in about half of the episodes from the last series, to replace Jessie and Kelly. In real life NBC issued new contracts to the cast, to double the amount of episodes they were to appear in but Tiffani Amber-Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkley refused to sign the new contracts, so they brought in Tori to replace their characters. Each week they would alternate who appeared, the weeks where Jessie and Kelly appeared, no mention of Tori was made and vice versa, it was never explained. The girls never appeared in an episode at the same time. They must have been so confused in America, however when it was shown over here, all the episodes starring Tori were shown together and all the episodes starring Kelly and Jessie were together! A tad less confusing for the audience, but still weird none the less. More useless knowledge!
In 1993, Saved by the Bell spawned two spin-off series, "Saved by the Bell: The College Years" which lasted only one series of 18 episodes and featured Zack, Kelly, Slater and Screech from the original series.
The second spin-off was "Saved by the Bell: The New Class" which lasted from 1993 to 2000, which I certainly didn't realise! I think it pretty much flopped when they showed it over here. Although it couldn't of done too badly, managing 7 series and 143 episodes! Mr Belding was the only original cast member who appeared on The New Class, from day one. With Screech joining a year later as Mr Beldings assistant. Dustin Diamond was the only one out of the group to appear in every spin-off and film.
Following the spin-offs, in 1992 they released the TV film Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style. Which was full of the usual antics of adventures and problem solving.
In 1994, the second made for TV film Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas, was aired. Which shows Zack and Kelly finally getting married! Aww!
As I mentioned in my California Dreams review - Jimmy Fallon tried to get the cast to reunite for a special episode of his talk show in America. However he could only get (I'll list them by character names, as its easier to picture!) Mr Belding, Lisa, Slater, Jessie and Zack to appear (leaving Kelly and Screech as the spoilsports!). So his attempts failed and he reunited the cast of California Dreams instead (similar kind of show).
In August 2009, all of the cast - excluding Dustin Diamond, appeared in an issue of People Magazine, still looking as perfect and gorgeous as ever - seriously, Google it, its not fair!
However have you heard all the stories about Dustin Diamond!? Not only has he had an unsuccessful career in the worst reality shows going, but things got a bit weirder!
He told the media that he was going to lose his house, so was selling t-shirts saying "I paid $15 to save Screechs house!". However he didn't send the t-shirts out when he received the money and wouldn't respond to emails etc... His girlfriend later let slip that this was a publicity stunt and at no point was at risk of losing his house! He also appeared in a porn video (bleughh) which was he was rumoured to have leaked to the media himself! Last but not least, in 2009, for the 20th Anniversary of Saved by the Bell, he released a tell-all book called "Behind the Bell", dishing all the dirt from behind the scenes of the show and making accusations against all his former cast members. It seems that Dustin Diamond is a bigger loser than Screech ever was - and that's saying something!
On a lighter note, all series of Saved by the Bell have been released on DVD!
Oh ok...no cheesy based review is complete without a sing-a-long to the theme tune;
When I wake up in the morning,
and the alarm gives out a warning,
I don't think I'll ever make it on time,
By the time I grab my books,
And I give myself a look,
I'm at the corner just in time to see the bus fly by,
It's alright 'cause I'm Saved by the Bell
If the teacher pops a test,
I know I'm in a mess,
And my dog ate all my homework last night,
Ridin' low in my chair,
She won't know that I'm there,
If I can hand it in tomorrow it'll be alright,
It's alright 'cause I'm saved by the bell
It's alright 'cause I'm saved by the bell,
It's alright 'cause I'm saved by the bell,
It's alright 'cause I'm saved by the bell!
You know you know it and you love it! Now get watching those DVDs and relive those childhood memories!
***Please note, this review is on California Dreams the TV show - NOT the DVD***
For those of you who read my reviews, might be noticing a little pattern emerging. I'm currently having fun looking back at all the cheesy American TV shows I used to watch when I was younger. Clarissa Explains it All and Sweet Valley High have already been ticked off of my review list. This now leaves me with California Dreams.
I used to watch this with my sister. However none of our friends remember it! Surely we couldn't have been the only ones who watched? If you read on, I will hopefully jog your memories (fingers crossed anyway!).
California Dreams was aired from 1992 to 1996. It lasted for five series, and clocked up a total of 78 episodes. Peter Engel was the Executive Producer, who also worked on shows such as Saved by the Bell and Hang Time. I think a lot of the targeted audience actually boycotted watching it at the beginning, classing it as a "Saved by the Bell knock off".
The show originally centred around the Garrison family, who lived in California. It was supposed to be a sitcom mainly about the teenage kids Jenny and Matt, but also with stories within the rest of the family, their mum, dad and younger brother. However by the second series they had clearly realised that audience were more interested in Jenny and Matt and their story with their band "The Dreams" and their group of friends.
Halfway through the second series, Jenny (played by Heidi Lenhart) moves to Italy, to pursue a "musical opportunity" and the rest of the family were phased out over time and no longer featured. However their presence was still mentioned, so we were lead to believe that they still lived in the house. Although I cant remember ever even realising that they weren't in the show anymore...they couldn't have been very entertaining!
Matt Garrison (played by Brent Gore) was the only remaining member of the family. He let his band "The Dreams" rehearse in his garage, where they all had their own instruments. Matt played piano/keyboard and was also one of the main singers. Matt was always sensible and I always used to think he was really boring!
Tiffani Smith (played by Kelly Packard) was the perfect looking Barbie doll type, who also played bass like a pro and sung like a professional - some girls have all the luck! I always wanted to be like Tiffani, she was everyones friend and you couldn't not like her.
Tony Wicks (played by William James Jones) was the bands drummer. He took a shining pretty early on to Sam and the rest as they say, was history. Tony was the level headed, up for fun type of bloke, and was in the band since series one.
The only other member of the cast who was in the show from day one, other than those mentioned above was Sylvester "Sly" Winkle (played by Michael Cade). He was the same age as the rest of band, but was their manager and always had a money making scheme up his sleeve. Usually heard saying his catchphrase "BABOOM!" He was usually the one to double cross someone and you couldn't really trust him. However he usually had the best intentions and would always have gigs lined up for the band at Sharkeys (their version of what The Max was to SBTB).
After they shipped Jenny off, they gave her room to a foreign exchange student. Her name was Samantha Woo (played by Jennie Kwan), who, would you believe - had a perfect voice and could speak crystal clear English - in a perfect American accent! What a talented girl she was! She became a member of the group and also had a romantic link within their little gang.
Every sitcom needs a bad boy, so they introduced Jake Sommers (played by Jay Anthony Franke) in the second series, to fill that role. Jake was never seen without his leather jacket and would spend his time riding on his motorcycle, or generally losing his temper somewhere. He was also a guitarist.
By series three, the producers had obviously agreed with me that Matt was mind numbingly boring and off he went, so we bid farewell to the last member of the Garrison family.
Mark Winkle (played by Aaron Jackson) was Slys cousin and was brought in to take Matts place in the band. He was a smartly dressed posh boy, who could play the piano effortlessly. I didn't think he was a very interesting character, he seemed to be there just to make up the numbers in the band.
Lorena Costa (played by Diana Uribe) joined the cast at the same time as Mark. She was the bands groupie, who wasn't good enough to make it into The Dreams. Lorenas family were minted, and so of course she would have a spare room in her family home for Samantha to stay and room for the band to practise. Therefore there was no more need to show the Garrisons house/family altogether.
You sort of got lost with where you stood when watching the show - I would anyway! There was a lot to keep up with! However, it was always cheesy and so much fun to watch!
In every episode the group would perform/practice one of the bands songs, with each one getting the lead vocals at one point or another. I don't remember many of the songs (is it embarrassing to admit that the ones I do remember, I know all the words to?!), but I remember the theme tune! If you'd ever seen this show, you would too. Sing a long if you know it - if you don't, get yourself over to Youtube!
Surf dudes with attitudes
Laid back moods
Sky above, sand below
Don't give it up....
Don't wanna stop....
Don't wake me up....
Don't wake me up if I'm dreamin'
Just let me stand here in the sun...
Until my dream is done...
Awww, that brings back memories! How can you not love that! Everything was just so sunny and happy. The cast were gorgeous and had great lives. However they addressed such issues as drug abuse, smoking cigarettes, family deaths etc...so it had its fair share of drama.
What I think is really cool (don't judge me!) is that it was really them singing. That was something I never knew whilst watching. I was curious when writing this review, so I done a bit of research. The only character whose singing voice wasn't his, was Mark. A few of them could even play the instruments for real! There was a soundtrack that was released, with some of the songs they sang in the show, but it seems to be quite rare, with only a few copies on Amazon and they are quite expensive at that.
If you used to watch California Dreams, please do me one favour! Go to Youtube and search for "California Dreams on Jimmy Fallon". Jimmy Fallon has his own successful show in America and attempted to reunite the cast of Saved by the Bell for an episode of his show. However he could only get 5 out of 7 of them to agree (bunch of misery guts! What spoilsports!). So he turned his attention to California Dreams - I just discovered the clips on Youtube and it was so cool to watch! Go and reminisce!
***Please note, this review is on the TV show Two and a Half Men - not the DVD***
Two and a Half Men has been on our screens since 2003, its currently shown on Comedy Central. I think it is more successful in America, having been nominated for over 30 Emmy, 2 Golden Globe and 2 Screen Actors Guild Awards.
I usually only watch this show when there is nothing else on that I fancy. Its watch able, but I would definitely not describe it as hilarious! I think the key when watching is to not expect too much from it.
The main character is Charlie Harper (played by Charlie Sheen), he is a playboy bachelor, who owns his own beachfront property in Malibu, California. Charlie spends his time wearing awful bowling shirts and long shorts, drinking and sleeping around. He never seems to work, even though we know he is a work from home "jingle writer", yet pays for a full time housekeeper. I don't like Charlie Sheen, I find him very wooden as an actor, I don't think he can deliver punch lines and I think he has bad timing. To be honest with you, he is probably the reason why this show gets on my nerves! As the main character though, I could be the one at fault for watching in the first place when I knew full well I wouldn't like him, but its my review, so I'll get on with it...
Charlie lets his brother Alan Harper (played by Jon Cryer) move in with him, following a rocky divorce. Alan is the complete opposite of Charlie. He was a family man, and still shares joint custody of his son with his ex wife. Alan is more of a pushover than Charlie and just wants a quiet life. He owns his own business as a chiropractor, yet doesn't seem to be able to afford to move out of his brothers house. I think that Jon Cryer bounces off Charlie Sheen quite well, although they look nothing like brothers, they do well together as the two lead men. He does a good job but he will always be Duckie from Pretty in Pink to me!
One of the redeeming characters is Jake (played by Angus T. Jones), Alans son. He was quite young when the programme began and we have watched his growth spurt over the years! He is funny, I can't tell whether he just gets the best lines or if it's actually him, but 9 times out of 10, Jake will be the one who gets a laugh out of me.
The episodes usually have the same premise. Charlie sleeps with a drunk girl, Alan moans about how he cant get a girl and Jake will usually be found somewhere farting or picking his nose. Nice. I haven't really seen an episode where I have been more than mildly amused.
Aside from the main "Two and a Half Men" other characters, one you might have seen is Berta (Conchata Ferrell) the larger than life, take no nonsense housekeeper. She gets the audience laughing, but I think she'd be funnier if she was in the show a bit less! Her character is so overpowering, they shouldn't give her too much limelight. Judith (Marin Hinkle) plays Alans ex-wife. To be honest, her character doesn't really have much of a personality! They even tried to make her more interesting by giving her a new relationship, but even that didn't do much for her. I just think they could've made more on screen tension or something, with her character, nothing against her as an actress though.
Along with Jake, my only other favourite character is his grandmother Evelyn (Holland Taylor). She plays the overbearing, self obsessed, money hungry mother/grandmother role perfectly. When Evelyn and Jake are around, they definitely steal the scenes!
I wont even bother going into detail about Charlies "stalker" neighbour Rose (Melanie Lynskey) as her character is so ridiculous it makes me want to scream! Ok, that might be a bit dramatic, but she does my head in! Not funny, not believable and her voice is a really irritating pitch. I don't care how petty that sounds either!
Throughout the years there have been a fair few celebrities cameos and guest appearances, so I suppose that speaks out for its success. For instance; Megan Fox, Sean Penn, Elvis Costello, Teri Hatcher, Enrique Iglesias and Steven Tyler, to name but a few!
The thing with Two and a Half Men is that it's the same thing throughout each series. Charlie may have one relationship or another and so will Alan, but they will always do something to mess up or jeopardise their situation and it just becomes a tad repetitive. All the jokes are the same line of humour and it never really makes me laugh out loud. I feel bad pinning all the problems on the cast and not the writers, as most of them are pretty good. Except Charlie Sheen. I cant be swayed on that one!
***Please note, this review is about Clarissa Explains it All the TV show, not specifically the DVD***
You probably remember Melissa Joan Hart from Sabrina the Teenage Witch, but do you remember her lesser known sitcom that propelled her into child star fame?
Clarissa Explains it All was on Nickelodeon from 1991 to 1994, and the repeats were on for God knows how long after! It feels funny saying it was short lived, seeing as it had 5 series under its belt, however they were short, with a grand total of only 65 episodes. It must've been good because Melissa Joan Hart won 3 Emmy Awards for her role as Clarissa.
Clarissa Explains it All was about a teenage girl, her embarrassing family, annoying little brother, her best friends, school, spots, boys etc, you know the drill. It wasn't original in that respect, however it was the first show on Nickelodeon to have a female lead role, which paved the way for a long line of them after. Clarissa was the more edgier sitcom of those days, it wasn't all sickly sweet. There was a big sibling rivalry between Clarissa and her brother, where she would often try and hurt him or wish him dead! All done in humour, it wasn't as bad as that sounds.
Clarissa Darling (played by Melissa Joan Hart) was about 14 years old. Most of her time was spent in her bedroom, hanging out with her best friend Sam. It was the first kids show to have female and male best friends, that didn't blossom into a relationship. She had a pet baby alligator, called Elvis, which she kept in a sandpit in her bedroom. Clarissa would create video games that would relate to the story in each episode - I remember being really jealous as a kid that she had her own computer in her room and a joystick to play games with! Hey! They were cool at the time! She had a wacky dress sense which was probably all the rage at the time, with ripped jeans and bright coloured tops. Clarissa was pretty and very popular at school.
Ferguson Darling (played by Jason Zimbler) was Clarissas annoying younger brother. Ferguson, or Ferg-Face as me and Clarissa like to refer to him as, was a stuck up kid who had bright ginger hair, and would get bullied at school. Although Clarissas main pleasure in life was picking on her brother, she stood up for Ferg when she found out he was being bullied (which was also the first time in a show that a girl had verbally defended herself against a male bully). Fergeek (another favourite pet name) was obsessed with money and was usually on a get-rich-quick scheme. Although rivals with his sister, they occasionally teamed up, when a scheme would benefit them both.
Janet Darling (played by Elizabeth Hess) was Clarissas mother. Janet worked at a childrens museum. She was often seen cooking healthy organic meals, that had no taste to her poor family. Usually seen somewhere working on a project or two. Clarissa often went to her mother for advice, although they have two very different personalities.
Marshall Darling (played by Joe O'Connor) was Clarissa father. Marshall is an architect who was usually found working in his office/study in the house. Clarissa sometimes seeked advice from her Dad, although he was a tad stricter than Janet.
Sam Anders (played by Sean O'Neal) was Clarissas best friend. He lived with his dad and dressed just as funky as Clarissa. Usually seen with long shorts and a skateboard. Sam rarely used the front door to Clarissas house, preferring to use a ladder to climb directly through her bedroom window (every time he climbs the ladder, there is a little tune that plays, to let us know its Sam). He's a polite young boy and was usually trying to help Clarissa see the bright side of situations.
I used to watch Clarissa all the time, I was aware that there couldn't of been too many episodes, as the same ones used to be on over and over again. I liked the fact that Clarissa wasn't the girly girl who would always do as she was told, it felt as though she was a bit of a rebel - although in true kids show format, every episode would end on a positive note. Something else that was original is that Clarissa would talk to the camera, as if speaking to us at home. I used to think that was pretty cool, as no other shows did it!
This DVD of the first series was only released on Region One, back in 2005. Series two was scheduled to be released a few months later, but was postponed. It would be a shame to not release the rest of the series, as it would've been nice to have the whole collection.
The DVD has all 13 episodes from Series 1. There arent any ground breaking special features, which is a shame. It would've been quite cool to have seen the cast these days and have them talking about their memories of filming or something, but we don't get anything like that.
Strangely what we do get is the MTV Cribs clip that Melissa Joan Hart appeared on. So we get to see inside her house. Bit of an odd feature to have, but I suppose its better than nothing.
If you don't remember this show, or want to remind yourself of the great intro at the beginning of the episodes, get yourself over to Youtube.com and relive your childhood. I think even if I watched this today, that I would be entertained, it wasn't one of those kids shows that treated the audience as children, it didn't patronise the viewer, so I think that it would be just as good today as it was then.
***Please note that this review is about the TV cartoon Wacky Races, not specifically the DVD***
I don't need to give an introduction to Wacky Races do I? It would certainly be a sad day if I did! Oh ok, I suppose that's why we' here...
Wacky Races (for those weird people who don't know) was a brilliant cartoon from the great team that was Hanna-Barbera Productions, who have also given us classics such as The Flintstones, Top Cat, The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo, The Smurfs, a million spin offs of those shows and so much more, the list really is endless. Wacky Races is world famous and has achieved a kind of cult status. Its great, the cartoon only ran from 1968 to 1970, with only 34 episodes in total, which isn't much, so it really speaks highly for the quality of the show!
Every episode had the same premise. The racers would line up in a bid to be the first to pass the finish line, but these were no ordinary races! With short cuts and booby traps and a special skill for each car, I would watch when I was younger and would always cheer on the car I wanted to win - which was without a doubt, always Penelope Pitstop! Typical girl! I'll tell you about the cars and their drivers now, in order of the numbers on their cars;
Dick Dastardly and Muttley in the Mean Machine (00): Dick Dastardly was the baddie! Every show needs one. Muttley was his dog and his sidekick. The Mean Machine had hidden weapons and could even fly! Dastardly would use all types of tricks to cheat, and would take the lead in every episode, until things backfired and he would end up crossing the finish miles behind everyone. Muttley would do his signature snigger when things went wrong for Dastardly, but this would result in Muttley being put back in his place with a bang to the head!
The Slag Brothers in the Bouldermobile (1): The cavemen! Rock and Gravel Slag were brothers, who were never seen without their clubs, which they usually used to hit each other in arguments or hit their car to accelerate. The Bouldermobile was made out of rock and could be repaired or rebuilt in a matter of seconds, using only their clubs!
The Gruesome Twosome in the Creepy Coupe (2): The Gruesome Twosome consisted of Big Gruesome (resembling Frankenstein/Lurch) and Little Gruesome who was a small purple vampire. Their Creepy Coupe was home to a Dragon and was often seen surrounded by bats. They had a fair few tricks up their sleeves to win, such as storms, ghosts and witches to help them fight off their competition.
Professor Pat Pending in the Convert-a-Car (3): Professor Pat Pending (get it?) was a scientist with a boat shaped car. The car could transform into absolutely anything, but wasn't good enough to dodge Dastardlys traps! However if he saw others getting stuck the same as him, he would help out his fellow racers with his inventions.
Red Max in the Crimson Haybailer (4): Prone to break downs, the Crimson Haybailer was a mix of car and airplane. Although the highest it could fly was to just skim above his competitors to overtake.
Penelope Pitstop in the Compact Pussycat (5): Penelope Pitstop was the only female driver and her car the Compact Pussycat was every inch as pink and girly as she was! Penelope wasn't often interested in the race, she was too worried about reapplying her lipstick (which the car would do for her!). She was adored by Peter Perfect and returned his affections. The Compact Pussycat would rarely be attacked by the other racers, as they all seemed to want to help her and probably didn't consider her a threat.
Sergeant Blast and Private Meekly in the Army Surplus Special Six (6): The Army Surplus Six, also known as the Surplus Six, was the car of two soldiers. It was an army tank with a steamroller wheel attached to the front! Sergeant Blast would shout orders and Private Meekly would follow without answering back. Their tank also had a cannon blaster and they were known to leave traps such as small landmines to jeopardise their fellow competitors.
The Ant Hill Mob in the Bulletproof Bomb (7): Seven gangsters would drive the 1920's sedan also known as the Roaring Plenty. Clyde would lead and the rest would follow. They're probably best remembered for their "getaway power", where they would extend their feet to the ground and start running (ala Fred Flintstone).
Lazy Luke and Blubber Bear in the Arkansas Chuggabug (8): The Arkansas Chuggabug was driven by Lazy Lukes feet, whilst he laid half asleep in his rocking chair. Blubber Bear was a rather nervous passenger who would pay more attention to the road ahead than Luke himself. The Arkansas Chuggabug looked on its last legs, was powered by a coal fire and had a squirrel in the engine that was kept going by Luke feeding it nuts.
Perfect Peter in the Turbo Terrific (9): Peter was a race car driver and the Turbo Terrific was a drag racer, that was prone to falling apart, even though Peter would constantly describe it as reliable. Peter fancied Penelope Pitstop and would call her Pretty Penny, he would always stop to talk to her and lend her a helping hand.
Rufus Ruffcut and Sawtooth in the Buzzwagon (10): Rufus was a lumberjack and Sawtooth was his beaver. The buzzwagon was made out of logs and had buzz saws and axes attached to fend off the competition. The one redeeming feature of the buzzwagon was that it was easy to repair when it fell apart!
Introducing the races and throughout each episode the narrator would commentate on the race. Often he would ask the racers questions and they would talk to the screen, as if they were talking to the audience at home. I would love this as it made it feel like I was a part of the action!
This DVD is a 3 Disc Boxset. Not only does it contain all 34 episodes with the best possible quality (we're not talking HD), but its also packed full of extras.
Commentaries: The commentaries come from people who work for Hanna-Barbera, some share stories, however its not as enjoyable as I'd hoped. Their memories have obviously faded over time, so we don't get to hear anything particularly interesting. Four of the episodes have commentary.
Rearview Mirror: A Look Back at Wacky Races: Sweet little featurette that's shows us the history of Wacky Races, with contributions from the same people from the commentaries.
Spin Out Spin-Offs: A short ten minute look at Penelope Pitstop and Dick Dastardly who both acquired their own spin off series respectively, which were just as great quality as Wacky Races (these are also available on DVD).
On Screen Pop Up Factoids: Fun facts for all ages about the show in general and more specific facts such as, how many times each racer actually won the races!
Sneak Peaks: This feature is just trailers for more upcoming releases, such as Tom & Jerry, The Flintstones and Top Cat.
I would buy the DVD (purely for the fact you can get it for £9.99 on Amazon!), to reminisce to this classic kids cartoon, which was simply that, fun for all the family, where what you see is what you get, sweet and innocent entertainment. I wouldn't expect to be blown away by the extra features, but considering the age of the cartoon, I think it's the best we're going to get.
There aren't many television shows that I can watch again and again. Frasier is just one of those programmes that I never get bored of. It used to be on Channel 4 on Friday nights, these days its on twice in the morning on Channel 4 and you can usually catch it on Comedy Central.
If you'd seen Cheers you would all remember the character Frasier, but I bet none of you thought he'd deserve his own TV series. I know I didn't! How wrong could I have been...
Frasier ran from 1993 to 2004, which is not exactly bad! That's 11 series with a total of 264 episodes! I have to say, there wasn't really a point where I wasn't watching. Some times you lose interest in shows, for me anyway, but I have loved Frasier since day one.
Frasier Crane moved from Boston to Seattle after getting divorced and following a new job opportunity. He started his job at KACL 780AM (named after the shows writers David Angell, Peter Casey and David Lee). Frasier and his brother Niles love nothing more then grabbing a cup of coffee in fancy coffee shop Café Nervosa. A lot of the storylines centre around disagreements between the boys and their father, with major difference of opinion and interests. Also the constant sibling rivalry between the two, always trying to go one better, whether it be appearing on TV, writing a book or being accepted by Seattle social elite groups, such as wine tasting clubs. Their irrational competition usually leads the episodes into a few hilarious twist and turns, however they always end up there for each other, but mainly because they're stuck with each other!
Every member of the main cast, is great in their own way. They all have incredibly well written personalities and all of them have perfect comedic timing. They work great together and in my opinion got better with the age of the show. I'll introduce them now;
Frasier Crane (played by Kelsey Grammer) is a radio psychiatrist. He's pompous, rude and likes to think he's a ladies man. He has a son called Freddie, with ex wife Lilith (played by Bebe Neuwirth - also from Cheers), who we rarely see. He loves a glass of sherry or a game of chess, and is extremely house proud. Often known to say the wrong thing at the wrong time, especially when it comes to his romantic escapades. I think Frasier is great at playing the uptight posh bloke. Its great when he goes off on a little speech or tantrum!
Niles Crane (played by David Hyde Pierce) is also a psychiatrist, but owns his own private practice, and pokes fun at the fact that his brother Frasier is on the radio. Niles has an on/off marriage with Maris (who we never see, but hear so much about), but has always loved Daphne, mostly from afar. Niles is probably my favourite, because his dry wit is hilarious and he seems to put himself in the funniest situations.
Martin Crane (played by John Mahoney) is Frasier and Niles father. Martin used to be a police officer, who was forced to retire after being shot in the hip on a job. This leads to him moving in with Frasier and them employing a full time physiotherapist. Martin just wants a quiet life, watching the television with a cold beer. Sometimes he despairs at his sons, not being as manly and rugged as he would like! He often says they take after their mother, who passed away.
Daphne Moon (played by Jane Leeves) moved in with Frasier and Martin, to be Martins full time carer/physiotherapist and general housekeeper. She is from Manchester in England (although not in real life!) and has physic visions, although thankfully, as time went on, they stopped emphasising them so much, which I thought was good, as they were a bit silly. Daphne always puts the men in their place, although she's not the sharpest tool in the shed.
Roz Doyle (played by Peri Gilpin) is Frasier's radio producer. Although complete opposites at everything, they grow to be best friends. Lisa Kudrow originally auditioned for her part in the show - there's a bit of useless knowledge for you! Roz is unlucky in love, but doesn't let it get her down. She has a different bloke every week, but still respects and sticks up for herself.
Eddie (played by Moose & Enzo). Ok I'm joking, but this dog added so much to this show! Absolute gem!
Not only are the main stars an extremely solid cast, but all the extra people, such as people who work at the radio station, friends, family members or romantic partners, deliver great performances. Frasier is a show with very high standards and you can tell that by watching any random episode.
There's a lot of relationships changes between the main cast and various others throughout the years...well with 11 years under its belt, I'd be worried if there wasn't! The funny thing about the show is that everyone expects it to be very intelligent humour, where most jokes go over their heads, but when you watch it you would be surprised. A lot of the comedy is physical, where Frasier and Niles are a fantastic double act. A lot of the jokes are extremely simple and you can see them coming a mile off. I think the thing that makes it work, is the way they deliver the lines and the way all the cast bounce off of each other. Its actually believable that they are family and friends.
I think it also speaks highly for the show, that a lot of old cast members of Cheers made guest appearances over the years (Ted Danson and Shelley Long for example).
Frasier won 37 Emmy's during the time it spent on air. All 11 series have been released on DVD and they even released a soundtrack "Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs" in 2000, which is the name of the theme tune, that Kelsey Grammer actually sings himself. Its one of those theme tunes that gets in your head and stays there all day, and ends up driving you mad, for that reason alone, it really really annoys me (the only petty negative point in the whole review I can think of). It was interesting when reading up on Frasier to write this review, how people interpret the lyrics differently, but I leave you to Google that if you are interested! Not only does Frasier have all that, but they also have 8 books about that show! So all in all, a complete success!
Before I came to write this review, I would never have guessed that Will and Grace lasted eight years. Not only because it thankfully didn't seem to be on our screens for that long, but also I am shocked it kept going that long! Surprisingly it lasted from 1998 to 2006. That's a total of 194 episodes in 8 series.
I'm sure you all know the storyline. It's not hard to pick up on and to be honest, through the whole run of the show, the storyline doesn't really move on. It's not like in Friends where you need to follow each series to know where you stand with Ross and Rachel. I can't differentiate between each series of Will and Grace, but that may just be because I haven't followed it properly.
Will is gay, Grace is straight, and they are best friends who live together. Will's friend Jack is always hanging around and is "gayer than the day is long" - his words, not mine. Karen is Grace's assistant and usually found drunk or popping a pill somewhere (all in the best possible humour, you understand).
Will Truman is played by Eric McCormack. Will is gay and extremely unlucky in love. He is a very successful lawyer and an avid gym-goer. Will is quite uptight and quite anal (no jokes please!).
Grace Adler is played by Debra Messing. Grace is straight and also extremely unlucky in love. She is a bit of a flake and often takes advantage of Will being the more responsible one. She is an Interior Designer and a feisty redhead.
Jack McFarland is played by Sean Hayes. Jack is camper then a Carry On film. He is always hanging about and living off everyone else. He is an aspiring actor and all round entertainer.
Karen Walker is played by Megan Mullally. She is married to millionaire Stan (who we never actually see on screen). Karen likes a drink and God knows what else.
They are the main four characters; the only other character that appears almost as often is Karen's maid Rosario, who is played by Shelley Morrison. Rosario is often at the wrong end of Karen's temper, but they still have a strong bond and loyalty to each other.
Keeping in mind, that the show was obviously doing something right, to have lasted eight years and won a whopping 16 Emmy Awards, there is something about it that I just don't like!
I was never a huge fan, but when it first started I liked it and would watch it if it was on. Recently I've caught quite a few episodes of it and have come to realise that it's not actually very funny at all!
You can see the gags coming from a mile away. Will often has to do really fast bitchy type speeches but he never seems to put the correct emphasis on the right parts and it often falls flat (in my house anyway). Debra Messing (who plays Grace) often looks as though she is about to burst into laughter, which really makes me lose concentration on the show. I'm not saying she does it all the time, but it's often enough for me to have noticed - which can't be good!
I know people who have said it should be called the Jack and Karen show, as they are more entertaining! I have to agree, but then again, they are so eccentric that they also grate on me quite quickly!
The sad thing is this show was the first show (according to a bit of Googling!) where two main characters were gay. That's not the sad part obviously; the sad part for me is that, if they were to have taken that aspect of the show away, they wouldn't have a show. The majority of the jokes and even physical comedy are about being gay. It's amusing at first, but by series eight they were definitely scraping the barrel for humour.
All that being said, I am quite clearly in the minority with my opinions, as Will and Grace has achieved record ratings and is known worldwide.
There have also been too many celebrity guest stars to mention, who would not appear on a show that wasn't going to boost their profile a bit. For instance Madonna, Harry Connick Jr, Rosie O'Donnell, John Cleese, Alec Baldwin and Gene Wilder, to name but a few!
To be honest, I can watch this programme, but will often find myself getting annoyed with the obviousness of jokes, plot and generally the episode endings. It's watchable but I wouldn't say enjoyable. Even the physical comedy of falls and fights etc doesn't quite hit the spot. I find it weird, because when it comes to comedies, I'm pretty easily pleased!
I'd say it's worth giving Will and Grace a watch because it's clearly doing something right, however, I wouldn't rate it as anything other than average. I'm honestly surprised it did as well as it did.
You can catch it in the mornings at the mo, on Channel 4 around 8.45am. But I wouldn't worry if you miss it!