October 15 is I Love Lucy Day, But don’t despair, there are Lucys in this world to love than the one you probably don’t.
There are two songs in particular that I think are superior candidates for exactly this type of twisting of expectations. One is considered among the most romantic standards of all time, as well as the very model of slow-dance doo-wop song. The Flamingos recorded the ultimate version of “I Only Have Eyes For You.” I don’t know if it’s the bass line, those shoo-bop-shoo-bop or the incessantly repetitive tinkling of the same piano keys, but something about this song gives it an unsettling, almost macabre edge to it. There is a feeling to this song of something dark and dangerous beneath its lyrics of undying love.
That joke is not nearly as inside as it used to be, of course; today, nearly everybody is in on the joke. For twenty to thirty years, however, Hollywood’s most famous inside joke went right over the heads an unsuspecting public.
The cops on TV ALWAYS get their man and that man is ALWAYS guilty. And here’s the sicker, sadder truth: this has conditioned Americans to expect that the same applies in real life. And here is where it gets sickest and saddest: we are okay with cops beating up guilty people. After all, they deserve it.
The rather dim-witted airplane mechanic on “Wings” manages to come into ownership of a run-down wax museum after hitting it big with a trust fund. One of the figures in the wax museum is that of Marcia Brady. This is an especially funny reference to “The Brady Bunch”
“Songs for Sale” aired on CBS between 1950 and 1952, but the history of “American Idol” and its contemporary copycats can be traced even further back than that! Less than half of one percent of US households even owned a television set when “Doorway to Fame” premiered on the old Dumont Network in May 1947.
I wish I could say more about Leonard from one of the absolute greatest X-Files episodes ever, Humbug. But to say much about this X-Files monster would be to give away too much.
The comfortable bubble of 1950’s sitcoms presented the world as orderly and uncomplicated. It’s a mistake to lump Ozzie and Harriet in there; the world of the Nelsons was fractured and convoluted. The plots in those other shows were predictable: Beaver killed a guy and feels sorry about it and tries to hide with Wally’s help but gets found out and so must receive a lecture on not killing people from his dad so he promises he’ll never kill again.
Next up is The Abbey Grange in which Sherlock must investigate the story of a woman who tells a story of murder that doesn’t sound quite right. The ending of this episode is an excellent example of how Sherlock Holmes is not the cold, calculating machine he is usually portrayed as. Watch as Jeremy Brett plays with the suspect and revel in the gamut of emotions he goes through, from manipulative detective to proud psychological profiler to bewildered judge and jury.
I have never seen a legal drama on American television, or even British television, that so fully presented both sides to a controversial subject. The thing I miss most about Picket Fences, aside from the fact that this TV show actually pitted the amazing Don Cheadle against the amazing Fyvush Finkel in the courtroom, was how many controversial topics became fodder for the legal system.