Daily Archives: December 25, 2015

Flashback Friday-Dharma and Greg (1997-2002)

The plot line of opposites attract is not new.

Between 1997 & 2002, Dharma and Greg told the story of how opposites attract and attempt to maintain a marriage.

Dharma Finkelstein (Jenna Elfman) is the daughter of unconventional, hippie parents, Larry Finklestein (Alan Rachins) and Abby O’Neil (Mimi Kennedy). Greg Montgomery (Thomas Gibson) is the son of successful businessman Edward Montgomery (Mitchell Ryan) and socialite Kitty Montgomery (Susan Sullivan). As much as their parents and everyone around them try to convince Dharma and Greg how incompatible they are, the more Dharma and Greg fight to stay together.

As a television rom-com, Dharma and Greg is not bad. There was enough conflict and comedy to keep the series going for five years, which is a nice run for a show of this genre.

Do I recommend it? Why not?

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Flashback Friday-1960’s TV- The Munsters (1964-1966), Bewitched (1964-1972), I Dream Of Jeannie (1965-1970) & Gilligan’s Island (1964-1967)

The 1960’s are remembered as part of the golden age of television. They also marked a subtle shift in American society, reflecting the larger change that would come in later decades.

In this Flashback Friday post, I am going to examine four different shows from the era and see how they represented the change that was coming to America.

The Munsters (1964-1966)

Before the Munsters, audiences were used to seeing creatures such as Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster and the Werewolf in a horror movie. What they saw was these former movie monsters as their on-screen neighbors. Herman Munster (Fred Gwynne) is the bumbling, sometimes idiotic Frankenstein’s monster. His wife, Lily (Yvonne De Carlo) and her father, Grandpa (Al Lewis) are vampires. Lily had to sometimes play peacekeeper between her husband and her mad scientist wannabe father. Herman and Lily’s son, Eddie (Butch Patrick) is a werewolf. The “normal” one in the family is Marilyn (played first by Pat Priest and then by Beverley Owen), Lily and Herman’s blonde hair, blue-eyed, all American looking niece. The Munsters think they are a normal family, but cannot comprehend why they get certain reactions from the people around them.

Bewitched (1964-1972)

Samantha Stephens (Elizabeth Montgomery) is a witch. Her husband, Darrin (First played by Dick York and then by Dick Sargent) is a mortal man. Darrin would like a normal wife. But he married a witch. Samantha tries to subvert her powers to please her husband, but those powers somehow always come back to the surface. Add in the most meddling of meddling mother in-laws, Endora (Agnes Moorehead) and a nosy neighbor with too much time on her hands and too much imagination, Mrs. Kravitz (First played by Alice Pearce and then played by Sandra Gould) and you have a sitcom with just enough subversiveness to rock the boat without being obvious.

I Dream Of Jeannie (1965-1970)

Major Anthony Nelson (Larry Hagman) is an astronaut. While on a mission, he finds a mysterious bottle. Rubbing the bottle, Anthony releases Jeannie (Barbara Eden), who promises to serve Anthony. The only problem is that due to Anthony’s highly classified work, he is always being watched. Having  Jeannie around would certainly bring about unwanted questions, especially considering her non mortal abilities.

Gilligan’s Island (1964-1967)

A small boat goes on what is supposed to be on a three-hour tour. Instead a typhoon derails the small ship’s itinerary and send its inhabitants to a deserted island. The boat’s captain, The Skipper (Alan Hale Jr.) and his bumbling assistant Gilligan (Bob Denver) do their best to take care of their guests. Mr. and Mrs. Howell  (Jim Backus and Natalie Schafter), are the millionaire couple who thinks the world revolves around them. The Professor (Russell Johnson) comes up with fantastic gadgets that no one would ever think of creating on a deserted island. Ginger (Tina Louise) is the Marilyn Monroe-ish movie star. Maryann (Dawn Wells) is the farm girl next door.

While Gilligan’s Island is utterly ridiculous, it is very funny. Reflecting the shifting culture in the 1960’s The Munsters reflects the idea that it’s okay to be different. Bewitched and I Dream Of Jeannie, reflected the then burgeoning second generation of the feminist movement. Both Samantha and Jeannie try to subvert their powers to keep their men happy, but the audience knows who really holds the cards in those relationships.

Do I recommend them? Yes.

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Filed under Feminism, Flashback Friday, History, Television, TV Review

Flashback Friday-Movies About Movies (Date Movie 2006), Not Another Teen Movie (2001) & Scary Movie (2000)

Sometimes it takes a little humor to appreciate a movie. Other times it takes a little farce to remove the seriousness from a movie genre.

Over the past fifteen years, three movies have allowed audiences to laugh at the absurdity of three different movie genres.

In Date Movie (2006), Julia Jones (Alyson Hannigan) looks in the mirror and hates what she sees. Overweight and spending her days working at her father’s diner, Julia believes that she will never be happy. Then Grant Fockydoder (Adam Campbell) enters her life. But before they can say I do, first they must meet each other’s parents and deal with Grant’s ex-girlfriend, Andy (Sophie Monk).

Five years earlier, another movie lovingly spoofed the genre that audiences have seen time and again over the years. Not Another Teen Movie (2001) takes place at John Hughes High school. Janey (Chyler Leigh) is artsy unpopular girl. Jake (Chris Evans) is the athletic popular boy. Austin (Eric Christian Olsen) makes a bet that Jake cannot turn Janey into the prom queen. Filled with teen movie stereotypes including the token African-American, Malik (Deon Richmond) and Priscilla, the stuck up cheerleader (Jaime Pressly), this movie has a lot of fun poking holes in the teenage movie genre.

Finally, a year earlier, Scary Movie (2000) mocked the horror genre. Cindy Campbell (Anna Faris) and Bobby Prinze (Jon Abrahams) are part of a group of teenagers that accidentally killed a man. They hope that burying the body will make the incident go away. A year later, the teens are being stalked and killed one by one. As her friends are being killed, Cindy starts to see obvious signs that the killer has seen one too many horror movies.

For fans of film, there is nothing better than seeing their favorite films lovingly spoofed. Each of these films takes the time honored characters and tropes and makes audiences laugh at each genre’s absurdity.

Do I recommend them? Yes.

 

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Flashback Friday-Flashdance (1983)

Many of us live with two worlds. We live and work in one world, but we dream in another.

In Flashdance (1983), Alex Owens (Jennifer Beals) works two jobs. By day, she is a welder. By night, she adds to her income by working as an exotic dancer.  What she really wants to do with her life is to become a professional ballet dancer. Her boss/boyfriend, Nick Hurley (Michael Nouri), encourages Alex to pursue her dream.

Will Alex see her dreams become reality or will she remain a welder and an exotic dancer for the rest of her days?

For all of it’s 80’s kitsch, this movie has a very nice message. If you want something, you go for it. The journey will not be easy, but if the dream becomes reality, then the journey is worth it.

And of course, this movie is incomplete without its own iconic song.

Do I recommend it? Of course.

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