I finally got around to watching the sneak peak episode of Perfect Couples, and I needn’t have bothered; knowingly or not, I had seen this sitcom a fair number of times in recent years. The couples who are in longterm relationships who seem to spend their time avoiding talking to each other, and scheming with their friends about the best way to talk to each other…. this one is no less glib, no less hollow than the rest of them. Nothing going for it. It’s not calling me to watch again.
Have you ever watched the deleted scenes on a DVD? Usually, instead of saying “hey, great, more movie!” you end up thinking “that didn’t quite work. I can see why they cut that out.”
The new film from the talented James L. Brooks, How Do You Know, feels a lot like watching those deleted scenes. It’s g0t a lot of recognizable actors somewhat oddly mixed. Owen Wilson does a great job at his part, a baseball player whose simplicity serves him well. Reese Witherspoon is solidly invested into her character’s viewpoint. Paul Rudd plays the Paul Rudd bit, which has worked quite well at time but doesn’t serve him here… and leaves the central romance with no chemistry. No surprises are asked of Jack Nicholson, and none are delivered. In the smaller parts, Tony Shalhoub fulfills the needs of a standard character type, but Mark Linn Baker fails.
At times I wanted to compare it to a puppet show version of a Brooks movie, or simply a first draft, but I’ve decided that the DVD extras thing fits best, it’s a knock that I’ve not tried before, and I’m sticking with it.
Here’s our video card for this year.
Reese’s Puffs… on sale for $2.99. Better than that, buy 4, get another $4 off.
“Okay, okay!” I hear you cry. “Moderately-priced cereal, but so what?”
Reese’s Puffs (and some other General Mills cereals) are running a promotion on some boxes – get the code off of two boxes, redeem them online for a free movie pass.
$15.92 later, I’ve got 144 ounces of Reese’s Puffs… and four movie passes. (Oh, and eight “box tops for education” for my girl to donate to the school.) Not that we need 144 ounces of a really-good-for-snacking cereal, mind you, but that’s superfluous to the main value of the deal.
So I’m watching the two-part opener of the third season of Charles in Charge (yes, Chargeheads, it’s the return of Gwendolyn Pierce, perhaps the only story of impact in the entire series)…
Now wait, let me make it clear that I don’t normally watch old episodes of Charles in Charge (and I’m pretty darned sure that there aren’t new episodes out there, appearing on TV without my knowledge), but I had placed season 3 on my Netflix queue (because of Jennifer Runyon’s return as Gwendolyn Pierce). Even though I oddly connected with the series as a younger man, I don’t have a lot of yearning to revisit it beyond this and perhaps the pilot; probably haven’t watched an episode in at least a decade. I’m sick today, trying to use little energy, and checking the queue for something to watch I notice that this disappears from availability tomorrow, so it would seem such a waste not to watch it today.
Anyway, I’m watching it, and I start checking out its Wikipedia entry and I start following the various actor links (Jennifer Runyon is retired from acting, and thus will always live in my mind with her lovely robust torso and robust hair) and I discover something that may have been obvious to others, but never to me: Ellen Travolta (yes, elder sister of John), who plays Charles’s mother on the show, also played Chachi’s mother on Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi. That’s right, she is repeatedly Scott Baio’s mom.
And that set me wondering whether there were other cases where a pair of actors worked well enough in a certain familial relationship that they were repeatedly cast in them. There are the obvious cases – there aren’t a lot of cases where one would see Randi Brough without seeing Candi Brough playing her twin sister (I don’t remember B.J. and the Bear well enough to recall if they had acting talent, but when you’re hot-looking twins, you get cast as hot-looking twins… or, in the case of Cyb and Trish Barnstable, a hot-looking gal and her clone).
But beyond that? The only obvious example that comes to mind is Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad, who were a married couple in The Cosby Show and then later in Cosby (and here Mr. Nat’s TV has to hang his head in shame – he actually had to look up the title of Cosby. I could remember the title of the British source for the series – One Foot in the Grave – despite never having watched an episode of it, but not the reasonably-successful American four-season sitcom). But beyond that?
Lymph glands are still swollen. I’m using Netflix and Roku to experience Mystery Science Theater 3000 for the first time in years. Time for some deeply meaningful TV…
FX has announced that their brilliant series Terriers will not be coming back for a second season. The good news is that the first season was a complete novel in itself, a noirest modern detective series. If you missed it, when the DVDs come out (I assume they will), snatch them up.
This is just another sign that I’m about to free up a lot of watching time. The season – and quite possibly the series – finale of The Good Guys (a nice lighthearted series) comes this week. Both Parenthood and Human Target are reported to be nearing cancellation. (I’d tack in the wait for season 2 of Walking Dead, but with Man Men and Breaking Bad also in that AMC cycle, that evens out.)
And just to make matters worse, we’re cutting back to the two-disk Netflix subscription from the three disks we had earlier. We just weren’t going through them… with all the TV there was to watch.