Screen Junkies » Frasier Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Wed, 26 Nov 2014 19:27:26 +0000 en hourly 1 10 Television Spin-offs, Ranked From Worst to Best Fri, 19 Sep 2014 19:37:05 +0000 DustinSeibert Which spin-off TV shows actually trumped their predecessors, and which deserve to stay buried in the graveyard forever?

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Last week, news dropped that the groundbreaking Fox sitcom Married…With Children has a spin-off in the works. The Sony Pictures Television production, which is rumored to center around David Faustino’s Bud Bundy, is not the only beloved 80s-to-90s sitcom in the works: a Full House reboot with much of the original cast, may also be on its way.

Between those, Girl Meets World and the crap-tastic Saved By the Bell movieit’s an exciting time for us post-Generation Xers who experienced those shows in their first run during our formative years and reflect on them fondly. Because Married…With Children aged remarkably well and set a standard that revolutionized sitcoms (unfortunately resulting in several off-brand imitators), I’m not excited about a reboot in a post-Twitter, PC world where the edgy humor that made Married… and other 90s sitcoms tick won’t fly so well now.

There have been many sitcom reboots throughout the years that have worked like gangbusters, and many that have fallen flat — so many that it would probably take someone paid to know such things to recite them all. (I had no idea there were *two* Three’s Company spinoffs). Here are just ten of them, in order from worst to best:

10. Joey – It’s well-documented that I think Friends is one of the wackest shows ever. So it would stand to reason that one of the wackest characters on one of the wackest shows ever getting his own spin-off couldn’t possibly result in quality television. Matt LeBlanc‘s Joey Tribbiani worked well as a dunce when surrounded by four slightly less dunce-y people, but giving him his own show was almost as bad an idea as giving the Geico Cavemen their own show, and for the same damn reasons. Seeing sexy Drea De Matteo back on screen after being whacked in The Sopranos was fun, but she couldn’t help the show last more than two seasons.

9. Baywatch Nights - Here’s a novel idea: Take one of the world’s most popular hours on television, take away the things that made it the most watchable show on television  (gorgeous breast-implanted women wearing regulation high-cut one-piece swimsuits), add even more Hasselhoff and try to leech off the popularity of The X-Files, and you have Baywatch Nights. Not sure how a show featuring Angie Harmon battling human-fish hybrids made it two seasons before being put out of its misery.

8. The Golden Palace - The Golden Girls was an unqualified success as a show that followed four women living together in the twilight of their lives. Considering the relative finality of this venture, it was a bit strange to see three of the four women segue into becoming hoteliers in Miami. Disregarding the inanity of the concept of three old biddies taking on the lion’s share of responsibility in a hotel in one of the world’s most popular destinations (never mind the money it would require to invest in such a venture), the show wasn’t that great, and it was axed after a single season. Bonus points, however, for putting the talented Don Cheadle in a regular role in 1992 before anyone cared who he was.

7. Buddies - Good news: ABC recognized the star quality of Dave Chappelle after a single guest appearance on Home Improvement and gave him his own show. Bad news: It was too soon. Buddies is a cautionary tale for trying to put talent that has yet to be cultivated into the front seat without proper driving lessons. The 1996 series’ ratings were so abysmal, only five of the 13 episodes shot ever aired. It didn’t help that Chappelle’s “buddy” Jim Breuer (aka Brian from Half Baked) was recast, killing the comedic chemistry. Chappelle completists need not fret, though: Copies of the DVD are still out there.

6. Melrose PlaceMelrose Place was Beverly Hills 90210 for folks a little too grown to follow the lives of high-school kids, and a soap opera for those who couldn’t imagine getting into their mom’s Ambien-esque fare. No show was more utterly 1990s and featured a cast of more preternaturally attractive human beings. Depending on who you talk to, Aaron Spelling’s masterpiece might have trumped 90210 in terms of pure campy goodness. Heather Locklear was the true magic of the show, whose cast listing reads like a Who’s Who of really hot people from the 1990s who are at least in their 40s and have virtually no career anymore.

On the next page: The five most legendary TV spin-offs of all time.

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5 Extremely Hatable TV And Movie Shrinks Mon, 23 Jul 2012 18:22:46 +0000 Penn Collins "Now, how does that make you feel?"

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Shrinks are supposed to possess an uncanny insight into the human mind, but that doesn’t stop them from being trainwrecks themselves much of the time. Perhaps it’s the fact that they supposedly possess this great gift that enables their smugness, or maybe it’s just that Tom Cruise was right and the whole thing is a fallacy.

Either way, shrinks from TV and movies can grate on an audience’s nerves like few other depicted professions. It must be all that talking. Always with the talking.

Dr. Melfi – The Sopranos

While it’s easy to claim that Melfi’s presence, while not exciting, served as a sort of moral compass to a show that lacked one in most every other arena.

That’s all well and good, but that doesn’t make her character suck any less. She played something of a robotic character, serving as a stone cold judging machine while every other character existed as impassioned people striking out to serve their own interests.

Her flat, flirtatious relationship with Tony Soprano was an interesting device, but wasn’t much to watch. She was an alcoholic with an annoying voice, which makes her similar to most every other character on the show, but with much less violence and far fewer malapropisms.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but there’s dysentery in the ranks.

Dr. Leo Marvin – What About Bob?

Dr. Marvin? Dr. Leo Marvin?

The sensational author of the life-changing book Baby Steps makes Frasier Crane look like a fun, vibrant individual. He named his kids Siggy and Anna in a nod to Sigmund Freud, and that’s not even the most obnoxious thing he does.

His dumb bucket hat, sandals and socks, and the vacation house at Lake Winnepisaukee are all strikes against him, but the real tipping point is when he tried to tie Bob to a tree and blow him up with dynamite. That’s just terrible behavior.

He’s a sourpuss surrounded by a lovable family, and he doesn’t manage to appreciate the walking wonder that is Bob. It’s hard to tell where the smugness of Richard Dreyfuss stops and the smugness of the character starts, but I guess that’s just the result of good casting.

Frasier – Cheers/Frasier

How very droll, Dr. Crane.

Frasier is perhaps the least masculine man this side of professional ice skating. I’m guessing that because his brother is the same way, it’s genetic, but we’re not here to look at reasons why these shrinks suck so much, but just whether or not they do.

And he does. His world revolves around Alaskan salmon, free trade espresso, and wine vintages, so it’s not like he’s a grounded guy. He’s not malicious by any stretch, but he’s so prissy it’s almost hard to think he’s of this world.

All his enjoyment seems to exist in a smug, smug place that revolves around smirks far more than laughter. And he hangs out with women named “Roz” and “Daphne,” which leads me to believe that he might be a character in Scooby-Doo.

Finally, he sings his own theme song, and it’s terrible. TERRIBLE.

“Dr.” Tobias Funke – Arrested Development

Tobias Funke is so terrible that he goes all the way around to being awesome again. He was one of the most respected shrinks in the Boston area until he decided to move to California to try his hand at acting. Unfortunately, he moved to Newport Beach, which is not all that close to Hollywood.

Also, Dr. Funke is perhaps the biggest moron ever to grace a television screen. He cannot please his wife, on account of the fact that he’s a raging homosexual, he can’t accept a hair transplant, and most of his acting credits are along the lines of “Frightened Inmate #2,” a role for which he constantly recited the line, “I ain’t going to squeal, man.”

Basically, all the reasons that Tobias Funke is terrible have almost nothing to do with the fact that he’s a psychiatrist. In fact, he seemed to be a pretty esteemed one. But he wasn’t nearly as hilarious as when he was a struggling (read: failing) actor.

Sean Maguire – Good Will Hunting

We get it, Sean. You’re damaged. You’re soft-spoken until you are pushed too far. You can bench press more than Matt Damon can. And, like Matt Damon, you are a little overqualified for your station in life.

He’s a great shrink, it would seem, but he’s a little Robin Williams-y, which is to be expected when you’re a character played by Robin Williams. Granted, he doesn’t break into any stupid voices like “gay man,” or “black man,” but he’s so soft-spoken that it makes you think he’s going to kidnap you in his basement.

I never thought I would say this, but maybe Robin Williams could have played him with more gusto.

Wow. That sounds weird.

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7 Laziest Television Stereotypes Wed, 28 Sep 2011 13:11:17 +0000 Penn Collins These stereotypes are lazy. Not the characters themselves, but the writing behind them.

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It was announced today that Rob Schneider will be starring in a CBS sitcom that deals with the culture clash that ensues when he marries into a Hispanic family. I’m sure that it will be handled with all the grace and quiet dignity for which Rob Schneider is known.

While it wouldn’t be unreasonable to cringe at the thought of the stereotypes drummed up by this project, it certainly would mesh well with television history to use simply drawn stereotypes as a cheap laugh or plot device. After all, aren’t all sitcom characters stereotypes in one way or another?

Lazy writing and poorly-drawn characters appeal to the lowest common denominator (see this). Though TV has gotten better in general in recent years, it’s no secret that many sitcoms and dramas appeal to people because it allows the audience to take their thinking caps off. However, the entrants below are gratuitous even by lazy TV standards. Here are a smattering of characters that offer up stereotypes that would make Tyler Perry blush.

7. Jack – Will and Grace

Gays had been depicted on TV long before Will and Grace and even more so afterward. However, it was Sean Hayes’ Jack that seemed to enter the public consciousness more than any other gay character did. Unfortunately, Jack reads more like a 1970′s hack comedy bit on “fruits” than he does an actual human being.

He was a huge queen. He loved drama, he sang and danced, he’s flamboyant about most everything he undertakes and…he loves to shop. Despite the show’s long run, Jack continued to exist largely as a one-note character that offered comedic relief and not much more. He was pretty damn funny, but hardly an enlightened take on human sexuality.

Now, if they had made him a professional football player, that would have really turned the notion of sexuality on its head. Take that, ESTABLISHMENT!

6. Huggy Bear – Starsky and Hutch

This isn’t so much an issue with stereotyping black people (though I guess it kind of is) but rather with that lazy pimp stereotype. I’m guessing he was the first pimp to get serious screen-time, but what did we really know about Huggy Bear? Did mother issue drive him to pimping? Why was he so quick to drop the dime for a couple of white detectives with perms? Did they save his life in Vietnam?

Just give us a few tangential facts to make this guy more human. Make him a large contributor to the United Negro College Fund and periodically remind us of his fondness for meatball subs.

Not so hard, is it?

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Apparently, Reality TV Hasn’t Been Cruel Enough To Kelsey Grammer Tue, 25 Jan 2011 21:22:39 +0000 Penn Collins Grammer has ushered in a new era for which he will be remembered for many poorly-hatched reality television shows.

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Kelsey Grammer has decided that he isn’t content merely tarnishing his TV legacy, but would instead like to cram it full of C-4 explosive and detonate it in a densely populated area, possibly near lots of orphans. There was a time when he was fondly remembered as Frasier Crane on two of America’s most beloved sitcoms, “Cheers” and “Frasier”, but Grammer has ushered in a new era for which he will be remembered as the producer of several poorly-hatched reality television shows, a la Seinfeld. His new development company is explicitly only working on reality TV, so….(sigh)

Not content with his wife sullying his good name, he decided to take the reins himself, teaming up with Stella Bulochnikov-Stolper, the dead, dead soul responsible for “Paris Hilton‘s My New BFF”. Stolper was quoted as saying in regards to their development of new reality shows, ““I knew that Kelsey loved this space, and would love to pop some big shows.” While it’s not divulged exactly what they hope to “pop,” given Grammer’s freakishly large dome, I think there’s a natural synergy awaiting with the new Pac-Man reality show. I think that Kelsey Grammer as a big yellow dot is something the whole nation can get behind, and, let’s face it, is probably a lateral move after “Hank” andBack to You.” (A.V. Club)

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