Showing posts with label Sitcoms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sitcoms. Show all posts

Did You Know Pamela Anderson Was On Home Improvement?

Monday, April 18, 2022

In the 1990s, Pamela Anderson was everywhere.  She's most famous for starring in hit television shows like Baywatch, the cult-favorite movie Barb Wire, numerous Playboy appearances, and the infamous "tape" with her now ex-husband, Tommy Lee.  

It's been well documented here on YesterYear that I grew up loving the Tim Allen sitcom Home Improvement.  You can check out tributes I wrote to special holiday episodes by clicking the following links:  Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas

A few years back, I watched reruns of our old favorite, and I noticed that Heidi the Tool Girl wasn't exactly... Heidi.  

Odd, I never noticed that before.  If I did, I was too young to notice or even care.  

It had been years since I rewatched the series, and now it stuck out like a sore thumb.  How could I not have noticed?  

As the episode went on, I realized her name was Lisa.  And Lisa looked awfully familiar, too. 

It was Pamela Anderson!  

How did I not know this?  I pride myself on knowing all sorts of trivia that will never win me anything but a pat on the back, but I have to admit, this escaped me.  I vaguely remembered the Tool Time assistant being different.  Come to think of it, during other watching of reruns over the years, I must have noticed then but not thought anything of it.

I didn't put two-and-two together until that day a few years back, and it's something that I've had a mild curiosity about since.  So, why not look back and see what we can find out about when Pamela Anderson was on Home Improvement!  

Boy Meets Wrestling: When WWF's Big Van Vader Invaded Boy Meets World

Monday, March 14, 2022

Professional wrestling was a large part of my childhood, as was the story for many kids growing up in the late 80s and early 90s.  Just as important to me back then was making sure I watched the kid-friendly sitcoms on ABC's TGIF on Friday evenings.   

With the WWE's announcement the other day that Vader (Leon White) would be posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame, I spent time reflecting upon his career.  I was first introduced to Vader when he returned to the United States following his mega-star run in New Japan Pro Wrestling in 1990.  As a big fan of World Championship Wrestling (WCW), I first saw Vader sometime in 1990 but really remember him from his match with Stan Hansen at WrestleWar.  He'd then go on to a great run in WCW for a few years as the off-and-on World Champion.  During his time paired with the great former NWA Champion Harley Race, the big man had legendary feuds with my favorites growing up, Ric Flair and Sting.  Sting was already my favorite (still to this day), but his feud with Vader elevated him to new heights in many fans' eyes and cemented his status as World Champion material.

Leon White is often regarded as one of, if not THE, best "big man" in the business.  His high-flying moves from the top rope were unheard of from a man his size both back then and still today.  Standing 6 feet 5 inches and over 450 pounds, the former center for the Los Angeles Rams (1978-1980) moved around the ring like an agile cat but had the size, toughness, and ferocity of a bull.  

He was slated to participate in my favorite match of all time, the 1995 WCW War Games match, but backstage shenanigans got him fired before showing up in the WWF as "The Mastadon," Big Van Vader.  

It was during this time period that one Friday evening I switched the TV over to ABC for my usual TGIF lineup, and on one episode of Boy Meets World, there was the big man himself, Vader!  I remembered Vader having bit parts as the bully's father, but he was all over the place in this episode.  So was Jake "The Snake" Roberts and even "Brother Love" Bruce Prichard!  They had a real WWF show and in-ring action, too!  I was blown away at such a cool cross-over of two things I really enjoyed.

I had really gotten into watching reruns of The Wonder Years on Nick-at-Nite, and when Boy Meets World came along, it was a lighter, funnier, more modern version for kids my age.  As a fun connection between the shows, the star of The Wonder Years, Fred Savage, is the older real-life brother to the star of Boy Meets World, Ben Savage.  

Boy Meets World was a wildly successful family-friendly sitcom from 1993 to 2000.  Starring Ben Savage as Cory Matthews, Rider Strong as Shawn Hunter, William Daniels as Mr. Feeney, Will Friedle as Cory's older brother Eric, and (now famous wrestling fan herself) Danielle Fishel as Topanga.  The show told the story about Cory Matthews and his friends coming of age in the early to mid-90s in a comedic, kid-friendly sitcom.  The show would run until Cory and Topanga were married and in college before returning nearly 15 years later on The Disney Channel as Girl Meets World, centered around Cory and Topanga's daughter.  

At the time, wrestling was still some time away from the culture-changing popularity it would see in the late 90s, but most kids I knew were casual fans of wrestling.  At the time, wrestling and the WWF were full of colorful, larger-than-life comic book characters targeted at children and young teens.  Vader was the perfect comic book character.  An intimidating giant of a man with a gentle soul, he was the ideal fit for a sitcom made for the 16 and under crowd.  

Vader would depart the WWF in 1998 and enter semi-retirement.  After a few more big appearances in Japan and American independent shows, his in-ring career finally came to an end around 2017.  

After years of struggling with his weight, grueling travel schedules, and alcohol abuse, Vader cleaned up his act in 2007.  After becoming a born-again Christian, Vader reconnected with long-time rival (and backstage friend) Sting, another (at the time) recently born-again Christian.  When Vader announced in 2018 he was suffering congestive heart failure and went through multiple surgeries in March of 2018, his good friend Sting (Steve Borden) visited him frequently at the hospital.  

Sadly, Leon passed away on June 18, 2018, following a month-long stay in the hospital with pneumonia.  
When Vader and the WWF blended with Boy Meets World and my Friday night sitcom lineup, the result was a very memorable event!  Here's what happened when Big Van Vader, the storied pro wrestler, joined a made-for-kids sitcom in the mid-90s!

Retro Repost: 10 Sitcom Characters That Just Disappeared

Monday, February 28, 2022

Have you ever followed a TV show for a few seasons and found yourself wondering, "Whatever happened to that guy?" Did cast members seem like they just disappeared into thin air?  Well, I've put together a list of some of the top 10 Disappearing Sitcom Characters that may just answer your questions!

This article about "Disappearing Sitcom Characters" appeared on The Retro Network late last year.  I felt it was well-received over there, and I quickly posted it here too.  Unfortunately, when I posted it here, my timing was off, and it was quickly swept out of the way by my month-long Halloween content.

I felt it should have had more "time to shine," so to speak, so I've been waiting for the right opportunity to make a Retro RePost featuring it.  Since I was busy with work and my little one's big birthday celebration this week, I felt now was the right time.  

Please CLICK HERE TO READ about the "10 Sitcom Characters That Just Disappeared!" 

Thanks for checking it out, whether you've read it already or not!

10 Television Hangouts I'd Love To Visit

Monday, February 21, 2022

I grew up in what I considered to be a small town.  Or, at least it seemed like it to me back then.  I felt like I knew everyone, and most everyone knew me and my family, who had been residents in town for decades.  

In all honesty, it was more likely that I lived in a bubble like all kids do.  The world revolves around us at that age.  I will admit, however, the area has since been built up, and the number of houses has nearly doubled, but my world was admittedly much smaller than I thought back then.  

I played sports throughout my time in school and had friends in all different groups and cliques.  We never all hung out together, and it was rare that the groups would ever cross.  The lunchroom was pretty segregated by "social status" in those days.  It probably still is.  

Even outside of school, there were very few places where any particular group would cross paths with another.  Besides "the mall," where all we did was walk around to kill time, there was never really a place where everyone gathered.  We never had a place where we could say "meet you later, at..." or "see you tonight, at..."  

That's where television comes in.  

Classic sitcoms, the comfort food of television, always had great places for everyone to hang out.  All different groups of people would meet and mingle at these hotspots.  Of course, the show's main characters would become regulars who befriended the owners and staff and were often given special treatment.  Since I never had one of these places to hang out in, I was always envious of the local watering holes that television characters would drop in to hang with friends. 

With that thought in mind, I figured it would be fun to look back at ten of everyone's favorite television hangouts (in no particular order) from YesterYear!

"Convicts At Large" - My Favorite Episode of The Andy Griffith Show

Monday, January 31, 2022

When I was pretty young, one of the many things I remember fondly was laughing with Mom and Dad at television late into the night.  Well, for me at that age, late was about 8pm.  In the summertime, the windows would be open, and several times, Granny (who lived next door) would ask what we were laughing so hard at the following day when I went over to play.  

Frequently, what we'd be laughing at would be The Andy Griffith Show.  

A staple of TBS during its early days, The Andy Griffith Show, or "Andy" as we called it, was just pure wholesome fun.  As Americana as Aunt Bea's apple pie, the show depicted the widowed Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith), the Sheriff of a fictional small town of about 2500 people called Mayberry, North Carolina.  Other characters include Andy's cousin, the well-meaning and enthusiastic deputy, Barney Fife (Don Knotts); Andy's aunt and housekeeper, Bee Taylor (Frances Bavier); and Andy's young son, Opie (Ron Howard).

My wife rolls her eyes when I put the show on some nights, but just as my Dad watched it because he remembered it fondly from his childhood, so do I.  In the crazy world that we live in today in 2022, it's nice to just sit back and picture what I envision the quiet, calm, small-town 1950's America was like.  I'm sure it's just Hollywood-level quaintness, but it's nice to dream about what could have been... and what I think still ought to be.

This one's a long one, so without further ado, please click "Read More" and join me on a look back at my favorite episode of The Andy Griffith Show,  Convicts at Large.

10 Sitcoms From the 90s I Still Enjoy

Thursday, January 20, 2022

As my family recovers from the virus that's been making news for the past two years, please excuse the lack of recent articles.  Enjoy this list-style post while I put more effort into my next full-length feature.  

Thank you!

The 1990s was a decade filled with outstanding television programs, including many classics in the sitcom genre.  I've waxed poetic several times on this site about my love for the folksy and occasionally cliched type of television programming.  These days, I would gladly watch a rerun of a sitcom I've seen hundreds of times before than most new shows broadcast today.

Out of the sitcoms that made it to air during the 90s, only a handful of them made it past the first season, let alone into all-time fan favorites.  These sitcoms in the 90s, often geared towards children or families, would endear viewers with funny, emotional, and sometimes educational storylines.  Sometimes the family-friendly series would try to teach us important life lessons.  The series that were meant to entertain adults and teens would do just that; entertain us as we followed along with our favorite characters by peeking into their wacky, crazy everyday life.

Most modern television just doesn't suit me, and I often seek out old programming from my childhood.  As I type this, I'm in a hotel room with the television on in the background.  Playing is an episode of a sitcom I've seen maybe 15 times. 

It's safe and comforting in its familiarity.  It doesn't require any attention, and I can do other things while watching.  It brings back memories of times gone by.

It's television's comfort food.

Join me as I look back on the Top 10 Sitcoms from the 90s that I Still Enjoy watching.  

Christmas on Roseanne

Monday, December 20, 2021

Now that I have a family of my own, the notion of community, tradition, faith, and the holidays mean so much more to me.  "Roseanne" was never a show my family watched when I was growing up, and I didn't get into watching the reruns until I was in college, but the series does an excellent job representing all of those things.  The time period "Roseanne" was set in and the everyday family it portrays really struck a chord with me as it reminded me of my formative years.  It's been a real treat for me to go back and watch and review each season for this "Holidays on Roseanne" series.

The show and the fictional Conner family took the holiday season seriously.  As we found out reviewing the Halloween episodes (CLICK HERE) or Thanksgiving (CLICK HERE), not every season had a dedicated episode to the given holiday.  The same goes for Christmas, and to be honest, I was surprised at the lack of Christmas episodes during its nine-year run.  Even more surprising, it took "Roseanne" four seasons into the series to have their first Christmas-themed episode.  Of the nine seasons in the show's initial run, only 4 episodes involve Christmas.  

Thank you for indulging me these past few months as I review one of my favorite television series from the past.  It has been a lot of fun and has brought back many great memories of hanging around my college dorm watching reruns late at night.  

So without further ado, let's look at how Roseanne, Dan, and the family spent their Christmas holidays with family, food, decorations, and (of course) arguments with "Christmas on Roseanne!"  

Thanksgiving on Roseanne

Friday, November 19, 2021

The holiday season was often a significant event on the classic sitcom "Roseanne."  Roseanne is probably best known for their annual Halloween celebration, but Thanksgiving was highlighted in most seasons since family and togetherness are very important to the real-life Roseanne.  Most years, the Conner family celebrated Thanksgiving in a big way with a large family dinner complete with all the trimmings, jokes, laughter, and some family squabbles, too!   

When we looked back at Halloween on Roseanne last month, we discovered that the holiday was emphasized more than others in some years.  Thanksgiving is no different during the 9 season run of the series, but as we found with Halloween, the first season of "Roseanne" didn't cover Thanksgiving at all as the series was only 4 episodes old at that point.  Interestingly, "Roseanne" was on an every-other-season schedule celebrating Thanksgiving until season 6, when each of the remaining seasons enjoyed using the holiday as a backdrop to an episode.    

Watching the Thanksgiving episodes over for this article, I noticed some fun trends, routines, or traditions that seemed like something that would happen in any family in America.  Jackie would always be the one to bring the groceries over early in the morning while Roseanne would cook.  Dan and the men watched football after playing in their own annual football game.  Each year, new faces would be around the table, while as the kids grew, some familiar faces began to disappear into their own families and traditions.  Roseanne's mother got on her last nerve every year while using the holiday as a way to "spill the beans" about something from her past.  

In continuing my "Holidays on Roseanne" series, we'll take a look back and see how they touched on Thanksgiving each season.  So, get ready for some dysfunctional yet loving family fun as we look back on "Thanksgiving on Roseanne!"   

Ten Sitcom Characters That Just Disappeared

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Growing up during the (late) 80s and 90s, I was a big sitcom fan.  

Back then, the theme song would hit, and we'd all sing along as we knew that good, albeit predictable, laughs, stories, and life lessons would be coming our way.  A safe, family-friendly half-hour of entertainment made for the comfort food of television as we grew up.  

I'll admit, these days, I don't really watch sitcoms.  I find today's offerings to be bland and boring.  Maybe I'm older and a little more cynical now, or network television has become too... safe?  You certainly can't imagine a show like "All in the Family" or even "Seinfeld" being produced today. 

One of the biggest differences I find in today's sitcoms is you'd be hard-pressed to find one today that in 20 or 30 years would be considered a classic.  Take sitcoms of the 80s and 90s with shows like "The Golden Girls," "Seinfeld," or "Friends."  Today's shows can't hold a candle to them in terms of longevity or rewatchability. If you go back even further, there is an endless stream of classics like "I Love Lucy," "Taxi," or "Newhart" that established the genre and set the bar quite high.  These shows were groundbreaking in their day and still have very active fan bases, in some cases 60 years later.

As a real youngster, my Dad got me hooked on Nick-at-Nite.  You can read about that HERE.  As I got older, programming blocks like ABC's "TGIF," NBC's "Must See TV," and ABC's programming like Home Improvement or Roseanne became mainstays on my television.

Over the years, I began to notice characters that came and went.  Sometimes, the characters have disappeared without a trace. 

Here are ten of the most memorable instances of sitcom characters that just disappeared. Did you miss any of these characters when they left? Did you even notice? 

Here's a list of ten, in no particular order.

Scorch: The Short Lived Show About a Dragon

Friday, January 15, 2021

Thousands, possibly even millions, of television shows have come and gone throughout the years.  Even today, with hundreds of channels on cable and many different streaming services on-line, most series are lucky to make it to completion of their first season, let alone achieve syndication status after multiple successful seasons.  Most shows don't even make it past the network executive office, let alone get greenlit for production once the pilot episode is filmed.  For some lucky shows, they make it past the boardroom, past the pilot episode, and on to the regular schedule but get cut off after only a handful of episodes. 

That was the case with 1992's "Scorch" which aired on Friday's at 8PM on CBS for all of 3 episodes before being replaced with reruns of "Rescue 911."

"Scorch" is a series I often think about "what could have been."  I really loved that show back in 1992.

Thanksgiving on Home Improvement

Friday, November 20, 2020

The holiday season was often an important event on "Home Improvement." Halloween and Christmas were the most significant holidays on the show. However, Tim Taylor made sure Thanksgiving was a giant feast and time to connect with friends and family. Tim and the Taylor family and their friends celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday, often in a big way, every year. 

When we looked back at Halloween on Home Improvement last month, we discovered that they emphasized the holiday some years more than others. Thanksgiving is no different during the 8 season run of the series. Some years, like Season Seven, Thanksgiving was the central focus of the episode. Others, like Season Eight, there was barely a passing mention and served only as a backdrop to the story.  

In continuing my "Holidays on Home Improvement" series, we'll take a look back and see how they touched on Thanksgiving each season.

Get ready to deep fry that turkey because here comes "Thanksgiving on Home Improvement!"

My Top 10 Seinfeld Episodes - Part 2

Monday, June 8, 2020

In case you missed Part One of my Top 10 Seinfeld Episodes, I was compelled to put my Top Ten list into writing by the many "Top Tens" floating around Twitter while everyone sits at home during the quarantine.  Please go check out that article HERE.

It was gratifying to go through the entire series of episodes and pick out my favorites, and I thank you for allowing me to reminisce.  I hope reading my list is half as enjoyable as it was to write and remember, but then again, that's what this site is for... the ability to take "road trips down memory lane."  Seinfeld is easily in my Top Five favorite shows, and I know these episodes like the back of my hand.
I'll frequently drop a Seinfeld line into ordinary conversation, and in the style of Anthony Cumia, I'll very rarely add a "Seinfeld Story" to the conversation like the time I was on the subway and got a hot tip on a horse race.  I went and made a bet and won big, but a guy at the betting window saw how much I won and followed me onto the subway.  Thankfully a cop pretending to be a blind man saved the day and arrested him.

Pretty cool story, huh?  I usually don't say anything if they don't catch on and... boy, some people I work with must think I have some weird crazy life, or I'm the biggest liar of them all.

Anyway, without further ado, here are my Top Five Seinfeld episodes.

My Top 10 Seinfeld Episodes Part 1

Friday, May 29, 2020

Seinfeld needs no introduction as a tv show.  Safe to say it makes most people's top 5 lists, Seinfeld is a timeless classic; the jokes work just as well in 2020 as they did in 1995.  Lauren and I will often turn the bedroom television to WPIX 11 at night and let Seinfeld play in the background as we drift to sleep.

During this Corona quarantine, I've seen Top 10 lists of everything from ice cream flavors to movies, and one that piqued my interest was a Seinfeld episode list.  I've often said, "This episode is in my top 10..." but I've never actually put a physical list together before.  Since nothing else is happening in 2020, Lauren and I popped in the Blu-Ray's and we binge-watched the entire series in about a week.  It was a nice trip down memory lane and helped me review the series to finalize my list.

Before we started the 9 season run, we both commented on how we didn't care much for the later seasons.  As we went along, we realized how many of the later episodes were the ones aired frequently on WPIX or TBS, and therefore we considered a "classic" or memorable episode that we actually enjoyed immensely.

That said, most of my Top 10 come from the early seasons.

As usual, I got excited and went pretty long with all of the recap, details, and background information that I like to provide and had a hard time cutting the information down to a manageable size, so my apologies.  I broke my Top 10 into two articles for ease of reading and did my best at cutting out the clutter.

So, without further ado, here are my Top Ten Seinfeld Episodes numbers 10 thru 6!