“Alright! It’s time for ABC’s TGIF lineup!” – Lisa Simpson
“Lis, when you get a little older, you’ll learn that Friday’s just another day between NBC’s Must See Thursday and CBS’s Saturday night craporama.” – Bart Simpson
This morning, Al Jean retweeted this horrifying YouTube copy of ABC’s network promo for the 1982-83 season:
It’s eighteen minutes long and isn’t worth watching in full, but starting at the 7:15 mark you can see three of their new comedies. Two are family sitcoms. The first, “Star of the Family”, starred Brian Dennehy as the dad. Here’s the IMDb summary:
Fire Captain Buddy Krebs’ 16-year-old daughter Jennie Lee begins getting show-business offers because of her singing talents in the country/pop genre. This scares Buddy because he does not want his daughter to grow up too fast. Adding to his troubles, are (1) his wife runs off with a bellhop, (2) his 17-year-old son has muscle instead of brains in his head, (3) his crew down at the firehouse are “strange”: Feldmand tells his mother he is a doctor instead of a fireman, Rosetti has only sex on the brain and Max, a Hispanic, speaks fractured English. Finally, his daughter signs with a manager named Moose; the name fits the description of the woman.
Two precocious kids and a wacky fire station with an ethnic! Millions of dollars were spent to create that. It lasted ten episodes.
The second family comedy, “It Takes Two”, is just as bad:
Sam and Molly Quinn are two hard working career people just too busy with their careers (him a doctor and she a lawyer) to pay attention to each other or their teenage children.
That one made it a full twenty-two episodes but, you’ll be unsurprised to learn, did not get a second season.
Finally we come to “The New Odd Couple“, which is two black dudes who are opposites instead of two white dudes who are opposites. It was a remake of a series that was itself a remake of a movie which was an adaptation of a play. Creative! It lasted eighteen episodes.
Stuff like this is why I described 1980s American television as a “terrible world“. NBC and CBS were making shows just as bad and just as repetitive, and year in, year out, those three crappy channels were it. No cable. No satellite. No internet. Thank Jebus The Simpsons destroyed these so thoroughly that “family sitcoms” never recovered.