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TV Review: Jimmy Savile – A British Horror Story

A HORROR STORY

Once upon a time, there was a radio and television presenter in Britain back in the 1960s. He began to host BBC‘s Top Of The Pops and became a well-known celebrity. In the 1970s, he was known to fix any of children’s desires and wishes in the show, Jim’ll Fix It. On the show, he would receive thousands and thousands of letters, and he would attend a few of these and read it to the audience. The letters were full of children writing to him to grant their wishes. And he didn’t break their hearts; on the contrary, he won them.

Already establishing himself as the British messiah, the hospitals sought his help to raise money for good. And he listened to their calls and believe it or not, he raised around £40 million in charity. This is a massive number to raise in those times. His reputation was cemented to be a Godly man who is humble, the most respected, the dearest, and the kindest to everyone.

Wherever he went, people would gather around, wait for his glimpse for hours, take autographs, take pictures, and feel blessed that he kissed them. He befriended the former British premier Margaret Thatcher and the Royal Family. He became some cult, some saint. He became their national hero who served the country once in the great war and then contributed to philanthropy throughout his life.

And then one day, he died. The British media was mourning, and the general public was mourning. His followers forwarded their prays, and goodbyes and many came to the memorial service to have a glimpse of the coffin where he lies. He was people’s servant. They all believed that Lord took his life, a soul departed to conclude an era of dedication to put the public in staunch grief or melancholy. But what they didn’t realize was that his death was actually Lord’s act of goodwill to put a halt to the horror he implanted in scores of British lives that they never realized or got to know about in more than fifty years.

Almost a year after his death, plenty of reports surfaced, and a thorough investigation that involved police and the media concluded to the nation’s utter shock that he had sexually abused/assaulted more than four hundred people, mostly underaged, as young as five. London’s Metropolitan Police (Met) began Operation Yewtree to investigate the allegations and concluded with a report that counted the victims to be more than five hundred. The Guardian claimed in 2014 that the number of his victims was more than one thousand. That man was Jimmy Savile.

A few years ago, when I came to know about who Jimmy Savile was, I was stunned to realize that he abused most of those children during his time at the BBC and the National Health Service (NHS); how come no one raised the concerns or doubts about his mysterious personal life. How come Jimmy Savile never got caught in fifty years?


English disc jockey Jimmy Savile (1926 – 2011) presenting the BBC music chart show ‘Top Of The Pops’, UK, circa 1973. He is wearing a personalised tracksuit. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)

THE DOCUMENTARY

I had the curiosity to know the right and convincing answers to my years-old questions. Thankfully, Netflix decided to commission a two-part documentary about that sex predator, Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story. And by watching this show, I got a lot of insiders about this psycho. The documentary has plenty of footage that depicts his charms and charisma that were hiding his heinous saga for decades.

The two parts are smartly divided. The first part gives the audience thought about Jimmy Savile as the ever-caring servant of children who appeals to granting their wishes and also gives an insider about how Jimmy Savile rose to prominence to a magnitude where he saw himself in the company of the most powerful politicians. In the second part, the filmmakers try to locate the signs where Jimmy Savile came close to being caught.

The documentary’s biggest success is convincing its audience that Jimmy Savile successfully manipulated and made a fool out of the entire nation. There is numerous footage in the show where Jimmy, in the interview, is asked about the personal, sexual, and emotional aspects of his private life. And Jimmy, in response, speaks a tone and uses such one-liners that the audience takes him lightly and believes to be his usual jokes. This documentary proves that Jimmy was the smartest not to be caught. He had all the answers, he was quick wit. And he had the propensity to tackle any given question and reply without wasting a second and that too shamelessly. He was so powerful that it never mattered if he will ever be caught. He knew he was the authority. If anyone complained, no one would believe a word against him.

My jaw kept dropping and dropping when I observed with rage that he was giving all the clues and referring to his listeners about the things he did horrible all these decades but the audience was laughing and assuming as if he was joking. Especially when he joked that his case comes up next Thursday.

Who would have believed him? He was the master of deception. He had influence, he was an inspiration to the British for what he did in philanthropy. No one would ever believe that he can stoop that low to possibly force the girls as young as eight to have sex with him, someone who was close friends with the Royal Family and Margaret Thatcher.

Although the documentary has tried its best to give its audience a feeling of deception from this disgusting pervert, I sense that this documentary unintentionally gave a lot of insider about his humanitarian efforts. The reason why I am saying this is because the most reckoning part of Jimmy Savile’s life in brutal crimes was when he died. The post-death revelation on Britain and the rest of the world is hardly half an hour in the show. And due to such an incredibly less number of minutes, the makers and researchers couldn’t do justice to the broader detailing of the investigation at length.

Yes, the documentary was successful in setting a tone in which the viewers, especially those who didn’t know who that pedophile was, developed a genuine feeling of hatred by the end of the first episode. But the makers focused on his social contribution pretty much. Through this documentary, I was eager to watch more about his post-death events when Met began to receive complaints that led to investigations. I was more interested to watch some of those kids in their adulthood narrating their horror incident with Jimmy Savile. I wanted the makers to adopt no holds barred just like Jimmy Savile did all his life.

In every capacity, this Netflix documentary has raised global awareness and addressed the threat. It was the technology that almost caught him. The doubts and allegations were bundling when he decided to depart. I feel Jimmy Savile was unluckily so lucky to escape from all the penalties and punishment. He would be laughing in his grave that he left the world unpunished after all the crimes he committed.


CLOSING REMARKS

So who is responsible for creating Jimmy Savile out of Sir James Wilson Vincent Savile? (Yes, he was knighted in 1990). I firmly believe that the Thatcher government and the BBC are to be fully blamed. They surely had some idea. I refuse to believe that no one in the BBC or in the Thatcher government ever built a doubt or raised eyebrows about his offenses. I have read on the internet that he assaulted and raped many children and adults in television dressing rooms, hospitals, schools, children’s homes, and his caravan.

Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story is a reminder of the disgraced that depicts one of Britain’s darkest chapters that inflicts an eternal regret about the irresponsibility of the higher commands who chose to stay silent, see no evil hear no evil, and also preferred not to address the elephant in the room.

TV Review: Mai (2022)

Sheel Chaudhary works as a nurse in an old-age home and belongs to a middle-class family. Her daughter Supriya is mute and performs stand-up comedy in her college. One day, Sheel senses that Supriya is hiding something about her. And when she tries to express herself, she gets hit by a speeding truck and dies on the spot. Post-funeral, Sheel gets to understand that Supriya didn’t die from an accident, she was murdered and then the mother’s quest for the hidden answers behind the mystery begins.

To be honest, I like Mai‘s story and how this is continued in six episodes. But there are a lot of points that make the outcome, the finished product, look no finesse. The crafting of the show doesn’t give that strong impact.

One major flaw of the show is zero expressions of Sakshi Tanwar in some critical scenes. She didn’t get lost when Supriya suddenly got hit by the truck, it was more surprising than the accident. She killed Jawahar which was a game-changer but she didn’t get mad about it. Sheel bravely confronting the underground crime is unimaginable. She is ridiculed and insulted by the goons through verbal solid abuse and she behaves as if this is normal to her. When she emotionally breaks in front of her husband, she doesn’t utilize shouting at full throttle. Maybe Sakshi’s voice is like that but I imagine a motherly role going fully paranoid at her applied scenario. She is, without a doubt, an impressive actress but in a given role, I expected more rage and craziness.

The foundation of this show, Supriya’s death, is the most senseless sequence. I have never understood the idea of a character getting killed by a vehicle suddenly crashing into him/her. How is that possible first of all even if used for horror-feel? How come the characters involved before the accident are unable to detect the sound of a running vehicle? This was a truck! Sheel and Supriya kept communicating and couldn’t hear a truck coming toward them? You got to be kidding us. And then Supriya’s injuries by a speeding truck were laughable.

After a long time, I watch Prashant Narayanan and give another impressive performance. And I fail to understand how come this actor still didn’t get the deserving recognition in this showbiz. This actor is on par with Nawazudding Siddiqui and can give him a tough time in any given role. He has been criminally underrated for around twenty years. I really hope to see him getting ranked somewhere in the age of streaming services where many underrated actors are making their names.

Wamiqa Gabbi, Ankur Ratan, and Raima Sen were all first-rate. Seema Pahwa had an extremely short character that needed a push. Mai has a strong hold on violence. And overall, manages to give a kind of thriller the audience wants to watch. I just feel that Mai could have tested Sheel’s central characterization.

TV Review: Pam & Tommy

Superstar couples Pamela Anderson (Lily James) and Tommy Lee (Sebastian Stan) get married and tape very private recordings on their camera. After Tommy refuses to pay the money to the carpenter Rand Gauthier (Seth Rogen), he steals his case where he finds the tape that turns many fortunes and fates.

The experience of watching Pam & Tommy was like watching the American Crime Story. There is no surprise that the show was to attract a lot of audience due to a compelling story but more than that it is the makeup and hairstyling and powerful performances by Lily, Sebastian, and Seth that alarmed the enthusiasm. James Franco was supposed to play Tommy before Sebastian signed.

Lily James has to be a well-observed casting in recent times for a television show whose four-month high-tech gym sessions, incredible make-up, and hyper-realistic prosthetics for large breasts made her the most perfect choice to portray the Baywatch blonde girl.

One major issue this show is successful to address is the consequences of leaking private videos. In the era of the mid-1990s when the internet was a global sensation. Pamela Anderson’s leaked tape was one of the biggest headlines that brought incredible traffic on the internet. During the whole situation, Pamela is the one who went mentally disturbed because this was neither pornographic content nor was there consent from their side to put on the internet and make millions of dollars of business. None of Pam and Tommy signed a release to reach that far. And that difference is remarkably recognized.

Another significant factor that made the writing of the show critically on point was the gender value of the leaked tape. Tommy was less affected than Pam and Tommy couldn’t understand how it was different for her than him when both were in the video. Despite being the most iconic figure of sex-symbol of the 1990s, Pam had her feminine side to be concerned of and it was highly sensitive. After all, she was a model but not an actress from the adult film industry. And this is why the supporting role of Taylor Schilling as adult actress Erica carried a lot of weight.

The show also highlighted Pam’s association with both Playboy and Penthouse, and the business role Seth Warshavsky of Internet Entertainment Group played in all this saga.

Based on the 2014 Rolling Stone article “Pam and Tommy: The Untold Story of the World’s Most Infamous Sex Tape” by Amanda Chicago Lewis, the show holds a lot of accuracy about the details like Rand being on Tommy’s gunpoint, the heist, Tommy speaking to his own penis, Pam and Tommy’s first meeting with the lick and their wedding, Seth’s proposal to the couple, etc.

Pam & Tommy’s biggest win is giving the real feel of humiliation, the media adding insult to the emotional damage, and showing the audience how the introduction of the website took the internet users in those times by storm. Makeup, hairstyling, and costume design make this show even better. There must be an Emmy winner between Lily, Sebastian, and Seth.

TV Review: The Morning Show

(Before I commence passing my review, I would like to inform the readers of the future that the show is judged after watching the first two seasons. To date, the third season has been announced.)

After fifteen years of television dominance and winning eight Emmies, Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell) is fired by the UBA Network when the news breaks of his being responsible for multiple incidents in sexual misconduct. His on-air partner for fifteen years, Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) faces difficult challenges to maintain her professional stature as the show struggles to retain its domination on the American viewers. And during all this, the network hires a shocking replacement of Mitch in Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon), an outspoken field reporter whose creative ideas do not match with Alex. Thus, starts a very interesting phase of the news network.

Apple TV+‘s The Morning Show is the epitome of excellent writing about corporate corruption, abuse of power, sexual misconduct, and the struggle of women empowerment. This phenomenal piece of writing reminds me of Aaron Sorkin‘s, the audience is fully sold to watch the sensationalism of the making of news programs. The functioning of the news network is detailed with meticulous care.

One of the highlights where the show surpasses the quality of presentation is giving a proper dramatization of female employees working under the same roof after one major controversy bombs the reputation. TMS is picturized in the time period of America’s socially most critical period that is the rise of the MeToo wave in the first season followed by the global pandemic in the second season. Therefore, the show heavily focuses on the impact of the MeToo movement on this news network and the mental challenge the employees have to face after Mitch is fired.

In the same given period, TMS successfully decorates the professional rivalries in both upper and lower levels and daily political games between the network biggies. The parties, the glamour, the pride, the ego, the insecurities, etc. are all crafted with command. Employee love affairs, professional secrecies, work ethics, and heated arguments are credibly natural.

I think the recently concluded second season, despite superb writing and direction, is drier than the first season to some percentage due to lack of potential continuity. Mitch/Stella and Bradley/Laura takes a lot of minutes and are not even the core concerns of the main subject. The only plus about the writing of the second season is the build-up of the global horror that knocked the American life – the coronavirus. All the related content writing about the upcoming pandemic really breaks the buzz.

If the audience observes at dramatizing of employee relationships and scuffles, this will remind you of USA Network‘s Suits. Another excellence is handling the tragic events of the California Wildfire and the Global Pandemic magnificently. The productional dynamics and dramatic changes in the continuity are so compelling that the viewers can easily go into the heart of the show and grow in it.

The Green sisters of Friends, Rachel and Jill, reunited in The Morning Show.

And why not? The show is blessed with a potentially favorable cast of Steve Carell, Jennifer Aniston, and Reese Witherspoon in the lead, with the splendid support of Billy Crudup, Mark Duplass, and Karen Pittman, giving powerful performances. The Green sisters of Friends, Jennifer and Reese, were not only reunited but also became the first actors to be paid $2 million per episode.

There are numerous intense and brilliant argument and speech scenes. And this is what the audience wants, make a show blended with a favorable cast, fabulous writing, hot topics, hard-hitting dialogues, all orchestrated under a supervision of a thoughtful team of directors.

TMS has an interesting plotline, an exciting setup of aesthetics, a wise application of dark comedy, a very sound direction to build our enthusiasm for the show. And holds a lot of promises for the next season; and like me, I am certain that all the TMS fans are wishing that the new season happens this year instead of another two-year gap.

TV Review: The Golden Girls

Four old women, Dorothy (Beatrice Arthur), her 80yo mother Sophia (Estelle Getty), Rose (Betty White), and Blanche (Rue McClanahan) live together in Miami and become fast friends for years. During this time, these girls come across many incidents, relationships, women issues, and funny events. It is an unbreakable bond that keeps you entertain.

The Golden Girls was one of the earliest sitcoms that was majorly or fully based on women. A show that was run by an all-female lead cast back in the 1980s was a bold move for any producer in those times. We as the audience hardly remember such sitcoms where the female lead ran the business in the right direction. A few ‘female’ sitcoms that I remember to be released before The Golden Girls were Maude, The Facts of Life, The Mary Tyle Moore Show, and Laverne & Shirley. But the distinction The Golden Girls had was that the show was genuinely run by the four leading women. None of the male cast of the show had any capacity of a potential supporting character. Besides a few, mostly showed up in special appearances in one or a couple of episodes.

THE GOLDEN GIRLS — “One Flew Out of the Cuckoo’s Nest: Part 1 & 2” Episode 05/09/1992 — Pictured: (l-r) Estelle Getty as Sophia Petrillo; Bea Arthur as Dorothy Petrillo Zbornak; Betty White as Rose Nylund; Rue McClanahan as Blanche Devereaux– Photo by: Joseph Del Valle/NBCU Photo Bank

And the four golden girls were all talented artists. Rue had Maude and Mama’s Family in her credits and Estelle made her name in the theaters and got recognition from this show. Betty White was already a tv legend and Beatrice Arthur was an immensely popular feminist actress in theater and television. It was magic when they appeared together. The formula of their presence and collective comic timing worked thanks to solid writing throughout seven seasons and 180 episodes. It was not only a sitcom as a source of guffaws but also an opportunity to raise any concerns that women felt an obstacle in their walks of life like the elders facing the upstart generation, the status of a homosexual in the society, being overweight, choosing a career at an old age and facing the challenges, and many more.

The writing and performances in The Golden Girls are the heart and soul. The writers had so much to talk about and would construct a well-timed comic line. Each of the four leading characters carried weight and were tough on each other. You cannot say that Sophia was the show stealer for her being a tough Sicilian mother and getting the best jokes from the others. The others played prominent roles as well. Sophia’s daughter Dorothy, a school teacher, had the command in the house. Horny Blanche was obsessed with men and slept with many dozens of them. Swedish immigrant Rose was the group’s dumbest individual who just couldn’t get the point in the conversation and believe anything she is told.

I must mention how strange the chemistry of the Petrillo mother and daughter was. Estelle Getty who played mother Sophia was actually a year younger than Dorothy actress Beatrice Arthur. It was such an impressive make-up that used to take three hours to shape her into the character. But what an enjoyable character that turned out to be.

The Golden Girls has a loyal following within the LGBTQ community. That is because of the story arcs that brought gay characters to highlight their distinction. The sitcom was one of the first to tackle the issue of HIV/AIDS. All four leading actresses were gay supporters.

Legendary celebrities like Bob Hope, Mickey Rooney, Debbie Reynolds, Julio Iglesias, Sonny Bono, and Burt Reynolds appeared as guests in the sitcom that guaranteed the audience sticking to their television.

Here is one shocking FUN FACT! The-then unknown extra Quentin Tarantino impersonated Elvis Presley in one of the episodes, Sophia’s Wedding. That episode was so popular that the residual checks that Tarantino earned by its repeated airing helped him in the making of his debut film, Reservoir Dogs.

Not to forget, George Clooney showed up in one episode for a small role. He wanted a part in the show so he can qualify for his union medical insurance.

It has been almost three decades to this sitcom and as much as the voice of feminism has met its global recognition now, The Golden Girls represents the true nature of liberty and advocates the rights of women and their rank in society. This sitcom with four old ladies met huge success in the decade that was dominated by The Cosby Show, Married With Children, and Cheers. The popularity of the sitcom can be judged this way that the final episode of the show in 1992 was watched by 27.2 million people. The show is recommended to those who are willing to watch a comedy with a different plot and content.

My favorite episodes of The Golden Girls:
S01 – E02 – Guess Who’s Coming to the Wedding?
S01 – E03 – Rose The Prude
S01 – E04 – Transplant
S01 – E20 – Adult Education
S01 – E23 – Blind Ambitions
S02 – E01 – End of the Curse
S02 – E02 – Ladies of the Evening
S02 – E06 – Big Daddy’s Little Lady
S02 – E09 – Joust Between Friends
S02 – E23 – Son-In-law Dearest
S03 – E01 – Old Friends
S03 – E10 – The Audit
S03 – E14 – Blanche’s Little Girl
S03 – E23 – Mixed Belonging
S04 – E06 – Sophia’s Wedding (1)
S04 – E07 – Sophia’s Wedding (2)
S04 – E10 – Stan Takes a Wife
S04 – E17 – You Gotta Have Hope
S04 – E19 – Till Death Do We Volley
S04 – E21 – Little Sister
S05 – E03 – The Accurate Conception
S05 – E04 – Rose Fights Back
S05 – E11 – Edd Tide
S05 – E16 – Clinton Avenue Memoirs
S05 – E18 – An Illegitimate Concern
S06 – E06 – Wham, Bam, Thank You, Mammy
S06 – E09 – Mrs. George Devereaux
S06 – E12 – Ebbtide’s Revenge
S06 – E14 – Sisters of the Bride
S06 – E19 – Melodrama
S06 – E23 – Love for Sale
S07 – E03 – Beauty and the Beast
S07 – E04 – That’s For Me to Know
S07 – E11 – Room 7
S07 – E15 – Goodbye Mr. Gordon
S07 – E16 – The Commitments
S07 – E19 – Journey to the Center of Attention
S07 – E22 – Rose: Portrait of a Woman
S07 – E23 – Home Again, Rose (1)
S07 – E24 – Home Again, Rose (2)
S07 – E25 – One Flew Out of the Cuckoo’s Nest (1)
S07 – E26 – One Flew Out of the Cuckoo’s Nest (2)

TV Review: Good Times

Good Times was a very popular African-American sitcom of CBS in the 1970s that carried the torch of the Black American television entertainment legacy from Sanford And Son and passed it to The Jeffersons.

Good Times, Maude‘s official spin-off, existed in the All In The Family comedy universe released and aired as the third major sitcom. It was also developed by Norman Lear and created by Eric Monte and Mike Evans (who played George Jefferson‘s son Lionel in All In The Family and The Jeffersons).

And this sitcom was the need of the hour because All In The Family focused on a white working-class family on the Bunkers and Maude focused on a white rich family of the Findlays centering around a woman who believed in feminism and liberalism. So, developing a black American story became mandatory and this happened through the creation of Florida Evan‘s character who became the maid at the Findlays in Maude.

In Maude, Florida’s husband gets a job in Chicago and moves to the new locality, a ghetto, a poor neighborhood in the city where the African-Americans reside in the majority and the crime rate along with the police brutality is high.

Good Times focuses on the poor black family of the Evans comprised of husband James (John Amos), wife Florida (Esther Rolle), and their teenage kids J.J. (Jimmie Walker), Thelma (BernNadette Stanis), and Michael (Ralph Carter). The episodes develop their characters based on social and economic issues of the family along with age growth and family bonding.

John Amos and Esther Rolle as Mr. and Mrs. Evans were like a universal binding; they were so fitting together and the onscreen chemistry and their collective performances really helped make this show better and better.

But then there was their eldest son, J.J. who was the real deal of humor and the main soul of a terrific comedy that balanced humor with strong issues. And when I say ‘real deal’, Jimmie Walker as J.J. was the real deal. Every sitcom has a character who keeps the sitcom wild and exciting like Edith Bunker in All In The Family, Dr. Arthur in Maude, and Florence in The Jeffersons; J.J., was that product of comic relief.

It will be a surprise if I tell you that from AITFverse and between four major successful sitcoms of the 1970s, Good Times was the weakest. And by weakest, I mean the bar the standard this comedy-verse has is very high enough to consider Good Times amongst the greats.

The reason I call this show the weakest of all four is that the makers of the show, after a very promising start, began to give J.J.’s character the center stage more often. As much as Good Times could have raised much severe social and economic issues and challenges a poor Black family was suffering, this consideration became secondary to J.J.’s buffoonish acts getting more time than usual and shouting his catchphrase ‘Dy-No-Mite’ almost every episode. Sometimes, I felt his being too silly became more important than his family always being on the brink of getting evicted.

Esther Rolle and John Amos both passed their public opinions about such dislikeness where the sitcom was going and that became quite visible when J.J.’s catchphrase was used pretty less straight from the fourth season. But with sharp criticism came consequences. John Amos was infamously fired and his character was killed from the fourth season after his creativity conflicts with the writers.

And as expected, firing John Amos turned out to be the worst decision, and his character was badly missed in the remaining half of the show. Although, the writers killed the character very smartly but the show never looked the same. One positivity from killing the character helped in maturing J.J.’s character as becoming the man of the family. But the writing was more centralized towards family matters that were not really something of significance the audience was waiting to watch like Wilona and Thelma’s everchanging boyfriends, Florida dating Carl from nowhere, etc.

From left, American actors Ralph Carter, Esther Rolle (1920 – 1998), John Amos, Jimmie Walker, and BernNadette Stanis gather in the kitchen in a scene from the television show ‘Good Times,’ Los Angeles, California, 1975. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)

Another minus was Michael Evans’ disappointing character development who was called the militant midget for his black activism in the first half of the show when he was hardly 12 or 13 but that passion met cold and Michael was more of a lover boy later. Even his screen minutes drastically got less with time. Season 5 was easily the worst of all the seasons with no Florida Evans.

Yes, there were many plusses as mentioned above and the one I must not forget to write is Janet Jackson‘s character of a teenage girl who suffered child abuse from her mentally unstable mother. It was one of the critical issues that were highlighted in the show and the character gets justice when Wilona became her guardian.

Besides all the issues Good Times gets messed up with, the show is still unforgettable with its comic writing and content. For those, who are willing to watch a black sitcom or a family sitcom, Good Times is the one that will give you more joy and excitement.

Here are my favorite episodes from the show:
Episodes:
01. S01E03 – Getting Up The Rent
02. S01E06 – Sex And The Evans Family
03. S01E12 – The Check Up
04. So2E01 – Florida Flips
05. S02E06 – Thelma’s Young Man
06. S02E12 – The Windfall
07. S02E15 – Florida Goes To School
08. S02E16 – The Nude
09. S02E19 – The Dinner Party
10. S03E01 – A Real Cool Job
11. S03E02 – The Family Gun
12. S03E08 – Michael’s Big Fall
13. S03E14 – Cousin Cleatus
14. S03E15 – The Family Tree
15. S03E16 – A Place To Die
16. S04E02 – The Big Move (2)
17. S04E08 – J.J.’s New Career (2)
18. S04E09 – Grandpa’s Visit
19. S04E17 – Willona’s Surprise
20. S04E19 – A Stormy Relationship
21. S04E24 – Love Has A Spot On His Lung (2)
22. S05E01 – The Evans Get Involved (1)
23. S05E02 – The Evans Get Involved (2)
24. S05E03 – The Evans Get Involved (3)
25. S05E04 – The Evans Get Involved (4)
26. S05E20 – Willona, The Other Woman
27. S05E22 – Willona’s New Job
28. S06E06 – Stomach Mumps
29. S06E07 – J.J. The Teacher
30. S06E13 – House Hunting
31. S06E15 – Florida’s Favorite Passenger (2)
32. S06E17 – Where Have All The Doctors Gone?
33. S06E20 – A Matter Of Mothers
34. S06E21 – The End Of The Rainbow
35. S06E22 – The Evans’ Dilemma

TV Review: The Jeffersons

The story of CBSThe Jeffersons came into existence from the other CBS show All In The Family which focused on the lives of the Bunkers in the working-class area of Queens. A few characters of the Jeffersons family were playing supporting roles and extended cameos as Bunker’s neighbors.

The Jeffersons was the third and last most significant spin-off of All In The Family. Maude and Maude’s own spin-off Good Times were already airing before.

Norman Lear, the creator and developer of this comedy universe, had no such plans to have a separate sitcom for Bunker’s neighbors. It was the members of the Black Panther Party who met Norman Lear in his office and raised the topic of black portrayals in these existing sitcoms that gave birth to the idea of separating the Jeffersons from the Bunkers and give a try. The outcome was groundbreaking and culturally significant in US television history.

All In The Family ran for 9 seasons but The Jeffersons ran for 11 seasons and became one of the longest-running American sitcoms ever. The decade of 70s was also a milestone for black television entertainment with The Jeffersons being one of the pillars of the black sitcom cementing the trend for many dozens of Black sitcoms to lead in the following decades; the others being Sanford And Son (1972) and Good Times (1974). Soul Train in music and Roots in history were the other accomplishments on television for Black entertainment that decade.

Coming back to the review of this sitcom, the Jeffersons move from Queens to Manhattan after the patriarch George Jefferson (Sherman Hemsley) meets initial success in the dry-cleaning business.

Moving to a new lavish apartment, new characters in the neighborhood makes this sitcom even more special. The most prominent was the Willises (Tom and Helen), an interracial couple who became friends of George’s wife Louise (Isabel Sanford) and headache for George; their daughter Jenny (Berlinda Tolbert) who becomes Lionel‘s (Mike Evans) girlfriend and later his wife, Harry Bentley (Paul Benedict) the British neighbor who works for the UN, and Florence (Marla Gibbs) the talkative house-maid who is always on George’s nerve.

George is fond of no one in the new neighborhood and is greedy about generating more money all the time. His verbal one-on-one with Florence in every episode is the highest point of any rib-tickling humor in the show and worth enjoying.

Actress Marla Gibbs (as maid Florence Johnston) and actor Sherman Hemsley (as her boss, George Jefferson), appear together in the “Mr. Piano Man” episode of The Jeffersons.

The Jeffersons was communally significant for the black Americans to present a portrayal of a struggler who gives a shot into making money and becomes a successful entrepreneur. There was no such story centering around a black American who is rich and successful on which a comedy can really stretch to many seasons, this sitcom achieved it.

With 253 episodes, The Jeffersons held the record for most episodes in any black sitcom for around 25 years until House Of Payne broke in its 8th season.

In my observation, I believe the humor of the sitcom began to decline from its 8th season. I felt Norman Lear was stretching to create new tv records. The new arcs in the story, by that time, were not really that interesting. But the biggest disappointment about the show was CBS canceling the show, not bothering to inform the lead actors about the news, and not giving the show its proper and deserving finale. It was an insult after 11 years of the legacy of the sitcom and the hard work of the actors, writers, and directors.

Lastly, The Jeffersons will always be remembered for being the greatest black sitcom any American network has ever produced. I want to personally thank Norman Lear for creating this entire universe and to the Black Panther Party. Had they not stepped into his office, The Jeffersons would have never happened.

TV Review: Maude

Maude was the first spin-off in the fictional comedy universe of All In The Family. The sitcom was centered around the character Maude Findlay who was Edith Bunker‘s cousin. Edith was the main character and wife of Archie Bunker in All In The Family.

The need of the character came in demand to oppose Archie Bunker in the second season because Maude was a feminist and liberal woman, totally contrary to conservative and racist Archie. After Maude received popularity on her debut appearance in All In The Family, her character got her own sitcom which successfully ran for six seasons.

I do not have much knowledge about the significance of feminism in American television history but if this sitcom wasn’t the first then at least this was the first which substantially advocated women’s liberty and freedom of choice.

Just like All In The Family, Maude had many important topics to raise like a satire on high socialites who hesitate to raise funds, daughter Carol Traynor not getting a job because it was not fit for women, child behavioral issue when grandson Phillip gets angry with mother for being more moved towards her new boyfriend, or himself inviting his female friend when the family goes to the party, and many more.

And there was one topic that raised the eyebrows, the episodes “Maude’s Dilemma Part 1 & 2” which spoke highly in favor of abortion when 47-year-old Maude gets pregnant. It was shocking and because personally, I am strictly against abortion, I felt it was very irresponsible of the writers and producers to motivate instead of discouraging. But my opinion aside, I also believe that talking about the pros and cons of abortion in the year 1972 in a comedy show was way ahead of its time.

Maude will also be remembered for the introduction of the character Florida Evans, the Afro-American maid in the Findlays. The writing of Florida’s character-depth was astonishing and got a lot of weight in her supporting role. Her side of the story was so appealing that Florida got her own sitcom, Good Times which also was extremely successful.

Another significance of this show which immensely won my heart was on two occasions centering around the couples Maude and Walter, both occurring at the beginning of the fourth and fifth season. The first was when their relationship is at the edge of breaking when Walter decides to leave if Maude intends to run the election.

The second one was more serious and heart-boiling when Walter goes bankrupt. The writers brought attention from the humor in the rich family that people can suffer and can feel the pain of continuously going helpless. This dark element was badly missing in All In The Family and later in The Jeffersons (second spin-off).

Maude also was pretty careful in the pairing and relationship between Maude and Walter. There had been dozens of moments when things looked bad but somehow any of the two managed to hold and maintain their bond. Walter’s drinking issue got the tone of attention especially when he slaps her, something which is rare to be watched in sitcoms. And a few I wrote above and many more to enjoy.

I miss an element that is quite common now, crossovers. Not a single appearance of cousin Edith Bunker in Maude was bizarre. Not a single time the Bunkers came to meet the Findlays in six seasons which is quite strange. Same network, same producer, same universe, how come All In The Family and Maude were not connected. The same discrepancy in The Jeffersons, not once the Bunkers showed up in 11 seasons as Edith was Louise Jefferson‘s dear friend and favorite neighbor.

Anyway, Maude is one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1970s and a significant step in feminism and liberalism. Beatrice Arthur, who played Maude, was an outstanding actress. So are the other actors in the main characters. Maude was the platform for most of them. Rue McClanahan (Maude’s friend, Vivian Harmon) got The Golden Girls, Conrad Bain (Walter’s friend, Arthur Harmon) got Different Strokes, Adrienne Barbeau (Maude’s daughter) became the voice of Selina Kyle/Catwoman in Batman cartoons.

Recommended to the audience who are willing to watch quality humor and exceptional comic writing.

TV Review: All In The Family

Promotional still shows the cast from the American television show ‘All in the Family,’ Los Angeles, California, early 1970s. They stand in the doorway of their television address, 704 Hauser Street, Astoria, Queens, New York, and are, from left, American actors Jean Stapleton, Rob Reiner, Carroll O’Connor (1924 – 2001), and Sally Struthers. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)

All In The Family is about Bunker’s family situated in Queens, NYC where the patriarch Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor) is the only source for bread and butter. With that source comes Archie’s heinous bigotry which let down many verbal backlashes and neverending arguments at home. Wife Edith Bunker (Jean Stapleton) is a sweet woman, a hardworking housewife, and a typical example of a faithful wife. Daughter Gloria (Sally Struthers) is recently married to her jobless husband Michael Stivic (Rob Reiner). And they all live together.

Archie being a proud ‘white’ American, pro-Nixon, intolerant towards the blacks, Porto Ricans, and Jews, and his unacceptance to multiculturalism leads to many racial backfiring and hate consisting many dozens and dozens of episodes showing a reality about the society hesitant to change in the politically troubling decade of the late 60s.

But the best part is that this family of four is an example of tackling many sensitive issues in the most humorous writings ever. A tv show from 1971 speaking about racism, homosexuality, Vietnam War, women empowerment and liberty, atheism, rape, and so many sensitive subjects, it was way ahead of its time. Not only the writing of the show but the direction and performances of all the four leading casts made this sitcom and overall an American tv show of any genre one of the greatest shows of all time.

Not only was All In The Family culturally and politically significant in the US but was also successful in building its own universe where the supporting characters of the show got their own sitcoms as spin-offs and became popular sitcoms ‘Maude‘ and ‘The Jeffersons‘. Maude was Edith’s cousin and The Jeffersons were Bunker’s neighbors.

LOS ANGELES – JANUARY 1: ALL IN THE FAMILY featuring (clockwise from top left) Rob Reiner, Sally Struthers, Carroll O’Connor, (baby as Joey Stivic) and Jean Stapleton. Image dated January 1976. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

All In The Family won 22 Emmys from 55 nominations and is the first of the only four sitcoms in which all the leading cast won the Primetime Emmy Awards for their respective categories (Best Leading Actor and Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Actress).

All In The Family was also the beginning of the legendary writer and producer, Norman Lear on television who convinced CBS to run this show after two failed pilots.

America’s groundbreaking sitcom of television history is easily the greatest sitcom of the 70s and one of the greatest American shows of all time. Both TV Guide and Writers Guild of America has ranked the show 4th in their ‘greatest’ category.

There is a lot to write about this show as my fondness stretched to infinity episode by episode. I just loved Archie’s bigotry, Edith’s innocence, Gloria’s emotional fluctuations, and Mike’s scuffle with Archie. On a personal note, All In The Family is now convincingly one of my favorite sitcoms (either American or British).

TV Review: Parks and Recreation

PARKS AND RECREATION — “One Last Ride” Episode 712/713 — Pictured: (l-r) Chris Pratt as Andy Dwyer, Aubrey Plaza as April Ludgate, Retta as Donna Meagle, Rashida Jones as Ann Perkins, Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson, Aziz Ansari as Tom Haverford, Rob Lowe as Chris Traeger, Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, Adam Scott as Ben Wyatt, Jim O’Heir as Garry Gergich — (Photo by: Colleen Hayes/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

If a sitcom happens to be created, produced, or written by Greg Daniels, enter the name on your watchlist because there is a chance that you develop a fondness for his show. Personally, I had watched his American adaptation of The Office, Space Force, and then Upload before Parks and Recreation, and none of these disappointed me. In fact, The Office is one of my all-time favorite sitcoms.

Parks And Recreation give you the same vibes as The Office. Why not? After all, both the sitcoms have been set up in the office. If The Office was based on a fictional Dunder-Mifflin Paper Company in Scranton where that crazy Michael Scott was the Branch Manager then ‘Parks And Recreation’ is based on a fictional Pawnee City Hall where Leslie Knope is the deputy director in Parks and Recreation department.

Amy Poehler‘s Leslie character went through changes with time. Leslie was a bit silly in the first season and then her attitude towards her responsibilities changed especially when she involved herself in politics when her progress began to grab attraction and got offers to run the campaign. The PR to the political journey of Leslie was excellent.

Besides Leslie, my favorite character was Nick Offerman‘s Ron Swanson, the department director. He was socially detached and had parted ways with his wife, Tammy played by Offerman’s real wife, Megan Mullaly. His dialogues were sparingly thoughtful and sometimes a soft curmudgeon’s bible.

The writing of the show gave a lot of breathing to the supporting characters and made the Pawnee diary exciting. Correlated themes like media and journalism portrayals also helped in the plot continuity. Pawnee crackdown through the failing budget was also an interesting move.

Without a doubt, Chris Pratt‘s Andy Dwyer had the best character development in the show. From being a lazy ass to becoming a television celebrity, Andy’s journey was fun to watch.

At some point in the middle, I had a feeling that the show was possessing time and wasn’t continuing well. The comic timing of the characters was getting a little flat. Aziz Ansari as Tom Haverford was an average beginning in a couple of seasons but then I began to ask myself what the significance of the character really was. Tom was getting ridiculous minutes. Especially his comic partnership with Ben Schwartz‘s Jean-Ralphio in the show was extremely boring and annoying. If the latter’s contribution to the show was a question mark, the character’s sister Mona-Lisa raised the alarm about the decline of comic quality. Thank God, Jean and Mona were not promoted as regulars.

I will surely have one deep irritation about lacking the idea of not creating its own universe of department sitcoms. PR started after three or four seasons of The Office. The same team created both the shows, Greg Daniels and Michael Schur (yep, Dwight’s Amish brother, Mose Schrute). Both shows mostly ran together and that too on the same network, NBC. How could the producers not consider possible connectivity? Imagine Scranton-Pawnee crossovers! Michael Scott and Leslie Knope on the same stage!

Without a doubt, The Office was a way better sitcom than PR but the former should vanish from the mind in order to watch the fun of PR because, in all honesty, PR is really an exciting sitcom. I very much enjoyed it and will remember it for a long long time. The Office fans are definitely recommended to watch Parks And Recreation.