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1977-81 Sitcom “Soap”

Watching the first two seasons on Tubi. It starts out funny, then becomes laugh-out-loud, eye-wateringly hilarious with the introduction of Chuck and Bob in episode 7.

I know it was controversial during its original run, but imagine the outcry if it aired today!

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by Anonymousreply 170August 2, 2021 12:25 PM

This was one of my favorite shows when I was in high school, and my family loved it, too.

And as many laugh out loud moments as there were were, it would also suddenly jolt you with moments of sadness and tragedy.

A really terrific show with a fantastic cast. It launched Billy Crystal's career, and it was also one of the first TV appearances by hot, hunky Robert Urich as the tennis pro who was sleeping with everyone.

by Anonymousreply 1July 11, 2021 8:40 PM

I used to watch it when I was about 7 (very liberal parents) & loved it to death. The demon baby storyline legit scared me. Loved Jessica, thought Corinne was beautiful & Danny was a babe. They ran a parental discretion advised warning, & I remember asking my dad if we’d get in trouble if our next door neighbor cop found out I was viewing it.

by Anonymousreply 2July 11, 2021 9:50 PM

Shoap! Billy Cryshtal ish a gash!

by Anonymousreply 3July 11, 2021 9:58 PM

First time a main character was gay!

by Anonymousreply 4July 11, 2021 10:02 PM

Possibly the funniest scene in the run of the show:

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by Anonymousreply 5July 11, 2021 10:08 PM

It was supposed to go five seasons.

Reagan supposedly had it cancelled (along with Lou Grant).

by Anonymousreply 6July 11, 2021 10:17 PM

He would have

by Anonymousreply 7July 11, 2021 10:19 PM

One of my favourite Chuck and Bob scenes was when they met the Tates for the first time.

But as hilarious as this show was it did heartfelt ones exceedingly well.

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by Anonymousreply 8July 11, 2021 10:22 PM

[quote]Reagan supposedly had it cancelled

It was running out of steam by then. The ratings were dropping, the show wasn't even in the Nielson top 30 by that time. If anything, an attempt by the government to force the show off the air would have generated an uproar, which would have resuscitated it and kept it going. If Reagan or anyone else wanted it gone, the best thing to do would have been to just leave it alone and let it die on its own. It wasn't really even all that outrageous when all is said and done. Risque, but hardly dirty or obscene.

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by Anonymousreply 9July 11, 2021 10:23 PM

The theme music reminded me of taking a shit.

by Anonymousreply 10July 11, 2021 10:45 PM

That was some of Diana Canova's finest work.

Especially with her downright Emmy Award caliber scene (she was snubbed) with her learning that she was adopted. Diana looked nothing like either mother at all in any way.

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by Anonymousreply 11July 11, 2021 10:51 PM

That storyline with the cute teenager (James Baio) fucking his teacher had to have been controversial. I’ve been watching it on Tubi as well (I wasn’t born yet when it aired) and it is fucking hysterical on so many levels. It is so entertaining.

by Anonymousreply 12July 11, 2021 10:52 PM

As a 17-18 year, I found Billy Crystal's character extremely offensive. I was very disappointed that this was the first main gay character on a TV show.

A bit of trivia. B, as in Bob; is one of the hardest sounds of a ventriloquist. Jay Johnson had a lot of trouble on that show.

by Anonymousreply 13July 11, 2021 10:59 PM

R13, I guess no one told Jay to substitute the "B" sound with the "D" sound. I learned that trick from that Doug cartoon of all places.

Back on-topic: Ted Wass was kind of cute on Soap.

by Anonymousreply 14July 11, 2021 11:12 PM

Ted Wass has several scenes wearing a wifebeater. So sexy.

by Anonymousreply 15July 11, 2021 11:15 PM

Ted Wass gave good bulge in that show. See R5's clip.

by Anonymousreply 16July 11, 2021 11:26 PM

[Quote] It wasn't really even all that outrageous when all is said and done.

Check out all the jokes based on race and sexuality in this classic scene.

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by Anonymousreply 17July 12, 2021 12:05 AM

Such it was

by Anonymousreply 18July 12, 2021 2:02 AM


by Anonymousreply 19July 12, 2021 3:08 PM

I actually watched the first episode today. I am a huge Golden Girls fan so I thought I would give it a go, but I didn’t like the first episode. Does it get better?

by Anonymousreply 20July 12, 2021 3:53 PM

Yes, r20. The first two episodes are so-so, but it gets better as it goes along, and becomes laugh-out-loud hilarious starting with episode 7.

by Anonymousreply 21July 12, 2021 4:04 PM

I preferred Benson.

by Anonymousreply 22July 12, 2021 4:51 PM

One of the best comedy shows ever. I loved Jessica and Katherine Helmond! Bob was another very funny ”character”. Shame on ending it too soon.

by Anonymousreply 23July 12, 2021 5:18 PM

R20 Keep watching. When Chuck and Bob arrive it will become very funny.

by Anonymousreply 24July 12, 2021 5:19 PM

Ted Wass today. He looks good for 69.

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by Anonymousreply 25July 12, 2021 5:27 PM

I was a fan of this show back when it first aired but I watched R17's youtube link and didn't laugh once.

by Anonymousreply 26July 12, 2021 5:29 PM

R25 I would never have recognized him.

by Anonymousreply 27July 12, 2021 5:48 PM

It took about half a season to find its way and then once its did it was really funny. The second and third seasons were terrific. As someone else mentioned by the fourth season it had run out of gas and got weird and there wasn't much left to it. Not surprised when it was cancelled.

by Anonymousreply 28July 12, 2021 5:58 PM

I had a crush on Jimmy Baio in the last season (I’m younger than him so it’s okay). I think he is obese now and likely a Trump supporter.

by Anonymousreply 29July 12, 2021 6:12 PM

I love the show and watched it straight through four times on the Columbia House tapes, but I agree it kind of got off the rails once they gave Diana Canova her own show that was from the same producers but otherwise had nothing to do with this show. If they wanted to kill it, that was the best way to do it.

They also put it up against [italic]the Facts of Life[/italic], which ranked a lowly 74th place in its first season then skyrocketed to the Top 30 with some cast and crew adjustments, knocking ABC for a loop and forcing a move to Monday night.

The El Puerco storyline was the only one that worked that last season. Without Corrine, the show started to lack a clear focus. Jodie having sex with the female detective who found his baby and then through hypnosis becoming an old Jewish man … no. Just. No. And he had some of the best scenes in season 3 fighting for custody the baby in court and defending a gay man’s fitness to raise a child. Burt becoming a Buford Pusser-style folk hero while Mary became an alcoholic … WTF? Moving it to Monday and making it an hour long was a sign of despair. The advertisers still were uncomfortable with some of the content, and that plus declining ratings is what ultimately sealed their fate. I would find it more believable that the White House had the show canceled if Nixon had still been president at the time.

by Anonymousreply 30July 12, 2021 6:26 PM

I loved this show and yes,it was considered racy for its time. I had such a baby gayling crush on Danny,with Burt a close 2nd. God Burt had a wonderful head of hair. Ive rewatched it several times,and I still laugh constantly.

by Anonymousreply 31July 12, 2021 6:28 PM

If it hadn’t been for the Bible belt boycott, the show probably would’ve been in the Top 5 in the ratings. Its highest was #13.

Ironically, one of the boycotting ABC stations went on the show reruns not only of [italic]The Golden Girls[/italic] but [italic]Webster[/italic], which was created by a former writer from [italic]Soap[/italic].

by Anonymousreply 32July 12, 2021 6:32 PM

Went on to show

by Anonymousreply 33July 12, 2021 6:32 PM

Ted Wass was insanely hot on this show, not "kind of cute." They didn't undress him enough, though.

They couldn't figure out what they wanted of the gay character. He's gay, no, he's trans, no, he's straight and knocked up a woman, no, he's still gay, no, he's having another straight relationship. WTF?!?

by Anonymousreply 34July 12, 2021 7:05 PM

The only reason he wanted a sex change is because his boyfriend was a pro football player. He was against the operation and broke up with him because of it.

by Anonymousreply 35July 12, 2021 7:07 PM

[quote] He was against the operation and broke up with him because of it.

Actually, the football player dumped Jodie when he was in the hospital so Jodie swallowed 45 pills in a suicide attempt. He survived and decided not to get the sex change operation.

by Anonymousreply 36July 12, 2021 7:11 PM

They're sending the message that gay men shouldn't have to change to get a man. That's a positive message.

by Anonymousreply 37July 12, 2021 7:21 PM

I wish they’d given it a final last season. Susan Harris had the entire show mapped out for 5 seasons. Does anybody know what she had planned for season 5?

The show is LOL funny and the cast is damn near perfect.

by Anonymousreply 38July 12, 2021 8:08 PM

The final episode made me cry

by Anonymousreply 39July 12, 2021 8:20 PM

R29. Jimmy Baio is not a Trump supporter. I think he is in the record as being in disagreement with Scott Baio. I seem to recall they are second cousins and not friendly.

by Anonymousreply 40July 12, 2021 8:27 PM

[quote] It was running out of steam by then. The ratings were dropping, the show wasn't even in the Nielson top 30 by that time.

It was before my time but I've loved watching it. I've always wondered why, with the era of the mega primetime soaps happening when it was cancelled, they didn't try retooling it to go from a parody of Daytime soaps into one of Dallas, etc...

by Anonymousreply 41July 12, 2021 8:38 PM

It’s first 3 seasons were stellar television as others have said. I was 12 when it premiered. The way Jodie was written was disappointing, but storylines like Burt’s abduction by the aliens and Alien Burt had me howling. All of the cast were so damn good.

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by Anonymousreply 42July 12, 2021 8:49 PM

On CNN's History of Sitcoms series last night, there was a woman talking about Soap and specifically how they fucked up the Jodie character by first making him gay, then trying to make him transgender.

by Anonymousreply 43July 12, 2021 10:18 PM

Some bloopers I’ve never seen before.

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by Anonymousreply 44July 12, 2021 10:22 PM

R43 Then on ABC's big actual primetime soap, in the 1980s, they had Steven Carrington who was established as gay and then became a bisexual. So, I guess it was a little bit better than what they did with Jodie.

by Anonymousreply 45July 13, 2021 12:10 AM

Was Diana Canova considered the big breakout star of Soap? She was the only one to get her own show at the insistence of ABC.

I loved Jennifer Salt on this, but aside from Dutch, her character wasn't given much to do.

Supposedly, Billy Crystal and Rebecca Balding did not get along at all.

Was Roscoe Lee Browne made an official cast member?

by Anonymousreply 46July 13, 2021 12:22 AM

I was reading up on whether any of the 4 leads (Katherine Helmond, Robert Mandan, Cathryn Damon and Richard Mulligan) won Emmys for their roles. As fantastic as they all were, only Damon and Mulligan won (each once, the same year). Helmond was nominated all 4 years, but never won. Mandan never even got a nomination.

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by Anonymousreply 47July 13, 2021 12:33 AM

R44 I love bloopers! And that one had Barbara Rhoades - whatever happened to her?

by Anonymousreply 48July 13, 2021 12:34 AM

[quote] Mandan never even got a nomination.

That is a crime.

by Anonymousreply 49July 13, 2021 12:37 AM

R48 Barbara Rhoades' most recent credit is from ten years ago, when she appeared in 21 episodes of One Life to Live. She's 75.

by Anonymousreply 50July 13, 2021 12:42 AM

Reporters could never agree who was the bigger bitch to deal with during interviews, Cathryn Damon or Katherine Helmond.

by Anonymousreply 51July 13, 2021 12:43 AM

I loved this show too. Just my observation of the intro, how they contrast the rich family with the middle class family. There really wasn't that huge divide between the rich and the rest of us back then. The Tate mansion was big and nice, but not the grandiose mega mansions you see today. And the middle class Campbell house was hardly the working class hovel of later 90s and beyond sitcom middle class families like on Roseanne or The Middle.

Ok, that's my sociological observation for the day. Thanks Ronny Raygun for destroying the middle class and making the wealthy exponentially richer!

by Anonymousreply 52July 13, 2021 12:44 AM

Mulligan and Damon won the year of the SAG strike and so weren't able to collect their Emmys in person.

Guillaume won Supporting Actor in 1979, and then again as Lead Actor in 1985 playing the same role in Benson (which, despite lasting 3 years longer than Soap, never scored as high ratings as the parent show did during its first two seasons).

by Anonymousreply 53July 13, 2021 12:47 AM

R52 That was taken directly from soaps. If you look at the haves and have-nots on the soaps back then, the rich lived in nice mansions and the others lived in very nice middleclass homes even if they were "poor."

by Anonymousreply 54July 13, 2021 1:15 AM

[quote]Actually, the football player dumped Jodie when he was in the hospital so Jodie swallowed 45 pills in a suicide attempt. He survived and decided not to get the sex change operation.

The speech from Harold Gould - who played Jodie's hospital roommate - was so touching.

by Anonymousreply 55July 13, 2021 1:43 AM

The show two of the most heart-breaking moments ever on television. Number one, when Danny asks Elaine why she's always so mean toward the people who love and care about her and, number two, Elaine's death. Afterward, the show tried to pair Danny up with other women, including an interracial relationship, but it just wasn't the same.

by Anonymousreply 56July 13, 2021 2:18 AM

Remember when they tried to team Jody up with a lesbian in a non-sexual relationship.

Dinah Manoff was really good in the comedy scenes but when she had to have her confessional, you knew she was a real talent.

by Anonymousreply 57July 13, 2021 2:26 AM

Elaine was a terrible person when her character first started on the show. Nobody liked her because she was so mean.

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by Anonymousreply 58July 13, 2021 3:04 AM

Cathryn Damon was just perfect as Mary. The producers had a hard time getting to her, though.

They offered the part to Rue Mclanahan, who turned it down because she wanted to be Jessica and Katherine Helmond had already been cast. So they went with Salome Jens from Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, who didn't have the right effect because she was as neurotic as Burt. Then they shot another pilot with a different actress who wasn't right, either. Then they found Cathryn Damon.

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by Anonymousreply 59July 13, 2021 3:18 AM

Just discovered interesting trivia: Peter's original killer was supposed to be Chuck, with Bob testifying against him in court; the immense popularity of the duo caused creator Susan Harris to rewrite the story and keep Chuck and Bob on the show.

by Anonymousreply 60July 13, 2021 4:05 AM

I really liked this show and loved a lot of the characters, but it had some big drawbacks. Katherine Helmond's disturbing (to me) appearance was one of them. The Jodie storylines were pretty bad, and his shtick was horrible. I loved Burt and Mary, Dutch and Eunice, Billy, and Danny. There were some sexy men on that show.

by Anonymousreply 61July 13, 2021 4:24 AM

R56 God, Elaine's death was one of the saddest things I'd ever seen on TV at the time.

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by Anonymousreply 62July 13, 2021 10:52 AM

R62 One of the things that made this scene so heartbreaking was that it was totally unexpected and shocking.

Elaine had been kidnapped and managed to escape her kidnappers. She made it back to Danny and collapsed in his arms. That's when we found out she had been shot by her kidnappers when she escaped. She just wanted to make it back home to Danny before she died.

I remember watching that scene with my family. We were all in tears.

by Anonymousreply 63July 13, 2021 11:16 AM

You can find more of these on youtube

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by Anonymousreply 64July 13, 2021 12:30 PM

Billy really was perfect Jodie

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by Anonymousreply 65July 13, 2021 12:37 PM

This is silly silly but it is Katherine with French & Saunders and Ruby Wax

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by Anonymousreply 66July 13, 2021 12:44 PM

R46 Um...Robert Guillaume?

by Anonymousreply 67July 13, 2021 1:05 PM


by Anonymousreply 68July 13, 2021 3:40 PM

I found it hard to believe Billy Crystal would get as hot of guys as he got on Soap.

by Anonymousreply 69July 13, 2021 3:58 PM

[quote]Um...Robert Guillaume?

Browne replaced Guillaume after he left the show.

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by Anonymousreply 70July 13, 2021 5:05 PM

I am on episode 4 now. It IS getting better. But, why does the camera look so dingy. It was on the same time as Threes Company which looked very bright. Is it the type of camera or film?

by Anonymousreply 71July 13, 2021 9:23 PM

R71 I think it is because they want to make it look more like daytime. Soap was in the time period where soaps had gotten popular but not to the level they would shortly after it ended. Which was also when soap budgets got major upgrades and so did the look of them.

by Anonymousreply 72July 13, 2021 9:30 PM

r71, I suspect they were trying to capture the look of soap operas in general. Here is an episode of Ryan's Hope from 1977.

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by Anonymousreply 73July 13, 2021 9:31 PM

Thank you R72 and R73, it will help me appreciate the show more. It has been fun to watch and compare and contrast with The Golden Girls.

by Anonymousreply 74July 13, 2021 9:42 PM

Thank you to whoever posted those Chuck and Bob clips. I forgot how funny those scenes were and the idea that Bob would have to testify in court that Bob murdered Peter is absolute genius.

I agree with others that the show's momentum did not last and that the writers did not know what to do with Jodie, but man there are some comedic gems in the episodes and yes, it knew how to pull on heartstrings with some truly moving moments.

Jessica and Benson's relationship was especially sweet.

by Anonymousreply 75July 13, 2021 9:44 PM

[quote]Jessica and Benson's relationship was especially sweet.

Their friendship was fantastic. When he visited her in the hospital when she was "dying" was particularly touching. Let's not go into ghost! Jessica visiting Benson when she wasn't even dead.

[quote]But, why does the camera look so dingy.

I would guess it's because it was shot on tape and tape degrades over the years.

by Anonymousreply 76July 13, 2021 9:50 PM

Nighttime soaps just started getting popular and I remember a TV critic saying that this satirical format had run its course and he wanted the real thing so he switched over to Dallas and Dynasty.

by Anonymousreply 77July 13, 2021 10:56 PM

Because of this thread I had to YouTube Chuck and Bob's greatest hits. That was some funny shit. None of it would get on TV today, but it was fun watching.

by Anonymousreply 78July 13, 2021 11:01 PM

R75 If it had had 5th season and Benson had stayed uniting Jessica and Benson and kicking Chester out would have been good ending

by Anonymousreply 79July 13, 2021 11:04 PM

I bet the 5th season would have been great. It wanted to go out big.

by Anonymousreply 80July 13, 2021 11:08 PM

According to IMDb:

“The show was intended to run for only five seasons. Even if ABC renewed the series, there would only have been one more year to resolve all of the cliffhangers.”

by Anonymousreply 81July 13, 2021 11:15 PM

The cliffhangers were resolved in the first month or two of the next season, or even the first episode or two. It wasn't resolutions we were denied so much as a closure.

by Anonymousreply 82July 13, 2021 11:20 PM

I'm up to Jessica's trial and it's uproariously funny. Helmond strutting into the courtroom like she's a STAR is classic!

by Anonymousreply 83July 14, 2021 3:24 AM

R83 my bf busted a guy during that scene, it’s LOL funny & Helmond was a genius! She made me laugh & cry multiple times through the run of the show.

by Anonymousreply 84July 14, 2021 4:33 AM

Busted a gut

by Anonymousreply 85July 14, 2021 4:34 AM

It was definitely a "water cooler" show you talked about the next day. I was in 8th grade the year it started and the day after it aired we'd talk about it in science class with our HOT, young, porn star look a like science teacher who frequently wore tight white pants with colored underwear. He was REALLY into the show and we'd spend half the class talking about Soap. He'd try to get us back on track but it took very little to get him going again.

He was a sinewy guy. Hairy.

by Anonymousreply 86July 14, 2021 5:59 AM

I watched the first season a few years ago.

Doris Roberts was very funny as the mother of the priest who Diana Canova tempted out of the priesthood. She'd physically attack her each time the priest left the room and then be all normal when he came back.

And this clip I'd seen before but Billy Crystal saying Plato was gay and Katherine Helmond saying Mickey Mouse's dog was gay???????!!!!! is a great joke.

by Anonymousreply 87July 14, 2021 6:32 AM

R83 Helmond should have got an Emmy. She was robbed.

by Anonymousreply 88July 14, 2021 11:19 AM

The Chuck and Bob scenes were, for me, the only bits of the show I didn't like.

by Anonymousreply 89July 14, 2021 12:34 PM

[quote] Helmond should have got an Emmy

Oh, dear!

by Anonymousreply 90July 14, 2021 1:19 PM

R90 If that person is from the UK, then that variant is correct in their English.

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by Anonymousreply 91July 14, 2021 1:32 PM


by Anonymousreply 92July 14, 2021 1:39 PM

For r87.

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by Anonymousreply 93July 14, 2021 1:44 PM

R90 Not everyone here speaks English as first language. Try my first language Finnish and let me react. You sound pathetic, but I’m sure you know it already.

by Anonymousreply 94July 14, 2021 1:55 PM

The show had some of the best character actors as guests and recurring. Doris Roberts death scene was a classic, with John Byner trying to give her CPR, and then finally just pounding his little fists on her chest.

Inga Swenson was a real scene stealer. AHA! Yessica is going to YAIL!

by Anonymousreply 95July 14, 2021 2:18 PM

I loved the storyline where Jessica got kidnapped by El Puerco, then she fell in love with him and started calling him "El."

by Anonymousreply 96July 14, 2021 2:23 PM

R91 Best response to an “Oh, dear” I’ve seen on DL!

by Anonymousreply 97July 14, 2021 10:39 PM

This gayling had a huge crush on Dutch. Eunice was a lucky gal!

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by Anonymousreply 98July 15, 2021 12:52 PM

R98 God, I was in love with Dutch, too!

by Anonymousreply 99July 15, 2021 2:01 PM
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by Anonymousreply 100July 15, 2021 2:09 PM

The 1970s and 1980s really were a golden age for television sitcoms. This show is proof of that.

And yes, not only do I agree with whoever said that Katherine Helmond deserved an Emmy for this show, but it is fucking insulting that ABC stuck her on such a woefully inferior show after this one or that it ran twice as long without being the least bit funny.

by Anonymousreply 101July 15, 2021 2:29 PM

This is my favorite scene with Chuck and Bob. And Richard Mulligan going on about bagels. Classic.

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by Anonymousreply 102July 15, 2021 2:49 PM

Would it be blasphemous to suggest that Susan Harris’s work has aged better than Norman Lear’s?

by Anonymousreply 103July 15, 2021 2:51 PM

Perhaps, r103, but I would agree. At least with Soap, I don't get the impression I'm being lectured to about the issues, as one does with All in the Family or Maude; instead, the learning feels integrated into the story and characters. Also, the comedy has a surreal farce aspect to it that Lear's comedy doesn't.

by Anonymousreply 104July 15, 2021 2:59 PM

I always thought Chuck was a cutie too. Nice tight little body. Heres a downer,hes now 72 !

by Anonymousreply 105July 15, 2021 5:30 PM

Did you know that Bob is in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History?

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by Anonymousreply 106July 15, 2021 5:36 PM

Susan Harris created two great sitcoms, Soap and The Golden Girls but everything else was dreck.

Norman Lear didn't really create shows. Sanford & Son and All in the Family were adapted from successful British sitcoms. Maude and The Jeffersons were spinoffs. And, other people really created Good Times and One Day At A Time. Lear was a great producer.

by Anonymousreply 107July 15, 2021 10:31 PM

[quote]Susan Harris created two great sitcoms, Soap and The Golden Girls but everything else was dreck.

Not True. Empty Nest and Benson were good as well.

by Anonymousreply 108July 15, 2021 10:44 PM

R108 No, no they weren't but it's all subjective.

Even when you have awful taste.

by Anonymousreply 109July 15, 2021 10:46 PM

R109 Considering both shows won Emmys, I don't think it's as subjective as you think.

Besides, Empty Nest gave us Park Overall.

by Anonymousreply 110July 15, 2021 10:48 PM

Benson was good because it had Benson.

by Anonymousreply 111July 15, 2021 10:49 PM

Benson in "Benson" was Benson Lite.

Not nearly as much fun as Benson on Soap.

by Anonymousreply 112July 15, 2021 10:54 PM

Rene Auberjonois was also quite good on Benson. Inga Swenson was better in small doses on Soap than as a constant presence on Benson, though.

by Anonymousreply 113July 16, 2021 5:34 AM

Since no one has mentioned him yet, I would like to give a shout-out to Eugene Roche, aka E. Ronald Mallu. Hilarious character actor! And a fine human being! Happy to say I knew him, he was one of my dad's best friends.

by Anonymousreply 114July 16, 2021 9:35 AM
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by Anonymousreply 115July 16, 2021 10:30 AM

R102 the chemistry between Billy Crystal & Jay Johnson was the best on the show. They just played off one another beautifully.

by Anonymousreply 116July 16, 2021 10:53 AM

R24 to this day I still use the line, “I don’t need this aggravation from the lower-middle class!”

by Anonymousreply 117July 16, 2021 10:55 AM

"Benson" the spinoff was fine, but "Empty Nest" was awful. Predictable plots and the casting was terrible: Mulligan was better as a supporting player than a star and the daughters were just grating.

by Anonymousreply 118July 16, 2021 11:02 AM

Of course a homophobic misogynist like you hates a show with a lesbian on it.

by Anonymousreply 119July 16, 2021 1:17 PM

I hated that breeder bitch Carol. It sounds like Rebecca Balding was just as big a bitch in real life if she and Billy Crystal didn't get along and she barely worked after this show was canceled.

by Anonymousreply 120July 16, 2021 1:19 PM

r120, I'm into the 2nd season and Carol is BEYOND annoying. Part of the problem is the story -- it seems very forced and unconvincing -- plus Rebecca Balding plays the character as needy and possessive, which is very alienating; and the dislike between Crystal and Balding is so obvious. So far, it's the first major misstep in terms of casting on the show.

by Anonymousreply 121July 16, 2021 1:32 PM

And that miscasting had a ripple effect on the rest of the series since she was the mother of Jodie's baby and the next time he had network-imposed breeder sex, it was with the woman who found Wendy for him. That was the line.

This show and [italic]Silver Spoons[/italic] do the most to explain why I love men and hate heterosexuality.

by Anonymousreply 122July 16, 2021 1:35 PM

Even with Jodie's character flaws, he's still the most sane member of the family by default. Burt once said he would have less of a problem with someone dating a goat than a guy dating another guy. This was during a scene when Danny was dating a Black woman (Lynne Moody, later of [italic]Knots Landing[/italic]).

by Anonymousreply 123July 16, 2021 1:38 PM

R123 true. Jodie made some drastic and silly decisions and said some things which wouldn’t be seen as politically-correct today, but by the standards of the show ans the time he was an unusually smart and sensitive and rational person compared to those around him. In context, it’s a refreshing portrayal. Most importantly, he didn’t scream or mince or lisp like most other gay caricatures of the time, nor did he have effete interests or any affected mode of dress or speech. He was just a regular everyday young man in regular clothes who liked regular things, trying to get by.

by Anonymousreply 124July 16, 2021 1:48 PM

Jodie was a Baby Boomer and that generation should have been the last to grow up with that kind of homophobia. That's the only reason any gay man would want to be a woman or be with a woman: internalized homophobia. The show was smart enough to recognize that but still failed to give him a happy ending — or an ending at all, really. He just remained in limbo as the old Jewish man.

He also makes TV commercials for a living, and the advertising industry was largely responsible for pushing that pre-Stonewall mentality that you must be heterosexual in order to be accepted, and that was still entrenched if real-life advertisers were a source of opposition to the show.

by Anonymousreply 125July 16, 2021 1:53 PM

I finished Season 1, and all in a week! I love this show! But, I can’t see myself watching it again and again.

by Anonymousreply 126July 18, 2021 9:52 AM

This is an interesting promo shot from 1977, from one of the unaired pilots.

It features the second Mary Campbell (Sally Kemp), who was replaced by Cathryn Damon.

And Geoffrey Scott (Dynasty, Dark Shadows), who I guess was Peter Campbell before Robert Urich?

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by Anonymousreply 127July 21, 2021 5:14 AM

This scene from season 2 is frequently cited as one of the show's best.

The four female leads sitting around eating coffee cake and talking about how much they like sex.

Maybe the first time the word "horny" was said on prime-time TV? Also the prototype for all the Golden Girls cheesecake consumption scenes.

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by Anonymousreply 128July 21, 2021 8:28 AM

It's interesting, looking back, that the show had so many female characters who were portrayed as sexually aggressive.

Corinne seduced Father Tim. Elaine demands sex from Danny at gunpoint. A few episodes later, Carol practically rapes gay Jodie. Sally tries desperately to seduce Danny and Burt. And that's just in the first season and a half.

Hide this show from the Gen Z Twitter mobs who would have it banned before learning it was created and all its episodes written by a woman.

by Anonymousreply 129July 21, 2021 8:43 AM

R129 I am currently on season two and I am shocked by all the rape jokes. This show is fantastic! So many touching scenes.

The two main sisters are both so good, especially Mary who is able to make the “long suffering house wife trope” into an actually interesting character. And Jessica Tate, while clearly cut from the same fabric as Rose Nyland, is a far more fun character. Where as Rose is just dumb, Jessica has a floating air about her. It is clear which character archetypes Susan Harris later used for Golden Girls (Bob and Chuck being the Sophia, Bensen and Dorthory, Jessica and Rose).

by Anonymousreply 130July 21, 2021 10:06 AM

Season 2 is when the show really clicks. The writing is exceptional.

Dinah Manoff should have been Emmy nominated for the scene where Elaine explains why she's so horrible—her perfect sister died, and her father asked, "Why couldn't it have been you?" And then Elaine dies in the touching scene posted upthread.

The coffee cake scene. Corinne's possessed baby and Jessica's monologue that exorcises the demon. The Detective Donohue-Jessica-Chester triangle. Danny and mob moll Millie. Benson being Benson (and winning Robert Guillaume an Emmy).

For some weird and wrong reason, this was the only season the show wasn't nominated for Best Comedy Series.

by Anonymousreply 131July 21, 2021 10:26 AM

[quote]The two main sisters are both so good, especially Mary who is able to make the “long suffering house wife trope” into an actually interesting character. And Jessica Tate, while clearly cut from the same fabric as Rose Nyland, is a far more fun character. Where as Rose is just dumb, Jessica has a floating air about her.

These are really good observations, R130.

Katherine Helmond talks about how she came up with Jessica—she based her on a family friend who had a childlike mentality but attracted a wealthy husband who adored her. In another part of that interview, she says Susan Harris told her she got the part because she didn't play Jessica as dumb.

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by Anonymousreply 132July 21, 2021 10:36 AM

R127 Guy next to Mulligan looks so alike he could be his real son

by Anonymousreply 133July 21, 2021 11:15 AM

In that cast picture Baio looks fat. They must have gotten him to slim down before the final pilot.

by Anonymousreply 134July 21, 2021 1:02 PM

Shoap! Billy Cryshtal ish a gash!


No Lizsha, Billy never had the snip.

by Anonymousreply 135July 21, 2021 1:13 PM

Helmond's facial reactions are priceless. The scene where Mary tells Jessica that Jodie is going to be a father had me laughing hysterically.

And Robert Mandan doesn't get enough praise. The scene where he wakes up after surgery with amnesia, his head wrapped up, and he looks in the mirror:

"I'm Gunga Din!"

"No, Mr. Tate, you're not Gunga Din."

(Looks in mirror again)

"I'm Gloria Swanson!"

by Anonymousreply 136July 21, 2021 1:50 PM

It really is one of the all time great sitcoms and under appreciated.

One of the few shows that could effectively do both hysterical comedy scenes AND emotionally charged and poignant drama scenes all in the same episode. That's very tough to do.

The five main leads, Helmond, Damon, Mulligan, Mandan and Guillaume were just superb.

And, Chuck and Bob were a brilliant comedy creation.

by Anonymousreply 137July 22, 2021 4:38 AM

Jessica to Elaine on her wedding day:

You look very nice. In that dress, no one would guess you're trash.

by Anonymousreply 138July 22, 2021 5:34 AM

It wasn’t half as funny as it thought it was.

by Anonymousreply 139July 22, 2021 5:40 AM

No, R139, it wasn't.

It was twice as funny and still holds up almost 50 years later.

by Anonymousreply 140July 22, 2021 6:30 AM

There's no accounting for taste.

by Anonymousreply 141July 22, 2021 1:38 PM

r130, it's kind of funny that you think Benson was the archetype for Dorothy, since Dorothy was very much based on Bea Arthur's public persona (and the pilot script originally described her as "a Bea Arthur type"), which certainly predated Soap and Benson (and Harris wrote for Maude before either). If anything, Benson was a play on the sarcastic domestic who was smarter than those around him, like Florida on Maude.

by Anonymousreply 142July 22, 2021 2:16 PM

If anything, the Sophia character was a steal of Mother Dexter from Phyllis

by Anonymousreply 143July 22, 2021 3:15 PM

Thanks to OP, I just found out this was on Tubi so I’ve been watching it. Now they’re at the trial and I noticed the judge’s last name is Petrillo.

by Anonymousreply 144July 22, 2021 10:08 PM

So I splurged and bought A.S. Berman's Soap! The Inside Story of the Sitcom that Broke All The Rules, and, r71, there is this bit about why the visual aspect had a darker hue:

Associate producer Masha Posner: "Before we started shooting, we went to Frederick's of Hollywood and bought some black stockings and we put the stockings over the lens of the camera, and that gave us the look we wanted."

Director J.D. Lobue: "We scrimmed the filter wheels in the cameras to give it a softer look. I didn't know they came from Fredericks' (I'm sure this would have made Jerry Falwell cringe), but we knew they were like silk. We went for a film look; we did more cross key lighting and softened the look of the hard-edged video."

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by Anonymousreply 145July 26, 2021 8:35 PM

And another cool bit, this time regarding the famous scene where Jodie hides Bob in the refrigerator referenced at r102:

"That's one of my favorite scenes," says Jay Johnson. "I remember the genesis of that. Billy Crystal came to me one day said, 'What would happen if Chuck didn't have Bob anymore?' We started talking about it and I think he pitched the scene. I said, 'Jeez, he'd probably try to make a puppet out of anything that he had,' so we started coming up with ways to interact that way...."

Bob's "You know, that little light stays on" was also a rare example of an ad lip on Soap, stage manager Carl Lauten points out. "Jay thought of that during the air show [the performance that immediately followed the taped dress rehearsal]. That was written like that, he just did it when he pulled Bob out as they were leaving. I'm glad it was on mike and they didn't pull off of him because the line wasn't scripted."

by Anonymousreply 146July 26, 2021 8:42 PM

I watched this even though I wasn’t allowed to. This and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. The Benny Hill show was also a part of my weekly repertoire. I was just a kid, but I understood the snark and laughed my ass off every time.

Soap was one of the greats.

Also, more than honorable mentions to MASH, The Jeffersons, Sanford & Son, and All in the Family. 🥰

Gosh, I miss 70s-80s television.

by Anonymousreply 147July 26, 2021 8:49 PM

yes!!!! r146 Bob in the fridge was amazing. the teeth chattering, and then that line. So fun to hear it was an ad lib. Such smart comedy.

by Anonymousreply 148July 27, 2021 2:15 PM

From r5 for r16 and the rest of us

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by Anonymousreply 149July 27, 2021 2:20 PM

R145 That’s interesting. In the 1970s, Norman Lear’s sitcoms looked videotaped, whereas shows from MTM Productions looked filmed, but they didn’t have the instantaneous pieces of schmutz in the frame that film had. That absence can also be seen today when watching a high quality stream of an MTM show. Your post makes me wonder if the shows that looked filmed were actually recorded on videotape using modifications to make the video look like film.

by Anonymousreply 150July 28, 2021 1:02 AM

I wonder if the scrimming of the lenses is why prints of the show seem to look like shit today. It degraded the already low-res videotape.

The DVDs of the show are just terrible quality—like somebody recorded the shopworn syndication prints and slapped them on DVD. And the quality on Tubi is about the same.

It's not just the natural aging of videotape: the Norman Lear shows of the time look better on DVD and streaming.

by Anonymousreply 151July 28, 2021 3:09 AM

Sony let Shout! Factory have most of the Lear shows, and they at least managed not to cram so many onto a disc, which is why they look better. Some of them needed those Shout! box sets to make it to the end at all.

They did the original [italic]Soap[/italic] box sets on the cheap; those were released in the days when they threw season one of just about anything onto DVD to see if it would sell. Apparently it did because they made it to the end. By contrast, the abysmal [italic]Who's the Boss[/italic] bombed resoundingly on disc, not even selling as well as concurrent kid-centric shows such as [italic]Webster, Punky Brewster,[/italic] and [italic]Small Wonder[/italic]. The quality of the content will always override the technical quality.

by Anonymousreply 152July 28, 2021 4:04 AM

R151 & R152 The Norman Lear shows always looked sharper to me than MTM shows, even on the old 480i cathode-ray SD TVs. I had assumed it was because the former were on videotape, and the latter were on film. One of the things I noticed during the transition from SD TV shows on cathode ray tube TVs to the same shows on early LCD/plasma TVs is that, no matter how they looked on the old TVs, they always looked worse (e.g., fuzzy and darker) on the flat-screen TVs. I deliberately kept a tube TV because the old shows looked much better to me on them. Once 720p and 1080p HD TV came along, it seemed that some of the old shows didn't look so bad on HD TVs (perhaps by then the shows had been upscaled). Maybe Soap hasn't been upscaled at all or as well as other shows.

by Anonymousreply 153July 28, 2021 6:10 AM

This website mentions some Sony-owned shows as having been converted to HD, but [italic]Soap[/italic] is not one of them.

The Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Blu-ray re-release of the entire run of [italic]Fraggle Rock[/italic] was possible because The Jim Henson Company paid for the actual upconversions for HBO reruns.

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by Anonymousreply 154July 28, 2021 6:15 AM

I thought it wasn't possible to upconvert videotaped shows of the '70s to HD.

If it is possible, it's a crime that NBC hasn't done it for the original SNL. All those early episodes look like watching TV through a Coke bottle.

by Anonymousreply 155July 28, 2021 6:27 AM

This is a recent technological development. They've also used it on [italic]Monty Python's Flying Circus[/italic] which looks better than ever.

by Anonymousreply 156July 28, 2021 6:29 AM

Relative to an earlier comment, a friend got to interview K. Helmond, said she was terrific.

by Anonymousreply 157July 28, 2021 7:01 AM

R155 I think videotaped SD shows can be upconverted, but I believe the source material is by definition limited to 480i resolution, so the upconversion would consist of replicating existing interlace-format lines and merging them into progressive-format digital. How well that is done could make a big difference in the quality of the product.

TV shows filmed on 35 mm film apparently don't need to be upconverted because they already contain enough resolution when transferred to 1080p digital format. Desi Arnaz was incredibly forward-thinking because he filmed I Love Lucy on 35 mm film, which was outrageous at the time. I read that Desilu paid for filming in 35 mm, because CBS refused, in exchange for Desilu owning the rights to repeats of ILL instead of CBS. That of course made a fortune for Desilu.

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by Anonymousreply 158July 28, 2021 7:03 AM

R156 That's nice to know, because British TV shows in the 1960s and 1970s looked bad to me on US TVs because of the different broadcast formats (PAL vs. NTSC, respectively) that apparently couldn't be converted well at the time.

by Anonymousreply 159July 28, 2021 7:07 AM

That's interesting, R158. Makes sense—I've been seeing I Love Lucy in syndication on the dinkiest indie stations since the early '80s, and it's always looked way better than anything else in reruns.

Meanwhile, I started watching Soap on WGN in the late '80s, and it looked terrible even then. But I'd read syndication prints were often copies of copies of copies.

But on streaming, there's no excuse. This is a classic show that deserves proper treatment.

by Anonymousreply 160July 28, 2021 7:12 AM

Is the book worth reading?

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by Anonymousreply 161July 28, 2021 2:08 PM

You might as well.

by Anonymousreply 162July 28, 2021 2:55 PM

Ringing endorsement. I can just picture that quote on the book cover:

[bold]"You might as well!" —Datalounge[/bold]

by Anonymousreply 163July 28, 2021 4:00 PM

I bought the book at R161 a few years ago. It's a fun read with a lot of behind-the-scenes detail. They go episode by episode and pull in all kinds of people involved with the show to comment. I've pulled it back out since I've started re-watching the show on Tubi. I recommend it if you're a fan.

by Anonymousreply 164July 28, 2021 9:32 PM

It’s not like anybody’s ever going to write another book about the same show.

by Anonymousreply 165July 29, 2021 1:41 AM

Just rewatched S1 and S2 on Tubi.

Richard Mulligan was really a magnificent, underrated comedian in both line delivery and physicality. And Ted Wass was nearly his equal, mirroring Mulligan perfectly. What a team. I'm sure they wished they'd cast Burt and Danny as real father and son. And so unusual to have someone as stunningly handsome as Ted Wass be so good at physical comedy; Dick Gautier tried but was neither as handsome nor as talented as Ted.

I wish they'd cast Jennifer Salt as the ultra-promiscuous Corinne and Diana Canova as career woman Eunice. I think it would have worked better and given Jennifer Salt more to do (she was by far the better actress).

No idea why they cast Scott Baio, with his blue-collar Jersey accent, as a member of the Connecticut Tates. No one else talked like him.

There were some cheap gay jokes, but there were cheap jokes about everyone, and no one else on TV at the time was attempting to write a well-rounded gay character like Jodie. Kudos to Susan Harris, who also wrote in a lesbian character.

by Anonymousreply 166August 2, 2021 5:20 AM

It was Jimmy Baio, R166, but I agree — his casting made no sense.

by Anonymousreply 167August 2, 2021 5:40 AM

R167 Casting of families on TV shows and films frequently makes little sense. They're always casting people who couldn't possibly be related to each other.

But, Jimmy Baio was GOOD on the show. He was a better actor than creepy Scott. It just made no sense that Billy had a Brooklyn accent.

Of course, Ted Wass and Billy Crystal didn't look like they could be brothers either.

by Anonymousreply 168August 2, 2021 7:50 AM

Tedd Wass always bulged, dressed right. I have to get Tubi.

by Anonymousreply 169August 2, 2021 12:19 PM

A little Mulligan went a long way. That's one reason why "Empty Nest" was so unwatchable.

by Anonymousreply 170August 2, 2021 12:25 PM
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