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The Rockford Files (NBC, September 1974-January 1980), To a 12-year-old boy who hated “Good Times” "Happy Days" and “Laverne & Shirley,” this show was the coolest -- an ex-con private eye who lived in a trailer on a Malibu beach, had a loving but disapproving father, a hot lady attorney, a gold Pontiac Firebird, and constant trouble following him. 30-plus years later, its appeal is just as great. There was no good vs. evil here, and lots of gray areas. Rockford’s moral code was relative. Rockford was everyman, human and fallible. He lied, impersonated cops and authority figures and pulled cons when needed. He was a coward, lazy, always late with his bills, constantly set up by his clients (who didn’t always pay), sold out by his friends (especially Angel Martin), beat up, hated by all but one cop, and always had to end up using his wits, fists, or Firebird to get out of trouble. His wisecracks didn’t always work (To thug beating him up: “Does your mother know what you do for a living?”) To some that may sound grim, but there was humor and humanity in all this. James Garner is a terrific actor, and Jim Rockford is one of his greatest characterizations. If that isn’t enough, note that one of “Rockford’s” key writers was David Chase. You can see the roots of "The Sopranos" in the way Rockford has to deal with the mores and characters of the Mafia. None of the bad guys are one-dimensional or ever play it straight. I’d argue that without Jimbo, Angel and Rocky, I'm not sure T, Carm and "Chris-tu-fer" would have been such vivid characters. Hill Street Blues (NBC, January 1981-May 1987). In college, I had an emotional investment in those characters. The best ensemble drama I’ve ever watched. Even 25 years later, nothing’s come close. The Odd Couple (ABC, September 1970-April 1975). This show proved that two divorced man could not live together without driving each other crazy. Judged purely for laughs and repeat watching, the inspired “opposites” casting of Tony Randall and Jack Klugman was the best matchup since Laurel and Hardy. The setups and silliness just plain worked. Usually celebrity guest casting is awful, but that was the premise of some of their funniest episodes – especially those with Howard Cossell vs. Oscar Madison. It just worked. The Sopranos. There’s no reason to add to what you wrote. All in the Family – Again, I think you said it best. It was nothing like any sitcom that came before. Or really since, if you think about it. Honorable Mention: "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "The Bob Newhart Show," "Taxi," and "WKRP in Cincinnati" (first two seasons only)."
Jim, I'm a big fan of your blog and the car looks great. I'm sorry to say that I found "Pioneers of Television" to be kind of cheesy and superficial. And poorly written. I wouldn't expect you to do a backwards 180 in your '77, but when the narration talks about Garner inventing the "Rockford" stunt, the least they could do is show footage from the Seventies of it. I think the producers were too cheap to pay for it, and it showed.
Here's one reason I'm feeling optimistic about the Mets 2010 season
Toggle Commented Apr 7, 2010 on Put Him in Coach! at BikeHacks
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Repman, I agree with you that Muley's perspective is both ignorant and antagonistic. However, I must take you to task on your fact-checking from "Ball Four." The manager's name was Joe Schultz, not Barney Schultz. And the team was the Seattle Pilots, not the Mariners. The Pilots were an expansion team that lasted only one year in Seattle, 1969. They went broke, after which the infamous Bud Selig took the team to Milwaukee as the Brewers before he became a true blight upon MLB. That disaster and the ensuing lawsuit led to the creation of the Seattle Mariners, whose first season was 1977.
Toggle Commented Dec 16, 2009 on Tell your statistics to shut up! at RepMan
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Dec 16, 2009