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Comedy Shows or Characters that changed things

Started by confettiinmyhair, January 07, 2024, 09:22:54 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

mhmhmh

Quote from: ajsmith2 on January 09, 2024, 12:12:49 PMAnd not only that, but I'd say The Simpsons was hugely game changing in bringing surreal, ironic and pop culture specific humour to a mass audience/into mass usage. In this way, it set the tone, nay the base standard for all mainstream Western comedy of the 21st century.

Though The Flintstones started life as a comedy for adults about an aspirational family, so perhaps The Simpsons wasn't as ground-breaking as we think.

Did Donald Trump hosting SNL legitimise him in some voters' eyes, just as HIGNFY put Boris Johnson out there.

What was the first sitcom where the characters were stylish people the audience aspired to be, rather than the butt of jokes. Friends? Even the "loser" Chandler would usually get the funny last word. Sex and the City?

Ignatius_S

In terms  of US family-based comedies, the influence of The Life of Riley was immense and continues to be seen and certainly in The Simpsons. Married... with Children made two allusions to the sitcom. Ed O'Neill based his performance as Al on people he had known back home, but chose the nasally accent as a tip of the hat to William Bendix. The name for Bundy's wife, Peg was selected because that was the wife of Riley. (Married... with Children would also be influenced by another, much earlier comedy The Bickersons, which introduced the comedy concept of a husband and wife, continually insulting each other. IIRC, John Bickerson, like Al was a show salesman and the wives of both, frittered what little money they had.)

The Life of Riley introduced and popularised two concepts in the family sitcom dynamic:

  • The dad is a dolt and whose interventions, no matter how well-meaning, will complicate and worsen any situation.
  • The father is a slovenly, blue-collar worker married to a more refined, better spoken and rather long-suffering, attractive wife. The former has punched above his weight and it's a little hard to see just what she sees in him.

The Life of Riley was first conceived as a vehicle for Groucho Marx before being reworked for William Bendix (the two would later co-star in the slight, but fun A Girl In Any Port) and would run on radio between 1944-1951.

There were two television versions. Bendix was unable to appear in the first due to his movie contact (but did star in the film adaptation) so Jackie Gleason was brought in. However, this wasn't successful with audiences (but not a flop) and ended after one season. A few years later, there weren't any contractual issues with Bendix and the second attempt with him was hit, lasting six seasons over five years and did well in syndication.

The experience was not a wasted one for Gleason, however. He took the basic idea of Chester A. Riley and Peg to create Ralph and Alice Kramden, immortalised in The Honeymooners, a recurring sketch and then sitcom and then recurring sketch (the sitcom only lasted one season). The Flintstones in basically pinching the set-up of the Kramers and neighbouring couple, which helped popularise the fallacy that The Honeymooners was the first sitcom to star a slobbish husband and far from slobbish wife and would be imitated by so many shows, but it was The Life of Riley wot done it first.

In creating Ralph Kramer, Gleason added a cunning and artfulness (albeit one that would create more problems than it solved) to the husband that the guileless Riley lacked. He also took from The Bickersons, which I read he got the TV rights for but not sure if that's correct and my understanding is that there was a court case of what The Honeymooners had done.

The Bickersons started as recurring radio sketch in 1946, under the banner 'The honeymoon is over', featuring a married couple played by Don Ameche and Frances Langford. The format usually involved Blanche waking John up and argument ensuring, rich in verbal insults. Phillip Rapp (a one-time writer for Eddie Cantor) came up with the idea as showing the other side of the coin of the sweet, loving way comedy couples were portrayed and used he and his wife's relationship as key inspiration. This was the first US comedy to introduce verbal sparring between husband and wife as a key component.

The verbal arguments that the Bickersons have are surprisingly vicious and whereas Gleason would also make sure that at the end of The Honeymooners, peace was resumed and that Ralph and his wife clearly and deeply loved each other, this wasn't the case here. Apart from the very, very occasional glimmer that John and Blanche might actually care for each other, the marriage is a disturbingly unhappy one based on loathing and constant arguments.

There was a failed attempt to bring it to TV, which made the crazy decision of replacing Ameche. Later on, there was a short-lived show fronted by Ameche and Langford, which featured Jack Lemmon and wife, Cynthia, playing a Bickersons-type couple (he talks about it hear fondly here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQkVbGKFGXo).

However, Ameche and Langford recorded two comedy albums in 1961 and 1962, utilising old Bickersons sketches, which were commercial smashes and a double album of both also issued.

The critic that gave them the nickname, The Battling Bickersons summed them up nicely:

QuoteBlanche... is one of the monstrous shrews of all time. She makes her husband... take two jobs, a total of 16 working hours, in order to bring in more money which she squanders on minks and the stock market. Meanwhile, he can't afford a new pair of shoes and goes around with his feet painted black. In the few hours he has to sleep, she heckles him all night with the accusation that he doesn't love her. Her aim appears to be to drive her husband crazy and she succeeds very nicely. The harassed John's only weapon is insult, at which he's pretty good.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bickersons

Ignatius_S

#93
Quote from: curiousoranges on January 10, 2024, 05:32:18 PMWhat was the first sitcom where the characters were stylish people the audience aspired to be, rather than the butt of jokes. Friends? Even the "loser" Chandler would usually get the funny last word. Sex and the City?

Much, much earlier. Something like The Dick Van Dyke Show, where he played the head writer of a TV comedy show, whose star was an egomanic. There were a fair few sitcoms of the period, where a decent amount of characters were aspirational.

This series was about the personal and professional life of the Van Dyke character and did mine contemporary issues for ideas.

*edit* I would argue that something like The Halls of Ivy, which starred Ronald Colman and his wife, Benita Hume - Colman was head of an American college, which started on radio in 1950, would also count. The comedy was pretty sophisticated and believable characters and Colman, was playing a very elegant, principled and educated person (and would say, had a nice line in wry humour), as was the wife. It was able to deal very well with serious issues:

QuoteIn subject matter, the program was often notably ahead of its time, forward looking, and willing to tackle controversial topics. "Hell Week," first broadcast on January 2, 1952, boldly addressed the unforeseen dangers of college fraternity hazing. "The Leslie Hoff Painting" (September 27, 1950) and "The Chinese Student" (February 7, 1950) both openly countenanced and dealt with instances of racial bigotry. Another episode centered on an unmarried student's pregnancy.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Halls_of_Ivy


H-O-W-L

Quote from: beanheadmcginty on January 09, 2024, 06:42:31 PMVic and Bob's use of the voiceover skills of Patrick Allen led to every fucking light entertainment thing being V/O'd by someone who sounds like Patrick Allen.

Surely this is the fault of Frankie Goes to Hollywood using the man himself on Two Tribes and some of their other cuts as a send-up of Protect and Survive?

Thosworth

Quote from: H-O-W-L on January 10, 2024, 07:44:10 PMSurely this is the fault of Frankie Goes to Hollywood using the man himself on Two Tribes and some of their other cuts as a send-up of Protect and Survive?

Patrick Allen narrated (and appeared in) the original Blackadder. More likely that?

Quote from: mhmhmh on January 10, 2024, 11:58:46 AMThough The Flintstones started life as a comedy for adults about an aspirational family, so perhaps The Simpsons wasn't as ground-breaking as we think.

Did Donald Trump hosting SNL legitimise him in some voters' eyes, just as HIGNFY put Boris Johnson out there.

The Apprentice USA must surely predate this by some distance.

(In any case, I think this clip from 2011's White House Correspondence dinner is where the 'timelines change'. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHckZCxdRkA)

QuoteI still imagine that Norman Lamont has a yogurt pot on his head.

That's not quite how I picture Norman Lamont.

dissolute ocelot

Quote from: Terry Torpid on January 09, 2024, 09:20:55 PMDo we know which "comedian" first came up with the "attack helicopter" joke? That one sure had legs.
Know Your Meme says "I identify as an attack helicopter" was invented in 2014 by a Team Fortress 2 player and rapidly popularised on r/copypasta on Reddit. Wikipedia corroborates this with various citations of academic papers. The earliest ref I can find on Google Books is a discussion of transphobia in Radically Listening to Transgender Children: Creating Epistemic Justice Through Critical Reflection and Resistant Imaginations, Katie Steele, Julie Nicholson, 2019. I don't know who was the first comedian lazy enough to copy this Reddit humour on stage. But there were a lot of non-heli versions: a quick google finds Louis CK doing identify jokes in 2018 and a Gervais tweet from 2017. The wonderful thing about the internet is how it democratises humour.

Terry Torpid

Interesting, thanks. Ten years of this bullshit, and people still use it like they've just come up with it.

mippy

guys


guys


what if the XL bully dogs identified as poodles

*horrid screeching laugh*

ajsmith2

I remember Lauren Southern leaning heavily on the Attack Helicopter shite circa early/mid 2016. At the time it seemed fresh (if odious), it's interesting how quickly it deservedly became a stale cliche and byword for dullardly, the right wing version of Drumph I guess.

Catalogue Trousers

Quote from: Sebastian Cobb on January 09, 2024, 01:55:10 PMSM:TV was good, I'll give you that.

But the bastards kept that Pokerap crap yet dropped Ant & Duck after just a few weeks. I've never forgiven them for that.

Peabo Bryson Is Not Dead

Quote from: Ignatius_S on January 10, 2024, 06:23:06 PMIn terms  of US family-based comedies, the influence of The Life of Riley was immense and continues to be seen and certainly in The Simpsons. Married... with Children made two allusions to the sitcom. Ed O'Neill based his performance as Al on people he had known back home, but chose the nasally accent as a tip of the hat to William Bendix. The name for Bundy's wife, Peg was selected because that was the wife of Riley. (Married... with Children would also be influenced by another, much earlier comedy The Bickersons, which introduced the comedy concept of a husband and wife, continually insulting each other. IIRC, John Bickerson, like Al was a show salesman and the wives of both, frittered what little money they had.)

The Life of Riley introduced and popularised two concepts in the family sitcom dynamic:

  • The dad is a dolt and whose interventions, no matter how well-meaning, will complicate and worsen any situation.
  • The father is a slovenly, blue-collar worker married to a more refined, better spoken and rather long-suffering, attractive wife. The former has punched above his weight and it's a little hard to see just what she sees in him.

The Life of Riley was first conceived as a vehicle for Groucho Marx before being reworked for William Bendix (the two would later co-star in the slight, but fun A Girl In Any Port) and would run on radio between 1944-1951.

There were two television versions. Bendix was unable to appear in the first due to his movie contact (but did star in the film adaptation) so Jackie Gleason was brought in. However, this wasn't successful with audiences (but not a flop) and ended after one season. A few years later, there weren't any contractual issues with Bendix and the second attempt with him was hit, lasting six seasons over five years and did well in syndication.

The experience was not a wasted one for Gleason, however. He took the basic idea of Chester A. Riley and Peg to create Ralph and Alice Kramden, immortalised in The Honeymooners, a recurring sketch and then sitcom and then recurring sketch (the sitcom only lasted one season). The Flintstones in basically pinching the set-up of the Kramers and neighbouring couple, which helped popularise the fallacy that The Honeymooners was the first sitcom to star a slobbish husband and far from slobbish wife and would be imitated by so many shows, but it was The Life of Riley wot done it first.

In creating Ralph Kramer, Gleason added a cunning and artfulness (albeit one that would create more problems than it solved) to the husband that the guileless Riley lacked. He also took from The Bickersons, which I read he got the TV rights for but not sure if that's correct and my understanding is that there was a court case of what The Honeymooners had done.

The Bickersons started as recurring radio sketch in 1946, under the banner 'The honeymoon is over', featuring a married couple played by Don Ameche and Frances Langford. The format usually involved Blanche waking John up and argument ensuring, rich in verbal insults. Phillip Rapp (a one-time writer for Eddie Cantor) came up with the idea as showing the other side of the coin of the sweet, loving way comedy couples were portrayed and used he and his wife's relationship as key inspiration. This was the first US comedy to introduce verbal sparring between husband and wife as a key component.

The verbal arguments that the Bickersons have are surprisingly vicious and whereas Gleason would also make sure that at the end of The Honeymooners, peace was resumed and that Ralph and his wife clearly and deeply loved each other, this wasn't the case here. Apart from the very, very occasional glimmer that John and Blanche might actually care for each other, the marriage is a disturbingly unhappy one based on loathing and constant arguments.

There was a failed attempt to bring it to TV, which made the crazy decision of replacing Ameche. Later on, there was a short-lived show fronted by Ameche and Langford, which featured Jack Lemmon and wife, Cynthia, playing a Bickersons-type couple (he talks about it hear fondly here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQkVbGKFGXo).

However, Ameche and Langford recorded two comedy albums in 1961 and 1962, utilising old Bickersons sketches, which were commercial smashes and a double album of both also issued.

The critic that gave them the nickname, The Battling Bickersons summed them up nicely:


This is what I love about CaB.

Though I adore the social progress the late Norman Lear pushed on TV, his hits were UK originals ported to US screens. And then he stepped back from the often weak comedy of them all (not a patch on the British writing, performing and direction, a lot lost in translation and over-production). I think he's lauded because he lasted.

Is The Bickersons and The Life of Riley available anywhere?

neveragain

At dinner tonight, conversation turned to Rory Bremner's impression of Michael Howard ("I'm not going to hurt you") and how that may have affected voter perception. Yes, I had an interesting dinner.