Monday, March 18, 2013

TV Turkeys

1987, undated later edition, from Perigee
Kevin Allman
TV Turkeys: An Outrageous Look at the Most Preposterous Shows Ever on Television
Bought new for $9.95
Worn paperback

Allman was friends with the Medveds, so he not only applies their term of "turkeys" to the small screen, but he suffers from Medveditis in that sometimes his puns and other wording are a bit forced.  Nonetheless, I think this book does have more merit than the Cult TV book.  For one thing, Allman has a better grasp of his subject, although it is arguable that Chuck Barris is over-represented (five shows).  On the other hand, just as the late great understandably had a page dedicated to Ted McGinley, it's only fitting that McLean Stevenson is the "Mr. Television" of bad TV.  Allman's conclusion that despite all the flops, "some brave programming executive will no doubt be looking for a perpetually exasperated father character for some domestic sitcom and Stevenson's phone will ring," was prescient, since Stevenson appeared as the father on Dirty Dancing, during the 1988-89 season. 

Allman of course could not predict that Jerry "Son of My Mother the Car" Van Dyke would be redeemed on Coach (four Emmy nominations in the early '90s), or that the "aspiring actress whose star rose brightly and briefly in 1985 with a one-minute role in Bruce Springsteen's 'Dancing in the Dark' video," the year after her role in Misfits of Science, would go on to be one of the highest paid TV actresses of all time, as Monica on Friends.  So, yeah, part of the fun rereading this book now is rich irony unavailable a quarter century ago.

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