Sunday, October 04, 2015

Berlin 'Count Three And Pray'

I’ve been feeling like my list of all-time favorite television shows needed a facelift. I know that it’s all about my age showing, but some of my all-time faves will be timeless. At least, that’s the thought that I’m clinging to.

First up – ‘Green Acres’

Still holds up as a fish-out-of-water series about a New York City lawyer giving up his big city job and ways to get back to the simple life of farming. He wants to be another vertebra in the “backbone of America”. But he doesn’t find the simple life in Hooterville. He finds out that his neighbors are just as whacked out as the kooks in the big city and that life in Hooterville is just as aggravating as the rat race in the city.

Sure, it seems out of place in this cell phone/Internet world to see Oliver Douglas climb up a pole to use the telephone. But would he have cell service in Hooterville?

The show twisted my humor at an early age. I remember watching it when it aired on television during primetime. And still to this very day, I manage to work in a Green Acre-ism gag into every day joking around.

The show is often seen as corny, but the comedy is so twisted that it’s actually beyond corny. At times, the comedy is quite surreal.

And I’m still waiting on seasons four through six to arrive on DVD even though the final season was a dismal attempt at trying to reflect the times and the changing attitude of the CBS Network. They wanted less rural shows with more gritty tones.

Second – ‘Newhart’

Like ‘Green Acres’, this is another fish-out-of-water series. A big city how-to book author buys an Inn to run while writing his books. His wife more or less runs the Inn and they find out that the town is loaded with kooks and the eccentrics. The entire first season has the show finding its legs, but it really picks up in season two and it’s full steam ahead zany. It has the same comedic qualities that ‘Green Acres’ has. And the series finale is still considered one of the all-time great finales in television history. And the Bob Newhart still works in his favorite gag… Having a conversation on the telephone. It was a staple in his comedy stand-up routine.

I’m also still waiting on the final four seasons to make their way onto DVD.

Third – ‘Malcolm In The Middle’

Are you sensing a pattern here?

Yeah, I like the half hour comedies the most. I like to laugh and if it’s good comedy that lacks the typical one-liner fare that the wildly popular series builds shows upon, I’m all in. I want creative comedy. Comedy that keeps giving long after the show is over or gone. ‘Malcolm In The Middle’ is just that. The show comes off fairly surreal at times because it’s more or less a recollection from the title character. He breaks down the fourth wall and narrates at times.

I’ve recently started watching this series all over again on Netflix. I own the first and only season on DVD. And I would JUMP at the chance to own the rest on DVD.

For seven seasons, ‘Malcolm In The Middle’ brought it. At times, it left you in tears from laughing. And the beauty is that every family member is a genius at something even if you cannot see it at first.

The series also showed me that I’m happy that I never had brothers. Yes, the family bond is strong but dealing with a brother on a daily basis seems to involve pain and competition. So I’m pleased that I was the only boy with two sisters.

‘Malcolm In The Middle’ is an example of a perfect series. It was strong for seven seasons. The series finale was not only great, but it had series closure in the artistic sense. And since I’m not into spoilers, I will leave it at that.

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