Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Blast From the Past

Mike H. shot me an email this morning with a link to this A.V. Club article that mentions On the Television:

Stars Upon Thars

I remember seeing a sketch-comedy show on Nick At Nite, around 1989 or so. At least part of the show was given over to reviewing fictional movies; there were two hosts, one of which would give each film either 1,000 stars or 0 stars. One of the sketches involved a Clint Eastwood type who helped a housewife with obvious safety suggestions, specifically that she should peel potatoes by slicing away from her body.


That isn't actually a question, Jad, but Donna Bowman answers it anyway:

Those two hosts were Tim Conway, Jr. (aren't you glad there's a Tim Conway, Jr.?) and George McGrath, playing Siskel-and-Ebert-style critics disagreeing about the merits of TV parodies like The Gigantic Herman's Playground and The Valerie Harper Only Show. And the show was On The Television, Nick At Nite's first original series, which ran twice a week for 40 episodes in 1990-1991. "Clips" from the fictional TV shows being reviewed featured many up-and-coming comedians of the day, including Lisa Kudrow, Kathy Griffin, and Julia Sweeney. And other better-known personalities—Phil Hartman, Avery Schreiber, Elvira, and Brady Bunch grads Christopher Knight and Eve Plumb—made guest appearances.

On The Television had its genesis in an April Fool's Day special, and its humor leaned toward the bizarre, for the time. It's never been collected or re-aired, supposedly due to residuals owed its principals by the bankrupt production company. If those issues could be worked out, we're willing to bet that there would be enough nostalgic, slightly damaged former tweeners out there to support a DVD release. Meanwhile, if anyone still has some episodes on tape, would you digitize them and put them up on YouTube tout suite? What's the point of the Internet, otherwise?

Mike H. and I were huge fans of On the Television; we used to watch it every week and discuss in agonizing detail. There's hardly any mention of it on the Internet, which I'm sure delights the people who made it possible almost 20 years ago. Still, I know at least two former tweeners who'd put it in their Netflix queue.

1 comment:

Donna B. said...

I'm sure you'd want to know that a loyal reader has put five or six sketches up on YouTube. Thanks for the link to the section -- come around and visit us anytime.