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October 9, 2015

Friends didn't look like Silver Spoons

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 10th 2008 2:20PM

Silver SpoonsI have a love/hate feeling about Chuck Klosterman. I think a lot of his ideas are clever and interesting, but he just gets so many things wrong in his columns that it makes you tear your hair out a little bit (and I don't have that much to tear out anymore). And his tone is one of superiority when he's actually off quite a bit in what he says.

For example, his latest Esquire column is about how TV networks "feel" and "look." How ABC looks a certain way, how NBC looks a certain way, and you can tell what channel you're watching, even if you can't figure out why or how you know, you do (even if you're not watching a show that you know is on a certain network). It's something I actually noticed 20 years ago, and I'm a little freaked out that someone else brought it up.

So the idea is good, but this is where Klosterman goes off the rails a bit. He points out in the piece that a lot of TV shows look like a lot of other TV shows. I'm not even sure if this is even exactly true, but even if it is, he's dead wrong when he says that Friends resembled ... Silver Spoons??

This is so completely wrong that it almost hurts his argument a bit. Friends was shot on film and had that darker, film look about it (like M*A*S*H or NewsRadio or The Office). Silver Spoons was shot on videotape and had that "live" look that so many sitcoms have had (everything from All in the Family to Kate Allie to Three's Company). In the grand scheme of things it's really not a big deal and he makes some good points in the piece, but I just find it odd that he would include this example. I also wonder how it got by the editors. (I also question his statement that 30 Rock visually resembles Friends ... it doesn't).

I'm sure I'm not the first one to notice this. I would assume several friends have already mentioned it to him.

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Isn't a lot of this thrown out the window by the fact that a lot of network (or network corporations) produce shows for other channels. "Scrubs" is produced by Buena Vista, but it shows on NBC - does it look more like an ABC show or an NBC show.

I agree that, historically, you could tell what network you were watching (either by the "look" or the general content), but that seems less clear cut nowadays.

January 14 2008 at 10:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Umm...do you people not get the premise of this post? They're not saying the premise of the show, or the structure, or the sets look similar...it's the lighting, the atmosphere, the quality of the picture on the screen. Sheesh.

January 13 2008 at 12:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Horse N. Buggy

No, Friends and Silver Spoons do not *look* alike. They do have some similarities in concept, as yatesy pointed out.

Shows that look alike:
Who's the Boss, Reba, Grace Under Fire, that Valerie Harper/Sandy Duncan show, and the Suzanne Somers/Bobby from Dallas show.

Everybody Loves Raymond, Gimme a Break, Family Ties, All in the Family, The Cosby Show, Just the Ten of Us,

Roseanne and Sanford and Son

Ellen de Generes and Martin

The Nanny and Benson

January 11 2008 at 10:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
matthew m. barnes

NBC and ABC = high productions values... slick looking

FOX = reality based feel to it

CW = overly dramatic tones and feel to it

CBS = looks cheap and crappy

i can tell a CBS show the second i see it. it's kinda sad because i don't even give CBS shows a chance. (except Letterman and that's only because he came from NBC.)

January 11 2008 at 3:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The premise of Silver Spoons was that a grown man had to act like an adult and raise his son, while living in a child's world of toys and stuff. The colors were very childlike and popped when you looked at them.

On Friends, the cast were late 20's people struggling to growup but not really letting go, and they held onto it with toys and brightly colored goofy things scattered around thier apartment and coffeehouse hangout.

The dad on Silver Spoons ran a toy company and loved it, he also struggled with being the responsible dad and not the buddy (and Ricky just struggled with growing up in general). The way the set was put together, with the train and the (sweet, sweet) videogames, bashed that into your head week after week. Friends did the same thing with the foosball table and the MagnaDoodle on the back of the door in Joey and Chandler's place (and Joey's stuffed bedtime buddy Hugsy).

So, theme-wise, yes, they were sort of the same. Silver Spoons and Friends are both shows about the struggles of growing up without letting go, shown thru set design.

Wow, I have too much time on my hands.

January 11 2008 at 12:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you think about it, the layout of the house on Silver Spoons was similar to Monica's apartment. They could've used the same soundstages or something.

January 10 2008 at 8:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The bad writing, sitcomy situations, horrible acting and bad direction on Silver Spoons certainly resembles Friends. But the 30 Rock thing...nah it's got more in common with Arrested Development.

January 10 2008 at 5:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've thought something along these lines for years. Figured it was just me. Guess I'm not retarded.

January 10 2008 at 4:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Puff Chrissy

I've said the same thing about how you can tell which network the show ran by how it looked for years. I'm thrilled someone else mentioned it.

January 10 2008 at 3:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Maybe he's speaking about visual angles with friends and 30 rock? They do have similar angles that way... That's really it though, the Camera in particular is much more dynamic on 30.

January 10 2008 at 3:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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