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We found the guy who watched Wings! - VIDEO

by Eliot Glazer, posted Dec 21st 2008 8:30PM
Wings Season 5Where are all the Coach fanatics? Let me hear it for my Becker obsessives! Who's got at least five syndicated repeats of Dharma and Greg in their DVR queue at all times? Anybody?

Cue the crickets.

Arthur Smith, a researcher with The Paley Center For Media, defines the aforementioned sitcoms as "middlin," or shows widely considered to be "forgettable ... programming [the] equivalent of end tables. They look fine in the room, but if they disappeared, you might not notice for a while."

Not that Coach or Becker or Dharma and Greg (or, for that matter, The King of Queens, Still Standing, or Yes, Dear) are necessarily awful shows. Granted, none of them could step foot in the shadow of the quality boasted by reruns of Arrested Development, The Office, or syndication staple Seinfeld, but obviously someone had to be watching them, right? ... Right?

Smith describes his friend, Chris, as a man who possesses an inexplicably unyielding passion for Wings, that old NBC sitcom starring Tim Daly and Crystal Bernard (aw, Crystal Bernard!) about an airport or something. In fact, Chris owns the ultimate VHS collection of the show, including every single episode ever aired.

All wing-on-fire jokes aside, Smith points out that Chris had a reputable taste in television programming. Wings was just, apparently, the guy's "thing." Sure, he could talk at length about SCTV and NewsRadio, but like visiting Willy Wonka's factory and requesting an air-flavored lollipop, Chris's viewer loyalty lie in a show that - perhaps to his advantage - no one ever seemed to talk about.

What about you? Are there any "middlin" series you secretly [or not so secretly] continue to cherish?

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Mendel Potok

For whatever reason, I love Boy Meets World. It's a super melodramatic teen drama, but for whatever reason it just stuck. Must have been someting in my veins at the time...

August 18 2010 at 1:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brandy

Great article. It made me think about shows I liked that, once they were gone, I totally forgot about. I was really into 227 when I was a kid. Don't even remember the premise of it now...I know Jackee' was involved, so that means it was good, right?

Wings always seemed to me to be the equivalent of watching paint dry. But I did like Amen a lot. And Mama's Family. Huh. Would I buy any of them on DVD? Nope. Do I own Arrested Development's brilliant but canceled 3 seasons on DVD? Yep. I hope that by buying those DVDs I send a message to the networks to not give us so many relentless formulaic examples of useless, cloying laugh track comedy centered around a doughy husband, a shrill wife and their mostly mute kids. I mean, leave some of that crap on the air for people who "don't want to work for their comedy" (whatever the hell that sad statement means). Your average Yes, Dear is nothing if not a fine palate cleanser for things like It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, WonderShowzen or The Sarah Silverman Program. Not everybody starts out knowing that Becker is trite crud...good comedy is something you have to develop an appetite for.

December 31 2008 at 3:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff

The office is so over rated. If I wanted uncomfortable silence and blank stares, I would go to work. The office is a one trick pony.

I would take Wings, Becker, or Coach over The Office any day of the week.

December 27 2008 at 7:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Katie

I never understood all the Wings-bashing. I always found it to be an enjoyable show that never got the respect it deserved. In fact, yesterday after Christmas dinner, my whole extended family sat down and watched all the Wings Christmas episodes on DVD. It's one of the few shows we all can agree on. They'd be very surprised to hear we all count as one person.


Oh, and Monk sucks! Tony will always be Antonio the cab driver to me ;)

December 26 2008 at 12:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ian

Wings was great...

I also like the iterations of the Bob Newhart Show. Especially around the Inn.

December 25 2008 at 3:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ian's comment
Brandy

Ian, I have to respectfully object- there is no way any sitcom Bob Newhart did, in ANY iteration- could be referred to as "middlin". Bob Newhart was and is a comic genius and his stuff influenced comedy immensely (watch an episode of the Bob Newhart Show,then watch an episode of the original (UK versions) The Office- you'll see). This from someone who watched Bob & Leo religiously- all 6 episodes that were aired before it was axed. Sorry, had to vent.

December 31 2008 at 4:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David Cook is my Idol!

I can't pit Wings and Seinfeld against each other because both are my favorite shows. Both are brilliant shows that I still enjoy in reruns and on DVD.

I never could understand the animosity towards Wings. It was funny and it had a heart. I also find the characters likable and realistic. I was never ashamed to admit I'm a big fan. In fact, I know a bunch of people who enjoyed Wings. If that scares people, oh well ;) You can all go watch something you like.

I liked Yes Dear, King of Queens, and Becker. I wouldn't call them great shows and I don't watch the reruns, but they had their moments and I liked them when they were on the air. I certainly preferred them over that overrated Everybody Loves Raymond. (Just like I don't understand the hatred towards Wings, I don't understand the love for that show.) I also liked Coach, Dharma and Greg, and Two Guys and a Girl.

December 23 2008 at 8:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steven

I really liked "Still Standing" and would watch a rerun of Becker or Dharma and Greg over Seinfield any day.

December 23 2008 at 10:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jordancda

BECKER!!! BECKER!!! BECKER!!! BECKER!!! BECKER!!! BECKER!!! BECKER!!! BECKER!!! BECKER!!! BECKER!!! BECKER!!! BECKER!!! BECKER!!! BECKER!!! BECKER!!! BECKER!!! BECKER!!! BECKER!!! BECKER!!! BECKER!!!

I LOVED Becker! Like the previous poster mentioned, Becker was Larry David on network television (BEFORE he was on HBO). He was the guy I always wanted to be...the guy that walks around always saying what's on his mind with no conscience. Not always great, but I will watch a rerun of that show every time I stumble across it. I used to watch it every night on the Fox Late Night Laugh Pack.

Anyway...that's my "middlin'" TV guilty pleasure. And to be honest, I feel very little guilt about it.

December 23 2008 at 12:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Paul

While I may be a fan of the lower-rated but critically-acclaimed sitcoms such as 30 Rock, AD, The Office, and such (as well as classics like Seinfeld), I really did enjoy Wings. And I found it held up well when I re-watched the series throughout 2007. I'd put it far and above the Yes Dears and King of Queenses of the world.

December 22 2008 at 10:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
brooke

My husband and I loved Wings when it originally aired, and forgot about it when it went off the air.

Four years ago when I was VERY pregnant, and VERY sleepless every night, I discovered Wings repeats on either USA or Nick At Nite, at around 3AM. I was thrilled, and happy to see that it held up pretty well. I was able to watch the entire series from beginning to end all over again.

Hearing the Wings theme music now immediately brings me right back to that precious moment in time when nobody was up in my house but me, and my belly.

The series Yes, Dear is an amusing enough way to spend 30 minutes of time when nothing else is on. However, if you happen to be the parent of a pre-school age child, the series becomes far more relevant and funny. Trust me. They even had the Wiggles on in one episode!

I think the ultimate "middlin" show, however, was King Of Queens. It was hilarious, and highly underrated in my opinion. Kevin James and Jerry Stiller were fantastic.

December 22 2008 at 8:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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