Last week I gave you a pretty big list of popular "drinkeries" from TV, but I think where I went wrong was trying too hard to list every watering hole possible. Since I'm covering eateries this week, I'm certain I'll miss some of your favorites, but I'm going to list what I believe to be the most popular dining spots from television, both past and present. And since there are way too many real spots on TV to mention (Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Stadium, etc.), I'll stick with fictional spots, even if they're based on real ones.
This time let's go with 14 of them.
1) Arnold's/Al's Drive-In (Happy Days) -- I struggled for a bit with what I would call the number one eatery on TV, but I kept coming back to this spot. Arnold's/Al's was in nearly every episode as far as I can recall, and of course housed The Fonz's office. After it burned down, the signage changed to Al's.
This is a public service announcement to Jason Alexander.
Life after Seinfeld has been really tough for you has it? I mean not as tough as Michael Richards who should follow Isaiah Washington into "pottymouth rehab", but you haven't exactly parlayed your existence into other gigs like Julia Louis-Dreyfus in The New Adventures of Old Christine. Our enthusiasm for the dimwitted loveable man has been curbed towards Larry David, who helped you become a star. Even the virtually unknown Seinfeld writer Spike Feresten has been able to translate writing his soup nazi episode into his own talk show.
All you have to work with is your short lived marriage to Britney Spears. Oh wait. That wasn't you either.
How boycotting the Seinfeld DVD set would actually hurt Richards is beyond me. Between syndication points and a series-run as Kramer, I think Richards is pretty set financially. As a symbolic act or even one motivated by publicity, I suppose a boycott makes a bit more sense -- but not much seeing as Richards' words were spewed without the consent of the entire cast and crew of Seinfeld. (I've linked to it in the past, but if you want a better reason to hold Seinfeld suspect, check out hip-hop artist Danny Hoch's monologue about his scheduled appearance on the show.)
The intention was to air Grey's in that slot for a few weeks, help it get an audience, then move it to another slot and bring BL back to Sundays at 10. Of course, we all know what happened: Grey's ratings surpassed those of BL, rendering William Shatner and James Spader temporarily homeless. And the audience just kept steadily building until it became the top-rated show on television.
On Friday night, Richards proved that trying to shake the Seinfeld curse can get to a guy. In the middle of his stand-up routine, Richards took on two hecklers with a racist tirade that included your standard issue racial epithets along with this charmer, "Fifty years ago we'd have you upside down with a fucking fork up your ass." It was, of course, caught on tape by someone in attendance. Richards has already told the press that he's sorry and will "make amends." I'm tempted to take bets on whether he'll enter rehab, offer a tearful apology to Diane Sawyer or both.
Less you think this incident came out of nowhere, check out hip-hop theater artist Danny Hoch's monologue from Jails, Hospitals and Hip-Hop on his brush with the Seinfeld cast.
The fifth and sixth season sets of Seinfeld took top honors at the recent TV DVD Awards in Century City, California. Seinfeld won "Best of Show" and "Best 1990s Series." Below is a list of winners in other categories. I didn't purchase any of these DVDs, with the exception of The Simpsons. Were there any DVDs that came out between September 1, 2005 and August 31, 2006 you guys think should be on this list? I was somewhat surprised to see Dinosaurs win for Best Children's Program, not because it was a bad show, but because I considered it more of a family show than a children's show. Anyway, the list:
- Best 2000s Series: Lost: The Complete First Season
- Best 1980s Series: Remington Steele: Seasons 4 and 5
- Best 1970s Series: The Bob Newhart Show: The Complete Second Season
- Best 1960s Series: The Munsters: The Complete Second Season
- Best 1950s Series: The Adventures of Superman: The Complete First Season
- Best Animated Series: The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season
- Best Children's Series: Dinosaurs: The Complete First and Second Seasons
- Best Reality Series: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
- Best Variety Series: Project Runway: The Complete Second Season
- Best One-Season Wonder: The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., The Complete Series
- Best Miniseries: From the Earth to the Moon
- Best British TV Series: Doctor Who: The Complete First Series
- Best TV Documentary: Ken Burns: American Lives
- Best Bonus Material: Lost: The Complete First Season
Now he's in front of the camera with TALKSHOW with Spike Feresten (Saturdays at midnight on FOX), his twisted take on the tried-and-true late-night talk show format. How twisted? Well, in the last episdoe, he scoured a crummy neighborhood in L.A. looking for a sidekick, had Mary Lynn Rajskub operate heavy machinery after downing half a bottle of Nyquil, and presented a barbershop quartet that sung homo-erotic songs.
I caught up with Spike right before he conducted a Q&A with the cast of fellow FOX show Standoff at last week's New York Television Festival. We talked a little about his new show, but mostly just dicussed Seinfeld. The interview is after the jump.
(S03E22) Like I said when we started this whole Retro Squad exercise, the reason why I picked Season Three of Seinfeld is because during this year you really saw the show develop before your eyes from a pokey, single-story, funny, but unremarkable sitcom to a densely-packed, fast-moving, hilarious classic. And the season finale, "The Keys," is a great example of the show's metamorphosis. Jerry and George's dispute over the spare keys, the whole spare key trade-around among the Fab Four, Elaine's secret Murphy Brown spec script, and Kramer's journey to L.A. are all crammed into this 30-minute episode. And there's still room for stand-up bits and a really funny recurring joke.
(S03E21) I'm the only person I know who actually drives in New York. The funny thing is, the only reason why I drive is because I live 30 miles away from the city, and I tend to find that sometimes driving is much faster than taking the train. But if I were actually living there, I'd ditch my car in a nanosecond. Most people who live in New York don't own a car, because it's too tough to find parking and the subway can get them to just about anywhere they need to go.
So why are so many episodes of Seinfeld so auto-centric? Jerry has a car. Kramer has a car. George doesn't have a car here but eventually gets a car. Thank goodness for Elaine; she never got a car (and we find out later in the series that she's an illness-inducing driver). But, really, that ratio should at least be reversed, if not doubled (8 non-drivers for every driver, if you don't feel like doing the math). Oh, well. At least most of the driving-related episodes, including this one, are pretty good.
Anyway, if you're a fan of Neil Simon, you probably loved that episode. If not, then it was still pretty damned good.
(S03E18) Larry Charles, one of Seinfeld's primary writers, mentions in the DVD commentary for "The Limo" that it is one of his favorite episodes; he feels that it's one of the first episodes in the series to take a silly premise -- what if George and Jerry take the limo of a Neo-Nazi? -- and find humor in it by grounding it in reality. Well, the reality of Larry David, but at least it's someone's reality.
Personally, this is one of my least favortie episodes of the show's entire run. Sure, there are some funny moments, but the whole "pretending to be someone else" plotline comes right out of Sitcomland, and could have been taken right from an episode of Three's Company -- well, not the Neo-Nazi part, but you get the idea. At this point in Seinfeld's run, especially after the brilliance of "The Boyfriend" the week before, audiences were expecting more. And, to be honest, there wasn't a lot to laugh at in this one.
(S03E16 / S03E17) "And you want to be my latex salesman."
For the last couple of weeks, I've been reviewing two Seinfeld episodes each Wednesday so I can get them out of the way before the fall season starts. But this one has to stand on its own, because it's one of my three favorite Seinfelds, right up in the pantheon with "The Junior Mint" and "The Contest." It's the culmination of what Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld and the writers had been building since the first episode of Season Three, chockablock with storylines, pop culture parodies, sports references, classic lines, physical jokes, and switcheroos. There's so much to talk about here, that I don't think I'll have the energy to go over another episode.
(S03E15) It's kind of interesting that many people remember this episode fondly, but most of their good memories revolve around only one sequence: the back-and-forth scene as Jerry and Elaine go over the physical attributes of Cynthia and George. Of course, Jerry is talking to George and Elaine is talking to Cynthia. It's a scene that sets up so much of what Seinfeld riffed on in future years, that to see this play out in the context of the show at the time is seeing Larry, Jerry and the writers discover comic gold.
(S03E14) You may not think this is a landmark Seinfeld episode, but it is. Why? Because this is the first time we hear one of the show's enduring catchphrases: "Hello, Newman."
We had encountered Newman in the Season Two episode called "The Revenge", but we only heard his voice (which was done by Larry David). But when it came time to give Kramer a buddy, Jerry an enemy, and a guy who was supposed to be the building snitch, Larry and Jerry decided to come back to Newman. So this is the first time we see Wayne Knight playing the best side character the show ever created. It almost seems like no one else could play the part now, but the names of some of the other people who auditioned for the part might surprise you...
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