Cleveland might have had to skip his own new episode so that he could make the drive to Quahog for a cameo appearance this week. "This was worth the 500 mile drive," he declared upon his arrival in one of the funnier absurdist sequences on the night.
Love was in the air this week, with Stewie joining the American production of his favorite children's show, only to find love with one of his co-stars, while Lois' growing insecurities about her age led her to cougar Meg's new boyfriend as hard as she could.
As much as there have been movies about the theater and movies about movies, the films that have been made about television are some of the best ever. This year alone, there are two movies nominated for Best Picture of the year by the Academy Awards that are all about television -- Slumdog Millionaire and Frost/Nixon. Without TV, neither of these films would exist. Looking back, here are the films about TV that set the standards by which Slumdog Millionaire and Frost/Nixon are measured.
One of the Golden Girls has died.
Estelle Getty, who played Bea Arthur's mother (even though Arthur was a year older in real life) on the NBC hit comedy Golden Girls (which also starred Betty White and Rue McClanahan), passed away this morning in Los Angeles. Getty was 84 years old and had been suffering from a disease known as Lewy Body Dementia for a number of years.
Getty appeared in several other TV shows over the years, including the Golden Girls spinoff The Golden Palace (which also starred a young Don Cheadle), Empty Nest, Nurses, Brotherly Love, Mad About You, Touched By An Angel, Blossom, Newhart, Hotel, and many others. She also appeared in the movies Tootsie, Mask, Mannequin, and Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot!
Interesting trivia: Getty played her Sophia Petrillo character in no less than five different shows: Golden Girls, Empty Nest, The Golden Palace, Nurses, and Blossom. That's gotta be some sort of record. She also played a character named Sophia in an episode of Ladies Man in 2000, though the character had a different last name.
Sadly, the cancer that fell Sydney Pollack was one that didn't respond to treatment.
On Monday, TCM will show Sydney Pollack's directorial debut in features, 1965's The Slender Thread starring Sidney Poitier and Anne Bancroft. In the same year, he won an Emmy for directing The Game, part of the Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theater anthology series. On TV, he'd also done Ben Casey and The Fugitive episodes, learning his craft.
Although TV fans would know him from his role as Will's dad on Will and Grace, he was also, of course, an acclaimed film director, helming such movies as Three Days of the Condor (one of my favorite films), Tootsie, Out of Africa, The Way We Were, The Firm, Havana, Absence of Malice, They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, Jeremiah Johnson, and The Interpreter. He also directed several TV shows back in the 60s, including The Fugitive, Ben Casey, Bob Hope Presents The Chrysler Theatre, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Defenders, Slattery's People, and many others.
Pollack's other acting roles included spots on The Sopranos, King of the Hill, Frasier, Mad About You, Playhouse 90, and The Twilight Zone, along with the movies Michael Clayton, Eyes Wide Shut, Husbands and Wives, A Civil Action, Death Becomes Her, and The Player. His last acting role was in this year's Made of Honor and his last directing job was 2005's Sketches of Frank Gehry.
Pollack died of cancer this afternoon in Pacific Palisades, CA. He was 73.
Those of you who are a bit older than me might remember that in the late 70s and early 80s General Hospital began to get a bit, well, "weirder." Suddenly their were weird plots involving criminal master minds, aliens, and other wacky sci-fi stuff. I only know this because my mother watched General Hospital pretty religiously when I was growing up.
Well, Gloria Monty, the woman who was responsible for sending General Hospital in all those weird directions, as well as overseeing the show during the height of those steamy "Luke and Laura" years, passed away Thursday at the age of 84. Monty was called in as a producer in the late 70s when the show was experiencing a sag in ratings due to more women working outside the home. Her solution was to target younger audiences, thus the show got stranger. The producer character in the movie Tootsie was also based on Monty.
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