Thursday, June 21, 2012

Life in 30-minute chunks

I love America and its people, some of whom work nobly in the most honorable vineyard of the creation and production of situation comedies.  There's the one on ABC Family called "Melissa and Joey" which displays the everyday merry mix-ups of four people, one of whom is a city councilperson raising her teenaged niece and nephew (after their parents are incarcerated) with help from a manny who used to be a bigwig financier but was ruined by his involvement in a Ponzi scheme.

I know, I know, you're thinking, everybody knows a family like that. It's like the Kardashians, only with proper foundation garments.  Councilwoman Mel Burke is portayed by Melissa Joan Hart, late of "Clarissa Explains It All" and "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" and her factotum Joey Longo is Joey Lawrence, still known for hollering "Whoa!" all the time on "Blossom." As exemplified by Tony Danza, who always plays characters named "Tony," this trend of actors playing same-name roles dates back to the early 1960's, when present-day game show host Mitt Romney essayed the title role in "Meet Mister Mittens," a short-lived  ABC series about a teenaged venture capitalist who gained ownership of the one factory that sustained a small Vermont town, and the hilarity that ensued when he shuttered the business, plunging the town into a Stygian gloom.

One of my earliest memories is watching the grainy black-and-white image of William Bendix, bumbling through "The Life Of Riley" on my parents' tiny DuMont TV in a living room in a house in the city where today, people enjoy "Melissa and Joey" on an 84" plasma screen. Circle of sitcom life, is what that is.

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