Favorite Childhood Shows Friday: Favorite Childhood Shows: Taina

This is another Nickelodeon show.

Taina premiered in Janaurary of 2001, and it focused on the titular character, 15-year-old Taina Morales, who longs to be an actress and singer.  She comes from a Puerto Rican family living in Queens, and she attends the Manhattan School of the Arts, to work towards her goals.

I began watching the show during the second season.  I found it absolutely hilarious, with all of the characters easily saying witty and funny things.  Another big part of the show was musical numbers.  Every so often, Taina would have a fantasy depicted as a music video performed by her.  This helped reinforce the theme of Taina wanting to be a star.  The show even spawned a soundtrack album.  However, it was not meant to last.  The show was cancelled after two seasons despite being popular.  The supposed reason was that it was not popular enough among boys, and Nickelodeon at the time was more interested in targeting boys.

Nonetheless, none of that diminishes the show in my eyes; it remains smart, funny, and hopeful.

TV Tropes Tuesday: TV Tropes: McLeaned

There are many circumstances where a character on a TV show or movie series may leave.  The reason may have to do with the needs of the story.  Especially in TV shows, an actor is often cast for short time, and they are written out once their purposes are fulfilled.  Other times, a character leaves the show because of real-word circumstances, such as the actor’s death, most tragically, or because the actor does not want to be involved with the show anymore.  Sometimes, a character is written out of a show by being killed off; there are many reasons for killing off a show, but here, I’ll discuss two reasons:  the actor is more than likely never going to return to the show, and so he or she is killed off to provide some major drama to the plot; the other reason is that the relations between the actor and the network/producers are poor, and therefore, the actor is fired, and their character is killed off in order to make certain that the actor can never return.  This is known in the industry as being McLeaned.

This trope was named after the actor McLean Stevenson, who left M*A*S*H, which resulted in the death of his character Colonel Henry Blake.  He was killed off because he wanted to leave the show.

Other examples include:

Valerie Harper, best known for playing Rhoda Morgenstern on The Mary Tyler Moor Show and its spinoff Rhoda, starred in the 1980s sitcom Valerie.  She constantly battled the show’s production company, Lorimar, and network, NBC, over salary disputes, and supposedly over creative control as well. Harper was fired from the show and and her character was killed off.  The show then changed its title twicy, first was Valerie’s Family: The Hogans, and finally, The Hogan Family.

Another noteworthy example is Charlie Sheen in 2011.  After erratic behavior and major conflicts with producer Chuck Lorre, Two-and-a-Half Men ended its season early.  After more bad behavior, Sheen was fired from the show, killed off, and replaced by Ashton Kutcher.

Finally, is an example from one of my favorite shows, Desperate Housewives.  In season 5, Nicollette Sheridan who played the sultry Edie Britt, was written out of the show and her character was killed off.  The reason behind her dismissal was disputed by those involved.  Sheridan claimed in a lawsuit that the show’s creator, Marc Cherry, slapped her in the face when she asked him to clarify a line in the script, and that she was fired when she complained about to network, ABC.  Cherry countered that the alleged assault was a light tap to demonstrate her character’s actions in a specific scene, and that the decision to kill her character off was made months before the alleged assault, and was due to things such as unprofessional behavior on her part.



Favorite Childhood Shows Friday: Favorite Childhood Shows: Sister Sister

Happy Friday!

One of my favorite shows from my childhood is Sister Sister. The show starred Tia and Tamera Mowry as Tia Landry and Tamera Campbell. They were identical twins who were separated at birth and adopted by different families: Tia, the studious and responsible twin was raised by her mother Lisa Landry, a wacky seamstress and clothing designer. Tamera was raised by Ray Campbell, a stern and low-key owner of a limousine service. The twins know nothing about each other until age 14 when they have a chance encounter in a clothing store. Knowing that they twins can’t very well be separated now, Ray invites the rather financially struggling Lisa and Tia to live with him and Tamera. Lots of things happen to this rather unconventional family, but most of all, there is love.

I first got into the show in the fall of 2002 when the Disney Channel began airing reruns of it.  I was hooked on the humor.  The twins always got into crazy situations, but of course remained close and loving through it all..  The parents with their opposite personalities played very nicely off of each other.  It was exactly the type of show I like in that it was hilarious and heartwarming.


Recap and Review of the Sister Sister Episode “Gimme a Break”

One of my favorite shows from my childhood is Sister Sister. The show starred Tia and Tamera Mowry as Tia Landry and Tamera Campbell. They were identical twins who were separated at birth and adopted by different families: Tia, the studious and responsible twin was raised by her mother Lisa Landry, a wacky seamstress and clothing designer. Tamera was raised by Ray Campbell, a stern and low-key owner of a limousine service. The twins know nothing about each other until age 14 when they have a chance encounter in a clothing store. Knowing that they twins can’t very well be separated now, Ray invites the rather financially struggling Lisa and Tia to live with him and Tamera. Lots of things happen to this rather unconventional family, but most of all, there is love.

The main point of this blog post is about the episode Gimme a Break, which is my favorite of the series. There is just something about the plot and the humor that just is so irresistibly entertaining.

Tia and Tamera want a car, and they believe that they are mature and responsibly enough to have one.

Meanwhile Ray and Lisa are arguing as normal. Ray believes that children need to be given limits. Lisa feels that parents should give their children more freedom as long as they are sent on the right path.

The twins then come into the living and if they can buy a car. Lisa says yes. But Ray says no. However, after some nudging and guilt-tripping, he reluctantly agrees, but only on the condition that he and Lisa pick the car that they buy.

This leads to yet another argument between Ray and Lisa.  Ray is insisted upon a safe car, but Lisa feels that his proposals are unfashionable, and favors cars that are both stylish and safe.

The twins then come home with a car: a red 1993 Mazda Miata convertible.  Lisa likes the car, but Ray is not so sure.  Lisa offers to help them pay for the car, and Ray grudgingly agrees to split the cost with Lisa.  Once again, Ray reminds the girls that they need to be responsible if they want to keep the car.  Lisa, however, expresses complete faith in the girls, especially Tia, whom she calls the most responsible child in the world.

We cut to Tia driving somewhat erratically, very happy to have a car.  Tamera, who is normally the irresponsible twin,  is not happy with Tia’s uncharacteristic behavior.   She accuses her her of breaking the rules; Tia counters that Tamera breaks rules all the time, and Tamera claims that she merely bends rules, and she offers to show her how to do so.

Hours later, it is nighttime, and the twins are driving home from Canada.  Tia is shocked by what they did.  Tamera says that their parents never told them not leave the country.  Tia feels guilty, after everything they did.  But moments later, they find that there is fog blocking their view.  They see a light through the fog, and they assume it is the mall; they are relieved that they are apparently close to home, and therefore, not lost. The twins then hear a strange noise as they are driving.  They realize that they are on a dock on Lake Erie.  The twins get out of the car, then the dock breaks sinking the car.

Back at home, Ray is concerned that the twins aren’t home yet; it is almost time for their curfew.  Lisa is not impressed by his worries; she says “At the sound of the tone, shut up!”  He reminds her that Tamera has a poor track record of being responsible, but Lisa once again, reminds her that Tia would be sure to not steer her wrong (no pun intended).

The twins then enter the living room.  Tia is devastated over them sinking their car.  Tamera insists that they will simply tell the parents that there are no problems with the car.  Ray and Lisa enter the living room as well.  Lisa points out to Ray that they are on time for their curfew, “Check your Rolox!” Lisa sharply says to him.  When Ray asks where the car is, the twins struggle to come up with a lie.  They say it is in their friend Roger’s garage; Tamera gives the explanation is that it might rain, and there’s nothing worse then a wet car, which makes Tamera cringe in guilt.  Ray and Lisa ask them if something happened to car, but the girls insist that they broke no rules.  Ray and Lisa, still suspicious, leave the living room and tell the girls to have a good rest of their night.  The twins feel bad over their lies.

The next morning Ray and Lisa separately check Roger’s garage to see if the car is there.  Of course, it is not there.  Ray, and especially, Lisa are upset at them lying; Lisa says that nothing they could do to the car could justify lying, even if they were to…sink it int0 a lake, which Ray says as he’s watching the TV.  The local news reported that a red 1993 Mazda Miata convertible was found in Lake Erie, and it was exactly like the car the twins bought.  The anchor also says that nearby campers heard a girl shouting “Oh, gosh, Tia!  My dad’s gonna kill us!”  Ray is angry, but Lisa insists that before they punish the girls, they should give them another chance to tell the truth.

Tia and Tamera come downstairs and Tamera asks for a ride to school.  Ray and Lisa repond, “A ride?  You have a car?  Don’t you?”  Tia explains that the car is so new that she forgets.  Roger then shows up and asks if the twins can drive him to school.  Ray points out that the twins said that the car is in Roger’s garage.  Roger is confused, and the girls immediately leave with him.  Ray wants to punish the girls, but Lisa insists that she be the one to punish the twins.  Ray balks at her, saying that she is just a big softie.

But later on, Ray accuses her of being cruel with the punishments.  Lisa has been sending them on errands to buy heavy items.  She prefers a slow and rough punishment until the girls tell the truth.  The girls come home with 27 cans of cling peaches and heavy syrup; they surely would have had less trouble if they had a car.  Ray then decides to join in the on the fun, and tells the girls that they shouldn’t have sent them to get ingredients for peach cobbler; this is the weather for pumpkin pie!  Lisa tells them to bring home twenty pumpkins from a pumpkin patch.  Ray then tells them to take a neighbors rotweiler to the vet, to pick up the their new Steinway piano.  He warns them to be careful when they drive home with the piano attached to the car, otherwise, it will weigh them down, and they will fall into the lake.  This pushes the girls over the edge, and they finally tell the truth about the sinking their car.

After this confession,  Ray and Lisa reveal that they know everything.  Then the take the girls outside to reveal that they claimed the car and got it repaired.  The girls are punished by losing the car, but they have to continue paying for it, including the repair expenses.  The twins express that they deserve such a punishment for what they did to the car.  But Lisa and Ray point that they’re also being punished for what they did after they sank the car.  “Threw up?”  Tamera asks.  No,  they’re being punished because they lied about what they did and didn’t seek help.  Ray and Lisa tell them being a responsible adult includes asking for help when you’re in trouble.  Tia and Tamera feel guilty and ask if they will ever get a car?  Lisa tells them that they will in the future, but sometimes it takes a while to get one’s dream car.  Lisa then say “Lord knows I’ve waited long enough for mine!” And Lisa who has had severe car trouble in the past, including low-quality, unreliable cars, immediately claims the car for herself.

In the final scene, Lisa is having fun with her car driving all over the place.  But then she realizes that she is lost.  Lisa then sees a light, and thinks that’s the mall.  But seconds later she realizes that she is driving on a dock on Lake Erie.  The dock breaks and she goes down into the lake with the car.

This episode was funny, but also insightful.  It shows how parents can disagree with how to deal with kids, but how they can eventually come to terms with each other and work together.  I think another important element is responsibility  I know that I’ve tried to do things on my own as a young adult and not ask my parents for help, but I do struggle with knowing when to ask for help and when not to ask for help.  The important life lessons (which I think are gently delivered) and the humor (the car getting sunk and the consequences, most of all) are what make me wan to watch this episode again and again.

TV Tropes Tuesday: TV Tropes: Screwed by the Network

This entry on TV Tropes is about TV shows that get cancelled because the network did not treat them well.

The reasons are diverse, and aren’t necessarily objective or intentional.

Often a show is screwed over because it did not get enough promotion.  Obviously, a show can’t get high ratings, if not enough people know that it even exists, though of course there are times where a show if aggressively promoted and still fails.  Another reason is scheduling; a show might get low ratings if it airs at an inconvenient time, especially against rival networks’ most popular shows.  Sometimes, business politics leads to cancellation.  For example, on ABC, the show Lois and Clark had been renewed for a fourth and fifth season; however, afteer ABC was purchased by the Walt Disney Company, they wanted to air a revival of The Wonderful World of Disney in the same time slot of Sundays at 7 PM (to be fair, the ratings had significantly dropped).  Lois and Clark was cancelled at the end of season 4, leaving the show on an unresolved cliffhanger (which is a common thing that happens to prematurely cancelled shows).

Other shows are screwed over, ironically, due to their attempts to make them better.  NBC had Up All Night, created by former Saturday Night Live (SNL) writer, Emily Spivey, and starring Will Arnett, Christina Applegate, and Maya Rudolph.  The show originally focused on Chris (Arnett) and Reagan (Applegate), dealing with the trials and tribulations of raising their newborn daughter, Amy, with Chris being a stay-at-home dad, while Reagan goes back to work for her boss and best friend Ava (Rudolph), at a PR firm.  When Rudolph appeared in the film Bridesmaids which was hugely successful, NBC decided that she needed a bigger part, and the role of Ava was re-written to be a talk show host, with Reagan being her producer.  However, the show would be re-tooled again.  At the start of season 2, Ava’s talk show was cancelled; however, the ratings were poor, and not much, if any better than than they were at the end of season 1.  NBC halted production after 11 episodes so that they could re-tool the show yet again.  It was to change from being a single-camera comedy to a multi-camera comedy; as if that weren’t a drastic enough change, there were other proposals for changing the show.  To quote TV Tropes’ page on the show, “Some truly nutty ideas were thrown around, such as baby Amy being able to see a portal connecting the single-cam world to the multi-cam world. In the end, they settled for the completely sane concept of having the entire show turn out to be a Show Within a Show, and from that point on follow the lives of the fictional actors playing Reagan, Chris, and Ava.note Seriously, we’re not making this up. .”  However, the third re-tool would never happen.  Spivey departed the show, not wanting to deal with all that nonsense anymore.  Applegate soon jumped ship as well, leaving the show without one of its stars.  This killed the show, but NBC did not officially cancel it until the end of the season.

Favorite Childhood Shows Friday: Favorite Childhood Shows: The Brothers Garcia

This another Nickelodeon show.

The Brothers Garcia focuses on a Mexican-American family living in San Antonio, Texas.  The family consists of Larry, the main character who’s older self narrates the show, and who has a dream of being an astronaut; his twin sister Lorena, superficial, and a slight troublemaker; older brother George, socially awkward, but…; oldest brother Carlos, the cool kid of the school; mother Sonia a hairdresser who’s salon is in the home; and father Ray, a college history professor.

The show depicts, in a somewhat zany manner, the Garcia family and their day to day lives, dealing with things such romance, family conflicts, school, and so on.  However, despite all the craziness, the Garcias are always tight-knit and loving.  At the end of every episode Larry’s adult self says in voice over “Todo para la familia.  Everything for the family.”



TV Tropes Tuesday: TV Tropes: Missing Episode

This entry on TV Tropes is known as Missing Episode.  Given the site’s roots as discussing the narrative devices of TV, it’s obvious why this trope is called what it is.  However, as TV Tropes evolved to cover all media, this trope naturally was expanded to give all examples of media.

Missing Episode refers to the phenomena of an episode of a TV, or for that matter any work that is no longer publicly available.  There are a variety of reason why an episode might be missing.  One example could be that the content is considered offensive, such as due to racial insensitivity, violence, sexual content, and so on.  Another could be an episode that seems insensitive following a tragedy such as a natural disaster, mass shooting, or the like.  Others have to do with legal issues; the most common legal issue is TV shows that license music for the original run, and being unable to license it for reruns or home media distribution, and not releasing it in any form because changing or removing the music would ruin the episode.  Another reason is that the episode does not exist anymore.

To expand on that last point, many films from the beginning of cinema are lost forever.  Martin Scorcese’s Film Foundation, an organization devoted to film preservation, estimates that over 90% of films from the silent and early sound eras are lost.  Even some of the the most popular actors of the time have most or all of their filmographies lost. The reasons are diverse.  First of all, many studios assumed that the film lost value after their theatrical runs ended.  In a world before theatrical reissues, TV broadcasts, and home media, few to no people assumed people would decades later, let alone the follow year, would want to see them; therefore, studios would simply discard or destroy the films, especially if they lacked the money to store them.  Not only that, films were shot on film stock made of nitrate, which was flammable and fragile and would disintigrate or catch fire if they were not properly stored; it didn’t help that studios would intentionally destroy the films to take financial advantage of the silver therein.  Another reason is that many early sound films used a sound-on-disc system.  If the discs became lost or damages, the films would be considered worthless and discarded.

However, some films even if they did survive, are lost in their original forms.  Often scenes would be cut out before original release or before reissues, and discarded and/or destroyed.

My favorite movie Fantasia is lost in its original form.  It was originally released as a roadshow engagement at the length of 124 minutes.  After the financial failure of that released, it was rereleased in standard theaters recut to 81 minutes, removing the Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor segment, and all of the introductions by Deems Taylor.  Later releases restored the Tocatta, but Taylor’s introductions were kept to a minimum.  In 2000, for the film’s 60th anniversary, All of Taylor’s interstitials were restored, but audio tracks were damaged beyond use; voice actor Corey Burton was hired to redub Taylor’s dialogue.

A Star is Born (1954) is partially lost.   It had a test screening at a runtime of 196 minutes.  It was cut down to 181 minutes for the premiere.  However, theaters complained about the length, saying it would limit showing, and therefore, profits.  As a result, Warner Bros. cut the film to 154 minutes.  Director George Cukor and star Judy Garland were outraged.  Cukor refused to see the film again, saying that it hurt to watch the recut version.  Garland claimed that the fact that several crucial scenes were cut, lead to her losing the Oscar for Best Actress.   Ironically, this attempt to increase profitability lead to the film losing money.   In 1981, a restoration proved partially successful, extending the length to 176 minutes, and replacing lost scenes that couldn’t be found with photos of the scenes being shot, to give an idea of what they would have looked like.

Many American soap opera episodes are lost, as the owners of them did not preserve them.  It was not until the middle of the 1970s, that they began preserving the episodes.  The exceptions are Dark Shadows, which has only one lost episode, and Days of Our Lives and The Young and the Restless, which have preserved all of their episodes before it was common to do so.

Many talks show and game show episodes are lost because the tapes were reused, due to videotape being very expensive.  This practice ended in the late 1970s.

The BBC is famous for discarding many of their programs.  This practice is known as wiping.  It was not until 1978, that they developed a policy of preserving all their material.  The reasons were varied, but included issues such as cost, making room for new programs, and deals with talent unions to limit or forbid reruns from talent unions on the rationale that reruns might put them out of business.  The most famous examples of this policy is Doctor Who.  Many early episodes are lost forever, but occasionally, lost episodes did turn up.

With regard to anime, many episodes are missing often because of content reasons, that are offensive to Western sensibilities or deemed inappropriate for children.  One anime series is, however, lost in its original form because of of changes made when it was imported for dubbing in America.  That would be Astro Boy.  Adter NBC recut the episodes, they offered to send the original film elements back the rights holders in Japan; the studio, however, refused to accept them because of financial issues, and they told NBC to do whatever it is that they do with film elements that they can’t or don’t want to keep.  NBC discarded them, and now all versions of the show are made from NBC’s version.

I even have a lost film of my own.  In 1999, me, my brother, my sister, and my father created a short film called The Giant Pikachu.  I lost the VHS tape is was saved on.