That Wacky Redhead

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Brainbin, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. Brainbin Kingpin of the Cultural Cartel

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2009
    Location:
    The British Empire
    Thank you all for your very gracious replies to my latest update! As much fun as these many digressions have been, it's great to see some on-topic discussion taking place on this thread for a change ;) That said, I am of course obliged to respond to those posts which were left hanging by this update first, so without further delay...

    I was just teasing, I always appreciate any concerns or constructive criticisms. And I hope you enjoyed the update! :)

    Yes it was! Something to bear in mind for future updates. Her Majesty is just coming off a remarkably successful Canadian tour as well; sometimes it's good to be the Queen.

    Which many people would use as a knock against the show, but I can't say I'm surprised that you're going against the grain.

    You are aware that Spock isn't dead ITTL, right? :confused:

    Thanks for helping to elucidate the concept for me, Thande. It's the challenge that comes with writing thematically instead of straight chronologically.

    I don't blame you for finding over 2,000 posts to be somewhat daunting. I think Asharella developed a winning strategy, in reading my posts exclusively (since I always quote the posts to which I am replying, you can follow the chains of conversation if need be) - which is "only" 273 posts, including this one ;)

    I've bolded what you have exactly right - the miniseries seems to have moved to cable, which isn't as tightly restricted in terms of content, but is usually able to maintain a similar budget to comparable network productions (at least in recent years, as viewers have migrated over in droves). Cable was pretty scarce in the late 1970s.

    Thank you, Thande, and very well said - though I must say that Canadians have far more right to make that complaint than those living across the Pond :p

    Glad you're still reading, Richter10, and we'll just have to see what else is on the way!

    I know, right? Richard Pryor and Robin Williams, on the same stage, in the late 1970s, and it wasn't a hit? Sometimes OTL can seem downright ASB...

    Thank you, Steve! :)

    We will be hearing more about this as we cover the facets of New Hollywood - possibly as early as this cycle!

    Well, the law of averages says it was bound to happen eventually! :p

    Edie Grant basically existed to separate from and later divorce Lou. On the other hand, Lou Grant ITTL would be similar to the early seasons of Barney Miller, balancing between the central character's home and work lives. There would certainly be tension, as Edie left everything she ever knew behind to move to LA with Lou.

    I've never seen the show, so I couldn't say for sure either way, but perhaps it was just subtle for its time - that was an exceptionally preachy era.

    Butterflies are free to fly!

    It's interesting, because I've seen an in-depth interview with Bob Mackie (whom I omitted from the update only because it was not entirely dedicated to The Carol Burnett Show), and he seems somewhat bemused about that dress being his most famous creation. Granted, I probably would be too, if I had designed all of those other dresses.

    Just once a week! And he does have writers to help him with it.

    It's going to leave a very big impression ITTL, I can tell you that much.

    The aforementioned "home life" angle swings it in favour of Lou Grant over Rockford. Emmy voters seem to love that kind of thing.

    There's only one way to find out!

    Thank you again for your kind words, Andrew, and please don't feel any need to apologize :)

    I believe the answer to your question can best be expressed in song:

    "I'll be your long-haired lover from Liverpool, and I will do anything you say..."

    ...except for that. The answer is "no", sorry :p (Also: I will not be your long-haired lover from Liverpool. And you're welcome, for getting that song stuck in your head!)

    The sketches would be pre-taped (and definitely videotaped, because it was the 1970s), for obvious reasons, but the show would be structured in such a way so as to appear to be a live variety show (much like The Carol Burnett Show, actually, which was also pre-taped). Bloopers from the series would probably be the stuff of legend.

    Very, very true - which is why I'm glad to have found this alternate route for him. He'll probably come out of this stint as a bigger star than even Pryor (the obvious OTL comparison is Jim Carrey on In Living Color - though Richard Pryor has a more evenly distributed cast in terms of race).

    Well, Blazing Saddles went off largely as IOTL - except, of course, for Harvey Korman receiving his predicted Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor - and then he won the award, too. Over Robert De Niro. (Come to think of it, he isn't doing so well ITTL, is he?) Silver Streak, or a rough equivalent, will also exist ITTL, as it predates the premiere of The Richard Pryor Show. As for their later OTL collaborations, obviously I cannot reveal that information at this juncture.

    Thank you, Unknown! And I have not forgotten your previous request, though I make no promises, of course :cool:

    I told you all that I would find a replacement for Saturday Night Live! I just had to move it from NYC to LA. Even the drug dealers are fleeing that sinking ship ITTL! :cool:

    And in hopes of keeping this momentum going, I hope to have the next update ready for you in just two more days! So, until then!
     
  2. phx1138 Bocagiste troll

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Location:
    Charlie Townsend's guest house
    :eek: That has to stop immediately.:p
    What? The Superboy vibe, non-canon, or Kristin? (I have a hunch you meant Kristin.:eek:)
    Neither is Doc Doom AFAIK. Nor AFAIK will Jackson even exist TTL. Making a point is all.;)
    Yeah, if you don't offer some context, a lot of it doesn't have any meaning. Or doesn't unless you already get the context.
    Getting more common by '78-9: we even had it here, & out here, rural electricity or telephone wasn't standard until the '50s.:eek:
    Who knew? Then again, NBC cancelled "STTOS" OTL, too, & look what happened.:eek::p
    Are you calling me average?:eek::p
    I wouldn't have liked TTL's "Lou Grant" as much, then: it was the paper I liked, not his life. I thought Barney having a wife on the show, & us seeing her, was a mistake, too.
    I'd tend to agree, from what little I recall of other shows. "Quincy" started off being pretty straight up detective, with a leavening of "issue", until he turned into a crusader--tho TBH, at the time, I didn't notice. (When they came back around in repeats a few years later...:eek:) "Lou Grant" I caught at it all of once, & they made a point of Lou being on the outside, so it was OK. As for any other shows, I don't recall any of them well enough. ("WKRP" was to nutty to preach AFAICT.;))
    Not saying they're not, just thinking it's not an ideal title.
    ;) Can't blame him, I guess, any more than you can blame Geilgood or Guinness.
    :eek: Somehow, I was thinking this was nightly... I also had the impression he did all his own monologues anyhow. In the clubs, only, then?
    :cool:
    Then the producers should count themselves lucky I'm not.:p
    Just sayin'. I'll be here.:)
    :rolleyes: Somebody call Meat Loaf. Or the Stupid Lyrics Patrol.:rolleyes: "I'll do anything" doesn't have a qualifier...:rolleyes:
    In front of a live audience as I recall, tho, so... Not so different from what you'd get from Carson. (AFAIK, they didn't do it strictly live to tape.)
    As badly as things went for him, it'd be good to see him get a break. I was never a particular fan, but it seemed like he always was taking it in the neck.:eek:
    I'd second that request, if I haven't already. I trust you also recall my wanting to keep Charlene aboard?:cool: (Otherwise, there's a very good chance I'd never watch at all TTL.:eek:)
    Hmm... I don't suppose anybody would have the idea to do a "behind the scenes" dramedy based on it...?;)

    Of course, with "Network" & "FM" spawning "WKRP" & "WIOU"...
     
  3. Andrew T Kick 'em when they're up!

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2011
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    Maryland
    I'm trying to remember the comic who, upon learning that Silver Streak made the AFI's Top 100 movies, quipped "I'm not sure that Silver Streak is in the top 100 of Gene Wilder-Richard Pryor movies. [beat] About trains."
     
  4. The Professor Pontif of the Guild

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    Location:
    Republic of Beerhaven
    seconded

    Yeah, guess it is just Robin's time!
     
  5. phx1138 Bocagiste troll

    Joined:
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    :eek::eek: How many people do you suppose the studio had to bribe to make that happen?:p
    :D:D
     
  6. Asharella Socialistic Vmpr Bi Witch Girl

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2009
    Location:
    Ecotopia ~ NW Washington State
    Well there's cable and then there's cable.

    We had cable here in the early Seventies but that just meant better reception of the broadcast stations in the area. It was actually more of a rural thing than an urban thing because in the city they didn't need it, but out here in the countryside or a smaller city in the broadcast area we didn't get very good reception at all.

    Here in Bellingham without cable at my house we got clear reception for channel 2, Vancouver CBC, channel 6, Victoria CBC, channel 8, Vancouver CHEK, and channel 12, Bellingham/Vancouver CBS. We got those with rabbit ears. With an antenna on the roof we got decent reception of channel 4, KOMO Seattle ABC, and channel 5, KING Seattle NBC, really fuzzy reception of channel 7, KIRO Seattle CBS, and channel 9, Seattle PBS, and horrid reception of channel 11, Tacoma indie (which now is the CW.)

    Cable meant we got all those clear, clean and consistent. That's all cable meant.

    It wasn't until 1982 that I first experienced cable as cable. We'd lived in Pasadena for the previous three years and didn't have TV as poor grad students. Then we moved to Central Washington and one of our new friends had a big giant TV in his basement and he had cable with CNN, the Weather Channel, and Superstations TBS and WGN and USA. Then everyone got MTV, which you had to pay extra for in those days.

    So I'd say that cable as cable was a thing of the Eighties.
     
  7. phx1138 Bocagiste troll

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    I'd still disagree. We got all of three stations OTA here: CBC English, CBC French, & CTV. Cable meant (at first) North Dakota stations, but it was all the U.S. main networks & PBS (no HBO, & this is pre-Fox IIRC). IIRC, we had the (standalone) option of a "Canadian HBO" (Superchannel) before that, but it was close to the same time.

    Thing was, Saskatchewan was comparatively backward...so I'd guess we were late-adopters. Maybe not, tho, by appearances.
     
  8. Asharella Socialistic Vmpr Bi Witch Girl

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Ecotopia ~ NW Washington State
    Well, again, I'd think that due to the nature of cable that it was one innovative technology that was more a rural 'backward' phenomena first.
     
  9. NCW8 Just Chilling

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    Location:
    Baselland
    Interesting. I don't recall any big televised events for the Silver Jubilee. It was celebrated more at the local level - street parties and the like. In terms of popular culture, the biggest thing was possibly the release of God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols. There were rumours that the Charts were manipulated to prevent it being Number One.

    Shame ! About not butterflying the song - the rest I'm actually relieved to hear

    The other Osmonds songs didn't grate anywhere near as much as that one. They weren't quite my cup of tea, but they didn't make me want to actually throw the radio through the window.


    Going back to a previous post:
    I've found some viewing figures for Blakes 7. It looks like the first season drew an audience of 7.4 to 10.9 million per episode. For comparison, Coronation Street drew an audience of between 9 and 20 million per episode in 1978, so Blakes 7 comes in at the lower end of that range. Pretty good for a show without a mainstream audience !

    AFAIR, in the UK satellite tv took off far more quickly than cable. It's probably for the reason you state - over most of the country the broadcast tv signal was clear, so there was no real demand until satellite came along offering more channels.

    Cheers,
    Nigel.
     
  10. Brainbin Kingpin of the Cultural Cartel

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2009
    Location:
    The British Empire
    Love in the Afternoon

    Confused? You won’t be, after this episode of… Soap!

    The Announcer for Soap, at the end of every episode’s teaser

    Daytime television had seemingly been the exclusive province of a few particular genres, through the late 1970s, and foremost among these was the soap opera. Their overall presentation (melodramatic, overtly romantic, serialized content and story structure) had largely existed only in the peripheries of popular culture – they had aired in the daytime hours ever since the glory days of old-time radio, and this had obviously continued with the transition to television. The analogous romance comics had initially thrived in the post-War years, but were spayed and neutered by the infamous Comics Code of 1954, and later rendered trivial and passé by the circumstances of the recent Sexual Revolution. Their sister comics in the funny pages were able to retain greater potency; but as the name implied, they were usually viewed as subservient to the comedic strips, such as Peanuts, which had emerged as a multimedia empire by the 1970s. The same could not be said of a Mary Worth or a Rex Morgan, M.D. Indeed, even on television, common sense reckoned that the primacy of the daytime soaps would soon come to an end; said Sexual Revolution had played havoc with their central conceit of a woman’s successes or failures being tied exclusively to romance, marriage, and family. The 1970s had also seen the core audience of housewives (or those who might have otherwise become housewives) entering the workforce, even in non-traditional vocations, in numbers not seen since World War II. The “Mini-Boom” of the early 1970s, which had died out by 1975, was seen as merely postponing the inevitable on that score, especially as some mothers of the resultant young children eventually sought gainful employment.

    However, what actually became of these audiences was rather contrary to these imperious sociological predictions. Viewership continued to rise (even relative to the growth in population) throughout the decade, and the corresponding demographics grew increasingly attractive.
    [1] In many ways, it was easy to see why soap operas were so popular; they offered a voyeuristic look into the lives of a wide variety of people (for soap operas were known for their large, ensemble casts), usually affluent and leading glamorous lifestyles, and always far more attractive than the average person (even by primetime standards); and the serialized storytelling encouraged the palpable desire to find out what happened next – several storylines were presented at once, typically in a “treadmill” fashion, with each new plot coming in just behind its predecessor in the overall story arc. Plotlines would be constantly interspersed throughout an episode, with entirely new scenes featuring unrelated characters constantly interrupting each other (typically, cutting away immediately after a dramatic, suspenseful question or declaration has been issued). With the conclusion of each one, yet another would be introduced, allowing for a constant narrative flow. The content was controversial and lascivious, featuring such topics as infidelity, sexual dysfunctions, familial discord, premarital sex, teenage pregnancy, and even abortion. The irony of the genre was that, despite being groundbreaking in confronting all of these taboos, it was all done in a very tentative, self-conscious fashion – everything was referred to in hushed tones and double entendres, which uniquely complemented the melodramatic acting style.

    On the technical side of production, this famous “laggard” genre did generally catch up with the times, ceasing to shoot live and switching from the clichéd organ soundtracks of yore to more sophisticated (if equally wretched) strings and pianos. Inversely, their pioneering use of videotape instead of film would be adopted by many primetime shows, as it was an easy way to save costs (always an overriding concern in a field with minimal revenue potential). Finally, the late 1970s saw the lengthening of many (though not all) soaps from half-hour to hour-long episodes; for some of them, this was their second such expansion, the first having been from fifteen to thirty minutes in the late 1960s. [2] As episodes increased in length, so too did their narrative focus increase in breadth; shows that formerly followed only a single character or family would now chronicle the travails of the whole small, fictional suburban towns in which soap operas were almost universally set. Though this was done by necessity, it had certain advantages in that it created a more immersive world, if not a more realistic one; and it required the audience to pay closer attention, which prompted more frequent viewing on their part.

    As noted, soap operas were a famously conservative business, changing as little as possible over time – but their aforementioned obligations to adapt their focus to suit their longer runtimes resulted in a new narrative strain that would have a massive impact on popular perceptions of the genre. Romances between specific characters, and audience investment in particular couplings, was a rising trend throughout the 1970s. The course of true love never did run smooth, and that was more evident in soap operas than anywhere else – even the most seemingly committed couples were constantly subjected to the most overwrought trials and tribulations, with the viewers eating them up and coming back for more. A pioneering example of this phenomenon was the relationship of Doug and Julie from Days of Our Lives, whose astounding chemistry was strong enough to rub off on the actors playing them, who married in 1974. When the news of this clandestine real-life coupling inevitably reached the fans, they became insistent on replicating those results on the screen as well, which (eventually) became a reality. The classic yarn of star-crossed lovers was an instant hit, and even propelled the couple to the cover of Time magazine. Soap operas were coming of age. People who had long ignored and dismissed them suddenly found themselves in rapt attention.

    To the extent that the popularity and influence of any phenomenon could be measured by its parodies, soap operas appeared to have come of age in the late 1970s. No less a visionary producer than Norman Lear attempted to confirm his clout with Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman – all things considered, a surprisingly affectionate parody of the genre, given the source. It starred Louise Lasser, an actress known for having been married to Woody Allen and (after divorcing him) appearing in many of his early films; she played the titular dowdy, small-town housewife living in the fictional Fernwood, Ohio [3], and her characterization was… highly peculiar. There was no doubt that everyone involved in the production considered Lasser the ideal choice for Mary Hartman, because she played the character in a profoundly stylized fashion, seeming constantly bewildered by her surroundings, though simultaneously bored and disaffected – about as direct an inversion of stereotypical “soap opera” acting as was possible. Perhaps to emphasize this, the other actors in the show behaved in a more naturalistic fashion, typical of (primetime) sitcoms of the era, the genre in which Lear had made his name. However, what the other characters may have lacked in affected acting styles, they made up for with their quirky personalities and highly skewed priorities. But the meat
    of the show was in eschewing the euphemisms of the daytime soaps and referring to everything using proper terminology. This “hyper-realistic” style was both jarring and unforgettable; indeed, despite being a parody, the show itself was memorably spoofed on The Carol Burnett Show, as “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary”.

    Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman aired five nights a week in syndication – much as soap operas aired five days a week on the networks – for three seasons. The cancellation of the series came at the end of the 1977-78 season, alongside Lear’s far more famous creation, Those Were the Days. Louise Lasser, who had been roped into participating in a third season against her better judgement (but with the promise of more money for less work), declined to appear in a fourth, and the syndicators had no interest in continuing the show without her (as for better or for worse, she had become synonymous with the program) [4]. It was a major blow for Lear, who along with the show
    ’s writers had hoped to continue (under the title Forever Fernwood). Replacement plans, perhaps for some form of spinoff centred on a formerly peripheral character (the late-night timeslot inspired the writers to suggest a talk-show parody) were also rejected, which was further humiliation for the man who was once the hottest producer in television.

    Though perhaps not quite so ambitious as Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, the primetime parody called, simply, Soap was certainly far more widely-seen, generally more acclaimed, and had a much greater influence on popular culture beyond each show
    s respective cult audiences (whose passionate fervour charmingly echoed that of the fans of that which they parodied). Soap was also in many ways more conventional; it was very much a half-hour, once-weekly sitcom, complete with laugh track, and the actors committed fully to the outlandish plots featured in each episode (which, even in spoofing the genre, went way over the top, and included alien abduction, demonic possession, and a man living in a symbiotic relationship with his ventriloquist dummy). However, continuing storylines – a rarity in any genre other than soaps at the time – were very much in evidence. As such, the series employed a comedic announcer, voiced by Texan disc jockey Robert “Rod” Roddy, who narrated the opening titles, and introduced and closed each episode (reminding the audience of previous events and teasing about future ones) in a bizarre combination of deadpan and stentorian.

    Soap was the story of two sisters, Mary Graham [5] and Jessica Tate, both daughters of a character identified only as “the Major”, who had served in World War II and lived his life as if he were still fighting in it. Both Mary and Jessica were married, the former to a blue-collar professional, and the latter to a wealthy stockbroker; both husbands had far more foibles than their wives. The breakout roles, though, belonged to the show’s only two minority characters: Benson, the wisecracking African-American butler to the Tates, played by Robert Guillaume; and Mary’s gay son from a previous marriage, Joe Austin, played by newcomer Tom Hanks. [6] Although not the first recurring gay character on primetime, as with so many other pioneers on television, he was the first that mattered. Ironically, both characters were generally the “straight men” to the goings-on around them, though Hanks in particular mined his character for as much over-the-top comedy as he was able, up to and including some uncomfortably
    “stereotypical” gags, such as transvestism. Many of the women on the cast often wryly noted that none of them could pull off a dress quite like the “statuesque” Hanks did. Benson, meanwhile, was also decried as “stereotypical”, being regarded by racial advocacy groups as “falling back” into the “demeaning, subservient” characterizations of yesteryear; this despite the fact that Benson was defiant, self-assured, and ridiculously well-compensated (as nobody else was willing to work for the Tates). [7]

    At first, liberals and conservatives alike were united in their opposition to Soap; indignation could make for some strange bedfellows indeed. The liberals hated the stereotypical depictions of characters based on their race and sexuality, whereas conservatives hated the salacious storylines. (Soap prided itself on being an equal-opportunity offender). Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of complaints on all sides came before the show had even aired. Letter-writing campaigns were organized, with thousands of them flooding network offices. In its way, Soap was even more controversial than Mary Hartman, if only because it aired in primetime on a network, and therefore had to answer to Broadcast Standards & Practices. And the censors, true to form, had many
    “suggestions” for the writers, and the perennial dance of creative expression vs. public decency was on.

    Outcry on all sides naturally died down once Soap was actually airing, but
    – in accordance with the adage that any publicity is good publicity – ratings for the premiere and throughout the first season were a smash, making it the highest-rated new show on ABC, and yet another triumph for the Alphabet Network, continuing their hot streak in this era. [8] Both liberal and conservative special interest groups continued to be dissatisfied about certain aspects of the show (Joe Austin and his homosexuality remained a rare sticking point with both sides, though obviously the nature of any complaints varied dramatically depending on the source), but – their initial salvos having been adroitly evaded – these were mostly ignored by those in charge. Soap existed to satirize the conventions of the genre, embracing them as well only because they had potential far greater than how they were presently being employed. Perhaps Soap was also meaner and more detached from its characters than Mary Hartman, though it was the style of the time and place that even then, it had great difficulty maintaining this cynicism. This was almost wholly attributable to the superlative cast, who were widely praised even in negative reviews, and who would go on to be remembered as one of the all-time great sitcom ensembles, with a number of them achieving considerable success as individuals.

    One of the more interesting parallels in production details which linked soap operas and their parodies were the particulars of the personnel involved; namely, that women played a major creative role in all of them. Irma Phillips and her protégée, Agnes Nixon, were the two most significant writers in daytime television; two of the co-creators, and the two main scribes, of Mary Hartman Gail Parent and Ann Marcus [FONT=&quot]– were women as well; and the creator, showrunner, and principal writer of Soap, Susan Harris, was also a woman. Harris was sufficiently inspired by the legitimate work of Phillips and Nixon that she plotted out a five-season story arc for her series, with the added challenge of having to keep her planned labyrinthine storylines comedic, a far more exacting task than writing for melodrama. And then, of course, there was the matter of staying on the air for five years, which was a considerably greater challenge in primetime, even at only half an hour long. Could Soap remain a ratings hit? Would it keep running for all five seasons? Did Susan Harris have the talent and ability to keep up the pace of juggling storylines for that long? And which supporting character would get a spinoff?


    These questions, and many others, will be answered in the next episode of… Soap!

    [/FONT]The Announcer for Soap, reciting the last line of every episode.

    ---

    [1] ITTL, a larger proportion of young women remain housewives (or become housewives, as they graduate from school and marry) both because there are more children underfoot, and because the economy is much stronger in the early 1970s compared to OTL, allowing the single-income family to remain viable for a longer period. The societal changes taking place IOTL that drove women into the workforce still exist ITTL; their effects are simply not as immediate or as forceful earlier on. What this means for the purposes of daytime viewing is that absolute ratings are even better than they were in the 1970s IOTL, which further bolsters the soap opera.

    [2] The 1970s expansion naturally killed many of the other shows in the network daytime lineups, including some of the lower-rated soaps, and some game shows; IOTL and ITTL, one of the most notable casualties was Jeopardy!, which was cancelled in 1975. However, the (original) syndication version, which premiered in 1974, survives ITTL.

    [3] Though there is a Fernwood in Ohio, it is not an incorporated settlement; the town featured in the show was named for a street near the studio where it was taped.

    [4] Lasser left after only two seasons IOTL, and the show did indeed continue without her for another year as Forever Fernwood. Also not coming to fruition ITTL is the talk show parody Fernwood 2-Night (which itself was later retooled into America 2-Night), starring Martin Mull and Fred Willard.

    [5] IOTL, Mary Campbell; the network wanted to change the surname to avoid association with the Campbell Soup Company, and ITTL they won out.

    [6] Joe Austin was IOTL named Jodie Dallas, the first name being unisex (chosen for obvious reasons), and the last being available ITTL due to its disuse by any other character; he was played by Billy Crystal (who, ITTL, is chosen to play Curt Henderson on American Graffiti in lieu of Richard Dreyfuss, who stars as the Meathead on Those Were the Days in lieu of Rob Reiner). Hanks obviously has OTL experience with homosexual and transvestite characters, which influenced his selection for this role.

    [7] Benson is portrayed roughly as he was IOTL
    – and between Soap and later his own spinoff, Benson, he emerged as a wonderfully well-rounded, fully-realized character of his own, beyond the satire of black servile types he began life as, but ITTL, there are more complaints against the very notion of a black servant working for a wealthy white family, as a demonstration of the more earnest egalitarian tack many sides are working toward. (People ITTL complained about Florida in Maude for the same reason, helping to contribute to its downfall; even though – as on Soap Maudes hypocrisy about Florida is repeatedly the subject of ridicule on her own show).

    [8] IOTL, Soap (airing at 9:30 on Tuesdays) received a 22.0 rating for the 1977-78 season (translating to just over 16 million households), good for #13 overall. ITTL, airing in the same timeslot, it instead received a 23.0 rating (the competition didn
    t have M*A*S*H as a lead-in, because it didnt exist), good for #11 overall, just outside the Top 10.

    ---

    Thanks to Andrew T for his dynamite suggestion of Tom Hanks to replace Billy Crystal in the pivotal
    “Jodie” role on Soap!

    I apologize that this update may not have answered all your questions, but come now, seriously. You expected all of your questions to be answered right away in an update about soap operas? Surely you jest! We shall, of course, revisit these topics repeatedly in the future, with each post having a detailed recap at the beginning, and a thrilling cliffhanger at the end :p (Well, maybe not, but except to see more of soaps and of Soap in the coming cycles, as we
    re entering the peak period for both of them.)
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2012
  11. phx1138 Bocagiste troll

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Location:
    Charlie Townsend's guest house
    Thank you for making my favorite sitcom central.:cool::cool: (I did like "Yes, Minister" enormously, too, to be sure.;))
    :cool: (Fight!)
    I'm unaware of romance comics being much affected by the CCA. I understand they helped kill off the superheroes, tho.:eek::mad:
    This would already have been happening, wouldn't it? As the usual half-hour drama was disappearing, too. (Tho I do recall "Adam-12" still being 30min into the '70s.)
    Huh. I had no idea. So you could say "Dallas" & "Dynasty", among others OTL, were throwbacks.
    Don't recall this one, tho Tony Geary & Genie Francis (& their Luke & Laura romance) got big, big headlines...:eek:
    I honestly never got the appeal of this show.:confused::rolleyes:
    :eek: Really? I do (vaguely) recall the language being considered risqué.
    Larry Sanders is out of a job?:eek: Or could he have ended up on air much sooner than OTL?:eek:
    :cool::cool::cool::cool:
    IDK if the producers had it in mind, but I got the sense that was deliberate: it was all part of the spoof. I got the feeling "Soap" was a parody in the entirety, much as "Police Squad" would be: everything about it was a joke on the medium.

    Yet, for all that, it also did what I loved it most for: it snuck in serious stuff underneath the insanity. That's the reason I liked the later episodes of "M*A*S*H" more, & why I loved "Soap' so much... (It's also why I think "Serial" is the best comedy I've ever seen.)
    Symbiotic isn't the word I'd use.:rolleyes: Think of "Magic", without the knives.
    :eek::confused::confused::confused:

    What part of Benson was "subservient"?:confused::confused: ("You want me to get that?" didn't become a running gag for nothing.:rolleyes: Even to the point they could later subvert it...)
    Truth to tell, I'd have liked this better if he hadn't gone political... (Activist, maybe, but not politician. He never struck me as the type willing to gladhand.:eek: Also, I always got the sense Benson was a last name...:confused:)
    :cool::cool: Looking at his WP page, this risks him losing the lead in "Splash".:eek: (Unless Ron Howard offers it anyhow & they shoot on hiatus.)
    Yep, the requisite "one sane person". (I've never been sure if Andy or Venus was the sane one...:eek:;) I tend toward it being Venus.:p)
    :cool::p
    :cool::cool: So it goes even longer than OTL...?:cool::cool::cool::cool: TY, TY, TY.:cool::cool:
    :eek::eek::confused::confused: I never saw that at all.
    :confused::confused: It's not like it wasn't actually happening IRL...:rolleyes:
    No, they won't--but they might be in the next update of "That Wacky Redhead".:cool::cool:;)
    :cool: Agreed.

    (Now if only you could save "The Good Guys"...:mad:)
     
  12. NCW8 Just Chilling

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    Location:
    Baselland
    Not Confused, just Impressed

    British Soaps followed the same evolution - both Crossroads and The Archers initially followed a single family. Coronation Street was an early adopter of the idea of following a community rather than just a family. Even seventies drama series, such as Upstairs, Downstairs and The Brothers, which can be viewed as up-market Soaps, also concentrated on a single family.

    I can't think of an equivalent British series to Mary Hartman or Soap. There were obviously individual sketches that parodied Soaps, but not an entire series devoted to it. The closest I can think of is Acorn Antiques, which was a regular feature of Victoria Woods As Seen On TV.

    Cheers,
    Nigel.
     
  13. Glen ASB & Left Hand of IAN Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2005
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Brainbin, your last few updates are as well written and informative as ever. The one thing I am slightly disappointed by is the continuing parallelism rather than true divergences so late after the POD (and its huge butterflies in the early 1970s). A few more truly divergent new shows (though with familiar faces since we aren't that far from the POD) would go a long way towards increasing the feeling of verisimilitude in the timeline. Don't get me wrong; I love what you have done here, and it is the author's prerogative as to how much and when and where to diverge, but I felt I owed you some feedback and that is what I was feeling. Keep up the good work!
     
  14. naraht Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2010
    Remind me again when FYI first went on the air? With Jim Dail, Frank Fontana and what's her name as the main female investigative reporter...
     
  15. Andrew T Kick 'em when they're up!

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2011
    Location:
    Maryland
    I've beat the drum on Soap earlier in the thread, so obviously this was a highly enjoyable update for me. Great work as usual. :)

    I assume you're familiar with the Comics Curmudgeon? I'm pretty sure that's the only other place in the universe where you can find a vibrant discussion of Mary Worth. :)

    If you've discussed the status of the Equal Rights Amendment and the second-wave feminist movement, I apologize for having missed it. But it strikes me that this is a pretty blank slate: on the one hand, you have generally more liberal race relations; on the other hand, the "Mini-Boom" and economic conditions you discuss in footnote 1 are culturally conservative influences. Gender equality doesn't have to track racial equality, after all.

    Actually, I wonder how social conservatism as a movement is faring; IOTL, it was Jimmy Carter who introduced born-again Christianity in the White House, only to discover that politically-minded evangelicals were using that enhanced visibility to build the alliance that would ultimately drive him from office in 1980. (The Moral Majority was founded by Jerry Falwell in 1979 IOTL.)

    Here, Reagan won overwhelmingly without his own "third leg" of what he dubbed the "three-legged stool" of conservatism (social conservatives) -- or at least, without those folks organized as a political force. Reagan ITTL is likely to still be sympathetic with (and liked by) social conservatives, of course....

    I always thought that the key to Soap was that, within its own universe -- and subject to the same 'laws' that governed soap operas -- it always took itself seriously, to the point where there were genuine moments of pathos (usually centered on the characters of Jessica and Mary).

    I had never heard the connection with Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (and have never watched it); I wonder if naming the straightest straight-(wo)man on the show Mary was intended as a shout-out?

    Without Steve Austin in the Six Million Dollar Man, this makes perfect sense.

    "You want me to get that?"

    Are there any other cast changes ITTL? I always thought Diana Canova (Corinne) was the weak link IOTL's Soap.

    I think it was earlier on this thread, but in case it was elsewhere, I'll share it again: in researching Dirty Laundry, I was rather shocked to learn that Susan Harris is the mother of neuroscientist and prominent New Atheist Sam Harris.

    IOTL, Soap ran for four seasons, ending -- as with the previous three season finales -- with massive, unresolved cliffhangers. Of course, very few shows get to go off the air on their own terms....
     
  16. THE OBSERVER Independent Progressive

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2010
    Location:
    New England
    We're heading into Primetime Soap Territory now? Can we see Dynasty start earlier than OTL? And as for suggestions, I can accept Tom Baker not being the Fourth Doctor, but no American can't imagine anyone else other than Larry Hagman for J.R. Ewing. That's UNAMERICAN!! Please take my concerns into account. And as for Dynasty, maybe I can get by with seeing someone else as Alexis, with an emphasis on the maybe. As for Knots Landing and the primetime soaps of the 70s and 80s, go crazy.
     
  17. Glen ASB & Left Hand of IAN Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2005
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Murphy Brown played by Candice Bergen started 1988.
     
  18. Asharella Socialistic Vmpr Bi Witch Girl

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2009
    Location:
    Ecotopia ~ NW Washington State
    I agree. I love what Brainbin is doing too. But I also am waiting for the big phenomenon that is totally different than anything in OTL. We've had some of the big things in our world never happen like M*A*S*H*. There's got to be something big, maybe even enormous and culture changing, that never got near the light of day in our world but in TTL did.
     
  19. Asharella Socialistic Vmpr Bi Witch Girl

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2009
    Location:
    Ecotopia ~ NW Washington State
    I suppose that the syndicated 1977 soap parody All That Glitters was butterflied away?
     
  20. naraht Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2010
    No, not when the Television Show "Murphy Brown" was on in OTL, how long was FYI on the air *in universe* when Murphy came back from Alcoholics Anonymous? (the event that started the series as we saw it).