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Happy Lendervedder
12-02-2007, 11:49 PM
So I'm sitting here tonight, with TVLand playing in the background while I'm doing some work. I'm half-listening to "The Jeffersons," and George is giving Lionel something (a watch, maybe). Well I tuned out briefly, only to be brought back in by Weezy exclaiming "N!gger, please!"

Wow! Wasn't expecting that! Especially from Louise. Shocking moment #1.

Another sitcom moment (shocking moment #2) that always gets me is Carrol O'Connor's raw emotion in the 'All in the Family' Christmas episode "The Draft Dodger," (http://tv.com/all-in-the-family/the-draft-dodger/episode/38256/summary.html) when Archie starts yelling about the "rotten [goddamn] war" in Vietnam. Whenever I see that scene, I always feel really uncomfortable and I don't know why.


Is there anything in mild ol' sitcom land that's gotten you to sit up and take notice over the years?

pinkfreud
12-02-2007, 11:57 PM
When Maude Findlay had an (illegal) abortion, my jaw dropped a mile or two. Somehow real life had suddenly broken through into the sitcom continuum.

NDP
12-03-2007, 12:15 AM
When Maude Findlay had an (illegal) abortion, my jaw dropped a mile or two. Somehow real life had suddenly broken through into the sitcom continuum.

It's been years since I've seen the episode but I thought abortion was legal in the state where Maude lived. (Incidentally, for those of you who've never seen the episode, it aired aired before the Roe v. Wade decision when the legality of abortion was still up to the individual states.)

pinkfreud
12-03-2007, 12:26 AM
It's been years since I've seen the episode but I thought abortion was legal in the state where Maude lived. (Incidentally, for those of you who've never seen the episode, it aired aired before the Roe v. Wade decision when the legality of abortion was still up to the individual states.)You're right. Abortion was legal in New York at that time. :smack:

Nevertheless, a sitcom character undergoing an abortion (even a legal one) was quite an eye-opener in 1972.

Walloon
12-03-2007, 02:47 AM
David Dukes attempting to rape Edith Bunker on her 50th birthday.

Kamino Neko
12-03-2007, 02:52 AM
I find it interesting that so far we have two episodes of All In the Family, and an episode each from two different AItF spinoffs....

Lochdale
12-03-2007, 03:06 AM
When Maude Findlay had an (illegal) abortion, my jaw dropped a mile or two. Somehow real life had suddenly broken through into the sitcom continuum.

I think it's more shocking that we were led to believe that Maude had sex.

Sam Stone
12-03-2007, 03:10 AM
I'm not sure what kind of 'shocking' you're looking for, but I remember being fairly stunned when Radar came into the OR to announce that Henry Blake's plane had been shot down and he was dead. I'm not sure if it was the first time that a major character in a sitcom was killed off like that, but Henry was a beloved character.

That was also the moment that, for me, MASH jumped the shark. It was the final episode of the season, and when the next one started Trapper John was also gone, and we started the BJ Hunnicutt/emotional Hawkeye era.

ThisSpaceForRent
12-03-2007, 03:42 AM
... but I remember being fairly stunned when Radar came into the OR to announce that Henry Blake's plane had been shot down and he was dead. .
Hey...Sam Stone you popped my last balloon ;) Thats what I came in here to say...

tsfr

Joey P
12-03-2007, 08:04 AM
Another sitcom moment (shocking moment #2) that always gets me is Carrol O'Connor's raw emotion in the 'All in the Family' Christmas episode "The Draft Dodger," (http://tv.com/all-in-the-family/the-draft-dodger/episode/38256/summary.html) when Archie starts yelling about the "rotten [goddamn] war" in Vietnam. Whenever I see that scene, I always feel really uncomfortable and I don't know why.

I saw the title and my first thought was Sammy Davis Jr kissing Archie Bunker.

Southern Yankee
12-03-2007, 08:15 AM
The Gordon Jump pedophile episode of Diff'rent Strokes shocked me, at the time.

BMalion
12-03-2007, 08:21 AM
That one epsode where the castaways almost got rescued but Gilligan messed it up.

JohnT
12-03-2007, 08:22 AM
Bobby being in the shower.

What? Dallas wasn't a sitcom? But it was hilarious!

BobLibDem
12-03-2007, 08:35 AM
Archie's scene reacting to Edith's death on All in the Family.

The scene on Good Times where the mother (Florida?) learns of her husband's death (via telegram??? Would they really do that?)

phungi
12-03-2007, 08:37 AM
Look no further than that tempest known as the Brady Bunch:

When, despite their parents' efforts to teach them not to play ball in the house, the Brady kids ignored that advice, and the ball hit Marcia flat on the nose, over and over and over and over....

And who can forget the shocking moment in Brady Bunch history when, while defending a law suit against a malingering claimant, Mike Brady dropped the briefcase, causing the "drop heard round the world"?

Annie-Xmas
12-03-2007, 08:38 AM
Newhart. Suzanne Pleshett.

Need I say more?

jjimm
12-03-2007, 08:54 AM
Obligatory Blackadder Goes Forth reference.

JohnT
12-03-2007, 09:06 AM
Archie's scene reacting to Edith's death on All in the Family.

The scene on Good Times where the mother (Florida?) learns of her husband's death (via telegram??? Would they really do that?)

I was shocked a bit ('cause I was watching this when I was, like, 9) when JJ married some girl that was a junkie. They elope and (if my memory serves right) after JJ argues that she wasn't a junkie, the episode ended with JJ discovering that she had left the hotel room that they've rented, via the window.

It was even more shocking because my nine year-old brain assumed that she had killed herself by jumping out the window. :eek:

BMalion
12-03-2007, 09:28 AM
I was shocked a bit ('cause I was watching this when I was, like, 9) when JJ married some girl that was a junkie. They elope and (if my memory serves right) after JJ argues that she wasn't a junkie, the episode ended with JJ discovering that she had left the hotel room that they've rented, via the window.

It was even more shocking because my nine year-old brain assumed that she had killed herself by jumping out the window. :eek:


Dyn-o-mite!

Sauron
12-03-2007, 09:34 AM
Look no further than that tempest known as the Brady Bunch:

When, despite their parents' efforts to teach them not to play ball in the house, the Brady kids ignored that advice, and the ball hit Marcia flat on the nose, over and over and over and over....

Minor quibble ... Marcia was hit in the nose as she was walking into the backyard through the open sliding-glass door. She wasn't in the house.

The catastrophe that occurred as a result of playing ball in the house was the lamp breaking.

JohnT
12-03-2007, 09:36 AM
Imagine the horror that would result if a Dad of today installed a pay phone to cut down on teenage communications?

"Daddy! This thing doesn't text!"

JThunder
12-03-2007, 09:46 AM
That time on Saved by the Bell where Screech actually said something funny.

sciurophobic
12-03-2007, 09:49 AM
To add to the All in The Family column there's the episode where someone paints a swastika on the Bunkers' house. Gregory Sierra plays a Jewish radical who comes to protect them. At the end of the episode he's killed by a car bomb.

Shagnasty
12-03-2007, 10:12 AM
My first thought was from The Jeffersons as well. They befriend a very young kid that wants to be a gang member and is trying to find ways to prove himself and earn his "medals". Someone comes up to see the Jeffersons and tells them the boy had gotten into a fight and earned his medals. They want to know if he is Ok and the answer is no, he is dead.

Happy Lendervedder
12-03-2007, 10:20 AM
Thinking back to 'Arrested Development,' there were many, many moments where I was thinking "Holy crap, did they just say that?"

Like:

Michael (to GOB): Get rid of the Seaward.
*Lucille walks up*
Lucille: I'll leave when I'm good and ready.



Tobias: I'm afraid I just blue myself.



Oscar: Maybe I'll put it in her brownie!

Zsofia
12-03-2007, 10:27 AM
I find it interesting that so far we have two episodes of All In the Family, and an episode each from two different AItF spinoffs....
AitF had some heavy stuff. Mine is when Edith's drag queen friend (was it Beverly?) is murdered and Edith is furious at God and won't go to church on Christmas. It was really sad and heavy. (And Archie is so sweet trying to cheer her up.)

Omega Glory
12-03-2007, 10:30 AM
I just came in to post that, Zsofia. Another one was when Archie was invited to join the KKK style group, and turned them down on the basis of his "blackness." Apparently they don't have that many shocking moments in new sitcoms...or no one in this thread watches new sitcoms.

Rube E. Tewesday
12-03-2007, 10:32 AM
I seems almost quaint, now, but I remember being shocked (or at leat surprised) by an episode of Married with Children where Marcie thinks that Steve is finally going to be the man he used to be. As part of this, she tells Peg "So I'll be returning your shower massager".

When I was young, people just didn't talk about masturbation on TV.

Oh, and I think I saw an episode of Blossom that wasn't very special.

Happy Lendervedder
12-03-2007, 10:39 AM
I seems almost quaint, now, but I remember being shocked (or at leat surprised) by an episode of Married with Children where Marcie thinks that Steve is finally going to be the man he used to be. As part of this, she tells Peg "So I'll be returning your shower massager".

When I was young, people just didn't talk about masturbation on TV.


I also remember wathcing an episode of 'Roseanne' when DJ hit puberty, and was spending a lot of time in the bathroom. I was a little uncomfortable about that, but that's probably because I was only like a year older than DJ, and I was watching the episode with my mom. I just remember feeling my face being real hot and thinking "How can they be showing this on TV?!?"

don't ask
12-03-2007, 10:44 AM
The scene in Happy Days where the Cunninghams come home and Fonzie is having sex with Joanie on the dining room table and Chachi is lying bleeding on the floor with what looks like a knife(????) sticking out of his ribs. Mrs Cunningham looks shocked and says, "Arthur Fonzarelli, what is going on here?"

Fonzie raises his head from nuzzling Joanie's neck and says, "What does it look like Mrs C?" and then flashes the thumbs up, "Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhh."

Happy Lendervedder
12-03-2007, 10:46 AM
The scene in Happy Days where the Cunninghams come home and Fonzie is having sex with Joanie on the dining room table and Chachi is lying bleeding on the floor with what looks like a knife(????) sticking out of his ribs. Mrs Cunningham looks shocked and says, "Arthur Fonzarelli, what is going on here?"

Fonzie raises his head from nuzzling Joanie's neck and says, "What does it look like Mrs C?" and then flashes the thumbs up, "Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhh."


Uhh, I think you're mis-remembering....





















That was Chuck, not Chachi.

Philster
12-03-2007, 10:51 AM
Minor quibble ... Marcia was hit in the nose as she was walking into the backyard through the open sliding-glass door. She wasn't in the house.

The catastrophe that occurred as a result of playing ball in the house was the lamp breaking.

Irony is what it is.

Play ball in the house and you break a vase.

Play outside and you break your sister's nose.

Mom always said, don't play ball in the house, play it outside on the astroturf lawn and hit your sister in the nose.

Philster
12-03-2007, 10:56 AM
Hogan's Heroes has a black guy in the barracks with a major role, and has Jews, some who escaped Nazi Germany, playing high ranking German soldiers.

Pretty shocking for a sitcom, and well before the Norman Lear 70's cleared the way for shock.

ivylass
12-03-2007, 10:57 AM
Wasn't there an episode of The Jeffersons when George finds out about Martin Luther King's death? IIRC, he began rampaging through his shop? home?

Then there was that episode of The Cosby Show. Vanessa had lied to her parents and snuck out with friends to see a concert in Baltimore. Along the way their van got stolen, their concert tickets were stolen, and the parents found out that the girls weren't having a sleepover after all.

Now, in sitcom world, there's supposed to be some sass back and forth, then the child reminds the parent of some thing they had done when they were young, the parents realize the child is just like them, go up to your room, no supper, The End.

Only on The Cosby Show, Claire got all up in Vanessa's face, screaming and hollering like real parents are supposed to do. I saw the episode recently and it still made me want to squeak out, "Yes, ma'am," and hide in the closet.

muldoonthief
12-03-2007, 11:14 AM
Another one from "The Jeffersons" - when George got stabbed by the girls gang, and the episode ended with him lying in an alley bleeding.

And while Edith almost getting raped was definitely shocking, her shoving a bubbling hot casserole in the rapist's face was the most awesome moment in sitcom history.

Annie-Xmas
12-03-2007, 11:31 AM
AitF had some heavy stuff. Mine is when Edith's drag queen friend (was it Beverly?) is murdered and Edith is furious at God and won't go to church on Christmas. It was really sad and heavy. (And Archie is so sweet trying to cheer her up.)

Beverly LaSalle. It was Mike who cheered Edith up, talking about how he didn't know if God existed or not, but he knew it was important for Edith to think that he did and that everything happened for a reason.

On the rape episode, Edith put a steaming hot buring chocolate cake into the guy's face. She was baking it for the party next door where everyone was waiting for her to show up.

The Roseanne where Beverly told Roseanne she had sold her share of the restaurant and Roseanne said "How did you find a buyer" and Beverly said "Oh, it wasn't hard," and the camera focused on Leon (Martin Mull) sitting at the table eating the sandwich is one of the most shocking moments in sitcom history.

Gangster Octopus
12-03-2007, 11:47 AM
There was the episode of South Park where they said "Shit" about 175 times.

kunilou
12-03-2007, 11:53 AM
Not to diminish the shock factor of the episode by picking nits, but I thought it was a roast that Edith flung into the rapist's face.

IIRC in the MASH episode, only Gary Burgoff (Radar) had actually seen the script for that scene. The producers wanted the other characters' reactions to be spontaneous.

jimmmy
12-03-2007, 12:02 PM
I think JJ getting shot was a pretty shocking way to end a sitcom episode - but (and people tend to only remember the show for JJ's routine) in one of those twists those early shows had - the real shocker is Mad Dog - the gang member who shot JJ and has been built in the show to become every white American ~1975's worst nightmare - cries like a baby when his Mom slaps him for being a thug outside the courtroom. Very nuanced portrayal and not what you usually get in sitcoms.

Marley23
12-03-2007, 12:06 PM
There was the episode of South Park where they said "Shit" about 175 times.
I don't know about that, but the first episode was pretty shocking. Who'd seen that kind of profanity coming out of cartoon children before?

What Exit?
12-03-2007, 12:12 PM
Another one from "The Jeffersons" - when George got stabbed by the girls gang, and the episode ended with him lying in an alley bleeding.

And while Edith almost getting raped was definitely shocking, her shoving a bubbling hot casserole in the rapist's face was the most awesome moment in sitcom history.
Every All in the Family moment I thought of has already been mentioned. That show was just so high quality that nothing has really matched it. Not my favorite sitcom, but in a way the best written and acted.

That moment with Edith and David Dukes (http://imdb.com/title/tt0509855/) was stunning, I suspect the "hot dish from the oven" into David Dukes face probably got a bigger cheer around the country then even the Classic Clap for Tinkerbelle ever did.

I saw an interview with David Dukes (http://imdb.com/name/nm0241232/) about 10 years ago where he said, he was still remembered for that role and got shocked reactions when people recognized. He had kindly old ladies tell him that it was hard not to hate him.

Archie and Meat Head got trapped in the basement of the Bar and they proceeded to get drunk and while wrapped for warmth in a bird dropping covered awning, Archie reveals what a shitty relationship he actually had with his Dad, accept Archie does not seem to realize it was shitty, but we see Mike having an epiphany about why Archie is Archie. Not quite shocking, but a stunning episode.

Jim

Bearflag70
12-03-2007, 12:14 PM
When Mr. Firley overheard an innocent conversation and misconstrued it as sexual.

lisacurl
12-03-2007, 12:14 PM
Good Times had some terrible moments. I still remember Kim Fields playing Janet Jackson's biological mom who was abusive, unplugging the hot steam iron with the intention of using it to burn her. And JJ's fiancee running into Thelma's room away from the fighting families and beginning to tie off to shoot up.

Happy Lendervedder
12-03-2007, 12:18 PM
Good Times had some terrible moments. I still remember Kim Fields playing Janet Jackson's biological mom who was abusive, unplugging the hot steam iron with the intention of using it to burn her.

That was actually Chip Fields, Kim's mom. Kim Fields is actually younger than Janet Jackson.

However, I do believe Kim was on Good Times in some fashion for a little while.

jayjay
12-03-2007, 12:20 PM
Wasn't there an episode of The Jeffersons when George finds out about Martin Luther King's death? IIRC, he began rampaging through his shop? home?

It's unlikely it was King. He died 7 years before The Jeffersons debuted.

What Exit?
12-03-2007, 12:24 PM
It's unlikely it was King. He died 7 years before The Jeffersons debuted.
I vaguely remember an episode with some flashbacks to that day. I think ivylass might be correct.

Antinor01
12-03-2007, 12:26 PM
Roseanne, the kiss with Mariel Hemingway. And just in general Roseanne, two working blue collar parents living like normal everyday people. That just wasn't and still more often than not isn't done on sitcoms.

ivylass
12-03-2007, 12:31 PM
I also remember a Jefferson episode where George ended up giving mouth to mouth resuscitation to a KKK leader, who'd had a heart attack or something. After learning how he'd been rescued, the KKK leader muttered, "You should have let me die."

Contrapuntal
12-03-2007, 12:32 PM
I saw an interview with David Dukes (http://imdb.com/name/nm0241232/) about 10 years ago where he said, he was still remembered for that role and got shocked reactions when people recognized. He had kindly old ladies tell him that it was hard not to hate him.OK. So it wasn't David Duke. (http://davidduke.com/) Man, my head was spinning!

Philster
12-03-2007, 12:37 PM
I also remember a Jefferson episode where George ended up giving mouth to mouth resuscitation to a KKK leader, who'd had a heart attack or something. After learning how he'd been rescued, the KKK leader muttered, "You should have let me die."

Jefferson's were reminiscing about when they opened their first store. Yes, there was a 'they shot MLK!' episode for the Jeffersons.

What tragic event happened the day George opened his first store?

Movin' On Up With "The Jeffersons"


Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. George and Louise were recollecting April 4, 1968. George came home early from work announcing he was opening his first store. A white banker came to visit him and approve the loan. When George, Louise and Lionel went to the store George rented, a rioter broke the window announcing that King was killed. The next day, the banker came back with the loan. He did, however, tell George we would give it to him only if George rents another store in a better neighborhood. The banker didn't approve of the Harlem store because he believed the rioters behaved like animals. George turned down the loan and threw the banker out.

jackelope
12-03-2007, 01:16 PM
The episode of "King of the Hill" when Peggy's parachute failed to open shocked me. I kept thinking, "It's a sitcom, it's a comedy, it's going to open at the last second and she'll be fine," and then WHAM, she hit the ground. IIRC, that was a season-ending episode as well, so we had to wait a few months to find out what happened. (She was in a full-body cast for a while.)

Annie-Xmas
12-03-2007, 01:19 PM
Seinfeld episode where Elaine is trying to get her boyfriend to change his name because he shares it ("Joel Rifkin") with a notorious serial killer. She's looking through a football program.

"What about Dion? A lot of these guys are named Dion. Oh, O.J.."

The episode aired before OJ's trial, but in reruns it's shocking!

cochrane
12-03-2007, 01:20 PM
Not to diminish the shock factor of the episode by picking nits, but I thought it was a roast that Edith flung into the rapist's face.
Nah, that's OK. I like to pick nits, too.

It was a cake. Edith was baking it for her 50th birthday and was going to take it next door where Archie, Mike, and Gloria were waiting to throw her a party.

TV Land aired the episode about two or three weeks ago.

ThisSpaceForRent
12-03-2007, 01:40 PM
WKRP
"There's a monkey on my foot...ahhhh"

tsfr

RedSwinglineOne
12-03-2007, 01:46 PM
There was the episode of South Park where they said "Shit" about 175 times.
I didn't find this that shocking because it was pretty well hyped up before the show aired. But I distinctly remember the underpants gnome episode was the first (and maybe only) time I heard the word "pussy" on tv.

GNOME
Is that all you've got, pussy?!

CARTMAN
What?!

STAN
Hey, he talks!

CARTMAN
Yeah, he called me a pussy! I'm not
a pussy, you're a pussy!

GNOME
You're a pussy, pussy!

I still smile everytime I see a travelocity commercial.

What Exit?
12-03-2007, 01:49 PM
OK. So it wasn't David Duke. (http://davidduke.com/) Man, my head was spinning!
On preview, I realized, that my post was in desperate need of a link for just that reason.

WKRP
"There's a monkey on my foot...ahhhh"
That is one of my favorite series, I don't get the reference. What episode?

However, the Turkey drop the first time I saw it was shocking. It increased the laugh value a lot and of course made for the classic line, "As God is my witness, I thought Turkeys could fly."

Jim

Raza
12-03-2007, 01:57 PM
Not actually a sitcom, but I remember one of the Saturday Night Live news skits where, at the scene opening, a seated Chevy Chase is on the phone and said "no, you don't blow on it...that's just an expression". Then, seeing they're "on", hangs up.

This was the '70s...I really couldn't (and still can't) believe the censors would let him say something like that (or maybe that line wasn't in the script?)

neorxnawange
12-03-2007, 02:02 PM
Thinking back to 'Arrested Development,' there were many, many moments where I was thinking "Holy crap, did they just say that?"

Like:

Michael (to GOB): Get rid of the Seaward.
*Lucille walks up*
Lucille: I'll leave when I'm good and ready.



Tobias: I'm afraid I just blue myself.



Oscar: Maybe I'll put it in her brownie!
Every time Tobias opened his mouth he said something I couldn't believe I was hearing on prime-time TV:

"Well, yes, but I'm afraid I prematurely shot my wad on what was supposed to be a dry run, if you will, so now I'm afraid I have something of a mess on my hands."

"I'll be your wingman. Even it means me taking a chubby, I will suck it up."

"Well, Michael, you really are quite the Cupid, aren't you? I tell you, you can zing your arrow into my buttocks any time."

"No, no, no, no. I was scared too, but I realized it was of being a leading man. Oh, I can just taste those meaty leading man parts in my mouth."

Bryan Ekers
12-03-2007, 02:09 PM
That is one of my favorite series, I don't get the reference. What episode?
The station had hired a new DJ ("Doug Winner", played by Philip Charles MacKenzie) who was overall a pretty sleazy character, accepting payola and using cocaine and such (the former supplying the money to support the latter). During one such scene, Carlson interrupts the new guy and Johnny (who by this time pretty much has the new guy pegged, though others are still fooled by his nice-guy facade) and Johnny claims the white substance is actually foot powder. Carlson blithely dumps it into his shoes, to Doug's annoyance and Johnny's (and the audience's) amusement.

Later on, when the truth about the new guy comes out, Carlson freaks. "I have a monkey on my foot!" Then he takes off his shoe and begins slapping his foot, as though it had fallen asleep.

I dunno about shocking; I just thought it was hilarious. The episode was titled Johnny Comes Back (Doug having been hired to replace Johnny during a time the latter was exploring job oportunities in L.A.) and it's from the first season. My recollection of the plot may not be exact.

Greg Charles
12-03-2007, 02:21 PM
Thinking back to 'Arrested Development,' there were many, many moments where I was thinking "Holy crap, did they just say that?"


How about:

Lindsay Funke: We're super rich again, Mikey! And I'm going to buy a car. A Volvo!
Michael: Lindsay, you're not going to start spending money again.
[she hands him a picture]
Michael: And this is not a Volvo...
Lindsay Funke: Oh, that's from sitting on the copier.

cochrane
12-03-2007, 02:49 PM
<snip>
Archie and Meat Head got trapped in the basement of the Bar and they proceeded to get drunk and while wrapped for warmth in a bird dropping covered awning, Archie reveals what a shitty relationship he actually had with his Dad, accept Archie does not seem to realize it was shitty, but we see Mike having an epiphany about why Archie is Archie. Not quite shocking, but a stunning episode.

Jim
I've been watching some "Leave It To Beaver" reruns, and have heard Ward occasionally comment on how his father was quick with the strap when Ward was younger and did something wrong. Not that Ward's father was abusive, it was just how many parents disciplined their kids in that era. It occurred to me that Ward Cleaver and Archie Bunker could be two sides of the same coin. Ward had a good education and was a tolerant and wise parent to Wally and the Beaver, while Archie was intolerant and often ignorant, and most times only grudgingly came around to accept that another person's beliefs could be valid. It's very fortunate that Edith seemed to have a larger influence over Gloria's character than Archie did.

* I know the two series were 20 years apart, but Archie and Ward both seem to be from the same generation, born in the 1920's, and coming of age in the 30's and 40's.

pepperlandgirl
12-03-2007, 02:55 PM
I've been watching old episodes of Taxi, and there's an episode when Elaine starts dating a guy she was really interested in, but he seems kind of distant. It turns out that the guy had been trying to pick up on Tony, and he calmly explains that he's a bisexual. Elaine and Tony are both surprised, but not really shocked or put out. It's definitely played for laughs but not like I would expect such a story line to go. It made me wonder if this is at all shocking? Or were television viewers in 1980 pretty okay with a guy implying he wants a 3some?

Slypork
12-03-2007, 02:57 PM
The episode of WKRP called “In Concert” about The Who concert where eleven people were crushed to death while trying to get in for the festival seating. The look of shock on Mr. Carlson’s face when he realizes that some innocent people had died while he was enjoying a concert that he helped promote was unforgettable.

jayjay
12-03-2007, 02:58 PM
I've been watching some "Leave It To Beaver" reruns, and have heard Ward occasionally comment on how his father was quick with the strap when Ward was younger and did something wrong. Not that Ward's father was abusive, it was just how many parents disciplined their kids in that era. It occurred to me that Ward Cleaver and Archie Bunker could be two sides of the same coin. Ward had a good education and was a tolerant and wise parent to Wally and the Beaver, while Archie was intolerant and often ignorant, and most times only grudgingly came around to accept that another person's beliefs could be valid. It's very fortunate that Edith seemed to have a larger influence over Gloria's character than Archie did.

I'd dispute the differences, or at least note that we're looking at them from two different worlds. The world of Leave It To Beaver was absolutely unchanging, midwestern, Republican and lily-white. Everyone we saw was Christian or "respectable" Jewish. It was an idealist's view of the 1950s.

Archie, on the other hand, was coming out of the tumultous sixties into the radical seventies in New York City. His was a world that changed by the hour and he was smack-dab in the middle of a percolating soup cauldron of different colors, cultures, languages, religions and political beliefs.

I'm fairly certain, given the almost universal attitude in the 50s, that if a black family had tried to move into a house down the block from the Cleavers, and if LITB dealt in realistic situations, Ward would be on the committee that was trying to keep them out. He'd probably be quite polite and diplomatic about it, but he would probably be on the side of "not in my neighborhood". He also would not be dispensing wise advice about tolerance to his children if, say, Wally had fallen for an African-American girl, if the high school there were even integrated at that point.

It's not as simple as taking them as they're presented to us. They're presented to us in two entirely different genres of television.

Marley23
12-03-2007, 03:07 PM
The only Arrested line that really shocked me was the one about Lucille's "musty old claptrap."
Only after a big pause does Michael realize she's talking about the family's cabin in the woods.

ivylass
12-03-2007, 03:17 PM
Nah, that's OK. I like to pick nits, too.

It was a cake. Edith was baking it for her 50th birthday and was going to take it next door where Archie, Mike, and Gloria were waiting to throw her a party.

TV Land aired the episode about two or three weeks ago.

I find it shocking she'd have to bake her own birthday cake.

Poysyn
12-03-2007, 03:59 PM
I think Facts of Life did an episode where Tootie was almost taken in by a pimp and a hooker...?

Aso when Jo was attacked while out on a date with a rich, snotty friend of Blair's.

Jophiel
12-03-2007, 04:11 PM
There was an episode of ALF where the daughter and her boyfriend (I believe) drive off to Vegas to elope. ALF is with for whatever reason and, at one point, during a "special moment talk" between the daughter and ALF, the boyfriend excuses himself by saying "I'm going to go to the bathroom and throw myself a bachelor party."

Later, the boyfriend returns and ALF asks how the party went.
"Not very good. No one came."

Perhaps it doesn't reach the same pantheon as Edith getting attacked but I sure made me do a double-take.

JohnT
12-03-2007, 04:23 PM
I think Facts of Life did an episode where Tootie was almost taken in by a pimp and a hooker...?

Aso when Jo was attacked while out on a date with a rich, snotty friend of Blair's.

Then there was the one where Natalie was the first of the four girls to lose her virginity... at, like, 20. :eek: !

Of course, the writers decided to have Jo act like the prude. :rolleyes:

cochrane
12-03-2007, 04:27 PM
I'd dispute the differences, or at least note that we're looking at them from two different worlds. The world of Leave It To Beaver was absolutely unchanging, midwestern, Republican and lily-white. Everyone we saw was Christian or "respectable" Jewish. It was an idealist's view of the 1950s.

Archie, on the other hand, was coming out of the tumultous sixties into the radical seventies in New York City. His was a world that changed by the hour and he was smack-dab in the middle of a percolating soup cauldron of different colors, cultures, languages, religions and political beliefs.

I'm fairly certain, given the almost universal attitude in the 50s, that if a black family had tried to move into a house down the block from the Cleavers, and if LITB dealt in realistic situations, Ward would be on the committee that was trying to keep them out. He'd probably be quite polite and diplomatic about it, but he would probably be on the side of "not in my neighborhood". He also would not be dispensing wise advice about tolerance to his children if, say, Wally had fallen for an African-American girl, if the high school there were even integrated at that point.

It's not as simple as taking them as they're presented to us. They're presented to us in two entirely different genres of television.

You do have a valid point. The two shows were definitely distinct products of their times. Leave It To Beaver took place before the Civil Rights Act, before integration, and before Vietnam became the conflict it did in later years. And it was certainly the idealized version of the American dream, with a house in the 'burbs, dad belonging to the country club, and encouraging his sons to join his frat. And All In the Family took place in more conflicted times, in a world of race riots, young men drafted to fight in an unpopular war, and during Watergate. I hadn't thought it through that far, and you're right, it is too simplistic to take the two shows and the characters at face value. The two decades gulf between the two shows is definitely a deciding factor.

Going back to All In the Family, TV Land presented another non-traditional sitcom episode today. "Edith's Final Respects" in which Edith goes to the funeral home for the wake for her Aunt Rose. Her aunt was so unpopular with the family that Edith was the only mourner. The funeral director kept coming in to take chairs out of the room for another family visitation, and a mourner of the other deceased person came into the room with Edith by mistake. At the end, an emotional Edith made Archie promise that there would be many people to see her off when her time came.

ivylass
12-03-2007, 04:30 PM
Then there was the one where Natalie was the first of the four girls to lose her virginity... at, like, 20. :eek: !

Of course, the writers decided to have Jo act like the prude. :rolleyes:

IIRC, Lisa Whelchel (Blair) refused to be in the episode because of the portrayal of pre-marital sex.

davidm
12-03-2007, 04:42 PM
I've been watching some "Leave It To Beaver" reruns, and have heard Ward occasionally comment on how his father was quick with the strap when Ward was younger and did something wrong. Not that Ward's father was abusive, it was just how many parents disciplined their kids in that era. It occurred to me that Ward Cleaver and Archie Bunker could be two sides of the same coin. Ward had a good education and was a tolerant and wise parent to Wally and the Beaver, while Archie was intolerant and often ignorant, and most times only grudgingly came around to accept that another person's beliefs could be valid. It's very fortunate that Edith seemed to have a larger influence over Gloria's character than Archie did.

* I know the two series were 20 years apart, but Archie and Ward both seem to be from the same generation, born in the 1920's, and coming of age in the 30's and 40's.Speaking of "Leave it to Beaver", it's amazing to me what the writers got past the censors (and most of the country) on that show.

"Beaver Cleaver"

"Ward, don't you think you were awfully hard on the beaver last night"?

It seems unlikely to me that this was by accident. Why did they have his mother always refer to him as "the beaver" rather than just "Beaver"? Probably so she could utter lines about Ward's treatment of "the beaver".

Zsofia
12-03-2007, 04:43 PM
I find it shocking she'd have to bake her own birthday cake.
Who else would bake it? You ever want to see some ungrateful damned kids, tune into All in the Family. The older I get the more I see Archie's point of view - not the bigoted part, but the part where Mike is a real asshole. He lives rent free, gets fed and waited on, and in return he's a rude bastard to Archie, with whom he may not disagree but in whose home he is a guest. When he got that inheritance money he gave it to the final hours of the losing McGovern campaign to make a point instead of, you know, paying some RENT. Not to mention how much of a hypocrite the little shit can be. At least Archie is honest in his bigotry, and he might come up with deceptive money-making schemes but he doesn't spend his life freeloading.

ivylass
12-03-2007, 04:49 PM
What about Gloria? Couldn't she bake her mother's cake?

Freudian Slit
12-03-2007, 04:52 PM
"Ward, don't you think you were awfully hard on the beaver last night"?

It seems unlikely to me that this was by accident. Why did they have his mother always refer to him as "the beaver" rather than just "Beaver"? Probably so she could utter lines about Ward's treatment of "the beaver".
Did she ever utter those lines or is this another one of those "Play it again, Sam" moments? I've seen old eps of "Beaver" but don't remember if she said that or not.

Musicat
12-03-2007, 05:06 PM
I've been watching old episodes of Taxi, and there's an episode when Elaine starts dating a guy she was really interested in, but he seems kind of distant. It turns out that the guy had been trying to pick up on Tony, and he calmly explains that he's a bisexual. Elaine and Tony are both surprised, but not really shocked or put out. It's definitely played for laughs but not like I would expect such a story line to go. It made me wonder if this is at all shocking? Or were television viewers in 1980 pretty okay with a guy implying he wants a 3some?If someone says that they're bisexual, that doesn't mean to me that they want a threesome, it just means they can swing either way, not necessarily at the same time. I don't think that particular episode was all that daring in 1980. It was only talk. No blatantly homosexual action was shown except for the chaste, fast dancing in the gay bar at the end.

What does annoy me is the way they cut off the last part of Tony's revelation sequence when Kirk Bradshaw (the bi-guy) revealed that his interest was not in Elaine, but Tony. In the original, Tony caught on verrrry gradually and as he caught on more, his reaction was repeated and became stronger each time. The progression was interesting to watch, in an acting sort of way. In the reruns and in the DVD, the last part of the sequence was cut off, spoiling much of it. Damn, I hate editors.

davidm
12-03-2007, 05:18 PM
Did she ever utter those lines or is this another one of those "Play it again, Sam" moments? I've seen old eps of "Beaver" but don't remember if she said that or not.Yes. TV Land plays old episodes regularly and she definitely said things like that. Even if she didn't, "Beaver Cleaver" seems like an obvious double entendre.

I tried to find a video online without success. There's lots of "Leave it to Beaver" clips on Youtube but I'm not going to sit through all of them to try to find it.

Zsofia
12-03-2007, 05:19 PM
What about Gloria? Couldn't she bake her mother's cake?
Gloria's slightly more useful than Meathead, but is that really saying very much? Gloria could bake a cake, but it's not like it always occurs to her to do so.

ETA - anyway, Mike ought to be baking the damned cakes. After all the sticking up for him Edith does!

jackelope
12-03-2007, 05:26 PM
Here's one that wasn't shocking at the time, but has become so as the years pass:

Every episode of Sports Night (http://imdb.com/title/tt0165961/) began with a big exterior shot of the World Trade Center, from which the (fictional) show was supposedly broadcast. There was even an episode in which someone called a bomb threat into the studio, leading to now-disquieting scenes of people standing around, ostensibly in the Towers, talking about whether terrorists were trying to kill them.

descamisado
12-03-2007, 05:30 PM
So I'm sitting here tonight, with TVLand playing in the background while I'm doing some work. I'm half-listening to "The Jeffersons," and George is giving Lionel something (a watch, maybe). Well I tuned out briefly, only to be brought back in by Weezy exclaiming "N!gger, please!"

Wow! Wasn't expecting that! Especially from Louise. Shocking moment #1.Wow, I saw that episode a few weeks ago and thought about starting a thread about it; I didn't know what the topic would be though.

More shocking than hearing "nigger" spoken on TV, to me, was the fact that Weezie said it.

Don Draper
12-03-2007, 06:14 PM
In an episode of "Roseanne", while the closing credits are rolling, Jackie & her boyfriend/husband (the sad sack redhead) were trying to 'do something wild & crazy' and have sex on the counter of the Lunch-box (after closing time, course.) After they give up & leave, a swarthy six-pack abs Muscle-Boy comes out of hiding from behind the counter. It seems that just before Jackie & her drippy husband entered, Muscle-Boy was planning on having the very same tryste with...

Martin Mull! (Who had already been established as a gay character, but had been largely asexual up to that point.)

And over across the pond, on "Absolutely Fabulous", Patsy convinces Eddy to hire some rent-boys to help get her groove on. To get them in the mood, Patsy brings along a vintage 70s porn tape...which of course gets mixed up with the tape that Saffy plans to show at her school DNA lecture. The kicker is that when Saffy inadvertantly shows the porn tape, there is a shot of...

a young Eddy sprawled out on the floor unconscious at the orgy!

Garfield226
12-03-2007, 06:52 PM
Here's one that wasn't shocking at the time, but has become so as the years pass:

Every episode of Sports Night (http://imdb.com/title/tt0165961/) began with a big exterior shot of the World Trade Center, from which the (fictional) show was supposedly broadcast. There was even an episode in which someone called a bomb threat into the studio, leading to now-disquieting scenes of people standing around, ostensibly in the Towers, talking about whether terrorists were trying to kill them.
It wasn't of the WTC exactly, it was just of the NYC skyline. In this (http://imdb.com/title/tt0707454/) episode, Isaac says he works in a 54-story glass highrise. The WTC towers were 110. One Liberty Plaza (http://emporis.com/en/wm/bu/?id=115454), 1251 Avenue of the Americas (http://emporis.com/en/wm/bu/?id=1251avenuenueofstreetamericas-newyorkcity-ny-usa), the AXA Center (http://emporis.com/en/wm/bu/?id=axacenter-newyorkcity-ny-usa) and One Astor Plaza (http://emporis.com/en/wm/bu/?id=1astorplaza-newyorkcity-ny-usa) all fit the bill. Additionally, I don't think the word "terrorists" was ever mentioned in the episode you refer to (http://imdb.com/title/tt0707437/). The characters kept saying "somebody just tried to blow us up," and it turned out to be someone upset with a radio show that portrayed Jesus with a lisp.

Walloon
12-03-2007, 07:00 PM
It made me wonder if this is at all shocking? Or were television viewers in 1980 pretty okay with a guy implying he wants a 3some?I would not necessarily infer from that that he wanted a threesome. In any case, a gay or bi character on TV in 1980 was not a novelty. The series Hot L Baltimore (1975) had a gay couple, and there was Billy Crystal's gay character on Soap (1977-1981).

Walloon
12-03-2007, 07:08 PM
The world of Leave It To Beaver was absolutely unchanging, midwestern, Republican and lily-white. Everyone we saw was Christian or "respectable" Jewish. It was an idealist's view of the 1950s.You lost me at the "Republican" claim. When did this ever come up on the show?

jayjay
12-03-2007, 07:57 PM
You lost me at the "Republican" claim. When did this ever come up on the show?

I never claimed that it ever came up on the show. Politics never came up on the show (except for student council elections and such). But Ward had a professional position somewhere, given that he worked in a suit. The family was comfortably middle-class. Given the clues and the fact that it's always the Republicans for some reason that want to return to this era that never was, I indulged in a bit of poetic embroidery.

Bryan Ekers
12-03-2007, 08:08 PM
But Ward had a professional position somewhere, given that he worked in a suit.I dunno about that - June did her housework in heels and pearls. Maybe Ward worked in a clean, modern coal mine.

descamisado
12-03-2007, 08:32 PM
That was actually Chip Fields, Kim's mom. Kim Fields is actually younger than Janet Jackson.

However, I do believe Kim was on Good Times in some fashion for a little while.Two episodes, '78 and '79.

She played a character named Kim, I think. :D

Labtrash
12-03-2007, 09:32 PM
Back to South Park...

Wendy breaks up with Stan, and Stan tells Jimmy, the stuttering, crippled kid to tell Wendy that she's a "continuing source of inspiration"

Jimmy tells her "You're a cont...a cont...a cont..."

Walloon
12-03-2007, 09:41 PM
for some reason that want to return to this era that never wasThis always bothers me. I did grow up in a time and place very much like the Cleavers lived in, in an upper middle-class, all-white neighborhood. Dad wore a suit to work, and mom stayed home. (She didn't wear pearls as she did housework, but she owned some.) "Nice" doesn't make it unreal. It was as real as Archie Bunker's neighborhood.

fishbicycle
12-03-2007, 09:47 PM
Yet another "South Park." The first episode I ever saw (ten years ago, and not since) was where the boys fall in love with their substitute teacher, who is a lesbian. So they decide they have to be lesbians, too. In one scene, one of the characters is giving the living room rug a tongue bath. Another, comes in and asks, "What are you doing?" "My dad says that if you want to be a lesbian, you have to lick carpet."

After I picked myself up off the floor and regained my ability to breathe and speak without reconvusling with laughter, I wondered, "How can they say that on television?"

pepperlandgirl
12-03-2007, 09:48 PM
If someone says that they're bisexual, that doesn't mean to me that they want a threesome, it just means they can swing either way, not necessarily at the same time. I don't think that particular episode was all that daring in 1980. It was only talk. No blatantly homosexual action was shown except for the chaste, fast dancing in the gay bar at the end.

What does annoy me is the way they cut off the last part of Tony's revelation sequence when Kirk Bradshaw (the bi-guy) revealed that his interest was not in Elaine, but Tony. In the original, Tony caught on verrrry gradually and as he caught on more, his reaction was repeated and became stronger each time. The progression was interesting to watch, in an acting sort of way. In the reruns and in the DVD, the last part of the sequence was cut off, spoiling much of it. Damn, I hate editors.

Thanks. And thanks Walloon. I admit that it's been a few years since I saw that episode, and quite frankly, I expect I just decided "A 3some would be hot" and then that became what happened. My brain has done crazier things. And as for other gay or bisexual characters in television history, I fear I am woefully ignorant of any television prior to about 1988.

kunilou
12-03-2007, 10:24 PM
I never claimed that it ever came up on the show. Politics never came up on the show (except for student council elections and such). But Ward had a professional position somewhere, given that he worked in a suit. The family was comfortably middle-class. Given the clues and the fact that it's always the Republicans for some reason that want to return to this era that never was, I indulged in a bit of poetic embroidery.

Don't embroider so quickly. There were a lot of professional, middle-class, country club families in the 1950s (mine, for one) where the parents had grown up in the Depression and voted Democratic ever since.

Although I do agree Ward and June probably wouldn't be happy if Wally had brought home an African-American girl.

For all its sappiness Leave It to Beaver did sometimes touch on "issues."
In one episode, one of Ward's old buddies had fallen on hard times, and Ward helped him out by paying him to do a few odd jobs around the house. It turned out that the reason the man had fallen on hard times was because he was an alcoholic, and he tricked Beaver into giving him Ward's prize bottle of brandy. When Ward and June were about to tear Beaver a new asshole, Wally chided them for never actually saying what the man's problem was. Beaver wasn't stupid (that time), he was just trying to help the guy out.

Another episode had Wally hang out with a slightly older friend who had gotten married. It turned out that the married couple had no money and fought all the time. And one of Beaver's friends turned out to have a father who was on his third marriage and a mother who was dating someone they called "Uncle Dave."

Not shocking, but given the time, a little more sophisticated than we might expect.

jackelope
12-03-2007, 10:41 PM
It wasn't of the WTC exactly, it was just of the NYC skyline.I'll bow to your persuasively superior dialogue-recollection skills on this, but:

Regardless of what Isaac said in the episode, I've watched the entire series on DVD over the last few months, and most, if not all, of the episodes begin with a full-screen shot of the WTC towers. It's clearly not just a generic skyline shot; the towers are front and center and obviously framed so as to be the focus.

The DVD set is presently on loan to a friend, or I'd take a screenshot and upload it. I'll see if I can do that next time I'm at his house, which will probably be Wednesday.

Hey, wait a minute...

Are you by chance in the UK, Australia, Turkey, or Latin America? According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sports_Night#Additional_airings), some episodes have been aired in those places since 2001. I wonder if they changed the opening footage to remove the towers, and thus the suggestion that the CSC offices were in the towers?

Freudian Slit
12-03-2007, 10:48 PM
There was also a really hilarious episode where Wally wants to look older and so grows a moustache during their week off from school (spring break). After the break, he comes back and the kids laugh at him. When he comes home, he's all upset and June wants to know what's wrong. Beaver goes, "Maybe they thought he was Hitler and chased him off!"--it came off really funny. Especially since Hitler and all wasn't so far off in the past when the episode first aired.

Garfield226
12-03-2007, 10:57 PM
Hey, wait a minute...

Are you by chance in the UK, Australia, Turkey, or Latin America? According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sports_Night#Additional_airings), some episodes have been aired in those places since 2001. I wonder if they changed the opening footage to remove the towers, and thus the suggestion that the CSC offices were in the towers?
Nope. I own it on DVD too (thus the dialogue recollection skills aren't really -- just a basic remembrance of what episode it occurred in and DVD player handy. I know exactly what opening shot you're talking about though, and it is a bit jarring -- with that episode in particular. But based on the show's dialogue, CSC wasn't based in the World Trade Center towers.

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