Now is the time to binge watch and catch up on television programs (or movies) that you’ve been dying to see. I don’t binge watch – I never have. I do, however have favorite television shows that if I decide to binge, these would be the ones I would watch.
My current favorite television series is Modern Family. I enjoy each and every character on the show. I don’t know how actors are chosen for roles, but this show is absolutely perfectly cast. Ed O’Neill is as perfect as Jay Pritchett as he was when he was Al Bundy. The rest of the cast makes you believe that they ARE who they portray. There are so many fun, warm and real relationships on the show. Despite the bickering that goes on in the family, the love is there and it is obvious with the portrayals of the actors. Modern Family is set to have their series finale on April 8th. This is a series that I plan on buying every season on DVD to keep for always. I don’t say that about many programs.
Another television program I enjoy immensely is The Odd Couple. This is one of the few shows where I own the entire series on DVD. To me, Felix and Oscar are the perfect couple. When they fight, they fight hard. Yet when they are getting along and band together for a cause, there are no two closer friends in the world. Felix is so neurotic. Oscar knows this. My favorite scenes on the show include Felix apologizing or explaining his odd behavior, and the look on Oscar’s face while watching his friend. The two of them are priceless, they absolutely are. No matter how many times I watch my favorite episodes, I laugh hard as if I’ve never seen them before.
I have watched many episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond. My oldest son loves this show almost as much as he loves Married With Children (Ed O’Neill’s portrayal of Al Bundy is so magnificent to Michael that he can’t and won’t watch him in another role – he’s never really watched Modern Family). Every time I have watched Everybody Loves Raymond I have enjoyed it – and I’ve laughed. I’ve laughed hard. When this show was coming to an end, there were a lot of interviews on television, on line and in magazines. I listened to a television critic who described all the good points about the show, the actors and the writing. He described it as the overall best series on television ever. My son would almost tend to agree (even though he has an Al Bundy tattoo on his leg).
All in the Family was a classic television program in every sense of the word. It was laugh out loud funny. The cast worked perfect together. It broke barriers, and it got away with situations and comments that would never be tolerated on television today. The show tackled controversial topics with humor – racism, religious prejudice, menopause, crime. It was also said to have made one of the biggest errors in television history when the writers killed off the character of Edith Bunker in response to actress Jean Stapleton not wanting to continue in her role. Carroll O’Connor was able to (partially) break free being typecast from his role as Archie Bunker when he starred in the series In the Heat of the Night in the late 1980s up until the mid 1990s.
You have to give credit to All in the Family for the show The Jeffersons, which was a spin-off. The Jefferson family had been neighbors of the Bunkers – Edith and Louise got along famously, but Archie and George – they butted heads. The Jeffersons moved on up, leaving Queens for the high life of Manhattan. They had a wise cracking maid named Florence, an odd neighbor named Mr. Bentley and upstairs neighbors Tom and Helen Willis. Helen and Tom were an interracial couple who had a daughter named Jenny who was dating the Jefferson’s son Lionel. This didn’t make George happy at all. But as the series went along, they all grew to love one another, and George and Tom became best friends. One of my favorite scenes happened when George, Louise, Helen and Tom had a pillow fight. It makes me laugh just picturing them hitting each other.
The Golden Girls is another good show to binge watch. This program is so much funnier than I ever remember. I also would say that I believe it is even more popular in reruns than when it was a prime time regular season show. Again, a show perfectly cast with actors who made you believe that they really were Dorothy, Sophia, Blanche and Rose. The girls took everyday situations and made them funny. They were older women, yet they never lacked male attention. They all had their signature character traits. Dorothy told it like it was. Sophia also spoke her mind, usually with her pocketbook in hand. Blanche loved men, and they loved her. Rose was sweet and ditzy. They ate cheesecake frequently in that beautiful Miami Beach house.
As you can tell, most of my favorite programs have been comedies. I do (and did) like dramas also. There were quite a few over the years that I have enjoyed, but three favorites come to mind – The Sopranos, NYPD Blue and Hill Street Blues. Each show had classic episodes that are hard to forget. Tony Soprano was not the same at home as he was out in the street. NYPD Blue and Hill Street Blues both had actor Dennis Franz, who played classic television characters Detective Sal Benedetto (and later Lt. Buntz) on HSB and Detective Andy Sipowicz on NYPD Blue. The Sopranos was a great show that had many notable scenes, with the most popular and talked about one being the way the show ended. The screen cut to black and viewers were left to think that the broadcast had malfunctioned (it hadn’t). NYPD Blue had it’s most emotional scene with Detective Andy having to deal with his partner dying. Dennis Franz and Jimmy Smits put on one of the best tearjerker performances of all time. Their portrayal was brilliant.
So there you have it – my choices for a binge watch. Some of these programs will make me cry as I laugh, as I have memories of watching them with my parents. But as I cry and laugh, I will smile. I will enjoy them, again and again – just like I did the first time.