Sunday, March 28, 2010
Carol Burnett, Dean Martin and the Smothers Brothers
I think I am maybe one of possibly two people that actually enjoy old variety shows and ponder the reason why they don't exist anymore. One reason they don't exist is that TV networks don't prepare them properly. There is room on today's reality show based networks for a show like "Ed Sullivan Show" and a show like "Carol Burnett Show".
Problem is, whenever they attempt to start a new version of this type of show, they somehow manage to screw things up. In the case of "Ed Sullivan", rather than come up with a similar type of host, they actually aired a show once with an awful CGI-created "Ed Sullivan" to host! Then they wonder why they don't get good ratings.
You could do a "Sullivan" show now with Tom Bergeron as host or something, since he seems to be hosting everything else nowadays anyway, or this might be an opportunity for Conan O'Brien to come back.
The other is the variety format like "Carol Burnett" where not only did she host, but also participated in the sketches unlike Sullivan. The last attempt was made a couple of years ago with Wayne Brady ("Who's Line is it Anyway?", "The New Let's Make a Deal"). Brady is a fine comedian, but not the greatest ad-libber in the world and he took too much time in his variety show to do "ad-libbed" sketches. Wrong!
I hope that the networks would give someone else a chance at a variety show. Please pick a comedian that actually is funny or a singer that actually has appeal across many genres, not just country. Also, the writing is the KEY to the success of these shows. They used to whip them out and wonder why no one was watching. It was because they were BO-RING!
On another topic, the three images above represent how old variety shows can be reissued and how they shouldn't. "The Carol Burnett Show" came closest to reissuing the shows the way they should, uncut and complete. However, Burnett's own phobia about the earlier years of her own show leave those early episodes in TV limbo. Burnett feels that the early shows are sexist in how she fawns over Lyle Waggoner. Big deal! Get these out! These were funny!
"The Dean Martin Show" shows how to NOT put out these videos. They feature cut sketches from various shows that show no rhyme or reason and as a result, you could have a sketches from 1965 paired up with one from 1974.
"The Smothers Brothers Show" have it half right, and it might be a rights issue on this and even the other shows. They only pick the highlights of a particular season, which is good because you don't have to wade through the boring garbage of a particular show like Jim Nabors singing, but you also miss the "essence" of the show and what it was about.
I like the "Saturday Night Live" complete seasons and that's what these old variety shows should strive for when reissuing them on DVD.