Thursday, May 23, 2013

Throwback Throw-up (or The Little TV Show That Couldn't)

It's no secret that TV has birthed a lot of crap over the years. In fact, we talk about that sort of thing here all the time. Today, however, we'll be swiveling our cynical camera lenses backwards for a look into the ghosts of television past. Specifically, we've been wondering how some of the most popular shows in classic TV history would have fared if (instead being in the sixties, seventies, and eighties) they took place in modern day.

Today we give you the top 5 TV shows that didn't age gracefully.

1. Happy Days.

The King of Cool: a stocky, middle aged goober.

Back in the day, Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli was considered cool. He was a hip greaser who didn't take nonsense from anyone. But looking back, "The Fonz" was just a chubby, 5'6", almost 40 year old Henry Winkler in a leather jacket. How "cool" would "The Fonz" be by today's standards of badassery?

Please contain your orgasms, ladies.

2. The Incredible Hulk

Apparently Bruce Banner and the Hulk went to senior prom together.

Back in the day, Lou Ferrigno was a badass Hulk that no one wanted to mess with. Nowadays we have CGI Hulk who's 20 feet tall and can smash a skyscraper into dust with a single punch. Suddenly, watching 5'9" Bruce Banner transform into the Hulk, aka a 6'3" deaf bodybuilder slathered in green paint and a mullet wig just doesn't seem as 'incredible'. He looks about as fearsome as the Jolly Green Giant.

Having a 20 foot tall Hulk breathing down on you? Absolutely horrifying. Having a guy that's a few inches taller than you get in your face? Intimidating, sure, but not exactly fearsome.

3. Knight Rider

Never Hassle the Hoff...
Back in the 1980s, a talking car was so cool. Nowadays, even a soccer mom's minivan talks to her if she has the right navigation system installed. And with such voice packs as Elmo, Homer Simpson, and Darth Vader, you can give your GPS system quite a bit of personality, more so than William Daniels, aka Mr. Feeney from Boy Meets World. Hell, we have Dave Chappelle on ours.

And with that, a trip to McDonald's was more technologically advanced than an entire episode of Knight Rider.

Oh, and for the record, we aren't drinking beer while driving, we're drinking water in a Coors Light bottle, so  that it has the faint taste of beer. So, in other words, we're just drinking Coors Light.

4. The Dukes of Hazzard...

This single picture pretty much sums up the plot of every Dukes of Hazzard episode ever made.
...AKA that TV show about a bunch of rednecks who drive through ditches in a car draped in America's fondest symbol of racism and inequality: the Confederate flag. And the car is appropriately named after the historical civil rights activist, General Robert E. Lee. Imagine this show running today, only, instead of rural Georgia, we put them in the South Central neighborhood of Los Angeles (for a more urban feel).

What's that? Apparently gang members don't take kindly to rednecks waving the Confederate flag in their hood. Now, speaking of gangs...

5. Hill Street Blues

Apparently one of the police officers was homeless (the guy in the beanie, not the black guy, you racist).

Finally, let's not forget the show that inspired this post: Hill Street Blues, which happened to include ABftS frequenter, fellow beer enthusiast, and all around good guy Stephen T. McCarthy among its actual cast. We had to include this one because, well, the plot is centered around the police gathering all of the city's racially-centered gangs into their own police station, and then asking them to be nice with one another while the president comes to town (because they don't want to look like assholes in front of The Big Cheese). Because we all know letting the city's most dangerous gang members know about the president coming to town (and his whereabouts) is a brilliant idea.

Oh, and did we mention that the "gangs" are led by such tough guys as a scrawny, 25 year old David Caruso?

Mere mortals - tremble before my top hat, green vest, and buck teeth.

This show got rave reviews, and yet imagine if that same scenario played out today, with Barack Obama coming to visit.

Later that day, the Crip absolutely killed the Blood... in a double's match!

There we go, proof that TV doesn't always age with grace. But I'm sure we didn't list them all. What did we miss?

Cheers and stay classy, folks!


Beer: Leffe Blonde
Music: Dire Straits


  1. LOL yes they did not age well, but I still like Happy Days, so sit on it haha, sit on what I don't know though. Such a bad insult. What about Mork? The Beverly Hillbillies? Green Acres? Could go on all day. Good night John boy.

  2. Coors Light - you nailed that one.
    Cheers probably doesn't age well. A friendly bar? With happy drunks? Right...
    Caruso however did age well.

  3. what about full house? or where they just really modern having 3 guys raise 3 girls?

    The only show I ever saw from that list was Knight Rider...maybe because David Hasselhoff teared down the wall with his wonderful and majestic voice.

  4. Welp, I actually had no idea what hill street blues was about. *dun dun dun * the more you knoooooow

  5. Since I haven't had TV in over a decade, I might not be qualified to comment (of course, by last Monday's post, I'm not even here) but, you could have made it easier on yourself and listed the two or three good programs that have been shown in the past say...30 or 40 years.

    BTW, Daddy was a cop in Chicago where 'Hill Street Blues' was made fun of on a regular basis. Reality TV---in an alternate universe... maybe? And, I hear Hasselhoff still talks to cars and other inanimate objects.

  6. How could you forget 60's Batman? Pretty much any show hasn't aged too well. I think one of the only ones that has is Doctor Who thanks to the reboot, but the original series was pretty low budget and it shows. So I don't know how well those episodes would come across either. I think Knight Rider would still do well though. Kit had a life of it's own, as well as a voice.

  7. You gotta admit that The Incredible Hulk TV show was a lot better than the recent Ang Lee movie (I haven't see the Ed Norton one.) To me, the appeal of the Hulk was that Bruce Banner was always trying to mind his own business, not looking for trouble, and yet people just HAD to be assholes to him anyway, and even after he tried to warn them, they would just go on being assholes anyway, because hey!, they're assholes and that's what assholes do. Then finally he would get pissed off and the Hulk would come out and and just tear everything up. Just brilliant. One of my favorite story concepts of all time and one that's very identifiable. The TV show captured that perfectly, but someone the movies seem completely oblivious to it.

  8. That senior prom photo rocks, LOL! And what gang did David Caruso lead -- the Leprechauns?

  9. I had seen only knightrider in this list :) I was a bigfan of knightrider, street hawk and automan. And that batman show too.

    My mom loved that blinking phone - red phone, she hated telephone ringing in our house all day. Back in those days, people used to take calls only because they cant stand the telephone ring sound.

    Now when I think about it, I need my memory erased like in paycheck movie. God! I dont want my kids to grow up knowing that mommy was big fan of these shows. It was so easy in those days right? David Husselholf could just walk in, ask for galss of water, login into the computer - CRT one and get all info. Now I forget my password for a second, I am locked out of my own car and house for days. hmmmm...

  10. I think you could do posts every day for a year and not run out of bad/corny/poorly done television shows. I can hardly watch anything from the 70's...the poor acting is one thing but the fashions of that era give me the hives.

    But it does make me wonder...30 or 40 years from now what will our children or grandchildren be thinking when they look at 2013's line up of programs. Will any of the Kardashians still have a program??

  11. I totally agree about the hulk. That show is really stupid to watch today.

  12. You forgot The Rifleman and the incredibly racist, 1950s Little Rascals!

    It's embarrassing for me to admit, but I've watched every episode of Happy Days at least twice. It's a sad life I lead. As for the other shows, I've never seen a single episode.

    And, Henry Winkler is hilarious on Arrested Development. Hopefully he'll be returning in this next season.

  13. Ha! A "most wonderful" blog bit, BEER BOYS. And quite an honor to be mentioned in an installment of 'A Beer For The Shower' (really!)

    I'm quite proud to be able to say that I did not watch ANY of those shows back in their glory days. In fact, I've never even seen one single episode of 'The Hulk', 'Knight Rider', or 'The Dukes Of Hazzard', and the only positive thing I can say for that last one is that it did have the great Waylon Jennings singing its theme song.

    Hilarious picture of David Caruso. Yeah, that's what the tough leader of an urban street gang looks like. Makes ya wanna stay indoors at night and cower in a corner until daylight, eh?

    And, Bryan, I don't know if you came across it or not, but somewhere in one of my installments of 'Sex, Tattoos & Violence R Us' there's a blurry picture of me and a few other maroons on the set of 'Happy Days' taking notes while The Fonz instructed us in the fine art of picking up girls. Uh... yeah... right. (I was really there just to pick up a paycheck that I could later transform into beer.)

    Great blog bit, Brother Beer Boys, and thanks again for the shout-out. Very cool!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  14. Oh Coors Light. Such crap. Honestly, if they ever changed the recipe and made real beer I think alcoholism rates would sky-rocket. As for missed shows, Golden Girls? Personally, I still love that. Oh and Pee Wee Herman of course!

  15. Awesome. You need to do another list and put Love Boat and Fantasy Island on it. Those barely held up back then.

  16. What about Family Ties? Or Roseanne even? Not to mention the Cosby Show! All are time tested and failproof to air in today's era.

  17. Oh so many... Family Matters, Different Strokes (but there's an apostrophe in there somewhere...), Miami Vice (did they redo that one already?).

    Hundreds, really.

    1. Miami Vice was remade with a cool movie:P

  18. This is so true and it's really made me laugh haha, I'd never thought that before about the Fonz but nowadays he'd be considered more creepy than cool. Laughed so hard at the GPS thing too, I'd love a GPS like that as annoying as it'd be, the Mumford and Sons bit gave me the first proper laugh I've had since I got home.

  19. Hmm... missed shows...
    Actually, I don't want to mention any of my favorite shows from when I was a kid.

  20. Awww come on guys- without Happy Days, we wouldn't have the phrase that anyone has "Jumped the Shark" as they start to spiral downhill. Just sayin

    Laverne and Shirley? Two whiny broads looking to get laid, but not from the greasers down the hallway...That Carmine was a real prize too as he never once proposed to Shirley after all those years.

    All in the Family- 'Nuff said. Who could ever forget Archie Bunker? Edith's way of screeching Oooooohhhhhh Aaaaarchiiiieeee was like nails on the chalkboard and Sally Struthers didn't age well IRL either.

    Sanford and Son and I'm pretty sure there are several other shows that would raise more than just eyebrows. More like lawsuits waiting to happen, but then Family Guy, South Park and even The Simpsons get away with saying a lot of things not so PC.

    1. A-Team, Starsky and Hutch, Baretta and Gilligans Island anyone? I will likely think of a few more as I read the comments.

    2. "All in the Family" was almost a governmental mindwashing to get people to laugh at the bigotry of Carroll O'Connor. If Archie is so foolish then bigotry is foolish, then.. why.. the viewer would slowly realize that their own paradigms are foolish, and hence, the changing of America. Masterful work, and it, like other shows, affected America in ways only historians will recognize, slowly seeping into our brains and changing the society, luckily for "good" this time. I wonder how "reality shows", all scripted, even the "Gong Show"-like "American Idol" ones (also scripted) are affecting our Youth?

  21. Wonder if there really is any tv show that's aged nicely over the years? I never watched any of those mentioned in this post, but I think that's because we only had two local channels on our tv for 25 years - until all the kids had moved out of the house and the parents went "Finally they're all gone, now - let's party with ordering satellite tv and Internet!". Pssshhh...

  22. There's an important note of variation with the shows you mention "back in the day" and that is they all invariably had a moral message and shaped America. Despite the cheese factor, the shows were relatively harmless (except for the actual episode where Potsie Webber actually rapes a traveling plumber salesman's daughter posing as Richie, then they all realize it wasn't Richie, but actually good ol' Potsie who claims he couldn't "help himself" and then it's all okay for some reason) [episode 44, 1975].

    America is shaped by TV, at least up until very recently. It was a delicate matter, though sure, Winkler himself muses a short Jewish guy is the "coolest" man in town makes no sense but plays on a James Cagney or Edward G. Robinson 'short guy' gangster angle that America accepted in the same way slow-motion meant going really fast on "The Bionic Man".

    Still, I miss shows that weren't so evil and narcissistic, and America in it's current generation of twitchy, instant-gratification, no-talent phase (people think the latest Star Trek film is a masterpiece compared to the original "12 Angry Men" which was purposely filmed with no color and only 1 room to focus on character development alone) this movie feeds on the drug-infested sperm-remains of lost kids of the '90s who can't bother to learn how to play a guitar chord, only finding short gratitude with the now unpopular "Guitar Hero" or mimicking a pale shadow of a romance by way of easy, cheap sex, not knowing what true love could ever be. Sad, but these shows are a glimmer of America's stronger values, now evaporated in time.

  23. How about Leave it to Beaver? Just the title would disqualify that show from modern television.

  24. Or The Partridge Family. A single mother makes her kids sing in a band with her while wearing leisure suits? Yeah ... never gonna happen.

  25. go back a little farther.....Amos and Andy; I Love Lucy

    A couple of hours ago, my brother, Nappy, attempted to post a comment here from his Nook, but it didn’t "wook" (you can't teach an old dinosaur new tricks). So I am going to essentially reproduce his comment below:

    'Sanford And Son', 'Chico And The Man', and 'Welcome Back Kotter' are amongst the worst TV shows ever. Now... "Up everyone's nose with a rubber hose!" (Need I say more?)

    I take long showers. Can I take a beer "bomber" into the shower with me?

    ~ 3-D

    I want to add the following:

    For sure, ‘Hill Street Blues’, ‘Welcome Back Kotter’, and maybe ‘Happy Days’ too would make my ‘Top Ten Most Disliked’ list (although, as One Bad Pixie pointed out, we MUST thank ‘Happy Days’ for the great expression “jumped the shark”).

    In 2010, I participated in Alex Cavanaugh’s [link:] ‘TOP TEN TV SHOWS’ Blogfest because I do actually like some old TV shows. (And, for the record, I have since acquired Seasons 1-8 of ‘All In The Family’, which I am gradually working my way through now. It's even better than I remembered it.)

    ~ D-FensDogg
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

  27. I am embarrassed to say that as a kid, I totally watched these shows! Or reruns, as the case may be...I had big crushes on most of these guys, as equally embarrassing as that is.

  28. For the record, my memory is that the first two seasons of Happy Days were decent. That was when the show centered around the Cunningham family, not Fonzie. He did not live in the family garage, was cast more as a srop-out than a tough guy and was not even in every episode.

    Once the "Heyyyyy" and "Whoa" and double thumbs-up started, the show became a farce.

    And "Dukes" did spawn the "Daisy Duke's" jeans shorts fashion a la Catherine Bach. Add to that McCarthy's outlaw country hero doing the theme song and it was not all bad.

    I recently watched all three seasons of a show I remembered loving in high school and thirt-- er, I mean a few years later, it's just silly. I still liked Robert Urich but the "plots" in those old Vega$ episodes were just silly.

  29. Great post, but I do love my 80s shows. I'll take the "Fonz" over reality TV any day.

    One show I would have expected some ridicule about was The Brady Bunch. A husband and wife, a maid to do everything the mother doesn't and 6 dorky kids. Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!

  30. Excellent choice of "Happy Days" as that was the show that not only created the phrase "jumping the shark" but spawned the website called "Jumping the Shark".

    The site is a hoot and has been for the past 25+ years.

  31. You used one of my favorite words; "shuttlecock"! Such fun to say!

    I'm embarrassed to admit that I watched most of those shows. Happy Days was one of my favorites. I loved the whole Joanie and Chacie drama. Didn't they have a spin off too?

  32. They do not age well, surprised Dukes of Hazzard is even allowed to air in this pc world

  33. EEYYYYYYYYY I totally forgot that came from Happy Days... My frinds and I have been shouting it to each other in public since high school to make fun of those greasy Jersyoids who actually talk like that...

  34. Hey, don't you dare make fun of the Fonz.

    I hear that dude could water ski over a shark. While wearing his leather jacket, no less.

    Besides, you skipped "Different Strokes," and for that, I will not forgive you.

  35. I tried doing the opposite, thinking of shows that DID age well. Maybe I'm just being a lazy thinker, but I can't come up with any.

  36. Oh man, I've been making an effort to sample as many beers as possible to expand my palate but I'm avoiding Coors and Buds simply from all the bad things I've heard about them.

    Maybe I should do a post on video games that haven't aged gracefully...

  37. Did you guys get "Skippy the Bush Kangaroo"?
    Now that is one show that might struggle with today's audiences
    (Just to throw a little Aussie flavour in the mix)

  38. I wonder what the Sweathogs from Welcome Back Kotter would be doing today?

  39. And yet I still hear guys refer to themselves as "the Fonz"...

  40. I'm glad to get back to ABftS. This was a fun walk down memory lane. I always had a thing for Richie, never understood the Fonz's draw (that sexist pig). And the only reason to watch the Dukes of Hazard, let's face it, even for a straight girl like me, was to see Daisy walk around in those short shorts.


  41. Aw, I never thought of the Fonz that way! But I do admit I haven't seen the show since I was young, so it's possible my perspective is wrong. But Cha Chi was cool, though, right? I loved Cha Chi!

    1. Hahahaha! I just belatedly looked up how to spell Chachi, and apparently it is not two words. I made him into a Chia pet :)

  42. I've only seen Dukes of Hazzard, but you're basically right. I don't have any shows to suggest so I'll just keep laughing at these.