September 23, 2005

Ridiculous comparison blocks entry to article I want to read.

I love "Curb Your Enthusiasm," and as I eagerly await the premiere of the new season, I jump at the chance to read an article in the NYT about the terrific comedian who plays Larry's agent. But the article starts this way:
Just as there has never been another lead character on television quite like Larry David - it would be hard to imagine Ralph Kramden or Ray Barone picking up a prostitute to qualify for the carpool lane to Dodger Stadium - there has never been a sidekick quite like Jeff Greene, the fictional Mr. David's fictional manager.
All right. I have no interest in Ray Barone (and, in fact, have to guess at who he is -- he's the one "everyone" supposedly loves, I presume). But what the hell are you saying about Ralph Kramden?

Quite aside from whether Ralph was the kind of guy who would enlist a prostitute in one of his ridiculous little schemes (maybe he was) and whether such a plot could have run on TV in the years 1956 and 1957 when "The Honeymooners" was made: Dodger Stadium did not open until 1962 (and the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn in '56-'57), there was no such thing as a carpool lane back then, and Ralph Kramden did not have a car, he didn't even have a sofa.

As to "there has never been a sidekick quite like Jeff Greene": well, I love the character Jeff Greene, but if you want to bring up the question of great sidekicks and you've already mentioned Ralph Kramden, respect must be paid.

For a "Honeymooner" era traffic-beating scheme:
Ralph: It's rush hour. We'll never be able to get across town in this traffic.

Ed: Trust me. We'll go by sewer.
Now, let me go read that article.


Mark Daniels said...

Any time I read a phrase like "there has never been" in a review, my resistance is roused. Words like never, ever, and all cover a lot of territory and their use makes me a tad suspicious that the reviewer would do better working as a publicist for the show being reviewed than as a critic.

But, Ann, I must confess to being a tad appalled by your lack of awareness of Ray Barone. I don't usually watch prime time television. But, during its run, 'Everybody Loves Raymond' was, as the saying goes, "must see TV." Although I was usually appalled by Ray's insensitivity and inability to "get it"--I often turned to my wife and said, "Why wouldn't a woman leave a jerk like that?"--he and the characters who surrounded him seemed like very real people in the very real dysfunctional families I've encountered in my life. I'm surprised you never got into Raymond.

But, I have to say, we just got HBO for the first time and having watched 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' a few times. I thought it was okay. So, everybody has different tastes. (It's therefore your turn to be "a tad appalled," but only "a tad.")

Ann Althouse said...

Mark: I haven't watched most network shows of the last 30 years. Name all the big ones, you'll find I haven't watched them. I'm aware of "Everybody Loves Raymond" (and, in fact, did once watch an episode while trapped on a airplane), but I just had no idea what his last name was, and had to guess.

I never watched "Frasier" either. Only saw one episode of "Friends" (to see Brad Pitt). Never watched "Cheers" or "Mash." And that's just the sitcoms. I'm just not interested enough. I don't like the feel of network TV.

I realize it's puzzling that I would still watch "The Apprentice" and "American Idol" -- but that is just part of the mystery that is Althouse.

Mark Daniels said...

I think you're right about "the feel" of network TV. They seem to employ the complementarity favored by the purveyors of fast food. You know: You start out with ground beef for burgers; the next day, you turn the leftovers into chili; if the chili doesn't sell, you turn it into salsa salad dressing.

There's too much of that in network television. You take the leftovers or pieces that seemed to work elsewhere and plug them somewhere else. Originality is not its major attribute.

I never watched 'Friends' and less than one episode of 'Seinfeld.' I did see 'Frasier' and thought it funny. But I didn't really watch that much of it until my son bought some of the old episodes on DVD.

I was a fan of both 'Cheers' and 'MASH' during their original runs and still occasionally watch the reruns of the former on Nick-at-Nite.

I do still love the old 'Dick Van Dyke' and 'Mary Tyler Moore' shows, though. Absolutely classic.

I've been unable to get into the reality shows, except the one on ABC on Sunday nights where people who need them are given new homes. But my feeling about this whole genre is that they're more aptly described as "unreality shows."

Okay, enough of this. I've got an errand to run and a sermon to write.

katiebakes said...

Said Mr. David: "Jeff doesn't have a jealous bone in his body, in terms of watching other comedians and being supportive." (Asked if he shared that trait, Mr. David said, "I contain the worst aspects of humanity.")

Sigh...I love Larry David so much. I can't wait for Sunday!!

I'm upset they didn't refer to my favorite character on the entire show in the article: Jeff's wife Suzie.

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, Suzie's great. A perfect example of a part that must be kept tiny, so we are always amused when she shows up.

Paul said...

There was no greater friend or upstairs neighbor than Ed Norton. While this has nothing to do with this discussion but that it was mentioned, I'm seconding it and dare someone to come up with a finer, shall we say, pal.

Mark Daniels said...

Another great pal and upstairs neighbor from TV history would be Rhoda Morgenstern from 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show.' I loved that character.

John said...

If you're going to start listing 'classic' neighbors and pals, one can't forget Howard on the original Bob Newhart Show.

Charles Malik said...

Ann and Mark,

I don't know who Ray Barone is, but I don't think he is the guy from "Everybody Loves Raymond."

I believe that man's name is Ray Romano.

It shows you how interested I am in this subject that I don't clear everything up by doing a simple google search. Bad choices by the writer. I didn't know who Ralph Cramden was until Ann explained it.

James said...

Ray Romano = actor
Ray Barone = character

It's in the tradition of Lucy McGullicudy Arnaz, Mary Richards, Bob Hartley, all Tony Danza characters, etc.

samharker said...

Does any remember Chester A. Reilly's pal Gillis? Not up to Ed Norton's standard but a good pal nonetheless.