One of the most fascinating yet underreported aspects of 1980s television is the off-network first-run sitcom. We talked about What a Country! a few seasons ago, and in our TBS episode we discussed Rocky Road, but there are so many more to remember or discover.
On what would have been the late Don Adams' birthday, take a look at his 1980s sitcom Check It Out! Apparently exclamation marks were big in the world of non-network sitcoms back then. Let's all revisit the Canadian series with this 1985 promo (Yes, we have to!):
This is filled with things that are supposed to look funny--no, make that zany--but don't really inspire confidence that the series itself is going to provoke laughter. As a result, I declare this promo an utter failure, but then they didn't have much to work with apart from star Adams' incredulous mugging at the "zany bunch of employees." That's right, folks, the USA Network voice-over guy really describes them as zany. Nice try, and no disrespect to the great Alan Kalter, but the promo copy is really straining to suggest ensuing hilarity.
It's amazing to me this show lasted 3 seasons and over 60 episodes. Produced in Canada for CTV, it made its way to the USA on, as this promo proclaims with pride, the USA Network. What a country, indeed.
The sitcom was an adaptation of Britcom Tripper's Day produced jointly by DLT Entertainment (the production company that hit it big with Three's Company) for the two networks, making this the best Canada/USA team-up since..uh, I dunno, something with Alpha Flight and the X-Men? In 1986 the reruns hit syndication, but while it aired on New York's Channel 5, I remembered it only as a USA show and totally forgot it was anywhere else.
I didn't forget the show itself, though...try as I might.