Thursday, February 24, 2022

What We Saw: TLC (1984 NBC unsold pilot)

The Museum of Classic Chicago Television YouTube account continues to bring us fantastic rarities and interesting broadcasts, almost always with original commercials and presented as originally aired. One that struck my eye was the unsold pilot "TLC," a sitcom set at a nursing university in Philadelphia:

Jim Vallely and Jonathan Schmock went on to all sorts of things, including behind-the-camera work on Arrested Development and Real Time with Bill Maher, respectively, and were in other shows, but who else remembers them as one of the weirdest comedy teams of the 1980s, The Funny Boys?  After this effort failed, they joined the cast of another NBC show, Double Trouble, presumably to up the zany in that sitcom's second season.

Double Trouble, then in reruns of its first season, kicked off this August night, followed by repeats of Jennifer Slept Here (shout-out to our Facebook group) and The Facts of Life. Then St. Elsewhere followed this broadcast of TLC

CBS had an episode of newsmagazine The American Parade and a rebroadcast of movie Bare Essence, which had been picked up as a primetime soap and failed already on NBC.

If this sounds like NBC and CBS burning off programming, well, it is. Not only is it August, but ABC was showing the popular 1984 Summer Olympics from Los Angeles this week.

As for TLC, it's kind of an odd piece. Some of my thoughts:

*The fact that the Funny Boys are the first and only male enrollees isn't emphasized the way you'd think it is. You'd think they would really hammer that point home.

*That said, Mary Garripoli as the love-starved student fixated on Vallely's character ought to have given royalties to Wendie Jo Sperber from Bosom Buddies.

*Jessica Walter seems to be enjoying herself as the heel dean with a heart of gold. 

*It's funny to see Ritch Shydner cast as a musclehead!

*There are some moments that hint at something, but things seem to happen too quickly in this pilot, almost like we are seeing a drastic cutdown of a longer episode.

Thanks again to the Fuzzy Memories account for bringing such cool stuff on a regular basis!

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