This week, my plan was to get caught up on all of the MCU shows and Mare of Easttown and all the rest. As you’ll soon discover from looking at the list below, that didn’t happen. But that’s okay. By the time next week, I will be caught up on everything, just in time for the Emmy nominations.
Here’s what little I watched this week!
Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)
Rene’s got a new radio but he’s got no way to power it! He’s also got a huge amount of sausages, some of which are real and some of which hide a forged painting. To be honest, I struggled a bit to follow the plot of this week’s episode but all of those sausages being tossed around made me laugh.
The Bachelorette (ABC, Monday Evening)
I’m just going to admit it. I don’t like Katie Thurston. I wanted to like Katie. I tried really hard to like Katie. I agree with Katie on so many things. But this week’s Rose Ceremony-dismissal of Thomas was just too …. bleh! Basically, Katie felt that Thomas was there for “the wrong reasons.” She was right, as far as any of that can really be determined. (Is anyone ever on a show like this for the right reason?) And she felt Thomas was creating drama and being a toxic influence and again, she’s right. But the way she sent him home was so self-righteous and overdramatic and specifically designed to be a big viral moment that it’s hard not to feel that Katie really wasn’t that much better than Thomas. Katie’s complaint was that Thomas was treating the show like a “Bachelor audition” but Katie came across like she was auditioning for Bachelor in Paradise.
To be honest, it’s been a while since I really liked any of the bachelors or bachelorettes on this show. I guess that’s why I never mind when things don’t work out for them after the final rose.
Couples Court With The Culters (Channel 33, weekday morning)
I watched the case of Stoltz vs. Winning on Friday morning. From the start, it was pretty obvious (to me, if not the judges) that Mr. Stoltz was cheating but at least Ms. Winning got to wear a really pretty green dress on TV. After watching the show, I bought a new green dress for myself! Anyway, Mr. Stoltz and Ms. Winning were actually a really cute couple so I hope things worked out for them.
Dragnet (MeTV, Weekday Mornings)
Dragnet was one of the first cop shows. Premiering in the 50s and featuring Jack Webb as no-nonsense Sgt. Joe Friday, Dragnet’s episodes were based on actual cases that were investigated by the LAPD. The 1950s Dragnet, with its semi-documentary style, is considered to be a forerunner of shows like Law & Order.
Of course, I’ve never actually seen the 50s Dragnet. That’s because that version of Dragnet is rarely repeated, even on the retro stations. Instead, the version of Dragnet that currently shows up on MeTV is the second version of the show, which ran from 1967 to 1970 and which featured Jack Webb stiffly lecturing hippies on why the law had to be obeyed regardless of whether or not they agreed with it. While this version of the show wasn’t always as campy as it has since been made out to be, the show’s best-known episodes do tend to feature Friday sighing in disappointment while someone with long hair tells him that “smoking a little grass is no big deal, baby.”
I set the DVR to record Monday morning’s episode, largely to see if I might be interested in watching and reviewing Dragnet for this site. (I’ve seen a few episodes over the years but I’ve never sat down and watched the whole series from beginning to end.) The episode I recorded was from 1970 and it was one of the last episodes of the second version of the show. Friday was taking a night class, one in which the idea was for the students to just talk about their differing views of the world. When Friday noticed that one of his fellow students had a baggie of weed in his notebook, Friday arrested him. The scandalized class then voted to kick Friday out. Friday gave a speech about why the law had to be obeyed and he refused to apologize for arresting his classmate. In fact, he declared, he would do it again if he had to! Friday won over some members of the class but not enough to overturn the vote. However, another classmate revealed that he was an attorney and that he was prepared to sue the professor on Friday’s behalf. “Cops have constitutional rights, too!” the lawyer said. Friday nodded in agreement as the show ended. It was a bit of a silly episode, as any episode featuring Friday interacting with the counter culture tended to be. (Until he made his arrest, no one suspected Friday of being a cop despite the fact that everything about him literally screamed, “Cop!”) I especially liked the fact that the liberal professor had a Van Dyke beard and was made up to resemble a Satanic high priest. At the same time, this episode can today be viewed as an early example of cancel culture and, in the end, it did make a good point. Everyone has a right to an education. That said, it really didn’t look like the student had that much weed on him and I personally probably would have been uncomfortable being in a class with Sgt. Friday.
On Wednesday, I DVR’d the first ever episode of the 60s Dragnet. From 1967, “The LSD Story” was just what the title implied. Friday and his partner, Bill Gannon (Harry Morgan), investigated a bunch of swinging hippie drug parties and they met a teenage dealer called Blue Boy. Blue Boy’s wealthy parents refused to get upset over his druggie ways and, somewhat inevitably, Blue Boy ended up dead of an overdose. On the one hand, it was definitely heavy-handed and over-the-top and the show’s insistence that marijuana would automatically lead to LSD was undeniably cringey. But, at the same time, there was a sincerity at the heart of the episode. My first thought was to call it the epitome of a Boomer show but Dragnet was really a Silent Generation show. The boomers, after all, were the ones dancing in front of the lava lamp.
The first of Thursday’s episodes featured Friday and Gannon investigating a burglary of several pounds of explosives. It turned out that it was stolen by a blonde man who wore a brown shirt and had a big Nazi flag hanging in his apartment. The man argued that he wasn’t a Neo Nazi terrorist but seriously — this flag was right there! The second episode featured Friday and Gannon investigating a kidnapping and who would guess that an episode about a kidnapping would be so talky? Compared to the cop shows of today, Dragnet was very much obsessed with showing that everything iwas being doing exactly by the book and the kidnapping episode was more interested in examining how a fake ransom payment is set up than on the payment itself. It was a bit dry but also a change of pace from what I’m used to.
The first of Friday’s episodes featured Joe Friday and Gannon interrogating a cop who was suspected of holding up a liquor store. The cop turned out to be innocent but what was interesting about the episode was that the emphasis was put on Friday and Gannon being just as tough and suspiciously-minded with a colleague as they were with everyone else. There was none of that “one of their own” stuff that you tend to find in more recent cop shows. The second episode featured the hunt for a group of red-masked bandits. It was fairly dry but it got the point across, that everyone was a professional doing the best they could to keep Los Angeles safe.
My main thought on Dragnet so far — the first season feels a bit arid, though there were a few campy moments, especially in the LSD episode. Still, it’s interesting to see what Los Angeles looked like in the 60s and the show was definitely well-intentioned. Jack Webb may not have been a particularly expressive actor but he brought enough sincerity to the role to keep things moving.
Hell In The Heatland: Where are Ashley and Lauria? (HBOMax)
I watched this four episode, 2019 docudrama on Sunday. It was about the 1999 murders of Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible, two Oklahoma teenagers. It was also about how meth is destroying certain parts of rural America. It was disturbing stuff and made all the more tragic by the fact that, though we now know what happened to Ashley and Lauria, we still don’t know the location of their remains. The Bibles and Freemans are still waiting for their chance to give Lauria and Ashley a proper burial.
Hell’s Kitchen (Monday Night, Fox)
The Red Team finally had to face an elimination. Morganna was sent home. I have to admit that I didn’t realize Morganna was on the show until she was kicked off, which probably explains a lot as to why she was eliminated.
Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court (Weekday Mornings, Channel 33)
I watched two episodes on Friday morning because I was too lazy to change the channel. My favorite thing about this show is how, at the start of each episode, Judge Lake snaps, “Good day, everyone!” at the courtroom and the courtroom replies with the most desultory “good day,” imaginable.
The Love Boat (Sunday Evening, MeTV)
This week’s episode was the second part of the story that was started last week. The Love Boat crew was in Australia, for their cruise director, Julie’s, wedding. Meanwhile, the missing link was being held prisoner in a cage by Jose Ferrer. Yes, it was weird. Anyway, it turned out that the missing link was a fake who had been hired to swindle the gullible and Julie did not get married because the groom fled the church. Later, he sent Julie a letter that explain that he was …. wait for it …. DYING! Julie broke down into tears and the episode came to an end.
I mean, my God — who knew The Love Boat was so traumatic!?
Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)
Everyone was totally caught up in football (or soccer or whatever you want to call it)! Even though the show was shot in 2013 and set in the 90s, it still felt incredibly relevant to today.
The Office (Sunday, Comedy Central)
Sunday morning, I watched as Michael Scott quit his job, started his own paper company, and then successfully sold it, largely due to David Wallace really not being a very good CEO. In retrospect, I think The Michael Scott Paper Company was probably the highpoint of The Office’s post-season 3 run. The scene of Michael calling Prince Family Paper just to discover that he had helped to drive them out of business is horrifying, funny, and depressing, all at the same time!
Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)
Granville is getting closer and closer to snapping. Arkwright has no idea.
Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)
Finally! Will finished Romeo and Juliet and Kate achieved her dream of appearing on stage, despite the fact that it was illegal for her to do so. It was a sweet ending to the 2nd series of Upstart Crow and it almost makes up for the lack of Yes, Prime Minister on PBS’s current schedule.