The Potsie maneuver...
I watched a 4 part series this morning that I hoped would prove to be valuable preparation for my upcoming journey to Great Britain. Tivo thoughtfully captured all 4 parts for me to watch at my leisure (pronounced "lez-yure"). The saga I speak of is the Family Ties Vacation special where the Keaton family goes to London to take Alex to Oxford.
Within the last couple of weeks I started getting back into Family Ties and asked Tivo to add it as a season pass, which he gladly did. While I enjoyed seeing the Keaton family in an alternate location than their familiar residence in Columbus, Ohio, I felt this mini-series left a little to be desired. First of all, it was shot on film rather than video (on a side-note, I found an interesting article about the differences of film vs. video so I could get my terminology correct to write the previous sentence). Secondly, their was no laugh track to queue us as to when something funny had occurred. Thirdly, the writers had a hair brained idea to add an "international criminal planting microfilm in a hairbrush" backstory to decrease the humor even further. Also, it really didn't show too much about London. Somehow the rest of the family stayed there 2 weeks and didn't really do too much of anything while Alex took some classes at Oxford. Alex did learn a valuable lesson about fitting in which was very low on the heart warming scale for me. Overall, I'd much rather stick with the regular episodes than what appeared to be an 80's ratings gimmick that I can't imagine paid off very well.
I also watched what I would consider to be one of the more outstanding episodes of one of the more outstanding sitcom's in television history. Interestingly enough (maybe only to me) it and Family Ties both first aired in 1982. It was a 1985 episode of Cheer's featuring the first appearance of Kelsey Grammer as Dr. Frasier Crane. It reminded me how amazingly the writers could balance semi-dramatic topics with constant comedy with interesting characters. This show was truly a masterpiece of modern television. While many did not like Shelley Long on Cheer's I felt the contrast of her character to the rest of the bar's inhabitants proved to be very entertaining. Her annoying snootiness always provided excellent comedic setups, a role which was later filled by Fraser and Lilith in Diane's absence.
For some reason I searched for Anson Williams today because I was curious as to whether Potsie was spelled "Potsy" or "Potsie". I learned what I consider an interesting yet useless fact that I'd like to share. Anson William's full name is Anson William Heimlich and he is the nephew of Henry Heimlich who came up with a famous manuever. Which made me think of the great commentary about this maneuver I saw recently in Eddie Izzard's video Dress to Kill. The end.