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Thread: Debut before his debut?

  1. #11
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    My take on the '89-'90 episodes is sort of a mix of what has been discussed here already.

    The pluses: excellent cast. I think it's unfair to criticize the '89-'90 casts because they weren't Alasdair, Moose, Lisa, Dougie, Vanessa et al - they were all very good actors, particularly Jill (who had already appeared in "Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveler" the previous year) and Chris (particularly since he had no prior acting training). And of course with Les and Abby you could never lose. Also, I like that, along with the excellent slimings and waterings, they brought the pie-in-the-face gag back - pie scenes were plentiful in the first few years of the show, but between '83-'87 had been few and far between. I also liked the homages to the past stars of the series, especially the "Age" episode and having some other scattered on-screen cameos. Plus the return of R. Sole!

    The minuses: Despite the slimings and waterings being better, the slime and water scenes were often poorly written, at least in my opinion. There seemed to be a lot of sketches that just ended cold after a sliming or watering; in previous seasons, the back-and-forth banter between the actors post-slime/water had always added something to the scene. This problem isn't unique to '89-'90; in retrospect, I noticed it as far back as 1985. Also, though I have a high tolerance for gross-out humor, I felt a lot of it in '89-'90 crossed the line, particularly the scatological humor, and also I NEVER found the fart jokes funny whatsoever.

    And another observation: the character of Mrs. Prevert definitely changed with those two seasons. I love Abby Hagyard and it was great to see her get much more airtime, but Mrs. Prevert was no longer the sweet, flighty and somewhat airheaded character she was in the early years; she was not only a harsh disciplinarian, but could be downright sadistic and abusive, even more so than some of the characters who were created to be sadistic and abusive (such as Nasti). I can't imagine the Mrs. Prevert of 1984 doing what the Mrs. Prevert of 1989 did and locking her child in a cage so as not to disrupt her dinner party. In '89-'90, she seemed to always be angry or pissed off at the kids for some reason or other. She got some great lines and her acting was brilliant as always, but I don't think this change in her character was necessarily for the better.

  2. #12

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    I agree with you about Valerie. I think this seems symptomatic of so much in the later years. It seemed like the idea of her being "flighty and somewhat airheaded," as you put it, mixed with the idea of her being at times sharper than she gave out (see for instance the "I'm afraid your hot-water bottle is a very sick hot-water bottle" bit from Medicine) was judged to be too subtle for the audience to comprehend anymore, and so they made her one-dimensional in an effort to see to it that all and sundry would "get" the joke. Same thing happened with Barth, and even with Nasti, who in the past had had certain endearing traits. It was almost as though the idea of these people being human, with good and bad qualities, was deemed too complex, or maybe making them into caricatures was easier for the writers; who knows?

    I don't like the scatological humor either: not because I'm puritanical about such things (far, far from it), but because a) it all too often took the place of a joke rather than being the means to a joke; and b) it just seemed, more often than not, like an ill-fitting suit grafted onto the show.

    I think after Nickelodeon got a hold of the sliming and made it the focus of its version of the show (an occurrence which seems to have roughly coincided with Kevin's departure and the decision, on the part of all parties, that it would happen mostly to the other kids and not very often to Christine), the sliming was ruined...absolutely. I'd put it a year earlier, 1984. Again, the sliming became an end in itself, rather than the function of a joke. To me, that automatically made it unfunny, and the sliming scenes become something to wade through as quickly as possible and get on with the business of the episode. I can't help but get the idea that the writers and cast felt a bit the same way: as if there was a quota to be met, so let's do it and get on to other business.

    Meanwhile, I think you're right about the cast too. It's apples and oranges comparing them with the classic cast, and it does neither group any favors. The 89-90 cast was a good cast on its own merits, and that's all that matters. I wish they'd been given better material to work with.
    "Now me, I play for fortune
    And those velvet curtain calls
    I've got a black limousine and two gentlemen
    Escorting me to the halls
    And I'll play if you have the money
    Or if you're a friend to me
    But the one-man band
    By the quick-lunch stand
    He was playing real good
    For free..."
    -Joni Mitchell

  3. #13
    Coin Slot Cleaner Blip's Arkaid
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    In all honesty, I just can't remember much from the 89-90 season. I don't remember disliking the cast or anything for those eps, but I know I preferred the previous seasons' episodes to it when originally watching it. I haven't watched any eps from that season since I originally saw it 20+ years ago, 'cept for Ages, which I definitely remembered, but mainly because of Vanessa and Chris....and speaking of "Age", how come they didn't toss Dougie in more. He was in the Adoption ep too. He liked Playboy magazine and looking up girls' skirts. lol

    I do remember tuning into rerun episodes, and hating when they showed something from the 89-90 seasons as opposed to an earlier one back then. Who knows. I can't recall specifically what I didn't care for, but maybe it's for some of the reasons already mentioned...not the cast itself, but the material they had to work with. Or maybe I was just outgrowing the show, despite the fact I was about 9 or so when it ended.

    I do plan to give them a look again, but I'm still checking out random earlier eps.

  4. #14
    Change Attendant Blip's Arkaid MarcD's Avatar
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    Honestly I think you guys are exaggerating the differences in the show pre and post '88. If there was an '88 season I wonder if anyone would even be making these points.

    Any differences that exist between the '87 shows and the '89 shows are small. In fact, I would argue there are bigger differences between the '86 shows that last featured Christine and the '87 shows without her.

    The '89 shows were modernized slightly, and the change in writers means the jokes were a bit different (and yes, more scatalogical) but that's mostly what it was - writing changes/decisions. Do you think the "Angie the Talking Doll" stuff would have been done in '86 or '87? Or "but what *I* want to know is--" or "Don't encourage your mother!" in other eras of the show? Every writer and group of writers has their own "voice", quirks, running gags, and take on the characters (like Valerie Prevert).

    Aside from that, people seem to be blowing everything way out of proportion in order to shoot down the '89-90 shows. There's just no basis for it in reality.

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcD View Post
    Honestly I think you guys are exaggerating the differences in the show pre and post '88. If there was an '88 season I wonder if anyone would even be making these points.

    Any differences that exist between the '87 shows and the '89 shows are small. In fact, I would argue there are bigger differences between the '86 shows that last featured Christine and the '87 shows without her.
    I (sort of) agree...with reservations. That's part of the reason why, when I talk about the "late episodes," I generally mean anything post-Christine.

    But I also agree with Chris that some of the writing changes/decisions you mention in 89-90 were unfortunate. And (whether you agree with that or not) they did change the nature of the show, which I think you recognize too, since you argue so strenuously on their behalf elsewhere. Otherwise, why narrow it down to the 89-90 episodes at all?

    My inclination was to like the 89-90 episodes, because I always like taking the iconoclastic view if possible. If anything, knowing myself, I would have blown everything out of proportion in order to praise them. I just can't do it; I'm sorry.

    Obviously, they resonated with someone, and that's good; just as obviously, they weren't meant to be liked by everyone; that was never the show's aim. Part of the reason I don't typically talk about them is that I take the Susan Sontag position that you talk/write about stuff you like, and leave the stuff you don't like to someone who does. I also tend to feel that, if you don't like something, it's (usually) more a lack of receptivity in yourself than a flaw in whatever you're examining. So that's the view I generally take of them. If anything, this discussion has helped me understand a little bit about where my particular lack of receptivity lies with regard to these episodes.
    "Now me, I play for fortune
    And those velvet curtain calls
    I've got a black limousine and two gentlemen
    Escorting me to the halls
    And I'll play if you have the money
    Or if you're a friend to me
    But the one-man band
    By the quick-lunch stand
    He was playing real good
    For free..."
    -Joni Mitchell

  6. #16
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    The one that got Chris watered while delivering lines was NOT from any episode but it was from Worst of YCDTOTV.

    I loved the 89-90 episodes. The slimings were fresh. I loved the commercials that showed "New Episodes of 89" and showed all the slimings. I wanted to see them again. It also showed Nick, Chris, and Christian being slimed which were NOT in any episode. I wonder if you know what I am talking about. I was like "what?? YCDTOTV is coming back??!!"

  7. #17
    Change Attendant Blip's Arkaid MarcD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CappieGuy View Post
    The one that got Chris watered while delivering lines was NOT from any episode but it was from Worst of YCDTOTV.

    I loved the 89-90 episodes. The slimings were fresh. I loved the commercials that showed "New Episodes of 89" and showed all the slimings. I wanted to see them again. It also showed Nick, Chris, and Christian being slimed which were NOT in any episode. I wonder if you know what I am talking about. I was like "what?? YCDTOTV is coming back??!!"
    That was an exciting time...new YCDTOTV eps, plus Tomorrow People was on (at least in Canada) so we were getting a double dose of Christian Tessier. Then you had UFO kidnapped, Night of the Demons 3, lot of cast members of YCDTOTV appearing in different places all at the same time. Not to mention Alanis Morissette's first album dropped in 1991.

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