Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Stockard Channing Show|
Actor: Stockard Channing Show
Genres: Comedy, Television
You Might Not Make It After All
Paul Suchy | 12/06/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In 1970, CBS refused to allow the character of Mary Richards in THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW to be portrayed as a divorced woman; roughly a decade later, CBS promised that STOCKARD CHANNING IN BEST FRIENDS would boldly go where no sitcom had gone before: a (nearly) divorced woman would start a new life and stand on her own. Stockard Channing's charming personality and exceptional comedy timing would make for a promising weekly show. Unfortunately (for Channing and for us), that promise was merely a premise and JUST FRIENDS barely touched upon what the show was meant to be about.
JUST FRIENDS is really no better or worse than most sitcoms; it serves as an innocuous time filler that soaks up 25 minutes. The humor depends mostly on insipid jokes about California living, but Channing (as Susan Hughes) and the rest of the cast are likeable and can even make the unfunny jokes seem funny (Mimi Kennedy is a riot as Susan's spoiled rich sister-like Phyllis Lindstrom, we enjoy her because she has no idea of how ridiculous she is). The single worst idea for the show was to have Susan work at a Beverly Hills health club (not a good foundation for comedy-once you've done the obligatory "fat jokes", you're finished). Part of what gained our empathy for Mary Richards was observing her flounder and succeed in her job tasks and eventually become proficient in her work. When Susan asks for a raise, her boss agrees that she has perfected her duties as an assistant manager and that takes place on the second episode! Channing wanted better, and reportedly she requested that the show be taken off the air and overhauled.
JUST FRIENDS (whatever that meant) was dropped, and THE STOCKARD CHANNING SHOW gave Susan a new last name and a much better vocation. As a consumer advocate's assistant, Channing is allowed to do what she did so well in THE GIRL MOST LIKELY TO... and SWEET REVENGE: play broad caricatures in various disguises (Channing may have been better suited to follow in the footsteps of Carol Burnett rather than Mary Tyler Moore). Ron Silver is a great foil for Stockard Channing. Brad and Susan are competitive and flirtatious and their energy carries the show.
This double DVD is presented nicely. The image is a bit pasty (typical for taped shows of the period) and there are intermittent drop-outs, but these facts are listed on the box. If it's a choice between less than perfect quality and not at all, I'll deal with a few imperfections. The price is certainly reasonable.
Stockard Channing is a remarkable actress and it is a joy to watch her even in this show; if you can overlook the fact that the material is beneath her talent, you might catch yourself having a good time.
Stockard Channing in "Just So-So"
Shmarkus | Los Angeles | 05/29/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Following her smashing debut in "The Girl Most Likely To..." Channing went on to give excellent comedic performances in such film flops as "The Fortune" and "The Big Bus" until finally achieving big-screen success in "Grease." CBS Chairman William Paley immediately signed Channing to the network as the hopeful heir to the MTM sitcom throne. With great anticipation, I looked forward to the premiere of "Just Friends" as part of the strong CBS Sunday night lineup. To my disappointment, the series got off to a rocky start, as Channing was saddled with a weak script and a woefully unfunny set of supporting characters. Though the ratings were strong in the cushy post-"Alice" spot, the series continued to go nowhere creatively. Channing was simply in the wrong show, and the subsequent series revamp didn't fare much better. I watched the DVD thinking that I may not have fully appreciated the series in my younger days; however, my initial thoughts proved correct - Stockard Channing was completely stranded amongst a sea of poor scripts.
Of note is the fact that two episodes of "Just Friends" are missing in this set: "A Fine Romance" with guest star Tom Selleck and "Room at the Top" with guest star Scoey Mitchlll. I was employed at CBS at the time the series aired and thus remember the episodes and their titles. I don't know why these two were omitted; ironically, they were among the better ones of the series.
Stockard Channing certainly had the gifts to be a success in television comedy. Though the creators/producers tried to make her a hybrid of Mary Tyler Moore and Lucille Ball, Channing had (and has) her own style which was not showcased properly. Channing eventually survived this debacle with her triumphs on the stage (Tony winner) and film (Oscar nomination), along with Emmy wins for her subsequent television work."
Recapturing My Past
PNYC | NYC | 06/11/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In 1979 I was a Stockard-obsessed 10 year old. I had to get special permission to stay up late enough to watch "Stockard Channing in Just Friends". Not surprisingly, I loved the show and although I saw each episode just once (I am sure it was never rerun in the following decades) I retained strong memories of many scenes and lines of dialog. When I learned that this touchstone of my childhood was now available I seized it immediately (and wondered how I did not know about it for 3 years). I have spent the last few weeks slowly savoring the 2 series. It is much as I remember it. I never even forgot the theme song (I still can't figure out the opening lyrics). Looking at the 2 versions in succession, I have to say that I think I like "Just Friends" better. The cast shows a warmth and chemistry that is not found in "The SC Show". Sydney Goldsmith is much more developed as Coral than Ernestine. Mimi Kennedy does a classic 70s rich woman (with shades of the future Karen Walker), Gerrit Graham is fun playing a gentle cad and Lou Criscuolo's Mel Sharpels turn as the boss is well rounded. His scenes with Mimi Kennedy are particularly entertaining. In contrast, "The SC Show" does not live up to the promise of seeing Stockard doing characters undercover in disguise. Most plots never go anywhere and frequently end abruptly. Ron Silver's Brad always seems condescending of Susan for no clear reason. Sydney Goldsmith has little to do on this show and Max Showalter is annoying and intrusive. Jack Somack is listed as a regular but is seldom seen. The previous reviewer said there are 2 episodes not included. If anyone knows where one might find them I would be thrilled. Anyway, it is a real treat to finally see these shows again. I recommend it to all 70s fans!"