Join 3,562 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


at 18:43: "...which kind of explains why there's never been a funny show about lawyers"
August 3, 2011 6:24 PM   Subscribe

In 1979, the producers of "Taxi" were hot, and got carte blanche to make another sitcom for ABC. So they adapted John Jay Osborn's novel "The Associates"*, his follow-up to "The Paper Chase" (which, as a TV series, had just been cancelled by CBS) about young lawyers at a prestigious New York firm. It starred a very young Martin Short as a very young (and surprisingly normal) Junior Associate, Wilfred Hyde-White as a very old Senior Partner and some other folks you may or may not recognize. It bombed. But the next-to-last episode to be aired before the plug was pulled was something you would never expect any broadcast network in 1980 (or maybe even now) to show, in which young lawyer Short represented a network against a rebellious producer, titled "The Censors". And yes, that is John Ritter as a Hollywood actor in character.
Bonus content: "The Associates" pilot episode in two parts. via the world-class blog by Ken Levine of M*A*S*H, Cheers and the Seattle Mariners
* TOTALLY not related to John Grisham's "The Associate"

posted by oneswellfoop (15 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
RIP John Ritter. The stuck zipper scene is hilarious.
posted by haley_joel_osteen at 6:46 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, the gay stereotypes part was great. I would watch this show.
posted by haley_joel_osteen at 6:50 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


That was genuinely time well spent. I love how everything that the fictional network censors is shown on the real episode. Smart, smart writing.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:53 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I totally loved this show while it was on. Hyde-Whyte just *killed* 12 year old me.
posted by mwhybark at 6:57 PM on August 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


That was the Mom from the Wonder Years that he ends up talking to at the end of the episode. Anyone know who played Phil?
posted by haley_joel_osteen at 7:00 PM on August 3, 2011


Would have been funnier if, after all that, they weren't having sex. If all the misunderstanding and assumption was on our, the viewers, end.
posted by maryr at 7:00 PM on August 3, 2011


Would have been funnier if, after all that, they weren't having sex. If all the misunderstanding and assumption was on our, the viewers, end.

I think that vein was mined out in the Three's Company years.
posted by fatbird at 7:36 PM on August 3, 2011


Right, but what if the kid was in on what was really going on and we really were the only ones upset. The kid's upset because the grownups are getting to know each other playing with a Ouija board and the kid wanted in on it. On Three's Company, usually a character on the show made the same assumption as the viewer, in my recollection*. Make us, the audience, really the only character going there.

* I really have not seen that much Three's Company. What I have seen has been pretty lousy.
posted by maryr at 7:59 PM on August 3, 2011


I really have not seen that much Three's Company. What I have seen has been pretty lousy.
You've seen enough. Ritter's comic ability was as well served in the two segments in that episode as in most of the whole Three's Company series.

Here's the Who's Who on that episode... Stuart Margolin (remember him as the stoolie "Angel" on Rockford Files) was great as the Phil the Producer. Alley Mills was one of the other "Associates" (she had more to do in the pilot) and went on to The Wonder Years while Joe Regalbuto went on to Murphy Brown. Tim Thomerson wasn't in the Censors episode but he was in the pilot as the very un-lawyer-esque Mail Room Guy (he had previously been one of the wackier aliens in the equally great-but-short-lived sci-fi comedy "Quark" and I am SHOCKED he never became a STAR). Also in the pilot, the "good guy lawyer" played by John Getz sounded and half-looked so much like Kevin Nealon to me I had to check IMDB twice (yeah, Nealon would've been too young in 1980)...

I wish there were a video somewhere of the episode in which John Houseman re-created his role as the "Paper Chase" professor for laughs. I remembered some of the too-few episodes of that show vividly, but not "The Censors". This was the best experience I've had watching a sitcom in YEARS.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:31 PM on August 3, 2011


Previously
posted by jeffen at 8:39 PM on August 3, 2011


Yes, I (as well as my former secret identity) am Ken Levine's bitch. Yet, we have never met IRL or even online beyond exchanging comments on his blog... Must... Resist... Urge... to Link... to his Blog... Again...
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:03 PM on August 3, 2011


Here's the Who's Who on that episode...

You missed someone! The elder partner, Mr. Marshall, was played by Wilfrid Hyde-White, whom you may remember as the butler Barkley from The Toy (as well as a bunch of other roles).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:40 PM on August 3, 2011


C_D, I credited Mr. Hyde-White in the Original Post... I did misspell his name, but I have to have ONE typo every time I post to support my argument for an Editing Window.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:45 PM on August 3, 2011


I totally loved this show while it was on.
posted by infini at 2:05 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ii just had new wifi installed yesterday by a Stuart Margolin doppelganger. Now I had to look up the name of the actress that played Vera. Louisa Moritz was the go-to sexy blond with the Judy Holliday voice (yes, from The Match Game, too). Now she is an attorney who sells autographed pics on the side.
posted by readery at 5:12 AM on August 4, 2011


« Older Food Network Humor (previously)...  |  "Looking at the world through ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments