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December 25, 2011 12:22 AM   Subscribe

The Powers That Be was a short-lived, irreverent sitcom about a dim US Senator (John Forsythe, in his last major starring role on television) and his dysfunctional family, that aired on NBC between 1992 and 1993. Created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, who would go on to create Friends, the show co-starred David Hyde Pierce (pre-Frasier) as the Senator's suicidal son-in-law.

Norman Lear was one of the show's executive producers.

"Several of the show's principals subsequently became involved in long-running and popular sitcoms created after the show's demise: series creators Crane and Kauffman went on to develop Friends, Joseph Gordon-Levitt took a role in 3rd Rock from the Sun, Robin Bartlett played a recurring part on Mad About You, Peter MacNicol would soon reach fame with a similar eccentric character (as John Cage) in Ally McBeal, and David Hyde Pierce was chosen for his role as Niles Crane in the series Frasier partly on the basis of his work in this program. Holland Taylor also went on to greater sitcom stardom later in the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men."


Only 19 episodes were produced, all of which are now available on YouTube:

Season I
* Episode 1, Parts 1, 2, 3. 4, 5
* Episode 2, Parts 1, 2, 3
* Episode 3, Parts 1, 2, 3
* Episode 4, Parts 1, 2, 3
* Episode 5, Parts 1, 2, 3
* Episode 6, Parts 1, 2, 3
* Episode 7, Parts 1, 2, 3

Season II
* Episode 1, Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
* Episode 2, Parts 1, 2, 3
* Episode 3, Parts 1, 2, 3
* Episode 4, Parts 1, 2, 3
* Episode 5, Parts 1, 2, 3
* Episode 6, Parts 1, 2, 3
* Episode 7, Parts 1, 2, 3
* Episode 8, Parts 1, 2, 3
* Episode 9, Parts 1, 2, 3
* Episode 10, Parts 1, 2, 3
* Episode 11, Parts 1, 2, 3
* Episode 12, Parts 1, 2, 3
posted by zarq (21 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite

 
Fabbo. That first clip just about sums up my feelings about Christmas. Thanks possum.
posted by taff at 1:17 AM on December 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Did that set go on to star in The Nanny?
posted by crossoverman at 1:24 AM on December 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Oh, *man*! I've always remembered this show--mostly how fucking funny it was, and I've wondered idly over the years why it didn't last very long. I also remembered adoring the actor who played the suicidal son-in-law, and then recognizing him when Frasier hit the airwaves. I'll download all of these clips this week (and backing them up on DVD-R, because you never know).

zarq, you just made everything that happened to me in 2011 a little less awful.
posted by tzikeh at 1:24 AM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Answering my own question: yes.
posted by crossoverman at 1:26 AM on December 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


David Hyde Pierce came out of the closet in May 2007, three years after Frasier went off the air.

He was apparently the only one still surprised, I imagine.
posted by markkraft at 1:29 AM on December 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Sadly after The Nanny, the set went through a bit of a downward spiral from drugs and alcohol; last I heard it was reduced to turning tricks in Harmony Korine movies.
posted by mannequito at 1:34 AM on December 25, 2011 [14 favorites]


Love me some DHP. That's right, I call him DHP.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:43 AM on December 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


I loved this show when it was first broadcast by the Dutch broadcaster VPRO (iirc) and David Hyde Pierce was the best part of it. It came out at a time when there seemed to be quite a few good, sort of experimental American sitcoms getting produced (In Living Color e.g.)
posted by MartinWisse at 3:27 AM on December 25, 2011


Same here, MartinWisse. :)

And hey, who wrote the theme song? Sounds awfully like something Randy Newman could have done, and I think he worked on some other Norman Lear productions, but I can't find a credit...
posted by likeso at 5:01 AM on December 25, 2011


We weren't living here in Japan yet, but still somehow managed to miss this entirely! This DHP fan thanks you, profusely.
posted by squasha at 5:25 AM on December 25, 2011


Good god, I love Holland Taylor.

Also, my mother was bothered by my fascination with the suicidal David Hyde-Pierce. I'd always been a sullen child, but watching it now, his timing is just stunning.
posted by khaibit at 5:56 AM on December 25, 2011


drjimmy11: "Love me some DHP. That's right, I call him DHP"

My sister worked with him and everyone called him DHP. He is very funny, and apparently a total sweetheart as well.
posted by Red Loop at 6:33 AM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


My friend told m to check out The Perfect Guest.. DHP pulls it off amazingly well.
posted by rosswald at 6:58 AM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


MartineWisse: David Hyde Pierce was the best part of it

Ditto for Frasier IMO, the 'silent' intro bit he does at the beginning of "Three Valentines" ranks up there with the troll doll scene from Community and the Godzilla bit from Arrested Development as things likely to cause me to start *schnurking* (trying not to laugh and mostly failing) randomly in supermarkets.

Then, I do loves me that sort of inevitable build-up situation comedy.
posted by titus-g at 7:02 AM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Believe it or not I can remember watching the premiere of this show and thinking "that guy could be Kelsey Grammer's brother."
posted by evilcolonel at 7:17 AM on December 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Love me some DHP. That's right, I call him DHP.

Then i can't recommend The Perfect Host enough. I'm a fan of his as well, and came across this on netflix and loved how it played with your expectations of him, and was a fun movie to boot.
posted by usagizero at 9:24 AM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh my gosh, I loved this show (I was 10 when it came out) and remember David Hyde Pierce being the best part of it. It'll be wonderful to watch it again!
posted by pised at 10:18 AM on December 25, 2011


This is a really crazy, cheesy, and super cynical show.

I love it.
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:32 AM on December 25, 2011


There's a part in season 2, episode 1 where Jordan refers to Bill as Daddy. I wonder if that's a reference to House of Cards.
posted by khaibit at 11:30 AM on December 25, 2011


zarq, I could kiss you full on the mouth, this is fantastic! Like night court era wonderfulness all over again.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:45 AM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sounds awfully like something Randy Newman could have done, and I think he worked on some other Norman Lear productions, but I can't find a credit...

Newman's first film score was for Lear's one and only film Cold Turkey. But there's no listing for this show in Newman's IMDb listing, so I think not.
posted by pmurray63 at 1:25 PM on December 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


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