Tuesday, April 7, 2009


The history of television is a long and storied one. Some say that every show that has ever made it to the air was brilliant, and those people are right, but there are some classic shows that just could not be made today, often because our attitudes have changed in the time since they were made. Hence, the following list of classic shows that couldn’t be made today:

ALF supposedly used his ears to molest people on his home planet Melmac.

ALF- We all remember the lovable puppet from the planet Melmac, Gordon Shumway AKA “ALF” or “Alien Life Form,” who found himself on earth living with an equally lovable family. But does anyone remember the reason Gordon Shumway found himself on earth? Most likely you’ve put it out of your mind- because it was fairly traumatic- and even though the show can be seen occasionally in re-runs, those episodes that go into detail about his exile to earth are usually left out of the rotation. Gordon Shumway was sentenced to life on earth by the high court of Melmac after being found guilty of “unnatural copulation.” This interest in “unnatural copulation” manifested itself on most episodes as a desire to eat cats ("pussy"), but only the most naive viewers were fooled. Try to imagine a show that featured a possible sexual predator living with two young kids, one of them a teenage girl no less, being made today. Nope, don’t think so.

"Cousin Larry" pleads with a deranged Balki not to kill him.

- Balki came to America with the same dream any illegal immigrant has: To sell drugs to our kids while murdering their parents and taking their jobs. He works his way up to an “enforcer” in the “Chicago Drug Cartel” (never really specified) when he is caught breaking into the apartment of Larry, who, by a strange coincidence, turns out to be Balki’s long-lost fourth cousin! After Larry pleads for his life, Balki decides to move in with him, and the two become a real “odd couple.” Balki has so much to learn about life in the United States, and the bulk of the episodes took on a “fish-out-of-water” feel- “No, Balki, we don’t just kill someone we disagree with,” etc. When this show premiered in the mid-1980s, there was a lot more tolerance for the plight of the immigrant than there is now, so good luck trying to get a sympathetic “illegal” on the air today.

Penis-headed Snorks ejaculate bubbles whenever they see their own logo.

SNORKS- The Smurfs, created by Belgian cartoonist Peyo (pen name of Peyote Jones), became an international sensation in 1982, with their American cartoon program “The Smurfs” catapulting them to the top of the ratings charts. Naturally, that meant that television programmers were anxious to find similar concepts to foist upon a trusting and unsuspecting public, and what they found was “The Snorks,” a British comic book created by Nigel Merriweather Worthington III. Taking their name from a British slang term for premature ejaculation, the Snorks were a group of sea-dwelling creatures with penises for heads. Whenever one of them became excited, he would “ejaculate” bubbles. It was a hilarious concept if you were an adult and high, but as a kids show it was just, well, weird. Nonetheless, it lasted for five years on American television before some killjoy parent watched it with his kids and thought, “Hey, those guys have penises for heads” and started a letter-writing campaign. Damned killjoy.

A hot she-devil who will satisfy your every depraved fetish, like using a broom while wearing dishwashing gloves.

FREE SPIRIT- A lawyer wants a maid to do all his housework and maybe a little “extra,” if you know what I mean. He’s too cheap to hire even an illegal immigrant for a few pennies an hour, so he turns to the world of black magic, making a deal with the devil- he will trade the entire American culture for one very hot she-demon to fold his laundry and fluff him. As our culture slowly degrades itself, the lawyer gets anything he wants, and nothing is too depraved for her. Originally conceived as a parody of the decline of pop culture, it was in fact a celebration of the decline of pop culture, featuring as it did a hot woman dressed in provocative clothing mopping cum and blood off the kitchen floors. Yeah; that would be made today.

Mr. Smith took America by storm, kind of. By the time this issue of TV Guide hit the stands, the show had already been canceled.

- This is one of those “you-get-credit-for-trying-too-bad-the-network-came-in-and-messed-everything-up-with-their-‘notes’” shows. In the original premise, the brain of science fiction author Ayn Rand is placed is the body of an extraordinarily talented ape (trivia note: men evolved from apes) who then travels to Washington D.C. and is hired as the mascot for a think tank called “The Supersmart Objectivists.” However, someone at the network (possibly Fred Silverman) got a bug up his buttocks about Ayn Rand, and asked the show to change the identity of the brain donor to pornographic film actor John Holmes, and the title was changed from “Mr. Galt” to “Mr. Smith.” The name of the think tank was changed to “Hot Sexy Political Opinions.” And the show completely ruined the cause of Objectivist ape shows- even to this day when someone tries to get a comedy about an Objectivist ape off the ground, network suits invariably say, “We already tried that, with ‘Mr. Smith.’ It doesn’t work. Now get out of my office before I call security.” Sigh.

Image sources:

Mr Smith
Free Spirit
Perfect Strangers

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