First, I'd like to lay all the blame on Star Trek: Discovery. It was because of this show (which I'll give a proper review for at the end of the first season), that I discovered (See what I did there?) CBS-All Access. I didn't think much of it when it was first announced. Okay, I could watch commercial free episodes of current shows. A big whoop if I ever heard one. What I didn't know was that the service also included old shows that I hadn't seen on television in almost twenty years. One of those shows was the ill-fated mid-'90s sitcom Caroline in the City.
The premise may seem tired and old: a successful New York gal trying to wade her way through the yuppie dating pool during a tumultuous time in our nation. Grunge was on its way out, and traditional pop music was making a comeback. Our president was a saxaphone playing lover of interns, Michael Jordan returned to the NBA, Oklahoma City happened, and Hugh Grant was hanging out with Divine Brown. Caroline Duffy sits atop her ivory tower, aka her huge loft, where she keeps her refrigerator stocked with Evian and Snapple. Her quirky best friend, who always tries to set her up with guys, lives across the hall. The man who secretly pines for her, and is (for all intents and purposes) the right guy, is right under her nose... if only she would open her eyes and see it!
Yes, Caroline in the City had all the markings of a very blah sitcom. However, the writing and the actors made it work. I didn't notice it at first because it was not on my radar when it first aired. It wasn't until 2001 or so when I began watching it on reruns. The show lasted four seasons until NBC gave it the axe out of nowhere in 1999. The show ended on a cliffhanger, and that's where it will forever live. The only reason it is on CBS All-Access is because it was distributed by CBS, apparently. Either way, I'm glad the show is available. If you get a chance you should really watch it. My absoulte favorite is the episode Caroline and the Dearly Departed, where Richard, the guy who pines for her, discovers that he can make a lot more money as an artist if he's dead. Now, you see where this is going? Yes, and it was fucking brilliant! The actual punchline to the episode had a very Terry Funk-esque vibe to it, as Terry has one infamous go-to promo in his arsenal called, "Your mother is a whore!" Well, a similar premise applies here, as an art critic tries everything in his power to get Richard to pop up from his casket during his viewing.
Another show I've gotten to re-watch is The Odd Couple. As a fan of the play and the movie, I always had a soft spot for the Tony Randal and Jack Klugman television series. They bring the characters of Oscar Madison and Felix Unger to life in a way that would normally make two characters stale. However, these men were such talented professionals that they kept the two characters alive. They take the old addage of Chocolate cake is good once in a while, but you can't have it every day, and throw it out the window. These two men were proof that you can have chocolate cake every day. Felix and Oscar have always been my favorite oil and water characters. They were the precursors to teams like Leonard and Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory.
Also, with CBS All-Access, I've been able to watch movies I hadn't seen in years. One of these movies is The Apartment, a 1960 romantic comedy starring a young Jack Lemon and a young Shirley Maclaine. The running gag in this movie is ending words with "wise." "Decency-wise," and "That's the way it crumbles, cookie-wise." This leads to one of my favorite movie quotes, "Well, I don't blame ya. So you hit the jackpot, eh kid? I mean Kubelik-wise." Kubelik was the name of Shirley Maclaine's character. I thought I was the only one who found that funny. No one else I knew ever got it. Then I played the game Gone Home. There is a part where you go through one of the character's private papers. You find out that he filed his last will and testament with the law firm of Kubelik and Wise. I asked the game's creator, and he admitted that the name did come from The Apartment.
While I do think CBS All-Access is worth the $9.99 a month for no commercials, I do wish they would add more content. I want more old movies and more TV shows. I want actual episodes of Elementary, since every time I tried to record it on my DVR, it was halfway into a game of stupid football. Also, I want Person of Interest on the service. That was one damn good show. If CBS does this, then they'll have a subscriber for life.
Samuel Colunga is a writer/podcaster from Texas by day, and superhero by night.