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Old 02-05-2013, 01:47 AM   #76
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Jewish working-class cab driver Bernie Steinberg (David Birney, TV's "St. Elsewhere") falls in love at first sight with privileged Catholic teacher Bridget Fitzgerald (Meredith Baxter, TV's "Family Ties"), and they find themselves in a whirlwind romance. While their love is constant, their parents are constantly meddling, both sides uncomfortable with each other's social status and religion. Also starring David Doyle (TV's "Charlie's Angels") and Audra Lindley (TV's "Three's Company"), Bridget Loves Bernie was a situation comedy ahead of its time.

Read my review of Bridget Loves Bernie - The Complete Series here:
http://www.sitcomsonline.com/bridget...dvdreview.html
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:57 AM   #77
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I always knew about the protests from religious groups regarding "Bridget Loves Birney" but never knew it did well in the ratings. Overall, I have also heard the show was not that great but placed in a very good time slot. Pretty much like how "Family Ties" (Which also stared Ms. Baxter) became popular.
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Old 06-06-2013, 03:32 AM   #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leslie Eckhardt
I based my earlier post on my 40-year old memory of watching this show. Thinking I could change my opinion, I saw the pilot last night. I stand by my original view. The humor is heavy-handed and forced. The ethnic jokes are groaners and play offensively even today. The reaction of Audra Lindley to her daughter's boyfriend possibly being black is cringe-inducing, and just to top it all off, they cribbed a line from the Love on a Rooftop pilot when David Birney says: "You're rich!" Baxter counters with: "You make it sound like some sort of disease". Line for line. If this didn't make it following All In The Family, it's possibly because it isn't funny? If this got better ratings than Mary Tyler Moore it could be that people who started to watch this following Family switched channels midway through. Only Jerry Fielding's nice theme music comes through unscathed. A dreadful show.
I have been wondering after reading various websites and threads on this site, if the show did well only because of it's controversy and if it would have died after the controversy died. Any thoughts here?
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Old 06-06-2013, 03:37 AM   #79
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I believe it was on right after All in the Family, so how could it be too controversial? Except specifically-- religious leaders both Catholic and Jewish objected to the inner-faith marriage.
Intefaith marraige wasn't as popular at that time as it is today.
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Old 12-11-2015, 04:59 AM   #80
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Originally Posted by McGillicuddy
Oh no! I didn't realize it was owned by Sony! All you had to do was mention Sony, no wonder its not released. Sony Sucks!!!!
http://thiswastv.com/2012/09/25/1970...-loves-bernie/

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So in the end, the winner of the battle to create a hit big-studio, single-camera comedy in the new era was Fox, whose TV division was able to live off M*A*S*H for the next decade. Screen Gems’ next move was a bit schizo: the following year it went all in on trying to bring back the ’60s by hiring back Sally Field and (with Slade writing, again) starring her in an old-fashioned supernatural comedy, The Girl With Something Extra. They also took a very tentative step into MTM-style multi-camera comedy with a TV adaptation of the movie Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. Both shows bombed, and the Screen Gems name was folded into the more prosaic Columbia Pictures Television; the studio would find some success in drama production, but as a sitcom supplier, Columbia had few hits and would spend most of the next decade distributing shows by independent producers like Susan Harris, Danny Arnold, and Lear. The Columbia sitcom empire was laid low, destroyed by changing times and the backlash against the Birneys.
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Old 12-11-2015, 05:03 AM   #81
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Originally Posted by bencasey
CBS caved into pressure, as they always do. Actually, the show really watered down the scripts after the first several episodes after the complaints started rolling in. The later episodes barely touch upon the religious themes at all.
http://thiswastv.com/2012/09/25/1970...-loves-bernie/

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The pilot of Bridget has some utterly terrible jokes, mostly when Slade tries to get with-it and imitate All in the Family: the ethnic jokes, the bit when Bridget’s father (David Doyle) thinks his daughter is marrying a black man, the line “do you take one or two lumps in your Jew?” (a straight steal from All in the Family, except not funny). It’s not quite as terrible as its reputation, but it’s not as confident and charming as the Screen Gems product of the ’60s—it has none of the charm of Love On a Rooftop, a romantic sitcom that was Slade’s own favorite of his creations. (Slade would soon leave TV and become a very successful playwright; his first play, Same Time Next Year, was one of the biggest hits of the decade.) It’s a cutesy show full of cutesy acting—way too cute to follow All in the Family, though it’s not impossible to see how it could improve. The reviews weren’t even all that bad originally.

The show didn’t improve, though. Unlike Fox, which gave Larry Gelbart free rein to toughen and improve M*A*S*H after its shaky start, Screen Gems never really bought into the idea of a strong writer controlling a show (which may explain why Danny Arnold only lasted a year on Bewitched), and Slade was not going to do it one way or the other. “[Bernie] wrote the pilot but smartly declined to get involved with the series,” wrote Arnold Kane, another Canadian comedy writer who became a writer-producer on the show. “He was happy collecting his handsome royalty. Bern likes to sleep late and still does.” He would write episodes when asked, but he would never run a show. That was fine, maybe even part of the point, in the Screen Gems system. But it meant that the show was at the mercy of freelance writers. That too was fine in the ’60s, when there were more good freelancers; not so fine in the ’70s, when the newer sitcoms had put a lot of the best people on staff.

So as the show bumbled along with weak scripts, it got good ratings in its wonderful hammock slot, but its level of respect was about on a level with Suddenly Susan or ¡Rob! or any other time-slot hit you’d prefer to forget. Arnold Kane wrote in his memoir, My Meteoric Rise to Obscurity, that even though the show was a ratings hit, “no one in the business liked it.” Cramer, bothered by this, asked Kane and his partner Gordon Farr to run the show, and the new writers decided that the problem with the show (apart from Birney, who considered himself too good to do television) was that it was weighed down by the in-laws: the Bewitched formula of using eccentric middle-aged actors was distracting attention from the only thing the show had going for it, the attractive young couple. “We informed Cramer and Columbia that we’d only come back if we could ‘ship’ Bernie’s family to Florida and bring them back if a script need them,” Kane wrote. CBS executives, understandably, didn’t care for the idea of massively retooling a hit show.

Anyway, it never got tested one way or the other, because something happened that CBS and Columbia had not been prepared for: Bridget Loves Bernie, the cute little show with a time-tested premise, became controversial. Really controversial. Much more controversial than most shows that go out of their way to court controversy. The people who made, tested, and greenlit the show seemingly had not realized that interfaith marriage was a very sensitive topic, and many Jewish viewers were outraged by its cavalier treatment in the show. Edward Fiske wrote in a New York Times report on the controversy that “Leaders of virtually the entire spectrum of American religious Judaism have asked the Columbia Broadcasting System to withdraw the program on the ground that it makes intermarriage look ‘mod’ and thus mocks a basic teaching of Judaism.”

In his autobiography, Shared Laughter, Bernard Slade recalled attending a Variety Club meeting in Toronto and hearing a rabbi referring to him as “a man who, in his honor, had three thousand trees uprooted in Israel.'” John Mitchell, who was president of Screen Gems at the time, dazedly told the Times that “while we recognize that interfaith marriage is a reality in today’s society, I don’t for a single moment believe that Bridget Loves Bernie is advocating it or that any couple would be influenced by it.” In other words, he found himself using the same boilerplate language that producers of dramas were using to respond to the TV-violence police.

Part of what happened here is just that TV executives don’t recognize certain social trends until it’s too late: in this case, they probably didn’t get that there would be a more specifically religious backlash than there was in the ’20s. But the backlash may have been stronger because the show acted like it had no idea that there was anything sensitive about the issue. All in the Family was controversial, but it was also openly tough and rough, looking for trouble—they expected the angry letters. Bridget was, in style and tone, a ’60s Screen Gems show given a ’70s makeover: the subject matter was controversial, but the writing and filming proceeded as if everything was adorable and escapist. The spokesman for the Synagogue Council of America disgustedly told Fiske that the show “treats intermarriage in a cavalier, cute, condoning fashion, and deals with its inevitable problems as though they’re instantly solvable.” A typical Screen Gems sitcom, that is. That’s the way Bewitched did it. Only this was, theoretically, a real world, and the writers weren’t prepared for the fallout that happens when a comedy dips its toe into the real world.
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Old 12-31-2015, 10:37 AM   #82
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I may have seen an episode or two (maybe just some snippets here and there) of Bridget Loves Bernie, but I never knew the whole story behind the sitcom's premise. It just did not seem to be a show that I would like and I never tuned in or watched like I watched other shows of the time.
It is interesting that (reportedly) it was about the romantic relationship between a Catholic woman and a Jewish man and that there was an uproar about such a set-up for the characters.
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Old 12-31-2015, 01:06 PM   #83
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It was a really cute show ! A shame it wasn't on longer!!!


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Old 12-31-2015, 01:10 PM   #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonniegirl
It was a really cute show ! A shame it wasn't on longer!!!


Blame the stupid religious groups, and CBS for bowing down to them.
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Old 02-02-2016, 09:31 AM   #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TV Knowledge Fan
....it was pressure from several Jewish and Catholic groups- who didn't want CBS to promote the idea of a "mixed marriage"- that forced the network to cancel the series after one season (to programmer Fred Silverman's eternal regret). Yes, it was one of the highest-rated series on CBS' Saturday night schedule [inbetween "ALL IN THE FAMILY" and "THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW"] duirng the 1972-'73 season, but again, most people just weren't ready for a modern variation of "Abie's Irish Rose"....

That's right... I do remember really liking that show, and I was an avid watcher of both the shows before and after it.

But it just sort of quietly "went away", didn't it?
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Old 02-02-2016, 09:34 AM   #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by um
I may have seen an episode or two (maybe just some snippets here and there) of Bridget Loves Bernie, but I never knew the whole story behind the sitcom's premise. It just did not seem to be a show that I would like and I never tuned in or watched like I watched other shows of the time.
It is interesting that (reportedly) it was about the romantic relationship between a Catholic woman and a Jewish man and that there was an uproar about such a set-up for the characters.
Hmmmm... could be you are onto something... what WAS on at the same time as B Loves B?

Could very well be that I may have done some channel surfing a lot of the time that season.
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Old 02-02-2016, 08:02 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by Will Dockery
Hmmmm... could be you are onto something... what WAS on at the same time as B Loves B?
Emergency and Alias Smith & Jones.
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:08 PM   #88
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Reads like a mini-history of a successful sitcom factory. Wasn't it "Father Knows Best" that put Columbia-Screen Gems on the map?
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Old 02-11-2016, 08:32 PM   #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leslie Eckhardt
I based my earlier post on my 40-year old memory of watching this show. Thinking I could change my opinion, I saw the pilot last night. I stand by my original view. The humor is heavy-handed and forced. The ethnic jokes are groaners and play offensively even today. The reaction of Audra Lindley to her daughter's boyfriend possibly being black is cringe-inducing, and just to top it all off, they cribbed a line from the Love on a Rooftop pilot when David Birney says: "You're rich!" Baxter counters with: "You make it sound like some sort of disease". Line for line. If this didn't make it following All In The Family, it's possibly because it isn't funny? If this got better ratings than Mary Tyler Moore it could be that people who started to watch this following Family switched channels midway through. Only Jerry Fielding's nice theme music comes through unscathed. A dreadful show.
If BLB stole from Love on a Rooftop, then the creator, Bernard Slade, stole from himself, since he created both shows. He also created The Partridge Family & The Girl with Something Extra, and he also developed The Flying Nun.
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Old 08-09-2018, 04:07 AM   #90
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The apparent real reason it was cancelled was the drop off of the shows ratings after All In The Family. CBS research showed that too many people switched off All In The Family, before tuning back into Mary Tyler Moore. However others say Jewish groups pressured the network in canning the show.
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