Poster: Stuck In The '70's
(see this users gallery)
Local Heroes aired from March until April 1996 on Fox.
This blue-collar ripoff of Friends was about four twenty-something guys in Pittsburgh who had been buddies since high school. Mert ( Justin Louis), who worked with Eddie ( Ken Hudson Campbell) on an assembly line, was semi-engaged to Bonnie ( Kristin Datillo-Hayward), while his three buddies were adamantly single. Chunky Eddie lived at home with his widowed mother, Mrs. Trakacs ( Rhoda Gemignani) and slutty 16-year-old younger sister Nikki (Tricia Vessey). Stosh ( Jason Kristofer) was a glib cab driver and Jake ( Jay Mohr) was a salesman at an audio/video store. Gloria ( paula K. Cale) was the waitress/bartender with an attitude at Blue Lou's, their local hangout. She and Mert's frustrated girlfriend Bonnie were best friends.
A Review from Variety
By CAROLE HORST
Fri., Mar. 15, 1996
Local Heroes (Sun. (17), 9:30-10 p.m., Fox)
Cast: Ken Hudson Campbell, Jay Mohr, Paula Cale, Jason Kristofer, Justin Louis, Kristin Dattilo-Hayward, Rhonda Gemignani, Tricia Vessey.
Glory days, they'll pass you by," sang Bruce Springsteen, and these guys on "Local Heroes" embody that lyric: They're trapped in their high school glory days. Problem is, this sitcom from Witt-Thomas Prods. goes for cheap laughs, hinting at, but never committing to, the working-class pathos that would take "Heroes" to a more interesting level.
Show's theme, sung by Southside Johnny, who's spent most of his career playing in South Jersey bars to the people "Heroes" tries to portray, sets a promising tone: "These are the best of times," he intones in a poignant and strong voice. But "Heroes" renegs on the song's promise.
Eddie (Ken Hudson Campbell) is the leader of this quartet of pathetic bachelors.
TX:Filmed in Los Angeles by Witt-Thomas Prods., Warner Bros. and No Humans Were Harmed Prods. Executive producers, Frank Mula, Paul Junger Witt, Tony Thomas, Gary S. Levine; co-executive producers, David Richardson, Regina Larsen; associate producers, Sallie Kleiman; director, Ted Wass; writer, Mula; He lives at home with his eccentric mother (Rhonda Gemignani) and slutty little sister, Nikki (Tricia Vessey). A lot of the show's action takes place at Blue Lou's Bar, where Eddie and his friends Jake (Jay Mohr), Stosh (Jason Kristofer) and Mert (Justin Louis) hang out, drink beer and trade barbs with waitress Gloria (Paula Cale), also a high school buddy.
Pilot centers on the four guys kidnapping their alma mater's mascot before the big football game (Greg Brady did the same thing on "The Brady Bunch"). Pilot also intro's Mert's girlfriend, Bonnie (Kristin Dattilo-Hayward), who wants to get married; Mert has successfully avoided such a proposition for quite some time.
The writing tries to hold up these Peter Pans as real working-class heroes, valiantly facing each day in the face of boring, nowhere jobs, but mostly "Heroes" goes for the "Married ... With Children" school of humor, although there are one or two gems among the tired marriage-avoidance jokes, woman jokes and guys-drooling-over-girls jokes.
Frustrated by the immaturity of Mert and his friends, Bonnie tells them, "Even cheese, left alone, will mature!"
But this is the kind of sitcom that has a Polish character who, although not blatantly stupid (this is the '90s, after all), is the biggest loser of the bunch as well as being off-center.
The cast interacts OK, and Campbell is especially effective as Eddie tries to keep his mother and little sister in line.
"Heroes" is set in Pittsburgh, but, except for mention of that city's pro sports teams, series could be taking place anywhere.
Tech credits are pro, and the production design conveys the blue-collar atmosphere well.
Cameras, Dean Cosanella, Chester Jackson, Bryan McKenzie, Jeff Rifkin; editor, Bill Petty; production designer, Michael Hynes; sound, Evan Adelman; music, George Englund, Nick South; theme, Barry Goldberg, Gary Mallaber, performed by Southside Johnny; casting, Juel Bestrop.
A Review of Local Heroes
New Comedy 'Local Heroes' Takes Low Road
March 17, 1996|By TOM JICHA and TV/Radio Writer
Fox tried sophisticated comedy (by Fox standards) with Partners and Ned and Stacey without notable success. It is folly to attempt to sell Rembrandts to a clientele accustomed to leopards on black velvet.
Lesson learned. The latest Fox sitcom, Local Heroes, should strike a chord with the audience. The main characters are people with whom a lot of the Cops and Married...with Children audience should be able to identify: slackers with a combined IQ lower than the alcohol content of the beers ever present in their hands.
The central characters are four post-adolescents who havent grown up a bit since they left high school - and they would consider this a compliment.
ABC's failed Champs tried this concept with a modicum of intelligence. Local Heroes opts for a lower road.
Eddie, Stosh, Jake and Mert are the kind of guys who while away their hours sitting in a bar arguing over whos tougher: Stallone or Schwarzenegger? Or which animal was cooler: Lassie, Flipper or Gentle Ben?
Eddie's big worry in life is that he will wind up just like his father; dead of a heart attack at 55. He has the same job - putting artificial cream in little plastic cups on an assembly line - and lives in the same house with the same people. The only noticeable difference between him and his old man is that he is seriously overweight and out of shape; his father was slim and healthy.
Ken Hudson Campbell, who was Animal in Herman's Head, plays Eddie. Campbell jokingly says there is a difference between the two characters. "Eddie is a lot of sex and beer and food. Animal was just sex and beer and food."
Stosh has the perfect job for his personality. He's a cab driver, so he only has to work when he feels like it, which is not often. Jason Kristofer, who has a string of short-lived bombs on his credit sheet (Teech, Heartland, The Marshall Chronicles), plays Stosh.
Jake is a legitimate former local hero. A golden boy as a high school quarterback, his dreams of cashing in on his skills blew out with his knee. Jay Mohr, who walked through Saturday Night Live a couple of seasons ago, is Jake.
Mert is facing a fate worse than death in the estimation of his buddies. He's close to getting married. His high school sweetheart, Bonnie, uses sex to keep him committed and his buddies use every other weapon at their disposal to prevent him from walking down the aisle. Justin Louis, who has appeared in a series of TV movies and episodic guest roles, makes his regular series debut as Mert.
Not only will much of the Fox audience identify with this bunch, the actors and one of the creators have a lot in common with the characters. The plot of the pilot involves the foursome kidnapping the mascot goat of a rival high school. Louis said he and his buddies used to go cow tipping. "They sleep standing up, so you push them over and they fall down. Then you run." (Don't try this at home, kids.)
Executive producer/creator Frank Mulas school mascot was a ram. It was traditional for the rival school to try to kidnap it prior to a big game and paint in in their colors. "Until once the ram died and it sort of took the edge off it," Mula said.
Campbell identifies with the quartet's informal nicknames. "When I grew up, I knew guys named Bucky and G-Man and Hoagie, names like that. If we knew a guy named Chandler, we probably would have beat him up every day."
The women in Local Heroes, all secondary players, are no better. Eddies mother, Mrs. Trakacs, is a couple of ingredients short of a recipe. She does her housecleaning in the dark because, "You don't have to do as good a job." His 16-year-old sister Nikki, in her mother's words, "is a slut."
Bonnie will do anything to get a ring on Mert's finger and the other recurring female character, a barmaid named Gloria, is a smart-mouthed clone of Cheers' Carla. Rhonda Gemignani plays Mrs. Trakacs; Tricia Vessey is Nikki; Kristin Datillo-Hayward is Bonnie and Paula Cale is Gloria.
Louis tried to defend the demeaning portrayal of women. "You can also say that about the guys. I mean, we're offensive to me."
As they will be to anyone with taste and brains.
For The Official Site of Jay Mohr go to http://www.jaymohr.com/
· Date: Tue December 27, 2011 · Views: 1299 · Filesize: 28.7kb · Dimensions: 195 x 260 ·
Keywords: Local Heroes-Ken Hudson Campbell