Click on image to view larger image
Poster: Mr. Television
(see this users gallery)
Amanda's aired on ABC from February until May 1983.
This series was based on the popular British series Fawlty Towers.
Amanda ( Bea Arthur), was the formidable owner of "Amanda's By The Sea," a homey little hotel overlooking the Pacific. Her staff included Marty( Fred McCarren), her hotel-management graduate son; Arlene( Simone Griffith), his spoiled, citified wife; Earl( Rick Hurst), the excitable chef and Aldo( Tony Rosato), the confused bellhop of foreign extraction.
Stories revolved around burnt steaks, fussy guests , and travel-guide writers who had to be impressed. There was also Mr. Mundy , the banker who always threatening to foreclose and brother-in-law Zack( Kevin McCarthy) who was out to meddle and woo Amanda.
A Review From The New York Times
February 13, 1983
TV VIEW; SITUATION COMEDIES IN NEED OF NEW SITUATIONS
By JOHN J. O'CONNOR
Assorted sages and analytical researchers have observed that the history of literature can lay claim to about a half-dozen basic story plots. Television's situation comedy, it seems, can get along with even fewer. As the mid-season schedule adjustments get under way, summary descriptions of the new sit-coms can trigger severe deja-vu. Clearly, variations, however slight, are all.
For example, ABC has just launched two new series back-to-back on Thursday evenings. ''Condo,'' at 8, stars McLean Stevenson as a WASP and Luis Avalos as a Hispanic who find themselves to be neighbors in a condominium development. At 8:30, Beatrice Arthur, formerly known as the title character of ''Maude,'' returns in ''Amanda's,'' playing the owner of a seaside hotel. Coincidentally, the premiere episodes of both of these new shows happened to have been directed by John Rich.
The executive producers of ''Condo'' are Paul Junger Witt and Tony Thomas. In the past, with Susan Harris, they have created such series as ''Soap,'' which would indicate that they are partial to insult humor. Sheldon Bull, who created ''Condo'' and wrote the first episode, would seem to be quite proficient in that particular genre. His specialty, though, is the racial/ethnic insult, a type of comedy that came into its own in the early 1970's with ''All in the Family'' and its ''lovable bigot'' Archie Bunker. That show then went on to spin off ''The Jeffersons,'' which let black and irascible George Jefferson sound off frequently, and sometimes pointedly, against his white neighbors. ''The Jeffersons'' provides the key blueprint for a series like ''Condo.''
Set in Southern California, ''Condo'' has James Kirkridge (Mr. Stevenson) undergoing economic hard times and giving up his big family home to move into a smaller two-story condominium. With James are his somewhat dizzy wife Kiki (Brooke Alderson), his older son Scott (Mark Schubb) and younger son Billy (Marc Price). Billy, whose head is usually wrapped in the headset of a personal stereo, is genuinely stupid. His report cards from school afford his father ample opportunities for sarcasm: ''Words cannot describe what a joy you are to me.''
Meanwhile, directly across a low dividing wall, Jesse Rodriguez (Mr. Avalos) is moving up from the barrio as the owner of a landscaping company. He has his wife Maria (Yvonne Wilder, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Isabel Sanford, who plays George Jefferson's wife), his beautiful daughter Linda (Julie Carmen) and his father-in-law Jose (James Victor), who is not too happy about moving away from the ''old ways.'' The basic situation is thus symmetrically and rather laboriously established.
It could hardly come as a surprise that when Kirkridge, wearing the kind of garishly colored leisure trousers that only an expensive store would have the nerve to sell, walks out onto his patio and spots Rodriguez arranging plants next door, he assumes the man is the development's gardener. ''Excuse me,'' he says haughtily, ''habla usted ingles?'' Eventually discovering his mistake and the true identity of his new neighbor, Kirkridge exclaims, ''Oh, my God!'' An unimpressed Rodriguez responds, ''If you have one, pray to him for intelligence.''
Three months later, Christmas arrives and Kirkridge has a fine time ridiculing the colored lights and assorted holiday displays covering the Rodriguez home. A neighborly visit by the Kirkridges turns into a strained ritual employing glasses of wine and chunks of fruitcake. All the while, however, a romance has been developing between the Kirkridges' older son and the Rodriguezes' daughter. When Linda and Scott are caught kissing on the patio, Rodriguez is furious, but Kirkridge, taking the macho approach, is patronizingly reasonable: ''What is it with you people? One little kiss and you flip your taco.'' Then, another three months later - making this an unusual sit-com episode simply in terms of time elapsed - it is revealed that the young lovers have been secretly married and that she is pregnant. And there you have the essential variation, itself little more than another turn on a device that goes back at least as far as ''Abie's Irish Rose.''
In ''Amanda's,'' the producers, E&L Productions in association with Viacom, are attempting to create one of those macrocosmic settings so dear to the situation comedy because, with a little pushing and shoving, just about anybody can pass through them. Among the favorites are restaurants and bars (''Alice,'' ''Cheers,'' ''Archie's Place''), schools (''Fame,'' ''Square Pegs'') and, as in this case, hotels (remember the zany ''Hot l Baltimore'' several years ago?). Amanda's may seem especially familiar to public-television watchers because it is based, very loosely, on the British series ''Fawlty Towers'' that stars John Cleese of the Monty Python gang and currently is being shown on Channel 13 on Sunday evenings.
Amanda is played by the always formidable Bea Arthur, who seems to be wearing the same skirt and high-necked-blouse costumes she once favored on ''Maude.'' Miss Arthur has not lost her ability to dip the most innocuous of lines in withering sarcasm. As Amanda Cartwright, she oversees a hotel staff that includes her son Marty (Fred McCarren), her daughter-in-law Arlene (Simone Griffeth), a chatty cook named Earl (Rick Hurst) and Aldo (Tony Rosato), the bellboy/waiter who has difficulty with English. On the side, waiting to buy the hotel in a distress sale, is Amanda's next-door competitor Krinsky (Michael Constantine) who, Amanda insists, demands a percentage of the take from his March of Dimes container.
In the first episode, Amanda is forced to contend, frantically, with an overbooking problem and a defunct kitchen cooking range. Mistaken identities are combined with farcical bedroom hoppings as she frets about the visit of a writer for a hotel-business magazine whose article could be crucial to the future of her establishment. There are some funny moments, most notably when Amanda contemptuously confronts her decidedly scatter-brained daughter-inlaw, who spends most of the time complaining that her new guacamolehued blouse does not have the desired shade of green. She wants something a ''smidgin darker than Kermit the Frog.'' Amanda skewers the poor girl as ''a waste of space.''
But this introduction to ''Amanda's'' finally becomes little more than an exercise in hysteria. With no one to counterbalance her, as the husband did in ''Maude,'' Miss Arthur's character becomes downright abrasive. Being a bossy, loud-mouthed harridan is not necessarily funny. What is the inspired lunacy of Mr. Cleese in ''Fawlty Towers'' here becomes something resembling a sustained, vulgar shout. Miss Arthur is a demonstrably talented performer whose distinctive approach to comedy is in desperate need of a better situation. With a more promising variation on a familiar premise, Mr. Stevenson and Mr. Avalos would seem to be facing a much brighter future in ''Condo.''
To watch some clips from Amanda's go to https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=amanda%27s+tv+show
For more on Amanda's go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanda's
For a Page dedicated to Amanda's go to http://www.crossroads2001.co.uk/fawlty/amandas.htm
For a Website dedicated to Bea Arthur go to https://www.beatricearthur.com/
For a Website dedicated to Bea Arthur go to https://web.archive.org/web/20070706102833/http://www.beaarthurfan.com/beahome.html
For a page dedicated to Bea Arthur go to https://web.archive.org/web/20170107073256/https://museum.tv/eotv/arthurbeatr.htm
For some Amanda's-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to https://interviews.televisionacademy.com/shows/amandas
To watch a promo of Amanda's go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pQjnxq8-qI
� Date: Mon January 31, 2011 � Filesize: 62.6kb, 229.2kb � Dimensions: 1000 x 777 �
Keywords: Amanda's Cast