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Poster: Mr. Television
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The Ellen Burstyn Show aired from September 1986 until September 1987 on ABC.
Ellen Burstyn starred as Ellen Brewer, a best-selling author whose life seemed to consist mostly of one-liners, in this multigenerational comedy. Sharing her Baltimore Brownstone were acerbic mother Sydney ( Elaine Strich); her divorced 25 year old daughter Molly ( Megan Mullaly); and her cute 5 year old grandson Nick ( Jesse Tendler). Tom ( Barry Sobel), was an impoverished student who was taking the seminar Ellen taught at a nearby college. Quips flew thick and fast around the kitchen table, but not fast enough to save this series.
A Review From The New York Times
TV WEEKEND; PREMIERE OF 'ELLEN BURSTYN SHOW'
By JOHN J. O'CONNOR
ELLEN BURSTYN is a remarkable woman. She was born in Detroit, originally named Edna Rae Gillhooly, and started out professionally as a model and as a regular on ''The Jackie Gleason Show.'' Over the years, she has won a Tony for her theater work in ''Same Time, Next Year'' and an Oscar for the leading role in the film ''Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore.'' She is the first woman to be elected president of the Actors' Equity Association. And in addition to being a gifted actress, she is a writer and lecturer, with two honorary doctoral degrees.
Ms. Burstyn clearly deserves a remarkable series. Unfortunately, ''The Ellen Burstyn Show,'' having its premiere on ABC tomorrow at 8:30 P.M., is more like nicely serviceable. In the kind of multi-generational formula that television is partial to these days, the show features Ms. Burstyn as a college professor living in the sort of Baltimore home that, surrounded by the requisite white picket fence, looks enviable in magazine layouts. Living with Ellen Brewer, as she is called, is her mother, Sydney (Elaine Stritch); her recently divorced daughter, Molly (Megan Mullally), and Molly's 5 1/2-year-old son, Nick (Jesse Tendler).
At the outset, Ellen looks directly into the camera - a device that is rapidly becoming this year's biggest cliche - and explains that she is a writer-in-residence at the college, has published a best seller, and has had two marriages, one of which ended in death, the other in divorce. Looking stunningly attractive, she admits wryly, ''Let me tell you how much I love being called Grandma.'' For the rest of the half-hour, Ellen punishes a lazy student (Barry Sobel) by making him stay in her living room until he finishes an assignment (a disciplinary move that elicits applause from the audience), and argues with her daughter about the advisability of letting young Nick watch the family dog have pups. The situations in David Frankel's script, despite patches of bright dialogue, are not always compelling.
But there is an encouraging note. The cast is delightful and, directed by Norman Steinberg, who is also the executive producer, the performances are fresh and appealing. Carefully avoiding coquettish ploys, Ms. Burstyn manages to make Ellen both formidable and charming. As her mother, Ms. Stritch, despite the fact that her pinkish costumes tend to fade into the wood hues of the set, gets the best wisecracks (in the manner of the Estelle Getty character on ''Golden Girls'') and gives them her own inimitable tough-gal spin. ''Just what we need,'' she groans after hearing that the dog has given birth, ''another mother.'' And Ms. Mullally is spunky and sympathetic as a grown woman returning home and feeling like a child again. ''You've got to have a scorecard to tell who the adults are around here,'' she complains with some justice.
''The Ellen Burstyn Show,'' produced by Ellen Burstyn Productions and P. S. 235 Productions Inc. in association with Touchstone Films, a Disney company, has potential, but its future will probably depend heavily on the fate of its lead-in program at 8 P.M. - the new ''Life With Lucy,'' marking the return of Lucille Ball to weekly television. ABC was not releasing a tape of that series for review until very near or at tomorrow's air time. Meanwhile, Ms. Burstyn richly deserves all the support she can get.
To read some articles about The Ellen Burstyn Show go to http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=K0RHAAAAIBAJ&sjid=mjMNAAAAIBAJ&dq=the%20ellen%20burstyn%20show&pg=1493%2C1229703 and http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=_FNeAAAAIBAJ&sjid=DWENAAAAIBAJ&dq=the%20ellen%20burstyn%20show&pg=6623%2C680190
To watch some clips from The Ellen Burstyn Show go to http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ellen+burstyn+show&aq=f
For more on The Ellen Burstyn Show go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ellen_Burstyn_Show
For more on The Ellen Burstyn Show go to http://web.archive.org/web/20080313084135/http://www.billywirthfanclub.com/tv/ELLENBURSTYN/
For a Page dedicated to the Ellen Burstyn Show go to http://nostalgiacentral.com/television/tv-by-decade/tv-shows-1980s/ellen-burstyn-show-the/
For The Official Website of Megan Mullally go to http://www.meganmullally.net/
For the Megan Mullally Fan Group go to http://www.megansmadams.com/
� Date: Tue February 1, 2011 � Filesize: 46.7kb, 37.7kb � Dimensions: 542 x 800 �
Keywords: The Ellen Burstyn Show Cast