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The Rerun Show aired from August 1-20, 2002 on NBC.
Nostalgia ran amok on this summer series , which took actual scripts from classic sitcoms and reenacted them in a way that the creators never envisioned. At least it was unlikely that the creators of Diff'rent Strokes envisioned a mumbling Mr. Drummond , Arnold being handed around like a doll, a horny Willis ripping off his shirt and jumping into bed with his date, and Kimberly posing for sexy pictures taken by Mr. D. Everything was wildly overplayed, with lots of sex jokes, mugging, superimposed comments and walk-ons by original stars like Gary Coleman, and Danny Bonaduce. Among the other shows lampooned with their own scripts were The Partridge Family ( with the family obviously faking their instruments), Saved By the Bell ( a " very special episode"about drugs), The Facts of Life ( the " shoplifting" episode), The Jeffersons, What's Happening!, Married ...With Children and others.
The regulars included Brian Beacock, Ashley Drane, Candy Ford, Daniele Gaither, Danielle Hoover, Don Reed, Mitch Silpa and Paul Vogt.
A Review from Variety
The Rerun Show
(Series -- NBC, Thur., Aug.1; 9:30 p.m.)
By PHIL GALLO
Taped in Culver City, Calif., by NBC Studios and Columbia TriStar Domestic Television. Executive producers, David Salzman, John Davies; producer, Roxie Wenk Evans; associate producer, Matthew B. Morgan; director, Bruce Leddy.
Ensemble: Brian Beacock, Ashley Drane, Candy Ford, Daniele Gaither, Danielle Hover, Don Reed, Mitch Silpa, Paul Vogt.
Camped up with sexual innuendo played to the hilt, NBC's "Rerun Show" slaps around vintage cornball sitcoms and elevates the kitsch factor in already kitschy fare. Premise is simple: Take a script from an old sitcom and have actors interpret exactly what's written on the page. It's doubtful Willis ever scored with a young lady on "Diff'rent Strokes" or that Blair was seen eating throughout "Facts of Life," but it's the interpretive aspect of "The Rerun Show" that supplies its kick.
Paul Vogt is a cross-dressing hoot as Mrs. Garrett in "The Facts of Life" and "Diff'rent Strokes," his acting gracefully off the mark and his dialogue often inane. Where other actors simply exaggerate what viewers tend to remember about the characters -- the macho posturing of Jo ("Facts"), Mr. Drummond's choked baritone ("Strokes") -- Vogt takes the house mother to another level.
Garrett, for whatever bizarre reason, was a character in both shows, and Vogt plays her in the two episodes supplied for review -- tonight's preview remake of "Diff'rent Strokes" and Tuesday's trashing of "Facts of Life."
In "Strokes," "The Rivals" episode is revisited in which a female classmate (Daniele Gaither) comes to study with Arnold (Candy Ford) and ends up seducing Willis (Don Reed).
In "The Facts of Life," show duplicates its subject's cheap production design and the actresses cardboard characters. In "Shoplifting," the quartet of boarding school girls purloin a blouse for Mrs. Garrett for her birthday. Eventually, it becomes a case of mistaken identity that Vogt then twists into a slightly discreet discussion of sexual peccadilloes.
Gary Coleman appears in the "Facts of Life" seg, part of the stunt casting that runs throughout the six-show series. Danny Bonaduce returns to his TV clan in "The Partridge family" tonight; Marla Gibbs shows up on "The Jeffersons" as a sex therapist; David Faustino returns to the Bundys in "Married ... With Children"; and Rerun himself, Fred Berry, appears on the "What's Happening!!" remake.
A Review from The New York Times
TELEVISION REVIEW; Hindsight Makes Actors The Butt of the Jokes
By CARYN JAMES
Published: August 1, 2002
There are reasons lame old sitcoms thrive in reruns: we watch to laugh at them, not with them. That's the premise of ''The Rerun Show'' on NBC, in which actors recreate scenes from creaky old series, word for word, with wickedly comic intent. They add a subtext here (the foster father on ''Diff'rent Strokes'' likes his sons a little too much) or a layer from real life there (the photos on the walls are mug shots of Todd Bridges and Dana Plato, actors from that series who ran into trouble with the law). Creating satiric sketches in the style of ''Saturday Night Live'' or ''Mad TV,'' this new series is just as uneven as those shows and occasionally just as funny.
Each episode presents two sketches, which are less re-creations than parodies. The actors are not playing the fictional sitcom roles but making fun of the actors who played those roles in the first place. In tonight's ''Partridge Family'' episode, Keith Partridge asks his sister Laurie to pose as his girlfriend at a party to make another girl jealous. The incestuous possibilities are predictably brought to the surface as we see Keith and Laurie in a passionate embrace. (This is not a polite show, but satire never is.)
That easy joke is not nearly as funny as Brian Beacock's impersonation of David Cassidy as Keith, preening, posing, tossing his hair and constantly looking into the hand mirrors he has hidden all over the Partridge house. When the Partridges sing -- or rather lip-sync -- and Mom and Laurie play keyboards, their hands do not come close to hitting the keys.
If the series itself is wittier than it sounds, the stunt casting is less amusing than it should be. Danny Bonaduce plays his old role as Danny Partridge, now a boy with a red beard, but this seems like a warmed-over joke. He already declared himself a has-been by appearing on ''Celebrity Boxing.'' And there is a walk-on appearance by Alex Michel from ''The Bachelor'' milking his last few minutes of fame.
In the ''Diff'rent Strokes'' parody, Candy Ford walks on her knees to play Gary Coleman as Arnold. When she spouts his tag line, ''Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?,'' she nods at the camera and raises her hands over her head in a victory cheer as an audience applauds. ''The Rerun Show'' knowingly exploits those Pavlovian sitcom moments.
But neither of tonight's sketches is as funny as the ''Facts of Life'' parody coming next week (when the show moves to Tuesdays for the rest of its monthlong run).
Paul Vogt plays Mrs. Garrett, the housemother in a girls' boarding school, her eyes rolling and her voice warbling as her head wobbles around on her neck in a hilarious parody of Charlotte Rae in the original series. There is only a hint of that tonight when he appears as Mrs. Garrett in ''Diff'rent Stokes,'' the series from which ''Facts of Life'' was spun off. Future episodes include an installment of ''Married With Children,'' with Mr. Vogt as Ozzy Osbourne playing Al Bundy, a fantasy the creators apparently couldn't resist.
As Nick at Nite and TV Land suggest, old sitcoms never die; they just turn into camp. ''The Rerun Show'' has added the camp factor for us. That may be the ultimate in lazy television watching, but this barbed new show gives inane old series the disrespect they deserve.
THE RERUN SHOW
NBC, tonight at 9:30, Eastern and Pacific times; 8:30 Central time
David Salzman and John Davies, executive producers.
WITH: Danny Bonaduce, Alex Michel, Brian Beacock, Candy Ford, Don Reed, Daniele Gaither, Ashley Drane, Danielle Hoover, Mitch Silpa
A Review from USA TODAY
Spotty 'Rerun Show' spoofs old sitcoms
By Robert Bianco, USA TODAY
We live in an age of cultural cannibals.
The summer movie lineup is dotted with sequels. Broadway is dominated by revivals. The music industry is littered with oldies either remade or ripped off under the guise of sampling.
No medium, however, is more self-referential than television. Indeed, in watching much of TV, you get the impression that the people involved have no point of reference and no life experience that extends beyond the small screen.
So it was inevitable, perhaps, that we would end up with The Rerun Show, an innocuous summer comedy that attempts to spoof old television shows through faithful re-creation. For Rerun, new actors assume old roles and mock old stars, while playing from truncated versions of the original scripts.
As you might have supposed, the very idea behind this Rerun is something of a rerun itself. Theater groups have milked successful runs out of redoing TV and movie scripts, from The Brady Bunch to a hilariously precise staged version of Valley of the Dolls.
You'll find little hilarity in Rerun, but you may find enough passable silliness to while away a summer half-hour. Thanks to editing, each episode of Rerun re-creates two sitcom episodes. In the tape made available for review, the shows chosen were a 1980 episode of Facts of Life and a 1979 episode of Diff'rent Strokes.
Of the two, the Facts spoof is more humorous and more accurate, if a bit mean-spirited. In a running joke that comments on the show more than reflects it, a constantly eating Blair becomes heavier with each appearance.
The Strokes spoof manages to get some comic mileage out of ridiculing the limited acting skills of the original cast, but the joke is buried under a layer of imposed sexuality. Sex jokes come fast and cheap in both segments, which rely too heavily on substituting modern vulgarity for past innocence.
Speaking of substitutions, the episode that premieres tonight is scheduled to drop Facts and add an unpreviewed Partridge Family skit. If so, you'll get to see appearances by Danny Bonaduce (in his original role) and Alex Michel fromThe Bachelor.
Even in a society addicted to reruns, it's hard to imagine why Michel's act bears repeating. But these days, I guess everything does.
A Review from The Post Gazette
Tuned In: 'Rerun Show' finds new laughs in old sitcoms
Thursday, August 01, 2002
By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor
In a summer of "reality" shows and repeats, NBC's "The Rerun Show" (9:30 tonight) offers a fresh take on reruns, if that's possible, as it affectionately skewers sitcoms of the past. It's reruns done right.
Each of the seven episodes produced includes shortened versions of classic sitcom episodes performed anew by a repertory company of actors and comedians using the shows' original scripts. It's similar to "The Real Live Brady Bunch," a stage production of the '70s sitcom that played off-off-Broadway in the early '90s.
Tonight's premiere includes "Diff'rent Strokes" and "The Partridge Family," with Danny Bonaduce, on his knees, re-creating his Danny Partridge role. (In the "Strokes" episode, Gary Coleman's Arnold is played by Candy Ford, who also walks on her knees.)
"We tried to parody them in the nicest possible way," said executive producer John Davis. "We're confined to a script, so we can't go too far out."
Yes, they can.
In the "Diff'rent Strokes" episode, star Dana Plato's decision to pose for Playboy is brought up visually, and the episode also insinuates a lesbian relationship between Plato's Kimberly (Ashley Drane) and a female guest star.
Paul Vogt perfectly plays Charlotte Rae's Mrs. Garrett in both the "Strokes" episode and an upcoming "Facts of Life" parody.
"I love it when the doorman blows his whistle at me and calls me his high-rise honey," Mrs. Garrett says, suggestively kneading dough.
"It's kind of the old Mad magazine type of thing of 'scenes we'd like to see,' " said executive producer David Salzman. "We turn them on their side and add extra layers of comedy, physical gags, play the subtext of the afterlives of the stars and go for triple the laughs of a normal sitcom."
"The Rerun Show" is produced by Columbia-TriStar Television, and all of the series, with the exception of "Saved by the Bell," come from the company's vast library. Salzman said it took several years of persuasion before the company would allow "The Rerun Show" to go forward.
"This is the first show probably of its type that has been able to play to an audience of mostly people who grew up as the so-called television generation," Salzman said. "There are a lot of icons in terms of the characters, the stories, the shows."
Producers said they police themselves in their mockery and try to avoid drug humor. More recent series that are still making money in syndication, particularly "Seinfeld," are off-limits, but they did get a crack at "Married ... With Children."
"When we first looked at 'Married,' we thought, this show was already so over the top, how do we go any further with it?" Davies said.
They found a way. They took the "Married" script and remade it with actors playing the Osbournes playing the Bundy family.
For the actors, watching the original episodes of these sitcom classics is their best preparation.
"Sometimes we end up watching an episode multiple times because we'll watch it for how they move, we'll watch it for getting the voice," said Don Reed, who plays Willis on tonight's "Diff'rent Strokes" remake.
Other times, they'll play a character completely differently from the original. For a remake of the "One Day at a Time" episode where Barbara almost loses her virginity, Reed plays Barbara's boyfriend as Mike Tyson.
Though many of these classic series have been off the air for decades, some of the furniture and props from the sets were found in storage.
"We thought in 'The Facts of Life' that the furniture didn't look as great as we remembered it in that upscale prep school way," Salzman said. "And then we found out it was the actual stuff from the original."
Producers said they'd like to tackle additional series if this summer try-out of "The Rerun Show" is successful. (The series moves to Tuesday nights next week.)
"I can tell you my No. 1 favorite: 'Charles in Charge' Scott Baio," Davies said. "There's a lot we can do with that show."
To watch clips of The Rerun Show go to https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=the+rerun+show
For more on The Rerun Show go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rerun_Show
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