Remembering Picket Fences

There are actors you always associate with a certain show, like Sarah Michelle Gellar always making you think of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I got to thinking about Picket Fences the other day because of a mention of Tom Skerritt, and I realized that Picket Fences was one of those iconic moments in TV history for me.

Picket Fences was on the air for 4 seasons from 1992 to 1996 according to IMDB.

Tom Skerritt and Costas Mandylor in Picket Fences
Tom Skerritt and Costas Mandylor in Picket Fences

Picket Fences was one of those shows that came along at the right time in my life, caught me at the right moment, and resonated in deep ways. When I realized that I always think of Picket Fences whenever I see Tom Skerritt in anything I started thinking about other things I remember about Picket Fences.

Lauren Holly in Picket Fences
Lauren Holly in Picket Fences

I always associate Kathy Baker, Lauren Holly and Kelly Connell with the series, no matter what else I see them in. There were so many memorable characters on the series. In fact, the odd and bizarre characters on the show, as well as the strange and bizarre plots, really appealed to me.

At the time I took note that the reason for all that off-the-wall thinking was David E. Kelley. I’ve followed his career via many more shows that I thoroughly enjoyed because of his ability to make the strange and weird apply to real life. David E. Kelley is behind The Crazy Ones, Harry’s Law, Boston Legal, The Practice, Ally McBeal and Doogie Howser, M.D. and more.

Once an actor has worked with David E. Kelley, he or she is liable to show up over and over again in things Kelley writes and produces, especially the lesser known character actors.

Costas Mandylor and Lauren Holly in Picket Fences
Costas Mandylor and Lauren Holly in Picket Fences

Even 20 years later, I remember scenes from Picket Fences. Human beings who undergo spontaneous combustion. I remember a sex scene between Lauren Holly and Costas Mandylor on the floor of her apartment. They looked directly into each others eyes during the whole scene. I remember thinking it was breathtakingly sexy and also that it must be hard as hell to actually look at someone in such a way in a moment like that. I remember the great relationship Tom Skerritt and Kathy Baker had as a married couple. (This was long before Friday Night Lights and its married couple in a good relationship.)

Scrolling through the photos at IMDB (where these photos came from) brings back the wonderful characters and moments from the show for me. There are two full episodes of the show available on IMDB, if you’ve never seen it and would like to get a taste of what it was like.

Are you old enough to remember this show? What did you think of it?

The Crazy Ones: How’s SMG Doing?

Calling a show created by David E. Kelley and starring Robin Williams The Crazy Ones is only logical. Robin Williams, as ad exec Simon Roberts, doesn’t have to be anything but his most manic to be hilarious. In this show, he gets to do plenty of that.

David E. Kelley has a string of bizarre hits to his credit including Harry’s Law, Boston Legal, The Practice, Ally McBeal, and, my favorite, Picket Fences.

Together, these two guys are the world’s most outlandish and wacky minds on the planet. Putting them together on a sitcom is, again, only logical.

Then you introduce Sarah Michelle Gellar as Simon’s daughter Sydney to the mix. She’s the other Roberts in the Roberts & Roberts ad agency. I love SMG – Buffy forever! – but let’s face it, she’s not known for her comedy chops. Can she keep up with the world-class comedy awesome Robin Williams brings?

Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar
Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar

Luckily, a considerable part of her job on The Crazy Ones is to be the sane one. She reins in her father with a voice and look that she surely acquired from being a mother. Even though she tries to tone him down, his excesses are always a stroke of pure advertising genius which she should have actually encouraged rather than discouraged. She never will, however, because the premise of the show is that she must act as the tether that ties her father to solid ground.

Even so, it isn’t all perfect sanity from her. She’s been given a chance to stretch her comedy muscles. She’s proven she can do the fast talking and the sight gag stuff with aplomb. She’s got the timing down. We are getting to see Sarah Michelle Gellar stretch and grow on this show and it seems to me that it’s working out very nicely. Working with Robin Williams every day must be like going to the college of comedy with the valedictorian as your personal mentor. I think she’s taking advantage of the education and holding her own with a solid performance.

What’s your opinion? Is SMG keeping up with the master?

Photos by Richard Cartwright – © 2013 CBS BROADCASTING INC. All Rights Reserved.

Note: This post was syndicated in a slightly expanded form on BlogHer.com.

TV Shows for Fall 2013 that Look Good

Here are some upcoming shows for fall that look pretty good. I’m not aware of everything that’s coming up, so if you know of something good I’ve missed, give me a shout in the comments.

Continue reading “TV Shows for Fall 2013 that Look Good”