There’s more to those pesky ads than meets the eye…
From Mauvais Sang (1986).
Watch this whole thing.
This song is awful.
Is this what Ferguson police training looks like?
This scene is probably too sad to watch right now, and weird because it’s all about grief, but I wanted to post it anyway because it’s a small example of how Robin Williams was great in so many different ways.
Robin Williams sort-of saved one of my favorite TV shows, a show that presaged the 21st Century “golden age” of quality television: NBC’s Homicide: Life On The Street.
This show, produced by Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana, was based on David Simon’s non-fiction book about murder police in Baltimore. Simon’s involvement in the TV show Homicide basically led to The Wire.
Anyway, Homicide had a grim-but-great short first season, and it was barely renewed for a second season of a mere FOUR episodes. This was surely a sign that this show was NOT destined for a third season, but Robin Williams agreed to be a guest star in one of them, and I think that went a long way toward this show being allowed to continue.
It was probably a favor to his old pal Barry Levinson, but it was still an awesome thing to do because in 1994 it was not something that a lot of big movie stars did, showing up to guest star on network tv shows.
Robin Williams did it, and he’s great in it. He plays a husband who is walking around Baltimore with his wife and children when they are mugged, and his wife is shot right in front of him. The whole episode is a wrenching thing to watch, it’s just one sad, painful scene after another, and Williams plays it all perfectly. It’s amazing how someone who had such a reputation for being a crazy fireball of energy was also so good at playing subtle when the part required it. He was really good at being heartfelt and soulful in things like this and Good Will Hunting.
And I really do think it helped save the show. And he probably knew it, too. I’ll bet he knew that he was lending his clout to help his friend Barry’s cool, struggling series stay alive a little bit longer, and it worked.
And without several more seasons of Homicide, I bet we don’t get The Wire, and without The Wire, who knows how many of the great shows of the past decade we’d have been without.
These kinds of things are always so sad and devastating. The only good thing is that it maybe makes us more appreciative of the good stuff, and hopefully it makes us more aware of the good stuff that other people are doing while they’re still around for us to let them know we appreciate it.
This episode ends with Melissa Leo’s detective, having “solved” the crime and visited the shooter in prison, still unable to figure out why it happened. The last scenes are set to Buddy Guy’s "Feels Like Rain."
I had season two on one VHS tape and I watched it every week for about a year until season three came on.
Thanks, Burger King, I’m glad to know that Chicken Fries Are Back in this sad moment.
Do you consider yourself a nerd? Don’t be so hasty. Test your inner dorkiness against the folks from UCBs Pocketwatch.
Nerds are a problem that won’t go away!
My half hour spec is mostly about property law.