Couch Surfing With Drew Friedman

« I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. » ― Groucho Marx

In the mid-90s, the always-discerning masterminds* at Rhino Records (they had, after all, picked William Stout to design their logo, back in 1974) called upon master satirist, caricaturist and of course pointillist Drew Friedman (1958-) to gather some perennial favourites on his old couch for the purposes of a three-volume compilation.

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In the usual order: Dan Winkless as Drooper of the Banana Splits (bass), Henry Winkler as Arthur ‘The Fonz’ Fonzarelli, Jean Stapleton and Carroll O’Connor as Edith and Archie Bunker, Jimmie Walker as James ‘J.J.’ Evans, Jr., and David Cassidy as Keith Partridge, who seems peeved at being crowded off the couch.

In this second entry in the trilogy, Mr. Friedman seems a bit out of his element, as drawing purdy gals and conventionally handsome men is hardly his forte. But he aces Gabe Kaplan, as you’d hope and expect. Judging from his expression, Gabe appreciates it.

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In the usual order: Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, Gabriel Kaplan as Gabe Kotter, Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum, Soleil Moon Frye (hippie parents, anyone?) as Penelope “Punky” Brewster, and Farrah Fawcett (Fawcett-Majors at the time) as Jill Munroe.

This time, our artiste ably succeeds where he faltered earlier: he has no difficulty capturing the likenesses of Ms. Anderson and (5x so far) Mrs. Collins.

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In the usual order: Loni Anderson as Jennifer Marlowe, Ted Danson as Sam Malone, Gavin MacLeod as Captain Merrill Stubing, Don Johnson as Detective James Crockett, and Dame Joan Henrietta Collins as Alexis Carrington.

From volume 3’s liner notes: « The 1980s may well be remembered as the final decade of the television theme song. The disturbing trend of the ’90s seems to be the elimination of the title song in preference of an additional minute of commercial airtime – a sad state of affairs for fans of the opening anthem. »

Maybe it’s all for the better: I’d rather have an additional hour of commercial airtime than be subjected again to the opening jingle of, say, Charles in Charge. You have been warned.

– RG

*That is, before the Warner group’s « total and depressing takeover of Rhino in the early 2000s ».

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