Daily Dirt for Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022
The era of network television that produced the shows mentioned in thought No. 1, was not classic in any way, shape or form. It was dreadful. Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 374 of The Daily Dirt.
1. It’s safe to assume we all have certain TV characters we simply can’t stand. Nada. Nyet. No way. Here are the personalities who actually caused me to bypass the shows they helped make famous:
- Gold medal: Lenny and Squiggy, “LaVerne and Shirley”: Not only were Lenny and Squiggy impossible to stand — even for the relatively brief 30 minutes this show was on each week during the 1970s — but most of the cast was equally unbearable. At the time, the show was paired with “Happy Days,” which, to be fair, had its own personal cast of dimwits. At least the “Happy Days” dimwits were kind of likable. Kind of. (For the record, Lenny and Squiggy’s full names on the show were Lenny Koznowski and Andrew “Squiggy” Squigman. Even the names weren’t funny.)
- Silver medal: Jethro Bodine, “Beverly Hillbillies”: I have absolutely nothing against slow and dim-witted people. Neither does Muddy River czar J. Robert Gough, or I wouldn’t be working there. However, it got to a point during the run of the “Beverly Hillbillies” that I simply couldn’t watch any longer because of Jethro’s overbearing persona. (For the record, Max Baer, who played Jethro, is the last living member of the series. He’s 84, not 103 as I’ve seen in some recent reports.)
- Bronze medal: Gomer Pyle, “Gomer Pyle USMC”: As the fairly likable hick from Mayberry who appeared occasionally on “The Andy Griffith Show,” Gomer Pyle was OK, even somewhat entertaining. CBS then decided Gomer needed his own show. Ugh. He was basically the same character as Jethro, only with a uniform. Never, ever say “Shazam!” around me.
2. Over the next two days, let’s take a look at which players are deserving of major awards at season’s end. Today, the American League:
- MVP: Aaron Judge of New York and his gah-gah power have the rest of the league playing for runner-up, which at this point I would lean toward Shohei Ohtani of Los Angeles. Not far behind are Yordan Alvarez of Houston and Jose Ramirez of Cleveland.
- Cy Young Award: It’s down to a two-horse race between Justin Verlander of Houston and Dylan Cease of Chicago. By the end of the regular season, I expect Verlander will have separated himself from the discussion. The erratic performance(s) of the Chisox will not help Cease, who will undoubtedly have at least one of these awards in his future. Shane McClanahan of Tampa Bay is another name to watch, although he has come back to earth in recent weeks.
- Rookie of the Year: A strong class is headlined by highlight-reel center fielder Julio Rodriguez (J-Rod) of Seattle. If he can remain healthy down the stretch, coupled with the fact his Seattle Mariners are in the playoff hunt, Rodriguez should beat out Bobby Witt Jr. of Kansas City, Steven Kwan of Cleveland and Jeremy Pena of Houston.
- Breakout Player (this should be an official award, by the way): Even though Andres Gimenez plays in the anonymity of Cleveland, he is now receiving top-five MVP notice. If not for Luis Arraez of Minnesota, Gimenez would have an excellent chance to win the AL batting title to go with his double-figure home runs and Gold Glove abilities at second base.
- Reliever of the Year: Emmanuel Clase of Cleveland has been the epitome of the lockdown, lights-out closer every contender needs. Chicago’s Liam Hendriks is having a solid season but has not been close to the spectacular closer he was in 2022.
3. Media research firm Nielsen has likely given us a glimpse of the viewing future with a recent report that showed a record 34.8 percent of Americans’ total TV consumption in July was streamed, outpacing cable (34.8 percent) and traditional broadcast (21.6 percent) for the first time. Americans watched a 190.9 billion minutes of streamed content in July. That broke the previous record of 169.9 billion minutes in April 2020 during the pandemic.
Steve Thought O’ The Day
If there had been a fourth award for those annoying TV shows in thought No. 1, “Welcome Back, Kotter” would have been the choice. John Travolta as Vinnie Barbarino (“Up your nose with a rubber hose!”) would have been a hands-down selection.
Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. Wonder where Cousin Oliver from “The Brady Bunch,” Janice from “Friends” and Screech from “Saved by the Bell” rank on Steve’s list?
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