Monday, January 4, 2010

Volume 1, Number 2: Benson is back!

(Note: I originally posted this in 2006 on a blog I created on GeoCities that same year. Yahoo! shut down GeoCities last year.)

Yet another reason why there's no way in Hell I'm dropping cable: Benson reruns are back! Once seen WJBK (Channel 2 in Detroit) for much of the '80s, and a staple of Black Entertainment Television for years (back in the days before they started showing rap videos), I had not seen that show in a long time. But TV Land is coming to the long-overdue rescue. They will have a 48-hour "fandemonium" marathon, starting at 6am on June 3. Here are some of my favorites (although only a few of those favorites will air this weekend; the rest, I'll have to wait as TV Land airs episodes Monday-Friday at 11pm starting next Monday):

Katie's Cousin: Katie Gatling's cousin Laura comes over for a visit and promptly gets Katie into trouble, taking her out to a bar to meet some college-aged guys when they were supposed to be going to a slumber party. And guess who's at the bar, but Benson and Clayton! Benson tries to get himself and Clayton out of this awkward situation, but Clayton doesn't understand why Benson won't let him look Katie's way, he ends up knocking over someone (and pretzels go flying all over the place). But the real highlight is when Miss Kraus tries to get Benson to spill the beans about the matter the following day, and ends up thinking that Benson and Clayton gotten involved with two teenage girls.

Jung at Heart (Man of the Year): Clayton thinks he's got a shot at being the Press Club's Man of the Year, and (not surprisingly) loses out to recently elected Lieutenant Governor Benson. Clayton flips out and believes he's Benson for half the episode.

Cold Storage: Benson and Kraus are locked in the cellar, and I only remember this for what Kraus says when Benson lets the cellar door shut behind him: "Youuuuu dummkopf!!!"

The Honeymooners: Benson attends a proxy wedding for Kraus, and ends up getting legally married to her. During the annulment hearing, Benson is asked if there was a racial problem. Benson says, "Yes, I was expecting to marry someone from the human race."

It Ain't Sheik: A sheik wants to build an awful-looking building for his corporate headquarters and is making amorous advances towards Miss Kraus. Naturally, when the sheik threatens to pull his headquarters out of the state if he doesn't get Miss Kraus, Benson responds, "That solves both my problems."

The show was a favorite of mine due in part to all the one-liners Benson would dispense (mostly towards Miss Kraus), and also because around 1985, I had developed a mild crush on Missy Gold, the actress who played Katie Gatling.

They couldn't possibly show every single one over the weekend--there's room for 96 episodes, but the series had 158 during its seven-year run (leaving 62 that I'll have to keep waiting for). Most notably, the show ended on a cliffhanger that was never resolved--Benson and Governor Gatling were running against each other for Governor, and the last episode ended with a local TV station announcing a projected winner. I don't know which was more stupid--the producers deciding to end the season on a cliffhanger when there was no guarantee that the show would be renewed for an eighth season (the show had been moved to Saturdays at 8:30pm--a really bad spot on the schedule for just about any show--and frankly, the seventh season seemed lacking for good ideas for episodes), or ABC for failing to do a deal where they'd do one more episode (as a special) to resolve the cliffhanger, and then pull the plug.

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