Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Becker blog.

More snow tonight, maybe a reprise of last week’s Thanksgiving Eve snow, which left two or three inches on the ground here in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. My first white Thanksgiving, and if it’s the only one I won’t mind. I think tonight’s snow might not have the stickiness that the previous one did. Just a hunch.

Time to write my appreciation for Becker. For several months now we’ve watched it in syndication two or three times a week. It runs weeknights at 9:30 on the independent WCIU, Channel 26 (see March 22, 2004 for more on that station). Last summer I also watched a couple of episodes of in a row in my hotel room, after watching two episodes of Seinfeld. After that experience, I concluded that Becker is underrated, Seinfeld overrated, though I already thought that about the latter.

Becker has its weak moments, and there’s really nothing innovative about its comedy, but on the whole it’s a combination of good writing and good acting, which is fairly rare in a network sitcom. Ted Danson is especially good as the title character, a sympathetic misanthrope. The show’s two black characters, Margaret (Hattie Winston) and Jake (Alex Désert) are also well drawn, another rarity in sitcoms (compare with just about any WB comedy). All that aside, however, the show’s usually pretty funny, the only thing that matters in comedy, after all.

I never saw Becker when it was in prime time, and I understand that it was cancelled last year, which is too bad. Then again, it had six seasons, which is long enough to build up a substantial load of episodes, and near the natural limit for a sitcom anyway. Which, using The Mary Tyler Moore Show as a yardstick, is seven seasons.


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