Tag: Blossom

A visit with “Brothers”


I’m no Hollywood insider. Nikki Finke does not rely on me for her tips and I don’t ever expect to attend the Vanity Fair Oscar after party. Nevertheless, there’s one thing I do know about show business: personality goes a very long way in “this town.” And so a few of us press people recently found ourselves the subject of a 50 megaton charm offensive by the four stars of the new Fox sitcom, “Brothers” — C.C.H. Pounder, Carl Weathers, and Daryl “Chill” Mitchell, and one extremely enthusiastic newbie, former New York Giants Defensive End and Fox Sports commentator Michael Strahan. I haven’t seen the show itself yet, which premieres tonight at 8 p.m./7 central, but the visit was certainly a performance I won’t be forgetting.

From long-time writer-producer Don Reo, whose credits run from “M*A*S*H” to “Blossom” and “Everybody Hates Chris,” “Brothers” stars Strahan as a former NFL star who winds up moving in to the house he bought for his parents when a financial reversal puts him in the metaphorical poorhouse. Since this is a sitcom, naturally there will be conflict with his brother, played by Mitchell, and the usual issues with parents Weathers and Pounder. One ace the show will be playing will be guest appearances by some fairly big names playing themselves, including former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, hip-hop star T-Pain, celubutante Kim Kardashian, and the great Clarence Clemons of the E Street Band. Also appearing will be well actress Tichina Arnold from “Chris” and, not playing himself, rap superstar Snoop Dog. Stand-up comic Lenny Clarke will be playing a neighbor on the show.

The show has been getting some additional attention for a perhaps less fortunate reason, in that while African-American actors are featured in more diverse roles these days, it’s the only current show on the networks schedules with a predominantly black cast. That’s largely a reversal of the trend of the past when the vast bulk of decent TV parts for nonwhite actors were on shows like “The Jeffersons” and “Good Times” as well as some of the later, more controversial shows aimed at black audiences like “Martin.”

The first to meet the press were Carl Weathers, perhaps still most famed as Rocky Balboa’s venerable opponent, Apollo Creed, and C.C.H. Pounder, who is taking a break from her usual intense, gravitas-laden, roles on shows like “The Shield” and seems to be enjoying every minute of it. In fact, I’m here to tell you that extremely skilled Ms. Pounder is downright bubbly in person. You heard me, “bubbly” — but in a very smart sort of way.


The mood was light right off the bat with more than one of us entertainment journos confessing a complete lack of knowledge of sports and Ms. Pounder joining in. Weathers was the exception. “Well, I played for the Oakland Raiders so I hope I know a little bit about football.” And that somehow prompted an impersonation of Butterfly McQueen from “Gone with the Wind” from Pounder. I guess you had to be there.

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Blossom: Seasons 1 & 2

Although “Blossom” is often viewed as a kitschy punch-line of early ‘90s television (“Tonight, on a very special ‘Blossom’”), the series actually contains some unique elements which make it surprisingly easy to respect its accomplishments. With that said, however, while most of the girls like to watch “Blossom,” only some of the boys do. And given that the first episode is all about the titular character getting her period for the first time, you can’t really blame the guys for that.

When “Blossom” premiered on NBC in 1991, Mayim Bialik had already done a fair amount of sitcom work (most notably on “Webster”), but she was riding on the high of having played the younger version of Bette Midler’s character in “Beaches” and ready to break out. Enter Don Reo, who provided her with the opportunity to play Blossom Russo, a teenage girl living with her father and two brothers. What was perhaps most exceptional about the series was Bialik herself: a girl who looked, dare I say it, real. She was cute, but she wasn’t gorgeous, which meant that you could imagine that guys would want to date her, but unlike a lot of teenage TV characters, you didn’t watch the show and find yourself thinking, “How can a girl who looks like this ever be without a date?” The character of Blossom was also an impressive tightrope walk, as she came across as a very original spirit (particularly with her sense of fashion) while still going through the same things that all teenage girls go through.

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