The Stockard Channing Show
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After movie roles in the Joan Rivers camp classic, 'The Girl Most Likely To...', 'The Fortune', alongside Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson, and the timeless part of tough-girl Rizzo in the blockbuster film 'Grease', the CBS network offered Stockard Channing her own television sitcom series Stockard Channing in Just Friends and The Stockard Channing Show. From 1979 to 1981 Channing starred as a bright young divorcee who removes herself from the shackles of married life and strikes out on her own to create a brand new life in LA.
A ratings winner with a 38 Share
- National Nielson Ratings
"TV is lucky to have the likes of Channing... and even luckier to have her headlining this sophisticated comedy!"
- The Hollywood Reporter
"It may be the best female-centered comedy CBS has brought us since The Mary Tyler Moore Show"
The Los Angeles Times
2 DVD Set - 23 Episodes
an Academy Award nominee for Best Actress for Six Degrees of Separation'
a two time Emmy Award winner for her roles on NBCs The West Wing and in the The Matthew Sheppard Story
has been nominated 12 times for various Emmy Awards
currently stars in the new CBS sitcom Out of Practise alongside Henry Winkler
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
JUST FRIENDS is really no better or worse than most sitcoms; it serves as an innocuous time filler that soaks up 25 minutes. The humor depends mostly on insipid jokes about California living, but Channing (as Susan Hughes) and the rest of the cast are likeable and can even make the unfunny jokes seem funny (Mimi Kennedy is a riot as Susan's spoiled rich sister-like Phyllis Lindstrom, we enjoy her because she has no idea of how ridiculous she is). The single worst idea for the show was to have Susan work at a Beverly Hills health club (not a good foundation for comedy-once you've done the obligatory "fat jokes", you're finished). Part of what gained our empathy for Mary Richards was observing her flounder and succeed in her job tasks and eventually become proficient in her work. When Susan asks for a raise, her boss agrees that she has perfected her duties as an assistant manager and that takes place on the second episode! Channing wanted better, and reportedly she requested that the show be taken off the air and overhauled.
JUST FRIENDS (whatever that meant) was dropped, and THE STOCKARD CHANNING SHOW gave Susan a new last name and a much better vocation. As a consumer advocate's assistant, Channing is allowed to do what she did so well in THE GIRL MOST LIKELY TO... and SWEET REVENGE: play broad caricatures in various disguises (Channing may have been better suited to follow in the footsteps of Carol Burnett rather than Mary Tyler Moore). Ron Silver is a great foil for Stockard Channing. Brad and Susan are competitive and flirtatious and their energy carries the show.
This double DVD is presented nicely. The image is a bit pasty (typical for taped shows of the period) and there are intermittent drop-outs, but these facts are listed on the box. If it's a choice between less than perfect quality and not at all, I'll deal with a few imperfections. The price is certainly reasonable.
Stockard Channing is a remarkable actress and it is a joy to watch her even in this show; if you can overlook the fact that the material is beneath her talent, you might catch yourself having a good time.
Of note is the fact that two episodes of "Just Friends" are missing in this set: "A Fine Romance" with guest star Tom Selleck and "Room at the Top" with guest star Scoey Mitchlll. I was employed at CBS at the time the series aired and thus remember the episodes and their titles. I don't know why these two were omitted; ironically, they were among the better ones of the series.
Stockard Channing certainly had the gifts to be a success in television comedy. Though the creators/producers tried to make her a hybrid of Mary Tyler Moore and Lucille Ball, Channing had (and has) her own style which was not showcased properly. Channing eventually survived this debacle with her triumphs on the stage (Tony winner) and film (Oscar nomination), along with Emmy wins for her subsequent television work.