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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Nanny Quiz


The Nanny was a 1990s sitcom about an affable, big-haired, nasal-voiced Jewish woman from New York who becomes a nanny to the family of a widowed Englishman.  The series, starring, Fran Drescher and Charles Shaughnessy, ran on CBS for six seasons, from 1993 to 1999.  Why don't you test your knowledge of this popular show by doing the following quiz.

The Nanny Quiz

1.  New Yorker Fran Fine (portrayed by Fran Drescher) was fired from her job in a bridal dress shop, owned by her then-boyfriend, Danny Imperiali.  After the loss of that job, what employment did she find in Manhattan before becoming a nanny?

A.  bank teller

B.  cosmetics saleswoman

C.  factory worker

D.  flight attendant

E.  hair stylist

2,  Fran Fine was a native of what part of New York City?

A.  The Bronx

B.  Brooklyn

C.  Queens

D.  Manhattan

E.  Staten Island

3.  British actor Charles Shaughnessy portrayed Maxwell Sheffield, the wealthy widower who eventually fell in love with nanny Fran Fine.  Pior to landing his role on The Nanny, Shanughnessy was a soap opera star.  What was the name of the soap he appeared on?

A.  The Young and the Restless

B.  The Bold and the Beautiful

C.  General Hospital

D.  Days of our Lives

E.  One Life to Live

4.  How many children did the widowed Maxwell have when Fran became their nanny?

A.  three (two daughters and a son)

B.  two (one son and one daughter)

C.  four (two daughters and two sons)

D.  five  (three daughters and two sons)

E.  two (both daughters)

5.  What was the name of Max's late wife.

A.  Jane

B.  Elizabeth

C.  Donna

D.  Rebecca

E.  Sara

6.  Which famous composer appeared in an episode of The Nanny?

A.  Burt Bacharach

B.  Henry Mancini

C.  Andrew Lloyd Webber

D.  Carole Bayer Sager

E.  Marvin Hamlisch

7.  Joan Collins of Dynasty fame was a guest star in an episode of The Nanny.  What role did she play?

A.  Maxwell's aunt

B.  Maxwell's stepmother

C.  Fran's high school teacher

D.  Fran's former employer

E.  A well-to-do socialite friend of Maxwell's family

8.   Did Fran and Maxwell ever get married?

A.  No, they never married.

B.  On the last episode of the series, they announced their engagement.

C.  Yes, they wed at the end of the show's fifth season.

D.  No, Maxwell married someone else.

E.  The final season ended with Maxwell proposing and Fran turning him down.

9.  Who was Valerie "Val" Toriello?

A.  The owner of Fran's favourite Italian restaurant.

B.  She was a Broadway actress

C.  Fran's hair stylist

D.  Fran's best friend.

E.   Maggie's teacher

10.  What were the names of Fran's parents on the show?

A.  Sylvia and Morty

B.  Ruth and Alan

C.  Barbara and David

D.  Esther and Ari

E.  Rose and Daniel

11.  What was Maxwell's occupation?

A.  He was a corporate executive.

B.  He was a theatrical producer for Broadway shows.

C.  He was a real estate tycoon.

D.  He was the owner of a department store chain.

E,  He was the owner and operator of an upscale Manhattan hotel.

12.  Who was Niles?

A.  The Sheffield family's butler

B.  Maxwell's brother

C.  Maxwell's uncle

D.  Maxwell's business partner

E.  Maxwell's lawyer friend

13. Who was C.C. Babcock?

A.  Maxwell's former girlfriend

B.  A neighbour

C.  Fran's niece

D.  Maxwell's business partner

E.  Fran's cousin

14.  What did C.C. stand for in her name?

A.  Charlotte Constance

B,  Christine Cordelia

C.  Catherine Carmella

D.  Candice Camilla

E.  Chastity Claire

15.  What was the name of C.C.'s dog?

A.  Charley

B.  Chubbs

C.  Chester

D.  Champ

E.  Chip

16.  Which well-know psychologist guest-starred in an episode of The Nanny?

A,  Dr. Phil McGraw

B.  Dr. Ruth Westheimer

C.  Dr. Joyce Brothers

D.  Dr. Laura Schlessinger

E.  All of the above

17.  Whom did Niles eventually marry?

A.  Fran Fine

B.  Maxwell's sister

C.  No one.  He remained a bachelor.

D.  C.C. Babcock

E.  Fran's sister

18.  What happened to daughter Maggie at the end of the series?

A.  She got married.

B.  She went to medical school in Chicago.

C.  She started her own business.

D.  She published a book.

E.  She and a friend opened an upscale restaurant.

19.  At the end of the series, Fran, Maxwell, Grace and the twins moved away from New York.  Where did they go?

A.  Paris, France

B.  Hollywood, California

C.  London, England

D.  Rome, Italy

E.  San Francisco, California


1,  B

 After losing her job and being dumped by her boyfriend, Fran became a cosmetics saleswoman.

2.  C

Fran Fine was a native of the Flushing area of Queens, New York.  The Nanny was greatly influenced by Fran Drescher own experiences growing up in Queens.

3.  D

London-born Charles Shaughnessy played the aristocratic Shane Donovan, a secret agent on Days of Our Lives.   He actually is a British peer, the 5th Baron Shaughnessy.   

Shaughnessy reprised his Shane Donovan role on Days of Our Lives for two brief stints in May 2012 and November 2013.

4.  A

Maxwell Sheffield was a widower with three children, two daughters and a son.  The oldest was daughter Margaret "Maggie" Sheffield, played by Nicholle Tom.  The middle child was a son named Brighton Sheffield, was portrayed by Benjamin Salisbury and Madeline Zima was brainy Grace "Gracie" Sheffield, the baby of the family.

Nicholle Tom as Maggie Sheffield

5.  E

Max's late wife was named Sara.  She passed away some years before the start of the series.

6.  E

Marvin Hamlisch appeared in an episode of The Nanny as Fran's former high school teacher, a Marvin Hamlisch look-alike.

7.  B

Fran Dresher (left) with Joan Collins

Joan Collins portrayed Maxwell's stepmother, Joan Sheffield in a 1996 episode of The Nanny entitled "Me and Mrs. Joan" (Season 4, Episode 6, Air Date: October 30, 1996).  In the episode Fran attempts to play peacemaker by inviting Maxwell's father's former secretary (Joan), who caused the breakup of his parent's marriage, to dinner.

8.  C

Yes, Fran and Maxwell wed at the end of the show's fifth season in an episode entitled "The Wedding" (Season 5, Episode 22, Air Date: May 13, 1998).  Although Maxwell's family tells them that the marriage will never work, they get married anyway and fall off their honeymoon yacht.  On the last episode of the season, Fran gives birth to fraternal twins, a boy, Jonah Samuel and a girl, Eve Catherine.  They were named after their great grandparents  (Trivia note: In 1999, Rachel Chagall, the actress who played Fran Fine's best friend, gave birth to twins named Jonah Samuel and Eve Catherine.)

9.  D

Val, played by Rachel Chagall, was Fran's best friend since elementary school in Flushing, Queens, New York.

10.  A

Fran's parents on the show were named Sylvia and Morty, as were Fran Drescher's real life parents

Bronx-born Renée Taylor played the role of Sylvia Fine, (née Rosenberg), Fran's outspoken mother. Steve Lawrence portrayed Fran's father, Morty Fine.

11.  B

Maxwell was a theatrical producer for Broadway shows.  He passed on Cats and his main rival was Andrew Lloyd Webber

12.  A

Niles was the butler and caretaker for the Sheffield family home.  His father had been the Sheffield butler previously.  Niles' last name was never revealed on the show.  Although the character was an Englishman, he was portrayed by Daniel Davis, a native of Little Rock, Arkansa.

13. D

C.C. Babcock, played by Lauren Lane, was Maxwell's longtime business partner. The egotistical C.C. had romantic designs on Maxwell, making her Fran's rival for his affections.  

14.  E.

C.C. Babcock's full name was Chastity Claire Babcock.

15.  C

Fran with Chester Drescher

C.C. Babcock had a dog called Chester. The performing dog, who died in 2000, was actually Fran Drescher's Pomeranian, and his full name was Chester Drescher.  Perhaps that's why he seemed to prefer Fran Fine over his fictional TV owner, C.C.

16. C

Dr. Joyce Brothers guest-starred on a 1997 episode of The Nanny entitled "The Ex-Niles" (Season 5, Episode 5, Air Date: October 29, 1997)  In the episode, Fran and C.C. visit Dr. Brothers to determine which woman is more suitable for Niles.

17.  D

Niles eventually married C.C. Babcock, although they initially disliked each other intensely.

18.  A.

In one of the last episodes of the final season, Maggie Sheffield marries Michael, an underwear model, played by Andrew Levitas.  The episode is entitled "Maggie's Wedding" (Season 6, Episode 19, Air Date: May 5, 1999.  Fran is delighted to learn that Michael is a cousin of James Brolin, husband of her idol, Barbra Streisand.

19.  B

At the end of the series, Fran, Max, Grace and the twins move to Los Angeles, where Maxwell is scheduled to produce a television show.  Maggie and her husband move to Europe.  However, Maggie stays in Paris with her brother, Brighton, while Michael heads to Venice for a modelling assignment.

- Joanne

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Y&R Report (October 11, 2014): The Latest on The Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.

Well fans, the much-anticipated almost-wedding of Nick and Sharon is over.  It was fun to watch, but it did not, in my opinion, live up to its potential.  The setting in the church was great, and I always enjoy seeing everyone dressed in his or her best. Unfortunately, something was lacking.  It was the element of surprise or some kind of twist in the plot.  Everyone expected the wedding to be interrupted, and it was. Most viewers expected Phyllis to do the interrupting, and she certainly did. She made a grand entrance. Unfortunately, it was all too predictable.  Just as the minister was about to pronounce Nick and Sharon man and wife, Phyllis appeared on the scene and collapsed, causing Sharon to panic and walk out of the church.

Earlier in the ceremony, at the point when the minister asked whether anyone had just cause to stop the marriage, everyone in the church turned around, expecting someone to make an objection.  When that didn't happen, it was obvious that Phyllis would be the one to put a stop to the doomed nuptials. Even the minister spoke slowly and deliberately, as if he knew what was coming, as if he were expecting Phyllis' arrival.

Nicholas Newman now has the dubious distinction of being left at the altar twice in succession, first by Avery and now by Sharon.   It is obvious that the wealthy Newman heir and his erratic college sweetheart will not legalize their marriage any time soon.  Sharon's dream of reuniting her family will remain just a dream because, as I have pointed out before, couples can not be happy on a soap.  There is not enough conflict for happy couples.  That is why, for example, Michael Baldwin is about to be diagnosed with a terrible disease, probably cancer.  He and Lauren are much too happy.

I hope the writers do not kill Michael off because Christian LeBlanc is such a fine actor. However, I fear they will make him die, for lack of storyline.  I have to ask:  Is it that difficult for professional writers to come up with a storyline for Michael?  I'm sure you readers must have some ideas.  Send me your comments, if you do, and I will publish them.

At least Michael was front and centre during the classic bachelor/bachelorette party episode.  I really enjoyed that episode.  It was fast-paced.  It was hilarious. Neil acted as if he were some kind of cool party dude.  I think he's going through a phase - middle age crazy, trying to retain his youth.  Too bad Lauren was not with the female contingent.

Avery's ex-husband, Joe Clark (Canadian viewers have to smile at that character's name because it is the name of our former prime minister), is a welcome addition to the show.  I hope he stays on because he's made an impact so far.  He's still a man of mystery because we don't really know much about him other than that he's a real estate dealer.  It appears that he hasn't gotten over Avery and would probably like to lure her away from Dylan.  That's why he's hanging around Genoa City and it's also the reason why he was so interested to learn that Dylan had been arrested for the supposed murder of Ian Ward.

Joe is beginning to become acquainted with other Genoa City residents and it seems that he's already met Sugar Cane Ashby before . . . Hey, what if Joe became involved with Phyllis?  That's just a possibility, but wouldn't it just drive Avery crazy? We don't know if Phyllis has ever met her former brother-in-law.  It's doubtful because Avery and her sister hadn't kept in touch for years.

. . . And what of Ian Ward?  Will Clueless Paul's plan to entice him to return to Genoa City work? Given the inept police chief's woeful record, it's not likely.  Victor's investigators, as usual, will find the slithery Ward first.  I'm willing to bet the Snake in the Grass is still alive.

As for the Great and Powerful Victor Newman, he's going to come out smelling like roses again. When Sharon's secret is revealed, he'll just crow, "I told you so.  I told you Sharon was devious and that she would hurt my boy, Nicholas.  As his father, I had to protest him from that dragon lady.  By the way, Summer, I also helped your mother come out of her coma . . ."

Poor Jack Abbott! He just can't win at the game of love. He's in a terrible dilemma. He never thought Phyllis would return  As he said himself, he never saw it coming.  I wouldn't be surprised if he lost both Kelly and Phyllis, much to Victor's delight. Where's the ghost of John Abbott when we need him?  John should make an appearance to give his son Jack some advice at this difficult time.  I just hope Jack manages to stay sober.  With Nikki hitting the bottle again and the prospect of Neil doing the same when he discovers wife Hilary's treachery, I don't relish the thought of a third character falling off the wagon.


Regular contributor CC from Etobicoke, Ontario writes

My comment is really a question.
Is it just me or has Christel Khalil (Lily Winters Ashby) had her nose re-shaped (aka nose job)?

If not, I didn't know that contouring with makeup could be so effective.

Speaking of cosmetic surgery and facial alteration, CC, another Y&R viewer, Fifi from Collingwood, Ontario, has noticed that Sharon Case (Sharon Newman) has had a lot of Botox injections.  Thanks CC and Fifi, for your observations.

By the way, readers, a little bird told me that CC from Etobicoke has become a grandmother for the first time and is absolutely delighted with the birth of her new granddaughter.  Congratulations to CC and her family!

Patsy from Sarasota, Florida commented on the pool area at the Genoa City Athletic Club. 

What pool area has huge glass vases all around the seating area?
Pretty blue colour but glass anything is not allowed near a pool deck. Just a slight design
flaw. I think I am too picky about details but this is not a pool deck design.

That's right, Patsy.  It would be a safety hazard if the glass broke or someone slipped.  Hey, maybe that could be incorporated into the storyline when Ian Ward is someday captured.  Victor could chase him on the pool deck and he could slip and knock over a glass vase.

Helen from Scarborough, Ontario did not like Summer's poetry reading at Nick and Sharon's almost-wedding.  I guess Supergirl is not such a super poetry reader.

Here's some great news for Y&R fans in the Ottawa region.  Carly from Barrhaven, Ontario has informed me that Melody Thomas Scott, a.k.a. Nikki Newman will be appearing on the Main Stage at the fall National Women's Show on October 26 in Ottawa.(at the Ernst and Young Centre).

Cover Photo
National Women's Show - Ottawa

National Women's Show - Ottawa

Melody Thomas Scott

Melody Thomas Scott

Melody Thomas Scott, who stars as Nikki Newman on “THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS,” celebrated 34 years in the role, having joined the cast in February, 1979. Scott’s character has matured from the girl from the wrong side of the tracks to the serial’s luminous and resourceful heroine.
After garnering a Daytime Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Lead Actress” in 1999, she went on to win in the same category for the Digest Award in 2001. She also received four Update Awards for “Outstanding Lead Actress” (1992, 1993, 1995 and 1996) for her portrayal of Nikki, the ultimate survivor.


Supergirl Summer's marriage may survive a bit longer than expected, although we all know it can't last.  Matthew Atikinson, who plays her husband, Austin Travers, has been given a contract with Y&R, Therefore, he will be sticking around Genoa City.  He's not one of my favourites, but he must have some fans out there. Otherwise, the show wouldn't be upgrading his status.

This is Atkinson's first role on daytime television.  However, the actor did have a regular role as Nick Fadden on the ABC Family drama Jane By Design.  He has also appeared in guest roles CSIDrop Dead Diva, and One Tree Hill.  In the 2009 film The Blind Side, he portrayed a valet parker.

Matthew Atkinson

Oscar nominee Sally Kellerman, who played Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan in the 1970 film version of M*A*S*H, is set to play a mysterious new character on The Young and the Restless.  Her character, Constance Bingham - will appear onscreen just in time for the November sweeps.


Do you think Jack belongs with Phyllis or with Kelly?
Type your answers here
Definitely with Phyllis. They have better chemistry and a long history.
He's happy with Kelly now. They should stay together.
Neither. He should find somebody new.
Don't know.
Poll Maker


That's all for now.  Please remember that the next Y&R Report will be posted on Saturday, October 25, 2014.

- Joanne

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Whatever happened to Louise Lasser?

Remember those pigtails and bangs?  That spaced-out Orphan Annie stare?  That doll-like dress with the puffed sleeves?  Now, concentrate for a moment!  Close your eyes and harken back to the year 1976 . . . The United States is celebrating it's Bicentennial, and Rocky, starring Sylvester Stallone, is lighting up the silver screen. One of the hottest shows on American television is a late-night soap opera parody about a neurotic housewife named Mary Hartman, played by Louise Lasser.

Louise Lasser was born on April 11, 1939 in New York City, the only child of S. Jay Lasser, a tax specialist, and his wife, Paula.  She was raised Jewish.  In a December 20, 2013 interview, she told freelance writer Claire Barliant that she was "one of those Jews who sort of denied her heritage because I didn’t look it, no one thought I was Jewish, and only really recently in the last year or so have I found myself incorporating, feeling lucky I had that background."

Louise attended Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts (near Boston), where she studied political science.  After three years, she took a "psychological leave of absence," as she told People magazine.  She asked her father to come and bring her home.  After returning to New York, she studied acting with well known instructor Sanford Meisner whose approach is known as the Meisner technique.

Louise's parents eventually divorced and her mother later committed suicide.  Of her parents, she told Claire Barliant the following:

I was brought up by a woman who was incredibly interesting and had very profound depression. It was kind of what I knew. I didn’t know other people’s parents. When I’d get to see them, I thought, they’re so different. But I didn’t want those. I actually liked mine. I thought mine were more interesting

Louise herself has battled depression for years. Here's how she described first encounter with her own mental problems in her interview with Barliant.

I was twenty-one. I’d just taken my leave of absence from school. In those last few years of college I’d started to fill up with the dark side. I’d wake up in the morning and I didn’t know what was wrong, I didn’t know what the word depression was, I knew the word depression, and I knew I could say that my mother was really depressed, but I didn’t know that’s what I was feeling. I didn’t make that connection.

In the early 1960s, Louise sang in Greenwich Village coffee shops and bars.  The aspiring actress performed in improvisational revues and eventually on Broadway. In fact, she was Barbra Streisand's understudy as Miss Marmelstein in the musical I Can Get it for You Wholesale.

Prior to achieving stardom with Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Louise appeared in a string of guest roles on television during the early and mid-1970s.  She turned up on such comedies as Love American Style (1971), The Bob Newhart Show (1972) and Mary Tyler Moore (1973).  Lasser's acting range, however, was not limited to comedies.  Her credits also include dramas such as McCloud (1974) and Medical Center (1975).

Louise's Mary Tyler Moore episode is entitled "Mary Richards and the Incredible Plant Lady" (Season 3, Episode 24, Air Date: March 3, 1973).  In the episode, Mary lends her friend Rhoda money to open a plant store.  The shop does well, but Rhoda takes her time in repaying Mary.  Louise Lasser plays a character named Anne Adams.

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, was created by Norman Lear of All in the Family fame. It was a syndicated series and it ran for only two seasons, ending in 1977. Yet, it took the television world by storm.  Louise Lasser soon became a household name, appearing on the covers of magazines such as Rolling Stone, People and TV Guide.  The series was described as a "kitchen-sink theater of the absurd" in People.

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was somewhat surreal, very offbeat, and a biting satire of American consumer society.  In essence, it was an attack on commercial television itself.  Its heroine, Mary, constantly chattered about certain cleaning products or different types of coffee.  That is why Joan Darling, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman's director, contends that show's fundamental thesis is that "television would make us a nation of empty dead people" - Mary Hartman-type zombies.

When Lear started the project in 1975, according to Mary Hartman head writer Ann Marcus, Louise was reluctant to do a soap.  However, the part of Mary had been written with one person in mind - Louise Lasser.

Louise Lasser was Mary Hartman i.e. Mary Hartman filtered through Louise's brilliant, fractured psyche. And Louise had more to do with creating the character than any of us. It was Louise who gave Mary that blank stare; that slow, earnest, deliberate way of speaking. She even invented her wardrobe: the puffy-sleeved little girl/housewife mini dress; the braided hairdo and bangs. And no, that wasn't her real hair. She kept her brown hair tightly bobby-pinned underneath a reddish blond wig.

- Ann Marcus

In addition to Louise, the cast of Mary Hartman, Marty Hartman consisted of the following:

Greg Mullavey who played Tom Hartman, Mary's beer-drinking, blue-collar husband.  Tom was an auto worker who was usually dressed in his Fernwood High varsity jacket and baseball cap.

Claudia Lamb who played the adolescent Heather Hartman, Mary and Tom's resentful, pigtailed daughter.

Dodie Goodman and Philip Bruns who played Mary's parents, Martha and George Shumway. Every episode began with sound of Martha's voice screeching "Marty Hartman, Mary Hartman."

Debralee Scott who played Mary's younger sister, Cathy Shumway.

Mary Kay Place who played Mary's best friend, aspiring country singer Loretta Haggers and Graham Jarvis who played Loretta's balding, bespectacled, husband, Charlie Haggers.  On their way to Nashville to kickstart Loretta's career, the Haggers were involved in a car accident in which they hit a station wagon full of nuns.

Dabney Coleman who played Merle Jeeter, the mayor of Fernwood, Ohio.

Bruce Solomon who played Sgt. Dennis Foley, a Fernwood police officer who was enamoured of Mary.  She eventually ran off with him.  After Mary's departure, Tom fell for a woman named Eleanor Major, played by Shelley Fabares.

Although the series was set in the fictional town of Fernwood, Ohio, Mary Hartman spoke with a New York accent.  The show was satiric and filled with dark humour. Mary, for example, was deeply troubled by the waxy yellow build-up on her floor, and Leroy Fedders, Tom's basketball coach, drowsy from cold medicine, nodded off and accidentally drowned in her chicken soup.

The first season ended with Mary Hartman having a nervous breakdown, a total meltdown.  The breakdown was sparked by an incident involving a dollhouse in which Mary refuses to leave a shop until the owners allow her to purchase a dollhouse for her daughter, Heather.

The crack-up was Louise's idea and she presented it to Norman Lear.  She once stated that she wrote "a twelve-page paper on how Mary's nervous breakdown was really America's breakdown."  "Mary," she proclaimed, "personified America." Perhaps there is some truth to that.  Maybe Mary's breakdown was a reflection of a post-Watergate meltdown in the United States.

In the spring of 1976, Louise was arrested in a Beverly Hills cocaine bust.  As a result of the charges, she was placed on a six-month probation program, which she satisfied by continuing treatment with her therapist. On July 24, 1976, just weeks after being booked for possession of cocaine, a troubled Louise hosted NBC's Saturday Night Live. It was the final episode of SNL's first season and it turned out to be disaster for producer Lorne Michaels.  Louise's behaviour was erratic throughout rehearsal week, and she was very difficult to work with.  Her performance throughout the broadcast was uneven and almost incoherent.  Michaels was so upset that he banned her from ever hosting Saturday Night Live again.

In 1977, after two seasons and 325 episodes, Louise Lasser chose to leave Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.. She was unhappy with the direction the show had taken during the second year, and filming five episodes a week was very tiring and grinding.  After she left, the series was renamed Fernwood Forever and continued for 28 more weeks.

Of her character, Mary Hartman, Lasser has remarked: "Mary is me - I mean, she's who I would be if I had grown up in a small town and married my high school sweetheart and become a housewife instead of growing up in the big city and becoming an actress and marrying a genius."  That "genius" is none other than famed actor and filmmaker Woody Allen.

Louise was Allen's second wife and they were wed on February 2, 1966.  After almost four years of marriage, they split amicably, divorcing in January of 1970.  Woody cast her in three of his films - most memorably as Nancy in Bananas (1971),   She also appeared as Kay Lewis in Allen;s Take the Money and Run (1969) and as Gina in his Everything you Always Wanted to Know About Sex *But Were Afraid to Ask (1972)  In addition, she had a brief cameo in Stardust Memories (1980).

Lasser has never remarried.  She and Allen did not have any children.

Louise with Woody Allen

After Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Louise was cast in a recurring role on It's a Living, a comedy about five waitresses working at an upscale Los Angeles restaurant. For 14 episodes, from 1981 to 1982, she portrayed Maggie McBurney on the series. During the 1980s, she also made guest appearances on Taxi (three episodes between 1980 and 1982), Laverne and Shirley (1982) and St. Elsewhere (two episodes in 1984).

Louise Lasser was absent from television for most of the 1990s, although she did portray Louise Polsky in a 1992 episode of the sitcom Empty Nest.  The episode is entitled "Good Neighbor Harry" (Episode 4, Season 22, Air Date: March 22, 1992). In 2009, she had an uncredited cameo role as an attendee at a science fiction convention in an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation ("Space Oddity," Season 9, Episode 20, Air Date: April 16, 2009).

In March of this year, Louise appeared in two episodes of HBO's comedy/drama Girls. about a group of 20-something women.  She played the role of Beadie, a disabled artist in a wheelchair.

Now 75 years old, Louise lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  She is an acting instructor at HB Studio.

- Joanne

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Y&R Report (September 27, 2014): The Latest on the Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.

As the Big Weddng draws near, rebellious daughter, Mariah, has agreed to be a bridesmaid.  That girl really has an attitude!  I realize that she hasn't had an easy life and that she was deceived by slippery Ian Ward, the man she regarded as a father figure.  I can even understand why she doesn't want to be beholden to the wealthy Newmans and how she is tired of hearing everyone sing the praises of Cassie.  After all, who would want to be constantly compared to a deceased twin sister?  Having said all that, however, Nick and Sharon have treated Mariah well. They have tried to give her the family she's never had.  Yet she has been particularly resentful toward Sharon.  It doesn't really make sense because Sharon has given her wayward daughter more than a fair shake. Mariah keeps complaining about the things Sharon said to her before kicking her out of the house. She seems to have conveniently forgotten that Sharon caught her red-handed in an attempt to seduce NIck.  At the time, Sharon didn't even know that Mariah was her biological daughter. Mariah also accuses Sharon of abandoning her, even though Sharon was a fightened 16-year-old who didn't even know she had given birth to twins.  The second child, Mariah, was hidden from her.

As far as I'm concerned, Maria is an ingrate and she is behaving like a brat.  She is treating Sharon unfairly. However, the conflict between her and Sharon creates drama.

The whole storyline about Phyllis escaping from the hospital is too unbelievable - even for a soap. It's amazing how clear her faculties are after being in a coma for so long.  She's no longer groggy or disoriented.  She certainly had no problem remembering where the key to the Abbott home was hidden, and she entered the mansion so easily.  Speaking of the new Phyllis (Gina Tognoni), I  have to say that she should have redder hair.  Red hair is part of Phyllis' identity.

The writers have created a sense of foreboding about Nick and Sharon's upcoming nuptials.  Faith even declared, "This wedding is jinxed," when Nick caught a glimpse of Sharon's wedding dress. With Sharon's secret hanging like a dark cloud over the couple, the wedding appears to be doomed - or is that just what the writers want you to think.

One thing is for certain, the wedding, if it happens, will be filled with plenty of drama and intrigue. Frankly, I'm really looking forward to it and I hope that the writers do not disappoint.  This is their chance to really engage the viewers and keep us on the edge of our seats.

It looks as if Clueless Paul Williams is about to make another tragic mistake, this time with son Dylan. So what else is new?  Aided and abetted by wife Christine (also know as the Cricketmeister) hapless Chief Williams is about to find himself in a similar situation with Dylan as he was with his other son, Ricky.

As Chelsea pointed out, Princess Victoria Newman can't have it both ways.  She was the one who chose to divorce Billy Boy Abbott.  Now she's spying on him and Chelsea.  She's also jealous of Stitch and Abby.  Talk about having your cake and eating it too . . . Although she is disillusioned with both Dr. Stitch and Billy, The Princess would be better off knowing which one is the father of her baby.

Not that I'm defending Billy Boy.  He's always exercised poor judgment and displayed a lack of discipline. I'd describe him as the quintessential lovable jerk (more lovable when Billy Miller played the role). Although Chelsea seems quite taken with him at the moment, I wonder how Adam's return will affect their relationship.

By the way, who knew that sweet, little Connor would turn out to be such a dangerous hellraiser? The Princess doesn't want him around Johnny for fear that big, bad Connor will bite his half-brother.  She even attributed his behaviour to having Adam as a father.

Well, Ashley's back in town, and she's making quite an impact.  She doesn't mince words and she isn't one for false modesty. She told brother Jack that things are more fun when she's around, and she's right.  It won't be long before the former Dr. Stitch thinks so too, but where will that leave poor, unhappy Victoria?  Will the Princess be left out in the cold?

It's hard to figure Hilary out.  She dreams of being with Devon.  Yet when Neil offered to give her a divorce, she steadfastly refused.  Remember, though, that a soap needs conflict.  Neil has to catch Hilary and Devon together.


Here is another realty check from Patsy from Sarasota, Florida.

I am perplexed that neither Sharon nor Nick noticed that Victor stole a champagne glass. I would certainly notice if I served three glasses but only ended up with two after my guest departed. Just how roomy are Victors suit pockets if he can shove a plastic bagged flute glass AND a hair brush into them.? Not as if he is wearing a safari jacket!

Right on, Patsy!  I guess the writers hope we won't notice.


Kelly Sullivan, who played Connie Falconeri on General Hospital, will have a recurring role on The Young and the Restless.  Sullivan will play a new character named Sage Warner.

Sullivan will first appear on-screen on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 on CBS and on October 27, 2014 on Global TV in Canada.  She described her "Sage" character to Soap Opera Digest as "intelligent, competent, discreet, and reserved" woman.  Sage, she said, "will do anything for those she loves."

Kelly Sullivan as Connie Falconeri

Well, Y&R fans, if you are dissatisfied with the current storylines, take heart!  Change is coming! The show has hired a new head writer.  His name is Charles Pratt, Jr. and he has a great deal of experience. He has been the head writer for many soaps including All My Children (2008-2009), General Hospital (2002-2006), Santa Barbara (1984-1990) and Sunset Beach.  He has also worked on such prime time series as Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty and Melrose Place.  Pratt received three Daytime Emmys for his contribution to General Hospital. The bad new for those who are not fans of Jill Farren Phelps is she will remain on as executive producer of Y&R.


Do you think Nick and Sharon's wedding will happen?
Type your answers here
Yes, they will wed, but Nick will learn of Sharon's secret and their happiness will be short-lived.
No, Phyllis will interupt the ceremony.
No, Victor will put a stop to the nuptials.
No, Ian Ward will interfere with the wedding.
No, Sharon will leave Nick at the altar, fearing that her secret will come out.
I don't think it will happen, but I'm not sure why.
It will not happen, but not for the reasons cited above.
The ceremony will be completed, but there will be chaos afterward.
Don't know.
Poll Maker

Be sure to check out the next edition of Y&R Report on Saturday, October 11, 2014.

 - Joanne

Canada's Newfoundland comedians are outstanding

Rick Mercer

Sean Majunder

Mary Walsh

We have a kind of survivalist instinct, that kind of humour that comes from surviving and clinging onto something It gives you an edge, it gives you an energy, it gives you emotion and passion in the stuff produced here that you don't see in Toronto. 

- Janis Spence
Newfoundland actor, playwright, director, died 2008

It is often said that the best comedians are Jewish, black or Irish.  They have experienced adversity and discrimination, and they use humour as a means of coping. It is for this same reason that Canada is blessed with a treasure trove of Newfoundland comedians.  There is little doubt that Newfoundland has borne more than its fair share of hardship.  With its history of harsh weather and unemployment in the fishing industry, the people of the province have learned to struggle against adversity.

In his 1982 book, In Search of the Newfoundland Soul, Cyril Poole describes how climate has shaped the character of Newfoundlanders.

Because we have not been able linguistically to slay our enemies, fog and rain, sleet and snow, we must each day go forth and do battle with them.  And the battle has moulded our character.

Newfoundland humour is also derived from the province's unique brand of oral stroytelling.  Many Newfoundlanders are of Irish descent, and of course, the Irish have a rich history of oral tradition.

But aside from having a different view of things, Newfoundlanders generally don't regard hmour as something that needs to be written.  It is something that is an oral happening, in the form of a particularly imaginative piece of swearing, a spontaneous witticism  or a fabricated tall tale embellished according to the taste of the teller.

- Robert B. Moore
McGill Uniiversity, Montreal

According to Robert Moore, a native Newfoundlander and a physics professor, word play is learned at a young age in the province and the following example is popular among its children.

A matron, visiting from Toronto, encounters a young boy offering blueberries for sale.  The matron remarks:

"If they are blueberries, why are some of them red?"

"Cause dey's green, Mam."

Given this background, it is no surprise, therefore, that Newfoundlanders have been such successful television comedians. I am a devoted fan of CBC comedy shows such as The Rick Mercer Report and This Hour Has 22 Minutes. The preponderance of Newfoundland comedians on CBC, however, really began with a show called CODCO.  
CODCO (an abbreviation for Cod Company) was a comedy troupe of Newfoundlanders who reflected the province's history of self-deprecating humour and satire.  The group performed at the Fisherman's Union Hall in St. John's during the 1970s.  An active theatre troupe from 1973 to 1976, CODCO toured throughout Newfoundland and Labrador and in manor Canadian cities.  They also travelled to the United States and England. An example of their humour: they claimed to have formed the "Cod Peace Movement" for the purpose of protecting poor, helpless cods from the brutality of barbarian seals.

CODCO was eventually given its own television series, which aired on CBC-TV from 1987 until 1992.  The show's comedy consisted largely of satirical sketches and social and political commentary. Some of its recurring characters included a talk show host with terrible guests and a couple of lost souls who ride the bus because they can think of nothing better to do.  Below is a publicity photo of the CODCO cast - L to R: Cathy Jones, Andy Jones (Cathy's brother), Greg Malone, Mary Walsh, and Tommy Sexton.

In 1993, the highly successful This Hour Has 22 Minutes was launched.  22 Minutes originally featured Cathy Jones, Rick Mercer, Greg Thomey and Mary Walsh - all Newfoundlanders. It is a fast-paced and humorous look at Canadian and international politics and events.  The series was created by Mary Walsh, who departed in 2004 to pursue film roles and to host Mary Walsh: Open Book, a discussion show about books and literature.  She has returned for guest appearances.

Rick Mercer left 22 Minutes in 2001 to spend more time on another CBC show he was doing at the time, a satire about the Canadian TV production industry called Made in Canada.  After Made in Canada went off the air in 2003, Rick became the host and star of Rick Mercer's Monday Report, now known as The Rick Mercer Report.  While a member of the cast of 22 Minutes, Rick began performing his popular "rant" in which he walks briskly while making scathing social and political comments.  "Rick's Rant" is now a regular segment of The Rick Mercer Report.

On 22 Minutes, Mary Walsh's character, Marg Delahunty, became known for ambushing politicians and other public figures, forcing them to undergo her fearless questioning.  She would confront them with criticism and motherly guidance, and some of them would squirm uncomfortably at her acerbic remarks.  She frequently appeared in a bright red costume as "Marg, Princess Warrior" (a parody of Lucy Lawless' Xena, Princess Warrior character.

On October 24, 2011, in a reprisal of her Marg, Princess Warrior role, Mary accosted Toronto Mayor Rob Ford at his home.  Ford reacted angrily and allegedly hurled verbal abuse at a 911 operator.  The incident made news headlines and Walsh was criticized by some for showing up at he mayor's home. Mary, however, denied she was trying to upset Ford, who apparently did not recognize her.  "I'm a 60-year-old woman with a plastic sword, "she declared.  "I was only going to give him a bit of friendly advice."

Mary Walsh as Marg, Warrior Princess

This Hour Has 22 Minutes is still going strong, with Cathy Jones the only original cast member remaining.  The rest of the current cast consists of Mark Critch, Sean Majunder and Susan Kent - all Newfoundlanders.

Mark Critch, was born in St. John's in 1974. and began doing sketch comedy when he was 15.  In 2003, he moved from being a 22 Minutes writer to being one of its permanent anchors and reporters. He is a talented and hard-working comedian.  On the show, he has done spot-on impressions of singers such as Burton Cummings and Neil Young.  He has a great knack for imitating their mannerisms and their singing voices.

Mark has appeared in CBC's Winnipeg Comedy Festival and hosted the Halifax Comedy Festival.  He has also written for and appeared in CBC's popular Just for Laughs series.  However his talents are not just limited to comedy.  He has played the role of Ned Bishop in the CBC's detective series Republic of Doyle and a Gander, Newfoundland airport radio man in the 2006 World War II mini-series Above and Beyond.

In 2013, Critch won the Best Actor Award at the Atlantic Film Festival for his performance in the Newfoundland-themed comedy The Grand Seduction.  In the much-acclaimed movie, he portrays a branch bank manager Henry Tilley, a resident of the small harbour community of Tickle Head, Newfoundland.  For 22 Minutes fans, the film is a must-see because Cathy Jones and Mary Walsh also have roles in it.

Mark Critch

Sean Majunder is a native of Burlington, Newfoundland.  He was born on January 29, 1972 to a mother of European background from Newfoundland and a Bengali Hindu father.  A stand-up comedian, Sean first joined the cast of 22 Minutes in 2003.  He is probably best known for his portrayal of a character named Raj Binder, a nervous, bespectacled Indian reporter who sweats profusely.

Majunder as Raj Binder

Sean also stars in a show entitled Majunder Manor.  It's all about his attempts to turn his picturesque hometown of Burlington, Newfoundland into a tourist haven. The tiny hamlet is located on the east coast of Newfoundland on Notre Dame Bay.  It's a small lumbering and fishing community with a population of about 349 people (2011 Canada census).

“Having grown up in this small community, I know what a different place it is,” Majumder told the National Post last July.  “The truths of Burlington are universal. If you take the story of a small place that has gone through ups and downs and is in a new reframing of itself through this TV show, I think that has universal appeal.”

Sean Majunder has been married to American actress Shelby Fenner since December of 2012. Shelby, who was born in Petoskey, Michigan, is known for films such as Vantage Point (2008), Wolf Girl (2001) and The Guardian (2006). 

Susan Kent, the most recent addition to the cast, is an actress and writer from St. John's.  She started working in TV in 2005 when she played the role of Darlene in CBC's Hatching Matching and Dispatching.  She became a member of the 22 Minutes team in 2012 after being a writer and guest performer for the show.

By the way, on October 22, 2014, This Hour Has 22 Minutes will begin its 22nd season.

L to R - S. Kent, M. Critch, C. Ones and S. Majunder

- Joanne

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Y&R Report (September 13, 2014): The Latest on The Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.

Well fans, Y&R, has given me a nice, hearty laugh this week.  Genoa City Police Chief Paul Williams, former private detective, has been awarded a "distinguished citizen's award."  Please stop me!  I'm rolling in the aisles.  Is this to be taken seriously or is it tongue and cheek on the writers' part?  As regular readers of Y&R Report know, I call Paul "Clueless" for good reason.  Incompetence, Paul Williams is thy name!

So Billy Miller (ex-Billy Abbott) has joined the cast of General Hospital.  General Hospital has scooped up another one of Y&R's best actors.  It's obviously GH's gain and Y&R's loss.  On General Hospital, Miller will be playing the role of the presumed dead Jason Morgan.  Ironically, Jason Morgan was last portrayed by none other than Steve Burton, now Dylan McAvoy on Y&R.

Billy Miller is one of my favourites and I'd much rather have him be a resident of Geona City than of Port Charles.  Every time I watch a scene with Burgess Jenkins as Billy Boy Abbott, I imagine how much better Billy Miller would have done the same scene.  I also believe that Y&R could have signed him to another contract if they had really wanted to.  They were fools to let him get away!

It was great to see Eileen Davidson's return as Ashley Abbott.  When she entered the room, she brought so much energy to the scene.  She really is attracted to Dr. Stitch.  Now that he's an employee of Jabot, it's pretty obvious that they will become involved - if Eileen Davidson stays around long enough.  It was hello and goodbye once more.  No sooner did she appear in Genoa City than she took off for New York again. I assume the reason is that she has joined The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and has to film that show. 

Eileen will be back, though. In June, she signed a two-year contract with The Young and the Restless with a proviso that she could continue appearing on Days of Our Lives in the future and that she could take some time off if her workload became too heavy.

Ian Ward (Ray Wise) has disappeared and Clueless Paul is hot on his trail.  He phoned the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to find out if the slippery criminal had crossed the border. I hope we haven't seen the last of Ian. (Ray Wise). I  really consider Ray to be a good actor and I doubt Ian Ward is dead.  I don't think Dylan or anyone else killed the sneaky cult leader. Clueless Paul is probably going to end up arresting his own son, though.  It's obvious that Victor's investigators do much better detective work than the Genoa City police.  Speaking of the GCPD, what do you think of Detective Harding? I'm really not impressed with him and I find him to be a very unlikeable character.  He seems quite arrogant and ill-mannered. He also bullies Kevin. Alex Chavez was much better and I hope he returns someday.

Have you noticed that Lily's attitude toward Hilary has been softening lately?  She has been defending her nemesis, even thanking her for supporting Neil after his accident.  There's a reason for this. When Lily discovers that Hilary was planning to dump Neil and run off with Devon, she's is going to be quite angry. Her extreme wrath will be directed at her stepmother, whom she will blame for almost everything (Don't forget that Hilary is Lily's stepmother)  Lily will also be upset with hubby Sugar Cane because he knew about Hilary and Devon and failed to confide in her about it.

Sharon and Nicholas are engaged again.  I really like the two of them together and Sharon has never been so likeable since she got back together with Nick.  Alas, on a soap such as Y&R, they will not be allowed to be happy for long.  Phyllis is coming our of her coma and will be determined to get revenge on Sharon.  There is bound to be plenty of drama at the wedding, which will probably be interrupted.  Sharon's secret is hanging over the couple like a dark cloud, and it's doubtful that Nick will forgive her for her transgressions.

Nick presented Sharon with the original engagement that he had given her when they got married the first time - with some upgrades and enhancements, of course. When Sharon asked him where he had found the ring, he told her he had found it in her underwear drawer.  Now I ask you, how many people leave a valuable engagement ring in their underwear drawer and forget where they put it?

It looks as if Kevin is going to hook up with Mariah. On the other hand, perhaps Bad Girl Mariah will pursue Summer's husband, Austin, now that he's working at The Underground and there's no love lost between her and Super Girl.  Summer's jealous that Mariah will become closer to Daddy Nick than she is.

Not that I'm any great fan of Kevin, but I think I'd prefer him to Austin.  Austin is one of my least favourite characters on the show.  I find him very wooden and uninteresting.


Our reality checker, Patsy from Sarasota, Florida, wrote:

Phyllis has been hospitalized in a coma for over one year and Nurse Hathaway had kept her massive engagement ring in her uniform pocket for SAFEKEEPING. Are you kidding me!! No nurse or medical staff would keep any personal item least of all that huge rock.

You are absolutely right, Patsy!  It was so ridiculous seeing Phyllis lying in a hospital bed with a big rock on her finger.  Only on a soap . . .

Here's a comment from Fifi from Collingwood, Ontario  Fifi, by the way, predicted that Meredith Baxter's character, Maureen, would turn out to be Stitch and Kelly's mother.

The wealthy residents of Genoa City should start checking who's behind their door before they answer it.
Case in Point:  Nikki just flings open the door whenever it rings even though Ian Ward has been standing behind it on a few occasions.

Yes, isn't the Newman ranch supposed to be surrounded by security guards?  Victor always claims that his first priority is protecting his family.  It seems he's more interested in getting Phyllis to come out of her coma so that he can break up Nick and Sharon.

Helen from Scarborough called Neil Winters the king of  jazz. She really loves how Neil gets into that jazz music.  Helen also remarked on Malcolm's visit.  She didn't think it was much of a visit. She said he just arrived with a duffel bag, upset Neil, stayed a few days and took off again.

Well, Helen, to be fair to Malcolm, he did try to make amends with his family.  After all, Neil did have an affair and a child with Malcolm's then-wife, Sophia.  It was interesting to see Shemar Moore in the role of Malcolm again, even for two episodes and just to tie up lose ends.  I enjoyed the flashbacks of the brothers from years ago, especially when Neil was a fresh-faced Stanford University MBA graduate and Malcolm wore braids (cornrows) and a bandanna.


Longtime viewers of The Young and the Restless will remember Tom Hallick, who last appeared on the show in 1978.  Tom was a regular member of the cast when Y&R started back in 1973.  He played the role of Brad Eliot, who was the source of an intense rivalry between two sisters, Leslie and Lorie Brooks.

According to Michael Logan of TV Guide magazine, Hallick will once again appear on Y&R after a 35 year absence.  This time, Logan reveals, he will portray "a kindly truck driver who helps an on-the-lam Phyllis find her way back to Genoa City."


Did you notice that Chelsea (Melissa Claire Egan) has lightened her hair?  How do you like her new look?  I can take it or leave it.  Besides, there are too many blondes on the show as it is. the latest being Maureen (Meredith Baxter).


MARIAH (after throwing water at Abby) : I haven't seen somebody freak out over a little bit of water since Dorothy doused the wicked witch.

Abby referred to Stitch and Ashley as Stashley.

That' all for now.

Don't forget that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear on TV Banter on Saturday. September 27, 2014.

- Joanne