November 6, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 38  

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Dawson proves he's the scourge of CBS

Mark Polishuk

Opinions Editor

Last Sunday night, if you weren’t watching The Simpsons Halloween episode or the Green Bay Packers laying waste to the Minnesota Vikings (yeah Pack! Booyah!), you might’ve happened upon the CBS 75th anniversary special.

CBS holds a special place in my heart as my parents’ network of choice, at least back in the day. I remember my dad sitting on the couch on Sundays, watching the NFL and then 60 Minutes and that damn stopwatch, as well as cooking up some popcorn every Friday night to see what sleazy trick J.R. would pull on Dallas.

As for myself, however, I’ve never consistently watched a CBS show except for Survivor. I guess I used to watch Murphy Brown back in the day (I was an oddly mature 10-year-old), but other than that, the Eye never held my attention. This special, if nothing else, served as a reminder to me of how many classic shows CBS produced, such as All in the Family, Mary Tyler Moore and countless others.

Highlights included...

• a montage of various famous actors (everyone from Taye Diggs to Tom Selleck) who got their start on CBS soap operas. As the different names came up, the audience politely applauded everyone, except for the dead silence when Paul Walker and James Van Der Beek were featured. Poor Dawson; maybe he can make a movie complaining about this snub and then show it on his theatre screen-sized forehead.

• Bob Newhart cementing his place as the classic TV comedian that is still funny. Most old-timers’ routines are a bit stale by this point but Newhart still has his fastball. Well, maybe not a fastball, given Newhart’s low-key style; maybe more of changeup. Newhart is the Greg Maddux of TV comedy.

• the always fun game of “God, look how old that guy looks!” The hands-down winner was former Dukes of Hazzard co-star John Schneider, who now bears a striking resemblance to Droopy Dawg. He looked even worse next to his fellow Duke boy Tom Wopat, who has Botoxed his way to eternal youth.

Aside from these hilarious moments, the special was one of those generic “Look we’re so great” specials networks air from time to time. CBS, at least, can back it up with their status as the No. 1 rated network. What was missing, however, was a montage of some of CBS’ failures. Why not show some clips from such long-forgotten crapfests like Ink or the Designing Women spinoff? Lord knows nobody saw them the first time anyway. It’d show that CBS has a nice sense of humour about itself.

So this flaw aside, the special was an acceptable way to pass the time. It made me appreciate all the great CBS shows I miss to watch other channels.



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