Sunday, March 19, 2006
Saul Turtletaub, voice of the underclass
John Steinbeck. Charles Bukowski. Nelson Algren. Literary greats who gave voice to the disinfranchised. Add to these lumanaries the name of Saul Turtletaub.
This past holiday season, my friend Rocco and his very patient wife Meg hosted what came to be known as an "Ironic TV Christmas Party", wherein he Tivo'd holiday-themed episodes of "Happy Days", "Walker Texas Ranger", "Sanford & Son" (hands down the best episode of them all), "Good Times", "McGyver", and others. We ate, we drank, and we watched the episodes, taking great care to not forward past the entertaining and informative commercials.
We had just finished watching the Christmas episode of "What's Happening!!", which concerned Rog and Dee's estranged father attempting to re-bond with them over Christmas dinner (replete with plenty of 'Re-run's gonna eat all the food' jokes), and were dabbing our eyes during the closing theme when we noticed an interesting credit: "written by Saul Turtletaub."
Yes, that is correct. Hollywood, in it's infinite wisdom, decided that the Christmas episode of a black sitcom was best helmed by a old jewish guy.
Since then I've discovered that Mr. Turtletaub is a much-awarded industry vet who worked on "The Carol Burnett Show","That Girl", and even had a hand in the development of "Shari Lewis and Lambchop", which for those of you who don't remember, is an act that basically consists of a white lady talking to a sock. Just the sort of training that would qualify someone to examine the lives of spunky inner-city youth. Small wonder DeWayne's motivations seemed so random and contrived in this episode.