October 24, 2023
What’s with all the Frasier hate? Jamie Loftus joins Ashley to defend the revival and unpack TV crushes including Alex Trebek, Alan Thicke, and David Hyde Pierce. They also discuss their favorite “fall asleep shows” and dive into the history of ‘Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman’. Later on, Jamie opens up about her dream job: writing for soap operas.
What We Watched:
Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman
Fernwood 2 Night
Love is Blind reunion
Evil Lives Here: The Killer Speaks
The Fall of the House of Usher
The Midnight Club
Donate to Hollywood crew members in need at The Entertainment Community Fund.
If you have 2 minutes, please help TV I Say grow by filling out this survey: podsurvey.com/tvisay
S2E66 — The Frasier Reboot and Other Old Men We Love w/ Jamie Loftus
Jamie Loftus [00:00:04] I genuinely do love how many Burbank residents are swinging for the fences with a Boston accent in that scene–the scene where they’re at the bar. I’m like, “One guy has it and everyone else is like, “Fraisah.”
Ashley Ray [00:00:22] “I thought your dad was a plumbah from Dorchestah.”
Jamie Loftus [00:00:27] Just acting like they’re in, like, a local production of Newsies. And you’re like, “Great. Love that.”
Ashley Ray [00:00:32] “I’m sold.” Welcome to TV, I Say with Ashley Ray–your go-to podcast for discovering what to watch on TV and getting behind the scenes insight from the people who make the shows you love. You just heard a little tease of my chat with Jamie Loftus–the amazing Jamie. Yeah, we get into a lot this episode. Do we get into the Chicago hot dog issue? Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, we can’t just talk about TV. Obviously, we get into Frasier–the Frasier reboot. You want to know about it because you probably aren’t watching it. But we talk about that. We talk about Chicago hot dogs–something near and dear to my heart. And we get into some just really great vintage TV that you’re going to want to check out. And maybe I share some opinions on Fall of the House of Usher. Yeah, all the latest and greatest. So, let’s just get right into it. Enjoy my interview with Jamie Loftus. Jamie Loftus, welcome to TV Club. Listeners, you know Jamie from every podcast that I love basically–The Bechdel Cast, My Year in Mensa, Lolita Podcast–and as a writer in television for Robot Chicken, Teenage Euthanasia… Incredible second season by the way.
Jamie Loftus [00:01:53] Thank you!
Ashley Ray [00:01:54] So, so funny. On Adult Swim. And Star Trek: Lower Decks. She also wrote one of my favorite books of the year, Raw Dog: The Naked Truth about Hot Dogs, which taught me so, so much about a food that I don’t enjoy as much now but still love deeply.
Jamie Loftus [00:02:08] When I saw your video, I was like, “Oh no. Am I going to catch shit for my sins against Chicago? What is going to happen?”
Ashley Ray [00:02:19] Yes, you show a lot of hate towards… I just want to clear the air on it because I love the Chicago style hot dog. I do believe it is the best a hot dog can be. You disagree.
Jamie Loftus [00:02:32] I do. But I love Chicago, and I feel like I didn’t make that clear enough in the book. I was like, “This is actively aggressive of me to do.”
Ashley Ray [00:02:40] And while some Chicagoans aren’t willing to separate the dog and the city, I am. So, I can separate your hatred for… Yeah, it is like a salad on a hot dog. But I can respect that and not be angry.
Jamie Loftus [00:02:55] Yeah, I was like, “Wow, I really did say that whole book that there’s no wrong way to eat a hot dog and then aggressively went in on–”
Ashley Ray [00:03:04] Except…
Jamie Loftus [00:03:07] If I could do it again… And also, well, you’ll be happy to know this. When I did my book promotion show in Chicago, people who had come there to see me booed me as I was coming out. So, Chicago really held it down. I was like, “All right, you know what? Fair. You’re not wrong. And this was my worst fear of what would happen.”
Ashley Ray [00:03:31] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, we love our hot dogs. We take it really seriously. I
Jamie Loftus [00:03:38] It’s a shame it’s not a better hot dog because I appreciate the– No, I have to stop. I have to stop. Y
Ashley Ray [00:03:45] Let’s just set that aside. I am so excited to know what TV you’re watching because they sent me a little list and it is so everywhere that I love it. What’s on your watch list right now?
Jamie Loftus [00:03:58] I have been absolutely all over the place recently. I haven’t been keeping up with recent TV in the way that I normally would. Because the season of Star Trek that I’ve been working on has been coming out, I was rewatching some Star Trek: Voyager, so I’ve been enjoying that. But I’ve been going really deep on old Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman episodes. I’ve been into Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman for some time. But then I had never checked out the spinoff of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, starring Fred Willard, Fernwood 2 Night. And that show is also completely nuts. And I can’t believe it was broadcast.
Ashley Ray [00:04:42] I can’t believe that you watch Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. I discovered it on YouTube forever ago, and I used to annoy my mom with it because she hated it. She was like, “I remember this weird show that made fun of, like, soap operas. And I hated it. And I can’t believe you’re watching this old, weird show.” It’s so funny.
Jamie Loftus [00:05:04] It’s so funny. And I also totally understand why it would be super annoying to watch in broadcast because it moves so slowly. It’s absurd how little happens in the space of an episode and how it’s just, like, Louise Lasser kind of plodding around a kitchen. Sometimes she takes a phone call, sometimes we don’t even get that far. It’s my favorite. This made me feel old. I think I originally found that show on Dailymotion.
Ashley Ray [00:05:41] Ooh, yeah. That feels right. I definitely feel like I wasn’t watching it on YouTube. It was something more out there.
Jamie Loftus [00:05:49] An ad every 14 seconds. But you’re like, “No, this is good. Let’s hang in there.”
Ashley Ray [00:05:53] And I’m just like, “I have a popup blocker. It’s solid. Like, let’s roll.”
Jamie Loftus [00:05:57] Yeah, as far as I could tell, that’s also the only place you can find Fernwood 2 Night.
Ashley Ray [00:06:04] That’s the spinoff. So, I didn’t even know they’re… I think I was aware of a spinoff but never tried to find it.
Jamie Loftus [00:06:10] Yeah, I spent the summer with my dad–very romantic. And yeah, he knows I’m a Mary Hartman fan. He assumed I had seen Fernwood 2 Night. So, it’s, like, a talk show that took place within the Mary Hartman universe. It was only on for, like, three months, but it was every night. So, there’s, like, 60 episodes. And yeah, it’s Martin Mull, who is in Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman as Garth Gimble, who was a wife beater who died being impaled by a Christmas tree star.
Ashley Ray [00:06:55] Wow. That’s so poetic.
Jamie Loftus [00:06:59] So the show is hosted by, I think, the same actor playing his brother and then Fred Willard as a guy. It’s such a weird show. Also, basically nothing happens.
Ashley Ray [00:07:16] I’m going to go find the show. I absolutely love just weird shows from, like, the ’60s and ’70s that make you go, “Wow, we used to be a proper country–a proper nation–that just let wild weirdos do whatever they wanted on primetime TV.”
Jamie Loftus [00:07:29] You can make a show for $3, and that was fine. It is nuts how community theatery those shows feel. It’s weird.
Ashley Ray [00:07:40] Not today. Not anymore.
Jamie Loftus [00:07:41] No. It makes me feel so old because it’s just like I… They don’t make it like this anymore. It looks both better and worse. Like, it’s wild.
Ashley Ray [00:07:53] Yeah. Not now. You said you were watching Swarm, who have, like, Amazon Prime Video budgets on a TV show.
Jamie Loftus [00:08:02] I really enjoyed Swarm. I watched it with a friend over the summer, and I think that it was… I feel like I’m not usually super sensitive to violence, but…
Ashley Ray [00:08:15] It’s real violent!
Jamie Loftus [00:08:17] They really make you sit in it. I feel like I haven’t been forced to sit in it in a show for a long time.
Ashley Ray [00:08:24] Yeah, it was one of those ones where I truly was like, “I think I gotta look away from the screen a bit. I think I don’t want to see what’s about to happen here,” especially when you’re like, “Oh, maybe she’s finally over it and she’s just going to be, like, in love.” And you’re like, “No.”
Jamie Loftus [00:08:42] It was interesting because a close friend of mine from high school who just, like, didn’t blink–I was like, “I’m nervous to be around you right now.” Oh, God, yeah. That show. I feel– Well, you know far better than I do. I feel like that show didn’t get the, like… The hype felt too brief for that show.
Ashley Ray [00:09:04] I think there was something about putting it all out at once that really kind of didn’t make conversation last. And most of what went viral online were the sex scenes in the very first episode with Chloe Bailey that was so silly because it was truly people being like, “Do you think they had real sex in the TV show?” To the point where we had to interview the intimacy coordinator so she could go, “No, it wasn’t real because that was all people were talking about.”
Jamie Loftus [00:09:34] I guess it means she did a great job, but…
Ashley Ray [00:09:36] They did a really good job. But it did get, I think, an Emmy nom for Best Writing. So, I was happy to see that. But I think if they had done it weekly, people would have been tuning in trying to figure out what was going on.
Jamie Loftus [00:09:51] Yeah, I didn’t think of that because I watched it a couple of months after it came out. But it does feel like it should be more of, like, a conversation show.
Ashley Ray [00:10:00] Yeah. Billie Eilish played a cult leader, and, like, no one really talked about it.
Jamie Loftus [00:10:05] That’s always fascinating to me. I felt… Well, I didn’t get through The Idol.
Ashley Ray [00:10:11] I did. I did.
Jamie Loftus [00:10:13] Braver than anyone. I got to the third episode. I know what happened because there’s been 1,500 demented video essays that have come out that essentially recap it. But I’m always amazed when there’s a really, really gigantically famous person in a show and still no one watches it. Like Jennie from BLACKPINK is in The Idol, and they still couldn’t get people to watch the fucking show.
Ashley Ray [00:10:39] They had all your favorites in it. And people were just like, “I mean, Dan Levy is so fun in Schitt’s Creek, but I just don’t love him enough to go there.” And then also he’s, like, only in one episode and then never shows up again in the show. It’s really weird.
Jamie Loftus [00:10:56] It’s always very violent. I just rewatched Barbarian for The Bechdel Cast. And it is great to see, like, “Oh wow, I really have a huge thing for Bill Skarsgård,” and then he’s, you know, dead 20 minutes later. You’re like, “All right. Fine. Fair enough. I’m being punished for being horny.” But the Dan Levy thing doesn’t… He was just in one episode.
Ashley Ray [00:11:22] He was just in one episode. And it has a feeling of he was like, “I see where this is going. I don’t want to be involved anymore. Just leave me out of it. Just cut me out of the show. Just don’t even explain it.”
Jamie Loftus [00:11:32] God, I hope he’s that powerful. I really hope he’s like, “Actually, I’m only available for three days upon further thought.”
Ashley Ray [00:11:44] I mean, Schitt’s Creek–it’s a powerful show. They have, like, a lobby, I feel. Their crew runs deep.
Jamie Loftus [00:11:52] I feel like that… I’m trying to think of shows from the last ten years. That is a show that I watched enthusiastically. And now I can fall asleep to it for the rest of my life. And, like, what a beautiful gift? Do you have, like, a fall asleep show?
Ashley Ray [00:12:11] Oh, absolutely. I mean, obviously, there’s The Golden Girls, The Office, The Nanny, and then–one I also want to discuss–Frasier. Frasier is one of my go to sleep shows because they used to show it on Lifetime when I was a kid.
Jamie Loftus [00:12:26] Boy, did they. Oh, my gosh.
Ashley Ray [00:12:28] And it used to be The Nanny, Golden Girls, and Frasier. And I was like, “Ooh. Yes. This is it.”
Jamie Loftus [00:12:35] So you were a Frasier child as well. I feel like Frasier child is a very specific kind of kid. Oh, that’s awesome.
Ashley Ray [00:12:41] Absolutely. Yeah, I would say that that really fits with my personality. I just was, like, watching Frasier and I’m like, “I get that reference. Yes, I do. Yeah, I get what he’s talking about.”
Jamie Loftus [00:12:53] That was such a thing for me when I was a kid. Across all media, I really loved to pretend to know what people were talking about and then would, like, write… I had– I mean, I do have OCD. But I didn’t know that when I was a kid. And it would manifest in stuff like watching Frasier. This makes you feel so old. But I had this old TV–tiny with an antenna–that my parents got as a wedding present in the ’80s. And I got to keep it in my room, and I could arrange the antenna… I sound 70 years old. But, like, Frasier was on local TV from 10:00 to 11:00, which was past my bedtime. But I was like, “I got to watch it.” So, I would have it on super quiet, and I would get really close to the screen. And I would have a notebook because they were just saying shit–I mean, brilliantly, but they’re just saying shit. And so, I would try to write down Kierkegaard or whatever they had said and then would Google it at school. Big loser shit. But Gilmore Girls was very much the same of, like, “What are they talking about?”
Ashley Ray [00:14:12] “What is this? I want to know about this adult world. This is what you have to know.” And it’s just them talking about some French filmmaker you don’t need to know it all.
Jamie Loftus [00:14:23] Oh, God, I’m trying to think of the shows, like Frasier, that would get you into a particular area. Gilmore Girls and Girlfriends I would watch obsessively. Then you would be, like, taken care of pop culture wise.
Ashley Ray [00:14:37] Yeah. Girlfriends. I loved Girlfriends.
Jamie Loftus [00:14:39] Such a classic. I rewatched that top to bottom during lockdown and just was, like…
Ashley Ray [00:14:47] Same!
Jamie Loftus [00:14:47] Really?
Ashley Ray [00:14:48] Yeah, I rewatch it. I mean, I rewatched so many. Sex and the City. But girlfriends–I don’t know–I guess as a kid I didn’t realize how good it was. Obviously because I was a child, I did not understand the jokes. And now I watch, and I’m like, “Oh my goodness.” And also, I realized they were kind of the villains.
Jamie Loftus [00:15:08] For sure.
Ashley Ray [00:15:10] The girlfriends–they were kind of the villains. I was not on their side as much.
Jamie Loftus [00:15:15] I mean, that’s also true of Gilmore Girls. Like, all of the Girls of the early 2000s were…
Ashley Ray [00:15:22] Rory is the villain. She is.
Jamie Loftus [00:15:24] Super villain. That show… I mean, Golden Girls I got into a little later. I wish I had gotten to it at the right time.
Ashley Ray [00:15:36] I was a Golden Girls child. That one I’d say was the one I watched the youngest with my cousins–even my boy cousins–where like, “We got to stop playing, y’all. The Golden Girls is on.”
Jamie Loftus [00:15:49] Who is your girl?
Ashley Ray [00:15:53] You know, I would say I’m really a Rose girl, honestly. Rose would always make me laugh. I always loved how game she was to set up a punchline. I loved her. And she also was still a little slutty like Blanche. You got a little bit of everything with Rose. And she was, you know, just the sweetest.
Jamie Loftus [00:16:10] Yeah. And Betty was, like, such a generous actor. I don’t know. I really loved her. I was a Dorothy–big time. I loved Dorothy. I think it was because I was really tall.
Ashley Ray [00:16:26] I was going to say it is because you’re both tall. I was immediately going to go, “Because you’re both tall.”
Jamie Loftus [00:16:30] I’m a simple person. It’s because we’re both tall. And I was like, “Wow, you could be tall and act like that.” And that’s inspirational to me. But yeah, Frasier was definitely… I had a lot of crushes on, like, old men when I was a kid.
Ashley Ray [00:16:48] Same. I had a big thing for Walter Matthau.
Jamie Loftus [00:16:52] Oh, that’s kind of a deep cut, too.
Ashley Ray [00:16:55] I was just really like, “He is everything to me,” as a nine-year-old girl.
Jamie Loftus [00:17:07] I mean, his hat game. The same thing with, like, “How can you, as a ten-year-old, be in love with Kelsey Grammer with that hair line?” Like, it defies logic. But I was like, “Now, there is a man.” Wait. Walter Matthau. Who else? Who were your, like, formative crushes?
Ashley Ray [00:17:27] I really liked Jack Lemmon.
Jamie Loftus [00:17:30] Wow. Okay. You have a type.
Ashley Ray [00:17:32] Yeah, I have a bit of a type.
Jamie Loftus [00:17:33] Old timey guy.
Ashley Ray [00:17:36] And I think it’s because, like, my grandma and grandpa would make me watch movies with them when they were young. So when I saw them when they were old, I was still like, “Huh… I see it for you. This does something for me. This works.”
Jamie Loftus [00:17:50] Did you ever have the experience of… I remember my mom telling me that this had happened to her when she was a kid. And then it also happened to me. Having a crush on someone who has since died and having to be told, “That man died in his sleep in his 80s.”
Ashley Ray [00:18:09] I actually had that happen with Kurt Cobain, actually. That was the first time that happened to me.
Jamie Loftus [00:18:14] That’s a swerve. You don’t see that one coming.
Ashley Ray [00:18:16] You don’t see that coming. I was, like, three when he died. So, by the time I got into him, when I was, like–I don’t know, 11–I was just like, “Wow, I love this music that I found on Kazaa. Wow, what a brilliant soul. I love this guy. I should find out more about him.” And then a week later, VH1 was showing a Behind the Music on Nirvana, and I was like, “Whoa. How iconic. I get to learn about my new favorite band? Wow. This is such good timing.” And an hour later I was, like, crying to my mom, like, “Why didn’t you tell me he was dead?”
Jamie Loftus [00:18:52] Brutal. My mom had that experience with Gene Kelly when she was a kid. I don’t think he had died yet. But she was telling me the story about how she sent him, like, fan mail to his P.O. Box. And he sent her back a signed headshot, but it was him as an old person. And she was like, “What? How can this be?” You ever do Jesus Christ Superstar?
Ashley Ray [00:19:34] Oh, yeah.
Jamie Loftus [00:19:35] So Carl Anderson, who plays Judas in the original cast of the movie. He wears the orange suit and things.
Ashley Ray [00:19:46] I mean, that’s a good one.
Jamie Loftus [00:19:48] I have vivid memories of having a LaserJet printer picture of him. And I found out that he had died the previous year. And I was like, “I need to go on a walk. What is going on?”
Ashley Ray [00:20:02] Oh, yeah. I feel like I remember in high school, he died. Our theatre teacher–I think I remember him being very, like… “Judas from Jesus Christ Superstar…” I remember that distinctly.
Jamie Loftus [00:20:17] My mom would show me all the Broadway musicals. And she was like, “No, Jamie, you’re supposed to have a crush on Jesus.” I was like, “Have you seen Jesus’s outfits? They’re awful.”
Ashley Ray [00:20:30] They’re not Great.
Jamie Loftus [00:20:31] His songs aren’t as good. It’s Judas all the way. He’s a tortured soul. I could fix it. That is the vibe you’re going for. God. And then Alex Trebek?
Ashley Ray [00:20:41] Oh, Alex Trebek. Oh, yeah. Oh, Alan Thicke. Alan Thicke.
Jamie Loftus [00:20:44] Wow. That’s a good one. Alfred Molina. He wasn’t in TV ever, really. But yeah, Alex Trebek and Kelsey Grammer. And then on some flights of fancy, I would go for David Hyde Pierce. But he was so frail, you know?
Ashley Ray [00:21:00] Yeah, he always was just a little frail boy to me. They didn’t make him very sexualized on Frasier, you know?
Jamie Loftus [00:21:07] Except for every once in a while, where they’d really let him hang loose.
Ashley Ray [00:21:13] Like, go wild on Daphne or something.
Jamie Loftus [00:21:15] Oh, my God.
Ashley Ray [00:21:16] “Oh, right. I guess they have a connection.”
Jamie Loftus [00:21:22] I was rewatching because I was excited for the reboot. I don’t know how you feel about, like–
Ashley Ray [00:21:27] So are you watching the reboot?
Jamie Loftus [00:21:28] I’ve watched the first two episodes. I think there might be a third one out, but I haven’t seen it yet. I felt, and I usually feel irrationally… Like, when the wave of hatred about Fraser’s jeans came out, I was like, “Let’s give him a chance to explain himself. Why are we being so mean to Frasier?”
Ashley Ray [00:21:51] “Why are we judging Frasier? I’m sure Frasier has a reason.”
Jamie Loftus [00:21:54] I’ve yet to discern the reason for the jeans, but I just found it very bizarre how that was received because, like, people seemed upset that it was a different show. And it’s like, “Well, Frasier was a different show than Cheers. What are you talking about?”
Ashley Ray [00:22:13] So I do want to say in the first episode they set up a jeans joke. Listeners, if you didn’t immediately dive into the Frasier reboot–
Jamie Loftus [00:22:25] I literally was up at midnight. It’s pretty embarrassing.
Ashley Ray [00:22:26] I was ready. They moved him to Boston. So that’s exciting because–yes–there are people with Boston accents in the show.
Jamie Loftus [00:22:34] Well, attempts.
Ashley Ray [00:22:36] You’re going to want the Cheers references, and they give them to you. He’s like, “I spent too much time at a certain bar.” And you’re like, “Oh. There it is.”
Jamie Loftus [00:22:44] “Yes! Say the name. Say the name of the bar. Cameos! Come on.”
Ashley Ray [00:22:50] And he’s there to, like, reconnect with his son. He ends up finding out his son has a roommate who has a child. And then he’s like, “You’re poor, so I have to buy the entire apartment building you live in.”
Jamie Loftus [00:23:04] Classic Frasier.
Ashley Ray [00:23:06] Classic Frasier. So, he buys the building, and then somehow, they give that apartment to the lady with the kid, and his son moves in with him. But as they’re moving the couch in, Frasier’s like, “You can’t sit on my couch in jeans.” So, there is, I think, going to be some sort of full circle payoff here.
Jamie Loftus [00:23:26] Oh, later in the season, he’s going to be a professor who wears jeans. And then there was a whole round of discourse about, like, “Would Frasier be a tenured professor?” I was like, “I’ve heard enough. That is my father. Like, you have to stop talking about him that way.” I was talking about this with my boyfriend the other day. Kelsey Grammer for me is the greatest sitcom actor ever. He can just lock in and start Frasiering at any time. It’s in his nature. And so, it is jarring to see him around people who are still very much figuring out their characters while he’s Frasiering. But that doesn’t bother me. I’m like, “They’ll figure it out. It’s a different show.” I love that his son is played by a Hamilton understudy. Best of luck. Go nuts.
Ashley Ray [00:24:18] It does feel like three other people said no to this offer and they were like, “Well, we got this guy!”
Jamie Loftus [00:24:24] “The third guy was available.” And I think he’s doing a wonderful job.
Ashley Ray [00:24:31] Yeah, he’s doing great. And Kelsey Grammer has not lost a minute of, like, sitcom acting skills. He is right there delivering the hits. He is making me laugh.
Jamie Loftus [00:24:45] I was surprised it was so poorly received. It got horrible reviews.
Ashley Ray [00:24:54] That’s why I don’t listen to the critics because it was very funny. There’s a whole part where he pretends his dad is dead, but Frasier’s there. They pretend he’s dead and do a whole therapy thing.
Jamie Loftus [00:25:08] And are we not laughing? I was surprised that it was received so poorly, but I feel like hopefully it’ll stay on because I did enjoy the… The main thing that really bothered me, I guess, because the new show is predicated on Frasier rebuilding his relationship with his son. He was genuinely a very absent father. So, when he’s saying stuff in the pilot like, “All I ever wanted to do was be a good father,” I’m like, “Frasier, that doesn’t even crack your top five.”
Ashley Ray [00:25:44] Yeah. It was not a concern for you at all.
Jamie Loftus [00:25:47] Freddy came on once a season.
Ashley Ray [00:25:50] Once a season. And I usually forgot that he had a kid. And I’d be like, “Oh, right. This whole thing.”
Jamie Loftus [00:25:56] It’s so bizarre. Yeah. I remember specifically an episode where Freddy was briefly a goth, to Frasier’s dismay.
Ashley Ray [00:26:04] Yes, I remember that. Yeah. But otherwise, it was just like he was just kind of an annoyance. But it was never like, “When will I reconnect with him? What kind of relationship–?” How do you feel about the show moving to Boston? Obviously, I have to ask you.
Jamie Loftus [00:26:16] I feel great about it. I hope that they end up doing more with it. I don’t know necessarily that they will. I don’t know. I weirdly did not grow up with Cheers. I think that, like, it must have been just like a weird time where Cheers had ended, but it wasn’t old enough to be in reruns.
Ashley Ray [00:26:38] Same. I feel like I have a real gap there. I kind of remember it coming on on Nick at Nite around the time MASH started airing. And I think it was after MASH, and MASH was too depressing. I was like, “This isn’t fun. I’m going to go watch the Lifetime reruns because over there they have The Nanny and Golden Girls.”
Jamie Loftus [00:26:56] They have truly the Girls. I’ve watched some of it, but I’m not a completionist in any way. But I like that they brought him back to a familiar location. I genuinely do love how many Burbank residents are swinging for the fences with a Boston accent in that scene–the scene where they’re at the bar. I’m like, “One guy has it and everyone else is like, “Fraisah.”
Ashley Ray [00:27:24] “I thought your dad was a plumbah from Dorchestah.”
Jamie Loftus [00:27:31] Just acting like they’re in, like, a local production of Newsies. And you’re like, “Great. Love that.”
Ashley Ray [00:27:37] “I’m sold.”
Jamie Loftus [00:27:40] Freddie isn’t even really attempting it. He’s just speaking loudly. I love it. I love it all. I hope they do more with it. The Harvard setting, I could kind of take or leave.
Ashley Ray [00:27:53] Yeah. Frasier as a professor doesn’t really excite me. I do, I guess, like his friend character, Alan–this, like, tenured professor who doesn’t care anymore. He’s pretty fun.
Jamie Loftus [00:28:06] Is it the president of Harvard? Who is the Mrs. Harvard? I like her.
Ashley Ray [00:28:15] “Olivia Finch.” Thank you. My producer was so quick with that.
Jamie Loftus [00:28:24] I think Olivia Finch is going to come into her own. No one feels fully realized yet. And I like Freddie’s friend.
Ashley Ray [00:28:34] Freddy’s, like, roomie, who has a baby. I love that she has this weird kind of relationship with Frasier going on. I love a good reboot. I am surprised this is getting bad reviews, but I also loved the Night Court reboot.
Jamie Loftus [00:28:48] Oh, I didn’t watch it.
Ashley Ray [00:28:50] It’s good. It’s pretty in tune with the original. I’m not going to say it’s as funny. It’s a different kind of show. You know, it’s updated. It’s a bit more modern. But it’s enough that you’re like, “They’re doing their own thing and it’s funny in its own respect.” And that’s how I feel about new Frasier.
Jamie Loftus [00:29:09] I’m glad to hear you feel that way. I don’t know. When it was nothing but reboots, I wasn’t enjoying it as much. But now that it feels like the air is kind of being sucked out–that well has almost run dry–you’re like, “Well, let’s ride it out. Let’s see what they got.” When they got to, like, the point where they’re like, “We’re going to adapt the Mighty Ducks at a time where hockey is at an all-time low in popularity. No one’s given a shit about it in the U.S. For 20 years. But let’s pour a bajillion dollars into it. And seven people will watch it.” And I was like, “You know, this is becoming performance art in an interesting way.”
Ashley Ray [00:29:55] What would you like to reboot?
Jamie Loftus [00:29:57] I mean, there was at some point a Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman reboot in production. In 2019, I got to interview Norman Lear, and that was basically all I asked him about. I was like, “So is that happening? Like, what is it? What’s going on?”
Ashley Ray [00:30:16] “So, what’s up with Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman?”
Jamie Loftus [00:30:17] “Can you tell me more about that?” His career is so– But I was like, “What about that?” And he was like, “Okay.” But it was supposed to be that Stevie from Schitt’s Creek was going to play Mary Hartman.” And that was, like, four years ago. So, I’m guessing it’s not happening. I would love to see that. I can’t think of something. I don’t know. Is there something you really want to see rebooted?
Ashley Ray [00:30:41] My instinct is that I would absolutely love to see something like The O.C. rebooted. I know they tried a reboot with, like, Gossip Girl. It didn’t quite hit for me. Something like The O.C. I think would be good. The Pretty Little Liars reboot I’ve been enjoying.
Jamie Loftus [00:31:05] I liked that. Yeah. Talk about a television show that couldn’t age worse. And I still love every second of it.
Ashley Ray [00:31:14] Every single moment of it. Something like The O.C. I would love. But I guess sitcom-wise… I mean, you know, they’ve tried with the Golden Girls. But you can’t recreate that kind of magic. That story was told to where it needed to be. You know what? Growing Pains.
Jamie Loftus [00:31:35] Ooh. That would be cool.
Ashley Ray [00:31:38] Reboot Growing Pains, and the kids are like how the actors are today. So, Kirk Cameron is a super crazy religious person, and they just go from there.
Jamie Loftus [00:31:51] I liked the Wonder Years reboot. I thought that was a pretty solid one that felt, like, different enough. And I enjoyed that one. There are some that you’re like, “It makes sense that people are just exhausted by it.” But some of them were like, “The Wonder Years reboot was pleasant. I enjoyed it.”
Ashley Ray [00:32:13] It was pleasant. They changed it up enough. And I was sad to hear that got canceled. But, you know, we still got Night Court.
Jamie Loftus [00:32:22] We have new Frasier. Hopefully we’ll get a second season. Maybe it’s just because I’m a member of the community, but I’m like, “People are excited about it.”
Ashley Ray [00:32:31] Yeah, we’re excited. We’re talking about it. We’re so excited for new Frasier. I guess Paramount+–they’re kind of hit or miss on being tough with their renewals. They renewed School Spirit, which I loved. But they canceled Rise of the Pink Ladies, which made me so angry.
Jamie Loftus [00:32:49] And also, like, wiped it from the face of the planet, right?
Ashley Ray [00:32:52] Yeah. They also removed it. They were like, “Take the whole thing down.” I think it’s because people online made fun of the show because they use CGI in this one scene where basically the guy who plays the main heartthrob guy in the show left in the middle of filming. He was like, “Never mind. I got another thing.”
Jamie Loftus [00:33:12] Wow. Kind of what Dan Levy did.
Ashley Ray [00:33:15] Kind of what Dan Levy did. But this guy was just like, “Oh, I’m sorry. Was the whole season centered around me and my love interest? Well, I’m gone.” And there’s a scene where they were like, “Well, we still need to, like, have a reason why he gets kicked out of school.” So, they do this fight with a body double. But there’s a scene where they CGI the old guy’s face onto the body double. It’s like this guy punches a Sim character. It is awful.
Jamie Loftus [00:33:45] I mean, that is embarrassing, but I am very shocked that a huge mega corporation could be schoolyard bullied into making their own product. Like, I know that that’s not all there is to it. But how weirdly insecure must you be?
Ashley Ray [00:34:08] It was such a good show.
Jamie Loftus [00:34:10] I wish I could watch it. I guess I missed it.
Ashley Ray [00:34:12] They just get rid of stuff over there. But I have a good feeling they’re going to let Frasier have a shot. I think they’re going to give it, like, at least three seasons to find itself.
Jamie Loftus [00:34:22] I really, really hope so. One thing I would love to see… Did you grow up watching soap operas ever?
Ashley Ray [00:34:29] Oh, absolutely. The Young and the Restless mostly.
Jamie Loftus [00:34:31] Okay. I was a General Hospital kid. I love that everyone has their… That they’re like, “Well, that’s great, but…”
Ashley Ray [00:34:42] Yeah, because we were, like, Victor Newman… And to this day, if I go home, my mom will be watching it. And she’ll tell me exactly what’s happened since the last time I watched, like, eight years ago.
Jamie Loftus [00:34:53] She’s still actively–? Wow, that’s so cool.
Ashley Ray [00:34:56] Oh, yeah.
Jamie Loftus [00:34:58] That was another thing that I kind of returned to the fold during lockdown was General Hospital. And I would love, love, love, love if there was a resurgence in daily soaps, which I think could genuinely be accomplished if they hired anyone under 65 to write them.
Ashley Ray [00:35:18] Absolutely.
Jamie Loftus [00:35:19] But that’s also their charm. So, I don’t really want to– But I have multiple times shamelessly, like, asked by representation, like, “How do I do it? I will drop everything. If there’s any chance…”
Ashley Ray [00:35:35] Finally, my mom would be proud of me if I was writing for The Young and the Restless.
Jamie Loftus [00:35:41] I always have felt like… I don’t know. If there was, like, a daily show to work on, I would much prefer a soap opera to a late-night show or something like that.
Ashley Ray [00:35:53] Oh, gosh. Yeah. I don’t want to read the news. I just want to be like, “Okay. So, then her sister comes out of the coma.”
Jamie Loftus [00:36:00] You’re like, “Bad news. Sonny Corinthos has been once again bonked on the head. And this time it’s dire.” I love the character of Sonny Corinthos specifically on General Hospital. I remember him being my favorite because they’ve all been forever. And I had this grand vision and then I was like, “This is depression. I need to, like, walk this back.” But the character of Sonny Corinthos–in the textbook way that soap operas will never understand mental illness or be able to speak about it intelligently–was, like, a bipolar character. That’s what they said about him. But he was played by an actor who actually had bipolar I and then ended up having this huge influence on the writers’ room by wanting the character to actually reflect his own experience and, like, ended up moving the needle pretty significantly on how soap operas would talk about bipolar specifically. And then you watch it, and it’s still basically awful. He’s still getting bonked on the head. And then he is like, “My name is Mike,” and thinking he’s his dead father. But it did make incremental progress for moms watching soap operas and their understanding of bipolar I. I don’t know. I just think it’s fascinating.
Ashley Ray [00:37:25] I think the soap operas actually teach people stuff. I don’t know. When they finally had a gay person on Young and the Restless, my grandma was like, “Wow. Look at that. Gay people exist.”
Jamie Loftus [00:37:38] They don’t exist until they’re on The Young and the Restless.
Ashley Ray [00:37:41] I would love to have that job. That’s the dream gig in TV for me. That or working for a Law & Order–any just sort of true crime procedural on NBC.
Jamie Loftus [00:37:56] Procedurals for some reason I never really connected with. I tried to get into a House when I was a kid, but I was too squeamish so I couldn’t watch the surgeries.
Ashley Ray [00:38:08] Yeah, I hated the surgeries. And then I just thought he was such a jerk. I was like, “I don’t care if he’s right. I don’t like him. So why do I want to watch him?”
Jamie Loftus [00:38:16] Yeah. They’re like, “Oh, the cool thing about him is he’s addicted to pills.”
Ashley Ray [00:38:22] And it was that whole, like, “Oh, we love bad guys who are antiheroes.” And I was just like, “I don’t need this.”
Jamie Loftus [00:38:30] I was thinking about that recently. I don’t know. There’s a few huge shows I haven’t seen. One of them is Breaking Bad. But I am interested. I saw Saw X last weekend, and I thought it was a really good entry. It’s mostly focused on Jigsaw’s cancer, as many of them are. But I was thinking about how–and I think Walter White is a connection of this–when a man in a movie or TV is diagnosed with a terminal illness, he becomes a superhero or a super villain or a diabolical genius. And if a woman is diagnosed with a terminal illness, she gets in an argument with her daughter and then dies. She doesn’t get to do anything fucking cool.
Ashley Ray [00:39:22] Nothing cool. Nothing fun. She’s not avenging anyone. She’s just going to fight with her daughter or best friend.
Jamie Loftus [00:39:28] I’m sure that there’s an exception to that rule, but I wasn’t able to think of one.
Ashley Ray [00:39:33] I can’t think of… Beaches? Nope.
Jamie Loftus [00:39:39] Talk about getting in an argument with your daughter and passing away. God, it’s so brutal. I don’t know. I never saw… What was that Edie Falco show? The C-Word?
Ashley Ray [00:39:50] Oh, isn’t there a show that’s, like, The Big C or something?
Jamie Loftus [00:39:54] The Big C. Yes. I’m thinking of Nurse Jackie.
Ashley Ray [00:39:59] Oh, yeah. Nurse Jackie where she, like, kills people and does pills or something.
Jamie Loftus [00:40:11] Okay, let’s see. Okay, so she’s diagnosed with terminal cancer, and… Nope, it seems like she gets in an argument with her daughter.
Ashley Ray [00:40:21] That’s what it says in the synopsis.
Jamie Loftus [00:40:23] It says that she “wants to act up, and along the way she forms new bonds with some unexpected people.” It’s giving fight with your daughter… Bummer.
Ashley Ray [00:40:35] God, Laura Linney! This is a pretty packed cast.
Jamie Loftus [00:40:42] And Oliver Platt! Another formative crush.
Ashley Ray [00:40:44] Gabourey Sidibe. Yeah. She’s in it.
Jamie Loftus [00:40:46] She’s an amazing… I really love how she, like, did a– I don’t know what era she’s in now, but she did a brief, hard pivot to comedy that I thought was awesome.
Ashley Ray [00:40:58] Oh, she has a prank show right now with Eric Andre.
Jamie Loftus [00:41:03] What? Okay. So, she’s really doubled down on that.
Ashley Ray [00:41:05] Yeah, it’s Johnny Knoxville, her, and Eric Andre. And I don’t know how she got in on it, but she’s pranking people.
Jamie Loftus [00:41:13] What a randomized ass show.
Ashley Ray [00:41:34] Before we wrap up, I do want to talk about some TV news that happened. Do you watch Love Is Blind?
Jamie Loftus [00:41:40] I haven’t watched this season yet, but I do watch it.
Ashley Ray [00:41:45] Okay. Well, this is the most boring season. And we just had the reunion, which was the most boring reunion. Basically, all the couples kind of fall apart this season because of some drama in the pods. So then only two couples actually end up making it to the honeymoon. And by the time it gets to the altar, you’re just kind of like, “We don’t like either of these couples. They shouldn’t be together. Why am I watching?” So, the reunion brings them back. And you realize the one couple that did get married–the wife in it, Lydia, was the one who, like, constructed all the drama in the pods that made other couples quiet the show.
Jamie Loftus [00:42:23] Okay. I do love when there’s a diabolical… Yeah.
Ashley Ray [00:42:26] Yeah. She was the villain, and she came out on top. She wins the show. There isn’t a winner in Love Is Blind, but she wins. She’s the only one who comes out married this season. She’s married to this, like, 24-year-old, beautiful, dumb boy. She’s, like, 33. He’s 22. And he’s like, “I work at a tech company and I make six figures and I like to play video games.” And she’s like, “I’ll make a man out of you yet. I don’t care. I came here to get married. I will make whatever happen happen.” And he’s like, “My parents say if I want their love and respect, I have to get married.”
Jamie Loftus [00:43:02] “I kind of like when women are mean to me.”
Ashley Ray [00:43:05] Yes. He’s like, “My mom has never hugged me.” And it’s like, “Oh. Okay. Cool.”
Jamie Loftus [00:43:12] So sinister. Such a sinister dynamic. I feel like I’ve witnessed that. I’m trying to remember a woman on an early season of that–similar dynamic.
Ashley Ray [00:43:24] Oh. The one who gave her dog wine?
Jamie Loftus [00:43:26] Yes!
Ashley Ray [00:43:26] She was older and, like, married this younger guy who was just kind of like, “I don’t know. My family set the time for me to grow up and get married.”
Jamie Loftus [00:43:36] She did give her dog wine. That is a perfect distillation of that person.
Ashley Ray [00:43:37] Jessica. Yeah, she gave her dog wine. And Lydia doesn’t do that. She just… Basically it comes out that she had previously dated a guy in the pods and knew he was going to be on the show–basically applied so she could run into him and ruin his chances at love with anyone else.
Jamie Loftus [00:44:01] Wow!
Ashley Ray [00:44:02] And then he finds out she’s there. Like, when they meet, he’s like, “Who are you?” And she’s like, “You don’t remember me, Uche? I remember everything about you.” And Uche is like, “She stalked me. She did this, this, and this.” But at the reunion, we find out that actually, he’s one of those guys who’s just like, “All my exes are crazy. She stalked me.” And he has been, like, calling her and texting her still. And it’s all a mess. But at the end of the day, she’s the one married to some rich guy who just wants to call her mommy.
Jamie Loftus [00:44:31] I mean, I would certainly settle for that. It is a bummer on those shows where, like–I don’t know–I want to see dynamics that are so cartoonishly toxic that you’re, like… That’s why you watch the show. You’re like, “I am bad at relationships, but not this bad. And so, I find this comforting.” God. I usually wait for the season to end because the day-to-day discourse around it really stresses me out–more so than any show.
Ashley Ray [00:45:05] Yeah, it gets really intense. I don’t know why, but people really just tear these people apart.
Jamie Loftus [00:45:12] I subscribe to Hunter Harris’s newsletter. And I just sort of put all of her recaps in a folder and like, “When the time comes, this will mean everything to me. Right now, it means nothing.”
Ashley Ray [00:45:24] She ranks each Love Is Blind person. Her rankings for this season–absolutely correct. Absolutely love what she had to say. So go check that out.
Jamie Loftus [00:45:32] I love that her two definitive rankings are Love Is Blind and Succession. It’s perfect.
Ashley Ray [00:45:40] Two equal shows, in my opinion, aligned in quality and spirit.
Jamie Loftus [00:45:45] Yeah, I found out over the summer my cousin had a baby and she was like, “There’s this nurse that was there for my delivery. And I felt nuts because I was zonked on my meds. And she looks so familiar. I felt like I had seen her.” And she figured out three days after her son was born that her nurse had been on Married at First Sight Season 10.
Ashley Ray [00:46:10] Oh, my God.
Jamie Loftus [00:46:11] And, like, confirmed it. She looked up the name. She asked a nurse at the hospital, and she was like, “Yeah, she doesn’t like to talk about it, but they’re still married.”
Ashley Ray [00:46:28] Oh, my gosh. I mean, divorce is expensive. That’s one of those reality shows where I’m like, “You know you’re just gonna probably have to be married because it’s not going to work.”
Jamie Loftus [00:46:39] And for that person to see you give birth–how disorienting? But I guess that they’re still together. It’s so weird to be like, “Oh, yeah.” And then Jessica and this girl from Love Is Blind has to just go back to being a person.
Ashley Ray [00:46:55] A person. You have to go back to work, and everyone’s like, “That’s the girl who gave her dog wine, and she works with me.”
Jamie Loftus [00:47:02] And do those contestants get paid? I remember I’ve seen some discussion around it, but…
Ashley Ray [00:47:07] I think they get something when the season is finally out and then when they do the reunion. And the reunion films after the entire season–when it comes out. So, I think they probably don’t make too much, but they definitely don’t get anything while recording.
Jamie Loftus [00:47:25] Evil.
Ashley Ray [00:47:26] Yeah. It’s kind of like The Bachelor where they have to, like, pay for their own makeup and clothes. And then the producers are like, “Great, we’re going to make tons of money off of you.”
Jamie Loftus [00:47:34] “Off of you publicly humiliating yourself.” And honestly, people are happy to do it, and I will tune in.
Ashley Ray [00:47:40] I mean, I would do that show. I would do Love Is Blind.
Jamie Loftus [00:47:46] I think about it every time I watch those shows. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t I couldn’t be on a dating show. I could be on The Circle–the one where you’re in a room by yourself.
Ashley Ray [00:48:02] Yeah. I think I would love Love Is Blind for the pod part. And then when it’s like, “Wait, I have to, like, be in a room with this person and live with that? No, thank you.”
Jamie Loftus [00:48:09] I’m so afraid of the Love Is Blind– I’m so afraid someone would look at my face and flinch. And then everyone would see that. Ugh, braver than the troops–people who go on that show.
Ashley Ray [00:48:22] Truly. Truly. Before we go, do you have any recommendations for the listeners? What should they be watching?
Jamie Loftus [00:48:28] Ooh, I’ve genuinely… If you’ve got the emotional strength to return to Dailymotion, I really would recommend checking out Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. Most or at least half of the episodes are on one Dailymotion channel that I hope never goes away. It’s not streaming anywhere else, which really freaks me out–that there’s so many classic shows that you just can’t access. I would sort of recommend Fernwood 2 Night. It’s kind of a mess, but if you want to know what it was like to be alive in the summer of 1977, that would be fun.
Ashley Ray [00:49:00] And who doesn’t?
Jamie Loftus [00:49:01] Exactly? But Mary is just above reproach. I just love her to death. So, check her out. Check her out–and all of the stains on her floor.
Ashley Ray [00:49:15] Yes. That’s an amazing recommendation. I’m going to tell you to go watch Fall of the House of Usher, which just came out on Netflix.
Jamie Loftus [00:49:22] Okay.
Ashley Ray [00:49:23] It’s incredible. It is so, so good. I started it–finished it in a day. I could watch that family for seasons and seasons. But I think it’s a pretty clear limited series inspired by many poems from Edgar Allan Poe. And, yeah, I mean, it’s fun to watch. If you took AP English Lit, sometimes you’ll be like, “Oh, I know that one. I know that reference. I remember that.”
Jamie Loftus [00:49:50] Mike Flanagan is so fascinating to me. I mean, I have to support him due to the fact that he’s from Massachusetts. But also, like, I don’t know how he manages to turn something out every single fucking year. It’s unbelievable.
Ashley Ray [00:50:06] And it’s always so good. It’s just the perfect mix of, like, horror and camp and funny even when you know something terrible is going to happen. There are literally murders in the show that you will just laugh at that are just so great.
Jamie Loftus [00:50:21] I mean, back-to-back, Midnight Mass, Midnight Club… Love them both. Loved them both. And I’m excited to watch that.
Ashley Ray [00:50:28] Yeah. You know, do the whole trio. Do all those shows. That’s my recommendation. And also, if you have not been keeping up with Sister Wives, this is your official call to get back into Sister Wives because our second to last wife is about to file for the official divorce. It’s official. Cody’s down to one wife. It’s real. So, if you’ve been waiting for your Sister Wives check-in call, this is it. Cody has one wife. It’s Robyn, and we all know it’s Robyn. That’s the favorite wife. And he literally says it in this last episode. He’s literally like, “You will never separate me and Robyn.” And all the other wives are just like, “Okay. Bye.” Anyway, he’s just spiraling more and more. Every episode, he’s just like, “I don’t understand. I’m hot. Why are my wives leaving me?” And they’re like, “You never talk to your children.”
Jamie Loftus [00:51:22] He’s like, “So?”
Ashley Ray [00:51:24] And he’s like, “So? Once a child becomes 18, they don’t need a dad anymore.” But that isn’t working out for him.
Jamie Loftus [00:51:33] That’s kind of a relief.
Ashley Ray [00:51:33] Go watch Sister Wives because I feel like some wild things are about to happen in that family because he is spiraling. That’s my watch list for you. That’s my recommendations. Jamie, thank you so much for joining us. Anything you want to plug? Where can people follow you?
Jamie Loftus [00:51:49] Oh, thank you for having me. I’m a longtime listener, so this is really exciting.
Ashley Ray [00:51:55] I’m obsessed with you. You’re my favorite. Please.
Jamie Loftus [00:52:01] If you’re interested in the cultural taxonomy of hot dogs, get my book Raw Dog. It came out this year. It was really fun. Whatever hot dog you feel strongly about, I probably feel strongly about in one way or another.
Ashley Ray [00:52:18] Yes. Yes. In one way or another. It’s a really, really fun read. I devoured it in a little, nice weekend. So go pick it up. And also, listeners, actors are still on strike. We are still supporting the SAG strike. So, if you also would like to support them, if you’re in LA or New York, you can join a picket line or drop off food and water. You can also donate money to the Entertainment Community Fund, which helps non-actor Hollywood crew members who suffer hardships due to the strike. You can donate at entertainmentcommunity.org. And make sure to direct your gift to the film and television category when asked. There you go. TV Club, thanks so much for joining us. You have so much fun, weird TV to watch. I know you’ve never heard of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. So go watch it!
Jamie Loftus [00:53:01] Get into it. Get your life changed.
Ashley Ray [00:53:04] Yeah. I bet you’ll watch it and be like, “Oh, now I understand what that 30 Rock joke is about.” It’s one of those shows. It’s incredible. So go do that. Thanks for listening. And we’ll be back next week with another episode. TV, I Say with Ashley Ray is an Earwolf production made by me, Ashley Ray-Harris. It’s engineered by Abby Aguilar, produced by Anita Flores, executive produced by Amelia Chappelow. And our original theme song is by RaFia. It means so much to me if you go rate, review, subscribe. Follow TV, I Say. Let us know what you think and tell your friends. Share with your Golden Girls. Tell your Boys. If you love my TV recommendations, let everyone you know. For special TV Club members, join my Patreon.
November 28, 2023
Guest Sona Movsesian
Gilmore Girls, Friends, The Office – what TV do you put on to drown out your family during the holidays?
November 14, 2023
Do you remember where you were the first time you heard Meredith Grey’s infamous line, “Pick me, choose me, love me”? Shaun Diston joins Ashley to discuss and act out some of their favorite TV monologues from shows including Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Designing Women, Andor, and more.