Captain and Tennille also bring to mind a TV genre that died in the ’70s — the variety show. Oh yes, they had one. Check out the muskrats dancing on the good Captain’s hat and keyboards here:
I may be completely wrong on this, but I seem to recall the Captain doing a particularly earnest segment on his love of New Orleans and its music. Or maybe it was a love of boating. No idea. Because on these shows, you really had no idea what to expect.
You might see Sonny and Cher trying to get their kid to sing.
You might see a young David Letterman on The Starland Vocal Band Show. (Yes, the Afternoon Delight crowd. They’re locals, you know.)
You might see Paris Hilton’s mom replacing the original Jan on The Brady Bunch Hour. Well, no, she didn’t quite get the part. But you could see Tony Randall reading poetry while someone dances in a bear suit. (This horrifying show inspired a terrific Simpsons parody.)
You might see Donny & Marie, be-otch!
The closest you get to this today is the Aimee Mann traveling Christmas show, which is wonderful for those of us who crowd into places like the Birchmere to see a really odd mix of off-the-wall antics while Aimee keeps perfectly composed and sings her sad songs.
That might not have mass appeal for a prime-time ABC slot, particularly when the foul-mouthed Hanukkah fairy shows up.
But in this age of mind-numbing reality shows, shouldn’t we make some room for mind-numbing variety shows? We already know Timberlake’s funny — couldn’t we give him a prime-time show? Or maybe The Maroon 5 Ersatz Soul Hour? The Lohan/Winehouse … oh, never mind.