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People, Let Me Tell You 'Bout My Best Extras...
March 3, 2011  | By David Bianculli
 
raising-hope-big-finger.jpg

Sometimes, TV can really take you by surprise and serve up a delightful, unexpected treat. Tuesday night, Fox did just that, in its latest episode of Raising Hope, by giving an extended, unexpected, very funny nod to a 42-year-old TV theme song by Harry Nilsson...

courtship_of_eddie.jpg

The song was "Best Friend," the theme from The Courtship of Eddie's Father, the 1969-72 ABC sitcom starring Bill Bixby as a single father raising, and doting on, his young son (Brandon Cruz). That series was a gentle comedy, featuring lots of loving montages showing father and son enjoying themselves, capturing tiny little memories.

On this week's Raising Hope, as Garret Dillahunt's Burt was succumbing to mushy memories while being tranquilized before his vasectomy, he began thinking back on all the wonderful times, through the years, with his now-grown son Jimmy (Lucas Neff). Cut to a montage, and the sound of Nilsson singing:

"People, let me tell you 'bout my best friend

"He's a one-boy cuddly toy, my up, my down, my pride and joy..."

raising-hope-eddies-father-.jpg

Except -- and here was the delightful surprise -- every one of Burt's fond memories with his son, filmed in the gauzy old Courtship style, revolved around Bert getting Jimmy to pull Bert's finger, with a gaseous punch line that those of us with wild and crazy uncles may well recall first-hand.

(Mine was Uncle Tom, bless him. His finger trick never failed to make me laugh... and, come to think of it, it never failed, period.)

To really, really appreciate that Raising Hope joke, you had to remember a TV series that is more than four decades old, has seldom been syndicated, and whose only release on DVD is a single episode on a Classic TV Christmas Collection, which you can order by clicking HERE.

That's what I call an Extra -- a hidden in-joke buried within a TV show. Television is full of them... and there's a place here on TV WORTH WATCHING where we collect them, so if you find one, please let us know.

The place to read, and wrote about, TV Extras can be found HERE. Happy hunting!

 

1 Comment

 

Mac said:

David, it's the Harry Nilsson fan, again. Did you know that a variation of the "Best Friend" theme, titled "Girlfriend" (same tune, lyrics mooning about ,yes,a girl) finally appeared on the two disc posthumous anthology of Nilsson's RCA work,"Personal Best"? No great shakes, but, like the availability of the "Courtship" show, not available and never released even when the show aired.

[I had it on a Nilsson bootleg, so I knew of that earlier version. But I'm still swooning about the YouTube British TV concert you steered me towards. Thanks again! -- DB]

Comment posted on March 4, 2011 6:26 PM
 
 
 
 
 
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