Night Court's pilot episode has Gail Strickland as the defense attorney, and she was just as humorless as Dan Fielding. So the defense is recast as Paula Kelly, yet Kelly displayed none of the anal-minded behavior that Strickland had done. The show just couldn't grasp making the token funny at her own expense, so she spent her time on the show setting up everybody else's jokes or making wisecracks at them.
Amazingly Night Court rose above their little problem in the end, even becoming one of the few shows managing to have two non-white characters who weren't related or dating (as far as I know. I didn't watch a lot of this show, mainly because of the whole Paula Kelly thing).
Which brings us to the odd situation on this short-lived show, Teachers Only.
Fairly clichéd sitcom, with Lynn Redgrave as a teacher, Norman Fell as the principal.
When the show began, we had young teacher Adam Arkin, Van Nessa Clarke as the token teacher (and Redgrave's soundboard), can't recall what McDonough did, I think she was Fell's secretary, and Mr. Brody, the by-the-book assistant principal.
"Whatever you do, don't let Mr. Brody find out!" Then the whole show was overhauled. Everyone left but Fell and redgrave.
Now Theresa Ganzel was Redgrave's female confidant, Tim Reid was the token teacher, Joel Brooks was along for the ride and the strangest setup, Jean Smart, was now Fell's secretary AND mistress.
I don't recall if he was supposed to be married, it didn't matter, but they kept their relationship low key.
Smart was very b*tchy in this role, amusingly so.
recalling plots from both setups, one was where a student framed Arkin for sexual harassment, having a friend deliberately walk in to see arkin holding the student down on the desk, when in fact, the student threw her arms around him and pulled him her way.
This led to intense serious dialogue from Arkin, defending himself.
In the second lineup, Ganzel was 'attacked' in a supply closet.
The cast gathered around her as she wept, now sitting in the cafeteria, and Smart knelt beside her and asked very calmly, "did he rape you?" "No," Ganzel said among her sobs.
"Did he beat you?" Smart asked, still very calmly.
"No." Smart turns away and scowls her face.
"I'm going back to work," she says and gets up and walks away.
I always got the impression some from group A and some from group B should have been kept.
Check out (if you ever find it) another short-lived show called "A New Kind of Family" with Eileen Brennan, much a vehicle for her like this one was for Redgrave.
Brennan has three kids (one of them is Rob Lowe) and she moves in with a woman with one kid, a daughter.
the show would be retooled so that the single mother and her daughter were now black, whereas originally they had been white.
Telma Hopkins and Janet Jackson would now be in the token roles.
Hollywood can really be strange sometimes.
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