Friday, May 1, 2009

The (Love) Life of Brian - Part V

The saga continues.  Again, this is pretty lengthy, and reading this is totally optional.  Please excuse my self-indulgence...

Following my break-up with Lisa #2, another dry spell ensued for me in the dating/relationship milieu, but I wasn’t totally bereft of activity with women-folk in the mid/late ‘90s.  Two new co-worker ladies came along in the intervening years after Lisa and although I didn’t have a hope in hell of dating either one of them, I became friends with both and I quickly discovered the benefit of having more female friends because I’d been told that women just love to fix up their single friends with single guys.  That never quite happened with these two particular women, but “networking” with them, so to speak, did open up some new social avenues for me and it was fun to just enjoy each other’s company without being under pressure to try to impress them.

About the time I was dating Lisa, I met a girl with the unusual first name of Sharum.  No, she’s not Middle Eastern, but a very pretty all-American piano-playing girl who worked in the Trust Dept. at the bank I was employed at back then.  She was already engaged to be married when I met her, and she was a church-goer too, so I had zero chance of romance with her, but we hit it off and did lunch together from time to time.  I’ve been friends with lots of engaged/married women who were afraid of doing lunch with another guy for fear of jealousy from their mates, but that was never a problem with Sharum, and she knew I wouldn’t be stupid enough to try anything uncouth with her.  We didn’t even really have all that much in common, but we still connected on a friendship level, and she is a real sweet person.  She got married in the fall of ’94 and from what I hear, the marriage is still intact today—15 years is a minor miracle these days!

My co-worker friend and inspiration Susan—whom I spoke of in Part II—died in a house fire with her two children in January of ’95, which pretty much set the tone for that year, which was a dreadful one for me personally.  My dad suffered some serious neurological problems and had to be hospitalized and my mom suffered a mini-stroke later in the year (thankfully, they both fully recovered eventually), my personal life was in the doldrums, and then after spending most of the year in a frustrating search for a place to live on my own for the first time, in October I found myself dealing the with Landlord from Hell at the house I briefly rented (a torrid tale I will share in a future blog post).  If it hadn’t been for the Chiefs going 13-3 that season and the Kiss reunion on MTV’s “Unplugged”, the fall of ’95 would’ve been a complete washout.  That, and a ray of sunshine came to me all the way from Iowa in the form of a cute brunette divorcee named Rose, who started working at the bank in late ’95.  We hit it off almost instantly at the company Christmas party and I don’t mind telling you, I was smitten.  Rose was bright, intelligent, well-dressed, pretty enough to take to Chinatown (using Fred Sanford’s beauty yardstick) and an all-around fun person to boot.  Even cooler, Rose was a big football fan and liked hockey too, and I later learned that she’s even into racing cars and such.

Rose and I quickly became friends and she was one of my first-ever houseguests at my new abode during my Super Bowl (Cowboys-Steelers) get-together in January of ’96 and even brought me a nice housewarming gift.  Pretty soon, we did lunch dates and attended hockey games and such on a regular basis.  While I was hopeful early on of being more than just friends with Rose, she made it clear that she was looking for marriage again and especially motherhood, and I told her, “I won’t lie to you—that disappoints me, but I still want to be friends,” and I’m proud to say we’ve remained so to this day.  Rose found what she was looking for too, and is happily married again to a really good guy and they have a young son now and are currently living half a world away in Saipan, where her husband works for the U.S. government.  Between Sharum and Rose, it’s so ironic that some of the better outings I ever had were lunch dates with these women that I had absolutely no chance of dating, not to mention that they both were quite possibly the prettiest women I’ve ever had dates of any kind with.

Beyond that, I don’t recall going out with any other women during that period, apart from a couple of ill-fated set-ups along the way.  My good friend (and boss man at the time) Phil and I had gotten to know a gal named Ruth Ann who worked in our mail room, and she liked to get out and party on the weekends (even though she had like four kids, I think) and had a friend she thought I might be interested in.  I was skeptical, but I played along and we all went out drinking at a hole-in-the-wall bar one Saturday night.  Good thing I didn’t get my hopes up, because her friend was nothing to write home about—not my type at all, and borderline white trash, for lack of a better term.  It wasn’t even a case of “Lookin’ better every beer” with this gal, who as almost as wide as she was tall.  Phil’s girlfriend at the time also had a single friend she tried to set me up with, but this woman would’ve given “Whole Lotta Rosie” a run for her money, size-wise.  I’m 5’8” and stocky, yet I actually felt like Mini-Me or Herve Villachaize standing next to her.  I’m fairly flexible when it comes to weight on women (I’m no lightweight myself, after all), but if she’s built like a linebacker or Shaquille O’Neal, chances are good I’m not interested.  This gal seemed nice, but didn’t have much personality, let alone much self-esteem, so I politely passed on her too.

I also remember attending various and sundry “singles” events during this time and not enjoying them very much.  I even attended a few at a church that welcomed all faiths (or non-faiths in my case), but as I’ve mentioned before, I totally suck at socializing with strangers.  I just don’t have the gift of gab in social situations and like I say, I’m a cut-to-the-chase kind of person, thus I hate small-talk.  The other problem with singles events is everyone tries too hard to impress the other person and they don’t act naturally.  I even found some events downright demeaning, like the one I attended at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand nightclub that was comprised of nothing but Johnson County (KS) yuppies and high-maintenance women that I wouldn’t stand a chance with—I felt like an ’87 T-Bird in a BMW/Porsche world, so I walked out after only ten minutes.  Anyway, by that time, I actually found myself rather burned-out on the whole “Gotta find a woman” quest, so I put it on the back-burner and concentrated on fixing up my newly-acquired house for a while.  Besides, I was often told that when you’re not looking is usually the time you find someone, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give that a try.

By the summer of ’96, I finally caught up with the rest of the world and joined the Internet generation.  Oddly enough, the very night I signed on to AOL was when the Olympic bombing took place in Atlanta, so I started off with a bang, so to speak, but I digress.  It occurred to me that I could make use of my AOL profile as a drawing card for potential mates, and before long I got an e-mail from a girl named Tracy.  She said she was more or less looking for the same kind of relationship that I was and that she lived near 74th & Lewis. Well, there’s a 74th & Lewis just a few blocks from my house, so I was initially intrigued, until I realized she meant 74th & Lewis in Tulsa!  D’oh!!  We had precious little in common—Tracy is conservative Southern Baptist and I’m radical moderate Midwestern Agnostic—but we wound up being e-mail pen pals, so to speak, for several years.  We even met in person a few times, as I later attended a ballgame with Tracy and her boyfriend in Tulsa, and vice-versa when they came up here after they got married and did a Royals game.  It was nice to have a female friend and sounding board, but after a while, our correspondence became very stale and boring (mundane stuff like, “Oh, that’s too bad your washer broke down”, “sorry to hear you had a flat tire”, etc.) and I lost interest in it.  I also felt stifled because I had to water myself down for fear of offending Tracy and her conservative church-goer sensibilities, thus I couldn’t be my true self with her.  I more or less blew her off and quit writing to her a few years ago and I’ve felt bad about that, but she just didn’t challenge me like the next woman I was about to encounter did.  If you’re reading this, Tracy, it was nothing personal and I’m sorry.  But, if you’ve read my blog at all these last couple years, you’ve no doubt discovered that I’m a little earthier than I seemed to be…

Sometime in early, 1998, I received another e-mail from a fellow AOL-er named Stacy in Seattle who said she liked my hobbies and interests that I had listed on my profile and would I like to chat sometime?  After being on-line for a couple years, I’d encountered quite a few phonies and posers, so I was actually skeptical at first if she was legit or just playing me, even though she was two time zones away and wasn’t really looking for a relationship (she was already living with a guy anyway).  Hell, Stacy is a guy’s name too, so for all I knew, this could’ve been a dude messing with me!  I kept a journal back then, and often referred to her as “this Stacy person” or “that Stacy girl” until I got to know her better and was convinced she was the real deal.  Soon we were chatting live with each other on AOL on a regular basis, and unlike Tracy, I had far more in common with Stacy.  Since I was working second-shift at my new hospital gig at the time, I was already a night owl, so we’d often chat into the wee hours of the morning after I got home from work.  It was so nice to finally connect with someone on a very cerebral level, and we got to know each other very well over the next year or so.  She was very unhappy with her live-in boyfriend at the time, so I was often a sympathetic ear for her when she needed to vent.  Other times, we just shot the shit and enjoyed visiting with each other.

One of Stacy’s unique features is she has little-to-no hair.  She has the medical condition called Alopecia Areata, which causes hair loss in both men and women.  Obviously, Alopecia can be devastating for some people, especially women, but Stacy was able to cope and has a great attitude about it, usually choosing to wear bandanas in public or wigs for more formal occasions.  She was a real cutie in her photos, too, and as things turned out, the National Alopecia Areata Foundation was holding their annual conference in Denver in July of ’99, which Stacy was planning to attend.  I hadn’t been on a decent vacation in quite a while myself, so I came up with the bright idea of driving to Elway Country and meeting Stacy in-person for the first time.  I figured I could tool around do some sightseeing on my own while she attended the conference and we could meet up at various times throughout the weekend and have dinner or just hang out, and I could play tour guide for her since I’d been there before.  She loved the idea, and was even able to swing me a free ticket to a Colorado Rockies game at Coors Field (which I was planning to attend anyway) via the Alopecia Foundation, which was recognized during in a pre-game ceremony.

In an effort to save a little hotel money and since I just love to drive at night on road trips, I decided to leave K.C. at 10PM on Wednesday, drive all night and get into town early in the morning just as the sun was rising on the Rocky Mountains, which is a really cool sight.  Two problems with that plan:  A) I was unable to get a good nap in during the day on Wednesday, as planned, and B) it was cloudy and rainy when I pulled into town Thursday morning anyway!  I was okay driving until I got about 2/3 of the way across Kansas and the caffeine wore off, so I pulled off at a rest area and napped in the car for an hour-and-a-half or so.  That helped a little, but by the time I got to the Mile High City around 8AM, I was very tired.  No biggie—I figured I’d check in to my room and nap for a few hours, then head out for the ballgame, which started at 1:00.  Problem was, I couldn’t check in to my hotel until well after 10:00, so I had to kill two more hours.  Once I did get checked in, I got all of an hour’s nap in before it was time to leave for the game, which was looking rather iffy because of rain in the Denver area.

Luckily, some Mountain Dew-induced adrenaline kicked in, and I was able to enjoy the Rockies/Dodgers game as well as the dandy new ballpark in downtown Denver, which is one of the best in baseball—too bad it’s named after such a decrepit beer!  Even though the Alopecians were honorees at the game, the team chose to stick them in the cheap seats in the right field bleachers, but it was kinda fun sitting amongst them and visiting.  I found many of the bald chicks there to be far prettier than some of the women with hair in the crowd, too. I started wearing down near the end of the game though, and by the time I got to my car, I was running on fumes.  Unfortunately, I was due to meet Stacy at her hotel downtown at 6:00, and I wasn’t sure if I would last five minutes with her.  It was too late to postpone, but I figured I’d just meet with her and visit for a bit, then go back to my hotel to crash, and re-connect with her sometime on Friday when I was fresh.  Little did I know what this evening held in store…

To be continued…

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Life ain't easy for a blog named Sue...

Leave it to our wonderful mass media—TV news in particular—and public officials to create mass hysteria and paranoia about this swine flu thing coming out of Mexico.  Call me cynical all you want, but I see this as nothing but media-generated panic over nothing.  I work with physicians, and one of them told me yesterday that it’s not that big of a deal and these kinds of outbreaks (of any virus) aren’t uncommon every day.  But by gosh, the media will have you believe that this latest swine flu crisis will bring down the U.S. economy, and tell you to lock your house and keep the kids inside.  By dingies, this might even drive down the price of oil.  Really?  I hope to hell it does!  And I fail to see how walking around in public with a mask on is going to make a lick of difference, no more so than duct-taping your windows shut wouldn't have protected you from dirty bombs like the Bushies were advising us to do about four years back.  Mark my words, this’ll all be forgotten in a week or two.

As expected, General Motors is doing away with its Pontiac brand name as part of its restructuring plan.  As a co-worker of mine pointed out, why not drop GMC instead?  After all, GMC trucks are basically Chevy trucks with a different badge on them anyway, so why do we need both?  I’ve always thought that was a bit redundant...

In his typical grandstanding style, Republican Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter announced he’s switching parties.  The Democrats should be less-than-thrilled.  They’d be better off with Phil Spector…

The annual exercise in overkill known as the NFL Draft took place over the weekend.  I know this sounds odd coming from a mondo football fan such as myself, but ESPN’s overblown coverage of the draft is laughable, particularly the "experts" they trot out every year like Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay, whose mock drafts are a mockery and have all the accuracy of the 10-day forecast on the Weather Channel.  Kiper contradicts himself constantly, like when a player was picked sooner than expected in the first round (I forget which one) and ol’ Mel proclaimed something like, "I really like this pick—he has great potential," yet he had that same player graded at only a C+ in his pre-draft analysis.  If you liked him so much, Mel, then why only an average grade?  The rest of the ESPN talking heads made my head spin with all their jibber-jabber and prognostications that I finally turned off the TV and waited for the results in the morning paper instead.  I could only take so much of ex-Chefs head coach Herm Edwards’ insightful comments like, "He’s a player!" and "He can play!"  No shit?  Even more laughable were the local bars staging these Draft Day "watch parties" all around town.  As the Almighty Carlin once said, "It’s like watching flies fuck!"

As for the Chefs, I was mildly underwhelmed by Scott Pioli’s shakedown cruise as GM and head drafter, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt because after years of Carl Peterson’s ineptitude at judging football talent,  I think we have someone who knows what he’s doing.  I’d like to think that, anyway…

"I say watch for a San Jose Sharks-New Jersey Devils Stanley Cup finals in late May."B. Holland, April 14, 2009

Well, so much for that prognostication, as both San Jose and New Jersey are out of the Stanley Cup playoffs already.  The Sharks’ first-round flameout is becoming an annual rite of passage, and it makes no sense that the #1 team for the entire season can’t get past a #8 seed (the Mighty Quacks of Anaheim) that just barely made the playoffs on the final day of the regular season.  As for my Devils, their departure from the postseason is a bit more mysterious, not to mention heartbreaking.  They had Carolina by the balls with two minutes left to go last night and let them get away with two goals in the span of 48 seconds.  Guess I’ll root for the Chicago Blackhawks now, since they haven’t won the Cup since the Kennedy Administration…

K.C. Star sports columnist Jason Whitlock once again proved what a moron he is by recommending that the fledgling Kansas City Royals acquire Barry Bonds to bolster their anemic offense:   "He’s been railroaded by the commissioner, a publicity-seeking federal prosecutor and the hypocritically self-righteous segment of the baseball media…While virtually every other steroid cheater continues to play the game without incident or much backlash, America’s home-run king is being treated like a heavyweight champion with the audacity to conscientiously object to the Vietnam war."

First off, how crass it is to compare ol’ Bare with Muhammad Ali, and second off, at the risk of sounding like the race-baiter Whitlock is, I bet ol’ Jason wouldn’t be campaigning so vociferously for Bonds if he was white.  Third off, I’d much rather lose with the current Royals squad than win with a bitter 45-year-old clubhouse cancer like Bonds.

Much hoop-de-doo was made last week about Perez Hilton ripping on Miss California’s opinions about gay marriage.  Did I miss a memo—why is this so important?  Are the political opinions of some blonde airhead in a bathing suit trying to impress the judges suddenly worthy of serious scrutiny?  And now for the really tough question—who the hell is Perez Hilton anyway?  It sure don’t take much to be famous these days…

"Do You Know What I Mean?"—LEE MICHAELS (1971)  "She just left me yesterday…"  Or try it my way:  "She just slapped me yesterday…"  No doubt, this was Ernest P. Worrell’s favorite song.  Ain’t that right, Vern?

I finally got to see Kate Winslet in The Reader this week on DVD.  This one’s kinda hard to describe without giving away the plot twists, so I’ll refrain from doing so, but suffice it to say it was not a bad film.  Not one that I would want to watch over and over again, mind you, but one which definitely held my interest throughout.  Kate gave a great performance, although I wasn’t too keen on her unconvincing German accent, which reminded me of Meryl Streep’s equally-unconvincing Italian accent in Bridges Of Madison County, which in turn was as unconvincing as Mr. Tudball’s toupee on "Carol Burnett Show".  And I was enjoying the sex scenes immensely until Winslet raised her left arm and revealed what amounted to a mini-Z.Z. Top beard in her armpit!  While I’m well aware that German women generally don’t shave their underarms, and I do give the producers points for realism here, I’m still compelled to say this anyway:  Ewww!  This turned me off every bit as much as the tattoos and nipple piercings on Marisa Tomei in The Wrestler last week.  All in all, I give the film about a 6.

I’ll be real interested to see how the new Star Trek flick fares when it hits the theaters next week.  I’m kind of an odd breed of Trekkie, as I never have much cared that much for the original TV series, but I do like the theatrical releases (Wrath Of Khan, Search For Spock, et al).  My older sister was a big fan of the original show, but I was more of a "Lost In Space" kid at the time, and "Star Trek" always seemed rather bland to me.  I’m warming up to the old show now as I track through it on DVD, but it still comes off to me as rather dry at times, but then again, they could only do so much with ‘60s TV special effects and sets.  William Shatner’s over-emoting never helped any, either.  Personally, I think there should’ve been more regular female characters on ST besides just Lt. Uhura, and I don’t understand why they gave up on the Yeoman Rand character, for instance—she was a hottie.

One thing I’ve never gotten about any of the space-based Sci-Fi franchises ("Star Trek", "Lost In Space", Star Wars, etc.):  how come humans are impervious to the laws of gravity while on board their spaceships?  Why don’t they ever float around weightless like the Space Shuttle crew does when they aren’t strapped in?  And ain’t it amazing how almost every single alien life form they encounter speaks English?  And how every planet they land on has an atmosphere suitable for humans to breath in, too?  Yes, I know, suspend your disbelief and shut the hell up already!

As for the new ST flick, I’ll wait until it comes out on DVD—I refuse to pay 10 bucks to listen to rude people, ill-mannered children and cell phones going off at the overcrowded clusterfuck movie theaters.  I much prefer my comfy sofa for watching big-time flicks…

Monday, April 27, 2009

Overstaying their welcome

I was watching a bad "M*A*S*H" rerun the other day and it put me in mind of how reviled some of the episodes from the last three seasons of the show were.  Here's a little compilation (in no particular order) of some TV favorites that hung around too long...

"M*A*S*H" (1972-83)
Fans are divided into different camps (M*A*S*H units?) about when this classic show should’ve called it quits.  Some say it should’ve happened when Henry Blake was killed and Trapper John went home, while others think they should’ve pulled the plug after Frank Burns left.  Me, personally, I think the show was toast after Radar O’Reilly went back to Ottumwa and Alan Alda took over as the show's creative czar.  The plots got really stupid after that, with storylines like the 4077th staff pouring a concrete floor for the O.R. (never mind that one already existed in previous episodes) or Klinger running a camp newspaper (hell, he could barely even handle being company clerk, where would he find the time to play editor?) or when they went to the Col. Flagg well once too often, not to mention way too much Hawkeye-this and Hawkeye-that.  You knew they were running out of ideas when the whiny chubby Hawaiian nurse and Cpl. Rizzo started getting more lines every week and some storylines got recycled too, like when one of Col. Potter’s cronies does something inept in the heat of battle, resulting in unnecessary casualties.  And if the name Thad Mumford is in the closing credits, chances are it was a bad episode filled with cutesy dialogue like "You’re the toast of the coast, Jost" and "The newspaper isn’t the issue…", etc.

"HAPPY DAYS" (1974-84)
The show that gave rise to the phrase "Jumping the Shark" is the poster child for successful TV series that just don’t know when to quit.  The first five seasons of HD were classic, but as soon as Scott Baio and his insufferable Chachi character came on board, things went to hell in a handbag.  "Happy Days" was supposed to be set in the ‘50s, yet along comes this douche with ‘70s hair and a bandana around his thigh (what the hell was that, a macho garter?) going "Wah-Wah-Wah" all the time, and then the crap-weasel burned Arnold’s down to boot!  The addition of Ted McGinley and the ever-annoying Jenny Piccalo character to the cast—not to mention all the singing and dancing that took place in every other episode—rendered the last five seasons of "Happy Days" virtually unwatchable.  The least they could’ve done was tell Tom Bosley to remove his digital watch before he got on camera!

"LAVERNE & SHIRLEY" (1976-83)
L&S was a really funny show for its first 4-5 seasons, but when the entire cast moved en mass from Milwaukee to California around 1980, the laughs didn’t accompany them.  It got even lamer when Cindy Williams got pregnant and left the show in a contract dispute, so it was just Laverne taking on Lenny & Squiggy, et al.  And in the last season, there were a couple episodes that even Laverne didn’t appear in.  They should never have left Wisconsin.

Melissa Joan Hart was already 20 years old when this show debuted in 1996, so it seemed rather disingenuous that she played a teenager to begin with.  By the last couple seasons, it seemed rather silly to continue calling the show’s title character a teenager when she was well into college.  Adding the untalented Soleil Moon Frye to the cast at the end was an act of utter desperation too.

"FRASIER" (1993-2004)
Surprisingly, "Frasier" was able to consistently maintain its fine quality for most of its run, but even the best of shows run out of steam eventually.  I find it harder to watch the last season or two of "Frasier" in reruns than the early years of the show, especially the episode arc involving Daphne’s insufferable mother and brother visiting from England and when Daphne got pregnant during the last season.  By that time, the show had long since lost its spark.

"FRIENDS" (1994-2004)
Like "Happy Days", the first four seasons of "Friends" were pure gold, but it all went downhill after Ross uttered "I, take thee Rachel" in the last episode of Season 4.  The stories gradually became stupid and contrived (like the Phoebe-hates-Pottery Barn ep or when Monica’s overpriced fancy boots hurt her feet, or when Rachel took up smoking cigarettes to impress her co-workers, etc.).  Even worse, Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox became so anorexic and gaunt that they started resembling matchsticks with long, stringy hair toward the end.  They were so much cuter and likeable in the early seasons.

"SANFORD & SON" (1972-77)
True, five years is about the average run for a successful sitcom, but even in this case, the show ran about a year too long.  In its final season, S&S suffered from poor writing, over-reliance on hackneyed put-downs (aimed mostly at Aunt Esther) and indifference from Redd Foxx and Demond Wilson.  Foxx basically didn’t give a shit anymore and phoned it in, and Wilson often wore dark glasses (to mask his cocaine problem) and passively delivered his lines standing with one hand in his vest pocket.  Asinine storylines like where Fred Sanford thought he might be Jewish were the death knell for my favorite TV sitcom ever on earth in this hemisphere (as Fred would say).

"CHICO AND THE MAN" (1974-78)
This show should've ceased production the nanosecond Freddie Prinze blew his brains out, but producer James Komack insisted on continuing.  He replaced Prinze with cheeky kid Gabriel Melgar, who was disrespectfully dubbed "Chico" too, and although it obviously wasn't Melgar's fault, the result was downright pathetic.  Having that great thespian Charo making frequent guest appearances didn't help things either.

"THE COSBY SHOW" (1984-92)
This show had its moments early on, but got way too preachy and idealistic for its own good as time wore on.  The additions of gnome-like child actress Raven-Symone and Cousin Pam to the Huxtable household only made things worse, not to mention the expanded role of Elvin, who practically made Richard Simmons seem almost manly by comparison.  He was quite possibly the wussiest married man on network TV.

Should’ve been cancelled after the first episode.  Nah, I take that back—BEFORE the first episode!  Yes, this is a TV icon, but could there be a more implausible idea for a TV series this side of "The Flying Nun"?  How it lasted three seasons is beyond me.  And don’t get me started on those excremental TV reunion movies they made in the ‘70s and ‘80s like "The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island"…

Should’ve shut it down as soon as Barney Fife left Mayberry in '65.  Don Knotts was what made that show tick.

"ACCORDING TO JIM" (2001-09)
This mediocre show has lasted how long?  I do realize that Jim Belushi is often unfairly compared to his late brother, but honestly, he’s really not that funny.  Nice guy, to be sure, but hardly a laugh riot.

"BEVERLY HILLS, 90210" (1990-2000)
Ten years is a nice round number for a series, but this one should’ve hung it up by the time all the principle characters (Brandon, Kelly, Dylan, Donna, Steve, Valerie, David, et al) had doinked each other at least once.  Jason Priestley’s departure didn’t help things any, either.  Good rule of thumb:  if you’re watching an episode in which Tori Spelling has red hair, there's half a chance it might suck.

"ALL IN THE FAMILY" (1971-79)
When Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers left the show after the eighth season, it was probably a hint that Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton should've stifled themselves too, but they soldiered on anyway, adding Danielle Brisebois as Archie and Edith’s niece Stephanie for season nine.  There were a handful of funny episodes that year, but the show was running on fumes by then.  How they managed to milk three more years out of A. Bunker on "Archie Bunker’s Place" is unfathomable.

"SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE" (1975-Present)
I rarely watch SNL anymore, but evidently there is still some relevancy here and there, as last fall’s resurgence in popularity during the Presidential campaign showed.  Still, I can’t help but think this show has long outlived its usefulness, and should’ve died after the Dana Carvey/Mike Myers era.

Feel free to put your .02-worth in and add to this list. I'm sure there are other shows I left out here...