NORMAN LEAR | FOCUS
reboot of One Day at a Time on Netflix, with three generations of a Cuban Ameri- can family at the center, further accentu- ated the value and the importance of the topical style of Norman Lear comedy storytelling. “I emphasize the common humanity. To laugh at them and live with them for a half hour is to share in their human- ity,” he said in 2017. Issues change over the decades, too, but humor remains a shared response, even in difficult situ- ations, “because the foolishness of the human condition is a constant. It doesn’t go away.” As Lear hits the grand 100-year mark, we celebrate a man who dared to be different.
Apple Pie, Hot L Baltimore , a.k.a. Pablo , and Sunday Dinner , and family drama Palmerstown , U.S.A. But he also devel- oped the cult favorite Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman for late-night syndication. (TBS has greenlighted an upcoming reboot with Schitt’s Creek ’s Emily Hamp- shire as the modern-day version of Mary Hartman.) Additionally, Netflix has ordered an animated reboot of Good Times . Lear’s Live in Front of a Studio Audience specials with Jimmy Kimmel (including re- creations, to date, of episodes from All in the Family, The Jeffersons , Good Times , The Facts of Life , and Diff’rent Strokes ) won the Emmy for Outstanding Variety Special (Live) in 2019 and 2020. And the recent
He and then partner Bud Yorkin created Tandem Productions in the 1950s. He segued onto the big screen as the writer and producer for entries like Divorce American Style in 1967 (which resulted in an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay) and Cold Turkey in 1971, both starring Dick Van Dyke. While Lear in the late 1960s began preparations for a sitcom featuring a blue collar family, it took three years (and two failed pilots for ABC) to get All in the Family on the air on CBS. And it took three Emmy Awards in that first season (including Outstanding Comedy Series) to get noticed. Naturally, Lear had some misses along the way, including comedies All’s Fair ,
JULY/AUGUST • 2022
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