Live in Front of a Studio Audience aired Tuesday night at 8. I watched it yesterday afternoon. They did a live version of an episode of Facts of Life followed by a live Different Strokes. Here are my thoughts on the production.
Facts of Life
Facts of Life started with Lisa Welchel, the original Blair, coming out to sing the theme song. She was joined on stage by Kim Fields and Mindy Cohn, the original Tootie and Natalie. That was a nice start.
The actual production was average. Ann Dowd was perfect as Mrs. Garrett. She had the voice and accent down. Great casting. Gabrielle Union was fine as Tootie. Allison Tolman was good as Natalie. Unfortunately, the other two casting choices did not work out. Jennifer Aniston seemed too much like she was playing Rachel from friends instead of Blair from Facts of Life. Kathryn Hahn’s over-the-top portrayal of Jo was terrible and made worse by her inability to do it without laughing.
The guest stars were fun. Will Arnett and Jason Bateman together again as Dink and Tim were great. Jon Stewart was perfect as Carl, the nerd who can barely talk through his headgear who has a crush on Blair. They also had moments where they struggled not to laugh. I guess they all realized how ridiculous it was.
Not great, but it was fun to see all of the stars together.
This part of the show also started with an original cast member on stage. Todd Bridges, sadly the only surviving cast member, introduced the show and Boyz II Men to sing the theme song. Personally, I think Robin Thicke should have done the theme song in a nod to his dad. Maybe they asked and he said no. I don’t know, but it would have been perfect.
The cast was much better in this one. Ann Dowd returned as Mrs, Garrett. John Lithgow was serviceable as Mr. Drummond. The most impressive part of his performance was picking up and carrying Kevin Hart. I’m still mad at Damon Wayans for killing Lethal Weapon, but he was good as Willis. Kevin Hart really committed to playing an 8-year-old kid. He was great as Arnold. Snoop Dogg was the surprise guest this time around as Willis’s friend Vernon. He’s cool no matter what he does. Though. me calling him cool immediately makes him uncool. Oh, well.
The two best parts of this one:
Willis saying in reference to Hart’s Arnold “I’m 13, and even though he looks 45, he’s just 8”
And Hart, referencing Snoop Dogg “Hey Willis. Why does Vernon always smell like weed?”
There were a couple of places where Lithgow seemed to stumble over a line and in the above weed quote Hart accidentally called Willis Vernon at first, but for the most part, this one was error and giggle-free.
I’m curious which shows will be chosen for the next Live.