The Quick 10: 10 T.V. Spinoffs That Didn't Do So Well

I realize there are a lot of these, so I've kind of arbitrarily picked. Feel free to share your favorites (or least favorites, I suppose) in the comments!


1. The Tortellis, spun off from Cheers. Based on Carla's ex-husband Nick and his new wife and family, it was only on the air for three episodes in 1987.

2. Day by Day, spun off from Family Ties. Loosely spun off, anyway. It starred Thora Birch, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Courtney Thorne-Smith, among others. The connection to Family Ties is that the dad in Day by Day apparently was a college roommate of Steven Keaton.

3. Just the Ten of Us, spun off from Growing Pains. I remember Just the Ten of Us and never realized the connection to the Seaver family. The Lubbock family patriarch, Graham, was the gym teacher at Mike and Carol Seaver's high school. He ends up losing his job at that high school, though, and gets another job at an all-boys Catholic school in California. It lasted three seasons, so compared to others on this list, it wasn't such a disaster.

4. Blansky's Beauties, spun off from Happy Days.

In 1977, it seemed like a good idea to make a sitcom based on Howard Cunningham's cousin from Las Vegas. The cousin, Nancy Blansky, was in charge of a bunch of Las Vegas showgirls living together in an apartment like it was a dormitory. Only 13 episodes were made.

5. Grady, spun off from Sanford and Son. Based on Fred Sanford's widower pal Grady (go figure), this one was cancelled after 12 episodes. Great, now I'm going to have the Sanford and Son theme song stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

6. Sons of Thunder proves that even being associated with Chuck Norris doesn't guarantee series gold. Spun off from Walker, Texas Ranger, Sons only lasted six episodes. After Walker's buddy, Reverend Thunder Malloy, dies, his son comes home.

mr t

7. Mr. T and Tina, spun off from Welcome Back, Kotter. No, not the Mr. T. Mr. T. was Taro Takahashi, a Japanese inventor played by Pat Morita. He lives with a free-spirited American girl names Tina and hilarity ensues. At least, it did for five episodes in 1976. Pat Morita was also in Blansky's Beauties, oddly enough. Good thing he eventually found the Karate Kid!

8. Living Dolls, spun off of Who's the Boss. You may know Leah Remini from King of Queens, and I may know her as Stacey Carosi from Saved by the Bell, but before both of those she starred in this brief sitcom. Leah played Charlie Briscoe, one of Samantha Micelli's old friends. She is discovered by a modeling agency and the rest is sitcom history. Except not: it was canceled in 1989 after 12 episodes. Interesting trivia, though "“ Vivica A. Fox and Halle Berry played the same character on the show (kind of like the mulitple Beckys on Roseanne).

9. Checking In, spun off of The Jeffersons, which was spun off of All in the Family. Pretty much every sitcom spun off from All in the Family did wonderfully on the small screen "“ Maude, Good Times, The Jeffersons. But not Checking In. In it, the Jeffersons' maid got a new job as the head housekeeper at a swanky hotel. She checked out after four episodes in 1981 (sorry, couldn't help the stupid pun).


10. Fish, spun off of Barney Miller. Abe Vigoda in his own sitcom? How could this fail? Phil Fish was a detective on Barney Miller, but his own series focused more on his life with his wife and five adopted kids (one of which was played by Todd Bridges). It lasted two seasons before fizzling out.


Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album

Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

What Are the 12 Days of Christmas?

Everyone knows to expect a partridge in a pear tree from your true love on the first day of Christmas ... But when is the first day of Christmas?

You'd think that the 12 days of Christmas would lead up to the big day—that's how countdowns work, as any year-end list would illustrate—but in Western Christianity, "Christmas" actually begins on December 25th and ends on January 5th. According to liturgy, the 12 days signify the time in between the birth of Christ and the night before Epiphany, which is the day the Magi visited bearing gifts. This is also called "Twelfth Night." (Epiphany is marked in most Western Christian traditions as happening on January 6th, and in some countries, the 12 days begin on December 26th.)

As for the ubiquitous song, it is said to be French in origin and was first printed in England in 1780. Rumors spread that it was a coded guide for Catholics who had to study their faith in secret in 16th-century England when Catholicism was against the law. According to the Christian Resource Institute, the legend is that "The 'true love' mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The 'me' who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the 'days' represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn."

In debunking that story, Snopes excerpted a 1998 email that lists what each object in the song supposedly symbolizes:

2 Turtle Doves = the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

There is pretty much no historical evidence pointing to the song's secret history, although the arguments for the legend are compelling. In all likelihood, the song's "code" was invented retroactively.

Hidden meaning or not, one thing is definitely certain: You have "The Twelve Days of Christmas" stuck in your head right now.


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