The Sting of Old Sitcoms

By Beacon Staff

I’ve spent this last week involved in a vicious back-and-forth of e-insults with Beacon Events Editor Colin Hickey. What began as a trade of friendly jibes quickly digressed into a duel of wildly offensive barbs in which one of us points out the other’s resemblance to a socially inept, unattractive character from a 1980s TV program. And then the other responds in kind. It went on for days.

The battle began when Hickey attacked my boss, Kellyn Brown, in an e-mail asking him “Guess which one you are?” followed by a link to the opening sequence of the smash comedy, “Perfect Strangers.” What is unclear is whether Hickey was implying Kellyn resembled naïve immigrant Balki Bartokomous or his neurotic cousin, Larry Appleton. The question lingers which character would be a greater insult.

After Kellyn failed to defend himself, I quickly retaliated, e-mailing Hickey with the open-ended question, “Guess which one you are?” followed by a link to the opening sequence of another favorite, “Mr. Belvedere.” Hickey replied favorably that he hoped he was English butler Lynn Belvedere, and that I resembled affable sportswriter George Owens, played by Bob Uecker. I struck back with the insult that Hickey was more like Belvedere’s nemesis, spoiled brat Wesley Owens.

That’s when things turned ugly. Hickey linked to the opening credits for “Who’s the Boss?” and asserted his resemblance to Brooklyn housekeeper Tony Micelli, played to memorable effect by Tony Danza, while I resembled the squeaky, simpering Jonathan Bower, played by Danny Pintauro.

This would not stand. I quickly fired back that Hickey resembled another grating pre-pubescent TV doofus, Jamie Lawson of “Small Wonder,” a show about a robot girl living in suburbia. I, on the other hand, resembled brilliant robot scientist Ted Lawson.

Linking to the opening sequence of “The Hogan Family,” Hickey said he was like handsome football jock David Hogan, played by Jason Bateman – and I bear a striking resemblance to nerdy younger sibling Mark, played by Jeremy Licht.

I shot back that I was more like Dwayne Schneider, superintendent from “One Day At A Time,” and Hickey was like Alex Handris, played by Glenn Scarpelli in later episodes. Hickey replied that I was like fastidious news writer (what a stretch!) Felix Ungar, played by Tony Randall in “The Odd Couple.”

Hickey then accused me of being like Dana Elcar, the bald, heavyset boss in “MacGyver.” I fired back that Hickey resembled uptight FBI agent Bill Maxwell, played by Robert Culp in the short-lived superhero-comedy-drama “Greatest American Hero.”

And then the game took an abrupt turn. Hickey tried to land another punch by referring to me as Sophia Petrillo, the oldest member of “The Golden Girls.” However, as a fellow Sicilian with a penchant for snappy one-liners, I felt quite comfortable with the comparison. Similarly, Hickey was a Robert Culp fan, and so didn’t object to that comparison, and even offered up that he had been also been compared to animated shark JabberJaw in high school.

As quickly as it had begun, the conflict deflated. Animosity has departed from the Beacon staff. But I haven’t gotten a damn thing done this week.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.