Feb 11, 2014

Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers

September 1974: My friends and I are in ninth grade at Washington Junior High, 13 or 14 years old, aspiring to be cool, hip, and intellectual.  So we watch all of the hip sitcoms that would later be lauded as part of the Golden Age of Television.

Like Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers.

Never heard of it?

It was famous in the fall of 1974.

MTM Enterprises was changing the face of television, making it hip, modern, and "real," set in real places like Cincinnati and Minneapolis, starring people with real home and work lives (they even had sex).  It already had two hits, Mary Tyler Moore and Bob Newhart, and Paul Sand looked like a third.

Especially when CBS put it into the fall schedule between its #1 show,  All in the Family and the Mary Tyler Moore/Bob Newhart block

I wanted to like it:

1. Cute, dour-faced comedian Paul Sand starred.
2. He was a bass player with the Boston Philharmonic (I was in the orchestra!).
3. Friends and Lovers sounded dirty.
4. There was a hot athletic older brother (Michael Pataki, left).  Maybe there'd be some beefcake.
5. And a workplace friend (Steve Landesberg, later of Barney Miller). Maybe there'd be some buddy-bonding.



I was only home to see a few episodes, and they weren't very good.

1. Paul Sand was not at all likeable -- his self-deprecating humor was...well, deprecating
2. The brother never took his shirt off, although Max Gail (later of Barney Miller) flexed in one episode.
3. And everyone was obsessed with heterosexual sex.  It was like Three's Company, a few years later.

It actually became the #25 most watched show of the season, doing better than its competition, Emergency! and The New Land, but by January it was cancelled, replaced by the mega-hit The Boomerersons.

Which also suffered from a lack of beefcake.