All Is Forgiven (1986)
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The writing was ahead of its time, but the show never had a chance to smooth out the rough edges. The acting was all a bit stagy and overplayed. I'm sure they would have improved if they'd even had a full season.
One of the best lines came from Terence Knox's character, Matt. He was concerned that the family never had supper together. Here's a paraphrase (most likely) of the lines:
Even the Borgias sat down to eat together....They didn't all get up, but at least they made the effort.
Matt: You know my daughter.
Paula: Her name is Sonia Russell.
Matt: Well she got kicked out of school again and she's come to live with us forever.
I think the show would've grown on people, but they probably would have had to iron out the kinks between the home life and the work life (like "Barney Miller" did), because they didn't mesh very well.
One scene that stuck with me was a fight between stepdaughter Shawnee Smith and stepmother Bess Armstrong. They were fighting, and Bess thought she had the upper hand, shouting: "When you're old, I'm going to be there, dancing on your cake!" And Shawnee replied, "GOOD, because you certainly won't be able to CHEW it!" Did I mention I love Shawnee Smith? Though the "Saw" films made me see her in a whole new light.
The other scene Stealer was Carol Kane as the southern Nicholette Bingham, the writer of the show. "The old producer and I used to have heated arguments about the contents of the show. Yes. I felt the show should HAVE some."
Armstrong was to be the center of this universe, but sadly, when neither Smith nor Kane were onscreen, it was boring. ONe episode that guested Gwen Verdon was especially dull. I did not know David Alan Grier was the repair man who got promoted to writer on the show.
The never seen Creator of "All Is Forgiven" the Agnes Dixon/Gloria Monty type overseer who was never shown, we always heard her on the intercom system, asked Armstrong who had just come in for the secretary job, "How long have you been with us, dear?" before she made Armstrong the new producer. Judith Marie-Bergin did what she was supposed to do as the soap diva. The table reading where the terrorist turned out to be (gasp!) Arthur, her psychologist, was hilarious. Deborah Richter, who auditioned in the first episode, spoke to Armstrong. "Are you here for the part of the prostitute turned Senator?" Later, Richter's character obviously got popular, so she giggly informed Armstrong that she needed a dressing room now, because "Today, . . . I have to change!" All I can say is Shawnee Smith and Carol Kane were leagues ahead of the rest. Grier might have been able to contribute but at that time it apparently wasn't clear what he was capable of doing. Still would be good to see this show again tho.