Play it "Grand" (or, The Greatest Title Sequence in TV History)

If you remember Grand at all, you're probably a lot like me in that you watch way too much television.  It was a sitcom that ran for 2 half-seasons contained entirely within 1990.  Like Soap before it, it was a show that took a humorous approach to usual soap opera tropes like betrayals, secrets, unrequited love, hidden parentage... you get the idea.  It was clever (though if I'm being honest, Soap did it better), but it struggled to find a lasting audience in the much-different Cosby Show- and Cheers-dominated Thursday TV landscape of 1990.

(It does have the distinction, though, of ending season 1 on a bit of cliffhanger with a giant tornado wrecking the town, because they weren't sure if there'd be a season 2. By the time it did get renewed, a lot of the cast moved on to other jobs, assuming Grand was cancelled. So they had a nice little out for explaining why the 2nd season cast was smaller.)

One thing the show did have going for it, despite any other problems it may have faced from the network, the audience, or itself, and that's this title sequence from the first season, which is brilliant:

The song alone is great... uplifting, maybe even inspiring, in a way you don't often see in a sitcom.  If your life is looking for a mission statement, you could do worse than adopt this one is what I'm saying.  But the sequence itself is an amazing piece of television.  Go back and watch again right now.  I'll wait.

Did you see what I see every time I see this?  I hope so, because it's brilliant.  So many TV credit sequences are either just bits from the show followed up with close-ups of the actors as they get their names on-screen.  Or else they just show the characters in specially-shot but character appropriate moments... DJ Tanner talking on the phone, maybe, or Urkel playing the accordion.

Grand one-ups them all (or many-times-ups them all) by serving as maybe the most perfect introduction to any show ever.  As the characters (allegedly) sing the theme, we see each of them in their various familiar environments... first singularly or by family, and then they start intermixing.  We get every character's role in the show defined... not just individually, but also to each other, and then again to their environments.  It's a perfect little primer to the show, setting the scene and establishing relationships without a single word of exposition, and all in less than a minute.

It's smart.

It's economical.

It's... yeah, it's grand.

RIP Jamie D

Photo by Mario Muscar
If you're a fan of comics podcasting at all, you've probably heard of Jamie Dallessandro, better known as Jamie D.  He was one of the co-hosts of Comic Geek Speak, and if the CGS guys were a super team, he'd be the Ben Grimm, the Ray Stantz, the Hunk (Voltron), the Tiny (Battle of the Planets)... the loveable lunk that's the heart of the team.

Jamie D has battled cancer for the past few years, and it saddened me (and so many others around the world who knew him, or even just knew of him) to hear that he passed away this morning.

I didn't know Jamie really well - we had only met in person a handful of times - but I enjoyed those few face-to-face conversations, and the many more we had online, often about favorite kids comics past and present, or Doctor Who.  It breaks my heart to know there won't be any more of them.

One of my favorite things about his presence on the show was how he'd always greet returning guests with a hearty "How are you doing, my friend?"  These days, "friend" is such a loaded term, often associated more with "someone I'm tangentially connected to on the internet" than actual friendship.  When you heard the word from Jamie, though, you got the feeling he really meant it, even when the connection was tangential and internet-spawned.

Whatever the next step is, I hope he's at peace.  My sincerest condolences to his family and the many people near and far who knew and loved him.  Goodbye, friend.