Saturday, December 10, 2016

When Book Reviewing Ain't for Sissies

If you've been following my book reviews on this blog, you may have noticed that they tend to accentuate the positive. Knowing from first-hand experience how much effort writing a book entails, not to mention how personally writers take our work, I can't find any pleasure in slamming anyone's writing. I'd rather spend my energy calling attention to the books I enjoy.

That's why I hesitated to offer my opinion of The Top 100 American Situation Comedies: An Objective Ranking. It was written by two authors whose credentials are impressive, and issued by a respected academic publisher. Unfortunately, as many readers will quickly notice, it is also rife with errors.

To name a few:

Buddy (The Dick Van Dyke Show) was played by Morey, not "Maury," Amsterdam.

Beth Howland's Alice character was Vera Gorman, not "Goodman."

Uncle Tonoose (The Danny Thomas Show) was played by Hans Conried, not "Conreid."

On The Big Bang Theory, Raj's full name is Rajesh, not "Rajeesh."

And Fred MacMurray was not the only actor to be a regular cast member of My Three Sons for all 12 seasons. He shares that distinction with Stanley Livingston.

Maybe there truly is enlightenment to be found in the unique sitcom scoring system the authors have devised (although you have to wonder about a ranking that drops the classic 1970s Bob Newhart Show to #88). As for me, I had to put the book down. The mistakes were making my head swim.

I spent only $3.99 for the Kindle version of this book. Had I purchased it at full price ($39.95), I would be seriously pissed. I just hope its factual mistakes aren't perpetuated in other sources.

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