Fresno

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CBS (ended 1986)

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6.5
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Fresno

Show Summary

Just as Soap parodied American daytime soap operas, so Fresno lampooned the primetime super-soaps Dallas, Dynasty and, in particular, Falcon Crest. This latter series focused on rival wine-making empires, whereas Fresno - a long-form comedy mini-series with a two-hour opening episode - depicted the power struggles between two rival raisin dynasties, the Kensingtons and the Canes. Leading the clans were Charlotte Kensington, a bitch widow, and the hissable Tyler Cane, the pair played by top TV comic talents Carol Burnett and Dabney Coleman. Further down the cast were further heavyweight comedy exponents, Charles Grodin, Jerry Van Dyke and Teri Garr. But while they all performed with their usual expertise, the actors could not overcome the mini-series' main, if only, flaw: it was trying to parody something that had itself become a parody. Super-soaps had left reality so far behind, hunting ever more outrageous storylines and characterisations, that attempts at caricatures were bound to fail. Still, apart from the fine acting, Fresno boasted sharp writing, some exceptionally dry humour and spectacular location work (the production reputedly cost $12m). Although screened without a laugh track, one was added for a 1989 US repeat run, but it proved unnecessary and intrusive.moreless