In 1986, Carol Burnett was the matriarch of a raisin dynasty; Teri Garr was her failed slut of a daughter-in-law, who was rejected by every man she tried to seduce; Charles Grodin proved that too many people told him he was funny early on in his career; and Gregory Harrison a perpetually shirtless drifter named Torch. Yes! We’re talking about the satirical miniseries Fresno (“The Power! The Passion! The Produce!”), which spoofed all of the big ’80s nighttime soap operas.
In the four hours of Fresno, every conceivable type of joke is thrown at the audience, and most of them land. Watch Gregory Harrison tell adopted Kensington daughter Tiffany (Valerie Mahaffey) to try riding bareback. “Do you mean the horse?” she asks, eyeing his shining torso. There are multiple gags about Grodin’s character’s name, Kane “(I was busy raising Kane,” Carol Burnett says, making it work in the way only Carol Burnett could), an endless assortment of Bob Mackie costumes, and so much Gregory Harrison chest. Not to mention a young Bill Paxton squeezed into those ’80s jeans no one makes anymore, a surprisingly catchy song about a husband in jail called “(Our Love Was) Number 1 With a Bullet,” and a shirtless Gregory Harrison. (Did I mention that?)
The entire series is available on YouTube right now, but who knows for how long. So don’t wait; get started on it tonight! And I’ll let you know as soon as Gregory Harrison’s TV movie in which he plays a male stripper hits the Internet.
But just so we’re clear: