Some of the best-loved television shows of the 1970s were variety shows hosted by musical pairs. Donny and Marie, Sonny and Cher, Captain & Tennille… Pink Lady.
Technically a product of the 1980s (1980, to be precise) it was an attempt to revive the success of the variety show. It followed the standard format, with a series of sketches, comedy regulars, musical numbers, and superstar guests. It starred a musical duo. It had everything going for it.
Pink Lady was missing something that other successful US variety show stars had, though. It wasn’t looks; the pair were certainly pretty enough. It wasn’t talent, they were good singers and dancers. They were comfortable in front of the camera. They had a popular hit (“Kiss in the Dark”, #37 on Billboard). They just couldn’t speak English. Not a word of it.
Pause, now, and consider the wisdom of giving an hour-long weekly variety show to a pair of disco singers with, granted, a string of hit songs in their native land, but who neither speak nor read English.
Yes, drugs were plentiful back then.
To help the pair, they were given a co-host, the fairly talented but relatively unknown Jeff Altman. Pink Lady and Jeff was ready for Prime Time. Or, more accurately, as ready as they would ever be. The show only lasted five episodes.
Most television shows that get ranked on “worst ever” lists are included because they are offensive, racist, stupid, degrading… Pink Lady had all of these. Most painful, however, was watching as week after week, people attempted to speak words phonetically as written for them and a person who relied completely on timing had to play off of people who had no naturally spoken rhythm. A great actor or actress would have serious difficulty working in such a condition, with time to practice before their performance. Two disco stars and a comedian never had a chance.
From Youtube, then, a montage taken from the happily short-lived Pink Lady (& Jeff):
Question of the night: What are some of the worst television shows you’ve watched?