|By Dadster on Sunday, September 23, 2001 - 09:08 pm: Edit|
Anyone see the new Max Bickford TV pilot where Richard Dreyfus play a college prof? Seemed like a relatively intelligent show for network TV.
|By Roger (Roger) on Monday, September 24, 2001 - 02:02 pm: Edit|
I caught part of the show while multitasking. Dreyfus appeared to be doing his usual competent and convincing job. Some of the situations were a bit over the top, but the general level of dialog was at least one cut the typical TV show. Beats Felicity, anyway. (My all-time favorite campus-based show was The Paper Chase, in which John Houseman reprised his movie role as Kingsfield, a cranky, crusty, and demanding professor of contract law.) I'd say Max has some potential depending on the direction it takes - if they can keep up the snappy repartee between profs and avoid too much of the ludicrous "Steve's a babe" stuff, it might turn out to be a pretty good show.
|By JanetNY on Tuesday, September 25, 2001 - 12:24 pm: Edit|
I thought it was interesting that they addressed a real concern these days - plagiarized essays found on the Internet - along with the pressure on faculty to keep the students happy with good grades, even when the work doesn't measure up. There has always been plagiarism - the infamous fraternity "file cabinets", for example - but technology has really made the process vastly easier, not to mention harder to detect. And the more colleges view students as customers, it gets harder not to adopt a mentality that says, "The customer is always right."
|By George Meany on Tuesday, September 25, 2001 - 04:42 pm: Edit|
I read an article recently about some kind of new software program that a professor was working on (or has already developed) that can discover when a paper has been stolen from the 'Net. Sounds like a pipe dream to me. Anyone else heard about that?
|By Roger (Roger) on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 10:40 pm: Edit|
Hi again, George. I recall seeing that story, but couldn't turn up a citation. I believe that his plan was to store papers in a database and cross-check new papers against ones he had graded in the past. Hardly full protection against plagiarism, but a good start...
|By Dadster on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 10:12 am: Edit|
Looks like the herd instinct is alive and well on network TV. Just like we had multiple volcano movies and asteroid movies releasing at the same time, there are multiple college TV shows this fall. Another one is "Undeclared" - this is a half-hour sitcom. I heard a good review of the show on the radio, but the few minutes of the show that I caught didn't look overly promising. I heard there is yet another one, sort of a "Felicity is a spy" type show.
|By Dadster on Sunday, October 14, 2001 - 08:37 pm: Edit|
Max Bickford is hanging in there, dealing with the development/fundraising vs. integrity issue. How can you help but love a show where a withering insult is, "Are you a legacy or something?"
|By burningman on Monday, October 15, 2001 - 12:28 pm: Edit|
Must be puzzling to Joe Sixpack. On the other hand, it's kind of refreshing to see a drama aimed at something slightly higher than the lowest common denominator.
|By Dadster on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 12:27 pm: Edit|
Nice mix of the academic and commercial on the last show - a discussion of freedom of ideas and actions on campus was staged when the ficitional adult magazine "Cathouse" came to campus to shoot a pictorial, pitting a feminist newspaper editor against more, er, open-minded students.
These writers are pretty clever - a real-life campus debate, but on a topic more likely to hold your average viewer's interest than, say, adopting a multicultural core curriculum.
|By burningman on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 05:01 pm: Edit|
I think the show is surprisingly well done for network TV, but I'm kind of pessimistic - as the show progresses and the pressure for ratings increases, I can visualize the story lines and dialog pandering more and more to the masses and demanding less of the viewers. (I can see the discussion among the writers now... "Nobody knows what a 'legacy' is - who's going to get that joke, a few profs and Ivy Leaguers? How about making it, 'Did your father donate the gymnasium or something?'")
|By Roger (Roger) on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 03:00 pm: Edit|
You may underestimate the audience, burningman. According to the last week's ratings, Max Bickford was the strongest show in its slot, outpulling Weakest Link. I have to admit I'm surprised.
|By George Meany on Monday, November 19, 2001 - 10:53 am: Edit|
Thanks to your comments, Roger, I made sure to catch a bit of Max Bickford last evening. I liked what I saw. Would you say that the episodes you've seen so far are balanced, or do they tend to espouse a liberal point of view?
|By Dadster on Monday, November 19, 2001 - 01:35 pm: Edit|
Well, the show is about the history faculty at an elite womens college... IMO the viewpoints are no more liberal than what one might expect. Perhaps less so, since in real life, all the profs would probably be Marxist/radical feminists eager to bury male-dominated, euro-centric history. By comparison, the profs on Max Bickford seem pretty reasonable.
|By George Meany on Monday, November 19, 2001 - 04:55 pm: Edit|
I noticed that in last night's episode, the black woman professor (whom Max wanted to recruit) who spoke about the civil rights movement made a remark about Princeton students asking her if any blacks in the rights movement were gay. IMO, that remark would have come off better had it referred to Brown or Yale students. I guess the writers were trying to imply that Princeton is pretty outrageously liberal, which just isn't the case, especially within the Ivy League. The head writer is probably an Eli. ;-)
|By Dadster on Tuesday, November 20, 2001 - 09:27 am: Edit|
Well, George, maybe the Max Bickford writers got their Ivy stereotypes wrong. On the other hand, I guess one could expect that kind of question at any of the elite schools, although the general mix of conservative students might be a bit higher at Princeton. Probably, they grabbed the name "Princeton" to represent an elite school that isn't the over-used Harvard but that most people might recognize as an elite school.
Overall, I've been reasonably impressed by the show's academic focus. Just about all of the plots have involved the same kinds of issues that one might find on a real college campus, even if the resolutions are a bit tidier than real life.
|By Dadster on Thursday, December 06, 2001 - 12:50 pm: Edit|
An additional thought - after seeing the somewhat cerebral situations on Max Bickford, and catching the rapid-fire political dialog on The West Wing, is it possible that TV networks are actually courting a slightly more intelligent audience? Or is a sort of "conservation of stupidity" law in place, which dictates that for each West Wing you need one Temptation Island?
|By apowell on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 10:22 am: Edit|
I would LOVE to think that the networks are willing to air a show that appeals to an audience which isn't just interesed in "free bread and circuses". Max Bickford is one of the shows I will NOT miss every week - it treats its characters with intelligence and the audience with some respect. There's even discussion of topics which avoids knee-jerk outcomes.
|By Amy on Wednesday, December 12, 2001 - 01:35 pm: Edit|
My daughter left Smith College after just one year there. It is apparent to all of us at home that this Western Massachusetts setting is indeed either Smith or Mount Holyoke. The joke is that a majority of the students at Smith are angry in-your-face lesbians with little tolerance for anyone else's sexual preferences. There is a bully atmosphere in the school and Smith continues to lose a good chunk of first year students to other Ivy League colleges and universities because of this agenda. I would be interested to see if CBS has the cojones to look at that side of a girls' school.
I am trying desperately to hang in there. I adore Richard Dreyfuss, but I'm afraid there is just so little going on in that hour, (and the preposterous sex-change angle that should disappear already), that I will be hard-pressed to stay loyal.
Why didn't CBS come up with a Psychiatrist story? It would be interesting to see him dealing with patients with major problems, but be unable to keep his own life in order.
|By GFI on Thursday, December 13, 2001 - 02:08 pm: Edit|
I suppose "campus full of angry lesbians" didn't sound too marketable to the network; go pitch THAT to your advertisers! Hey, nobody said this was reality TV!
Don't worry, Amy, I'm sure they'll get around to a lesbian-themed episode or two. If they play it right they might even boost their ratings. Maybe they are saving it for Sweeps week. Either that, or they'll run a "Spring Break" episode where Max, the sex-change character, & a busload of comely students head for Panama City.
|By GFI on Tuesday, December 18, 2001 - 11:14 am: Edit|
Grrr... no "Max" fix this week! Anyone know how ratings are doing for this show? Will it disappear soon, or can we look forward to a stream of episodes?
|By GatorDad on Thursday, December 20, 2001 - 01:12 pm: Edit|
Doesn't look like Max Bickford is cracking the Top 20, though I don't know how far down it is.
|By Sarah on Friday, January 11, 2002 - 02:12 am: Edit|
Well Amy, after two and a half years as a happy, well-adjusted straight student at Smith College, I have yet to encounter these "angry, in-your-face lesbians with little tolerance for anyone else's sexual preferences" that you claim comprise a "majority" of Smith's student population. While I do frequently interact with students that have different sexual orientations from my own, none thus far have been "bullies." <flame snipped - Admin>
|By MG on Saturday, January 12, 2002 - 04:54 pm: Edit|
Hi, Sarah, thanks for sharing your first-hand experience. This is kind of off-topic, but do you think that the student population at Smith represents a typical cross-section of the college population (orientation-wise), and that students of any orientation are pretty comfortable there? Would a straight girl who has been brought up in a somewhat religious/sheltered manner be OK there, do you think?
|By Dadster on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 08:20 am: Edit|
Max's recent plot line was about two simulataneous male professor/female student affairs, one involving his daughter, and one a colleague. Seems a bit far-fetched, or is it? Do schools have pretty firm rules about this? Or since the students are legally adults, is fraternization OK if it doesn't involve some kind of harassment, grade pressure, etc.?
|By Dadster on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 11:10 am: Edit|
Uh-oh... Max seemed to go seriously astray last Sunday. Unlike the episodes centered around relevant and current campus topics, like plagiarism and intellectual freedom, the most recent one was almost entirely character-based, with Max dealing with various midlife issues like his own mortality and that of his aging father.
Isn't that what destroyed LA Law years ago? When they shifted from interesting legal topics to character-based episodes, the previously #1 show tanked. Max doesn't have that far to fall, though...
|By George Meany on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 12:33 pm: Edit|
Good point, Dadster. Maybe the producers should hire some college-knowledge experts to consult on Max's scripts. I wonder if the staff here at College Confidential would be willing to do some writing?
I could see episodes about the ED mess, eating disorders, and maybe grade inflation. Looks like poor Max is turning into just another soap opera.
Remember Paper Chase? That show ran three years with high ratings because it had not only great actors (John Houseman!) but also a nice mix of real-world law school issues and character-related elements. The classroom was always an integral part of every episode.
|By Dadster on Wednesday, January 30, 2002 - 04:28 pm: Edit|
Yeah, Paper Chase was really good... a rare movie adaptation that turned into a great series. I don't think they ever had to run a "colonoscopy" episode like Max!
|By steve on Friday, February 01, 2002 - 01:59 pm: Edit|
Hey - my girlfriend is on Max Bickford every week! Not a starring role, but she is on quite a bit. Just thought I'd share
|By George Meany on Friday, February 01, 2002 - 02:16 pm: Edit|
Seriously? Is her name listed in the credits? What does she look like and what role does she play? Are you from California, Steve?
|By Dadster on Friday, February 01, 2002 - 02:50 pm: Edit|
Fill us in on how they do their research, Steve, and what locations they use.
|By MB Girl on Saturday, February 02, 2002 - 02:27 am: Edit|
Hi! I'm the girlfriend on Max Bickford. I just got back from a day of shooting. We film in NYC and it's a lot of fun. Mr. Dreyfuss is great to work with as well as the rest of the cast. Keep watching so that I still have a job!
|By GreenGuy03 on Sunday, February 03, 2002 - 10:59 pm: Edit|
Wow! A real-life star, here in the forum! Create a profile, MB Girl, and put your pic in it! I bet lots of rich Hollywood types who want their kids to go to Harvard come through here, and you might get some more gigs. The campus looks pretty rural for NYC, doesn't it?
Come back soon and tell us more... like is the actor who plays the sex-change prof really female? Has she always been female? That would really kind of suck to have a role like that, if you aren't real well known. Kind of like playing a retarded person, and you aren't well known so people are surprised when you seem normal in person. People probably look at her funny and ask her if she likes playing "Steve"...
|By DolphinGirl on Tuesday, February 05, 2002 - 01:07 pm: Edit|
MB Girl, fill us in on all the gory Max details! I second GreenGuy's suggestion that you post a pic in your profile!
Do you think Max will survive? Why aren't there bigger regular roles for "students" in the series? It seems like most of the emphasis is on the faculty and Max's family. I think the series should stay away from "diseases of old people" episodes, leave the sickness stuff to ER.
|By GreenGuy03 on Wednesday, February 13, 2002 - 06:11 pm: Edit|
Where did you go, MB Girl? We want the inside scoop! What's with the reruns, anyway? Will we see some new episodes?
|By CJMNY on Sunday, February 24, 2002 - 09:16 pm: Edit|
Does anyone know what campus is used for the location shots ? We're betting it's Sarah Lawrence.
|By Dadster on Sunday, February 24, 2002 - 10:21 pm: Edit|
Good question, CJMNY. I popped by the Sarah Lawrence web site, but their virtual tour seemed to be broken and the site search feature didn't work.
The latest Max Bickford episode was a mixed bag. The overall plot revolved around a rich alumna attempting to bribe the school into coed admissions with a big donation. A timely and relevant academic topic, and one that has strong pro and con arguments. Unfortunately, the substantive discussion of the coed vs. women's college issue occupied all of a minute or so. I'm not expecting a documentary, but I think the audience is intelligent enough to handle a little more debate than the show provided.
|By Dadster on Tuesday, March 05, 2002 - 01:35 pm: Edit|
Was the last Max a yawner or what? Barely a student or prof in sight, the whole thing took place off campus in hospitals and the old family deli. If I want to watch people dying in hospitals, I'll watch ER... What WERE the writers thinking??
|By collegemom on Tuesday, March 05, 2002 - 04:28 pm: Edit|
I agree. That's not the kind of plot line that one turns on Max Bickford to see! It has all been done to death already. And the idea for the subplot about the nutty musical theater mom had to have been virtually stolen from the ER plot where Sally Field guest starred as the mentally ill mother. Horribly unoriginal.
|By Dadster on Tuesday, March 05, 2002 - 09:17 pm: Edit|
I think the writers think Max is the story of an idiosyncratic middle-aged guy who happens to be a college professor, not a show about a reluctant department-head in a diverse womens college. They probably debated whether to make Max a professor or a district sales manager for a consumer products company.
|By MDmom on Wednesday, March 06, 2002 - 03:46 pm: Edit|
Dadster, you're beginning to sound like Dave Berry with his rants about car salesmen. What's so bad (or mundane) about a district sales manager for a consumer products company? My husband happens to be one of those.
Maybe Max should have been cast as a used car salesman whose kid is an aspiring college student, just like in the movie "Breaking Away." Have you (or anyone else here) ever seen that? Paul Dooley was the used car salesman father.
|By Dadster on Thursday, March 14, 2002 - 10:44 am: Edit|
LOL, nothing wrong with salesmen, MDmom. Just depends on whether you want to watch Max the Prof, or Willy Loman. ;)
I liked the most recent episode a bit more - Max manages to negotiate an end to a campus janitor strike while dealing with a furor caused by his roman-a-clef featuring his campus associates. Low on the plausibility scale, but at least it was back on campus.
|By GreenGuy03 on Tuesday, March 19, 2002 - 01:59 pm: Edit|
Last week Max settled a janitor's strike, this week he cast the deciding vote in a town/gown development conflict. Maybe next week he'll run for public office.
|By Dave Berry on Wednesday, March 20, 2002 - 12:40 pm: Edit|
How long before Max inserts himself into Middle East peace negotiations?
|By Dadster on Wednesday, March 20, 2002 - 03:01 pm: Edit|
I thought the town/gown fight was a surprisingly sophisticated theme for a show like Max Bickford - it's not the kind of issue that the average viewer might identify with immediately. The fact that Max ended up siding with the city slicker developers for the good of the quaint, but dying, town was a bit unexpected, too.
|By meg on Thursday, March 21, 2002 - 05:03 pm: Edit|
RE: the March 10th Episode
On the episode of "The Education of Max Bickford" which appeared on CBS March 10, 2002 there was a subplot involving striking janitors and maintenance workers. Toward the end of the program, Max Bickford locks himself, along with another instructor, the president of the college and two of the striking workers in a closet and threatens to keep everyone there until they can come up with a solution. The proposed solution is to hold off hiring a full-time instructor to fill a vacant position; by doing so, they could give all of the maintenance workers and janitors a $4 an hour raise. It was further proposed that a part-time instructor could be hired to teach the unstaffed classes; the college could save money by not having to pay benefits for the instructor. If this were truly a just world, the janitors and maintenance workers should be able to get raises without the school having to sacrifice a full-time teaching job. Furthermore, to suggest hiring a part-time instructor as a cost saving solution is totally irresponsible.
As a part-time instructor in the California Community College System, I found this message, couched as a solution, quite disturbing. Nationwide, over 60% of all faculty in higher education are part-time, often teaching in several different colleges and universities in order to cobble together a livable wage. More commonly referred to as "freeway flyers" or "road scholars," these professionals are required to have the same qualifications as full-time instructors in order to teach. Most have no rehire rights or job security, few have health benefits, and all are paid at a wage significantly lower than the full-time colleagues teaching in the classroom next to them. These professionals are exploited by a system which seemingly does not value quality education in our institutions of higher learning. These professionals seldom have offices in which to meet with their students; they seldom have access to desks, telephones, computers and other tools of the profession which full-time faculty readily have access to; and they seldom are included in the shared governance of the institutions to which they are dedicated.
Here in California, community college faculty as well as faculty in our sister institutions, California State University and the University of California, have been working diligently to end this exploitation. We have been somewhat successful in bringing our issues to the consciousness of legislatures and the general public, but messages such as the one sent on the March 10th episode of “Max Bickford,” do not help our cause. We still have a long way to go before we reach equity---not only in terms of higher salaries, but also in terms of professional respect, which we so highly deserve.
If "Max Bickford" really wants to be educated as well as educate, then I would like to suggest that the writers continue this storyline. Bring on the part-time instructor and show the general public how many of us live on a day to day basis; show how students are affected by the overuse of part-time faculty in institutions of higher learning, not just in California, but throughout the nation; show how full-time faculty are also often adversely affected by the overuse of part-time faculty; and show how each year, many of these educators leave the profession that they love, bitter and disillusioned by a system that simply sees them as expendable and replaceable resources. If you did this, then you just might be able to help bring justice not only to the 30,000 part-time faculty who teach in California’s community colleges, but also to the hundreds of thousands more who teach in institutions of higher education throughout the United States and, more importantly, to the millions of students who pass through our classrooms every day.
Sincerely, M.E. Goodwin
|By Dadster on Thursday, March 21, 2002 - 05:30 pm: Edit|
Wow, ME, thanks for enlightening us! I found that solution to the janitor problem a little too pat and quite implausible... What's the likelihood of a department head saying, "We don't really need that extra prof, we'll suck it up, work a little harder, hire a part-timer, and send the money we save to Maintenance!"? Fat chance! (On the other hand, the hiring of part-time profs to save money no doubt DOES represent reality at many schools.)
Actually, I think a storyline about the difficulties facing would-be profs would be a good choice. The writers have pursued some non-trite academic story lines, and this would be a refreshing dose of reality when contrasted with the idyllic faculty situation one usually sees. (I think I recall a lawsuit a few years ago against a major university - one or more PhD grads felt the school misrepresented the probability of employment after graduation.) Sure, the profs on Max bicker with each other about trivia, but nobody is sweating their paycheck.
We've already seen a janitor strike, maybe they could do a teaching assistant strike while they are at it. Perhaps as a women's undergrad school Chadwick doesn't have TAs...
|By George Meany on Friday, March 22, 2002 - 09:12 am: Edit|
>>Perhaps as a women's undergrad school Chadwick doesn't have TAs...<<
LOL, Dadster. For a minute there, I thought you meant "T&A"! From what I've seen, it looks like Chadwick has PLENTY of that!
|By Harvey Baumoel on Sunday, October 27, 2002 - 12:59 pm: Edit|
Why was Max taken off of the air? Help. I think it was a great show!!! Harvey
|By Mike F. Journelle on Sunday, November 03, 2002 - 09:38 pm: Edit|
I'm really disappointed to see that the show wasn't renewed this season. It seems that it wasn't mainstream enough, and a bit too intelligent for what most people want to watch these days. It's a sad commentary on our society. ;(
|By Dadster on Thursday, November 07, 2002 - 10:18 pm: Edit|
It seemed like the kind of quirky show that A&E or some other cable network might pick up, but maybe with Dreyfuss it was too costly for a second-tier channel.
Report an offensive message on this page E-mail this page to a friend
|Posting is currently disabled in this topic. Contact your discussion moderator for more information.|
|Administrator's Control Panel -- Board Moderators Only|