To call Step By Step stupid is an insult to stupidity: this lazy rehash of The Brady Bunch is about a blended family, thanks to the overzealous and impulsive marriage between two people (Suzanne Somers and Patrick Duffy) after they meet on vacation. Thing is, both of them have a shitload of kids of their own and they force them all to live in the same house together and get along, dammit! Hijinks ensue, but not the fun kind. I remember disliking this show immensely as a child (well, except for the theme song, which is just as wildly catchy as most TGIF theme songs). The only reason I watched it back in the day was because it ensured another half-hour awake and watching TV before having to go to bed.
But here I am, decades later, writing recaps about shows people have long forgotten if they even watched them in the first place. Isn’t there some current show on TV I can hate-watch and make fun of instead? I’m sure that would garner more online views than this crap. Oh well: here’s an episode of Step By Step, one that I arbitrarily picked out based on its summary on Wikipedia, wherein they parody the Wayne’s World setup of somebody doing a cable access show, only not funny. I’m sure it’s crap, but at least this time I know it’s crap before walking into the crap field of crap.
Season 2 Episode 4 – “J.T.’s World”
What? An abbreviated opening? With no theme song? Bullshit.
Anyway, Duffy-as-Dad asks stepdaughter Dana how to get a stain out of a pot and Dana condescends to him like he’s a piece of human garbage while she demonstrates how to wash the pot, and ha ha, he tricked her to clean it. Just as she’s about to clean his clock by breaking his skull open with the pot, Suzanne Somers-as-mom whisks in and grabs it out of her hand, making some witticism about how they don’t usually break out the blunt objects until lunch. As a dude in his mid-30’s, I am a little surprised at how good-looking Suzanne Somers is. I didn’t realize it when I first watched this series, being 10 and all, but now as a guy closer to her age while appearing in this show, I can see that she was a really good-looking woman. Anyway, enough of my objectification and onto females’ objectification in the form of stud muffin/idiot Cody, who elicits woos as he walks into the kitchen entrance. Did you know he was a kickboxing champion and convicted wife beater? Let that sink in for a moment.
Sure, this is a bad screen cap, but this is a bad show, so quid pro quo.
Anyway, turns out jerko kid J.T. is getting his own cable access show, which was never really a thing outside of TV shows and movies, and Cody even explicitly drops Wayne’s World as a reference because I guess the writers felt some pangs of guilt for just wholly ripping off a popular movie from the year before. Dana throws some shade at him and J.T. calls her Barky, which isn’t an insult I’m familiar with, and Somers asks how the hell a kid got a show, to which he handwaves away that it’s public access so it’s free. Dad asks what it’s gonna cost and J.T. says nothing and Cody and J.T. drop more Wayne’s World references and they’re idiots. I CAN’T BELIEVE I WAS SHORTED OF A PROPER THEME SONG!
Anyway, the next scene is J.T. asking his co-siblings what they’re gonna do with the show, what with them being the crew and all for some reason, and yet another co-sibling enters dressed up as a cheerleader with none other than Elizabeth “Saved By The Bell and Showgirls” Berkley. Oh yeah, that’s why I chose this episode, because she guest stars in it. It’s weird to think that she appeared on a show on TGIF on ABC while also doing Saved By The Bell, but maybe this was in her year out in the cold when she didn’t appear on the show for a while and instead those weird Tori episodes were made. But look at me talking about a show that somebody else has recapped to much greater success: back to this garbage dump of a show instead of that one! J.T. eyes Berkley and has the stupid hots for her immediately. Anyway, this idiot is pouring himself orange juice and just spills it all over the fucking place. Nerdy co-sibling calls her a fox and the youngest kid asks when his hormones kicked in just to stick it to nerdlinger and then the other co-sibling shits on him too for a maximum humiliation combo.
I hate watching good orange juice go to waste. And valuable air time.
Later, “Lisa” (Berkley) and other co-sibling do their crappy cheerleading routine in the living room and J.T. slithers in to hit on Berkley. He drops that he has his own stupid public access TV show and she says she’ll do anything to get on TV and I guess this is how Hollywood works.
LATER, Duffy and Somers are laying in bed while Dad plays with a stupid power tool in bed like he’s a fucking eunuch laying next to Somers. She proposes they take a compatibility test and she goes into it, and he says this sounds like a bad idea but she teases him with the promise of sex so he gets into it like a chump. Anyway, he fails badly because he’s possibly mentally handicapped or is being forced to speak the dialogue that’s written for him or else he won’t get paid that week.
Anyway, this whole stupid joke ends up being about how long they’d wait if they were stuck on a desert island with other people forever with no chance of being rescued before getting romantically involved with another person. Somers answers forever while Duffy answers 6 months. Whuh-oh! She gets super-pissed at this hypothetical Q&A and she gets out of bed, which gives me an opportunity to leer at her in her nightgown because I’m a sad, lonely man. She storms out of the room and takes the comforter, which whips him off the bed, and that’s the end of that bit of tripe.
“You fractured my spine, honey!”
LATER, the stupid J.T. show is about to tape and a ring at the doorbell brings Elizabeth Berkley through the front door. She looks about 25 here as opposed to J.T.’s 16 and he’s just the creepiest little worm I’ve seen in quite awhile–and I look at myself in the mirror every day! Corey walks in like the oaf he is with a guitar and Berkley immediately gets the hots for him. They start their stupid low-budget crap show and literally–and I mean literally–just rip off Wayne’s World’s schtick, including opening theme song, its catch phrases, and even how J.T. is dressed. It’s goddamn atrocious. I bet this is how the James Bond team felt when they first watched Myers aping their movies for Austin Powers. Dana walks in, who Cody has a crush on but who cares, and it’s just garbage because they continue to completely rip off Wayne’s World and the show presents it like it’s high satire.
Oh God, this shit keeps going on in this fashion. They let Berkley onto the show and keep throwing out babe-related puns and it just never stops. When the hell is this shitshow over? Oh goddammit, another 9 minutes left. Of a 19 minute show. It’s interminable. At the wrap of J.T.’s show that’s literally just a complete lift of Wayne’s World–which reminds me of when kids see something they like and they just do a flimsy recreation of it but then act like it’s their own idea and you just want to punch them in their little naive faces–slime lord J.T. pulls Berkley aside (I know they gave her character a name, but why bother with that?) and macks it to her. But Berkley says hey, I’m in love with Cody, and stupid ugly idiot J.T. looks sad over a musical sting.
J.T. suddenly realizes he doesn’t have a career after this sitcom ends.
Moments later, Cody is talking to J..T. and is the idiot that he always is and J.T. fires Cody out of jealousy and because these people are all awful inside and out. But enough of that horseshit: LATER Cody’s sitting on an Adirondack chair playing guitar and singing some idiotic blues song. I’ve never used the word “idiot” so much in these recaps before, but goddamn is this show idiotic. And by that I mean stupid. At least there’s only 7 minutes left now.
Meanwhile, Duffy and Somers walk into the scene while he begs for her to forgive him for responding to a hypothetical question but no dice. Stupid Duffy walks up to even worse Cody who’s still playing the awful exposition blues song. Duffy asks him what’s up, you fucking leech? And blah blah J.T. fired him off the show and Duffy immediately figures out it’s because Berkley likes Cody. So Duffy says, fuck this, lemme straighten that crooked little worm out.Anyway, Duffy says cut the shit, shitface, just don’t be garbage for once, dig me, son? Wah-wah crybaby music plays.
In this scene, you can see Duffy wondering internally where his career went wrong.
LATER J.T. strolls into the living room for the next episode of his shit show and thankfully his stepsister calls him a creep, which is nice to hear, while Duffy wanders into the kitchen as J.T. grabs a fresh can of creep juice. Creep Juice: For creeps, by creeps. Then Cody walks in and says good luck and sorry I blew it and is a nice guy all around and gives J.T. his guitar while Duffy twists the knife further into his shitty son’s side with little snipes and jabs. J.T. makes his crappy guilt-ridden amends and I think actual worms are falling out of his mouth during this. He’s just wormy. I don’t like his face.
Cody is a goddamn moron so he doesn’t understand and J.T. calls Cody a better man than him, which is a stretch since this guy loved beating his wife in real-life, and J.T. invites him back to the show. EVEN LATER, Somers is in the kitchen looking lovely and the gals come in with a Mel Gibson movie and she enthuses at how hot Gibson is (ah, how times change and ruin people’s public image) and they sucker her into confessing that she’d be happy to be stuck on a desert island with Mel Gibson–I guess so they could spew racial epithets together for infinity–and Duffy rushes in to rub her pretty face in her stupid hypocritical face. So who cares, this episode’s over and they’re back to being OK with each other because she starts giving him sexy times in the kitchen AND THAT’S THE WHOLE STUPID FUCKING EPISODE! HOORAY!
What an abomination. What a terrible sitcom. And this shit was on for nearly 10 years! What a world. I’ve had nightmares funnier than this dreck. This was one of those TGIF sitcoms I was dreading to cover for this project, and after lobbing three softballs at myself, bucked up and watched and recapped this sliver of garbage television. I know: I’m very brave.
I don’t have much to say about this show: it’s crap. Insipid, derivative crap. It was like when TV shows and movies make fun of shitty sitcoms by writing and showing a shitty sitcom that has canned laughs and awful, forced punchlines, and we all laugh at how shitty these shows are, but instead this was actually written and put on TV for season after season.
Pushed from 8:30 to 9:00 PM after its first season, Step By Step enjoyed rating success year after year, but it was hokey crap just shoveled into a programming block that was guaranteed millions of viewers just based on its ability to let young kids stay up until 10 PM. As stated before, I didn’t really like this show when I was little, but now looking back I’m almost shocked this kind of garbage was allowed on a major network. This comes across like something that would be original programming on ABC Family these days. It’s just awful. At least it was short. And now, because I was denied at the beginning of this episode, let’s listen to the one actual good part of this show as remuneration for the terribleness I just sat through.