May 17, 2023

Sneaky Preview: New Have and Have-Not Shows for the Summer

The return of might-see TV

By Ed Goldman

Will TV viewers ever tire of sagas depicting the eternal battle of the haves and have-nots? This sneaky preview of shows streaming your way any second now should help.

SERF’S UP. Set in medieval times, when the word “feudal” wasn’t a slangy future tense of “feud,” this 19-part series traces—with a level of detail bordering on coma-inducing—the star-crossed romance of a beautiful young peasant named Perfecta and her delightfully bumbling swain Heiry, scion of a million-acre crabgrass-cultivation business that extends from England to Ireland, makes a U-turn in Scotland and finally concludes in the Shetland Islands. There, heavyset ponies harvest the crop, take it to market then repair to a pub called Why the Long Face? 

Edgy Cartoon

Streaming “live”

In Episode 1, Heiry tells his father, Baron Grinette, that he has espied Perfecta in the fields and wishes to marry or date her, whichever comes first. “I’m glad you said you ‘espied’ her,” Baron Grinette tells his son. “Had you just ‘seen’ her I would question your intentions.” Things don’t pep up much in Episodes 2-18, to be candid, but in the closing moments of Episode 19, Baron Grinette passes on all of his crabgrass holdings to Heiry—then just, you know, passes on. By now Heiry has dated Perfecta as well as her two sisters, scoring the perfect Trifecta. Parental guidance is suggested, but mainly for parents likely to nod off in positions from which they’ll awake much later with cricks in their necks. 

ESTATE OF THE ONION. Set in the torrid town of Gilroy, the onion capital of the world if not of California, this family drama focuses on two brothers fighting for control of the family farm on which leeks, scallions and even Vidalia onions bloom year-round. (Note: Vidalia onions are normally grown in Georgia, and perhaps are the only living thing that grows normally there.) 

The 24/7, all-season blooming of onions causes the townspeople to walk around in tears most of the time and with halitosis the rest of the time. After a 47-episode arc, during which Russian oligarchs make cameo appearances for no apparent reason, the two sons decide to split the estate, though not quite equally: the elder takes each scallion and Vidalia, while the younger brother agrees to take a leek.

CHARLES MANSION. A new reality show based on the popular “Charles in Charge” sitcom of several eons ago. In this reboot—in which, ironically enough, the actors are themselves shod in re-boots—Scott Baio, who had starred as Charles, is seen introducing himself to nearly everyone he encounters in supermarkets, drycleaners and Republican caucuses. (“Hi, it’s me: Scott ‘Charles in Charge’ Baio. What’s your day looking like? Is there room in it for a little pickleball with a major star of television? Would you like to Stump for Trump while Hidin’ from Biden? Do you have any raisins on you?”) Then he retreats to what he thinks is his “mansion”—a sixth-story, one-bedroom, no-bath walkup in Brooklyn. Therein, he lives with a family of puppets based on the Powell family, whose household he thought he was running as a college student in the original show. Every week a social services counselor, whom Charles/Baio insists is his “agent” pops by to check on his welfare. Sample dialogue: 

COUNSELOR: How are you feeling?

CHARLES: Eighty-five percent.

COUNSELOR: Why only that?

CHARLES: You’re my agent. You took the other 15.

ROYAL PAINS. Another reality series, this one tails Semi-Deposed Prince Harry and Princess-With-An-Explanation Meghan as they’re seen enjoying their Santa Barbara lifestyle: demanding to see the manager of Arby’s when their order arrives without the promised horsey sauce; making fun of valets (the stationary ones you hang your clothes on, not the animated ones who park and dent your cars); and generally acting entitled. This last proves to be a bit of a stretch for Meghan, who was never really much of an actress in the TV show “Suits” and may be even less convincing playing herself. 

NAMASTE! A reworking of the ABC-TV nighttime fave, “Dynasty”—only this time, instead of an oil empire, the family fortune derives from a yoga-pants franchise. (Alternate title to fool very old viewers into watching: “Mat Lock.”) 

THE FORESIGHT SAGA. A family of fulltime oracles decides to rent a condemned Beverly Hills home until a developer can obtain the permits to evict them, tear down the house and erect a two-story Chatbot disco on the property. The permits prove difficult to obtain because the nightclub would be sited 1,300 hundred yards from a school for license-revoked whole-life insurance salespeople hoping to make a fresh start as campaign workers/taxidermists in Spearfish, South Dakota, which apparently has “a crying need for envelope- and animal- stuffers,” according to a recruitment ad on Craig’s List. 

The Politans, a multi-generational clan of seers, includes troubled teen Neo Politan, who claims he would have daddy issues if he weren’t such good friends with his father. He also hangs out at the coroner’s office so he can state without fear of reprisal, “I see dead people.” His beloved father, Cosmo Politan, has been working as an inhouse seer at a local Pilates gym, predicting the customer most likely to collapse of myocardial dysfunction in any given group session (he earns money by betting against the instructors). The family’s elder, Metro Politan, is the genuine psychic in the bunch: he leaves the series in the first episode after accurately predicting it will also be the last episode.   

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).

Yes, Virginia

A Weekly Blog by Virginia Varela

President, Golden Pacific Bank, a Division of SoFi Bank, N.A.

photo by Phoebe Verkouw


It’s terrible to have to think about it, but incidents of “active shooters” are on the increase.

Active shooter incidents in the U.S. increased more than 50 percent in 2021 from 2020, killing 103 people and wounding 140 others. This underscores one big point: we all should have a plan for prevention, preparedness, and response in every workplace and every public gathering place.

At Golden Pacific Bank, a division of SoFi Bank, NA, staff have been trained on how to recognize behaviors of concern in advance of an incident, what type of actions to consider when confronted with an active shooter, and how to plan and be prepared for a potential incident.

It’s so important to be prepared with a wide range of potential scenarios, since, in most cases, active shooters use firearms and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. Sadly, active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly,

As reported by the FBI, “At least 66.9% of all active shooter incidents ended before police arrived.

Of the incidents in which the duration was known:

  • 69.8% of active shooter incidents ended in 5 minutes or less.
  • 36.5% of active shooter incidents ended in 2 minutes or less.

Training will not prevent all such tragedies, but it’s important to bring awareness to these incidents and to have a plan in place that just may save lives. Take the time to prepare for those terrifying few minutes.

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