Was This Classic New England Sitcom Really as Good as You Remember?
Growing up in the '90s, I was spoiled by the number of great sitcoms I could watch on any given night. The best night of the week was Thursdays, when you could watch Mad About You (have you read Paul Reiser’s observations on New Hampshire’s hot dog rolls?), Seinfeld (did you know its finale took place right here in New England?), and Cheers (was it you that just bought the show’s famous bar set?).
But there’s another show that flies (pun intended) under the radar: Wings.
Set on Nantucket, the show featured two polar-opposite brothers running a small airline opposite the evil Roy Biggins and his larger company, Aeromass. In my head, I remember this being one of the funniest shows known to man.
But when I revisited the show not too long ago, I found myself asking: “Why?” I don’t know if the humor just didn’t carry, or if I’ve grown too cynical but…I just couldn’t laugh at Wings anymore.
Was it possible this show we all love isn’t actually that good? In the book Top of the Rock, the show’s cast and creators seemed to wonder the same thing – loosely admitting that maybe Wings wasn’t the Cheers follow-up they hoped for.
Still, I find myself liking it, if not laughing at it. And I think there’s a few reasons…
It’s Unapologetically New England
Whether it’s dinners at the Club Car – a real Nantucket restaurant – or Roy singing the National Anthem at Fenway Park, you always felt like you were watching a bunch of people you knew.
It Launched Some Big Time Careers
Most notably those of University of Southern Maine graduate Tony Shalhoub (the hit TV series Monk and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) and Thomas Haden Church (the Spider-Man and Hellboy films).
It Helped Launch Another Hit Sitcom
Despite being very much a comfort food show, Wings ran for eight seasons on NBC. Eight! Imagine if networks and studios gave writers that kind of freedom and support nowadays, instead of making them strike for fair compensation.
Wings served as a, quote, “practice show” for creators David Angell, Peter Casey and David Lee, whose next project would go down as one of the most legendary sitcoms of all time. And it’s even making a comeback (set right here in New England).