Column, Movie Diary

The waiting is the hardest part

By Dom Cioffi

Recently, I had a friend tell me that I absolutely had to watch the Paramount series, “Yellowstone.” He raved about the storylines, the acting, and the overarching grandeur of the show. I acknowledged his passion and said I’d check it out.

But I won’t.

It’s not that I have anything against that show in particular; these days I just refuse to dedicate the time required to watch a multi-season series. I’ve tried on occasion, but the only time I’ve actually made it from the beginning to the end of a modern TV series was a few years back when I got fully absorbed in “Breaking Bad.”

While I was in the throes of that series, I couldn’t think about anything else. I was stealing away on my lunch break to watch a half an episode; I was brushing my son off from playing catch just to see who got killed next; I was telling my wife I didn’t feel well just so I could curl up in bed to see what Walter White did next.

And when the series ended, I literally went through a detox period where I was angsting for more episodes to watch. Don’t get mewrong, “Breaking Bad” was a masterful entertainment experience, but once I got some distance between me and that show, I realized how much it had commandeered my life.

Obviously, there’s a lot of people in the world who need or even deserve a distraction of this type, in which case one of these series can provide great fodder. But I’m currently unwilling to give away those large chunks of my life.

I’ve thought about why I feel this way because, prior to streaming series like Netflix and Amazon Prime changing the way we watch television series, I was a fan of many, many shows. However, I think having a life-threatening illness several years ago played a big part in my refusal to willingly give away large swaths of my time.

But more than that, I think I’m simply more nostalgic of the way things used to be. 

Actor Richard Belzer died a couple weeks ago, which brought a tear to my eye given that my wife and I watched every episode of “Law & Order” five times over. As a child, my father and I never missed one episode of “MASH” or “The Odd Couple.” And let’s not forget “Friends” and “Seinfeld,” the two shows that defined my generation.

I loved these shows and planned my weeknights around their broadcast times. And maybe that’s why I feel alienated from these new series, which can be binged beginning to end without the need or anticipation of waiting a whole week for the next episode to drop.

But of all the shows I’ve ever watched, “Cheers” remains at the forefront. Running from 1982 to 1993 and encompassing 275 episodes, “Cheers” defined my burgeoning young adult life. The atmosphere of the show was unique, the writing was witty, and the fact that every character could equally be a god or a goat made it the most charming show on television.

However, of all the characters, Dr. Frasier Crane, played by Kelsey Grammer, remained my favorite. The hapless psychiatrist (who was initially only supposed to appear in a couple episodes as a love interest for barmaid Diane Chambers) made such a splash that he quickly became a reoccurring character and eventually enjoyed a spin-off show of his own.

Grammer’s life has not been an easy one, riddled with horrific family tragedies like the rape and murder of his sister and the murder of his father. These events and the stress of being in the public eye for decades led Grammer into countless bouts of drug and alcohol abuse and multiple failed marriages.

However, with all his trials, Grammer has settled into life in recent years and begun working only on projects that are close to his heart. This week’s feature, “Jesus Revolution,” is one of those projects.

I happened to see Grammer on a clip from a talk show last week talking about his newest film. In the short time I watched, he had tears running down his face as he described the film as the best work he’s ever done. I was so moved by his reaction and candor, that I went to see his film that night.

“Jesus Revolution” is the true story of a religious movement that began in California in the late 1960s, when a young hippie preacher became friends with an elderly minister. Together they would start a Christian ministry that would send theological ripples across the country.

Many will be susspicious of this film given the title and religious content, but the historical storyline is interesting and worthy of being told. Given this one a shot if you’re in the mood to witness the unfolding of an unlikely revolution.

A pious “B-” for “Jesus Revolution,” now playing in theaters everywhere.

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at

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