Ah, crap. It’s only day eleven and I already can’t think of something to write about. I started several posts, one about TV, one about The Good Wife, and the last one was about how I would love to be a casting agent or script-writer. I mean have you seen what passes for entertainment on the ole tube these days? Well, at least I seem to have a theme going. All my aborted posts seem to be about television.
My affair with TV started when I was young. We had one of those ancient TV’s that you see in old black and white sit-coms. It was a vacuum tube TV with a screen the size of your iPhone. I can’t remember what we watched on it but I always remember making the trip to, I think, Allen’s Drug Store in Bronte because they had a machine that tested vacuum tubes and Dad would take the suspicious one there for confirmation. We slowly graduated from that old dinosaur to a 24″ black and white and eventually (gasp!) colour! It was like the Wizard of Oz where things magically transformed into bright colours. Was it my imagination or were things actually more colourful on TV than in the real world.
We watched all kinds of things when I was growing up but mostly I remember the music shows – The Jack Benny Show; Perry Como; Andy Williams; Sonny & Cher; Donny & Marie; Bing Crosby; Mickey Finn (where I first saw the incomparable Eubie Blake); Dean Martin; Glen Campbell; The Smothers Brothers; Ed Sullivan…So many good shows where music took center stage. They were my favourites. Now it seems it would be too expensive and then the copyright issues…No one even thought about copyrights back then. I’m sure they existed it’s just that the musicians were probably happy to have a venue as large as national TV to showcase their music. The only places at that time to have a large audience exposed to your music was either TV or radio. Now, with TV and radio having far less influence on how we listen to music, it seems that shows like Solid Gold or The Midnight Special are needed again.
I loved watching sit-coms as well. I loved My Three Sons, My Favourite Martian, The Danny Thomas Show, Father Knows Best, Leave It To Beaver, I Love Lucy…Of course I was what you would call a captive audience since I didn’t really have a choice, Dad controlled the TV and when he wasn’t around my Mum did. The only time I remember picking my own shows was when my Mum went to work and I had the house to myself when I came home from school. What did I watch? Cartoons mostly. Roger Ramjet (I can still sing the theme song). The Flintstones (I can still sing that theme song as well). Beanie and Cecil (Don’t remember that one). Gilligan’s Island (Yep, I can still sing that)…I can embarrass myself over several decades if I wanted to.
Ah, yes. I can remember the themes to a lot of the older shows actually. Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Petticoat Junction, The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, The Addams Family, The Monkees, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Batman…yep, I’m an entertainment trivia walking nightmare. Then there’s The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, All in the Family, Maude, MASH, Mary Tyler Moore, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Three’s Company. So much of my time spent in front of the TV. And how can I forget Murphy Brown, The Cosby Show, Full House, Roseanne, Designing Women, WKRP in Cincinnati, Home Improvement, Mad About You, Frasier, Will & Grace, Becker and, of course, Cheers? I have to confess that I don’t remember all those theme songs but I would bet that if someone played them for me I could name that tune in six notes, Tom.
Now I just watch a few. Most aren’t really that funny anymore. I think the last truly funny sit-com I watched, and still rewatch no matter how many times I’ve seen it, is Friends. My favourite line, and one I use when I eat something I don’t like, is the one Ross uses to describe Rachel’s attempt at a trifle – “It tastes like feet!”. The character of Ross doesn’t wear well. He seems more whiney as time goes by and Rachel, although still quite funny, comes across as way too self-absorbed, it was the other characters that elevated Friends to its status as a classic. Phoebe especially. Most of the best lines were hers. And I find that a lot with sit-coms, I can forgive a badly written main character if the peripheral characters are good. I mean, the character of Ted on How I Met Your Mother I would gladly smack if I could but Barney? Love, love, love him. Robin? Very funny especially when playing up the Canadian stereotypes and the whole gun thing. Marshal? Meh. But Lily? Love, love, love her. A bit whiney and when she calls Marshal “baby” in that nails-on-blackboard mewl and I want to chew my ears off so I can’t hear her anymore, but mostly she gets the best lines.
The sit-coms I’m finding funny now are: Mom, Sean Saves the World, The Crazy Ones, The Big Bang Theory (although I’m not a loyal follower), Corner Gas (although it is in reruns now), Arrested Development, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I honestly don’t understand how some of the other ones are still on the air. 2 Broke Girls? Really? Mike and Molly? The New Girl? I just don’t find them funny. But to each their own. I’ve always been someone who is a bit on the fringe, only dipping my toes into the mainstream after the fact. I don’t expect that Mom or Sean Saves the World will last into next season, shows I like rarely do but I am enjoying them just the same. More so Sean Saves the World than Mom. I mean, the Sean in question is Sean Hayes who played Jack McFarland on Will & Grace. How can you not love him? Rhetorical question because I can well understand why some people might have a problem with him, but I don’t and this is my blog and I think he’s brilliant. So there.
I can’t say that I have all that much time to watch TV these days. I have shows that I never miss, thank goodness for my pvr. Shows like The Good Wife, Rick Mercer, The Daily Show, How I Met Your Mother, House Hunters International, Downton Abbey (can you believe they killed Matthew? I mean, wtf? Wtf?!?)…um…er…I’m thinking…I guess not much else. There are some I watch more often than not – The Big Bang Theory, Law & Order: SVU…um…er…I’m finding I’m turning more towards documentaries or history shows. Things like The Edwardian Farm, Time Team, The Story of Scotland, Coast…those kinds of shows are what I find interesting now.
I don’t know why my tastes have changed. I find I’m much more entertained by a good curling match than I am by most of the stuff they show on TV now. Even the movies don’t excite me as much as they used to. I have to admit that I may have been the only one to have been excited by the prospects of Sharknado 2. I am an unashamed fan of really bad disaster movies and Sharknado 1 knocked my perennial favourite, Twister, out of the #1 position. How could it not? There are sharks! There’s a tornado! What can possibly be better than combining the two? I mean, really?
So with the long hard winter stretching out before me and few prospects on the old boob tube to keep me entertained and laughing, you will probably find me doing more reading (I already have two books started), more knitting, more baking and more whining about the lack of anything to watch on TV. I don’t have 400 cable channels to choose from, mostly because I refuse to give Rogers any more of my money than I absolutely have to so I have to resort to scouring the stacks at the library for movies and such or searching YouTube. I also can find stuff on the broadcasters websites to keep me entertained and as a last resort there are sites that offer complete TV shows for free. You know the sites I mean. And in February I have the Olympics to look forward to. Go Canada!