Friday, May 29, 2009

The Deuce Loves...TV

Back at the turn of the new year I posted an article about how I was not going to go super nova over every thing in the world that pissed me off. Since then, well, I've pretty much gone super nova over every thing that's pissed me least those things I had the time to write about. Seriously, there are so many things going on that piss me off there are not enough hours in the day for me to write about them all. So today, I want to write about one of the things going on in the world that I absolutely love...TV.

I LOVE TV! I've loved it ever since I was old enough to watch it and grasp what was going on. My dear mother, God rest her soul, always laughed when she would tell people that the first word I ever said was Popeye. I wonder how many of you even know who or what Popeye was? It was a black and white ( how many of you even know that TV was once broadcast only in black and white) and only came on on Saturday mornings...when all cartoons came on at that time. Back in the Pre-Camera-brian age when there were only three TV channels, and sometimes less, depending on where you lived. Believe it or not, I once lived in a place that had NO TV. That place, Del Rio, Texas, was the place my mother always said was her favorite time of life. People sat on their stoops after supper, when the cool of the evening came on, and actually talked to one another! They played cards; threw a birthday party at the rec center at least once a week; they actually knew each other. How amazing is that? And here I am saying how much I love TV. My mother was smarter than me, but I was better entertained.

Since the days of Popeye I've been a child of television. I can still remember Saturday morning cartoons. I, of my own free will, actually got up at 7:00 am every Saturday just so I could watch cartoons! I watched Popeye, and later on watched the very best cartoons ever created; Johnny Quest, The Herculoids, Space Ghost, The Adventures of Bugs Bunny and Rocky & Bullwinkle ( that included Fractured Fairy Tales and Dudley Do-Right and Mr. Peabody and the Way Back Machine). Oh, the halcyon days of Saturday morning cartoons! Later on, these magnificent creations would be replaced by the likes of H.R. Puffnstuff, and other live action shows created by loser commie hippies. It was the 60's after all, and the long haired maggot infested hippies even destroyed my Saturday morning cartoons! No wonder I've never voted for a Democrat in my life.

Oh, but Saturday mornings weren't the only time excellent TV was to be had. In the evenings were such classics as Combat, Rawhide, Wagon Train, The Time Tunnel, The Man From UNCLE, The Green Hornet ( with an as yet unknown Bruce Lee as Kato...Napoleon Solo and Kato inspired my neighborhood buddies and me to flip each other and otherwise throw down the sweet Kung Fu), Get Smart, Hogan's Hero's, The Addams Family, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Andy Griffith Show, Bonanza, The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Star Trek, and Gilligan's Island. Masterpieces, each and every one of them.

Then things changed. The Vietnam War wore everybody down, and then Watergate brought down a president, and TV took on a more "realistic" veneer. Women and Blacks came on the seen, almost explosively. Suddenly, real world issues and problems were getting the treatment every night on TV. War, race, bigotry and women's rights were thrust into my TV...and into my conscience.

In the late 60's and early 70's, came Rowan and Martins's Laugh In, M*A*S*H, All In The Family, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Mod Squad, Adam-12, Sanford and Son, Maude, Hawaii Five-O, Mannix, Chico and the Man, The Jeffersons and Good Times. The early 70's were all about realism, even if it was addressed as a comedy. I saw the comedy and laughed with everyone else, but by then I was living in a small town in Iowa and I had nothing in common with Blacks or Hispanics or women struggling to find their way in the work-a-day world. But it was great TV.

Then Americans got tired of all the heavy messages and things eased up a bit. This is when Happy Days came along, with Laverne and Shirley; Welcome Back Kotter; The Bob Newhart Show; The Six Million Dollar Man; Baretta; Barney Miller; The Love Boat and Fantasy Island. By then I was no longer a kid, but it was still "don't miss" TV.

Since then, as I've gotten older, the great TV shows have gotten fewer and farther between, even if there are now hundreds of channels showing everything imaginable and many things unimaginable. But there have been some. Cheers; Magnum P.I.; Hill Street Blues; St. Elsewhere; Family Ties; Frasier; Everybody Love Raymond, The West Wing ( commie bastards all, but some of the best writing TV has ever had); Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (finally a Star Trek with real human beings that weren't perfect); ER and Seinfeld.

As a guy who grew up as an only child, and has been single since 1992, TV has kept me company, made me laugh, made me cry and made me think. But regardless of the issues of the day or the tumultuous times America has experienced, or that I have personally lived through, TV has always been my friend...sometimes when I had no other.

I simply can't imagine life without it.

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