One thing that some people might find interesting about me is that I’m absolutely obsessed with the television shows of my youth. At night, while I’m working on my book or working on our website, I get on YouTube and find old episodes of some of my favorite shows. Tonight, while watching an episode of Moonlighting, I was thinking about how much television has changed since the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and how, in a way, reality television has killed the excitement of TV. Don’t get me wrong, I love reality TV, but it’s just not the same as the escapism of those shows I used to wait all week to watch back in the day.
As an only child, weekends meant spending Saturday nights with my mom. Early in the evening we would make a Tombstone pizza and eat it at the dining room table with candles lit and Bob Dylan blaring from the speakers in the other room. After dinner, my mom would make an entire concession stand on the island in our kitchen. First, she’d make popcorn on the stove(remember that?) melting butter and adding salt as she went. When she was done, she would put the popcorn in brown, paper lunch bags and place them on the island. Then she’d crush ice in the blender(long before we had crushed ice in our refrigerator doors) and put the ice next to cans of Coke on the island, complete with plastic cups. Then she’d bring out those big candy bars and put them in front of the popcorn. After all of that was done, she would make little price tags for everything and then give me money to make my purchases for the evening. I can remember both of us laughing so hard when I would run out of money and she would make a joke about having to work for my candy.
Saturday nights meant several TV shows. Love Boat, Fantasy Island and Charlie’s Angels. When all of those were over we’d watch The Newlywed Game before going to sleep listening to old time radio shows.
Friday nights were similar, except the shows were Moonlighting and The Equalizer and later in the night, Sammy Terry came on Channel 4 and showed scary movies. And long before those days, we watched Laverne and Shirley and Welcome Back Kotter. God, I miss those shows.
It seemed like I lived through television those days. Later in high school, I became obsessed with Roseanne and through the years watched almost every episode ever filmed.
Tonight, I was thinking about how much I still love watching TV, but my shows are more raw and brutal, like The Blacklist or The Following, Dance Moms and American Horror Story. Back in the day, I loved escaping regular life through Love Boat and Fantasy Island. And what happened to Hart to Hart? But we don’t have those kinds of shows anymore. And the movies are gone too! I miss the days of 9 to 5, Romancing the Stone and Ruthless People.
I guess in a way, I’ve always loved to escape. It’s why I’ve always been obsessed with television, movies and books and probably why I’m a writer today. I think what makes watching those shows so great today is remember watching them in the past. I don’t have television nights like that anymore and my mom is no longer alive. But the memories are still alive and I think that she would like that while I stay up late at night, writing at the computer, my ears are filled with Julie and Doc and Isaac talking through my headphones and the Love Boat theme playing in my mind.
*What are your old favorite shows? Leave it in the comment section below!