I am sure that many of you are like me when it comes to watching television… you just don’t have time anymore. But when I do watch, it’s usually the news (I won’t tell you which channel), Pawn Stars, and Diners, Dives, and Drive-Ins, or my favorite, the Walking Dead (oh, yeah, I can’t forget the Greek Spirit TV with George Burlotos). I definitely don’t watch those so-called “realty shows” featuring Snooki or the other brain-less twits that are racking in millions.
The under 21 group will tell you Snooki and the others are funny entertainment. I will give them the benefit of the doubt so long as they promise me that they understand that Snooki and the gang are not “reality” but scripted entertainment… but that’s for another day to discuss. But do these reality shows really stand-up to the comedies we use to watch?
Today there are the Kardashian sisters – Kim, Kourtney, and Kloé. Back then we had Moe, Larry, and Curly (Shemp, too!). I can hear the men laughing already. Some of us can remember running home after school to watch the Three Stooges (1930-1970) – the haunted house episodes were the best. Sometimes they aired on Sunday and I am positive your father was sitting with you laughing away and your mother was disgusted at both of you (women just don’t understand the Stooges). I’ve never seen Kim Kardashian poke Kourtney in the eyes, or smack Kloé in the back of the head – nyuk nyuk! Now that’s real entertainment.
Another of today’s popular reality show is Survivor where the cast needs to complete certain tasks, build things, eat weird stuff, and eventually everyone is voted off the island. We also had our version of Survivor, but it was Gilligan, the Skipper, the Professor, Ginger, Mary Ann, and the Howes on Gilligan’s Island (1964-67). They made everything out of bamboo, including radios, like my daughter does with Duck Tape! Each week someone new would end up on the island (remember Wrongway?) and by the end of the show, they got off the island, but not our castaways from the SS Minnow. They never got off (actually years later, after the show was cancelled, they made a TV movie and they got off, but that doesn’t count). You would think that they would have just made a boat out of bamboo and left the island? And yes, I was a Mary Ann man!
In one episode of the today’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Adrienne throws a fashion show… whoopi do. But in the Beverly Hillbillies (1962-1971), Granny makes possum stew and takes a nip of her moonshine, Jethro falls into the “cee-ment” pond, and we all can still sing the theme song – “Come and listen to a story about a man named Jed. A poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed. Then one day he was shootin at some food, and up through the ground came a bubblin crude. Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea”. Can you sing the theme song to the Jersey Shore? I didn’t think so.
Of course, today we have a show that is about the modern family… called, what else – Modern Family. But we had the Addams Family (1964-1966), the original dysfunctional family with Gomez, Morticia, Lurch and the rest of the macabre misfits. Wednesday was always trying to maim Pugsly. Uncle Fester was inventing odd machines and testing light bulbs with his mouth, Lurch just moaned, and Gomez kissed Morticia’s arm whenever she spoke French… Mademoiselle.
There were so many comedies back then. In the 60’s you had Get Smart, F-Troop, Hogan’s Heroes (my personal favorite), My Favorite Martian, Green Acres, Gomer Pyle USMC, I Dream of Jeannie, Laugh-In, Mr. Ed (the talking horse), and The Munsters. In the 70’s there was Mork and Mindy (no one knew who Robin Williams was at that time), WKRP in Cincinnati, The Jeffersons, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Saturday Night Live (the original cast), Good Times, All In The Family, The Carol Burnett Show, Bewitched, and Barney Miller. The 80’s brought Cheers, Family Ties, Golden Girls, Threes a Crowd, Who’s the Boss, and my other personal favorite, Night Court with Judge Harry (that’s weird!) They were all great.
I have to admit though, some of the new comedies are good… Big Bang Theory for example, but if you want nerds, and the original nerd, then no one beats Steve Urkel in Family Matters. Okay, it was a 90’s show, but still… Urkel beats Snooki any time!
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