I had a very busy day today and busy days always mean one thing for the blog: a non-fiction book must be read. I find this kind of book much easier to put down and then come back to later. Perhaps this is because I am not that crazy about reading novels, and so I have to force myself to concentrate on them more than with nonfiction. And, since I knew I wouldn't have time to indulge my TV addiction today, I decided that I would do the next best thing, read about TV.
Today's book, "From the early radio days of Amos 'n' Andy and The Goldbergs, through the golden age of I Love Lucy and The Honeymooners, to such contemporary hits as Cheers and The Cosby Show, the situation comedy has proved to be television's most enduring and successful genre. While other TV trends - the western, the detective drama, the variety show - come and go, the "sitcom" has become a weekly staple of our popular culture. Gerard Jone's groundbreaking social history takes a thought-provoking and entertaining look at the situation comedy and considers how it has mirrored and shaped the American experience."
I'm sure it will not surprise any of you to know that I loved today's book. How could I not love a book about TV? But dear readers, I would like to caution you that if you are not addicted to TV as I am (and by that I mean, if you don't fall asleep at night wondering why The Brady kids are all squeezed into two bedrooms when their Dad is an architect and could easily add on to the house) then you might not love this book. But I think you'll still like it, because it was filled with a lot of really interesting facts about TV.
- The character of Mary Richards, of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, was originally supposed to be divorced, but TV execs were nervous about this plan and felt that the audience might confuse Mary Richards with Moore's previous role of Laura Petri and think that she had divorced Dick Van Dyke. - I've long suspected that TV execs think that the viewing public is comprised of complete morons, but isn't it great to have actual confirmation of that! And not only do they think we're too dumb to separate the different roles that Moore plays, but we're apparently also so feeble minded that we think Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke were truly married. Wonderful - so now we're not just dumb, we're also slightly crazy. There's nothing like a little flattery to pep up a slow day.
- The birth of Ricky Ricardo Jr. on I Love Lucy, drew an audience of forty-four million, whereas President Eisenhower's inauguration the day before only drew twenty-nine million. - I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when President Eisenhower got that news. Beaten in the ratings by a baby, that must burn. And, if I can be so bold as to say, that wasn't even that great of an episode, proving my Dad's point that when there are fewer channels people will watch anything. I would imagine it's similar to what happens today when people temporarily lose their remotes. You start out thinking, Golf? This is horrible. I don't want to have to watch golf. That's it, I'm getting up and finding that remote right now. And then you realize that the last time you had the remote you were all the way on the other side of the room, which is at least six whole steps away and so you adjust your standards, and before you know it you're thinking, Well, I guess golf isn't really that bad after all. It's quiet. It's restful. Maybe I'll just watch it for a few minutes. And then a few hours passes before someone walks into the room, sees you watching golf, they begin to mock you and then you're shamed into getting up and looking for that stupid remote. Oh come on, admit it dear readers, you've done that at least once or twice or twelve times in your life.
- The show My Three Sons seems very similar to Full House. - That's not technically a fun fact, but more of an observation. The only difference I can see is that the Dad on My Three Sons eventually got married and the Dad on Full House just spent the whole time mopping floors and cleaning lint off people's clothes. Oh, but that's okay because that Vickie person that he dated towards the end of the show was annoying anyway, and I wouldn't have wanted him to marry. I never could warm up to that character after she wore that awful crushed velvet blazer. I have no idea what the costume department was thinking with that one. Am I supposed to be able to root for a character after they wear crushed velvet? Because I just can't.
And now dear readers, I want to hear all about your favorite sitcoms, either from childhood or now (or both.) I'll go first. My favorite sitcom from childhood was Full House. And my favorites now are, The Brady Bunch (try to contain your shock), The Golden Girls, Designing Women, and Hazel (which I can never watch without wanting to eat chocolate chip cookies.)