VERY, VERY PRETTY BOYS
TRULY MINDLESS, FUN TELEVISION–BACK TO BACK EVERY SATURDAY NIGHT
THE ORIGINAL, JUMBO SIZED BONNE BELL LIP SMACKERS THAT THEY DON’T SELL ANYMORE
As an entertainment genre, I really miss the mini-series! This week, I’ve been re-reading The Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough on my Kindle, and when I picture the characters interacting according to the words I see on the screen, I see Rachel Ward, Barbara Stanwyck, and Richard Chamberlain. Back then, when the mini-series The Thorn Birds aired, just about everyone I knew was riveted for a week and couldn’t wait until the following evening to see what was going to happen…even though we already knew ‘cause we’d read the book.
And, during the heyday of the mini-series, none of us knew Richard Chamberlain was actually gay in real life, so it was easy to believe his portrayal of an ambitious, committed priest who simply couldn’t control himself because he loved Meggie so much. Richard finally came out a few years ago and good for him I guess, but I still choose to suspend my disbelief regarding the heat between him and Meggie…oh that beach scene when he finally went to her…wow! It helps that the Thorn Birds was cast with such amazing actors and will, to me anyway, forever be the epitome of the classic, spellbinding American television mini-series.
My favorite romantic beach scene EVER!
Entertainment seems to go in cycles and come in waves. The mini-series dominated during the mid 70’s-mid 80’s, along with nighttime soaps like Dallas and Knots Landing, comedies like Friends ruled the 90’s, and reality television (yuck) got a grip on us in the late 90’s and hasn’t let go yet. I guess we television viewers are easily bored and get tired of a particular medium, which is probably what happened to the mini-series. Here’s hoping it comes back…Certainly, bestselling books are made into movies still, so it’s not much of a stretch. Lots of them are ending up on the big screen these days, so in reverence to our still bad economy, I think Hollywood should slash those budgets, hire some unknowns and maybe one big has been star, get those cameras rolling and stretch it out over a few nights. People still have water coolers at work, and I can promise you they’ll all stand around them talking about what happened last night and what’s going to happen tonight, just like they did in the 70’s and 80’s.
In addition to my beloved Thorn Birds, here are a few other infamous mini-series’ you may have forgotten…
Roots, of course! This one was epic, and encouraged important dialogue, around the water cooler, and everywhere else in the 70’s regarding a shameful part of our nation’s history…
The one that supposedly started it all…Rich Man, Poor Man
East of Eden-WOW! I’ll never forget the tag line, “And she took them ALL, somewhere East of Eden…” Jayne Seymour was brilliant!!!
North and South…a favorite of all us Southerners! The late Patrick Swayze at his best, and before he ever danced with Baby or made sexy pottery with Demi…
Lace, with the wonderful Phoebe Cates, who uttered the best mini-series line ever–“Incidentally, which one of you bitches is my mother?” Ahhh, those were the days when saying bitch on t.v. was a very big deal….
Yes, these are all a part of television history…I don’t know about you, but t.v. seems to be getting a little stale these days. People are ready for a change–something new. Well, at least something new to them anyway. I’m tired of seeing people eat bugs on t.v., dance, sing and model, try to find the love of their life–cattle auction style, and watching obnoxious middle aged women who’ve had one too many boob jobs have cat fights and pull each other’s hair. Here’s hoping the Great American Mini-Series can make a comeback…I’ll be watching!
Now THOSE were effective dramatizations of multiculturalism, folks! Thanks for ruining this one for me Will Ferrell…you suck…
Way back when…way before Richard Hatch ever flashed a butt cheek on the first Survivor, even before Ross and Rachel took a break (or not) on Friends, cartoons existed between the hours of 8 and 12 on a Saturday morning, and they were special because of it. For many, many years now, kids have been spoiled with several cable cartoon channels, running all the cartoons anyone could handle, 24/7. I guess this is considered progress and improvement for kids, but cartoons’ ho-hum availability has also robbed my children of the excitement of Saturday morning that I remember so well…
Where the criminals ALWAYS would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for you kids!
When I was growing up, I waited all week for Saturday morning. It was comforting to get up and eat my breakfast in front of the television, staying in my pajamas till noon for just that one special day. There, I communed with my favs….HR Pufnstuf, Isis, The Land of the Lost, The Jetsons, Lidsville, Scooby Doo, Josie and the Pussycats, and more. Now, most of these aren’t considered “cartoons”, I guess, due to their lack of animation, and use of actors, puppets, etc. I still think of them as cartoons, because these were the quintessential 70’s cartoons to me. This also seems to be somewhat of a lost art in children’s programming today, as the pendulum has swung back to all animation.
I don’t know what Sid and Marty were smoking in the 70’s, but the manifestations of their acid trips made for some great t.v.!
And every Saturday, my weekly cartoon event always wrapped up with The Bill Cosby Show, the perfect hybrid of real people and animation, with entertainment provided by Fat Albert and the gang, followed by life lessons from the eternally cool Bill Cosby. And throughout Saturday morning cartoon viewing, we kids were treated to mini animated educational spots in between our cartoons, courtesy of SchoolHouse Rock. Those were the BEST! How do kids learn how a Bill becomes a Law nowadays, anyway?
We should put up a big screen on the Beltway and make them all watch this one looping while they are sitting in gridlock. They seem to have forgotten how it’s all supposed to work…
Oh, and a trip down cartoon memory lane would not be complete without a mention of the annual Superbowl of my childhood—the Fall Sneak Peek that each of the networks did on a Friday night, about the time school started. This always preceded premiere Saturday of the new Saturday Morning Cartoon season, with all the new and exciting shows the networks had in store for us kids. I remember this being a huge deal for me every year…rather like my current yearly Oscar Red Carpet fashion snark-fest, held each and every February on my Facebook Wall for me and all my snarky Friends.
Back when cartoons were special, it also seemed that kids spent more time watching “family programming” with their parents…shows like The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, and the like. These types of shows were designed to appeal to a wide audience, and gave kids and adults talking points as well, in a 70’s touchy feely, socially progressive sort of way. And really, if you were a kid back then, you had no other choices in television viewing during primetime, because with the exception of the aforementioned Fall Sneak Peek Special once a year, these shows were all she wrote during the week. Now the one exception to that rule was, of course, the infamous After School Specials, which melodramatically chronicled the kid and teen social disaster du jour, and were also designed to get parents and kids talking.
I guess it’s probably not PC to call Albert by his full given name anymore–Fat Albert…Na, Na, Na, gonna have a good time…Hey, Hey, HEY
Time marches on…fads come and go….and trends like the one I’ve described here, come along and change everything permanently. I embrace that, because hanging on to outdated ways of doing things, or clinging to bygone days is generally not good for people. But that being said, I miss the days when Saturday Morning–and Cartoons, were special. No apologies.
Until Next Time…