Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Influence of Television

Yesterday I was over at Jim’s blog, Suldog, and he had written this great post about television and his top 5 shows of all time.  I laughed, I cried, I did all the usual things I do when reading one of his posts (including but not limited to: snorting, dropping my jaw in surprise, cackling hysterically, marveling in the way he can spin something small like TV shows into something so well written).

As I was commenting back I realized I’d already typed about 200 words and decided instead that it would make for a good post of my own.  So in piggybacking my own drivel off Jim’s much better written content, here’s a list of my top five favorite television shows and a little description of why based on his rules:


1. Watch every episode
2. Love reruns
3. Can name every actor who graced the screen
4. Have favorite episode(s)
5. Still enjoy even if it jumps the shark
6. Tell your friends to watch
7. Can identify when parts have been cut in reruns
8. Smile and/or laugh just thinking about the show
9. Wouldn’t mind a reunion
10. Find yourself quoting the show all the time
11. Feel the show would hold up through generations
And finally, that the series has come to an end.

With all of that in mind (which I think are a fine set of rules by the way), I’d have to go with:

Sex and the City

Not only have I watched every episode numerous times I own the super girlie, pink velvet boxed DVD set and still watch when it’s on regular TV, just because.  Quoting this show is like part of my personal lexicon, in fact at times I probably do it without even realizing.  There were so many perfectly timed moments, scenarios of friendship, love and sex in the modern day that entire urban phrases were created due to this show.  Ever call someone a Modelizer (a man who only dates models) or a Frenemy (so much a word that MSWord recognizes the spelling)?  Ever refer to the cheating curve?  Ever tell someone they’ve Susan Sharon’d something?  Curious where Bradley Cooper or Dean Winters got their start?  And oh yes you know Dean, he plays Mayhem in those trendy Allstate commercials now.  SATC streamlined so much of pop culture and made the bold move of showing the world just what women were capable of.  Even if they ‘lost their Choo!’ while doing it.  The one caveat here is that there was already a reunion of sorts, 2 movies have been made since the series ended.  I was so disappointed with shifting characters that were Hollywood-ized for big screen appeal in the first movie that I never saw the second and I pretty much pretend they were never even made.


This one is truly era/generational specific for GenX I think.  As this show aired I was moving into my own apartments and starting to realize what it was like to live and love on my own for the first time, just like the cast.  I discovered how much of a family my own friends really were.  I don’t have to tell my friends to watch though, most of them already own the box set and have all 10 seasons looped on constant rotation.  I’d just like to point out that no one told me life was gonna be this way…

Get Smart / Inspector Gadget (yes the cartoon, because these two are basically the same show)

Okay truthfully I can’t say for sure if I’ve ever seen every episode of Get Smart or if I could quote it on cue, but let me just say that during my nightly bouts with insomnia when I was a teenager I would stay up until 1:00 in the morning most nights just to catch the reruns on Boston channel 38 (I think, might have been 56).  The guy had a shoe phone.  Does it really get much cooler than that?  Also, 99 was really the brains behind the operation and I thought she was super crafty.  As far as Inspector Gadget goes it was essentially the cartoon version of Get Smart so what wasn’t to love?!  I was never really into cartoons but a bumbling fool who has a helicopter hat to get out of tough situations was too cool.  Plus Penny & Brain (the dog) actually solved the crimes (seeing a pattern here?).  I’m quite sure this is the reason I instantly fell in love with the character of Data when The Goonies came out in 1985.

Golden Girls

This is on the list because I’ve recently started watching reruns of this show again and I can’t believe for even an instant that any of my family would have let me watch it when it first came out.  Talk about racy!  Luckily I was only about 12 when it first aired and had no clue what they were talking about.  Of course that all changed as years went on and I loved all of their spunky attitudes and sharp tongues.  Those gals are who I aspire to be when I’m in my 60’s – smart, funny, out of control and still self-proclaimed sexy (okay so I aspire to be Blanche but will likely end up much more Dorothy).  Wait a second, 4 gals living in the same town, dating and generally waxing on about life and relationships?  Sensing a pattern here?  Plus there was Betty White.  And even after not watching it for decades I could still sing the entire theme song from memory.  What’s not to love?  I don’t quote it yet but I guarantee this will end up in the quote rolodex in the near future.


Conspiracy theories.  Unanswered questions.  More frustrating plot twists than characters on the show.  “Live together, die alone.”  “You’re gonna die , Charlie.”  “See ya in another life brotha.”  “Freckles.”  “The Others.”  Oh yeah, and there was that time when the Mega Millions was huge right after the end of the series’ run and Matt was picking up tickets.  I told him to play 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 (yes I just typed that from memory, if you’re a Lostie you could too).  Apparently lots of people played those numbers.  And we all won a couple hundred bucks.  Hurley won 150 million playing them on the show but who’s complaining?  We got back our investment 150 times over.  The writing was smart and those bastards kept us guessing until the very end…and beyond.  And of course after my Vampire post you pretty much know how I felt about Boone.  Someone get me a drool bucket would ya?

The one show I didn’t include, and I’m sure many are surprised, is Moonlighting.  I loved that show.  No wait, I love, love, looooooovvvvvvved that show!  Right up until Maddie and David slept together.  In the 80’s no one knew how to write so that there was still tension after the sexual tension dissipated and the show went downhill fast.  But EVERYone was on that show, Whoopie Goldberg, Judd Nelson, Pierce Brosnan and of course, Mark Harmon (who they should have kept around as Maddie’s love interest longer, just sayin’).  I loved that they talked right into the camera, something I still enjoy to this day (brought to even greater heights with movies such as Ferris Bueller) and the rhyming scripts were classic.  But there’s no such thing as reruns and I pretty much wouldn’t watch the last season again so it wouldn’t have been fair to include this one.  It broke the rules.

So do you have favorites?  Shows that cross the great divide of generations and can still tug at you like they did when they were first aired?


Rosebud Collection said...

Some of the shows I did see..Golden Girls/Friends..the rest I didn't.
They were good shows and I did enjoy them and still do when I watch t.v..
I have to admit I liked Murder She Wrote..but I am a big fan of Angela ..and I liked Monk too..boring, I know..haha..
Have a happy weekend..xoCarolyn

Karen said...

I'm not much of a TV watcher, but my favorite always has been Frasier. I still watch reruns nearly every night. I've seen each episode many times, and know what's coming, but I laugh through the whole show every time.

lettersfromlaunna said...

I loved and still love Friends, Sex and the city, Charmed, Medium, Quantum Leap, Cold Case and Without a trace.

I usually watch reruns, there are only a few shows I love to watch that are current like The Big Bang Theory :)

Cute post Jenn

jamiessmiles said...

FRIENDS- Yes, I love that show. Admittedly the last season was not as good, but I still watch them:)
I never got the whole Sex in the City thing, but then it was recently compared to a fluffier version of Queer As Folk, which would have to be in my top three shows. Both British and American versions.

Judi FitzPatrick said...

Just to set the record straight, some of your family (me) didn't "let" you watch Golden Girls - you watched when you didn't get caught.

My favorites are almost all some type of mystery show including PBS' Mystery (big surprise, and now called Masterpiece Mystery), Diagnosis Murder, Murder She Wrote, Monk, Early Edition, Lost. And on now - Awake, Touch, House (sad it's ending/ended), Bones, Glee, The Mentalist, Castle.

And from my youth - Howdy Doody and Big Brother (at lunchtime when we would salute the flag and drink our milk, we used to go home for lunch from school).

I also used to watch Crocket's Victory Garden (the Boston show which was the pre-cursor to the current Victory Garden PBS series) and took notes as if I was in a gardening class. Jim Crocket was like the grandfather I wished I had.

Wow, I guess I watch a lot of TV, and always have!

Love you, Mum

Anonymous said...

I have to LOL at your mom's comment about 'letting' you watch the Golden Girls. See, my all-time favorite TV show is 'Married... With Children', which started when I was 7, but I didn't watch it until I was 10. However, I wasn't allowed to watch it until I was 12, and even then my mom was NOT happy about it. But when they aired reruns on ch9 at 3pm, my mom was working. She couldn't stop me mwahahaha!

My friends and I still quote that show almost daily. Love it, love it, love it. I don't think I have five shows that I've watched/memorized/quoted and I certainly don't have expert-level knowledge of any other show, and the other ones I quote are all cartoons (Simpsons, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and maybe Family Guy)

Speaking of cartoons, I remember watching Inspector Gadget when I was a kid. Think it was on Nickelodeon around dinner time, either before or after Looney Tunes. Ah, childhood. I miss it...

Suldog said...

Thanks for the kind words concerning my words!

MY WIFE would probably put SATC on her list, too. She saw both movies, and had a less-than-thrilled reaction to #2.

I love Judi's bit about "Big Brother" Bob Emery. Yup. We drank our chocolate milk and saluted the flag (and I think there was always a photo of The President, too.) Can you imagine something like that these days?

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Oh my goodness you guys all have mentioned such good shows! 'Murder She Wrote' and 'Quantum Leap' (Scott Bacula RULES!) and 'Frasier'...all awesome. Never seen 'Queer as Folk', will have to check that one out sometime. But yeah, 'Married with Children' was definitely hilarious, every character on that show was a cautionary tale and you were just glad they weren't YOUR neighbors lol.

Yeah Jim I don't think I'm ever going to see the 2nd SATC and I pray there aren't any others to come.

Suldog said...

You're a rabid Bruins fan, so I'd like your opinions concerning my post today. It's about men and women, and how they (mostly) view sports differently. I think you're something of an exception, so your opinion greatly valued.