TV is one of the defining technologies of my generation. I can’t remember a time in my life when we didn’t have one. I will admit to remembering, vaguely, having a black and white set and I definitely remember rabbit ears and the VHF/UHF dials. Ha, dials. I also remember being a human remote control. Dad was a constant channel changer. I believe one of the happiest days of our lives was the day he got his first remote control. I’m only kidding a little.
I loved, loved, loved rainy Saturdays. If it were raining I wouldn’t feel guilty about staying in and watching Saturday morning cartoons followed by Creature Double Feature. Fun me fact: CDF is where I got my fear of spiders. I was watching The Incredible Shrinking Man and seeing him being chased by a giant, hairy, nasty, disgusting spider (insert shuddering here) was enough for me.
Watching the Olympics with Pat the other night, we started talking about sports that are underrepresented on TV and I mentioned that I really miss Wide World of Sports. I loved watching it since it showed a variety of sports and events. Fun WWS fact: It was the first show to broadcast Wimbledon, The Indianapolis 500, NCAA Men’s Basketball, Figure Skating, and the Little League World Series, to name a few. (Thanks Wikipedia for that fun fact).
I was watching the closing ceremonies and at the same time I was having four or five “real time” conversations on Facebook about what was going on during the show. I realized that TV connects us. It gives us shared experiences. TV unites us. It allows us to reach back into the past and connect here in the present. Gilligan, Eddie Haskell, Opie, Fonzie, Dr. Huxtable. We know these characters. We can recall them; some of them fondly like a distant uncle or cousin. Or a crazy grandma.
I’m not nostalgic for what these shows represent. I’m not longing for a modern-day Mayberry or a return to the world of Leave it to Beaver. I’m not even interested in heading back to the Brady Bunch. I like it here in the present with our 1,000 channels. Sure we face some pretty daunting issues but every era has its challenges and its strengths and I’m quite content to live in a world that keeps moving forward and one that allows me to be an active part of making it happen.
I still love TV and enjoy hanging out with the hubby and the juniors watching our favorites. Right now that includes The Simpsons and Family Guy. I love the issues they raise and I enjoy pointing out the cultural references to the kids and putting them in context.
This week, TV made me realize that if we focus on and advance that which unites us instead of focusing on that which divides us, we may just be able to chart a better path to our shared future.
Who said TV kills your brain? Mine seems to be working just fine!
At least I think so!
Barbara Mulvey-Welsh is a mother, writer and blogger raising kids and a husband in Plymouth. Check out her blog "Did I Say that Outloud" at barbaramulveywelsh.blogspot.com. Use caution when reading around the family, there is some strong language.