I grew up in the era of classic, they-don’t-make-them-like-that-anymore television shows. Of course, this is my opinion. But who can argue with the iconic status of the “Brady Bunch,” “Little House on the Prairie,” Carol Burnett, “Love Boat” and “Fantasy Island?” (The last two so much different than shows with those titles might be today!)
It was a television era of “Happy Days.” Literally.
I could go on and on like a series in reruns – which many of us watched as well. There was Gilligan and his ever-stranded gang. I believe the Beaver (who predates the Bieber by decades) would be another, as would sheriff Andy Taylor and his adorable son, Opie. I loved Lucy in black-and-white on a screen that was more fat than flat. The picture was often fuzzy, something we called “snow.” No one had high definition because it hadn’t been invented yet. Nor had reality TV – unless you counted the “Lawrence Welk Show.”
We huddled around the extra-large 24-inch picture tube console and got up from the couch when we wanted to change one of the four or five channels that our rabbit ears were able to pull in.
I remember those days of childhood with a pair of rose-colored glasses. Life was different then. In all honesty, I’d prefer to leave it that way.
I remember Cindy as a little girl with pigtails. The Love Boat crew as young and hip. Fonzie as the epitome of cool. Star Trek as cutting edge.
This isn’t reality, but I don’t want to be confronted with the knowledge that Charlie’s Angels could be grandmas. I don’t want to click on a link that promises, “Child stars who used to be beautiful. See what they look like now!”
I’ve no need for a modern-day Brady reunion. Seeing them on my flat screen doesn’t bring on feelings of nostalgia. Reruns can do that. Seeing the Brady “kids” grown up and middle-aged makes me feel, well, grown up and middle-aged.
I’m guessing others experience the same gut reaction. Hardly anyone embraces the constant unfolding of time, after a certain point in time.
On the flip side, I’m okay with Opie Taylor becoming Richie Cunningham and then later, Ron Howard, because he never really left the spotlight. We watched his changes as they came. I’m also okay with Betty White’s return because she’s Betty White and she’s always been golden – in years and personality.
But seeing someone go from child star to 40 or 50-something lacks the luster the networks lust after. I’m only being honest.
The golden era of television was just that. It was a time when we’d buy into the idea that seven people really could survive (and not ever get rescued) on a stranded isle, or a blended family with six children headed up by an architect dad lived in a house with just three bedrooms and was without any dysfunction. (Unless you count that one instance of sibling rivalry between Jan and Marsha, Marsha, Marsha.) It was a time when TV hadn’t yet discovered the Kardashians or the real wives of wherever and we scheduled our Saturday nights around the Carol Burnett Show because that’s when it was broadcast.
Times have changed. TV has changed. Oh sure, we have more choices and channels now then we did then and our screens have stretched to a size beyond what we would have imagined possible 20 years ago. We can fast forward through commercials and record our favorite programs to watch when it’s convenient. We no longer have to arrange our Saturday evenings to watch our favorite show.
Call me sentimental, but sometimes I wish we did. Besides, maybe we lacked for choices back then, but at least there was no cable bill to pay each month. Carol Burnett and the other good folks from her era delivered for free – with the help of advertisements, of course. Some things never change.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.