Boy, I Miss the TV Class of 1965
By DANNY TYREE
September 17, 2015
Yes, 1965 produced the infamous "My Mother The Car" and long-forgotten flops such as "Camp Runamuck"; but it also gave the world a number of shows that still hold a special place in the hearts of millions.
I'm sure "I Dream of Jeannie" raised some eyebrows during its day; but now the "cohabitation" seems innocent and sweet, and Barbara Eden's costumes look about like what Miley Cyrus would wear if the Video Music Awards were held at the North Pole.
Reruns of a CGI-free "Lost In Space" still get me excited, but I hope there's not another remake. Don't mar my memories by having the robot shout, "Danger, Will Robinson! Danger! The feds are raiding Dr. Smith's meth lab!"
The popular "Hogan's Heroes" was derided as trivializing Nazi atrocities, but what DOESN'T get trivialized in 2015? ("That Nazi wouldn't let me sell baby parts!")
Maybe "F Troop" and the others needed more diverse casting ("I'm thinking the flamboyantly gay Asian-American actor to play Wrangler Jane — but only if he is clinically diagnosed with Tourette syndrome"), but they were still good fun. Perhaps they numbed our brains, but at least we didn't have nightmares about someone trying to EAT our brains.
"Green Acres" is a particular favorite of my son Gideon, age 11. The surrealistic comedy about attorney Oliver Wendell Douglas's exasperating encounters with the denizens of Hooterville ran for six seasons, before perishing in CBS's "rural purge." Wouldn't it be funny if the farmers in "flyover country" added possum gizzards or something to the food nibbled by viewers watching the ubiquitous Manhattan and L.A.-based shows? ("Agghh! Possum gizzards! There's not enough water in the cee-ment pond to take the taste away!")
Yes, some of these "lowest common denominator" shows were formulaic and spoon-fed you your laughs, but today's shows are more likely to BREAST-feed you your laughs.
I'm not proud of the cigarette commercials sprinkled throughout the shows; but at least in that business environment, shows had FEWER commercials, longer seasons and theme songs more substantial than a sneeze.
I'm glad TV once had witches and Martian uncles and talking horses instead of assembly-line office comedies, altered "reality" and forensic spin-offs.
I love a lot of current shows; but it was nice to be free of the stress of picking a show that was Edgy, Compelling, Nuanced, Epic, Multi-Layered, Ripped From Today's Headlines, where Every. Episode. Counts.
Wait — let's not forget "Get Smart." In 1965 bumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart gave us catch-phrases such as "Missed it by that much" and "Sorry about that, Chief." Now his routine has been taken over by another celebrity. ("WOULD YOU BELIEVE that I'm going to have the most transparent administration ever? WOULD YOU BELIEVE that if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor? Really? You would? Then, WOULD YOU BELIEVE that a subparagraph of the Constitution says I can run for a third term?")
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