They just don’t make TV shows like they used to make. I mean, seriously, Survivor? Biggest Loser? The Nanny? The Bachelor? Would those have made it in 1970? I think not! People were too busy Surviving to pay any attention to some group of slackers taking a reality vacation in the Bahamas. Trying to lose weight was done in the privacy of one’s own home and if you couldn’t find the self-discipline necessary to lose the weight, well, you might just remain a bachelor or bachelorette (old Maid) for the remainder of your life. And a Nanny? really? How about just disciplining your own children? You know- say what you mean and mean what you say?
We have become a nation addicted to other people’s problems, fights, relationship issues and short-comings to make us feel better about our own plight. I mean, really, my extra 10 pounds pales in comparison to the extra 100 the Biggest Loser “star” ??? is carrying around.
Whatever happened to values and morals and integrity and hard work?
Take the Walton’s for instance. Hard-working family struggling to make it in the Depression era. Lots of love and sacrifice and dedication to each other and their faith. They laughed and cried together. They saw each other through the seasons of life and overcame death, stroke, fire, loss of health, first loves, divorce, drinking, and a host of other woes that are still applicable today.
Little House on the Prairie- One of my all time favorites! A very moving story about devotion to family and ,again, core values: love, integrity, respect, love, faith, commitment, etc. They didn’t have much, but they had each other, and that was enough.
Speaking of “enough”, Eight is Enough was the first show I can recall where the ever-changing shape of the American family was displayed for all to see. It showed the struggles and strengths of blended families. They weren’t perfect. they had all of the “typical” step-child, step-parent issues to deal with; no Brady Bliss living there. Both parents were smart and hard workers. They were good models of where to “step in” and where to back off.
Then, there was my hero- MacGuyver. I loved MacGuyver more than Magnum PI, Remmington Steele or Johnathan Hart. He was, well, he was MacGuyver! Who else did you know who could make a bomb from nail polish, a string and, say, a tie tack? I mean, really?
Chicago Hope came along at a time in my life where I was the lone woman in a sea full of male counterparts and a glass ceiling. Kate Austin was my hero. She held her ground in a male dominated field and did well for herself. She had quite the reputation and while I was waaaaaay more mild-mannered in my own dealings with my male co-workers, I admired her drive and “take no prisoners” attitude. Plus, it was filmed in Chicago- so- bonus!
In direct contrast, and perhaps for balance, Andy Griffith Show remains a favorite. I just love Andy and Aunt Bea, Opie, well, the whole gang. Again, way ahead of its time, the show put single dads in the spot-light and while there was Aunt Bea to add a feminine touch, there was no mom. Andy dated, but never married Helen. Of course, no episode was complete without Barney and his antics. And, Otis, who could forget Otis or Ernest T.? Andy showed respect to all, even those who had earned none. He set an example of kindness and, again, integrity.
Anyone catching a theme here? Hmmm, maybe THAT’S what’s missing today.
Matlock is sort of Mayberry part three, only set in Atlanta, so, it doesn’t count as a separate show in my top ten. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this one! I watched and re-watched Matlock. I loved that he always (true to his inner Andy) took pro bono cases and fought for the underdog. He was a wealthy man, but chose to live simply (light blue, pin stripe, seer-sucker suit). He wanted what was right and fair and always finished the day happy and fulfilled with a hot dog from the court house vendor.
Hill Street Blues This makes the list because it was the first show to play more than one story line at a time and film in a manner that was more documentary style (close range camera). It is second only to the West Wing in Emmy awards and audience for the first season. Each episode began with roll call and ended with Sergeant Phil Esterhaus yelling, as officers were filing out, “And, remember! Let’s be careful out there.” It show cased the fact that the police aren’t perfect, but overall, our justice system is the best in the world.
The Cosby Show was simply brilliant! I didn’t appreciate the anomaly it was because I knew African-American families who were headed by two professional parents. However, in college, I realized the ground-breaking territory the show covered in a Social Problems class. The professor was discussing all of the stereotypes and “social norms” the show broke, especially in the South. A show where, again, good, solid family values were in abundance: respect, hard work, integrity, love, acceptance and personal responsibility just to name a few!
Finally, The Golden Girls shows the strength of women and the depth of women’s friendships. The “girls” were so very different and yet, extremely loyal and committed to each other. The theme song is great! It speaks to the depth of the relationships. You can’t really say any more than this little bit:
Nope, they don’t make shows like this any more.
Loyalty, trust, honesty, integrity, hard work, dedication, you just can’t find those in today’s sitcoms and reality TV.
Special thanks to Mama Kat’s Pretty much Famous Writer’s Workshop for the inspiration/kick in the seat to get writing! Visit her site to read more posts with a similar theme and a whole bunch of other really cool stuff.