This is an article I wrote a few years ago and just found it on a zip drive. It still applies though some of the shows have changed.
Bring back "Playhouse 90", please.
By F.J. Wilson
I miss my sit-coms (situation comedies). I miss the beginning of each season watching the much advertised new comedies starring un-known actors who will or will not soon become household names; maybe the next Tom Hanks, or Will Smith. I miss setting up my TV tray with my dinner and getting comfortable in front of the TV, ready to laugh out loud at the antics and hi-jinks of my favorite characters. I mean how many “Rheba” and “Frazier” re-runs can we watch and still find them funny? Frazier and Niles have turned into un-bearably stupid snobs that I used to find funny, but now want to hit over the head with their pretentious Sherry decanter, and I no longer find the Mother in ”Everybody Hates Chris” funny and cute, just mean and angry and the racist white teacher unbearable What about the new one with Betty White? I love her, I’ve always loved everything she’s done, but this one seems to be made up of mean spirited one-liners barked between four women for a quick laugh from the fake audience laugh box. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves and Wendy Malick, all good actresses. They were chosen for their special talents in “Frazier”, “Kate & Allie”, “Just Shoot Me” and of course Valerie came of age and stole our hearts in “One Day at a Time”. I told myself I’d watch to see if it got better, it didn’t. It strikes me as odd that Betty White is proud of her 80 some years, but the other women are trying to play sexy 30yr olds at 50. “Modern Family” is making a nice showing as are a few more, however, the only TV the networks want us to watch anymore is reality television. We have a man that used to be Bruce Jenner and his family, the Kardashions? Why would this young woman buy three wedding dresses for one wedding? Her marriage lasted only long enough for her to wear all three and then ‘good bye hubby, you’re cramping my style. Been there done that and have the dresses to prove it.’ Of course there are the game shows where people have to stay alive on an island until hopefully are rescued to win a large sum of money. I wonder what the actual people who’ve been through such horror think of this as a “game”. “Kate” and her eight kids trying to live their lives without Dad with TV cameras following them around all day and night is just a hoot, NOT. We have Hugh Heffner who’s too old to get dressed so lives in his Pajamas, but wants us to believe he is sexually satisfying three young blonde women so full of silicone they could float. No offense to these young women, they seem to be nice and just enjoying being single, BUT… Whose “reality” is this anyway?
May we discuss “Birthday”? I gave birth to one son; there were complications and it was not necessarily a pleasant experience and the end result was the love of my life, however, I don’t want to see other women giving birth as entertainment, thank you very much. I’ve cried my way through “Extreme Makeover, Home Edition”, “Buried Alive, Hoarders”, (people who save everything including dead cats and litter boxes full of dried stuff.) When I was a kid, we called these people lazy slobs, but now we’re to understand it is a sickness. I’m sure it is, but I’m not entertained by their disgusting selfish behavior when they choose empty cereal boxes and dead rats over their family members. “Clean House” the same people before the cat died and they decided to have a TV crew come in and clean it. I don’t know about you folks, but my mom and grandmothers would be spinning in their graves to think I was showing my messy house to the country as entertainment. “19 Kids and Counting”, stop already your body is worn out. Enjoy the ones you have and let the smallest ones be babies for goodness sake. “Housewives of Beverly Hills, Atlanta, New Jersey etc” are an insult to every woman out here who’ss chosen to stay at home, keep a house and raise children. Kelsey Grammer’s ex-wife, Camille (that name ring a bell? 1969? Still don’t remember?) doesn’t work, doesn’t keep house and has four nannies for two small children that she chose to have via surrogate and she says not to judge her, she’s a good mom. The mother in me would like to say how sorry I am for those children and if you ever see in the news that I was stalking the woman, it’d be to give those kids a nice hug. I won’t even get into “Jersey Shore”. My grandmother would say, “Nasty people doing nasty things to each other”.
I bought a DVD of the first season of “Kate & Allie” the other day. I haven’t seen this sit-com since I worked on it in 1986/87. I went home, prepared a lovely dinner, put a linen place mat on a TV tray, put the DVD in the machine, ate my dinner and laughed out loud at six episodes of the show. After the DVD was through, I began my inevitable channel surfing again.
Did you know there is actually a show where you can watch total strangers playing Poker? Who cares?? You want to watch an exciting card game; come watch my friends and I cheat at bridge and call each other names. Yes, there have been injuries and the law has been called.
I watch as many wonderful documentaries as my channels will get, but how many times can you watch penguins escaping sea lions with the cameraman not helping? My heart goes out to those documentary film makers, I couldn’t stand by and film the horror, I’d be in there wielding a rolling pen and skillet at heads of animals just looking for lunch.
"Masterpiece Theatre" is still wonderful, but doesn't come on as often as I'd like.
I’d go back to reading, but I can’t stay awake long enough to finish a book anymore. I’d just watch old movies, but I’ve seen them all too many times and I want to re-cast “Ashley Wilkes” with a straight guy, and teach “Patrick Dennis” how to speak without that strange cadence the little actor loves so much. And don’t get me started on “Key Largo” with the poor Native American, Seminoles huddled on a porch during a hurricane with not one hair out of place and the palm trees being held up by visible wires. If this keeps on I’m going to have to find something worthwhile to do. Bummer! Maybe I’ll try writing.