Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Saturday Night TV

Saturday nights as a kid were different than in my 'tween years.  Before the age of 10, Saturday night TV consisted of The Mary Tyler Moore Show at 9:00, The Bob Newhart Show at 9:30, and my beloved Carol Burnett Show at 10:00.  Sometimes at 9:30, we would switch channels to watch reruns of The Adventures of Superman series.  But mostly we kept it on CBS because I didn't want to miss a second of Carol Burnett.

God, how I loved that woman (and still do).  When her show went off the air in 1978, I remember it being one of the first, big disappointments of my life.  I used to copy all the characters they created on the show.  My family still, now and then, will let out a zinger we heard on the show ("Yoohoo, have you got any pretzels?");  stuff so good it sticks with you for years and years.   Mr. Tudball and Mrs. WigginsEunice, Ed and MamaStella Toddler.  Watch any of those clips and try not to laugh.  Better yet, catch a blooper reel and watch them laugh at themselves.  That's probably more fun.

After years of solid entertainment, all three of those shows would be off the air within a year of each other.  So what's a kid of 11 supposed to watch then?  Along comes "The Love Boat" and "Fantasy Island".  And I was not appeased.  Every Saturday night at 9PM, I'd be plopped in front of the TV set to make "another run" with the Gopher, Doc, Isaac, Julie and the Captain, as well as their guests on the Pacific Princess.  Same with Fantasy Island.  I could never invest myself in these shows.  Perhaps I was getting older and losing interest in Saturday night TV, but these shows just were not entertaining to me.  I didn't know the word shlock then, but if I had, I would have used it for these replacements.

What is interesting is that the first set of Saturday night shows were all originals, a comedy troupe based around one main person.  And they were excellent television.  The latter two shows were huge ensemble shows with relatively small casts who may or may not be involved in the show at any length.  Guest stars were the real attraction to these two.  What is also interesting is that both of the latter two shows were attempted to be revived in 1998, with "The Love Boat: The Next Wave" and "Fantasy Island" - both of which only last 1 year before cancellation.

Now on Saturday night, The BF and I spend most of our time channel hopping to find anything good to watch, or we switch over to Netflix or get a RedBox.  But I miss fun, scripted television with the same characters week after week.  I still love to sit in my jammies and watch TV on Saturday night.  I just wish Mary, Bob and especially Carol were there with me.