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Sun, Jan. 19

Middle-aged Musings: What’s on TV tonight, honey?

In the 1990s, Bruce Springsteen sang about “57 Channels and Nothin’ On.” I’m thinking the 2016 version of that song should be “257 Channels and STILL Nothin’ On.”

We waste a lot of time cruising the TV remote up and down the cable channels. With access to hundreds of channels, we still can’t find anything worth watching. Oh, there are plenty of shows on, but how many reality, food, car or game shows can you view without having your brain turn to mush? I saw one the other night in passing that involved some woman’s drama-laden life. I’d never heard of her and yet according to the commercial, I should be on the edge of my couch, waiting to hear what happened next. No, thanks.

Maybe it’s a sign of my age, but I found a channel that runs all the “old” shows and I primarily stick to it. I love watching “Emergency,” “Adam 12,” “M*ASH,” and “Hogan’s Heroes.” No silly, Botoxed drama in those! I got hooked on “Hogan’s Heroes” reruns when I was 13. I’ve seen them all.

My husband and I laugh every time at whatever Hawkeye is doing to poor Frank Burns on “M*ASH.” And watching Sgt. Schultz “seeing nothing” while Col. Hogan executes a major escape never gets old. One of the few newer shows we indulge in is “The Big Bang Theory.” There’s a tiny bit of Sheldon in all of us.

Even with the oldies channels available, we are starting to turn off the TV more and finding other things to do. That was what we did a lot at home when I was growing up. We had a massive antenna on the side of the house and we got PBS, ABC, NBC and CBS. That was it. It didn’t take a lot of time to figure out if there was anything on you wanted to watch. I remember summer evenings when the TV was turned off after the 5 p.m. news and we’d go sit on the back porch and talk. Mom and dad would stretch out on their lawn chairs and I’d be in my rocking chair or goofing off in the yard, catching lightning bugs.

When we would gather to watch TV in the evenings, it would be “Dallas,” “Dynasty,” “Mork and Mindy,” or “All in the Family.” My father thought that new comedian Robin Williams was hilarious. One night I remember being somewhat of a pain in the behind while playing on the floor in front of the TV and he finally told me to stop goofing off and sit on the couch. So, thinking I’d make him laugh because Mork was on the screen, I sat on my head like the character was known for and said his catchphrase “Nanu Nanu.” Let’s just say that I had a hard time sitting the proper way shortly after that.

My dad’s favorite movie actor was Don Knotts. When he finally relented and bought a VCR, the first movie we bought was “The Shakiest Gun in the West.” I still have it because it makes me smile and remember my dad’s oddball sense of humor. He was mostly a somber man, but he’d laugh silently, his shoulders shaking while wiping his eyes watching Archie Bunker or Abbott and Costello. Because of him, one of my favorite movies is “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.”

We introduced our kids to these shows and movies early. They know Col. Henry Blake died over the sea of Japan and that Col. Sherman T. Potter replaced him. “The Incredible Mr. Limpet” is one of my daughter’s favorite movies. She is a huge fan of Netflix and watches the original “Star Trek” series all the time. She knows more about Capt. James T. Kirk’s life than I do. She cried when Leonard Nimoy died.

I’m kind of happy the kids haven’t bought into this era of silly TV shows that focus on “reality” but are really quite scripted and fake.

I think it’s pretty cool that neither of them, at their age, have seen a Kardashian episode. It gives me hope that the older shows will remain firmly part of our culture and my grandchildren will know why Maxwell Q. Klinger has a better wardrobe than I do.

Until next time, Robin

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