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Posts Tagged ‘Jackie Gleason’

Here in the Happy Valley student rush is upon us.  For me this means for the next 14 days…in a row…I pretty much show up to work and leave when I’m told I can.  So today, Saturday the 14th of August I found myself awake at 6:30am.  We always get up at 5:30, take the dog out feed the cats and get ready for work.  But today is Saturday! I can handle getting up at 5:30am and going through the morning ritual, but Saturday means I get to go back to sleep. That is the definition of Saturday.  But this Saturday I have to work. I can rest for a bit because my work is kind enough to supply us with lousy Pizza for lunch during this time so all I have to do is take a shower, jump in the car and go.  I took my shower and I am lying back in bed watching the clock, 6:30, I really don’t have to leave until 7:15 but I just can’t seem to get back to sleep, which for me is unusual, sleep is one of my favourite things.  But I can’t, so I turn on the television.  Do you know what is on the television at 6:30am?  Remember I work for a very large cable company, I get almost every channel,  I don’t know how many that is, but it starts at 3 and goes to about 900, some are repeated in regular, some in HD and there is a lot of sport channels I ignore, and the music channels, but even taking those out we still get a huge amount of television.  But at 6:3o on a Saturday morning the majority of the channels is paid programming.  I can’t watch paid programming.  I don’t want to see a bunch of clothes, shoes, shamwow’s, the latest garden tool that doesn’t work, the cheap jewelery, computers that are crap, a better lightbulb and a silverware cleaner, and of course steam cleaners.  I just don’t care.  The other option is cartoons, and I don’t like cartoons.  I’ve just finished a good book and not yet ready to start another.  Basically I am reduced to watching the channel listings,  page after page of ‘paid programming, sports, paid programming’  and then I see it!  up around channel 270, I can’t believe it but there it is, “I Love Lucy’ and it is on right now!

I found myself laughing so hard I was impressed I didn’t wake my wife.  Floyd, (one of the cats) was lying across my chest just under my chin and he was getting quite annoyed with my laughter, but I couldn’t stop.  There was Lucy, and Ricky, Ethel and the crew doing what they did best.  I remember watching the show as a child and laughing my ass off,  I remember watching as a teenager, and still laughing my ass off. I watched ‘I love Lucy’ and right after that I watched ‘The Honeymooners” Audrey Meadows was beautiful. I went to a Halloween party as Art Carney, ‘…hey there Ralphy boy!” and lets not forget, “Too the moon Alice, too the moon…” And I found myself, now in my mid forties, and still laughing my ass off watching ‘I Love Lucy’

This time I found myself not only laughing at the obvious, but the brilliant subtleties, the exasperated look Ricky gets, the look in Lucy’s eye as another whacked out idea runs through her head.  The look between Fred and Ricky when Lucy starts to scheme.  And at the same time it is all so wrong!  It is so politically un/in-correct for our time.  When Ricky gets mad, Lucy stops saying ‘yes dear’ and reverts to, ‘yes Sir’ Although I am extremely un-political, some of the phrasing and the tones even make me cringe but it is fleeting as the hilarity ensues. 

What is it that makes these shows timeless?  It can’t just be me because quite literally everyone I ask seems to be of the same opinion.   I sometimes run across stuff I used to watch, Eight is Enough, The Partridge Family, Charles In Charge, Different Strokes, I dream of Geni and the list goes on.  Sure some of those can be considered classics, But they will never touch I love Lucy, My Three Sons, The Honeymooners, The Dick Van Dyke Show.  Why, what is it?  It is not like we don’t have brilliant tv actors.  John Goodman is fantatastic in everything I’ve seen him in, but does he stand up against Jackie Gleason?  We have brilliant directors, Rob Reiner comes to mind, we have modern technology, I like to think we are more aware of the world around us now, the material is certainly out there in abundance.  So what is it? Is it the audience?  Did we change? is it the times?  Is it because these were ground breaking shows dealing with subject matter that was never talked about in public never mind viewed on TV?  Have we left that ‘age of innocence’?

I am sure everyone is going to have thier opinion, and I really would like to hear them, and while I’m eagerly waiting for your responses I think I’ll go find another episode of ‘I Love Lucy’

Archie Bunker: I know all about your woman’s troubles there, Edith, but when I had the hernia that time, I didn’t make you wear the truss. If you’re gonna have the change of life, you gotta do it right now. I’m gonna give you just 30 seconds. Now c’mon and change.
Edith Bunker: Can I finish my soup first?

P.S. ‘Lucy….you gots some eslplainin’ to do’

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