But even from a young age I was a sophisticated television lover. While my friends were enjoying "Captain Kangaroo," I was tuned into really cutting edge shows like "One Life To Live" and "All My Children" and prime time dramas such as "The Dukes of Hazzard" and "Dallas."
I wasn't alone, although they may not admit how much they loved 80s television. My sister and I would create elaborate Barbie storylines based on shows we saw. For example, Barbie was moonlighting as a hooker and her john (a generic un-Ken, sometimes played by the Donny Osmond doll) was helping her keep her secret from Ken (loosely based on the Karen/Marco/Dr. Larry storyline on One Life To Live circa maybe 1979?). And in first grade when we were learning how to write letters (an ancient art form) my best friend and I wrote and mailed letters to Katherine Bach, the talented actress who played Daisy Duke on "The Dukes of Hazzard."
- Is it wrong that while other kids were wondering what summer camp they were going to, I was wondering who really did shoot JR on Dallas?
- Is it wrong that I dreamed of one day living at Southfork and having a family barbecue like the Ewings?
- Is it wrong that I used to pretend I was the raunchy dancer on Solid Gold?
Ok, maybe that last one is wrong.
Maybe all of it is wrong. As I hover over my children, I try to "protect" them from all of the junk on tv. I won't let them watch what we call "teenager shows." Those shows consist of "Wizards of Waverly Place" on Disney and mostly anything on Nickelodeon.
Not sure why I am so strict. I think mostly it is because my kids are total jerks to me after they watch those shows.
I don't know if I was ever a jerk to my parents after watching, what I like to call, the sophisticated shows of the eighties. I mean I never thought my parents were stupid like Hannah Montana does. I wasn't thinking about my parents at all. I was practicing what my over-the-shoulder intro look would be if I was ever on "The Love Boat." Remember those? I mean who hasn't practiced their show intro look? Right?
As soap operas are beginning to phase out I am really nervous. Television is changing. I learned so much about life from soaps. Lessons like lying is never a good idea...the truth always comes out; characters, I mean people, are very forgiving; there ARE super couples; and you may be recast, but it is never as good as the original.
There is still good TV out there and I am still watching the sophisticated programming. Now I am into "The Real Housewives" of anywhere, because I believe editing IS storytelling. And I am anxiously awaiting the premiere of "The Closer."
And of course I will be so missing "Mad Men" this summer.
TV was my babysitter and maybe sadly my best friend for a lot of my growing up. As television changes, so am I. But I believe there is value, even in some of the not-so-sophisticated programming.
I just have to figure out what value there is for my kids and how sophisticated I want them to be.
You can't tell me there is no value in the brilliantly written show Mad Men. For adults of course.