Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Importance of Television in My Life

The Andy Griffith Show
The Andy Griffith Show (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Earlier, Jackie told me Andy Griffith died. People can not help their initial reactions, right? So I should not feel embarrassed to say, for a split second, it really shocked me and made me sad. My heart felt like it had fallen out. Then reality set in and I realized I do not know him and he did not seriously matter to me. My family matters, Jackie, etc., but not some actor on a tv show that I have seen a million times. But why then did it affect me like that when I heard? I thought about it all day.

I came to this conclusion: television is important to us. There is no way around it. If you watch television, you feel like, on the great shows, you know those characters. They become part of your family. Shoot, they are in your living room or bedroom at least once a week! In the case of The Andy Griffith Show, he was in my house nearly every day when I was growing up. And while I never met him, I literally have memories of watching that show as a child with my mom.

My mom used to have the t.v. on all day. When she was doing the budget and paying bills? T.V. is on. When cleaning the house? T.V. on. When making lunch? T.V. on. And that entire time I would be running around playing or playing with my toys (mostly making my action figures fight each other) or just relaxing and watching the shows with her. Of course, it was not just the one show. We would watch I Love Lucy (video clip), M*A*S*H (video clip), Gilligan's Island, Star Trek, Little House on the Prairie, Cheers (video clip), Happy Days (video clip), Laverne & Shirley, CHiPs, Gunsmoke, The Rifleman (video clip), Bonanza (video clip), I Dream of Jeannie, The Munsters (video clip), Quantum Leap (video clip), Taxi (video clip), Welcome Back, Kotter, The Wonder Years, Mad About You, The Honeymooners, ALF, The Golden Girls, Bosom Buddies,  The Aadams Family, Three's Company, Mork & MindyNight Court, Wings, Murphy Brown, Mister Ed, Bewitched, Batman (the crazy live action one, The Beverly Hillbillies, Get Smart, The Monkees, The Brady Bunch, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Miami Vice, Knight Rider and on and on.

Now that I look at it, that is a pretty long list! And that is not even all of it. Wow. So, as you can plainly see, television was a big part of my life. Television taught me how to relate to the world. The people in those shows were always accepted for who they were inside their group/family, even when they were not accepted by the rest of the world (or even annoyed the others in the group). The good guys, even if they are pure good (Andy Griffith), good but a bit selfish (Sam Malone), always trying to eat cats (ALF), kind of dumb (Gilligan) or constantly frustrated with where they are in life ("Hawkeye" Pierce), have to be a force for good. And they always win out in the end. It is a hopeful message I suppose, if naive. But it got me this far.

Sorry for not having much to say about Mr. Griffith in particular. I mostly just wanted to talk about television. If you would like to read a great retrospective of his life, check out the AV Club's write up. Essentially, I would like to thank him for creating memories and shared experiences that nobody can take away from me. I may not have met Mr. Griffith, but I did not need to. He did enough, just by doing his job, to matter to my life.
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