Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Because I am in the land of my youth, the land of beer and cheese, and consequently nostalgic about my childhood, I am wont to recall my fondest memories of Happy Days, especially the Christmas episode from Season 1. Which brings up a philosophical question.
Has jumping the shark 'jumped the shark'? How many of today's youth could pick Arthur Fonzarelli out of a lineup? How many emo kids would just look crossways at you and cut you with the shards of a 'Panic! At the Disco' CD if you told them to 'sit on it'?

Sure, my growing sense of mortality is a recurring theme here at CDS Enterprises, and I'm not going to recount all of the other 'Those Damn Kids' items, like the invention of the Walkman and CD. But I will wax nostalgic about the television of my youth, the shark-jumping, talking Trans Am, Whatchoo Talkin' 'Bout WIllis, carefree days of letting my brain slowly melt out of both ears while the vacuum tubes etched my sillhouette into the wall behind me.

Sadly, in this day of reality-driven shows where today's hot new topic is tomorrow's Justin Guarini (and no, I'm not going to spell-check that, because I don't want it in my browser history.) There's no curve of inevitable disappointment to follow, because there's no public committment to a progressive storyline. Would anyone care if suddenly Jeff Probst were joined by a Cousin Oliver, because Neilsen ratings showed ratings slipping in the 18-24 single mother demographic? He'd be like Tattoo to Probst's Mr. Rourke.
And why is it always a small tow-headed child? Cousin Oliver, the creepy kid on Growing Pains (the one that WASN'T Leo DiCaprio...), Seven on Married...With Children, Nicky and Alex on Full House...what the hell, people?

And ultimately, did Fonzie really kill Happy Days? He's Fonzie, dammit! I think the real harbinger of doom is Ted McGinley. Happy Days? Ted McGinley in a Wisconsin sweater. Love Boat? Ted McGinley in white shorts. Married...With Children? Ted McGinley. As such, I will only accept two options henceforth to describe the death of a previously beloved television series: either it's been McGinleyed, or they pulled a Cousin Oliver.
I'd fill her house. Just sayin.

On the flip-side, there aren't nearly enough shows that give us the quality of programming genius like BJ and the Bear. I was eight, and I knew this was a kick-ass show. As if season one wasn't enough (I mean, a monkey AND truckers with hot CB lingo? Sign me up!), season two saw the addition of the entire 1979 Playboy Playmate lineup. In one pivotal episode that also starred Paul Williams (because hey, he was great in those Smokey and the Bandit movies...), we even got to see Judy Landers' coin slot. For 1980 network television, that was racy stuff!
I blame McGinley.

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