Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Nostalgia Just Ain't What It Used To Be

A few weeks ago I saw a complaint by someone on the Internet about Nick@Nite and TV Land. It seems that according to this person, they’ve stopped showing “classic” shows like The Dick VanDyke Show or All in the Family and are now showing “90s crap” like Married with Children.

I chuckled to myself when I read that. You see, growing up in North Jersey, I was in the land of abundant TV. We had seven stations: the three networks, three independent channels, and the PBS station. And in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, those three independent stations were the home of endless reruns and countless old movies. Nick@Nite and TV Land were just WNEW, WOR, and WPIX on a national scale. It was on these stations that my sister and I watched reruns of The Odd Couple, Make Room for Daddy, and of course I Love Lucy every afternoon.

But it was also on these stations that we watched reruns of shows that most of you under the age of 40 have never heard of. Shows like December Bride, My Little Margie, and I Married Joan.

This is why I chuckled; you see the guy who complained on the Internet doesn’t seem to get the fact that nostalgia is always a moving target. The definition of a “classic old TV show” changes as the years go by and the viewers get older…and the target audience is a younger generation. Sure, to him, shows from the 60s like Dick VanDyke and Bewitched were classics, and the stuff that came afterwards was crap. But people just a few years older would find themselves ranking Father Knows Best among the classics.

And when you think about how soon we saw shows hit the rerun stations after they’d been cancelled back in the old days, it makes perfect sense to me that Married with Children would eventually show up a good 15 years after its last original episode was broadcast.

But still, I do understand the poor guy who wants to see Dick VanDyke again. I’d like to watch Oscar and Felix together again; or Archie and the Meathead; and even Jim, Margaret, Princess, Bud, and Kitten. But I know that if I want to do that, all I have to do is buy the DVD collection.

Then I can watch them whenever I want.

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