Category Archives: “Joanie Loves Chachi”

“Lassie” and Television’s Progress

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On Friday, September 12, 2014, 60 years of television had passed by, since “Lassie’s”

first debut episode. The show was simple, meaningful and encompassed all areas of

rural living, (1954 – 1973). When they list the ‘longest lasting television series,’ they

place this show close to top of the list.

 

The years I remember the show, “Lassie,” best had June Lockhart as portraying my

favorite mother of all time. The father was genuinely well-acted by Hugh Reilly and

my favorite little boy, “Timmy,” was played by Jon Provost.

 

Although the leading “human” roles changed over the years, there was always the

faithful dog, “Lassie.” (Many dogs played this role, of course, through the years.) I

enjoyed the various transitions of “Lassie,” having family values and including life

lessons.

 

Fast forward to September and October, 2014 for the New Fall, 2014 television

season.

It would be nearly impossible to picture most of the newest additions to our current

television programming to last ten years, let alone 19 years.

 

The “CSI” and “NCIS” shows are still going strong and on this Fall’s t.v. line-up.

I am going to miss having the original show, “CSI,” with its location of Las Vegas,

when it moves to its new Sunday evening slot. Sunday is my favorite ‘catch up’ night,

with PBS, Hallmark and I still am a big fan of “Once Upon A Time” and “Revenge.”

The new Fall line up is already getting over-crowded on my own Sunday night.

 

I was talking to a good friend who thinks some of the shows sound “silly” and was

pointing out a Columbus Dispatch critic thought Debra Messing would be hard to

imagine being a cop, in the new show called, “”Mysteries of Laura.”

Since I would first respond, I love the silly show, “Mike and Molly.” I may be quite

blasphemous to say that “Mike” would NEVER make it on a real police force, due

to his large size…

Criticism from someone who loves all kinds of wild SyFy shows like, “Haven” and

“Eureka,”  and on regular network t.v., “Under the Dome,” should be wondering

about their own ways they stretch their imagination! I am laughing with you; not

at you, my friend!

 

Can you suspend your sense of disbelief and let your imagination go?

I remember the funny ways we learned, as children to open our ‘escape hatches’

and step into the Lands of Wonderment.

 

I shall try all the shows with female-driven plot lines. They have had ‘good fortune’

in the past. Imagine “The Good Wife” not being on,  not receiving another round of

Emmy Award nominations. I think it is nice to see women in professional situations,

not wearing an ‘apron’ and carrying out the character of a ‘housewife and mother.’

This is not to say that I don’t enjoy programs that have women who have chosen to

stay at home to do

this very important job and having this be part of the plot line, too. Choices are what

makes this a different world from the Fifties and Sixties’ television programming.

 

“We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!”

I like the characters in this sweet little show about a single mother with a son, you may

recognize him from big screen movies, I “About a Boy.” I am sadly not pleased with

where they tucked this show into a 9:30 time slot. It is ‘not cute’ but original and quirky.

We, if you are a viewer, are ‘rooting’ for the handsome neighbor man to become the single

mother’s date. Although it is about a boy, it is definitely about the mother, too. Having

raised 3 children on my own, I am particularly happy to watch this one. I also like the

upcoming role of Katherine Heigl getting another chance on television in “State of

Affairs.” While Katherine Heigl left “Grey’s Anatomy,” definitely getting better comedic

roles in movies, she is still sorely missed as the character of “Izzy,” on that show. I am

looking forward to seeing her as a CIA agent. She was funny in “One for the Money,” a

movie based on the hilarious antics of a bondswoman in more than 20 books by Janet

Evanovich.

 

If you liked Tea Leoni’s funny past roles you may have seen her show her acting chops

in serious dramas, too. We will see which direction she heads in, “Madame Secretary.”

She was one of the wackiest women on television for 2 years in a show called, “The Naked

Truth.”

 

I have read a decent review of “Red Band Society.” It is not a “Breakfast Club,” nor

is it one that will be all laughs, but will tackle diseases and illnesses with a touch of

humor and give it an uplifting spin. It is a group of young people who are ones who

have hospital experiences, who are dealing with personal challenges. I picture it more

like the movie, “Stand By Me,” in its tone and togetherness. It is about a ‘band

of young misfits.’

 

Critics are harsh when it comes to some and not so much with others. I remember

when I discovered, “How I Met Your Mother.” It was before the critics endorsed it,

awhile back. I am sad how they chose to end it, with the death of the mother but

happy the main gal, Robin, got her ‘man.’

 

The serious shows genre are tougher to predict. I would imagine Scott Backula will

knock the New Orleans’ version of “NCIS” out of the park. I happen to have liked his

‘goofy’ portrayal of character in “Quantum Leap.” I am not sure about, “Stalkers,” but

will support Dylan McDermott, since he is still okay after all these years since his role

as a non-supportive ‘husband’ for Julia Robert’s dying ‘wife’ role in “Steel Magnolias.”

 

Another serious plot line can be found in “Gracepoint.” (Not to be confused with the

CIA/FBI show about the safe house, “Graceland.”) David Tennant, from the British

show, “Broadchurch,”and Anna Gunn are two strong actors that will head up the

already critically-acclaimed and well-promoted television show. This show is set in a

fictional California coastal community.

 

I think that the “Forever” show that is listed on two consecutive days, for its kick-off

first two episodes sounds good.  Sadly, I lost “Journeyman” and also another traveling

through  time show just in the past two years. I will hope this one ‘sticks’ because I like

the concept. I used to enjoy “Time Tunnel” on television and “Back to the Future,” on

the movie screen.

 

I have been a fan of Josh Dushamel ever since the show, “Vegas.” I have enjoyed his

forte into romantic comedies, too. The actor, Dushamel will be on a new show called,

“Battle Creek,” This will be loosely based on likely crimes to be found in Battle Creek,

Michigan. His co-star/partner will be that of Dean Winters. You will recognize him,

but not necessarily ‘place’ him. I will check this one out simply because I love crime-

solving television series.

 

I will return to comedies. This is what a good friend in Lancaster, Ohio mentioned

when we turned 50: “Try to laugh more, watch comedies!”

I came up with a slogan, which I will hope no one else has coined:

“Humor is found in the ‘ear’ of the listener.”

(“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”)

So, if you liked “My Favorite Martian” did you ever try 2 seasons of “Neighbors?”

I think not, since it did not make it. This was clever, witty writing with four likable

adults, along with poking fun at Suburbia. I will miss this, unless it is on a later

schedule, it did not make the ‘cut.’

 

If you liked “Scrubs,” you probably followed the guy who was the janitor on over

into “The Middle,” who became the ever patient, sometimes ‘clueless’ Dad in this

sit-com. This also includes Patricia Heaton, who played the Mom/wife roles in

“Everyone Loves Raymond.”

 

If you liked “Taxi,” “Barney Miller” and “Psych,” you may have discovered last year’s

Emmy-awarding comedy, “Brooklyn 9-9.” Hilarious, quirky and goofy at times, but

watch out, you may laugh out loud anyway.

 

I am wishing that Nielson’s Rating chart were in my mailbox, because I had such a

lovely time about eight years ago, studying and analyzing the television Fall Season

Line-ups back then. The first time I had the full control of a remote control.  I wrote

some comprehensive and profuse notes for those receiving my multiple page Nielson

Ratings Report. I  am not a paid writer nor do I write for a newspaper. I was able to

honestly say this, it was all for the love of television and the future of programming

that I was inspired to carry out my ‘duties’ in this report.

 

My final thoughts on the Progress television has made since “Lassie” was on.

You are invited to ‘debate’ these comments, too. I love a good and lively discussion!

 

I personally feel current shows embrace more ethnicities, culture and show characters

with wider world views in our programming. They encompasses much more ‘diversity’

on television since my childhood days. This means the people who are represented

are not stereotyped as much, anymore.

 

I like that there are two children with special needs included in some popular shows.

I recommend, “Parenthood,” and if you have never seen this, start by watching the

first shows. It is cool to watch this fine young actor, “grow up” with two caring

‘parents’ who disagree about how to handle him, along with a supportive ‘family.’

I am not sure how they would ‘label’ the character, “Brick,” in the show “The Middle,”

but the family accepts him just as he is.

I feel the shows today give better examples of the way families really act, showing

varied relationships, how to handle or not able handle serious and controversial

subjects such as addictions, challenges and sexual orientations.

 

We have heroes and villains. The same as in the past, sometimes more graphically

(and honestly presented.)

 

World conflicts and images are horrifying.  We cannot ignore what is going on, bury

our head in the sand. Powerful, and yet maddening, events are daily depicted (some

consider, ‘bombarded’) on our television sets.

We are urged to ‘act’ and ‘choose’ which side of the dilemmas we will take, as a nation

and other countries must, too.

Along with this serious, somewhat negative impact of television’s immediacy to

situations, we have positives.

We have the opportunity to watch the Olympics, sporting events and international

specials, shown across the world. My coworkers and friends from the Philippines

were captivated by Pope Francis being chosen to be the Roman Catholic Pope.

Other friends were entranced by the wedding of Prince Charles to Diana. Then,

many followed the tragic ending to Lady Diana’s life. They were hopeful for the

more recent wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton. The baby’s birth and

now, the next one on its way, are subjects that many feel are happy bits of news.

 

History, social studies, geography and science are subjects of programs, for

everyone to  learn about, grow to enjoy and get more educated. There are so

many fascinating shows to watch. Nature, musical and art works may never be viewed

or listened to, first hand. Other countries and animals, places that may not be within

everyone’s budget or ability to travel.

 

Some people are not necessarily able to buy or read the newspaper. They find out

information about the world they live in, from the television news shows.

Hurray For National Geographic, Travel Channel, PBS, Weather Channel and

other quality network programming!

 

We have real and make-believe images still, with our magic carpet rides taking off,

from our own homes.

 

There are subjects and shows I may never care to watch. I embrace and support

those who like QVC shopping, cooking shows, reality shows and true dramas,

because they are part of the wide community of television watchers.

 

Many of the shows I choose to watch, you may not want to watch. I got hooked on a

soap opera, during our second break at work. For the past six years, I am ‘guilty’ of

watching, “The Bold and the Beautiful.”

All the years I stayed home and babysat, I did not watch any soap operas. I did in

college, much to the chagrin of my parents, when I mentioned I was scheduling my

courses around a couple of soap operas!

 

I was listening, the first year of American Idol, to all the animated conversations in

the teachers’ break room. They were talking about the ‘bad’ try-outs and the odd

characters. It was in the very beginning of the national search for those who would

make it to “Hollywood.” This caught my attention and I am so glad that I started

watching it.  I can say, “I remember when I first heard Carrie Underwood’s fantastic

voice, was medium built and had frizzy hair!” Along with several well-known singers

who made it to the Top Ten or higher.

 

I am grateful that I don’t have to sit on a sofa and listen to radio to imagine the

great radio characters of the “Green Hornet,” “Gracie Allen and George Burns,”

or how the President of the United States looks like as he is speaking. I enjoy

hearing my Mom’s excitement when she heard about Amelia Earhart’s trans-

Atlantic plane trip and her memories of the “Fireside Chats,” with President

Roosevelt, though.

 

I liked how we  used to watch to find out if we had school on Snow Days. Later,

if our children or grandchildren have school cancelled. I enjoy watching to see

how ‘my’ candidates or ‘my’ issues are doing, as the voting polls report in their

results.

 

I am saddened that there are blind people who cannot see, but grateful for the

inventions of special devices and increased equipment due to new technology

allowing them ‘to see’ the shows. The descriptions of the setting, characters and

other visual ‘clues’ are given. I have read about these and think the inventors are

brilliant for creating and providing this service. There are new creations in hearing-

impaired equipment, too.

 

Many people cannot afford to go to the movies or take a vacation with their families.

They may not go to Broadway but on PBS, they can see a Broadway play or musical.

They get their main form of entertainment from television.

 

There are others, lying on their back sometimes, healing from surgery or permanent

disabilities. My Dad liked to watch the comedies, while getting his chemo treatments.

Laughing made him feel so much better on those days he was nauseous.

 

The elderly in the nursing home I worked at for 4 1/2 years, liked to watch the shows

on TV Land, old reruns of “Lawrence Welk” and  “Bonanza,” along with their church

programming on Sunday mornings. The beauty of fireworks in our country and

celebrations around the world, brought big smiles to their faces. They enjoyed, as

I still do, the lovely creations in the Tournament of Roses Parade.

 

We get a sense of conscience from our ‘small screens.’  The night I watched, “Stand

Up 2 Cancer” impacted me, along with millions of other people watching. It moved

us to donate to some form of Cancer (Society) fund-raising, including Hospice Care,

research and local hospitals.

 

Remember “One Small Step for Mankind?” We now look forward to continued

space travel, inventions and research. When we hear of satellites making it to

Mars or other planets this gives us information that we may use in the future.

 

A quote about freedom from H.L. Mencken, American author and journalist

(1880-1956):

“We must be willing to pay a price for freedom,

for no price that is ever  asked for it,

is half the cost of doing without it.”

 

My soap box, put away for now. . .

 

 

 

What do you watch?

Have you heard about any new t.v. show compelling you

to ‘set your DVR’?

 

Cliff Notes

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All day in the area I was working, I would bump into

a member of the Cycle Count department. His name is

Cliff and we have been friendly coworkers. We have

our lockers nearby and he is approximately ten years

younger than I. He is a ‘good family man’ who I have

admired the way he interacts with his boys.

When Cliff took his family on a trip out West, their

goal was to see all the states from here to the Grand

Canyon trip last summer. Cliff had chosen to take both

his weeks in a row which included the four weekend days.

This meant a rather long and extended time in the car,

but I was sure they would have an awesome time.

When Cliff came back, he was reluctant to brag. He knew

that I had been up at Mom’s, not any real vacation plans.

But I certainly reassured him, asked to see any travel

photos he may have had on his cell phone, at break time.

I was happy for his three boys and wife, too.

One neat family traveling activity, that brought some

memories back and nostalgia flowing, was Cliff’s family

played ‘car games.’

He told me they still like to play an alphabet game

and a license plate game in the car. When the boys

have participated in these for about an hour a day,

Cliff says he asks if they want to play their own

games, with headphones on. He says, it makes him

feel good that they don’t beg to do this all the

time. You can tell, he enjoys ‘together time’ with

his wife and sons.

When I was talking to him recently, Cliff and I were

discussing the movie, “Brave,” and how at first, even

at age four and a half, Micah (my youngest grandson)

was unsure how ‘cool’ it would be. He even said,

“That movie’s for girls, Nana!”

Cliff noted that it all depends on how he, as the father

of boys, approaches things. He shared that any time the

boys tend to make a comment, hesitate or indicate they

are prejudging something, he will bend over backwards,

saying, “We have to try this!” and I just knows it

will be good!”

We discussed in short snippets, as we were working,

about how society has transformed young people into

being overly conscious of ‘what people will think.’

I did say that this probably isn’t as “new” as we

like to think!

Cliff shared his positive attitude adding that,

“It is all how you approach things!”

He got his two boys who are in middle school and

one who is a high schooler to watch the movie,

“Brave.” Cliff said that his wife and he had really

wanted to see it at the movie theater. He said,

that by admitting he wanted to see it, the boys

when asked wanted to join them.

At Christmas, one of the gifts he purchased was

the Wii game for “Brave.” He says it is ‘great

fun!’

I like Cliff, think he is a great father and

husband. I asked him what he was going to do to

celebrate Valentine’s Day, in barely two days?

He was so enthusiastic, glad I even asked such a

question. He is taking the family to Cincinnati,

where they have reservations for two nights

consisting of two rooms, side by side. The plan is

to leave straight after work, on Friday. They have

their bags packed and are raring to go!

“The boys will stay next door,” he winked, “if you

know what I mean.” They were going to the perfect

place for people who are ‘sick’ of the snow!

They were heading off to the Newport Aquarium

on Saturday morning. They plan to stop on their

way south through Columbus at either a Bob Evans

or the Cracker Barrel south of ‘C-town.’

I was also applauding his idea of what to do on

Sunday morning. He has reservations at a nice

restaurant for their ‘brunch.’ It will be an

overall special occasion, with some privacy

and alone time, included. He also has plans

to stop on their way home at one of the big

Outlet Malls. Each member of the family will

use their own extra money or allowance, he

let me in on this fact.

What really pushed me into writing this post,

was not just to let guys know that it is very

thoughtful to think ahead about holidays.

Another reason was because I found out more about him

in the few hours he was ‘in my way,’ counting products.

He wanted me to tell you that his wife is named, “Joan.”

But for “forever and a day,” his parents and he have

called her, “Joanie.” Not her parents though!

When I asked him why?

Cliff answered, “Ever since Cliff Clayban was a character

on the hit television series, ‘Cheers,’ I have been kidded.

Sometimes, it has been about delivering mail, sometimes

about drinking every night at a bar, (which he assured me

he doesn’t do this, thinks it is ‘wrong’ and ‘not good for

building a strong marriage.’)

He loves to hunt with his boys, sometimes go on long walks

with one of them, with their family dog. Cliff also enjoys

the way he gets to know his boys, individually, on separate

hiking trips. This he does, sometimes, with his wife and

sometimes, not.

So, what happened to cause him to change the name “Joan”

into “Joanie?”

Oh, wait, I thought I had it!

Cliff saw my ‘light bulb come on’ and asked,

“Come on, Robin, why do we call her ‘Joanie?'”

I got excited and said, “Joanie Loves Chachi!”

And I continued,

“Then, the both of you have to live the life

of a television character!”

That show, by the way, was a spin-off from the long

lasting, “Happy Days.” It lasted with Erin Moran and

Scott Baio playing the leading roles, only from 1982

until ’83.

Didn’t make too much of an impression on many

people. Small viewing audiences didn’t choose to

watch and help make it last.

That show came out the year that Cliff graduated

from high school and met his wife, Joan, at the

local bowling alley in Marion, Ohio. They had fun

roller skating, bowling, hiking and swimming. they

liked going to Delaware to the Drive-In movies on

Cheshire Road.

Cliff says they got married at age 20 and smilingly

added,

“And we didn’t look back!”

The last part of my Cliff story is about the curious

habit that he has had since very young. He is passing

this habit on to his trio of boys.

He loves cartoons!

He rents or borrows cartoons from the past, including

Bugs Bunny, Coyote and the Roadrunner, and Mr. Magoo.

His favorite one that he spent two summers ago was

watching with his boys, every evening for one hour of

together time, excluding weekends was, “Johnny Quest.”

Cliff stopped from going any farther and his whole

demeanor changed. He gave me an exaggerated sad face.

I asked, “Oh no! What happened? Did your computer stop

projecting the Youtube copies of ‘Johnny Quest’ onto

your big screen television?”

Cliff shook his head.

I cannot help myself, when someone is silent, I have

to guess the reason!

“Is it too immature for the boys’ age now?”

Cliff looked at me like I was crazy!

“No! For some reason, I cannot find it on Youtube

anymore! So, no more ‘Johnny Quest!'”

“What happens now?” I wondered.

I got quiet, as if in mourning the passage of time

or the loss of a loved one.

I kept on picking my auto parts and putting them

into the five hampers I was pushing on the rails.

Finally, as if he knew my impatience or curiosity

was getting to me, (I have a face which doesn’t

hide my emotions.)

Cliff announced his proud decision:

“We watch ‘Scooby Doo!'”

I can just visualize those ‘men:’ two in middle

school, one in high school and one who is

supposedly the ‘adult’ in the group.

The father who wants to make his boys laugh.

A rather wonderful gift, indeed!