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Friday, March 30, 2012

TV Memories 09 | Thomas Reed aka Treed

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I grew up watching Make Room for Daddy, The Donna Reed Show, Dennis the Menace, Leave It To Beaver, My Three Sons, Father Knows Best, The Andy Griffith Show, Red Skelton, Lawrence Welk, Milton Berle, Ozzie and Harriet, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Lost in Space, the Flintstones (when it was a prime time show, not a Saturday morning cartoon),Star Trek, reruns of McHale’s Navy, I Love Lucy, Hogans Heroes, Rat Patrol, Combat!, Saturday cartoons when Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry (the original, not the crappy later ones) and Woody Woodpecker ruled. Johnny Carson ruled the night and games shows and soap operas ruled the day. After school viewing was dominated by Popeye and Olive Oyl (in my viewing area, Capt. Gus). My mornings were all about Captain Kangaroo and bunny rabbit before I headed off to school.

Is it any wonder I have a twisted view of the world?

I used to believe the family life depicted on TV was how every household in America behaved, except for mine. I used to think we were the oddballs. I used to think family members where always helpful and loving, although a bit screwy. I grew out of that through simple exposure to other families.

I loved seeing the mess the Hero/Heroine of the show had to deal with. What predicament did they get themselves into this week? What are they going do to get themselves out of it? How will they draft their friends, family members, strangers into helping them get out of it? Then by the end of the show the Husband/Daddy/Lead Male gets them out of the predicament and has words of wisdom mercy and love to bestow on the worrisome child/spouse/neighbor.

Life was a comedy with life lessons. Isn’t that your experience? It wasn’t mine, but I thought everyone had the “Ozzie and Harriet” parents to take care of them and that I was the unlucky one. Don’t get me wrong, I had a good childhood with loving parents and bratty brothers. My family just wasn’t what I saw on TV.

The Twilight Zone, Saturday Matinee, Shock Theater. Enough Sci Fi and horror to give you nightmares and for mom to forbid us from watching them (we did anyway). I loved these, scary Saturday afternoon movies, the mummy, Frankenstein, Dracula, Tales from the Crypt, all good wholesome fun.

Long about 3rd grade I came to the realization the TV families weren’t real and my family was the norm. So TV became not a template of life but something to enjoy. Comedies, cop shows, cartoons.

Monte Python was being imported and I could not get enough, “Spam Spam Spam…”.Then came George Carlin and other comedians like him. Later came Saturday Night Live (original cast) and my sense of what was funny was confirmed and justified. TV for me then was for laughter. If it didn’t make me laugh, then I had no interest.

As I moved into college and married life, I still wanted my TV to entertain me. But now I was expanding my viewing interest. M*A*S*H became my favorite show (of all the years it was on the air, I only missed one episode). Cannon, Barreta, Perry Mason, Police Woman, Magnum PI, Hill Street Blues, St Elsewhere, Greatest American Hero, Taxi, Cheers, Dallas. The shows became more varied, less “Family” sitcom, more drama and cop shows.

I still watched cartoons, we had 3 kids. We watched more PBS series and movies. My TV viewing had turned from “Entertain me and make me laugh” to make me think, make me cry, make me laugh (laughter is a major priority in my life, so my shows HAVE to give me some laughter no matter the premise).

Picket Fences and Northern Exposure showed me that the networks can and do enjoy quirky oddball shows that make you laugh, make you cry, make you think.

My current TV pleasures deal mostly with fantasy, Being Human (BBC), Lost Girl, Grimm and Once Upon a Time, along with other more main stream shows like Law and Order, CSI, NCIS and PBS Masterpiece Theater. I still watch sitcoms, but not many. One sitcom both wifey and I find extremely funny is Big Bang Theory. If you have never seen a full episode, do it, just one episode. You’ll laugh, I guarantee it.

I used to plan my days based on what was on TV that evening. Nowadays, my TV viewing is governed by my schedule. If I miss an episode of Castle, oh well, I’ll just catch it in reruns, or if I had the forethought, I would have recorded it for later viewing.

I have not even talked about the talk shows I used to view, Michael Douglas, Merv Griffin, The Tonight Show, Ellen, and I hate to admit it, EARLY Oprah. Then there were the variety shows, Ed Sullivan, Carol Burnett, Sonny & Cher, The Smothers Brothers, Don Ho (yes, I watched Don Ho) and more recently, Dave Letterman , Craig Ferguson and Graham Norton.

As I write this, I remember more and more shows I used to watch and care about. I have added some of them into the lists I have already mentioned.

As you can tell, I spent most of my time at home in front of the TV. Over the years it has moved from the main focal point of the evening to that of background noise while I do work/play on my laptop or interact with my family.

I used to watch a lot of TV. All the time.

Now, I still watch a lot of TV, but not near as much and my life rules my viewing habits, not the other way around.

I have enjoyed reminiscing about the shows I watched. I had enjoyed talking about how my viewing habits have changed and not changed and some of the effects it has had on my life.

I thank Dan for inviting me to write for this blog.

Enjoy, Be Safe and be nice to one another, because “WE” is all we got.

“You are about to enter … The Twilight Zone”, “Book’em Dano”, “One to Beam Up”, “Danger, Will Robinson, Danger”, “Good Night and God Bless”, “Say Goodnight, Gracie“, “and Remember, Let’s Be Careful Out There”

Goodbye, So long, and Farewell.

Thomas Reed (A.K.A. TREED!

Thomas Reed is a Podcast and Bitstrip addict and Math Teacher hailing from Texas. He creates bitstrips, online comic strips, about many things including podcast fiction authors and their work. You can find these colorful cartoon images he conjures up at and visit his blog at

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