Author Topic: Television Culture  (Read 120 times)

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Offline MH

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Television Culture
« on: August 13, 2020, 06:19:01 am »
I think now that Big Bang Theory is done we can close out the era of television, roughly 1950-1970.  By this I mean 'Network Television', not 'anything that can show up on your screen'

And, as is it with media, we can look back with more clarity now that its influence wanes. It created its own memes and content suited towards it:

The Sitcom
The Drama (Westerns, Cop Shows, Medical Dramas)
The MiniSeries
Network News (not Cable News)
Sports (McLuhan talked about TV and Sports a lot, such as the 'instant replay')

....

The topic within the topic:  What are the best and notable shows from the different eras that you watched ?

1950s - "Golden Age" - Playhouse 90, and high art on television; The Twilight Zone, The Honeymooners, Jack Benny (more of a radio guy but I love him)
1960s - Dick Van Dyke Show, Andy Griffith Show, Laugh-In, Fantasy Sitcoms (Bewitched, My Favourite Martian, I dream of Jeannie), Variety Shows, Hanna Barbara Cartoons, Get Smart, Youth-Oriented Music Shows (Shindig), Network News
1970s - Mary Tyler Moore & Spinoffs, Norman Lear shows, Sesame Street and the CTW, Saturday Night Live and The Midnight Special, Monday Night Football
1980s - NBC's "quality" comedies, the miniseries, Night Time Soaps
1990s - Seinfeld, The Simpsons, FOX arrives
2000s to present - the end; reality TV; end of the dominant network anchors; the last shows - 2 1/2 men, Big Bang Theory


Separate category: Daytime: Game Shows, Soap Operas and Talk Shows, Programming for Kids and Teens


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What we aren't realizing today, so much, is that the end of this era means the end of our cultural commonality.  Can you imagine a TV sitcom where a character makes a joke about QAnon ? 

Anyway, let's rhapsodize nostalgic and sort through some thoughts & memories on TV in this thread...




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Offline JuniperRose

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Re: Television Culture
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2020, 08:11:05 am »
MH: Added category 1960s

Bonanza.  My sister and I (5&7) loved that show, but it came on after our bedtime on Sunday nights.  One night, we cleverly snuck down the hallway to watch it, sneaking back to our room during each commercial.  After the show ended, we're back in our beds feeling smug, when the door opens and mom says "Think you're pretty smart don't you."  I guess our "sneaking" lacked some actual sneakiness. 

Also loved I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched and Get Smart.  Also liked Red Skeleton, not because of the jokes (which I didn't understand really), but because of the characters - Clem Kadiddle Hopper, Gertrude and Heathcliff, etc.  Cartoons only appeared for a couple of months before Christmas, took me a while to figure that one out.  Oh yes, Laugh-In and The Smothers Brothers were favorites, though I didn't get to see many episodes.  I did not like Three Stooges who poked each other in the eyes and slapped each other around - not funny to me.

One of the triplet siblings actually learned to count and the alphabet with Sesame Street - the other two, not so much.

I didn't watch much TV through the 70s to 90s - often went without a TV in our house for years, which made visiting people who had one interesting - the violence was shocking, the frenetic sitcoms with the canned laughter weird.  So in some ways my cultural "commonality" during that time was reduced I guess.

Thanks for the memories.  :) 

« Last Edit: August 13, 2020, 12:17:28 pm by MH »

Offline MH

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Re: Television Culture
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2020, 12:19:04 pm »
I thank YOU.

TV Westerns were pervasive, and it seems weird to think of those shows now.  McLuhan commented on that a LOT.  I should have included Bonanza and Gunsmoke in the 1960s category.

There was a lot to love in those shows.

Offline MH

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Re: Television Culture
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2020, 11:03:53 am »
Subtopic 1970s Shows

Was there anything more culturally revolutionary than Archie Bunker coming on TV and espousing right-wing views ?  What a bombshell it was...

Offline the_squid

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Re: Television Culture
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2020, 11:07:25 am »
Subtopic 1970s Shows

Was there anything more culturally revolutionary than Archie Bunker coming on TV and espousing right-wing views ?  What a bombshell it was...

What was rightwing about Archie Bunker?
Funny Funny x 1 View List

Offline the_squid

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Re: Television Culture
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2020, 11:44:25 am »
You call my question funny, but at the time his viewpoints were probably very commonplace among the general populace who were older than 40.  Having a character with those views was only groundbreaking because even then the television studios in California were much more PC than the general public across the country.

I think it would be WAY more groundbreaking today to have that show than it was in 1970.  TV could never have someone as a main character who espoused views like Bunker’s today.


ETA:  I suppose rightwing views were much more prevalent back then...  but, if that’s the case, why was a character on TV with these views “groundbreaking”?
« Last Edit: August 14, 2020, 11:52:56 am by the_squid »

Offline wilber

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Re: Television Culture
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2020, 11:51:39 am »
Subtopic 1970s Shows

Was there anything more culturally revolutionary than Archie Bunker coming on TV and espousing right-wing views ?  What a bombshell it was...

Bunker was a bigot. Party politics were never part of the show, one just assumed that Gloria and Meathead would be Democrats and Archie would probably have been a Republican.

Soap was also a ground breaking show in the seventies with among other things, Billy Chrystal playing an openly gay man who turned into an old Jewish man.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2020, 11:53:26 am by wilber »
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Offline MH

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Re: Television Culture
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2020, 12:25:21 pm »
You call my question funny, but at the time his viewpoints were probably very commonplace among the general populace who were older than 40.  Having a character with those views was only groundbreaking because even then the television studios in California were much more PC than the general public across the country.

I think it would be WAY more groundbreaking today to have that show than it was in 1970.  TV could never have someone as a main character who espoused views like Bunker’s today.


ETA:  I suppose rightwing views were much more prevalent back then...  but, if that’s the case, why was a character on TV with these views “groundbreaking”?

Are you asking in sincerity ?  I can answer in the context of the time, mostly.  The shows were not realistic.  You had something like 'The Mod Squad' as a 'gritty' show.  Comedys were sitcoms ... the Beverly Hillbillies was ending.  Gunsmoke was still on.

Now, you get a show shot mostly in 1 room on video, that's essentially a play with themes of all the contemporary politics of the day... the kind of things people didn't talk about in mixed company: race, sexuality, ****, abortion.  Do you see the difference ?

It was a big change in the culture at that time.

And... yes... right wing people were more prevalent but there wasn't politics in fictional TV, to speak of...

Offline MH

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Re: Television Culture
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2020, 12:27:20 pm »
Bunker was a bigot. Party politics were never part of the show, one just assumed that Gloria and Meathead would be Democrats and Archie would probably have been a Republican.

Soap was also a ground breaking show in the seventies with among other things, Billy Chrystal playing an openly gay man who turned into an old Jewish man.

I remember Archie being very pro-Nixon as well as voting in Reagan on the presidential vote in 1976 so it did come up.

SOAP was created in the mold of the many shows that Norman Lear created at the time, and it was great and funnier than AITF in my opinion.

Offline wilber

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Re: Television Culture
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2020, 02:37:10 pm »
I remember Archie being very pro-Nixon as well as voting in Reagan on the presidential vote in 1976 so it did come up.

SOAP was created in the mold of the many shows that Norman Lear created at the time, and it was great and funnier than AITF in my opinion.

OK, I'd forgotten that. I thought SOAP was fantastic.
"Never trust a man without a single redeeming vice" WSC

Offline MH

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Re: Television Culture
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2020, 03:03:16 pm »
The 1970s really saw some great developments... from the top:


1970s - Mary Tyler Moore & Spinoffs, Norman Lear shows, Sesame Street and the CTW, Saturday Night Live and The Midnight Special, Monday Night Football

Also I missed: MASH, (not Normal Lear), Live Studio Sitcoms, Roots, Newsmagazines like 60 minutes and 20/20, Soul Train, Movies on TV...

You can see the sophistication level increase, the level of reality and informal language pop out...

I'm watching a show called "I May Destroy You" on HBO and you can draw a line from these trends to today.  It's so casual it seems like it's just film of friends talking... people from the past wouldn't know what to make of it.