I was huffing it up to the third floor at work the other day and stopped at the final landing just to catch my breath, and the student who is working in the Academic Office right now looked down and started singing “You’re going to make it after-allll.” I laughed, told her that’s just what I needed right then, I only wished I had a beret to toss in the air.
I love television. And this is one reason why: it gives those of us who watch it a linguistic shorthand, a jumpstart into community. Say “Not that there’s anything wrong with it;” or “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia;” or “You’re going to make it after-allll!” and you know in an instant if you have generational or cultural peers in the room (you may also find out who in the room is the middle child, too).
In any event, here’s my column from the Post-Tribune, Sunday, Feb 11:
I’m so excited that the networks seem to want to create comedy shows again. I remember the days of “Must See” TV, when Thursday nights ruled with comedies like “Cheers,” and “Friends,” and “Seinfeld.”
I like comedy. I really like laughing, as it is the only exercise my gut gets in any given week. And I’m grateful that people are creating moments that are really funny on television again. I just wish I could comfortably watch it all with my children.
My daughters and I turned on a new-ish show the other night, The Class. There were some really funny bits about a chicken dish gone a-fowl (sorry, couldn’t help myself on that one).
There was also this other funny bit about food—a woman who may or may not (I haven’t watched the show enough) be cheating on her husband in the way that we think of when we think of cheating on a spouse, but she was definitely cheating on him by having fat- and cholesterol-laden food with another man while she and her husband were supposed to be dieting because of her husband’s really high cholesterol levels.
I enjoyed the double-entendre of the situation, it was funny in a pseudosophisticated-shticky kind of way. But I was also just a tad uncomfortable with the noises the woman was making while she was eating (think When Harry Met Sally) as I watched the show with my daughters.
But then the storyline follows another character as she wakes up in bed with the guy she is dating. It was funny, but it was also REALLY uncomfortable.
Still, I didn’t change the channel. I let the show play out and tried to gauge the girls’ reactions to watching this part of the show. They didn’t ask any questions (like I did when I went to see The Sting with my mother, and, when Robert Redford wakes up next to a woman, I remember asking my mom “when did they get married?”).
While the sitcom we were watching made me squirm just a bit, the situation was also handled in an obviously funny way as well as in a reasonably responsible way. I mean, these were not teenagers, these were adult characters, engaging in adult behavior. Not altogether model behavior, but entirely human and adult behavior.
So, while on one hand I lament that there is no Bill Cosby show for this current generation, on the other hand, I think I’ve decided to ease up on the censorship of funny yet adult humor on television. It’s not bad to invite stuff into your house that requires you to talk with your children about your values—ever.
While I’d love to keep covering my ears and singing loudly whenever these subjects come up (but I can’t because my husband already is), I can’t pretend that my daughters are not going to have to make decisions every day for the rest of their lives that will affect how their futures will play out.
Which is why, as uncomfortable as I was watching the show with them, I felt it important to watch the show through, to let the girls see the progression of the storyline.
We’re still making this whole thing up as we go along—this mother-daughter relationship thing. Sometimes we are even laughing while we are.
I may find, three shows down the road, that it just isn’t appropriate for these girls to watch this show. Or, I may find that the show is a great springboard for those discussions that need to be had with my girls.
And if I can do that and get a laugh at the same time, I’d say we’re doing pretty well.