I felt compelled to join in just to interject my immediate thoughts. He mentioned one throwaway line at the very end that I missed while I was commiserating with my disappointment. Yes, a disappointment that was borne of expectations of an audience member and NOT a film lover. And that throwaway line that I missed, made it a whole different film. That is filmmaking. Monday, November 20, On Dave and Charlie: I've been wanting to explore these five years for a long time.
Other than long hair, these two have nothing in common. However, they both represent a certain part of the cultural zeitgeist after I want to examine, from the perspective of a preteen, my naive sense memories from those time. My folks were older--Greatest Generation. My peers usually had grandparents their age. So I sort of self-educated on television and media.
Keep in mind, the Vietnam debacle was in full swing and Nixon came into power. The culture wars that were going on at the time were as vociferous and as dangerous as now Of course, I wasn't cognizant of all the politics at the time. I was watching Hanna Barbera cartoons on Saturday morning and listening to Disney records. I am fascinated to this day, though, by the history of this period and find books to read on it as if I'm making up for being alive during turbulent times and not having a clue.
That goes for Manson as well.
I had no clue about him or his satanic crimes until I sort of half-watched a miniseries, Helter Skelter, based on Bugliosi's best selling retelling. It was horrific They were much more graphic in the seventies than you would think. And in no way am I minimizing his reign of terror. I am simply recollecting how it affected my perception of counterculture at the time. That "counterculture" was experienced through interaction with relations who were, I would imagine--to simplify--hippies. Although far removed from the sex and drugs and music, there was a tangential "contact high" if you will.
Many of my peers--slightly younger--had parents that fit this profile. Many didn't. They may have had late Greatest Generation parents--possibly Korean War veterans, Eisenhower era Father Knows Best types that were struggling with mod sideburns. Witness the neocons at the time: Cheney and Bush google images. Many of the boomers were restricted from anything reeking of anti-establishment in sort of post-bloom by now.
I do recall at school and day camps seeing compatriots being picked up by bead-wearing, fully bearded dads.
And, as sheltered as I was, I couldn't avoid the contact with mini-reprobates that would gladly regale with me with words I didn't know and bodily functions I found foreign. I can't even imagine what they say now and don't want to. Television, however, shed me of my innocence. I mean "'being woke. In retrospect, the political correctness was not quite "correct" but it was nevertheless instructive in the right direction--a sentiment that somehow cannot be approached today amongst certain post-Boomer liberals. LBJ's Great Society was in full swing and I am so happy to have actually gone to school in a fresh stew of cultures and colors.
Even after our first African-American president, that feels in nearly full retreat now thanks to a neoliberalist agenda. So when I think of the Manson chronicles, it's not a first-hand feeling of disgust and dread. It's more a patchouli laced haze of psychedelia and brown-hued sixteen millimeter news grit.
Even kids shows--the Krofft menagerie--were borne of acid fever dreams. The Manson girls, in their blond beach babe fresh-faced appearance, inspire the lust I had for my college-age babysitters more than shock and awe nightmares. I will never forget one of my sitters, in her hippie attire--probably could be my granddaughter nowadays--introducing me to music I had no idea about.
I was frightened by the poster of the Beatles on her wall. That's where Keith Partridge comes in. Boomers would agree that the Bradys were just too squeaky clean even in their dealings with scrupulous music agents. However, their Friday night cohorts, the Partridges, were far more "cool. His poster was on the wall of all those babysitters.
I suppose even in my Pollyanna world, my dark id recognized the potential thrill of being a subversive so well represented by a wholesome traveling family band represented by a bumbling nice guy out of central casting. He would never lay a hand on Shirley--that we know. I never saw the cinema at the time. Most of those early seventies classics were rebroadcast on the networks--edited with commercials. But that was enough for me. I still got that sleaziness.
That sort of New York pre-Times Square grime, that representation of urban decay that was now required viewing. That led to, for me, the highlight of American cinema when directors and not studios were in control. That was due to everyone watching All in the Family and The Waltons--a strange paradox of the times in and of itself. I wasn't a spectator or participant. But I WAS there. I can't speak to the music at the time. Which was revolutionary. I'll leave that to others. Sometimes my dad would go crazy and bring home a 45 of Neil Diamond or Cheech and Chong I'll never get over that one!
And nothing will give you a flavor of the times more than Playboy Magazine. Pubic hair was now shown--and the interviews were the best journalism of the time. Highly intellectual discourse amongst a new sexual freedom--tinged with key party ethics and polyester. Even after being educated on the Manson murders, it still somehow feels quaint by today's standards.
Perhaps that's because movies and television, even the most mainstream, is littered with mutilations, beheadings, impalements and disembowelments--graphically depicted--that would make Charlie himself squeamish.
That's not really a joke. Have you watched FX lately? And when I see David Cassidy, it reminds me of how a teen idol didn't have to cover themselves with tattoo, brag about 'being bad," experiment with the wildest drugs and express profanity in order to be considered a pop superstar. Oh, well. I got a hug from Maureen McCormick once.
That's enough for me. That being said, I wish to dissect this film. The crackling dialogue and group antics of Hanks and his creative team accurately depict the intricacies of the corporate ad game. Another interesting facet of the screenplay is the fact that no stone is left unturned. Shout-out, though, to Fred Gwynne going berserk as Herman Munster, which will never not be hilarious. With Dallas , family stories leapt into the prime-time soap arena and would become an ancestor to everything from Dynasty to Brothers and Sisters to The OC.
As a show about a feud between two families, Dallas was able to incorporate not just the rivalries and alliances within a group, but also the way families define themselves in opposition to others. It was not the nostalgic family as a safe harbor from the world. It was family as a warfront, as an ever-shifting, unreliable snarl.
The Goldbergs , — No, not that one, though we do love it. The first series to bear this title was one of the first sitcoms, as well as the first major series, to paint an affectionate and unabashedly Jewish portrait of urban life: a mostly comedic but sometimes dramatic look at the Goldbergs of East Tremont Avenue in the Bronx.
Originally created in as a radio series by writer and actress Gertrude Berg, it moved to TV a little over 20 years later, appearing on CBS, the DuMont Network, and in syndication, and airing its final regular episode in Although the story lines avoided politics and anything else that could have been perceived as divisive including the Holocaust and the creation of Israel, the two most seismically important issues for Jews worldwide in the first half of the 20th century , The Goldbergs was a notably ethnic look at economic struggle and cultural identity, drawing big audiences at a time when the official portrait of the American family was becoming increasingly white-bread and suburban though even the Goldbergs moved out of the city eventually, trading the Bronx for Haverville, New York.
But it did. The father, Louis Randall Park , runs a steakhouse with a meat-and-potatoes-heavy menu. Eddie Hudson Yang , the oldest brother, is an obsessive fan of hip-hop culture. Can it also qualify as a family series? Over the course of the series, Eric and Tami step in to act as support beams for those kids, mentoring and guiding them when their fathers and mothers are absent or negligent.
Even more than all that stuff about clear eyes and full hearts, Friday Night Lights taught us that community can be family, that it takes a village to raise the children.
The Wonder Years had nostalgia baked into its premise, an approach that would later influence The Goldbergs and Young Sheldon. It could get overly sentimental at times because of that.
But the series, created by Neal Marlens and Carol Black, also made a point of depicting the darker aspects of growing up in the Vietnam era, including seeing friends and neighbors losing children to the war. Most people devote more time looking back at their childhoods and the way their parents raised them than they spend experiencing childhood. The Wonder Years captured that truth with more depth and heart than any family comedy has since. An American Family , Arguably the first reality-TV series, An American Family was also a remarkable look at just how far American families had come from the days of Ozzie and Harriet in a mere two decades.
But the announcer is almost regretful to inform the audience, they are an American family. It captures the intense love that dedicated parents feel for their children, a generosity that crosses over into a masochistic desire to sacrifice, and even die, for the next generation, against the petty reality of daily life — a death-by-a-thousand-paper-cuts experience that can leave you so enervated, you fantasize what it would be like never to have had kids at all. The full spectrum of emotional response is depicted here in every episode, and its portrait of the developing teenage brain is spot-on accurate, too.
But this regular check-in with the Dunphy clan announced itself as something inventive and very funny by applying the mockumentary approach used in workplace comedies like The Office to domestic life. More importantly, it made sure that a same-sex couple was a central part of its portrait of parenting.