The list of television channels continues to grow deeper, but the content is shallower.
I was scrolling the guide the other day, and I came across a whole lot of rubbish. There were hours of episodes about gossiping housewives in Beverly Hills. There were even more about this Kardashian family, a group of people I will never understand, or care to. I saw a commercial about this drama series following FBI trainees, and every one of them looked like a model. Yeah, that’s real life. The next day, I saw a short commercial about a show awarding a hundred thousand dollars to who could dress best in drag.
Really? This is what television is today? Let me tell you what I miss on TV. Many of the following still come on, though their time slots are either before the sun rises or while you’re at work.
I miss Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor listening to and hilariously explaining Wilson’s sage advice. I miss a nervous Kevin Arnold dropping the football in the pilot episode of “The Wonder Years,” the twelve-year-old constantly fixated on his crush, Winnie Cooper. I miss the sitcom all about a teenager in west Philadelphia born and raised, on the playground is where he spent most of his days.
I miss a tired police officer in Chicago, Carl Winslow, trying to shut a nerdy neighbor, Steve Urkel, out of his house. I miss a group of Bayside High students, three boys and three girls, hanging out at The Max, eating burgers and fries. I especially miss Alan Matthews allowing his youngest son, Cory, to stay up late on a school night to witness a no-hitter, a rarity in baseball; Mr. Feeny teaching lifelong lessons at John Adams High and from his backyard; and Cory shoving a perverse college professor through a glass door for hitting on Topanga.
Man, those shows were the best. I came across one on the Hallmark channel last week, one on MTV and another on Netflix. So they’re still out there, thank goodness, and I hope more people rediscover them. We could all use the lessons, the positive messages, the soft storylines. As I watched Tim glue his head to a board and dye his hands lime green on “Home Improvement,” I thought of yet another show I miss, “Full House,” and I hummed the applicable first stanza of its theme song.
“Whatever happened to predictability,
The milk man, the paper boy, evening T.V.?,
You miss your old familiar friends,
Waiting just around the bend.”