I have to confess that one of the reasons I decided to major in Mass Comm at Berkeley was because I had heard Todd Gitlin’s curriculum included watching television as part of the course requirements. I thought, “Man, college is SO cool!”
Believe it or not, I did find much of that learning applicable later in life. It helped shape my perception of the media, encouraged me to think critically, and helped me recognize television “formulas” from Aaron Spelling shows to the nightly news. Which makes it even more surprising to me that I am still such a sucker for so many shows considered “low brow” entertainment.
On my Tivo hot list this summer: Top Chef, The World Series of Pop Culture, Flight of the Conchords, and…um….Scott Baio is 45…and Single.
Now that last one (I’ll refer to it as SBI45AS) is kind of embarassing to admit, but just hear me out.
If you were a girl coming of age in the 70’s, then you know about SB. He probably entered my radar from Happy Days, as that was one of the only parent approved programs in the limited 3 hours of TV per week I was allowed to watch. I wasn’t a teenager yet and didn’t really like boys, but for some reason I followed everything he did (including Blansky’s Beauties and Bugsy Malone). Flash forward 30 years and he shows up on Arrested Development in a dryly funny role (Bob Loblaw) and having aged quite well.
So I got suckered into watching SBI45AS, just out of weird curiosity. Thing is, the storyline is interesting, he’s honest and compelling, and the subject matter feels so timely and relevant. Have you ever wanted to go back and talk to people you were involved with to find out why things didn’t work out? Do you wonder if the guys you knew growing up who couldn’t/wouldn’t grow up ever question their choice of that life path? Is there a point where it’s just too late to change who you turned out to be? It’s kind of a relief to see other people struggle with those same questions, for my entertainment. Man, I can’t believe he’s 45.
Also…great music on the show, too.