Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Happy Days - again

When the children went back to school a teacher asked the class their favourite tv shows. Most said the shows I had watched as kid. Their favourites (other than The Simpsons) were Happy Days and The Brady Bunch. My kids have been watching these shows too. When the new free to air digital channel Go! was released, they watched I Dream of Jeannie, Bewtiched, Get Smart, Green Acres, The Partridge Family. It was interesting to see these again as an adult, noting how sexist the show Jeannie is, how on Bewitched the women have the power, but cater to the men’s egos by making them think the men are in charge. Get Smart is still fun. The Partridge Family and Green Acres are a hit with my kids.

Then Channel 11 was released, and the kids are now watching Mork and Mindy, Happy Days and The Brady Bunch. What has struck me is how much of Happy Days and The Brady Bunch I remember. Word for word. I hadn’t thought about these shows for thirty years, but they are embedded in my memory. Did I watch a lot of reruns, or did they make a big impression on me?

So, how do they stand up now? Mork and Mindy has a blatant message at the end when Mork reports back to his home planet, which could be a lesson for kids about how our society works. Happy Days is more sexist than I realised, and more based on sex - everybody is making out or trying to. The parents are pretty good role models though. The Brady Bunch shows, in a pretty heavy handed way, what it means to be a family; it helps if you have a housekeeper and two parents who really like each other. This show is the big winner in terms of popularity. After watching The Brady Bunch , Clancy has taken to brushing her hair. She has long blonde hair, so I’m grateful that, finally, something has prompted her to look after her hair. I think she might be identifying with Jan, but hope she doesn’t also display Jan’s Middle Child Syndrome (really, she was quite excessive at times...)

As kids we watched these shows when it was considered OK to watch a lot of tv. We didn’t have the after school activities that my children engage in. We didn’t have any other screens, and still spent plenty of time playing outside.

As I child I watched these shows with no adult supervision, and I’m thinking the kids will be alright. The part that is new into the mix is the advertisements for Sex and the City, Dexter, Californication, Nurse Jackie and The Office. Hmmm. Perhaps it’s time to pop onto the Eleven forum and ask why advertisements for M rated shows are being aired during G rated programs. You can make requests for programs you want to see. It would be fun for the kids to watch The Flying Nun and Gidget. I couldn’t find a complaints section on the site, but lets see if we can get rid of those advertisements.

To contact Channel Ten

The Eleven Forum

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