Saturday, June 30, 2007

Those Lazy Days of Summer...

... are, to misquote the B52's, not really here. We're trying to keep busy, busy, busy in an attempt to stave off the feelings of aimlessness and ennui that settle over me when I'm stuck in the house, even in the name of relaxing.

"Busy" was never an accurate adjective for summers of my childhood. I spent those days following a loosely cobbled together itinerary consisting of reading, loafing about, going to the pool, reading, and watching an unhealthy amount of TV.

Oh, the glories of summer TV. Morning TV, specifically. Afternoons were usually devoted to pool time, but the long stretch of morning hours were filled mostly by lying on the floor in front of the TV. To change the channel, I'd have to GET UP AND TURN THE KNOB. Really, kids, that's how we did it back in the Dark Ages before remote controls.

In no particular order, here's a little retrospective of some my favorite stops on the television sloth parade. I don't think I watched all of these in a single summer; there was actually a limit to how much TV my mom would let me watch. And I don't remember how old I was when I watched these shows. I suspect it was somewhere around ages 9 to 11.

Gameshows: The Price Is Right, The Match Game, Press Your Luck, $10,000 Pyramid, Joker's Wild. Words cannot describe how badly I wanted to spin that big ol' wheel with the glittering numbers on The Price Is Right. And how can you resist a show in which the contestants repeatedly chanted "No whammies, no whammies!"?

Bewitched: Poor Samantha. So much squandered potential for kicking the patriarchy in its behind. Even as a child I wondered how she could be so stupid as to even entertain the thought of obeying her husband's mandate not to use witchcraft.

Three's Company: I have no idea how this landed in the rotation. I actually hate this show. Perhaps it had something to do with the excessive effort involved with getting up to change the channel.

My Favorite Martian: I think this was a one-summer deal. I liked Bill Bixby from having watched The Courtship of Eddie's Father, enough to pique my interest in this show.

Gidget: What? Don't Look at me like that. It was on right before Bewitched. Something infectious about that young Sally Field and all that frolicking on the beach, I tell you.

Hogan's Heroes: What a jolly lot of fun those POWs had! Having heard about Bob Crane's rather sordid life, I don't think I will ever look at Colonel Hogan the same way again.

The Partridge Family: I don't care what anyone says -- this show was far superior to The Brady Bunch. It had a bit, just a hint, of edge, that even as a child I welcomed over the insipidness of the Bradys.

The Love Boat/Fantasy Island: Aaron Spelling, we miss you. Now, B- and C-list celebrities are forced to partake in reality shows like "The Surreal Life," whereas in the old days they could just hitch a ride on the Pacific Princess.

Well, that's an embarrassing list. Do you have any guilty summer TV pleasures from days of yore?