Short, Short, Short Stories

Staying Tuned to Hollywood

After watching for decades, we can say confidently that our all-time favorite TV programs are “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Happy Days” and “Mash.” They make us laugh as we peer into those now distant families, each with problems of their own and characters that seem so remote from those that we hold dear.

But, of course, it’s damn frustrating knowing we can bring these people into our homes but are not able to reach out to them. The television studios are so very far away; we’d never be able to make the trip to Hollywood. And we know that many of the actors we enjoy have died by now, anyway—the life spans of most actors seem short, perhaps because we miss them terribly as our own lives go on.

Still, we’ve all learned so much from these shows— how to dance, how to sing, how to write, how to speak, how to look, how to live in ways that produce happy endings. Over the years, all our friends have studied and appropriated much of what we’ve seen—Buddy Sorrell’s jokes, Fonzie’s hair (Whoa!), Klinger’s dresses. The originals are a lot better at It than we are, though. They were made for those roles and, of course, we weren’t.

You would think with our society’s insatiable interest in technology that we’d all be tuning into shows like Star Trek or The Twilight Zone, but those series are predictable and pretty far removed from the way things really work.

We prefer the comedies. That’s why I’m a bit excited about a new show called “Barney Miller” that looks interesting. Needless to say, it’s ended by now. Everything’s a rerun when you’re 47 light-years from Hollywood. Damn frustrating.

Copyright 2023 by Stephen F. Friedman

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