It’s said often that many Americans would like to return to the “Leave it to Beaver” days because it reflects a time when America was a lot less complicated. The truth is this country has never been uncomplicated. Some of my favorite television shows were produced during times of social upheaval. “The Andy Griffith Show” is a prime example.
I remember watching an interview of Andy Griffith and he said the show reflected 1930s America more than it did the decade of the 1960s in which it was produced. It was done that way on purpose. I hadn’t stopped to think about that before. Watching the show today, one would think everyone was getting along so well in the country in the 1960s. I know history paints a different picture.
The news this morning that Florence Henderson had died was a bit of a shock. I grew up on Brady Bunch reruns as did millions of Americans. No matter how many times I had seen the episodes, they offered an escape from whatever was going on in my life. We all need to escape once in a while.
Maybe the scripts were idealized versions of reality but what’s so bad about that? Shouldn’t we strive to be better kids, parents, spouses and citizens? I don’t think these shows make us collectively stick our head in the sand and ignore real problems around us. We’re aware of all the problems, probably too much.
The constant negative news articles and being connected 24/7 to everyone I know through social media is too much sometimes. Once in a while I have to walk away and remember life before we were all so “together”. I recently saw a cartoon on Facebook that stated, “My need to be well informed is at odds with my need to remain sane.” Isn’t that the truth!
I need a reprieve and I think our entertainment should offer a reprieve from all of the junk we’re bombarded with daily. It should also inspire us to be a little better, a little kinder, and a whole lot more hopeful. Considering that much of the news out there isn’t even true anyway, I’d rather put my kids (and grandkids) in front of the television, tablet, smartphone, or whatever they’re watching and find some enjoyment and peace.
There’s a lot to learn from Charles and Caroline Ingalls, Ward and June Cleaver, Mike and Carol Brady, Andy, Barney and Aunt Bee, Gilligan and the Skipper, and even Herman and Lilly Munster. We all need to learn to laugh again, especially at ourselves. If there’s anything missing from this narcissistic, over-informed time we live in, it’s that. We need to laugh again. We take ourselves entirely too seriously while standing on our social media soapboxes lecturing the rest of the world how it ought to be. I’m as guilty as anybody. In reality, I just want to laugh again. I want to find some peace and I’m forever grateful to the shows and entertainers that were able to deliver on both.