Classic TV

We’re running down on the last couple of weeks of sequestered living, since Boy’s second vaccination is scheduled in a few days, but we are still running low on programming we haven’t already seen. So we started watching Saturday Night Live from the beginning in 1975.

It’s been interesting watching it with Boy, because to me, this was comedy I grew up with: these folks eventually became the stars of my favorite comedy movies…Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray are actual, original Ghostbusters for crying out loud. And when John Belushi came on stage to sing ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’ in imitation of Joe Cocker, Boy was super duper impressed. “WOW, Mom! Dude sounds exactly like Joe Cocker!” And then we looked up film of Joe Cocker’s actual Woodstock performance to see that yes, he really did move around crazy like that when he sang; that wasn’t entirely John Belushi being silly.

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE — Season 1 — Pictured: (l-r) Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Laraine Newman, Garrett Morris, Gilda Radner, John Belushi — Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

We talked about the events referred to in the sketches, especially Weekend Update, and we talked about how some of these jokes aren’t funny anymore, and about how some of them (like making fun of how pervasive and irrational and harmful and stupid racism is) still play exactly the same in 2021…unfortunately. And I know I’ve written about this a few times before here, but I just wanted to write again how amazed and grateful I am that I can talk to my son and he wants to talk to me about things that matter. I know classic TV doesn’t really ‘matter.’ But the issues in SNL do matter; the comedians and writers who wrote on these shows are the commentators and historians most people listen and relate to…still. And my teenage son will watch these shows with me (as well as a lot of other shows; as well as listening to music and walking through nature and reading books…) and will talk about them. Willingly and voluntarily.

I can remember watching a lot of television by myself, and forming a lot of views of the world without any guidance or input from my parents beyond what I could observe from them. We never talked about anything, and by the time I was thirteen and approaching 8th grade, I didn’t want to talk to them about anything. And watching that classic TV and contemporary TV was something I did on my own. I did everything on my own. I’m glad my son wants to do things and talk about things with me. And I guess I’m feeling a little proud of myself because in this important and I think enjoyable way, my son’s life and childhood is a lot different than mine was. J and I have set up a home and family where he feels comfortable talking to us about lots of things, including things that matter. He feels comfortable asking us questions to clarify and understand things better.

Clearly, I’m still finding it hard to come up with inspiration to write. But I do love being a mom and I’m super proud of the young man my son is. And I like watching old TV shows with him. I’m earnestly going to miss him when he goes back to school away from me every day at the end of the summer.

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