There are television shows and there are television shows. The first is watchable and entertaining, but ultimately, fades from memory. The second lives on and continues to reach audiences across the generations.
The Dick Van Dyke Show originally ran for five years, from 1961-1966. Created by the late Carl Reiner, the show starred Dick Van Dyke and the late Mary Tyler Moore. Van Dyke played Rob Petrie, a TV writer who lived in the suburbs and worked in the city. Tyler Moore played Laura Petrie, Rob’s wife who was a homemaker.
There is a reason why sixty years on, this program is as revered and beloved as it was during its original run. Though it has the flavor of the family sitcoms of the era (e.g. Father Knows Best), it is a bridge to the modern family sitcoms that we watch today. Unlike their predecessors, the characters are imperfect humans who like the rest of us, are trying to get by.
The program was also revolutionary because Laura wore pants. Up to that point, the mothers in this genre all wore dresses or skirts. Though it is not a huge moment in the march for equality, it was a step that looked upon today is ground breaking.
Happy 2015. This will be my first Throwback Thursday blog post of the New Year.
The 1950’s can often be seen through rose colored glasses, especially when viewed through the family sitcoms of the era. Television programs like Father Knows Best and The Donna Reed Show presented the audience with a perfect Caucasian suburban family whose problems were easily solved within a 30 minute time span.
Flash forward to the 1990’s where television story lines and characters were complex and problems were so easily solved within 30 minutes.
In 1998, Pleasantville, two 1990’s teens into the world of the perfect 1950’s family sitcom. David, who has little to no social life (Tobey Maguire) is obsessed with the 1950’s television program Pleasantville. His sister, Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon) has a very active social life and looks down on her brother’s obsession. A strange looking remote transports them into the television program. As they spend more time in Pleasantville, things begin to change and the boat begins to rock.
I like this movie. What I like about this movie is that it brings color to a world that is black and white, literally and figuratively. The special effects are also a nice touch. They add to the movie as needed, without drawing attention away from the plot or the characters.