Must See TV

At a dinner gathering at our friends’ place last night we got talking about television.  One of the gang is anticipating a work/life/commute change and she’s excited about actually watching TV shows as they happen.  Of course, that’s no longer necessary in these days of PVRs and “on demand” television channels.  But it brought me back to the days of  ‘appointment tv’. 

TV trays were for eating Sunday dinner while Little House on the Prairie was on.  We all watched it for different reasons but…we all watched it.  We only had a few channels back then so when a TV show was a hit it was a huge hit!  We’d also make sure we were ready at 6 pm for The Wonderful World of Disney.  In my world, Rhoda was a must-see show as was Happy Days.  If you didn’t see the program when it aired, you just simply didn’t see it!  Oh, how I cried when Joe left Rhoda and she was so upset she wouldn’t let him take any clothes with him – not even underwear.

Miniseries were all the rage.  So help you if you missed one instalment because you’d be lost.  I remember “reserving” the television for Lonesome Dove (which I now have on DVD) and the whole family watched Roots, the series that literally changed television.

If you weren’t there it’s difficult to imagine how fleeting these shows were.  There was no opportunity to find it “online” or to go to the “video store” and rent it.  At least not in the 70’s.  It came and went and if you missed last night’s episode of Laverne & Shirley you were lost in high school the next day when everyone else was talking about it.  Now when I get busy and miss the start of How I Met Your Mother I click one button on my PVR and it shows me the program from the beginning while the rest of  it is still airing.  My Grandma, who loved her crime shows (and could always guess who-done-it) would have loved this feature.  Back then, you didn’t call Grandma when Columbo or McCloud were on or the phone – attached to the wall, of course – would ring into infinity until the night’s mystery was solved and she let out a final, “I knew it!”