Influence of Ten

Dear J-

I used to watch a lot of syndicated TV when I was growing up: the main television time for us as a family would be 7-8PM, while we were lingering over dinner and before the temptations of primetime (we had a VCR but didn’t use it to time-shift). Note to fellow parents: I’m not going to recommend combining meal time with TV time; you may think that you’re saving time by combining activities, but all it did for me is render me functionally mute and easily distractable during dinners. After watching the same set of Star Trek (original series, of course) episodes several times over we moved on to the sitcoms, which is why watching Cheers reruns on Netflix makes for pleasant nostalgic times.

Just lately I’ve become convinced that you go through some product formative years between ten and fifteen: things you think are cool then become items to lust over later in life. For me that list includes cars and watches; I’m hopelessly in love with the boxy first-generation Toyota MR2 (AW11) as well as the long-running Acura (Honda) NSX. I picked up a Casio G-Shock not through any real need but just because it’s a G-Shock, man, and have contemplated seeing if Swatch still makes those rubber-band face protectors. Calculators too: I own the things I couldn’t afford as a kid not because I need them but because of delayed gratification.

I wonder what this means for the shows I used to watch. I suppose that’s what the networks were trading on when they launched a revamped Knight Rider a few years ago, but who knows, maybe it’s unconsciously influenced me to come live in Southern California. I do know that Cheers gave me the impression that Boston folks were funny and quirky, which helped my decision to go to grad school in the area. If I’m ever called to Night Court I’m going to be looking for a judge that can do magic tricks. Mostly I wonder what’s going to lodge in our kids’ minds while they’re watching the things they are (the Disney Princesses being particularly ubiquitious but, at least lately, actually growing spines and being spunky, thanks to Shrek’s influence).



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