Sunday, May 10, 2009

What a programming hole NBC was on Sundays and Mondays in 1984-5. I'd almost forgotten until looking at this what it was like to look at TV Guide schedules and just see "Movie." And of course Knight Rider and the absolute white-space filler to end all white-space filler, TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes, featuring the infamous question, "Wanna see that again?" (Why, you got an hour to kill or something?) (Or I am perhaps thinking of the following night's ABC offering, Foul-Ups and Bleeps, formerly Foul-Ups, Bleeps, and Blunders.)

NBC's weekly schedule was actually a very canny one, though. What they did back then, under Brandon Tartikoff's tutelage, was to aim straight at kids. Look at the nightly schedules: barely an adult show in the offing. Even Miami Vice was a kid's show, really--the bright pastels, the cartoony side characters, the serious-dude plots and relationship between Crockett and Tubbs, all of it had deep appeal to me at age 9. I wasn't alone by any means. Miami Vice was a kids' show for kids who could, for whatever reason, stay up past 9 p.m. (Central; 10 Eastern) to watch and learn.

During the early '80s I didn't think any other network except NBC even existed. They had everything I liked: broad comedies involving people around my age and longer dramas featuring comic book-like characters. What was Knight Rider but a quicker-paced late-period Charleton comic? What was Different Strokes but watered-down '70s liberalism set to a laugh track? I'd always loved TV as a little kid; my mother and I watched '70s sitcom reruns all the time, which is one reason I never got to bed until midnight even when I was 7. Arnold was a smart-ass, and I loved smart-asses from Bugs Bunny to everyone in my mother's family and on.