Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"The Waltons:

My cable system recently went through a bit of changes, and they adopted a few new channels. Some - there's one called YouToo? - I don't have much use for (It's apparently a channel devoted to people who want to get themselves on television. Meh.)

But now I get something called gmc, which a little Googling tells me is the Gospel Music Channel. Their tagline is "Uplifting Entertainment."

They show re-runs (among other things) of Judging Amy, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, and The Waltons.

I've been watching some of the re-runs of The Waltons. I vaguely remember my family watching it when I was a kid (I was never a very absorbed television-watcher as a kid for some reason; I usually had my Fisher-Price toys or Lego bricks spread out on the floor and played with them and half-watched what was on).

You know, I'm struck now by what a *good* show it was. The characterizations are fairly complex (well, at least of the adults; I admit I still confuse Jim-Bob and Ben), the people face real moral dilemmas in the episodes (and don't always behave perfectly). It also seems to capture a time and a place - or at any rate, if it's not an accurate version of Depression-era Virginia, it certainly doesn't *feel* modern-day. And - what surprised me but should not - the family openly shows its faith. There are scenes set in a church and Jesus is mentioned. (It seems now, a lot of television shows want to skirt the fact that yes, in fact, some people in the United States believe in the existence of someone called Jesus.)

I'm sure the show was criticized for being overly-sentimental or for showing a Depression-era family as sort of noble despite their poverty. (Then again: my mother talks about growing up poor in rural Michigan, and how although they didn't have much, they always had decent food on the table (her brothers hunted, and her family had a garden), and that they didn't really "feel" poor because they had each other.)

But I love it. I suppose, as I said, it's been criticized for being somewhat idealistic - but you know what? I kind of WANT idealistic in at least some of my entertainment. I want to be shown people who have strong moral fiber and who face tough times with equanimity. I want to be shown people who behave better than I might given the circumstances - I want people in my "entertainment" that I can look up to.

And so, I try to catch the re-runs of the show when it's on. (And it's really not all sweetness and light - in the Christmas 2-parter with the British evacuee children, Elizabeth turns out to be pretty nasty to them...though she repents of it later.)

1 comment:

Kate P said...

I like that GMC has picked up a number of shows I liked a while ago. The only odd thing I've noticed with the syndicated shows on GMC is that they've been a bit sanitized. Like "Judging Amy" got seriously cleaned up, and they show only certain episodes. Swear words missing from "Early Edition" (not that there were that many).