I may not have mentioned this before: I have a deep, abiding love for The Onion's A.V. Club. I always loved their movie reviews and music reviews, but this site is a daily must read for me for their TV section. Not to overstate the case, but it is the bomb-diggity. And then some. Their daily recaps/reviews of current shows, like Lost, 24 and House are some of the most insightful and smart writing about television going on today. I used to be a fan of Television Without Pity, but what the folks at the A.V. Club are doing is miles ahead of snarky comments and nicknames. Though they do have their fair share of snarky comments and nicknames. So everybody wins!
Just go read this. This essay says more about television, commerce and where they intersect than most articles in legacy media like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Plus it's about one of my favorite episodes of one of my favorite TV shows. Ever.
When I was a kid, The Honeymooners was on every night on WPIX at 11 p.m., for an hour. It was a nightly ritual for me to stay up late and watch. Not to mention that, beforeThe Twilight Zone marathon was an annual New Year's Day tradition, there was a Honeymooners marathon. I was basically raised by Jackie Gleason with the stars Art Carney, Joyce Randolph and Audrey Meadows.
A friend of mine, in a facebook comment, noted the near total lack of working class people from television right now. I watched a little of Parenthood yesterday and was really struck by it. I honestly can't think of a single, prime-time television show on broadcast or basic cable about the lives of working class people, black or white. It's shocking to me.
Noel's got some issues with Jackie Gleason's portrayal of the "working man" and he's got a good point, but, when I was 8 years old, in my mother's row house in Brooklyn, staying up way past my bedtime to watch Ralph and Norton try any scheme to get ahead, it was a vision of the world I could identify with in a way that I couldn't identify with Dynasty or Dallas or whatever other prime time soap was on. Being able to watch The Honeymooners a few hours after Good Times or What's Happening reminded me that the same struggle was still happening. Ralph Kramden becomes Archie Bunker. But who's Archie become? Neil Patrick Harris? Steve Carell? Somewhere the line got broken.
Anyway. I loved reading the essay and I'm liking forward to the rest of the series.