It’s Saturday. Time to take a rest from the heady grammar issues and get a little shallow. And I can be quite shallow.
The truth is, I love TV sitcoms.
My favorite are the old sitcoms of the 1960s and 70s. I now confess to being a closet viewer of the TV Land network. I got hooked early on. TV Land started off playing the classic comedies I grew up with. Actually, my parents placed fairly strict limits on our TV viewing, so I usually had to sneak off to a neighbor’s for I Love Lucy or Dick Van Dyke.
My husband jokes that, if there were a channel that aired all Everybody Loves Raymond all the time, I’d watch no other. He’s right. And now, on TV Land, for two hours every weeknight—Raymond.
Until recently, TV Land has been a place to which losers slink off to forget their problems and the fact that they are losers. My time spent in TV Land is clouded by tremendous guilt. I go when no one is home and always remember to change the channel to CNN before turning off the TV, so the next person doesn’t know where I’ve been. A shameful addict always covers her tracks.
But things have changed.
TV Land has become home to some intelligent—or at least socially accepted—programming , namely, Hot in Cleveland. By now, it’s almost cliché to rave about Hot. It’s really a modern-day Golden Girls, another classic (Psst, Hallmark channel). Let’s hope its popularity gives rise to more clever new shows in the fall.
Personally, I think what makes the show successful is timing. Timing in featuring a hot cast, led by Betty White and Valerie Bertinelli, both at the height of their hotness. The other two co-stars, Jane Leeves and Wendie Malick, no slouches themselves, fill in nicely, though I’m disappointed they have Malick playing the same character she played on Just Shoot Me.
And what a brilliant move to have Carl Reiner, one of television’s most acclaimed comedic geniuses, on the show.
The writing is also based on timing–timing of the jokes, one right after the other with barely a chance for the viewer to catch her breath (my husband has come in to ask me if I’m OK) and the agile timing of the sight gags.
Timing is also a big part of the acting. The lines are delivered with a soft build and a one-two punch, while the actresses’ facial expressions, some extremely subtle, add beautiful texture to the humor.
OK, so maybe I am shallow. But I am certain of two things. One, that laughter is good for me and I know where to go to get it, and two, that there are smart people in TV Land who know their target demographic and are going to do very well capitalizing on it.
Now if you’ll allow me to skulk out of here, I’ll try and have something smart to write about next week.
Please remember, Word Nymph doesn’t post on Sundays. They’ve got to be airing some kind of marathon.