Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Nick At Nite

There's this funny thing about Nick at Nite.

They keep acquiring new programs.  Every time they get a new old show -- especially if it's something I used to watch -- I'll tune in for an episode or two to see how well it has held up.

I usually have one of two diametrically opposed reactions.  Sometimes, I'll recognize the genius of the show, adoring it much more than I did the first time around.  And sometimes I'll think it's so laughably bad, I can't bring myself to watch it.

Example of the First Kind:  The Dick van Dyke Show.  A classic of American comedy.  I had seen a few episodes when I was a kid, but really hadn't realized how absolutely wonderful it was until Nick at Nite.  And, despite the fact that Rob and Laura slept in separate beds, the show has a timelessness to it.

Example of the Second Kind:  The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  I'd loved that show.  When it started airing on Nick at Nite, I looked forward to seeing it again.  Result:  Massive disappointment.  Not timeless at all -- but horribly stuck in the early 70s.  It is very nearly unwatchable for Mary's outfits alone.  But it isn't just the costumes -- the gender roles are horribly outdated.  Mary Tyler Moore was considered groundbreaking for showing a single woman having success in the working world -- but watching it now, Mary Richards, with her sobbing "Ohhh, Mister Grant"s, is cringe-worthy for how not equal Mary actually was in the workplace.  Hell, the title song even calls her "girl."

And then... last night, Nick At Nite started airing Murphy Brown reruns.

Now there was a career woman you could model yourself after.  A ballsy, take-no-prisoners, non-girly-girl, who (in an extremely bizarre case of fiction vs. reality) actually took on the Vice President of the United States and came out on top.  Would the show hold up?

Initial viewings look good.  Almost too good.  Nick at Nite aired the pilot episode, and the show seemed to have all its ducks in a row even then.  The episode itself seemed electrified with the brazen self-confidence of its title character.  And not outdated at all.  Murphy still seems like someone I want to watch.

Mixed verdict on the costumes.  I mean, this was my era.  Murphy Brown went on TV when I started law school, so it pretty much reflected the styles that made up my own professional wardrobe for the first ten years that I had a professional wardrobe.  What can I say?  I still think the red jacket/black skirt combination is classic.

What got me, though, was the hair.  Oh my goodness.  I had that.  Eighties hair.  Where you'd coat it with mousse and blow dry the hell out of it.  Big stringy, bird's nesty locks that Jon Bon Jovi would be proud to wear.  And I'd thought it was normal.  Oh, the shame of it all.

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