Look What You’ve Done to Me and #ROW80

I had another possible topic ready to go until I was driving to the dry cleaners today and heard on the radio that The Monkees band member Davy Jones had died. Despite being in good shape, he suffered a heart attack at age 66.

My first distinct memory of him is not from The Monkees television show (1966-68), but from the Brady Bunch episode on which he guest-starred as Marcia’s celebrity crush. Here’s the song he sang (Girl):

Of course, the intro song to The Monkees show is well-known and wonderfully fun:

Then there is Jones’s more recent recording for Word Weaver Sandra Boynton’s album, Blue Moo. Here he is with Your Personal Penguin:

Hope you enjoyed the music. Thanks for the smooth voice and the happy attitude, Davy. You will be missed.

Now let’s see what my goals have done to me:

  • Finish editing Grace & Fire mystery novel and send to reader. Finished January 19.
  • Write 2,500 1,500 words per week on young adult novel, Sharing Hunter1,767 words so far this week! Thanks so much to the #ROW80 #Teamsprinty folks!
  • Blog twice a week on Amaze-ing Words Wednesday and Deep-Fried Friday, and check-in with ROW80 updates twice a week. Posted “And the Winner Is…: Award Names” today.
  • Comment on at least 10 15 blogs per week (not counting ROW80 update comments). I did a lot of catch-up blog reading today, so for the week thus far I have commented in 29 blogs — a few of them ones I’d never visited before.
  • Read one writing craft book. Finished On Writing by Stephen King. For those of you asking what I thought of On Writing, I didn’t get as much out of it as others have. There were some gems in there, but quite a bit of the book covered King himself and his writing. I’m not a big King fan, though.
  • Read five eight fiction books. 7 down, reading The Scorch Trials (sequel to The Maze Runner) by James Dashner. So far, it’s a page-turner.
  • Exercise three times per week.
  • Read through Writer’s Digest magazine issue. Must get to this!

How is your week going? Did you like The Monkees? What, if anything, do you remember about them?

Monday Musings: Generation TV

I was recently reading comments on an author’s blog (probably Tiffany A. White, but I can’t find the post) and noticed that several people were talking about Saved by the Bell – which I don’t think I’ve ever seen!  That show debuted after my school years.  In fact, I spent a lot of my time when that show was airing watching CNN’s coverage of the Gulf War, not finding out who Screech was. 

Saved by the Bell cast

Besides reminding me that I’m getting older by the nanosecond, the conversation made me think about how TV shows characterize generations.  Growing up in the 70’s, I have never met anyone my age who hasn’t watched The Brady Bunch (1969-1974).  That was THE family sitcom for our time.  My sister was so well-versed on the Bradys that she could usually predict the plot line based on the opening scene.  (“Jan is wearing her yellow dress and coming down the stairs, so this is the one where she fakes a boyfriend named George Glass and rubs lemon on her freckles.”  That kind of thing.)  The show was such a part of our childhoods that I wonder how many of my generation have secretly downloaded It’s a Sunshine Day onto their MP3 players. 


Then, there was Happy Days (1974-1984).  Cool was defined by the leather-clad Arthur Fonzarelli; 1950’s style and music made a comeback; and my friends all thought Joanie and Chachi were the perfect couple.  Of course, Ron Howard was the crux of the show as the naïve but maturing Richie Cunningham.  In addition to its success, this show spawned Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, and Joanie Loves Chachi.  Happy Days was THE show to watch.  (Well, until Fonzie jumped the shark.) 

Welcome Back, Kotter (1975-1979) was perhaps my generation’s Saved by the Bell.  If not for Kotter, I’m pretty sure John Travolta would not have played Danny Zucko a few years later in Grease.  Looking back, the funny thing is how few women were in the show.  Other than Mr. Kotter’s wife and a few supporting actresses who interacted with the main characters, it was a male-focused show.  But Juan Epstein’s mother’s notes were always entertaining, Vinnie Barbarino was nice eye candy even if he was intellectually-challenged, Arnold Horshack was probably our version of Screech – a little nerdy, and Freddie Washington was the really cool one at the end of the day.  And the show made us appreciate that some teachers care about their students quite a lot. 

The last popular sitcom I can recall being a big deal when I was growing up was One Day at a Time (1975-1984), which traces the family of a divorced mother and her teenage daughters – played by Mackenzie Phillips (daughter of Mamas and Papas’ John and Michelle) and Valerie Bertinelli (before Eddie Van Halen and Jenny Craig).  This show dealt with more serious issues – like family break-up, drugs, teenage sexuality – but interjected humor as well.  I think I have at one time or another seen all of the episodes for this show. 

Maybe these shows do characterize my generation well.  It was post-1960’s, but tough subjects were still not talked about a lot on the TV screen.  Slowly, however, shows debuted that dealt with both humorous plots and tough family challenges.  

So what sitcoms define your youth?  What do you recall about them?  Do you think they represent your generation well?  What family sitcoms appeal to you today?