So What Are You Watching on TV?

Back in the day, when I was a kid, TV was a big deal.  Seriously—it was.  The family gathered either in the finished basement, or in the family room to watch, what is now considered to be a very small screen, TV.

No wonder we all wear eyeglasses!  And no remote!  How did a family of seven ever sit around this console to watch an evening of TV?

We had our week planned by the shows that would both entertain us and be the topic for animated conversation at school the next day.  TV Guide was literally, a programming bible.   And every Saturday when my parents went food shopping, the Guide was just as important, if not more so, than the bags of groceries that came home to feed our family of seven!

The covers of TV Guide were always great photos..but..

… was what was INSIDE those TV Guide covers that was really interesting!!

We would argue on which show to watch if times were conflicting and usually one of the parents, rather than the children won. 

On school nights I looked forward to Patty Duke and dreamed of what it would be like if I had a twin cousin with a British Accent.

When I was in third and fourth grade, I wanted a British twin cousin so bady.  I had to settle for a sister that was two years younger instead.

On Saturday evenings, I would pretend that my bedroom was a Genie’s bottle—just like Barbara Eden’s in I Dream of Jeannie!

Who cares HOW sexist this show was. Barbara Eden was super-cool and her digs were even better.  I would take that bottled real-estate any day!

And on Sunday’s, that one hour of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color was the best way to end the weekend and look forward to the next one!

I loved the way Walt Disney would have his little speech before the segueway into the hour-long show.  And the color was so bright!

We didn’t need a clock to tell us when bedtime was because while the ending credits of The Ed Sullivan Show were displayed across the TV screen, we were already on our way upstairs to brush our teeth and go to sleep.

Who could ever forget this????

…and look at the marquee–‘Topo Gigio and Alan King!!!!

Family programming meant watching Ed, and The Hollywood Palace, Carol Burnett, Tom Jones and Dean Martin—all had great variety shows.

The infamous Gone With The Wind parody on the Carol Burnett show is, quite possibly, THE funniest skit in the history of TV!

Booyah!  Tom Jones with Janis Joplin–what a duo of voices.  I’m still crushin’ on Mr. Jones!

And I must admit. I wanted to be one of Dean Martin’s Golddiggers.  Hmmmm perhaps this is what started my love for wigs!

And back in 1967 or was it 1968, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In caused a comical stir and had everyone repeating catch-phrases such as “You Bet Your Bippie” in everyday life.

…one ringy dingy!  Lily Tomlin ROCKED Laugh-In!

Do you remember the party scenes on Laugh In?

In my opinion, this was one of the greatest TV shows of all time.  I need to Google to see where I can get a set of the series!

As I entered my teen years, activities and a social life—along with more homework and studying, cut down on the TV time.  But—the TV was my babysitting buddy as I watched Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, Saturday Night Live and, if it was a really late babysitting night, SCTV!

I felt as though I KNEW MTM and the rest of the cast because I spend many Saturday evenings with these guys!

My son Roman may work for SNL these days, but my heart belongs to this cast!!!

But truth be told,  I preferred SCTV to SNL–I laughed more at the cast.  This show was epic!!

And in the late 1970’s through 1980’s I don’t think I ever missed an episode of Cheers.  Or Taxi.  And when Seinfeld made his debut, Thursday nights were spent glued to the antics of the New York circle of friends—and if I was busy, I could record the episodes on the VCR!

CHEERS, (l-r): George Wendt, Nicholas Colasanto, Ted Danson, Shelley Long, Rhea Perlman, 1982-93, photo: Robert Phillips / Everett Collection

I was lucky to find this photo of the original cast of Cheers–where have all the adult network shows gone?  Ohhhh to Netflix–that’s where!  

Taxi’s Jim Ignatowski remains my favorite TV character of all time.  After giving birth to my son Jake, who, at ten pounds, made me sore–I watched an episode of Taxi in the hospital and laughed so hard that the nurses had to give me Tylenol because I was in such pain from laughing so hard!

elaine benes dancing GIF

And this—remains one of the funniest Seinfeld scenes of all time!

Then a strange thing happened along the way—Cable TV was created.

I remember where I was when I saw MTV for the first time.  I was at a friend’s home and we were astounded at the concept—I mean…who would sit in front of the tube watching music videos (Answer-Me!!!)

Was a time when the video premieres were a very big deal!

music video 80s GIF

My favorite music video of all time–Men Without Hats.  The Safety Dance.  This guy was meant to wear a man bun!

And then came The Food Network—which, back then may have been a simpler and more basic channel but it was far superior than it is today.  TFN today is nothing but reruns of food shows, I love The Barefoot Contessa but I’ve seen every episode around thirty-five times; lame food competitions and the annoying Guy Fieri.

The Food Network was worth viewing when Two Hot Tomales were on!  Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger proved that women could be serious chefs.  Now we’re stuck with Guy Fieri..

..and his backward’s sunglasses.   He’s become a parody of himself.

Don’t even get me started on Network TV these days.  Maude would be deemed politically incorrect and offensive.  Archie Bunker would be arrested and Sanford and Son would be called exploitation.

Norman Lear’s Maude covered topics such as menopause and abortion in only a way that Bea Arthur could add humor..but in today’s “overly sensitive” and “offended-at-anything-and-everything” world, Maude would be banned!  I can’t stand network TV!

Archie Bunker–fuggetaboutit!  He’d be banned too!  We’ve lost the ability to laugh at people we know who were like Archie!

Today’s overly-politically correct, self-righteous and non-offensive network programming is boring and bland and the comedies aren’t even funny.

I know that I’m in the minority but this show but Modern Family is so friggin’ ridiculous and contrived.  And I can’t stand when TV shows have overly-precocious kids.  Ugh!  

And this one about the harried and stressed housewife.  I can’t even…

I want The Jeffersons back–it’s better family programming!

I’m sick of police shows and hospital drama.  Cable networks leave much to be desired because I can’t stand the freaking commercials.  The advertising is mostly for pharmaceuticals, specialized hospital centers for life-threatening diseases—and only those with stellar healthcare can afford that, and various non-profit entities begging for donations.

I am a hypochondriac.  I refuse to watch medical shows.

And I refuse to watch these hour-long commercials for prescription drugs that announce all the BAD things the drugs can do for you…yeah. Lyrica isn’t for everyone and neither are these sickening and lengthy ads!

I can’t watch CNN and MSNBC because I get too upset with that orange thing that they refuse to stop focusing on simply because of ratings.

So, what’s left? Netflix and Amazon Prime!

We’re bingeing on the cold, frosty evenings watching our favorite series.  Among them that I highly recommend:

Grace and Frankie—Fonda and Tomlin. On Netflix. Is there anything else to say?  Now in Season Five, I can’t wait till this weekend to binge! If you aren’t familiar with the premise, Grace and Frankie, complete opposites and frenemies, found themselves the unlikely roommates after their husbands divorced the women only to marry each other!

The show is hilarious and, at long last, finally a well-written, witty and spirited series focusing on the older woman!!

Grace And Frankie

My girls–Lily and Jane!  Best comedy due since Martin and Lewis!  I love these two!!

Dix Pour Cent—In English “Call My Agent” Another great Netflix series.  This is a French comedy/drama set in a talent agency in Paris.  You don’t need to speak French to love this series—read the subtitles!  The ensemble cast is perfect and every character is so well-defined that by the end of the second episode of Season One, you feel as though you really know the characters’ personalities and their nuances.

If you are familiar with French film, you’ll recognize many of the guest stars playing themselves.  Who knew Isabelle Huppert had such a great sense of humor!

Season Three just ended and we are eagerly awaiting Season Four!  This is my favorite show!!

Hands down!  THE best French import since my husband!  This show better be renewed for at least ten more seasons!

Remember this name–or in English, ” Call My Agent”.  A MUST SEE!!!!  I DEMAND IT!!!

The Kominsky Method—Netflix is really hitting it outta the park with intelligent and mature programming.  Michael Douglas plays a rather curmudgeonly acting coach and Alan Arkin his best friend.  It’s a comedy and it’s not a comedy.  It faces some serious subject matter such as death but the show is just so well-written and the dialogue is so true-to-life.   This show made me a fan of Douglas and Alan Arkin is always a good idea! Not as funny as Grace and Frankie but the subject of aging is addressed in a very entertaining way.


A new and improved version of grumpy old men–and intelligently funny!!!  These guys are great!

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel—If you watched House of Cards (and after Kevin Spacey left, the show stunk), then you are familiar with Rachel Brosnahan as the ill-fated Rachel Posner.

As Midge Maisel, Brosnahan plays a rather—privileged Jewish, New Yorker who literally falls into stand-up comedy.  She goes through divorce.  She gets a job.  There’s a lot going on and it’s done so well. This series has everything.  Set in the late 1950’s, the clothing is freaking phenomenal.  It’s like a visual fashion history lesson.  The cast is crazy great.  Remember Tony Shaloub from Wings?  He plays Midge Maisel’s dad and he’s fantastic!  Mad TV’s Alex Borstein—she of incredible talent, plays Midge’s manager, Susie Myerson.  Season Two is what we are currently watching and we’re taking it slow because we don’t want it to end!

This show has everything–including great clothes!

So—what are you watching?  Share your faves so we can all discover new TV shows!!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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32 Responses to So What Are You Watching on TV?

  1. Rosalie “RJ” says:

    YOU are my twin!!! Every show is on my same list… I’m laughing because there is Yet another thing we have in common!!!
    Love all of it…
    My favorite Mrs. Maisel!!!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi RJ! LOL. Twins from different mothers!!!! Mrs. Maisel rocks!!!! The only thing about the show I can’t stand is that little swarmy sort-of-ex husband of hers. He’s so weak!!! XXOXOXOXO

  2. Jane Billman says:

    I do not watch much network tv but The Kids are Alright hit my 1970s catholic funny bone … it is kind of spot on for so many things ….. and the little reboot of Murphy Brown was fun …

    • Catherine says:

      Jane–I’ve never heard of that show but now I’m intrigued. An Irish-Catholic family–could this possibly be as good as the great “Grounded for Life” TV show??? I keep meaning to catch Murphy Brown’s reboot but havent gotten around to it!!!! I’m going to check out The Kids are Alright!!!!! XOXOXOXO

    • Julie says:

      Having grown up in the ’70s, I find The Kids are Alright to be extremely funny!

  3. Finished current Mrs. Maisel, Frankie & Grace and the Kominsky Method. My newest to finish is Schitt’s Creek. I love Eugene Levy and have seen every Christopher Guest movie he has been in. SC is Canadian and I love their dry sense of humor. Catherine O’Hara’s character has an incredible collection of wigs that I thoroughly enjoy.

    I also just finished “Agatha and the Truth of Murder” which is about Agatha Christie. I’m big Outlander fan and that series just finished up (need to cancel Starz now).

    Outside PBS, we don’t watch network television. Sometimes, I wonder if cable is worth it but we do like our MSNBC news, especially that what I have been watching.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Terri! Ohhhhh I forgot to add Schitts Creek! My kids sometimes call me Moira!!! Thanks for the heads up on Agatha and the truth because I’m a fan of hers!
      Rachel. I love her but sometimes I scream at her for being too optomistic!!!! XOXOXOXO

  4. I watch the British TV shows on the Public Television station – Poldark and reruns of Downton Abbey, plus Doc Marten which is funny and quirky even if I have already seen them. I don’t even know why I pay for cable as other than the news I don’t watch much tv. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I did like some of the 80’s shows like Remmington Steele (early Pierce Brosnan) and St. Elsewhere (way better than ER).

    • Catherine says:

      I love Absolutely Fabulous and..ohhhhh what’s that show with Hyacinth? Oh…Keeping up Appearances. I think that show is hysterical!!!! I forgot about Remington Steele and forget St. Elsewhere because of my hypochondria!!!!! XOXOXOXOX

  5. Great article as always. Your blog/articles always brighten my day. Keep it up! Plan to check out your recent suggestions.

  6. Renee in Northern California says:

    Just finished watching and really enjoyed the four part cooking series on Netflix “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat”. Have you watched the “Frye” documentary also on Netflix? Irritatingly, interesting. OMG, thinking of Danny Devito’s character in the Kominsky Method has me laughing out loud,,,so good! I like the Australian series Rack and Off Spring. Like you, I’m taking it slow in watching The Marvelous Mrs Maisel…I love looking at all the clothing and furnishings. Reminds me of my Mother and Grandmother!

    • Catherine says:

      Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh. I’ll have to check out Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. I love Netflix Documentaries so I’ll check out Frye! Tee Hee Kominsky Method is such a funny show! Oh the clothes on Mrs. Maisel have me wishing those styles would come back in vogue!!! XOXOXOXOXO

  7. Penny says:

    OMG our tastes are so similar! I have just watched the last episode of Season 2 of Mrs Maisel. I totally adore it. I find it funny and witty plus the colours are divine, and the clothes are to die for. Currently we have just discovered The Sopranos (yes we resisted it for years) and find it so very very good. Watching Season Two at the moment. Can’t say I like British costume dramas (says a Brit) and have never watched Poldark! Give me The Wire or Breaking Bad any day!

    • Catherine says:

      Hey Penny! Isn’t Mrs Maisel the best? WOW! You are just getting The Sopranos. Trust me–but The Soprano family is very true-to-life North New Jersey/Long Island East Coast Mob! You’ll love the entire series!!!!!! XOXOXOXOXO

  8. Catherine – you have brought back a lot of memories of tv as a child. My favourite was the talking horse (Mr Ed) and ‘ I love Lucy’. Any variety show was a must in our house. I am struggling to get into ‘ The marvelous Mrs Maisel’. These days I love and period drama we get.

    Happy tv viewing – Love – Jill stylishatsixty x

  9. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I agree with EVERYTHING you said. Mrs. Maisel is on my “to watch” list when I get home in March.

  10. This is such a fun post of the history of television, Catherine. We used to watch The Waltons on Sunday nights. It was the only show the whole family agreed on (7 of us). Carol Burnett and MTM! Today, I’m very frustrated with the commercials on tv. They need to up their commercial game. Seriously, make them more fun and entertaining. The pharmaceutical ads are the WORST.

    I do watch some CBC comedies as they’ve really improved thier sit coms. Schitt’s Creek, Cavendish, Kim’s Convenience. CBC is a Canadian station though, so you may not have heard of those shows.
    TV is really overdoing it with the medical dramas. I haven’t gotten into one of those since the 80’s ER. I do like “Mom”. I hate the competition shows.The ‘judges’ and their B.S. are a real turn off.

    Netflix is great option when I’m sick of the tv commercials. Grace and Frankie is great. The supporting cast also makes it worthwhile. I will check out Michael Douglas’s show now that you’ve recommended it.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Lisa. And “Goodnight John-Boy”. I remember The Waltons very well. With seven in our family as well, it was sometimes chaotic when it came to which show to watch. Yeah. I’m sick of ads and network TV in general. I went on “On Demand” to try to watch “The Kids Are Alright” due to the great reviews and THEY WANTED ME TO PAY. ARE. YOU. EFFING. KIDDING????? With the cost of what we pay for Verizon Fios, there is NO WAY I’m paying to watch anything else on TV. I was irate at that one! Definitely check out Michael Douglas’ show–its really really good!!! XOXOXOXO

  11. emjayandthem says:

    I loved most all of the shows you mentioned (some I didn’t have growing up in Canada).

    I still watch the Golden Girls and the news — but I don’t watch much TV nowadays.
    “Say yes to the dress” sometimes .. mostly I read. 🙂 I’m on my 5th book YTD!

    ~Cheers! MJ

    • Catherine says:

      Hey MJ. Surprisingly….I was never a fan of The Golden Girls–I found it offensive to women of my age demographic–and the clothes weren’t my style–LOL!!! I have four books to read and you’ve just inspired me!!!! XOXOXOXOXO

  12. Maryellen Reardon says:

    I didn’t think I would enjoy it but I really liked Shtsiel on Netflix. Plus, so many of the British or Scottish shows are good. Shetland is good, so is Hinterland. And last Tango in Halifax is fantastic. Love all the recommendations everyone offered. What else is there to do on winter nights but netflix binge!

  13. Rebecca R Porterfield says:

    Schitt’s Creek and the Detectorists (Netflix). Found Mrs. Maisel boring during season 1 (other than the costuming). Will give it another shot. Also Broadchurch.

  14. Cathe says:

    Yup, you nailed it. Wow. Think we’re soul sisters! Sorry for the late reply, been on vacation.

  15. simplywendi says:

    Oh my goodness, I cannot believe there is someone else out there who thinks Safety Dance is the best music video ever…………I almost yelled when I read that. Here I felt all alone in the world over this 🙂 Also, I can’t watch ANY medical shows, I already have enough medical issues, I sure as heck don’t need my brain to create more. So enjoyed this post! 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      Wendi! YES. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! OMG. The Safety Dance is epic greatness from the guy who sings it and prances around with the little person to the song itself. I told Oona that the DJ had better play that song at her wedding. She gave me a confused look! And see, I’m glad that I’m not the only one who cannot watch medical shows!!! XOXOXOXOXO

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