I've also been told I have little tact, so if this offends you simply ride on.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Cleavers out live their welcome

A few weeks back I was watching the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and had a really good laugh at a piece in which he showed a clip of Bill O'Reilly lamenting the passing of family values as depicted by the Cleavers in Leave it to Beaver.  I suppose Mr O'Reilly doesn't understand this show was a sitcom and that it included a laugh track because producers felt they needed to tell the American public when they should laugh.  People were being told to laugh at a white, upper class family.  Where as the majority of Americans worked in manufacturing (because those jobs were still in the United States), Ward Cleaver worked in "an office."  He carried a briefcase.  June Cleaver always wore a dress, and those pearls.  Real pearls are expensive, maybe that's why she never took them off.  I've seen the show in repeats and while the episodes are humorous, they are not hysterically funny.  In fact, compare the show to those on air today and they seem more then a little lame.  Yet this is a family, both Mr. O'Reilly and quite a number of conservatives, want to set up as the inspiration of Family Values.  To be honest, the show was popular but never made it into the top ten during its five or six year run.

Soon to be forgotten

Let's be honest, this show would never make it on the air today without it undergoing some massive changes.  To begin with, June would have to start wearing slacks, maybe even jeans, and the pearls would have to go. Oh, and she'd need to get a job.  Ward would have to worry about his job being outsourced to Poland, or Hungary, or Lithuania.  The cast would need to include a Latino and a black and probably a gay or lesbian neighbor.  Beaver and Wally would need to deal with some serious issues, nothing as mundane as getting "C" on a report card, perhaps a friend might be arrested for possession of a controlled substance.

The show was popular and still is to a small group today.  One needs to understand, however, the world is never going to return to the simplicity of the late 1950's and early sixties.  It's time has passed.  This is why, when the show went off the air, it was not replaced by some clone.  People and their attitudes changed and because of that sitcoms changed.  To pluck out a show from the past and say "this is how we need to be" is walking down a dead end road.  As time moves on, and the generation which watched Leave it to Beaver die off, this will become more apparent to everyone except those who live for TV Land.

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