Thursday, November 16, 2006

something for those dark winter nights



I never was much of a TV addict, except when...

...a Minneapolis station ran M*A*S*H reruns after the ten o'clock news for years when I was a teenager. My mom liked the show, and I got hooked.

...then in my sophomore year of college, they switched to Cheers in the same time slot. I was devastated at first, not having ever watched the show. But I got hooked, my roomies and I made popcorn and took a study break every night at 10:30, and I kept the habit all through my twenties.

...I went on a business trip to Washington state with The Hermit in 1993(?) We went from Seattle to the middle of the state, and my uncle who was living in Walla Walla met us for a day of sightseeing. One of the stops was the town of Roslyn, where they were filming this very popular show called Northern Exposure. I had never watched it, but I thought the town was pretty cool. We had our picture taken in front of the Roslyn's Cafe mural, the one the moose walks in front of.

After we returned from the trip, we decided to see what this show was all about. It was good, but we got into it a bit too late. There were only a couple of seasons left before the show's demise after Rob Morrow left, and I had orchestra practice Monday nights when it was on (yes, I played flute in a community orchestra, and I was glad to have the opportunity) so I never got to see the whole thing.

The word "orchestra" sounds kind of like a bad sneeze, doesn't it! ;)

Then, a few years and two kids later we found ourselves living in a new state, with two young kids. We found out that a cable channel was showing Northern Exposure at 7 am each morning, and that quickly became a sacred ritual. I was at home with Calvin, age 2, and newborn Starflower at the time; I would have my morning coffee while nursing her and watching Northern Exposure, and Calvin would patiently wait until he could watch his Nick Jr. cartoons.

I practically memorized every episode. And I still think it is one of the best-written, most thoughtful shows ever produced on TV. I love the quirky characters, the surreal plots, and the natural beauty that is integrated into the filming. I love the sense of community shown by this fictitious town. And they had some good music. I still cry when I hear Iris DeMent sing "Our Town", which was played at the end scene of the final episode.

Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town,
Can't you see, the sun's setting down on our town,
on our town, goodnight.

So this is what I will be doing for the next few months on these long winter nights.

9 comments:

pablo said...

Well, I've never seen the show. There are many programs people rave about that I've never seen, and there would probably be even more if the kids hadn't come along and began their own TV rituals.

Still, the British version of The Office has to be the best thing ever on television.

Anonymous said...

M*A*S*H. My favourite from the t.v. days.

You're right - orchestra does sound like a sneeze. ORCHestra!!

robin andrea said...

Roger and I watched Northern Exposure when it was first broadcast. Quite a wonderful bunch of characters and great story-telling. We just joined NetFlix, and have started to watch Six Feet Under, a show that was on HBO for five seasons. It's what we're going to be watching on those long winter nights.

Floridacracker said...

I've never seen Northern Exposure, but I remember my folks liked it when it was current.

When the kids were little we mostly stayed away from network tv and hence I never saw an episode of Seinfeld when it was current, but I like the reruns now.

Pablo's pick is a funny show too. I really liked a BBC series called Hamish Macbeth. It was set in Scotland with quirky characters and offbeat plots. Neat show. I bet Netflix has it too.

Deb said...

pablo- if I didn't assert myself once in a while, the kids would control the TV 24/7, mostly with video games.

madcap- M*A*S*H was so good! I even had a crush on Alan Alda for a while...I would get hooked again, if it were on network TV (we don't get satellite or cable)

robin andrea-We do Netflix too, but have to balance "adult" shows with "kid" shows. I'll have to check out Six Feet Under though.

FC- We do stay mostly away from network TV, thanks to having an old fashioned antenna connection. The only shows we regularly watch are Red Green and Monty Python on our local PBS affiliate. I'll have to check out yours and Pablo's recommendations, since we do get Netflix.

gtr said...

Mmm, I loved Northern Exposure! Hard to believe it was "mainstream" TV once upon a time: seems way too cultured, somehow.

I remember reading in one of the "teen" magazines in about '91 that the PERFECT man would be a combination of Ed and Chris. I agree!

I've never owned my own TV (have lived with some who had them, but no longer) but I would walk to friend's houses to watch that show! Hmmm, maybe Netflix can hook us up later! (still no TV, but we can do DVD's on the laptop!)
Fun memories....

Kristi aka Fiber Fool said...

I just got the first and second season set at the beginning of this month. I'm trying to pace myself though and have only gotten through the 8 episodes of season 1 so far... The remaining ones are on my wishlist though!

Deb said...

gtr- How did I post about Northern Exposure without mentioning...sigh...Chris? ;) Although, you're right, a combination of him and Ed would be...oh well, don't want to go there. ;) I heard somewhere that the actor that played Ed is blonde in real life, he just dyed his hair for the part. It worked.

kristi- Welcome! And we have the first two seasons too, it's fun to see how the characters developed. Somehow we skipped the third season, although we had it from Netflix for a while. Gotta have it some day. :)

robin andrea said...

Deb-- Six Feet Under is definitely "adult" situations. It's quite interesting and well written, but not for kids at all.