‘Newhart’ Finale Anniversary Brings On a Benson Rant About Age
The Curmudgeon Chronicles
Maybe I should title this The Curmudgeon Chronicles. I spent some forty years trying to be, if not on the cutting edge, at least, hip to current trends and topics. Part of it was, and is, my job, but like everyone, I’m discovering side effects of the life shutdown forced on us by the pandemic. Or maybe it’s just shining a light on the passage of time. But, the fact is, maybe I think what I’ve figured out that is, pop culture is no longer aimed at me. At. All.
Everything is different now.
One of the things that comes to mind when watching one of these retro channels (Cosi TV, Antenna TV, ME TV, Decades, and others) on our digital TV’s, is how little fresh, new programming there is for anyone over the age of 50, especially comedies.
May 21st is the anniversary of the greatest series finale ever, the Newhart series set in Vermont. And that was 31 years ago. Newhart was 60 at the time. Co-star Tom Poston was even older. Can you imagine having actors that old on a TV series now, except to play a doddering old man or woman, for comic relief, to be made fun of. (Give the producers of Big Bang Theory credit for treating Newhart as the icon he is, which also lead to his first Emmy victory.)
In the mid-2000's, we had Frasier, featuring intelligent humor. Then we got stuck with Two Broke Girls. Sure, there is stuff for adults now. For example, Netflix has The Kaminsky Method, and it’s very funny, serious at times, and thankfully, realistic, devoid of cartoonish characters.
Movies are even worse. Now I understand that every decision is driven by the dollar, (and, yes, the audience is teenagers) but I was trying to remember any movies in the recent past with adult casts. There was the Meryl Streep/Alec Baldwin boinking movie, some caper movies with the likes of Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren and others, and the Marigold Hotel movies (yes, the British are better at casting veteran actors).
What brought all this up was getting an email from a local movie theatre and looking at what’s playing and not seeing anything particularly interesting. There’s still something magical for me about seeing a movie on a big screen, all the while munching pop corn and enjoying air conditioning. Oh, well. Everything goes in cycles. Maybe it will get better.