Tuesday, March 16, 2010
What I've learned from Yesterday's Television Sheroes Can Help Me Write for the New Millennium Kids on the Television Block.
At least that's what I'm hoping for.
My favorite television sheros of yesterday past ... Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz, Mary Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern, That Girl's Ann Marie. Hmm ... are you picking up a theme? They were all making it on their own terms. Average Joans who turned the ordinary into the extraordinary without re-applying their lipstick.
They define the true diva. If you haven't guessed it, I'm a vintage television nut, to put it lightly. I've seen every episode of these women showing what they're made of, definitely sugar and spice but with determination and a lot fight.
Just try to stop them from realizing their dreams. Lucy Ricardo didn't let the fact that she couldn't act, dance or sing stop her from acting, dancing and singing. No, No ... Nanette. If she had to stalk William Holden to get a break, well so be it. Ricky wasn't helping her fast enough. Besides, they didn't have restraining orders back then, I don't think.
And Julia moved to the suburbs where there weren't many people who looked like her. But she was determined to give her son more opportunities than the inner city schools provided. She wasn't letting a few raised eyes send her back in the moving van.
Mary Richards tossed her hat up in the air after stepping into the big boys turf with grace and panache. If she had to play mama to those over-sized children to advance in the television industry, then call her Mama Producer.
(Louise and Florence)
Ann Marie didn't let her sheltered upbringing keep her from striking out on her own in New York City. Even Boyfriend Donald couldn't sway her from her goals. She inspired me to go to NYC on a Trailways bus with my portfolio, a phone number of an aunt and a publishing dream.
Here are some Dos & Don'ts for the new sitcom
Jackies from yesterday's Joans.
1. Don't let office politics get you down. Mary never did ... well, not for long. When Murray or Ted threw her lemons in the newsroom, she'd whip up a lemon chiffon cake and canapes (or asked Phyllis to make them) and invited everyone home for an impromptu cocktail party. Leave the office politics at the door please.
You won't need Martha Stewart's latest entertaining book for guidance, an Archie comic book would do the trick.
2. Never pre-taste the product before acting in your first television commercial, especially if it's a miracle vitamin drink like "Vitameatavegamin." The nastiest it tastes, the better. Lucy should know.
Do jump into every situation with both left feet ... whether it's a show girl, vineyard girl or chocolate factory worker, etc. -- without ever losing your drive. Lucy rocked!
3. And if you're on the accident prone side like "That Girl's" Ann Marie, you can take down a server carrying a tray of pasta without ever getting a drop of sauce on you. Don't worry about being a klutz. Do use it to your advantage.
What fun it would've been writing for them. It will be even more fun writing for today's television sheroes. Hey, we plunk down $5.00 for a coffee with strong beans and foam, just to hang out with the cool kids on iPhones. Oh I'm sure we can find a scenario to make fun of now. Cougar Town is a good example.
Okey-dokey, let's recap. What can new sitcom Jackies learn from yesterday's Joans? Take your weakness, make it funny and make it shine. That's what sitcom characters are made of.
Who is your favorite television shero?
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