DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

MIKE HUGHES

GARY EDGERTON

ROGER CATLIN

KIM AKASS

GERALD JORDAN

MONIQUE NAZARETH

TOM BRINKMOELLER

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
 
 
 
The Stuff That TV Dreams Are Made Of
January 26, 2014  | By Linda Donovan  | 10 comments
 

As the new Assistant Editor for TV Worth Watching, I’m a recent addition to the website for those of you who pay close attention to the names listed here. But I’ve been around for a long time as a friend and a fan of both TVWW and TV.

Actually, fan doesn't really cover it. I'm a fiend. A devotee. Ok. Let’s be real. My name is Linda, and I’m a TV addict.

My jones began for me as a child. My father was my dealer and he gave me the drug every night. Dad died last year but I will always treasure the time we spent in front of the old giant TV – a magnificent console from the days when televisions were pieces of furniture to match the couch and the coffee table.

It was on Saturday nights when I’d hear him call my nickname, "Stuff." “Hey, Stuff! Come on! Our shows are about to start!” And that meant All in the Family, Mary Tyler Moore, The Bob Newhart Show and, especially, The Carol Burnett Show were on.

I couldn’t wait to sit down with Dad and laugh my heart out at the antics of Archie & Edith; Mary & the WJM gang; Bob & Emily; and most of all, Mr. Tudball & Mrs. Wiggins (Tim Conway and Burnett, top.)  And to this day, they continue to make me smile or, more often, howl and snort.

Dad was the one who always made me laugh, and gave me my love of all things funny and cornball. There were many times when he would drive me back to college and we’d talk about the latest episode of just about every sitcom on TV that season. It’s where I get my uncanny and/or annoying ability (depends on who you ask) to recount scenes – verbatim -- from sitcoms, stand-up routines, etc.

When Dad was sick last year and seemed to be having some trouble moving on to the next leg of his journey, I whispered in his ear: “Pop, it’s OK. Go on up and save me a seat. We’ll watch some All in the Family, Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart and Carol Burnett just like we used to. And this time we can have all the food we used to eat that you haven’t been able to have for awhile!” He passed not long after.

I like to think that he’s sitting up there in the TV room in the sky, having some pepperoni pizza and watching all the funny shows he’d ever want to see. And I’m doing what I can to make sure all the wonderful folks who come and visit TVWW enjoy the best TV has to offer. And that means not just comedy but the wonderful dramas, thrillers, documentaries…and on and on. That's what TVWW has meant to me, and now, what I hope to help pass along here – so much quality TV to see and where to find it.

If I could talk to Dad now, I’d tell him about Brooklyn Nine-Nine, that Michael J. Fox is back on TV and Bill Cosby is returning, too. Sitcoms aren’t exactly a sure bet these days, but I'd tell him about my current guilty pleasures – Mom, Trophy Wife, Suburgatory.

And, yes, I can also throw Sean Saves the World in there, too.

Television entertains and informs us. It educates us and brings us together during times of grief. It can make us laugh – really hard – in order to forget the troubles of our day. And when we watch together, as Dad and I did, or when we're part of a national audience, it's a shared experience that binds us together in its own, uncanny, lifelong way.

It might only be television, but it's an amazing, wonderful thing.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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10 Comments
 
 
Sarah
My name is Sarah and I have been I TV addict since 1986.It was at a time when I was a kid, in the hospital and wasn't allowed to go to the play room at least there was cable TV :) I now watch more TV then I like to admit. You remember the shows you watched with your dad I think of the ones my dad and I have missed, like he worked late on Thursday nights and never got a chance to watch The Cosby Show and now there are only a couple of shows I can get him to watch. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who bonds with family and friends over a good show.
Jan 28, 2014   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
Thanks for writing in, Sarah, and sharing with all of us. I have a feeling more people bond with family and friends over TV shows than we can imagine. That's one of the many things that make TV so amazing.
Jan 29, 2014
 
 
 
Scott
This is a very moving and heartfelt piece. As a recently empty-nested dad, I am frequently reminded of the simple pleasures of watching The Amazing Race and Seinfeld reruns with my girls. I hope that they will remember those days with the same fondness you have for Saturday night TV with your dad. Thanks for sharing this with TWW land.
Jan 28, 2014   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
Thank you, Scott. I'm so glad you enjoyed hearing about Dad and me. Your girls will have similar lovely memories. Trust me.
Jan 29, 2014
 
 
 
Michelle
It's great reading about someone who enjoys great sitcoms so much. If laughter is the best medicine, your memories of talking TV with your father will leave you immortal :D
Jan 26, 2014   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
Thank you, Michelle. Just what I need...incentive to watch more sitcoms!
Jan 27, 2014
 
 
 
Mario
You've got spunk Linda. I hate spunk... but I like you.
Jan 26, 2014   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
Oh Mr. Grant...!
Jan 26, 2014
 
 
 
sam
Linda,
Photo of Carol and crew made me think the shows are back in re-runs….why are they not!!!!! ….Nothing made me laugh like Carol. Last year 2 daughters and I traveled to see her one woman show. Still our fav…..
Jan 26, 2014   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
Oh, Sam...wouldn't that be wonderful?!! I'm glad seeing Mr. Tudball and Mrs. Wiggins made you at least smile. Sorry if we got your hopes up!
Jan 26, 2014
 
 
 
Patti
Linda- I loved listening to your walk down memory lane with your father and the world of television. My father worked for RCA and we were the 1st family on the block to have a Tv with color! It was like being famous- thanks for bringing back that memory. This was a real testament to you,your dad and the wonderful time of watching tv as a family.
Jan 26, 2014   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
So glad you enjoyed it, Patti. Thank you for all your kind words. Wow...your family certainly must have been seen as quite special and so lucky! I'm glad you were able to relive that time today.
Jan 26, 2014
 
 
 
Hannahsolo
Great article Ms. Donovan! It certainly evoked my own memories of watching TV with my dad when I was little. I can't figure out how I sat through "Combat" with him, but that's a whole other story. More importantly, I dread to think what our family environment would have been like SANS the TV lineup of comedic programming! LOL. Thank you for sharing your touching TV moments with dad.
Jan 26, 2014   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
Thank you, Hannahsolo! You probably sat through "Combat" because it was the only TV in the house and/or you just wanted to sit with your dad! I'm sure that TV provided relief and escape for many family members. In fact, it probably still does. And that's one of the joyous things about television.
Jan 26, 2014
 
 
 
Marlark
Welcome to TVWW. What a wonderful, touching piece. I look forward to many more, as a shared love of TV does meant shared set of cherished memories. For me, it was nearly the same mid-70s Saturday line up, with an episode of "Emegency!" thrown in to start the night of babysitting my little brother.
Jan 26, 2014   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
Thank you, Marlark. I'm so glad the story about Dad and me brought back lovely memories for you, too. You gave me a big smile by mentioning "Emergency!" and your little brother. More shared moments with family...even if you had no real choice in the matter at the time!
Jan 26, 2014
 
 
 
Eileen
Welcome! I can still laugh until I cry whenever I see an old clip of Carol Burnett and Tim Conway. Saturday night at my house was pretty much the same. My dad, a serious mechanical engineer by day, loved all things comedy by night. We were raised on Steve Allen, Ernie Kovacs, Your Show of Shows, Jackie Gleason and, of course, Carol Burnett. We both grew up in a time of "family viewing" when it really was family viewing. Sadly, those days are gone. But as long as they live on in our memories, they will always be here. What was it Simon & Garfunkul sang? Preserve your memories - that's all that's left you? Lovely story.
Jan 26, 2014   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
Thank you for the welcome, Eileen, and for your kind words. Sounds like your dad and mine would have been good friends. They are wonderful memories, aren't they?
Jan 26, 2014
 
 
 
Talbert
Really nice story, and told in an admirable writing style. Hope you write more often.
Jan 26, 2014   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
Thank you so much, Talbert. Or, to quote James Cagney as George M. Cohan, "My mother thanks you, my father thanks you..."
Jan 26, 2014
 
 
 
 
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