As a fan of the old Dick Van Dyke Show, I have the whole DVD set — all 100 and some odd black-and-white episodes from all five seasons. I still watch them occasionally, usually in bed when there is nothing else on TV that I want to watch and I don’t have a book to read. I’ve seen every episode, know every line, but I watch them anyway and even still laugh sporadically, although mostly they are comfort food for my brain, helping ease the stresses of the day as I nod off.
When you watch the early episodes, it is evident the characters haven’t meshed yet, nor have they connected with the audience. Knowing how the show will play out in subsequent seasons makes this more obvious, almost uncomfortable. This is the case with virtually every successful sit-com. It takes awhile to develop the chemistry, hit that stride and achieve that comfort level. The Andy Griffith Show and Seinfeld are two others that come to mind.
I am not an expert on sit-com’s, although I did take comedy writing at Second City and knew Jason Alexander’s parents in real life. But I am an expert on comfort, as it is something I strive for all the time, almost religiously. It’s why I’ve been so haphazard with this blog. I didn’t understand it. It was new. It was uncomfortable. But I wrote a book, which has a website, which has a blog capability, so I felt compelled to use it. And I didn’t want to just run weekly book excerpts, which the publisher scheduled and I took down.
But what should it be? I ruminated for a couple of months about this. And what about Facebook? The website links to my Facebook page. My blog automatically gets posted to my Facebook page. So what else, if anything, would I ever want to post on my Facebook page? I don’t want to get this shit wrong! Heaven forbid!!
Watching Dick Van Dyke — the episode where Sheldon Leonard plays fictitious crime boos Big Max Calvada — it occurred to me: What difference does it make? I mean, do you care? Me either. I was suddenly so comfortable with the realization that it doesn’t matter that I decided to make this my next blog.
It’s not totally arbitrary. My book talks about Dick Van Dyke and other old sit-com’s and Jason’s parents. So there’s a tie-in there. But the political stuff that’s been dominating these pages — what a downer. As I watched an old sit-com that I knew by heart, in black and white, melting away thoughts that might otherwise have kept me awake — this was comfort, my friends. You all have a great week.