Friday, February 19, 2016

Rewind Television

When I look back on my own childhood, it seems like a simpler time. Maybe that’s a perception shaded by the way memory softens things, or a side effect of the internet and 24 hour news, but the world felt a little smaller and safer then, even if it wasn’t. Maybe it’s the innocence of childhood that I miss.

I want to go back to believing that Bill Cosby was a fun-loving television dad and not the scandalous subject of the evening news.

I want Al Bundy to be America’s favorite idiot again.

I want to go where people know that people are all the same, I want to go where everybody knows my name.

Okay, I’ve been watching a lot of Cheers and I’m nostalgic for the '90s.

The other day my husband and I were reminiscing about the role television played in our childhoods; how each day ended with watching sitcoms as a family and the pinnacle of each week was Saturday morning cartoons. The kids complained that there was no such thing now and I pointed out that there’s no need for it. They can watch programs made for their demographic 24 hours a day, whatever shows they want without commercial interruption, often on their own devices. There is no urgency to sit down together at a certain time to catch up on a family-friendly storyline, and when we do, I’m either bored watching kid shows or cringing through questionable content—that’s not quite going over their heads anymore at this age—as I watch the shows that are considered primetime t.v.

Television isn’t revered as a family activity these days but I have fond memories from the unintentional routine of watching familiar shows together after dinner. When I was a kid we were all staring at screens too, it just happened to be mostly the same screen at the same time. Screen time created conversation and connection.

When I heard Full House was getting a sequel called Fuller House on Netflix, my initial thought was, “…seriously?” I just couldn’t imagine why, despite loving the show for years as I grew up. Are we just totally out of ideas? I wondered.

And then I realized maybe we are and felt a sense of relief. Maybe shows like the Muppets and Fuller House are making a comeback because their humor works for kids and adults in a way that feels comfortable, and the nostalgia invites us to remember our own childhood and the things we hold dear.

(Like John Stamos. He’s aged well.)

My kids are going to have plenty of fun memories involving beach days and vacations and significant events; I also want them to enjoy the simple pleasure that comes from less exciting times like watching television together as a family after dinner. But I want to do this in a way that’s appropriate for them and not boring for me and entertaining for all, and that seems to be the hard part.

Fingers crossed that Netflix reboots all of the ’90s classics and that Cheers is next.

Long live Uncle Jesse.  

Monday, February 8, 2016

Ship Wrecked

Last Saturday night I went out to celebrate the not-40th birthday of one of my best friends. (I am lucky enough to have several.) Her husband thought it was her 40th and planned a beautiful dinner at The Bay House, which is the best restaurant in our very restaurant-worthy city, in my opinion.

It was not actually her 40th, so we celebrated her 39th and used this as a dress rehearsal for the real thing.

Her husband is Andy Hunter, executive chef of The Bay House, and this is the only, and I mean the only, place I like seafood or will try anything adventurous. I even eat oysters. Anyone who has dealt with my complicated appetite is amazed to hear that I would even sit at the same table as an oyster.

I ate all of that. I shared it but only because I had to.
I like raw tuna there (called something fancier) and I think that's very grown up of me.

So he's like a magician, really, making things I don't eat into things I love to eat.

We usually go with other friends of hers and then they become my friends. Also, it's on the water and has live entertainment and her husband arranges for us to have Hemingway-inspired drinks because we're book nerds. He took us outside and sabered the top off of a bottle of Veuve Clicquot which was pretty badass -- so the whole place is magical.

We stayed until the restaurant closed down and then went to a bar at the Ritz where some famous chefs who were in town for a famous wine festival were hanging out. By then we were loud and laughing often, and probably not as funny as we thought we were (but maybe...generally, we're pretty funny, we think.)

We were lured out with promises of Waffle House (always an indicator that the night has gone wrong, and that tomorrow will be regrettable) and at some point thought tattoos were a good idea but weren't organized enough to figure that out, thankfully.

We ended up back at their house and played Cards Against Humanity until 4am and laughed so hard that I lost my voice and my abs hurt for two days.

Or that could have been from the throwing up the next day.

Because although I (really) enjoy my occasional glass(es) of wine, I am not a big drinker. I rarely even reach buzzed. We were all a good bit beyond that.

Big Kid was concerned that he could catch whatever terrible illness I had, and felt bad that I was sick again after I had just recovered from an ear infection.

"Uh, yeah, no, don't worry about it. You won't catch it. I just...maybe stayed up too late last night and had all of that food and stuff while celebrating..."

"Ah, you got wrecked. I see."

I didn't realize he had a concept of wrecked. Or even that kids these days call it "wrecked."

"Wrecked?! No! No! I did not get wrecked. I was just up playing a game really late. And maybe had, like, 2 or 3 glasses of champagne." And some cocktails and a beer but there was no need to elaborate. "This isn't fun, see? When you're a grown up, just have, like, one glass of champagne and always get enough sleep."

He smirked at me, but I was too sick to care.

I texted my friend to see if she was alright. She was not, she was certain she was at death's door and would not survive the day.

And yet within 5 minutes we were texting back and forth about the wonders of the size of the ocean, about all of the undiscovered creatures and treasures that could be down there and about how James Cameron is kind of a dick.

Being a grown-up is so much fun when you are doing it with the right people in the right places. I feel like I am pretty good at that part of this whole thing, it's really just the insurance/taxes/bills/chores part that needs improvement.