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How Many Hours of Re-Runs Must I Have Watched as a Child?

Recently, I wrote a post about my kids' bedtime routine, and how I have begun to incorporate stories from my own life into this time with them:

Sharing the "Stories of My Life" With my Kids

A few nights ago, I was telling them about my own grandfather, who passed away when my son was very little.  I told them that Grandpa used to pick me up from school, and feed me dinner while we watched TV together and just sort of hung out. 

We watched "Gilligan's Island", "The Andy Griffith Show", "Leave it to Beaver", "Father Knows Best", and countless other programs that were no longer first-run shows, but well into their syndicated runs by the time I was born.

When I would spend the night at my grandparents' house, I watched "Hee Haw" (not willingly), "The Love Boat", and "Fantasy Island".  I decided to do my best to describe some of these shows to my kids.  I'm not sure that I was successful, as you will see in a minute. 


Here are some of my own recaps of shows that they have NEVER seen:

The Love Boat - This was a show with a LOT of guest stars every week.  It was mainly people trying to revive their careers (then I had to explain that concept).  Basically, it was a giant boat (kinda like Titanic), where people randomly fell in love.  I also sang the theme song to them.  I am not making this up.

Fantasy Island - As I recall, this came on immediately after Love Boat back in the 70's.  The show was about an unusual Spanish millionaire named Mr. Rourke who may or may not have owned his own island.  He had frequent visitors to the island who wanted to have their fantasies fulfilled.  His sidekick/helper was a little person named Tattoo (Tatu?) whose job it was to climb into a bell tower at the beginning of each episode and ring the bell while announcing the plane with visitors - "De plane!  De plane!". 

Mr Rourke's staff of beautiful Hawaiians would greet the guests with flower necklaces called leis, like they wore in "Lilo and Stitch".  He always encouraged them, "Smiles, everyone!  Smiles!"  Mr. Rourke used his special secret powers to grant even the most unusual wishes of his guests (customers?), but it usually came with a lesson involved. 

Gilligan's Island - Basically, all I had to do here was to run through the song in my head ("Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale.....") in order to give the premise.  I explained that despite their best efforts, Gilligan pretty much always managed to mess things up for them so that they had to remain on the island.  My wife and I have a long-standing joke about this, "Hey, remember that one episode of 'Gilligan's Island where Gilligan made a mistake that cost them a trip home?"  This is the equivalent of saying, "Hey, remember that one Eminem song where he uses some swear words?"

At any rate, while I was in the middle of describing this show to them, my son interjected suddenly, "Why didn't they just drown Gilligan since they were on an island?  Or maybe they could have used a giant catapult to throw him to Malaysia!"

I laughed so hard it made me cough.  I often felt the same way watching Gilligan, but I realized that I hadn't made it clear that Gilligan was actually their FRIEND, despite his numerous errors.

So, I also tried unsuccessfully to describe "Happy Days" to the best of my abilities, complete (again) with theme song.  How can you explain the inherent coolness of the Fonz?  Of course, that was before he jumped the shark while wearing a leather jacket.

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