Because I am in dire need of new music, I’ve had the theme song from The Facts of Life going through my brain for lo this entire long day.
Because I’m so kind, I’ll refrain from linking to it so that no one will be tempted to, you know, click on it and actually listen.
However, it got me to thinking. There were several high-quality television programs that provided hours of entertainment away from the console television of my youth. My friends, cousins and I played TV shows alllll the time. Like, we must not have had any original ideas.
The Facts of Life
My friend Marcia’s parents had a bar in their basement. The bar, of course, made perfect pretend bunk beds. Bunk beds like the kind you’d have at boarding school!
She always wanted to be Tootie even though she, uh, didn’t look the part. But, speaking of not looking the part, I always had to be Jo. And yes, motorcycles scare the bejesus out of me. I can’t explain it, either.
My cousin Derek would stand on the desk in our grandparents’ basement and yell, “Da plane! Da plane!” And then, his sister and I would pretend to be Cheryl Ladd, guest starring as a woman in search of her true love. I think we traded off between who got to be Cheryl and who had to be Ricardo Montalban.
The Love Boat
My cousin and I got creative on this one. Every Saturday night, we’d have our Barbies all lined up in front of the TV. When the opening credits flashed shots of the guest stars, we’d race to scream, “That’s me!” for our chosen dolls. Then, we’d proceed to act out the storyline along with the show, complete with costume changes. Sometimes you got lucky and your Barbie was Charo. Other times, your Ken was Jimmie Walker. Love is full of disappointments.
Cagney & Lacey
This ladycop show shepherded in a new, grittier bit of pretend. My cousin and I would play this in the backyard, running around after bad guys and climbing a tree that represented the station house – of course.
Playing Cagney & Lacey always really pissed me off, though, because, as the brunette, I always had to be Lacey. And Cagney always went out on dates and drove a blue Cutlass Supreme (my cousin’s creation, I’m sure), while I had to go home to Harvey and the kids. This was my first lesson in the injustices of the supermom fantasy and, perhaps, my first introduction to feminism.
I also remember playing The Dukes of Hazard, Kate & Allie and, of course, Scarecrow & Mrs. King. Also, one summer I made my very own home version of Wheel of Fortune out of an envelope box.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, I don’t live in my parents’ basement. And I generally interact with the three-dimensional world on a full-time basis. Dy-no-mite!