Some Things from Childhood are Best Not Revisited
Last Saturday night, I was home, alone, and rather bored. I’ve watched a lot of TV in the past year, and sometimes, you just run out of good stuff to watch. So I saw something on NetFlix Instant watch from my childhood and decided to see if it still held up.
Yes, I tried to watch the first episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century starring Gil Gerard and Erin Gray. I loved this show as a ten year old. I knew the special effects would be a bit campy, but I wasn’t prepared for the dialog and the costumes. I watched about 25 minutes before I turned it off. That brief exposure was probably enough to spoil the memory of that show for the rest of my life.
When I went to bed, I started thinking about other TV shows I loved as a kid that I had best not ever see again, in order to preserve that childhood memory. Here are the top six that I came up with:
Gilligan’s Island: How many people born in the US or Canada between 1950 and 1980 do not know the words to the theme song? I’m betting it’s a pretty low number. And most of us probably have pretty pleasant memories of that show and all of Gilligan’s antics. But I think the guffaws would now be groans, and it might be more than a bit painful to watch.
The Dukes of Hazzard: Some people watched this show for Catherine Bach’s short-shorts. I was a bit too young for that—I watched it for the General Lee. The car stunts were the dialogue, and that car was the star. But there’s just no way that could work for my 41 year old brain. It’s best left stuffed in the back of my memory.
Battle of the Planets: We rushed home from school every day to watch Battle of the Planets / G-Force. I remember being so upset when it was preempted for the 1980 Summer Olympics. I’ve heard of other people going back and watching this series later in life, and having their memories ruined. So far, I’ve been able to keep my will up. I wouldn’t mind if my kids watched it, but I’ll stay out of the room.
CHiPs: For many years, what I knew about California, I learned by watching CHiPs. To this day, when I hear the word Sepulveda, I think of motorcycles in high speed pursuit. But I don’t think the Harleys and the disco and would stand up to a second look these days.
Happy Days: Sunday, Monday, Happy Days… yes, they were. Even with the canned laugh track and corny naiveté, this was one of those show that just stuck with you through the years. But going back, and seeing it again? Why ruin a good thing?
Battlestar Galactica: I actually sat down with my kids a few weeks ago and tried to watch the first episode of BSG (the original). My son couldn’t watch past the first thirty minutes. I tried to watch the end, but I couldn’t. BSG 2004 was just so much better, and so different, that the original just doesn’t stand up. I regret watching that half an episode. I shouldn’t have tainted the memory.
I’m sure that there are lots of other shows that I watched as a kid that I would never watch again—shows I have no desire to watch again (Different Strokes, Growing Pains, etc.) But the shows above are the ones I have good enough memories of, that I might someday be tempted to watch, and I have to steel myself against the desire, in order to prevent the tragedy which is the ruination of a pleasant childhood memory.
What shows from your childhood that you loved do you worry wouldn’t stand up to the memory?
Actually, Flash Gordon ( http://gregoryblake.net/2012/11/03/what-im-watching-flash-gordon/ ) held up incredibly well, all things given, although when I mentioned at the family Christmas that I’d watched it, all of my older cousins and uncles groaned, a dismayed expression growing on their faces. I think maybe I’m just a bit too young to recall it as “This amazing awesome thing!” rather than “This cheesy goofball, OBVIOUSLY comedy SF.”