***DISCLAIMER***-I am in no way, shape or form insinuating that my parents and the countless others instrumental in my upbringing did not do their jobs. They all played a significant role in who I am today. The following words are just the facts, ma'm.
I'm not exactly sure when my love of all that is television began. As a kid, I remember my summer schedule being the exact same, every day. Wake-up around 7:30, eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, throw baseball cap on, out the door by 8:00-8:15. Run. Jump. Throw. Catch. PLAY. Back home for lunch at 12:00. Where does television fit into a morning the United States Army would be proud of? I give you my first recollection of television being part of a routine.
As I'd nibble on my PB&J on White Wonder bread (to this day the "best tasting, worst for you bread" to make a PB&J on) my Mom would be watching Channel 5 WCVB-Boston News. With Natalie Jacobson and Chet Curtis, Dickie Albert with the weather, and Jim Boyd on Sports. Over time, these four people, though complete strangers to me, became part of the family. Auntie Nat and Uncle Chet would warn me about stranger danger and what could happen if I ran out in the street without looking. Uncle Jim would fill me in on my favorite sports teams and athletes so I knew what collectors cards were worth anything and which ones I could stick in my bike spokes. And Uncle Dickie would let me know if the big game between my pee-wee baseball team and our fiercest rival would get rained-out or not. I trusted them. I believed in them. I kinda loved them.
By 12:30, my additions to the family had gone on with their lives and my Mom had shooed me back outside. Ryan's Hope was on, followed by All My Children. Only on the really, really, hot days or the occasional sick-days did I sneak a peek at the forbidden soaps. Ryan's Hope holds little memory for me in comparison to All My Children. Say what you will about the cheesiness and ridiculous plot lines, All My Children helped form my views on Good vs Evil. For all the Good in Joe and Ruth Martin, you had the Evil of Phoebe Tyler Wallingford and Palmer Cortlandt. For every heroic move made by Brooke English, there was the devilish sneer of Erica Kane. Sometimes Evil prevailed, most times Good was the winner. I learned that you shouldn't lie, cheat or steal to get what or who you want. All My Children gave me a better understanding of The Ten Commandments than 10 years of Sunday School ever did. Who says kids don't learn in the summer?
Television can be a wonderful learning tool if you're tuned into the right programs. Family Ties taught me that Republicans can look like the All-American boy next door. Roseanne showed me how to put the fun in dysfunctional. From Beverly Hills 90210 and The OC, I learned that even the hottest and filthy rich have problems....they're people too. M*A*S*H taught me war is bad. E/R and Grey's Anatomy helped me understand my body and know when it's gas or a heart attack. Laverne & Shirley, Friends, and Bosom Buddies gave me a sense of loyalty to my friends. Everyone needs someone to scheme and pull shenanigans with. Cheers showed me the same, but with beer. Eight is Enough, The Cosby Show and The Brady Bunch gave me large family survival skills, some that I use to this very day. The Facts of Life taught me that the tomboy could be cool and still one of the girls. And I Love Lucy gave me some of the best advice ever....there are times in life when everyone needs a shot at being in the big show.