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Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Sitcom


I experience sitcom reruns,
like chewing gum
that’s been chomped on 
so long 
that the original 
juicy flavor is gone.

I've memorized the jokes
the set-ups,
the pauses, 
the punch lines,
the musicality of 
the canned laughter.

They take me back 
to my childhood,
to the days before 
I had responsibility.

I wasn't a street kid,
but more a shut-in
who mostly listened, 
and the sounds 
imprinted themselves
on my soul.

They were comforting then
and they still are
comforting now. 

When I hear the voices of 
Fred Sanford, 
Archie Bunker, 
Rhoda Morgenstern,
Ralph Kramden,

I am
immediately 
transported back 
to my 
parents' house,
where it was
warm and safe and 
simmering pans birthed
comforting smells
and my parents 
were somewhere in that house
doing all the worrying 
for me.

I still love my sitcoms
but wonder whether
I learned the wrong lessons:

that I should try and be 
funny all the time 
every few seconds,

that I should look
for quick problem solving
as most can be resolved 
in 23 minutes, 

or in the rarest of cases,
over a two-parter.

But I know
if a dire situation arises 
and I must become 
serious,

I don't panic:

I just become Hawkeye
in the later seasons of M*A*S*H,
and suddenly
I become sensitive,
with appropriate sincerity,
intelligence
and remarkable wit,

generally, a simulacrum 
of an adult, 

and everyone believes me.

[Posted for @OpenLinkNight for www.dversepoets.com - the best site for poetry in the world.]


37 comments:

  1. smiles..isn't it funny how some things transport us back to childhood and give us a sense of security.. have those as well...no sitcoms though...we have them only here since a few years...an import from the states and i never really get used to them...smiles

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    1. Thanks - it's hard to describe other than trying to bring my childhood back to me.

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  2. Those old sitcoms WERE good. Still are. Really made people laugh aloud rather than just give a weak smile. The 'good old days' WERE pretty darned good!

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    1. That's because you had a generation of television writers that weren't raised on television!

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  3. ha i like the older ones better than the newer ones honestly...they were simpler surely as were the times...and bill cosby man he knew how to it...lol...the fonz was cool...we had 3 channels and the third only came in occassionally but there was plenty...and we could all watch together...not sure they taught us much but they did bring us together...

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    1. My goodness, I didn't list "Happy Days" "Laverne and Shirley" "Bob Newhart" "Taxi" "Barney Miller" et al. Now I have the MeTV to take me back. Thanks for commenting.

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  4. Once again you write a poem that resonates with me, LOL. In my case I watched old sitcoms as though they were new. But seeing them again brings back a sense of security and escape. Well written.

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    1. Yes, we could hang out and watch sitcoms and eat snacks - a perfect day!

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  5. Nice throw back to some old sitcoms of your childhood. I wish we could solve everything in 23 minutes as well.

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  6. So many layers here--I really enjoyed this lo0k back and I loved how you hooked it up to the now of things--great write

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    1. Thanks! Yes, I live in my old sitcoms.

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  7. Immediate reaction...Edith at the piano singing Those were the days....Meathead and Gloria were staples in my house before supper, and it was Mash after...There's no denying the comfort and sense of safety that come with those memories...and of course, being older and reflecting, the damage that was done. Wonderful journey, wonderful memories, wonderful poetry... 2.0 :)

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    1. thanks, Natasha. Yes, CBS TV in the 1970s had a golden era of tv comedy. Thanks!

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  8. Funny how shows like that can take you back. I watched sappy shows like Little House on the Prairie and Eight is Enough. I think living life laughing is the way to go.

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    1. Funny - my 15 year old was watching "Little House" today when I got home...

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  9. Oh, I used to love Rhoda, she and her gal pal were hilarious!
    MASH was fabulous too. Yes, they did seem to solve all their problems in 23 minutes, or as you wisely state in a 2 parter...lol
    The good old days, problems were always so easy to solve... then.
    I think most of us (if we're honest) go through life winging it Mosk.
    Enjoyed this dose of honesty ;)

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    1. Thanks - yes thankfully I haven't crashed too often from winging it.

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  10. "and the sounds imprinted themselves on my soul"
    This took me back to watching weekly series in the 80's with my sister, and the canned laughter that mingled with the afternoon breeze and we sprawled barefooted over the edge of the sofa...

    thanks for taking me home.

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    1. Some of the best times of my life were watching these reruns with my brother back in the 80s also. Thanks.

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  11. When I was young, I identified with Rhoda Morganstern. But I recently watched the first season or two on dvd and I don't care about Rhoda anymore. Now I identify with Mary.

    I enjoyed your poem, dear Mosk. You seem to be exploring all sorts of little side roads lately. It's neat.

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    1. I still like Rhoda, but for different reasons, as noted in the poem at:
      http://ihatepoetry.livejournal.com/47028.html

      Thanks!

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  12. loved reading this...!
    i am like that with old hindi movies...always always it takes me back to my parents home...sunday evenings....the black and white tv set....and settling with dinner to watch the movie....

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    1. Some of my favorite memories were in front of the tv with loved ones. Thank you.

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  13. Yes, all gave a sense of warmth, security..diving under the duvet, cosying up. Mary,Rhoda, Edith, Archie ...still think of them and home, family. What a great poem, Mosk..thanks much for sharing this!

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    1. Thank you - yes, that sounds like a fun and cozy day!

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  14. This resounds with my life--you have captured my husband to a "T"!! He can quote the classic sitcoms word for word, lighten any moment with a joke, and still be serious and sensitive when need be. Guess all that television did no harm! (except that I still don't "get" how he can watch the shows over and over again to this day!!) Lovely capture, thanks for sharing!

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    1. Your husband sounds like my kind of guy! Thanks so much.

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  15. 1) Yes, Hawkeye. You ARE Hawkeye.
    2) Pinky Tuscadero, me

    Awesome as always. Love how you take something ordinary that we all share and create a memory around it for us all.

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    1. Thanks, Pinky!

      To this day, in my office when I am stressed and have a variety of mundane chores to accomplish, I'll put on a DVD and just let the background noise help me focus. (Today's DVD is "Green Acres, Season 3," and, for the record, I am a Dean at one of Southern California's largest public colleges, and I am watching the episode where Arnold the Pig lands a movie contract.)

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    2. I remember that one, ha ha ha ha. We only had CBS growing up because our antenna only got one channel...

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  16. I do believe that most adults simply become (that is, act the part of) some figure or character they wanted to be as a kid.

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    1. In that case, for me, all roads lead back to Groucho Marx.

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  17. This is just marvelous writing! I really relate to this one. It made me smile.

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    1. Thanks, that's a big compliment coming from one of my favorite writers.

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  18. a simulacrum of an adult-- ha! i feel like that most days. :)

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  19. Yes, the later Hawkeye years were so interesting, especially the documentaries and the lady on the bus with the chicken, ouch... But Alda eschewed the prankster for a more elevated, concerned character, and I loved that. We watch re-re-re-re-reruns every night here on MyTV, Lex loves the show so much.

    Me... I think I'd be Rhoda, although I always aspired to be Emma Peel, if only for that catsuit and the figure to go with it. Or Honey West, because I love Anne Francis and her ocelot! Love, Ameleh

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