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Strike could be best thing that ever happened to TV

Jay Leno warned us for weeks that this could happen and it finally has. The Hollywood writers are on strike. Imagine. No new scripts, no witty repartee among late-night talk show hosts and no new episodes of murder and mayhem and crime-solving until the current dispute is settled, which could take weeks or even months, according to folks who know about these things.

The first casualties of the strike were the late-night talk shows, which is why, I suppose, Jay Leno was so concerned - or maybe he was just hopeful. Who would have thunk it? Jay Leno can't just stand in front of the camera, or studio audience, as the case may be, and be funny. He has to have someone write his jokes and, it would seem, his interviews with the trendy Hollywood guests and politicians on his show.

The writers take a hike and Jay Leno is on vacation.

I wish I had that deal.

Not with the newspaper, understand. Heck no. I am not about to take a day off from this gig, because I am afraid I wouldn't get invited to start back. But I can't help but wonder who would have to go on strike for my day job to shut down for a little while. Unfortunately, nobody writes the material for my classroom except me, so I guess I will just have to keep on keeping on.

The big winners in the writer's strike are supposed to be the reality shows like "Deal or No Deal" and "Dancing with the Stars" because they don't have to rely on scripts. You mean nobody was telling Marie when to fall on her keister? And does that mean that Howie Mandel can be funny on his own and Jay Leno can't?

Shows like "House" and "Gray's Anatomy" have been stockpiling scripts for a while in anticipation of the strike, but once they run out it will be rerun city, and industry insiders predict that we will be dusting off a lot of old reruns from current shows and golden oldies and you know what? I would be just fine with that.

I already keep my television tuned to TV Land a great portion of the time anyway. The Andy Griffith Show is a lot more entertaining than anything the TV executives have come up with in the last dozen or so years. As long as Barney Fife is available to watch, I will never be truly bored.

In fact, I think this writer's strike may be a blessing in disguise. Maybe it will force the TV folks to dig way down in their vaults and bring back some of the true television classics.

Let's go way back. When is the last time you thought about shows like "My Little Margie," the "Jack Benny Show" and "Father Knows Best?" It's kind of like that old-time religion song. Those shows were good for my mother and father and they are good enough for me. If television can air "Friends" and "Seinfeld" and "Everybody Loves Raymond" episodes 12 times a day, they can bring back Margie and Mrs. Albright, the Anderson children and Mr. Benny and Rochester.

The "Life of Riley" would be another good one. Remember how Chester Riley used to lay around in his hammock drinking lemonade? Only everybody knew it was really beer. We could also catch up with Sargent Bilko and the boys and maybe even the sailors in "McHale's Navy."

There are lots and lots of shows out there that are so old they would be new again - and they are a lot more wholesome than the garbage we fill our minds with nowadays.

We could start a whole new trend, and when the writers decide that their grievances have been met and go back to work, we might get to enjoy a more family-friendly product with fewer four-letter words.

Nah. I don't really see that happening. Do you?

I'll tell you another show they could use to fill some space in the schedule. "Amos and Andy."

I know. I know. It is politically incorrect and somewhere along the line people decided that it was racist and banned it for life from the airwaves. But it really wasn't - especially compared to some of the garbage they show today. The actors in the show were comedic geniuses and the characters they played dressed in suits and owned their own businesses - which is far from stereotypical.

Sure a couple of the characters were conniving and shiftless, but goodness gracious, what do you call Fred Sanford?

Oh well, it's not going to happen, so we might as well forget that one. But there are a lot of other old shows that are acceptable, so I say cue 'em up and roll 'em and let the writers take as long as they want to get back to work.

When I get tired of Barney Fife, I can turn over to Howie's show and watch gorgeous models open silver suitcases. Besides, college hoops will begin soon, and you can't script the drama you get when Carolina plays Duke or Billy Donovan brings his Gators into Rupp Arena.

I sure do hope Jay Leno goes back to work soon, though. I'll miss him whether he writes his own stuff or not.

Darrell Huckaby is a local author and educator. He can be reached at dHuck08@bellsouth.net.