Posts Tagged ‘Mama’s Family’

TV Guide from 1984

January 3, 2011

Andrew Hicks

There were a few years, when I was younger and alone a lot more, that I made a concerted effort to read lotsa books as a New Year’s resolution. My full-on book reading has dwindled over the years and is quick becoming a thing of the past the more Sarah grows as a walking, talking person.

Now I’ll check out an issue of Rolling Stone or Entertainment Weekly from the library every couple months, start reading it, leave it somewhere out of the way, forget about it, renew it, still not finish reading it, then finally skim through the remaining pages as I’m walking to the book returns desk. That’s how I learned who Paramore was. (HINT: It’s a contemporary musical act.)

Anyway, most of my reading is done online, and it’s all attention-deficitty. My only reading material in print so far in 2011 is a copy of TV Guide from February 1984 that I bought from a comic book shop like 20 years ago. I grew up an obsessive, nostalgia-driven TV and music freak, and I found stuff like old issues of TV Guide to be fascinating pop-culture artifacts.

I just found that TV Guide in a box of stuff in the basement. Stuff I’d packed away probably ten years ago and never opened back up. I don’t have much use for it now, so it’s headed for the recycle bin or a thrift store donation bag. But for a quick moment, while I should be writing about something intelligent, I’m gonna take my 27-year-old TV Guide out for one final spin.

On the cover, the Winter Olympics. Nothing too fancy. Cover price: 50 cents. Highlights inside include:

    Page A-7 — A two-paged Let’s Review the Facts ad from R.J. Reynolds tobacco that says, “Studies which conclude that smoking causes disease have regularly ignored scientific evidence to the contrary.” There are probably a dozen cigarette ads scattered through the rest of the magazine, all featuring beautiful, white-teethed, active people whose lives are enhanced by nicotine and tar. Just typing all this makes me want to go smoke. 

    Page A-24 — Listings for NBC’s powerhouse Saturday sitcom lineup of “Diff’rent Strokes,” “Silver Spoons,” “We Got it Made” and “Mama’s Family.” Three of the four were in regular syndication when I was a kid, but I only ever saw one TBS rerun of “We Got it Made” in a hotel room during a vacation one time when I was like 13. It’s about maids in a hotel so, you know, the title is kinda like a play on words.

    Page A-74 — The joy of realizing I could’ve watched a brand new “Scarecrow and Mrs. King” is coupled with the pain of realizing that in 1984, Nickelodeon ceased programming at 7 pm. This was a cable world pre-Nick at Nite. Horrifying.

    Page A-120 — A two-page ad spread for the Rotation-Freedom Diet, which didn’t actually admit they “made false, misleading, and unsubstantiated claims in advertising” until 2006, after marketing the diet under six other names. You gotta admit that’s a pretty good reign of diet-fraud terror, and it’s preserved right here in the old TV Guide I’m about to get rid of.

Twenty-seven years you lasted, issue of TV Guide packed in a box in my basement. That’s a run that could rival even the Rotation-Freedom Diet people.


Me with 5-month-old Sarah.

“Who’s this?” “Iola.”

December 7, 2010

Andrew Hicks

2-year-old Sarah has reached the point where, if I name every character and object on the inside flap of her Sesame Street books, she can point it out from the lineup. It’s like a 20-person Hollywood Squares amalgam of the usual PBS Muppets – Cookie Monster, Bert, Big Bird – plus A-listers of the toddler vocabulary like book, shoes, truck, flower, etc. Sarah has it down pat. There’s nowhere to go but up for this girl. Tomorrow we start studying my framed print of the cast of “Mama’s Family” from the 1989-90 season. Which was a very good year for Mama and the family.

ME: Who’s this?
SARAH: Vinton
ME: And who’s this?
SARAH: Iola.
ME: And who’s this?
SARAH: Naomi. Trashy.
ME: Where’d you learn that word?

She’s getting really good at naming and pointing to parts of the face and upper body, too. Hair, teeth, eyebrows, forehead. She counted ten noses on me this morning. This little girl thinks way-y-y-y outside the box. As my Facebook buddy Open Mike remarked, “To quote the over-quoted old lady from the diner scene in When Harry Met Sally, ‘I’ll have what she’s having.'”

Sarah’s speech patterns are progressing at an ever-quicker rate, too. She’s stringing together short sentences and listening a lot better to what her mom and I tell her. We’re at a ratio now of probably three real words to every gibberish word. Sometimes what’s what is a kind of toss-up.

Like, either I was having problems understanding her earlier today, or my 2 year old’s new favorite person to talk about is Sanjay Gupta. I tried to put her reference in context: “You mean Sanjay Gupta the renowned neurosurgeon and CNN correspondent who writes those delightful but insightful medical features in Parade magazine?”

She said, “Kipper? More Kipper? More Kipper? Kipper, daddy?”


Sarah pauses before opening birthday presents earlier this month.