I have a confession to make. My parents didn’t own a TV when I was a kid. It made playing TV tag a total embarrassment. Every time I got tagged, I would try to remember shows I’d seen at someone’s house, but I'd often end up repeating myself.
Most of my childhood was spent finding other ways to amuse myself. I read a lot. I drew paper dolls with huge extended families, large wardrobes and complicated biographies. I rode my bike, roller skated, and learned how to dance to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. But when my parents split up, my father started a television repair business. Suddenly his house was full of TVs, and I had some catching up to do.
My father (who is British) made sure to introduce me to Monty Python and Benny Hill at an early age. We watched M*A*S*H together, too, even though I think quite a bit of it went over my head. I never did come to like Benny Hill much, but I developed a life-long appreciation for Monty Python.
So what was my favorite show? When I thought it over, sadly none of the great TV classics popped into my head. Instead, it was The Love Boat.
When I was in fifth grade, my friend Betsy and I would watch the show at our respective houses, and talk on the phone during the whole episode. We would predict who was going to fall in love (the doctor almost always got involved with a woman--it's a good thing there weren't too may medical emergencies on board), and discussed the pros and cons of each relationship. It was like a story and character analysis seminar conducted by eleven-year-old girls.
What made The Love Boat so entertaining for me? Even now I’m not sure. Maybe it was its predictability. The boat sailed at the beginning of each episode, people fell in love and and broke-up, but in the end they all returned to homeport. Despite each episode having multiple story lines, I can’t remember a single plot point going unresolved. It had a satisfying symmetry to it, kind of like a mystery novel. And kind of like life.
So--what was your favorite childhood TV show?