Happiness is Old TV

I’ve been thinking about TV pilots and something jogged my memory on Cheers, which is leaving Netflix at the end of the month. So I watched the first episode of the first season. I knew it would be funny and I knew it would be community, but what I didn’t know was that that damn theme song would make me so ridiculously happy that I sang along with it. I thought it was a callback to a simpler time, but when I checked the start date, it was the year after my divorce and a few months before I was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer. So not a simpler time. Maybe it was a comfort show, maybe it made me remember when Mollie was eight and I was teaching kids I loved, maybe it was just a good show with a great theme song, but this week, “Making your way in the world today/takes everything you’ve got” and Cheers made me happy.

What made you happy?

63 thoughts on “Happiness is Old TV

  1. I just spent a weekend with a bunch of friends, clearing gorse and broom and blackberry so we can plant native trees where it was. Very satisfying work and I used a chainsaw for the first time in my life. And fantails (a native bird) flitted right up to us, scoffing the bugs we disturbed. So cute!

    And now I’ve got the theme song for Friends going through my head, and it’s just so cheerful. Must go find it on youtube.

  2. Cheers was a good one. My mom and I really enjoyed the spinoff, Wings. It was something we could put on and watch together without arguing. It was a bit more goofy and maybe not as classic as Cheers, but it was on in reruns forever and I think we’ve seen every episode.

    Other shows I’ve loved that I think I could still sit down and watch – Moonlighting, Mary Tyler Moore, Wonder Years, Northern Exposure, Remington Steele, Quantum Leap, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Golden Girls. Pacing has changed a lot since most of those shows came out and some would be more for the nostalgia factor than anything, but I have fond memories of all of them. I swear, a lot of my “ear for dialogue” just comes from lots and lots of sitcom/old movie watching (for better or worse.)

    My big happy is I finished a fanfic project I’ve been working on over a year. I’ve written longer things than this, but this is the longest fanfiction I’ve finished and I’m pretty proud of how it turned out, especially considering I only started with a handful of scene ideas. I have a couple more unfinished fics and a few new ideas brewing, but I think it’s time to let everything marinate for a while.

    I’m also happy that we have a 3 day weekend, even if the only thing that will truly distinguish tomorrow from every other day this week is that my husband and maybe one of my kids will sleep in. (which means I will have somewhat quiet time). We also have hit a nice streak of warm, but not hot or humid, weather.

  3. Yesterday, while I was sewing, I looked around and found that all four cats had nestled themselves within 5 feet of where I was working. That made me happy.

    It’s kind of cheesy now, but my DH and I have been watching the old 70s show Emergency. Some of the episodes are “very special” with interventions by the serious doctor, but the firemen are always there to save the day.

      1. My children loved that show! Perhaps it’s no coincidence that one of my sons has been a paramedic for well over 20 years now.

  4. There’s a reason old tv shows are so popular now, and it’s not just the nostalgia thing. Honestly, they were just better. At some point network suits with the creativity of a coffee bean started interfering, which lowered the quality. So viewing went down and they hired bean counters to come up with excuses for why this was not the fault of the suits, and they decided that people didn’t like sitcoms anymore. Except they then became hugely popular on nostalgia channels and streaming services, so obviously the counters didn’t know beans about TV or what people like. Instead we got a zillion serial dramas with no start or finish and generally unlikeable characters because those are easier to write and the bean counters told the suits that they should stop marketing to a wider audience and focus on niche audiences because that’s so much better than having as many viewers across all age groups as possible. Which is when PBS, BBC America, etc picked up more viewers. But networks still blame streaming services, because they’ll never admit they are killing off their own medium through their own incompetence.

    Okay, stepping off the soap box now. I’ll just recommend Ken Levine’s blog- he wrote for Cheers and Wings and MASH- and the Zoom reading he organized of an old Cheers script. Great fun.


    1. Parks and Rec? Crazy Ex-Girlfriend? Thirty Rock? Arrested Development? The Office? Pushing Daisies? The Good Place?

      There is excellent content now, there’s just a lot of it and it’s spread across too many services to find.

      1. That’s my fear with all these new streaming services. The networks will pull all the interesting content off of broadcast. But they will put each good show on a different service so that we will have to subscribe to multiple services to get what we are getting now. This fear was further borne out when I took a consumer survey that repeatedly asked me how much I would be willing to pay for different combinations of content, with or without commercials.

    2. It wasn’t nice of you to insult coffee beans like that. Those “creative” folks have the creativity of a shriveled up lima bean. LOL!

  5. I’ve started watching Community (missed it the first time) – DS is also watching it, so we have conversations about various plot lines and the characters.

    Happy this week – spring skipped over us right to summer and we’ve gone from wearing mittens and hats to shorts in less than 2 weeks. DS finished his last credit and is now a HS graduate. He had 2 weeks left of his last course when we went into lockdown and has struggled to finish (his teacher wasn’t helpful), but is finally done. I planted seeds in my foster garden (my neighbour’s yard). Visited a local gardener friend who gave me a tour of her gorgeous property and dahlia bulbs, tomato plants and tulip bulbs to plant in the fall (appropriate social distancing was observed)..

  6. Cheers is leaving Netflix at the end of May?!?!? We’ve just gotten to Season 6! Hubs was stationed in England & missed the original showings. (It’s all I can do not to tell him how it ends). I had forgotten how much I loved this show, even though I now have a hard time liking Diane.

    We may have to move on to Frasier! 🙂

    1. Okay, just Googled and it’s there till the end of June. Whew. We may be able to make it! 🙂 I wish they would add Homefront.

  7. We binged all of Cheers and Frasier recently. Working out way through Seinfeld now. Season Four has almost all the famous episodes (except for the Soup Nazi) though I keep “remembering” each one as we get to them.

    Our son rarely watches TV with us, but we started watching Brooklyn 99 and now he sneaks out of the basement when he hears the theme and watches with us :).

  8. Yup. With you on comfort watches and old TV shows. Been collecting DVDs of shows for years, so I have a pretty good library of go-tos now.

    Same with movies. Although I had a realization recently about that collection.

    As we ran out of new things to watch, hubby and I started a movie game where we go through our movie collection alphabetically and Have to choose one movie from each letter to watch. Been very fun. And rather than pulling out our “usual” watches, we’re doing ones we haven’t seen in years and barely remember. Which is where my realization comes in.

    As we’ve been working our way through the alphabet and finding some “not so great” choices either of us really likes, I started wondering how they’d made their way into the collection and had a “duh” moment. Back when I started collecting DVDs and there was no Netflix etc., I’d often search the “bargain” bins for low-cost stuff figuring if something was cheaper than a video rental and looked mildly interesting, it was worth the same gamble as chancing a rental, with the added bonus of owning the DVD if it turned out to be good. This gamble paid off more often than not, but it totally explains the iffy movies we still have, lol.

    We did start something new on Amazon (I think), though, that we’re quite liking called “Little Fires Everywhere” based on the book. Very well made with Kerry Washington & Reese Witherspoon. Not a comfort watch, but a happy because we found something new!:)

  9. Happy I can see my desk again, dusted, cleaned and oiled. By end of day, the deep clean should be done. Woo whoooo.

    Met a woman at the printers on Friday. She is a member of the textile guild in my city. Hopefully they will take much of my fabric for baby clothes and quilts, lap / wheelchair blankets and some knit fabric; beanies for babies and cancer patients. I said it is a donation, no money involved. Hoping the next level of opening the province means I can donate to a very worthy cause. Maybe I will become a member. Fingers crossed.

    Bought 3 more strawberry plants and a hanging flowers basket for the front.

    Granddaughter wants to learn how to knit. Me too, re-learn an old skill.

    1. Can’t watch The Good Fight in Canada yet. W network has rights to air it first. W not releasing it until later in the year. ☹️

  10. I’m eating Baileys’ Chocolate Swirl Ice Cream whilst rereading Anyone But You.

  11. Having trouble with the happy, although things are fine, and of course better than many. I would just like to be alone. Just for a few hours. I know I speak for many when I say that.

    Had a socially distant pizza outside with some friends, and a wonderful zoom with old friends spread between Seattle and Salzburg. Painted a sunflower, and texted friends. Had great stuff, beautiful weather, saw a cardinal, and a skunk, made fabulous cookies (with tahini instead of peanut butter.) 3 Mohs surgeries with clean results, very good news.

    I would just like to be alone for a bit.

  12. I got out of the habit of watching television when I worked the four to midnight shift. I remember watching Buffy with the dotter – she was a fan until Angel left, I was hooked ever after. On my shelves, I have the complte Quantum Leap. Dotter gave me five seasons of Gilmore Girls and I added the rest and the four specials. I watched all of Cheers, Mash, Mary Tyler Moore, Lou Grant, Wings, Newhart and The Bob Newhart Show.

    I must say that the greatest finale ever was having “Dick Loudan” wake up (next to Suzanne Pleschette) as “Doctor Bob Hartley” saying that the entire Newhart show was a really weird dream. The expression, “ROFL” – rolling on floor laughing? I did that.

    1. I’m with you on the best series finale ever. I don’t think anyone saw that coming, and it was simply perfect.

      My vote for worst series finale is MASH. It was as if the writers forgot what had made the series so special and went all in on the tragedy.

    2. The story goes that even the cast and crew didn’t know that ending was coming. It was beyond brilliant!

  13. I don’t think I have the patience to binge watch any network program but can watch an episode here and there. What we watched recently on Amazon was a British series called Our Girl from a few years ago. I think they got it from Britbox. Anyway it was about a young girl just turning 18 and out celebrating her birthday catches her boyfriend and best friend doing the nasty in a bathroom stall and gets so upset she leaves her party. Molly Dawes is her name and the next day she is walking past an army recruiter cleaning up a mess outside the center (story involved) and chats with him and then goes inside and is talked into taking a test. And that’s where the story starts. It is only seven episodes long of Molly’s journey and I wish the network had gone with her for the next season to see her progress. She had so much spark more so than the second season with an another actress in a different story.

  14. I baked a yoghurt pot cake from Nigella Lawson on Friday. First try, as is often the case with me and baking. It came out pretty damn good. Last slice save for the morrow.

    I have to zoom for my course. Favourite part is seeing everybody’s Fur Babies. I met 2 new dogs and 1 black cat. 😍 So much smiles on my face!!!!!

  15. Old(ish) TV that makes me happy: Gavin and Stacey!

    A friend who inexplicably missed it the first time round watched it during lockdown and messaged me just to say that she gets all the fuss now, but it took her a few episodes to get into. It made me think about how when we drop in to old shows now, we already love them and know what’s going on. We recommend them with high praise, forgetting that newbies won’t have all history and knowledge and love for the characters when they start.

    Anyway, if you haven’t seen it, I recommend.

    1. I finally watched Gavin and Stacey over the winter: really good. I introduced a friend to it, too. It was originally on BBC3, which was targeted at a youth audience, so what with that and my resistance to sitcoms I missed it first time round. Hope you saw the ten-years-on Christmas special.

      1. I did. That ending!!!

        Also, every year have to watch Smithy sing-along to Do they know it’s Christmas. It’s part “c’mon dickhead” and part the perfect feeling of escaping from work for the last time before the Christmas break.


  16. In UK we have Allo Allo, dinnerladies, Red Dwarf and IT Crowd (not that old), Coupling. Just comfort TV, you can have it on in the background and nothing bad was going to happen. For a show where nothing happened we have Last of the Summer Wine, comfortable sleepy sunday viewing. I remember watching The Saint (Roger Moore at his most suave) and The Man from UNCLE with my mother. I also watched a lot of American tv.

  17. I used to love watching ER long distance with my son who lived on his own away from us. Either we’d call if something major would happen and always recapped at 11 when it was over. We’d have plot and characters. It was important because he had a bad breakup and was majorly in a funk. So I didn’t want him to think I knew but I was worried there for a bit. Those ER anticipatory calls and
    Post mortem wrapups were like lifelines.
    The other show we watched all the time was 1 Adam 12 – sort of corny but they’d always say ‘1 Adam 12 see the man’ and well, it just gets ingrained. So when my kids were littles, we’d get in the car and I’d say ‘1 Adam 12 see the belt’ to remind them we buckle up. In fact the first world my son ever read aloud was PUSH that was written on his seatbelt button. He was about three. And lastly, remember Night Stalker with Darren McGavin (who made the show). That was Scary fun to watch. I kind of crushed on him. I never realized how old he was. Nowadays I watch Billions. And Homeland. Holy moly, that’s ripped from the headlines shows. I just finished watching the Korean series Welcome2Life with Rain. Wow, really well acted. Rain is gorgeous, ladies. And incredibly talented. I have to say no one does romancecomedycrimedrama (yes, all in one) like South Korea.

    1. I still say: See the man, mostly talking to the cat about who should feed him. And I still remember the thrill of horror for that first Nightstalker episode, when the (Incan) mummy came up out of the seats (?) and it was real…

  18. My two go to re-runs are Mash and Keeping up Appearances. Hyacinth always make me both laugh and cringe.

    For happiness, it’s a holiday weekend and the weather has been wonderful. I picked up some plants, started gardening, and spent some time in my hammock swing reading while my cats enjoyed the luxury of finding nooks to nap in outside. They are only allowed out when I am out with them and can keep an eye on them. One of them likes to jump the fence and escape for a while so I have to watch him carefully.

    1. One perfect moment for me was a sunny day, reading in the shade, in the hammock, reading War and Peace, with the little black cat jumping up and sleeping on my stomach. Perfect.

  19. We took a road trip to the mountains to combat cabin fever. We stopped at our favorite fruit stand and picked up some strawberries
    So this week will hopefully include strawberry pie, scones and shortcake.

  20. Strawberries and real whipped cream are making me happy. Also nice weather and drinking my coffee on my front porch.

  21. Being with friends (socially distant but not on screen) made me happy, along with watching endless loops of kitten TV on the patio, taking walks outside, and peonies coming into bloom. Oh, and libraries opening for drive-through pickups, and farm markets with local and trucked in produce.

  22. I loved Emergency! and Starsky and Hutch. I still have a crush on Randy Mantooth.

    My current happy TV is Bon Appetit’s many videos. I’ve particularly enjoyed the ones they’ve been filming from home.

    What made me happy this weekend (other than strawberries and asparagus) is a hit of Nationals nostalgia. One year ago today they were at their worst point of the season, so of course they chose this weekend to premier a team-produced documentary about the post-season. All the highs and only enough lows to make the wins sweeter (like a little salt in a cookie).

    Baked a couple of amazing loaves of sourdough (cheddar rosemary).

  23. I haven’t really been able to stick with much TV of late, but I can recommend Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. Even though my dad had an illness similar to the dad’s on the show (except for my dad it took ten years, not nine months, to die) and triggers me out the wazoo, it’s very good.

    I spent yesterday watching Virtually Maker Faire online and then watching “The Muff” (spoof of The Moth) and then a local stream of “The Importance of Being Earnest” from a theater that always puts on a free show on this weekend. It was nice they could still do that this year.

    Today I got to play Beatrice in Much Ado, which is a role I never thought I’d get to play in my LIFE, even if i cast myself, muahahahah. Later in the day I started rehearsal for another online play that’ll air in a few weeks, which also went great. I swear the only thing that really takes me out of thinking about virus is acting. (Too bad reading isn’t doing it, but oh well.)

    I also went to my first drive-by birthday party, which was very weird. I stayed literally across the street because the birthday girl has a pacemaker (she was the only one who went to my birthday party, so I was going to go to hers), I couldn’t join in the karaoke that was going on, sigh. I just kind of danced across the street and threw my present onto the sidewalk. This is so bizarre, y’all. Well, hopefully that wasn’t too crap of a birthday under the circumstances.

  24. I’m picking up individual episodes on YouTube of a British program, TIME TEAM, where a crew of archeologists spend three days excavating in some likely spot — anywhere from a remote hilltop to Windsor Castle and a handful of episodes in places like Jamestown — to see what turns up.

    Also individual episodes of AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN, or how to make this or that, and Heston Blumenthal’s banquets, and Sue Perkins and Giles Coren’s THE SUPERSIZERS (historical eating for a week, Rome, Regency, Elizabethan, Edwardian, Wartime, Restoration, Revolutionary France, Medieval, Fifties, Eighties, Twenties).

    1. I loved Time Team. It was on for years, and I’m sure archaeology degrees became oversubscribed as a result.

    2. I’ve just watched an episode of Time Team, and it’s wonderful. I can’t thank you enough for mentioning it. One thing that’s really great is the way they’ve used graphics to point out exactly what we’re seeing. I’m totally hooked.

  25. Frasier is probably my all time favorite. Community, Newhart and The Big Bang theory, ( my oldest has a PhD in physics and has a little bit of Sheldon in him). I also love News Radio. The one with the office rat. Perfection. Ooh ooh Malcom in the Middle. I identify with Lois. I may watch to much TV.

  26. Thank you for posting this on the holiday weekend. I had been bummed out by the fact that I couldn’t spend the holiday with my sister and her family as I usually would, but now I have plans to binge watch DVDs tomorrow.
    When I lived in Minneapolis thirtysome years ago the PBS station ran this really unique British series at 11pm Sunday nights. It was called The Prisoner and it was created by and starring Patrick McGoohan (circa1968). It was the story of a spy who tried to retire and was then captured and transported to The Village where he was given a number and never again referred to by name. A succession of village leaders try all kinds of mind games to break him and get him to tell why he resigned. The prisoner doesn’t know where he is, who has captured him or which, if any , of his fellow inhabitants of The Village are his captors. It lasted only 17 episodes and was a mix of Orwell’s Big Brother and the swinging sixties. I wonder if I will still find it as fascinating as I once did.

    1. I am not a number. I am a free man! Fifty years old and still puzzling us all.

      1. I remember one of the writers who worked on it in the beginning actually came up with a very good theory to explain The Prisoner, but I think they didn’t use him in later seasons so they went with leaving the audience to make up their own minds at the end.

    2. We took some American cousins to Portmeirion, where they filmed The Prisoner, because one of them was a fan: great excitement. It’s an eccentric looking place (well, it was built by an eccentric architect).

      1. I always thought it might be fun to go there in a navy blazer and be filmed being chased by a lit beach ball, though since they probably have Prisoner conventions this may actually happen annually

  27. I got sucked into “Crash Landing on You.” K-dramas are hit and miss for me. There’s something about subtitles that make me less patient if the plot starts sagging in the middle. Fingers crossed that this one stays as good as it starts.

    The premise is a South Korean woman accidentally paraglides into North Korea and crashes on a hot North Korean army captain. Like you do. It (so far) stays lighter than you’d think it could because they’re both elites in their respective societies based on their parents, and because genre rules mean they’ll get their HEA. But it’s still a K drama, which means tragic backstories, murder, betrayal, love triangles, a conman, an arranged marriage, etc. And in the middle of all the crazy sauce are these two lonely people from different worlds quietly falling for and respecting each other. Which apparently is what I’m in the mood for right now.

    That said, content warning for discussion of suicide.

    1. I totally loved CrashLanding on You. I’ve become addicted to watching Kdramas. I love the actors. I’ve become used to the subtitles. But they do throw in the kitchen sink of tropes. Goofy side characters doing unbelievable things to friends!! Or it’s a combo of romance comedy, sweet family story and serial killer thriller mystery. All in one. But I find it all culturally interesting, their social class, sexism, how physically harsh they seem to be ( way too much slapping) etc. and they love to eat incredible amounts of food.

  28. Had a lovely day yesterday reading on the deck with both kitties keeping me company. I love those happy zen moments when they waft my way.

    We loved “The Finder” It was only 13 episodes, and ended on a cliffhanger because they expected to be renewed, but otherwise it is one of the most delightful things ever. The main character was first introduced in an episode of “Bones” but they refined the characters on their own show. Used to be streaming on netflix but I think they took it down. If you ever see it, it’s really worth watching…. you just have to resolve all the threads left hanging at the end in your own mind.

    1. Have the DVD love it, didn’t like the backdoor pilot on Bones, but Saffron Burrows was miscast, good actress, completely wrong character for her I thought.

      The creator Hart Hanson was going to try to do another crossover on Bones to give it an ending, but couldn’t because of what happened the one of the leads.

      He said “If I had known it would be the end of our series, the last image would have been Leo standing outside his bar, looking out at the weather vane and being the last man standing, with everyone else scattered to the wind”

  29. This weekend (so far) what has made me happy …
    1. it’s a three-day weekend, which even though I don’t have to commute is still noteworthy as a day off from the day job (have recently realized it’s been a long time since I took a day off)
    2. watched An American In Paris (the Tony-award-winning musical) on Broadway HD and it is OUTSTANDING
    3. finally ordered the stuff from Home Depot that I need to do a project; it was delivered this morning
    4. actually made progress on the project (before delivery; prepping the area)
    5. new crop of sunflowers
    6. some useful Writer Business accomplished
    7. about to go write a wedding scene. Aaahh.

  30. I remember waking up on Thursdays humming the theme song from “Hill Street Blues.” These days, though, our nostalgia viewing is movies – Saturday we laughed anew at Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin in “All of Me.”

    Happies include ordering Last Week Tonight postage stamps – I realize money is going to stamps.com as well as the USPS, but who can resist a stamp that says, “And Now, a Stamp”? Plus, John Oliver is at the top of today’s investigative journalists.

  31. I was so busy yesterday talking about my favorite old TV series that I never got around to what made me happy the past week. That’s too bad because I had 2 very major happies to celebrate.
    The first was that I got a call from my foster brother to ask how I was doing during the shutdown. This was especially sweet because I became very close to him after he dropped out of college and I was the only kid at home. He’s about 10 years older than me and I have many fond memories of the many hands of gin rummy we played. The day we found out he wasn’t going to be drafted and sent to Viet Nam was a huge relief for my whole family.
    My second high point of the week was a letter I got from my friends in Minneapolis. Since I restarted sending postcards 2 months ago, Scott and Jean have responded by sending me snarky buttons. For the first few letters, I responded in kind, but now that my friend Dave’s store is closed and his nearest competitor went out of business, I have no place to replenish my supply. All I can imagine is that Scott must be liquidating his collection and sending it to me one snarky button at a time. This week’s button says,”Normal People Don’t Know What They’re Missing”. It came in a 2 page letter that was so absurdly humorous that I didn’t stop smiling for days. The funny thing is that prior to the shut down all communication between us had dwindled down to the annual (late) exchange of Christmas and birthday cards. So this is a huge gift. And I am enormously grateful.

  32. I just saw this post. My husband and I also just rewatched the first couple of episodes of CHEERS, and yes, the song turned my heart to mush. It’s nostalgia. Perhaps in today’s hyper world with all its distractions and information, we don’t experience nostalgia very often. Or else it’s being in mid-life. I’m more cynical and less romantic, and romance is an ingredient of nostalgia, along with time, I think.

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