Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Source Code for Your Life

So in all of this watching of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 I've come to realize something... there is a kind of 'Pop Culture Source Code' for my life. There is pretty much one place where I discovered a lot of the pop culture elements which have woven their way into my heart.

Think about that... ONE place. One thing that was responsible for programming all of the useless, trivial crap that I just love unaccountably.

I suppose it's no surprise that it was a TV station. Not just any TV station though. You see yes I am old enough to have grown up mostly in the days before cable. I got three networks -- ABC, NBC and CBS -- but where I lived I also got two independent stations... and it was one of those independent stations that was responsible for all of this.

That independent station introduced me to:

F Troop
Beverly Hillbillies
Bugs Bunny
Abbott and Costello
The Three Stooges
Star Trek
Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis
Bob Hope and Bing Crosby
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
Gilligan's Island
Get Smart
Creature from the Black Lagoon
The Blob (the original. And it scared the crap out of me as a kid. I had nightmares for a week.)
and far too many more to name...

Everything from the ridiculous to the sublime. Brilliant comedians, classic animation, rubber suited monsters and everything in between. And I LOVED it. I loved it as only a kid can love something -- with no filters and no critique. There was no analyzation there was only "Is it interesting?" If the answer was "yes" then it was good. It didn't have to make complete sense.

And this early exposure has stuck with me. I still run across this stuff today and sometimes I see that it really hasn't stood up to the test of time well. Or that something that is funny to a child becomes childish to an adult. Even when something I loved as a child disappoints me as a adult it's still there in my memories. The original context and the original love and nothing can change that. Nor should anything change that.

This is my "Source Code" -- this is what is imprinted on the hard drive of my psyche. And maybe this early exposure is what caused me to lean towards the things I like today. I still love a good (or bad) giant monster movie. I still love seeing good dancers cutting a rug in Fred and Ginger style. I went to see the Star Trek reboot movie a few years back and loved the little touches that hearkened back to the original series. I love hearing variations on "Who's on First" done with impeccable comic timing. I love a good slapstick. And "What's up doc?" will almost universally bring a smile to my face no matter who is saying it. I've been wired up by Saturday and Sunday afternoons in front of the TV watching that little, local, independent TV station for better or worse.

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