When “Dallas” began announcing their resurgence this spring, I felt the first little spark.
In the 80’s weekly Dallas episodes, set in a glamorous, bigger than life Texas mansion filled the imaginations of a generation of kids like me. We saw all that opulence and wanted something more for ourselves. Kids like me looked at their own surroundings and looked at the TV and thought, how do I do that: That big house, that BIG job that title CEO? Kids like me thought, WOW…maybe I can live like that! And I think more than a few kids like me went out and made it happen. Was it just a TV show that made this possible? No of course not, but it didn’t hurt to have a visual taste of what life could be and to feel it was OK to want to improve your circumstances. Kids like me didn’t need to be told it was just a show with its good and its bad points. It was TV. It was fiction, it was fun to watch, it was fun to dream.
The message has been loud and clear and broadcast over every medium, especially TV for years now. It has not been OK to succeed for a long time now. If you do, you are an evil, selfish bully and you deserve to be punished. Thank goodness for new media and blogging, but TV still is the dominant force in shaping our kids imaginations. Countless TV shows depict single parents struggling to pay bills. Corporations are always depicted as monstrous sources of a deadly virus’ or some other pain. Laughs are always at the expense of the stupid white male character or the Christian ignoramus. Show me an image that inspires a kid to excel. I haven’t seen one since I was a kid.
Many a big show filled the airwaves back in the 80’s and filled imaginations with images of wealth, glamour and excitement. Kids like me saw a world of possibility where money was a goal and a worthy one. Was it selfish? Sure. Did it inspire? Sure. Was it a good thing? Yes and no. But I can say for sure the absence of these images has not been a good thing. I hope the show does well. The reviews have been sketchy. Maybe there is a force out there that does not want these types of show s to survive.
Not me. I hope it goes great. I hope a whole new bunch of kids look at all that prosperity and decide to go for it. Hey…. is Dynasty coming back?!