A Short Essay on Bedtime and Nostalgia

We’ve reached the point of springtime where I spend most of the day in a pollen induced fog, only to wake up after the sun goes down and the air quality improves.  As a result I’ve been going to bed later and later, which just makes me more sleepy during the day, and so on.  So I’m determined to be in bed before midnight tonight.

I think I may have helped myself with this goal by watching a few episodes of Cheers on Netflix.  I remember virtually none of the Shelly Long seasons; Thursday nights at our house in the 1980s meant we had to get ready for bed as soon as Family Ties was over.  In those pre-VCR days, however, my parents usually left the TV on as they supervised our tooth brushing and pajama finding.  We lived in a small house and the sound carried pretty well; I wasn’t usually paying enough attention to make out the dialogue, but I knew the title song and end credits music by heart.  Hearing it again tonight, I was back in that little house, kissing my father’s cheek with its whisper of stubble, feeling the nubby pile of the carpet under my feet as I walked up the hall, finally launching myself into my bed as the headboard’s cupboard doors admonished me with their rattling.  A general overall feeling of well-being and peace: it’s a nice place on which to end a Monday.

When Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere hit Netflix, I’ll have a similar reaction. What part of that reaction is based in pure nostalgia, and what part is the gentle pace of those three particular themes, I’m not sure.  I could see children in 2011 having a similar reaction to The Office theme, perhaps, but not the frantic pace of 30 Rock or the moody non-melody of something like Bones  or Fringe.  Then again, parents of 2011 probably just DVR all their TV shows and play them after the kids are in bed. I would advise those parents that, if you hang pictures in your hallway, your 10 year old may try to use the reflection in the glass to “watch” TV just out of your sight when she is supposed to be in bed. Watch out for that.

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