Tag Archives: television

Where Have All the TV Theme Songs Gone?

This season, the American television network “The CW” launched a reboot of the favourite 1980’s prime time soap “Dynasty”. In watching the very first episode, I was delighted to see several nods to its original series, including having kept its great orchestral theme song. The only thing was that it was a much shorter version of it.

Similarly, Netflix has recently rebooted “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” Again, a really unique theme song, but chopped down to just a few bars of its original.

Have you noticed how the opening themes for many American TV shows have gotten shorter and shorter over the years? Now, some shows don’t even have them at all.

If I mentioned the names of program like “All in the Family“, “Golden Girls”, “Three’s Company”, “The Brady Bunch” or “Gilligan’s Island”, even if you weren’t a huge fan, I’m sure many of you would be able to recite a few words if not the whole theme song.

These theme songs became deeply entrenched in our pop culture, and some have become synonymous with the decades when the shows originally aired. In doing so, they also became entrenched in our hearts and minds.

As young kids, we couldn’t play “Batman” without singing few rounds of the famous “Na na na na na na na…” theme.

What would have become of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” with a theme song about a messy breakup instead of the inspiring words about making it after all? Continue reading

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My Top 10 Favourite Halloween Costumes

Over the years, I haven’t been one to shy away from dressing up for Halloween (… or any other day of the year, when the occasion called for it). I have always found it to be a lot of fun to step out of character for a day and take on another persona for the pure fun it.

Over the course of a half-century, I have had plenty of opportunities to try on different costumes. What surprises me is that the ones that seem to be the most memorable were not necessarily the store-bought ones, but the ones that involved an injection of creativity to complete the look.

Here are a few of my favourites:

10. Bugs Bunny

The most memorable store-bought costume had to be my favourite cartoon character, Bugs Bunny. Because I wasn’t in growth spurts around that time, I am pretty sure I wore it for (at least) two consecutive Halloweens.

It was pretty simple really, a grey polyester jumpsuit with a white chest and belly that I could hop in and out of in seconds, and a plastic mask with a little elastic in the back that needed a little reinforcing for the second year.

Add a carrot, fresh from our garden, with the stems still on and I was as happy as a clam. It really was a simple pleasure.

9. Groucho Marx

Inspired from an episode of “All in the Family” where Mike and Gloria were dressed up as Groucho and Harpo Marx, Mom helped me make a home-made Groucho Marx outfit. For the costume, she raided my parents’ closet for a white shirt, jacket and pants that would appear baggy on me, and then drew on a moustache and bushy eyebrows. Combined with plastic glasses and a plastic cigar from my toy box, and a repertoire of horrible jokes, it was an easy yet effective home-made costume that was a lot of fun. Continue reading

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Fine Tuning the TV Habit

When I wrote the blog post “Deleting without Watching – The Madness and the Guilt” a little over a year ago, little did I know that I was on the cusp of a serious change when it came to my TV habits.

In that blog post, I shared the guilt I felt in deleting programs my PVR had recorded but that I did not even watch. Scandalous… I know!

But in doing so, I was (sort of) following traditional rules of de-cluttering: if it’s been sitting there for a certain length of time and I haven’t watched it, will I ever get back to it? When I was really honest with myself, the answer was pretty clear.

When the new shows rolled out in the fall months of 2016, I gave several programs a chance, but I was getting a little more ruthless in my programming choices. I set a boundary: if after 2-3 episodes I wasn’t really loving the show, why was I still watching? Sadly, only a few survived and remain on my list today. Funny enough, “Designated Survivor” is one of them. (Is art imitating my TV life?)

I hate to admit that using that same rationale, even some shows I enjoyed in recent years have dropped off my must-see list. What happened to the kid who used to push up the national average for TV watching?

You could say that without really thinking about it, I wasn’t watching TV out of habit anymore, I was watching TV with more of a purpose.

Once the bar was raised, the available space on my PVR started increasing… and increasing. And in doing so, not only had I freed up space on my PVR, but time was freeing up in my life as well for things that mattered more. It was a seismic shift. Continue reading

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Where Have All The Exercise Shows Gone?

20MW AlbumNot that long ago exercise shows were a staple of daytime TV. At any time of the day (sometimes evenings too), there always seemed to be an exercise show of some kind on one of the channels… and this was long before having 200 to 300 channels to choose from.

I admit that I was a disciple of those shows. It seemed that my VCR or my DVD recorder was always set to record some exercise show that matched my fitness goals at the time. To me, it was important to maintain a healthy shape, because I did not want a repeat performance of my “husky years”.

Among my favourites were “The Body Electric” (PBS), “Caribbean Workout” (The Sports Network), “Rendez-Vous Reebok” (Réseau des sports) and of course the classic that ran in syndication for many years, “The 20 Minute Workout”. I also enjoyed “Kiana’a Flex Appeal” and “Bodyshaping”, ESPN programs that aired on Canada’s TSN, which coached me in how to use gym equipment safely.

More recently, my local community TV channel has been airing a series I love called “Yoga for Runners”, an outstanding program that inspired my stretching routines before, during and after my training for my first half-marathon. I still do those stretches today.

Throughout my years of TV exercise shows, I have learned about muscle groups, exercise physiology, and proper nutrition while in training. I also learned to listen to my body and how to perform exercises correctly. The educational component of TV exercise shows cannot be denied.

TV exercise shows were always great tool, in my opinion, for juggling a busy professional life too. It was just me, the instructor(s), a few basic pieces of exercise equipment (free weights, mat, bands, step), in my living room, on my schedule.

Once I started learning the routines and actually feeling the positive effects through confidence, better quality sleep, better muscle tone and a higher metabolic rate, I would become very loyal, very quickly to the program that got me there. Also, the more fun the show and the instructors were, the longer I stuck with the program. Continue reading

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My Take-Aways from Awards Season

Oscar and me1Ever since I knew I wanted to become a writer, whenever I watched The Golden Globes, the Academy Awards, The Emmy Awards (Prime Time and Daytime) or the Tony Awards, I always found myself walking away feeling inspired that one day that could be me.

When I hear writers’ acceptance speeches of humble beginnings, late starts in life or how a unique little story or unique way of telling a story became the object of much attention, I really do feel validated that there is purpose and potential for a budding writer like myself.

I do not delude myself into thinking that my turn WILL come at the awards podium, I think the odds of that are equivalent to winning the lottery. But I would like to think that my imagination, my creativity, my ideas and my story telling style combined with consistency and persistence, are the foundation for writing stories that will resonate. Where it goes from there, nobody knows. Hope for the best, expect the worst, and hopefully land somewhere in the middle.

This year in particular, the word “diversity” has been a recurring theme, appearing in speeches, editorials and reviews which struck a particularly deep chord with me.

As writers, I think we all have an innate fear, “What if no one is interested. What if no one reads it.” If the appetite for diversity is as strong as it seems to be, I take that as my cue and as my challenge to dig deeply for the stories that can matter and that can resonate.

The appetite for diversity is a sign to me that people want to see themselves in a story, someone to relate to, someone who has felt Continue reading

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How Bewitched Was Your Day?

Bewitched DVD As far back as I can remember, Bewitched has always been one of my favourite classic TV shows. Elizabeth Montgomery starred as the beautiful Samantha Stephens, a good witch trying to live like a normal suburban housewife, despite the intrusions of a colourful cast of relatives on her mortal marriage.

Over the years, I found my imagination and creativity spurred by the fun visual effects and magical sound effects depicting their fictionalized version of witchcraft. As the show replayed in reruns, decade after decade, the characters became a permanent fixture in my subconscious and still pop up in my life when I least expect it.

A few days ago, I was having one of those days where nothing seemed to go right. Technology wasn’t working as planned, inanimate objects weren’t cooperating, I bumped into a wall. The day was such a write off that I thought to myself, “Man, am I ever having an Aunt Clara kind of day”, which seemed rather appropriate given the circumstances.

When I gave it a little more thought, I figured out that you could equate a day to almost every Bewitched character, given their very unique qualities.

How was your day today? Was it…

A Samantha kind of day
A keen problem solver and peace keeper who can rely on common sense, resourcefulness and intuition to get out of a bind… but an occasional eye of newt or bat’s wing is not out of the question.

A Darren day
An unfailing spirit who would do anything for the love of his life, even if it means getting put through the ringer, having limits tested daily, and being turned into every species of animal known to roam the planet.

An Endora kind of day
The queen of the hive, the lioness, a powerful defender whose power should never be put to test. Could be perceived as meddlesome even though everything she does is TO HER, with the best of intentions and to protect the ones she loves. Continue reading

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Top 10 Weird Things the Cat Made Me Do

Ivy_the_catWhen someone adopts a cat, I would imagine that the typical responsibilities that go along with it are pretty evident: dishing out food, washing bowls, playing cat games, keeping the litter box scooped, dealing with an occasional fur ball puddle, and ultimately, offering love, comfort and security.

But I must have missed the fine print on the contract as there are some strange things I found myself doing that were not entirely evident from the start. But when Miss Ivy looks up at me with those big green eyes and lets out a soft meow, it puts a big smile on my face and makes it all worth it.

Here they are, the top 10 weird things that the cat made me do:

10 – Baby proof the house
Since the arrival of Ivy, I don’t recognize myself since I have turned into a bit of a robot, always on auto pilot, perpetually looking to eradicate any potential choking hazard like twist ties, buttons, dimes and elastic bands. Also, I have placed pieces of masking tape on ground level cabinets to prevent Ivy from opening them, especially if they contain anything potentially dangerous. The reality is that despite a curious spirit, she seems to lack a mischievous streak to get into any trouble, and frankly aside from tissue paper and yarn, she doesn’t seem terribly interested in human stuff.

9 – Checking her stools
After the feline parasite incident of last September, whenever I scoop her litter, I do keep an eye open to ensure nothing is moving or looking back at me from the litter box. Along with that, goes an occasional check of her bottom to ensure all is clean there too. There should have been a “claws” in the contract about that part!

8 – Counting cat calories
Much like human food, not all food is equal when it comes to calories. In the first months after her arrival, she was starting to put on a little weight. The vet suggested I limit the amount of wet food I offer her. That was easy enough but a day or two later, she was following me around the house like my shadow and constantly meowing. I had also noticed that she was going through her food rather quickly, including the dry food I was leaving out. This started the process of reading the fine print on cat foot labels. Little did I know that her favourites were actually very low in calories (50-60 calories per serving), while some other commercially available foods can be 100 calories or more per serving. From that point on, I have kept track of which favourites were higher in calories vs lower, and adjusting the portion size accordingly. In the end, by my calculations, she is pretty self-regulating and stays around 180 calories per day, a little less if she’s been sleeping a lot, and a little more if we have played a lot.

7 – Postponing basic human needs when she’s asleep on me
She is just so calm and peaceful when she is taking a nap, it would be such a shame to disturb her. Plus let us not forget the wrath I occasionally incur if I wake her up before she is ready to wake up… Meh, let her sleep. Continue reading

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Filed under Cats, Humour, Top 10, TV