And so is everybody else’s. “Eye TV,” Private Eye Nº 1106 (14–27 May), p. 8, explains why television Just Isn’t the Same Anymore, particularly on Saturday nights:

The smarter view would be that the achievements of The Two Ronnies and Starsky & Hutch are like verbatim parliamentary reporting in newspapers and large crowds at county cricket matches: Nice for the people who had them, but impossible to re-create in the current culture.

In the 1970s, millions of people used to watch revolutionary-socialist dramas every Tuesday night in Play for Today – but that isn’t going to happen again, either. Chasing the shadows of past Saturday nights is not only futile but misunderstands the fluid nature of TV as a medium.

It’s tempting to take this lesson literally and try to explain why Hockey Night in Canada, Cops, and, at the opposite end of the gender pole, Sex and the City, ever worked as Saturday-night programming. I never feel like less of a success than when watching television on a Friday or Saturday night. I don’t particularly even want to be home.

The greater lesson is to explain that people’s tastes change, and you can’t be nostalgic about the time you were growing up. The zeitgeist is never about the past. The old things that seemed to work will not necessarily keep doing so.

As a corollary, “When we were growing up, everybody got along just fine without captioning” also doesn’t cut it.

And in other news, Spitting Image may come back. It might then be time for samizdat PAL tapes to make their way across the pond.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2004.05.18 18:11. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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