I spent last weekend glued to TV Land as much as I could given that I was living in a motel, traveling back to Aiken to prepare for a move to Fayetteville. The reason? Carol Burnett, of course. The classic television network has brought the comic genius to its line-up of nostalgic viewing and making me happy in the process.
I think I was born old. I never enjoyed the same things girls my age did. When I was 12, I was reading "The Boston Strangler" and "Helter Skelter," two classic true-crime books detailing high-profile murders from the 1960s. Once, a high school teacher had us write up favorite books, television shows, magazines and movies and then compare the results to see which students had common interests.
My list, at age 14, resembled that of an older person n the Reader's Digest, Carol Burnett, Jimmy Stewart, "To Kill a Mockingbird." My classmates favored whatever books, movies and music that targeted teenyboppers but I loved the classics. Carol Burnett was such a favorite of mine I used to beg my folks to let me stay up late on Saturday nights to watch her show. We always went to church on Sundays so bedtime the night before was fairly early. Sometimes they let me stay up until 10 p.m. to watch it; other times, I lay awake in bed, listening to it.
The ensemble of Carol, Harvey Korman, Tim Conway and Vicki Lawrence was unbeatable. I laughed in hysterics to Mrs. Wiggins and Mr. Tudball and to the satirization of "Gone with the Wind," "Sunset Boulevard" and soap operas, not to mention popular commercials. I think I was the only kid in my class who knew who Gloria Swanson and William Holden were.
My love of comedy extended to the great Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz pairing in "I Love Lucy" and, of course, Jerry Seinfeld and his cast of characters. However, my husband and I only manage to agree to Carol Burnett, which is surprising in itself. Ever hear how opposites attract? We personify that clich? to the max. We could not be more different if we were characters in a Hepburn-Tracy movie but we both watched episode after episode of the Carol Burnett show last weekend, laughing at the same things and never even channel-surfing.
But as much as I love Lucy, he doesn't. And he doesn't think Seinfeld is funny, which I find amazing. With the show off the air more than five years, I still laugh at the same lines, which I can recite verbatim. When I worked in Aiken, my co-workers Karen and Jeremy and I made the rest of the newsroom crazy shouting out lines from the shows and often getting into character, becoming Jerry, George, Kramer or Elaine for a few minutes.
People would pass by our desks, eyeing us warily as we laughed to ourselves and each other.
"Seinfeld," we'd simply say, to which they'd nod and continue walking away. Yeah, we were a bunch of nerds enjoying the fact that we so greatly love a show about a bunch of nerds.
Interestingly, a friend of mine lived for a year at 108 West 81st St. in Manhattan n right across the street from Jerry's address at 129 West 81st St. He lives there on the show and he used to live there before becoming rich and famous. When I went to visit her for a week in April 2002, I was excited to look out her apartment and see that address across the street. I walked the streets in the neighborhood and into Central Park, knowing Jerry had done the same.
Because I had been there, I was able to tell Karen and Jeremy that the outside shot of his apartment building is not the real location. In fact, that street is a one-way street and the cars and traffic as seen on the show could not actually exist that way. Cool, huh? For a nerd, anyway.
Kathy Jefcoats is the public safety reporter for the Daily Herald. Her column appears on Tuesdays. She can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.