I woke up with this from a dream about when we were kids. This is up there with the day we accepted that there was no Santa Claus and TV was fake.
Here’ s the strict definition:
“In order to enjoy movies or TV, the audience engages in a phenomenon known as “suspension of disbelief”. This is a semi-conscious decision in which you put aside your disbelief and accept the premise as being real for the duration of the story.”
So. In my house in the 50’s with twelve humans crowded into a single apartment, food, as you can imagine, was always scarce and there were strict rules with regard to extracting (if you dared) anything from the refrigerator.
Especially when my father was home, you had better be making a deposit instead of a withdrawal out of that thing. On Sundays, which was the only day he had off, we all tiptoed around lightly and either stayed out of the house or used sign language so he wouldn’t have to yell, “shut the hell up out there.”
We all knew full well to stay away from that white monster in the kitchen. Even as he perched himself in another room smoking L&Ms and watching sports, he could either hear the suction break on the fridge door or feel the cool air from it being open. He spent the day in his boxers, so his senses were acute. As soon as he became aware of this mid-day, unauthorized transgression, he would yell, “Hey, what the hell are you doing in there?” You had better have a good story.
One night, after we were washed and ready for bed, my brother John and me sat spotlessly on the couch and we heard “And now it’s time for Ozzie and Harriet” about the Nelson family whose story lines made Seinfeld episodes look like action adventures.
It was Ozzie, Harriet, Ricky and his older brother Dave. It was even was before “Ricky” started playing guitar and became famous. Although I never really knew why. All I remember is his nostrils flaring and him desperately trying to curl his lip like Elvis. He was a lightweight in my opinion. If it wasn’t for that show, his whole life would have been a “Garden Party.”
So, on this particular episode, the scene opens with the mother and father sitting at the kitchen table when the boys come in. “Hi Mom, hi pop!” and the usual small talk would commence.
Then, right before our disbelieving eyes. Ricky walks towards the sacred white box and actually opens it. What? Not only that, he reaches in and takes out a bottle of milk. Without asking? Right in front of his father? We are on the edge of our seat now, Ozzie is about to kick some serious ass. Ricky pours himself a tall glass and heads over to the cookie jar. Are you kidding me? Cookies too?
He sits down at the table and the father doesn’t even smack him. As a matter of fact, he never even mentions the sacrilegious act. We were dumb struck. How could something like this happen? He committed a mortal sin, no, two, right in front of his parents. Without asking permission? On TV no less. It wasn’t even dinner. Unbelievable!
This was too much for me and my younger brother. We sat there momentarily stunned, looked at each other with a knowing, “oh, now I get it,” sudden realization.
All TV is fake and Bozo’s probably dead.
Years later, in the 70’s, I was at a party and Saturday Night Live came on and as was the ritual back then, everyone would turn on the tube to catch it. Always. This particular night, I was stoned out of my gourd. I am so high I can’t even talk. The opener had a skit about the Ozzie and Harriet Show with Rick and Dave Nelson making cameos.
They did the kitchen scene, milk, cookies and all. I am dumbstruck. It was like Lorne Michaels had set out to mess my head up. I just sat there grunting and pointing at the set. People were starting to move away from me.
I ran to the phone and called my brother. In my current state, I could hardly speak. But I didn’t have to, he was watching too. He knew. We both got the joke.