PBS and Sundays
With the passing of Roger Ebert today, I am once again reminded about PBS and Sunday afternoons and I’ve come to realize how much that lineup of shows during my childhood has had a strong influence on my interests. Granted, it was long enough ago that I can’t remember which shows were on Sundays and which were on weeknights, but just the same, these are the ones I remember.
Of course there was Sneak Previews with Siskel and Ebert. The show was special not only for the preview and critique of new movies, but also for the respectful discussion between the two of them. I suppose my interest in film and cinematography came from that show. I tend to be more critical of movies and look for ones that are different from the norm.
I think everyone in the construction industry grew up watching This Old House. It is what sparked my interest in becoming an architect. It was fascinating to see how the buildings we live in are constructed and how they can be made better. After all these years, I still watch it on Sunday mornings.
Nova was a must-see show for me. I’ve always loved science and how deeply it is intertwined with every aspect of life. It wasn’t just showing you animals in the natural habitat, it went into depths about their ecosystem, social structure, and biology. I especially loved the shows about space and astronomy. It was a show that made you think.
There were at least three different cooking shows that I remember. The Frugal Gourmet, the Cajun Cook, and The French Chef. Everyone loves to eat and to learn how to cook better. I don’t doubt that it has helped my cooking habits over the years.
Then there were the painting shows. I never did take up painting except for a watercolor trip I took while in Europe, but it did help me appreciate art and see what was involved in making it. Especially how it is not necessary to be perfect and how mistakes can become part of the art.
Lastly there was Monty Python’s Flying Circus. I’m sure my often dry humor comes from those shows. It also gave me a running start to understand British culture. I’m still a big fan of that show.
After we had our kids, I used that experience during my childhood as a guide for what I wanted to pass along to our kids. Though it hasn’t been easy since there hasn’t been a lineup of shows of that caliber. We usually watch the local science program on Sunday evenings, but it has been difficult to find other shows that are not reality programs or dumbed down nature or top ten shows. There are other ways we’ve been making up for that, but it’s not like that weekly exposure to those different aspects of life.