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Stepping back to the 1950s

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By Calen McKinney

 

"Welcome to the 1950s," he said, as he took my ticket and showed me to my seat.

For the following two hours, the comedy that was the extremely popular "I Love Lucy" show came alive, complete with actors who were dead ringers for Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

I went with a friend to see "I Love Lucy Live" on Saturday. The theater was set as what I would imagine a television stage looked like in the 1950s.

There was a host to explain how this contraption called television works, singers who entertained while the actors and actresses prepared for the next take and even commercials for soap and hair creams.

Watching as two episodes of "I Love Lucy" were "filmed," I began thinking about television in the 1950s and the state of it today.

Today, shows are full of foul language, violence and storylines that center around how people are just plain mean to other people.

But in the 1950s, when "I Love Lucy" was one of the most watched shows in the United States, it seems the state of television was a bit different. Shows were made to make people laugh, not shock them like they are today.

But as time went on, more and more shows pushed the envelope of what was shown to the mass television audience. Gone were the clean comedies like "I Love Lucy."

I watched several more episodes of "I Love Lucy" over the weekend. And I can now appreciate its popularity and simplicity.

The friend I attended with, who absolutely loves "I Love Lucy," used the show to help her learn English as a child. She loves Lucy's antics and they still make her chuckle, even though she's seen them many, many times. And a little research has told me that "I Love Lucy" hasn't stopped airing, on some channel or another, since it began in 1951. So, obviously, Lucy did something right.

The friend I attended "I Love Lucy" with is the same one who introduced me to "Duck Dynasty." I know the show has been in the spotlight a lot lately for a variety of reasons. But I have never heard foul language on the show. I've never seen a black bar placed across someone who was naked. And I've never seen a fight, dead body or crime scene.

As I watched Lucy's comedic performance, I began to wonder what made people today want to see so much violence and foul language on television. Why is it necessary? Do people really need to see dead bodies and drug deals to be entertained?

I admit, I watch television shows today that contain plenty of foul language and violence. But, I wonder, would I like them without all of that? I hope so.

I like today's modern conveniences and technology just like everyone else, but I think I would have liked life in the 1950s. Times just seemed simpler. Sure, I know bad stuff happened back then. But I don't think it was broadcast as fast and thoroughly as it is today.

I guess my "I Love Lucy" education opened my eyes a bit. I don't think I will completely change my television viewing habits, but I will certainly pay more attention to what I'm watching. And I, just like everyone else, can simply turn the channel if I don't like what I see.