Sunday, October 17, 2010

Did Anyone's Neighborhood or Family Really Look Like This?




I doubt it.

Mine certainly didn't.

I don't know anyone around from that time whose family was even close to this, and yet we all felt then that this was what was expected from us. This is what was presented to us as "normal."
Ward worked at some unknown managerial job and was always the steady benevolent ruler of the household. June stayed home and cooked and cleaned, always immaculately dressed with pearls and never looking exhausted or vexed. The kids were both uncomplicated, uncomplaining, and managed the minor temptations of the world (usually in the person of relatively harmless Eddy Haskell) with relative ease and confidence, always turning to wise and benevolent parents whenever there was something they couldn't understand.
This show presented so scrubbed up and uncomplicated an image of family life that it made Norman Rockwell's sweetest Saturday Evening Post cover look like brutally honest realism in comparison.

13 comments:

Grandmère Mimi said...

Not mine, surely, except for this:

June stayed home and cooked and cleaned, always immaculately dressed with pearls and never looking exhausted or vexed.

You're talking about me! Well, at least the first part is true. You can scratch from "always immaculately dressed...."

I sort of bought the picture of the what the typical family family should be as portrayed by the Cleavers and the Andersons in "Father Knows Best", and I knew our family fell short of the ideal. I knew deep down that the reality of family life was not what we saw in the two TV shows, but still, I felt we were not measuring up. In that sense, the shows were not an influence for good.

And I can't speak for the gay guys, but I thought Wally was hot, hot, hot looking, but he was a woefully wooden actor.

susan s. said...

"I thought Wally was hot, hot, hot looking, but he was a woefully wooden actor."

You wanted it all, Mimi? Only James Dean fit that bill!

Grandmère Mimi said...

Susan, I wanted it all. I freely admit that I am greedy.

Counterlight said...

Tony Dow was no James Dean. Not only too wooden, but too square.

susan s. said...

I totally agree, CL, but you did think he was hot! You said so! ;o)

Counterlight said...

When you look like that, who cares if you can act.

Leonardo Ricardo said...

I bought it! Afterall, you would have too if you had been brought up a Betty Crockers house (well, there was the slight irregularity smudge of my older sister constantly trying to assassinate me).

Tracie H said...

Mine was kinda like that until I was old enough to go to school, at which point Mom returned to work.

But that world is long, long gone.

Sometimes I think my dad knew that LITB world. Sort of.

Tracie H said...

PS: But we are talking about an archetype here, after all. :D

JCF said...

Black & White TV shows were a little too Black & White for me, after "In Color!" came along (when I was about age 4 or 5). I guess I never questioned the "reality" of Leave It to Beaver . . . I was too busy getting lost in the surreality of Batman! (Da-da, da-da, da-da, da-da--BATMAN! *LOL*)

Counterlight said...

I LOVED the old Batman show when I was a kid! That show really made me gay.

Rick+ said...

     Actually, Doug, I think my life growing up was pretty much like that. Um... except my dad was a preacher... and my mom didn't wear pearls except at special church functions... oh, and I knew if I screwed up in any way I'd go to hell... oh, and "Wally" was walking home so pensively because he couldn't get his crush on Rich, a guy in his history class, out of his mind. See? Away with your big city cynicism. My life was almost exactly like that.

JCF said...

I just thought Batman was COOL! (Took another 20 years, to discover it was camp ;-p)