As far as culture and entertainment, it often feels as if we are living through the worst of times. Old cranks like myself constantly opine that entertainment is not entertaining either through the sheer ineptitude or the callous disregard of its purveyors. Instead, I’ll don those rose-colored spectacles to look backward to cherry pick some superlative example from the past.
Those were the days, my friends!
Sometimes I come across something that resoundingly slaps those pink lenses from the bridge of my nose and forces me to gaze upon unfiltered reality. Such is the case with Real People.
Real People was an hour long collection of vapid human interest stories hosted by a quintet of milquetoast personalities that seemed to have been dragooned from news rooms and comedy clubs. Videos of skateboarding dogs, geriatric gymnasts and other shaggy dog stories would unspool while the hosts read quips from cue cards. The audience of starstruck tourists visiting California robotically responded with either laughter or applause. It’s all filler — a time waster. It like the networks had cynically given up. It’s as if they felt that they had a corner on the market so where else was a captive audience going to go? It was good enough! Watch, you slobs!
It’s no wonder that cable television and home video exploded in the years following this era.
I caught Real People on the DistroTV channel available on the Roku. The channel acts like a virtual cable television with a number of different streaming options available. The sub-channel within DistroTV is called Classic Reruns TV which shows a number of different television shows from the past. Some of it’s good. Others are like Real People.
Shaggy dogs is right… sigh
Remember summer replacement shows? They were sort of the placeholders for when the “real” shows started in the fall. Real People felt like a summer replacement show, but it was a hit and lasted years!