Thursday, September 23, 2010

Love, American Style

I've recently been catching up on some classic TV by way of Netflix, including the early '70s show "Love, American Style". This show featured a different set of guest stars--usually has-beens mixed with up-and-comers, sort of like a minor league baseball game--and three different story lines each episode. For some reason it seems that LAS was intended as a comedy, judging from the consistent use of the laugh track, but there don't seem to be any funny parts. Just a lot of mushy "love related" themes.

At least for the early episodes that I've seen so far, LAS seems to have stayed away from anything controversial--no homosexuality, violence, or black people. (I'm sure some later episodes will feature black folks, since television had discovered blacks by the early '70s, but so far the edgiest they got was a Jewish couple, complete with whiny mother. Oy vey!) In fact, the syrupy sweet plot devices and bland "humor" and avoidance of any topical or controversial subject--these plot lines could have been written in 1946 and remained unchanged except for bell bottoms and miniskirts--led me to believe that this show was part of the counter-counterculture. Nixon's Silent Majority must have loved this so they wouldn't have to watch anything "far out" or "groovy" like "F Troop". (Yes, the Indians represented urban turmoil, the Cavalrymen represented the Establishment, we get it!) The edgiest thing about "Love, American Style" is that the theme song is sung by radical hippie band the Cowsills.

Maybe the whole thing was a subtle satire? I'll check the credits to see if Abbie Hoffman was the producer.

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