Thursday, September 21, 2006
Riptide was a television series from 1984-1986 involving two Vietnam buddies who opened a detective agency in Los Angeles. It is classic 80s shtick now, but at the time it was pretty cool. Cody Allen (Perry King) and Nick Ryder (Joe Penny) who ran the Riptide Detective Agency, recruited a "genius" who worked with computers, Murray 'Boz' Bozinsky (Thom Bray). Boz had a robot named Roboz. They also had a Sikorsky S-58T (aka, Sikorsky H-34 Choctaw) helicopter, painted pink with a huge gaping mouth painted on the front. It was called Screaming Mimi. I remember my brother loving this show (of course he also liked The Dukes of Hazzard and Charlie's Angels). I thought it was all right, but I was a more serious television watcher (Miami Vice, A-Team, and McGuyver). I thought of this show the other day with seemingly no reason to make the connection. I don't know why I thought of it; it just came to mind.
I think television gets a bad rap. Now, I am a voracious reader, and my loyalty to literature should never be questioned, but it's easy for me to have a love for both television and books as I sleep less than most people. Granted, if given the choice between the annihilation of either, I would keep books near me and guard them forever. All that said, television still gets a bad rap.
I think the problem is not watching television, it is the passive watching of television. I can come home from work exhausted, and believe me that is a possibility as a pastor, and just sit passively in front of the television passing the hours away and failing to use my imagination. But I don't. I cannot tell you the last time I passively watched television. When I watch I allow the show to engage me, making connections with television, films, literature. I watch critically, asking "Why did the writer choose that turn of phrase?" or "What a brilliant angle on that shot." James Burke, writer and creator of Connections understands the importance of linking things. Now, with all that said, there are only certain shows I watch. I am very picky.
Sure all of this seems like the justification of a couch potato, but it's true nonetheless. Oh, yeah. I probably should mention that while Julia and I have a library that won't fit into one room, we only have a 13" television without cable. (Mmm, more justification.) So those of you who proudly bash television with your holier than thou attitudes, I say stop beating up on the poor thing. In ten years we'll look back at most of what we watch and remember Riptide. It was fun at the time, but now it's a bit dorky.