Dear Mr. Belvedere,
Where have you gone? Things have become so complicated since you went away. Way back then, things were so simple on TV. Hugh Downs was everywhere, as long as everywhere was 20/20. There were only like three channels. Plots were so simple: A funny or eccentric father. A mom who means well. Some kid who is always getting into hijinks. And always a sister who REALLY liked the mall. Hilarity would ensue. Once a year, during sweeps, you would take on a special issue. Then, in the second sweeps period you would do a two part episode, or maybe a crossover so for some reason you go to Hawaii for a little bit to be the butler for Magnum, P.I. Except that he was on CBS and you were on ABC so that one would never happen unless it was in my dreams. Which it has many, many times.
But now, I just don't know. There are approximately one hundred million channels and there are zombies on every one. Zombies are really, really popular. So are shows about fairy tales it seems. And there are these things called "reality shows" that are scripted and sort of staged in a way. They are to reality what the WWF is to high school wrestling. Also, it is not called the WWF anymore, but that is a story for another time. I just called it that because I wanted you to know what I was talking about. And everything is meta now. And I don't even know what meta means!
There are more children on television right now on my satellite dish than there were in all of the 80s combined (and by the way, the satellite dish is only like a foot across). There are 14 year old kids on Nickelodeon, Nickelodeon West, Disney Channel, , ABC Family, and like six other networks that I can't even name. And all of them are living in situations that aren't really based, you know, in reality. I don't think that are a whole lot of single parent families with really involved and understanding parents living in industrial lofts in New York City that have kids who are pop stars. But then again I could be wrong. Oh, and every one of those teens on TV have also released a pop album. And no, none of them are any good. Streaks on the china, indeed!
So take me back. Please, let's go back. I want things to be simple. I don't want edgy shows on networks that have nothing to do with what their names say anymore (try to find anything about the Arts or Entertainment on A&E or a historical documentary on The History Channel). Take me back to where there are no more shows about people down South who don't live with electricity or a million shows about people running pawn shops in a gruff but likeable manner. Back when everyone was watching what I was watching because that is all that was on. Back when cable boxes had mechanical push buttons. I want that back, Mr. Belvedere. And you can make it happen.