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Food for thought

Spare me the ‘Shore’ Thing — unless it’s Cabot Cove

Jessica Fletcher

Image via Wikipedia

You wouldn’t believe the excitement here right now.

You see, yesterday was Jersday and now that dinner is eaten and the table is cleared, Catherine and Basil are crowded around the DVR to watch the season premiere of “Jersey Shore.”

Catherine is wearing her “Jersey Shore” sweats and Snooki slippers for the occasion, hoping to get a glimpse of some new fella who has 10-pack abs.

It won’t surprise you to learn that I am in another room. Far from any Situation Pauly, Vinny, JWoww or Deena can cause. I will never understand the appeal of this show.

Catherine says you feel better about your own situation after watching the fashion don’ts, binge drinking and self-indulgence, but I just feel embarrassed to share the same planet with these people.

Last summer, we spent a few days in Seaside Heights, where the show is filmed. The cast had wrapped for the season, but that didn’t keep a steady stream of fans from dropping by the Shore House next to the motel where we stayed.

We were even nice enough to photograph some of them standing in front of the house, and remembered to avoid asking them to say “cheese” if they didn’t have all their teeth, as was often the case.

For Catherine, the trip was a kind of pilgrimage. For me, it was best to just smile and wave.

I silently perused the collection of rude sayings on the garments at the Shore Store, held my tongue when shown the spot where Snooki was arrested on the beach. I even managed some appreciative nods after trekking down the boardwalk to see the bar stool where Snooki got punched in the face.

The chair where Snooki got punched.

Don’t get me wrong. At Catherine’s age, I had the whole family stop what it was doing every Sunday night at 7 so I could watch “The Hardy Boys ” — after all, there was no DVR and we couldn’t possibly miss Joe and Frank’s latest adventure.

(Ladies: Did you go for Parker Stevenson or Shaun Cassidy?)

But these days, my TV of choice is more about escapism — I need to run away in a virtual fashion, be calmed, engage in some chewing gum for the mind, as Basil would say.

Which is why I was practically jumping up and down in the living room on New Year’s Day, when I discovered that TVLand has brought Jessica Fletcher back! Yes another round of “Murder She Wrote” reruns starring Angela Lansbury.

I got a couple of episodes in while I was straightening up and folding laundry. How could you not love the ’80s fashions and hairstyles? The very first toaster-sized cell phones — or better yet, a rotary dial, complete with curly cord? Right there next to Jessica’s signature manual typewriter.

And how about Jessica’s persistence in getting the mystery solved — without mussing her hair, running her hose, scuffing her sensible pumps, or losing her matching bag?

Or the chance to see Leslie Nielson without his “Naked Gun,” a post-“Happy Days” Tom Bosley, or Gerald McRaney with hair and before he was “Major Dad”?

A huge number of acting veterans — Shirley Jones, John Astin, June Allyson, Ernest Borgnine, Martin Landau, to name just a few — and then-upcoming stars — including Tom Selleck, Fred Willard, Cynthia Nixon, Geroge Clooney — had guest roles on the show. What fun to pick them out.

Yes, I admit that seeing the storyline wrapped up in an artfully styled designer scarf is one of my guilty pleasures. But, really what’s not to like? In just 60 minutes, all is well with the world again and Jessica is caught, freeze-frame, having a hearty laugh.

I’m setting the DVR to record the whole season, then hoping for a sick day, a snow day or some other excuse to stay on the couch in my sweats and slippers.

And plotting our family trip to Universal Studios. Think Cabot Cove is still set up on the back lot?

About Terri S. Vanech

Wife, mother, communications specialist, Jazzercise instructor and recently reunited adoptee. I'm living out loud -- and trying to make it all work -- in midlife. Having a sense of humor sure helps.


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