Before Saturday Night Live, there was public television’s sporadically aired TVTV (a.k.a. Top Value Television), a remnant of 1960s counterculture that called itself ”America’s first guerrilla-television collective.” From 1972 to ‘76, TVTV used satire and muckraking to appraise such pop-culture phenomena as the Super Bowl and the Oscars.
In the group’s 1976 Super Bowl ”coverage”, TVTV Goes to the Superbowl (with future stars Bill Murray and Christopher Guest), we get refreshing interviews with team wives on such subjects as their player husbands’ eating habits, along with predictable bits depicting fans as beery yahoos. TVTV Looks at the Academy Awardsfeatures host Lily Tomlin making so-what comments on the show, along with an interview with author Ken Kesey on his bitterness at being left out of the celebrations for that year’s big winner, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Both tapes are highly watchable examples of what TV too rarely tries to be: an original, humorously candid window on our treasured cultural totems.
Super Bowl: B-