TV Article

The politically incorrect TV series

We review classic TV series by today's standards including ''Cheers'', ''F Troop'', and others

The future has been reprogrammed to suit the present. And TV's new RoboCop is no exception, resorting to violence considerably less often than his movie prototype. Now, instead of unleashing a fusillade of bullets, he may simply toss a villain aside. Everywhere on TV, you find a kinder, gentler America- even on sitcoms. Where goofy drunks once staggered, you're likely to find recovering alcoholics (as on The John Larroquette Show), while a series that portrays less-than-affluent African-Americans draws protest (as Fox's new South Central has endured for its fatherless family). But does caution make for good comedy? The following classics might be judged politically incorrect by today's standards:

Cheers Bartender Sam relentlessly hits on barmaid Diane? Sexual harassment.

F Troop Old West soldiers make handsome profit off trade with Indians? Typical example of white man exploiting Native Americans. (We won't talk about how Chief Wild Eagle is played by Italian Frank deKova.)

I Dream of Jeannie Man keeps woman in bottle to do his bidding? 'Nuff said.

The Honeymooners Ralph constantly harangues wife, threatening, ''One of these days, Alice, bang zoom!'' Domestic violence, even when verbal, is not excused by the occasional ''You're the greatest'' remark.

Bewitched Straight-laced advertising exec insists that his witch wife not use her powers? Repression of womanhood and the power of the goddess, typical of a patriarchal culture.

Mr. Ed A talking horse? Animals do not exist for the amusement of their owners.

The Partridge Family A mother turns her family into a traveling rock group? Exhibit A: The Jacksons. Parents should not drive their children into showbiz to fulfill the needs of their own egos.

Bosom Buddies Two men who dress as women? You're not suggesting this is deviant behavior, are you?

Hogan's Heroes Wacky Nazis? Haven't you seen Shoah or Schindler's List?

I Love Lucy Housewife, left alone all day while her celebrity husband goes to a nightclub, gets into mischief? Of course she does-the male-dominated work force offers her little hope of a fulfilling career outside the home.

The Addams Family and The Munsters Two minority families are shunned by ''normal'' people. They should be embraced for their differences as Monstro- Americans.

Father Knows Best Oh, he does? And what's Mother, chopped liver?

That Girl Excuse me-I think you mean That Woman.

My Favorite Martian An alien from outer space helps a bumbling human? Sorry, but other planets have been receiving our TV signals for years, and their inhabitants know better than to bother with us.

Originally posted Apr 22, 1994 Published in issue #219 Apr 22, 1994 Order article reprints
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