Honestly, the TV Land Awards barely qualify as part of awards season — like, say, the People’s Choice Awards, they’re kind of decided on who says they’ll show up to accept the trophy (which look like they’re made of Styrofoam spray-painted silver) — but that doesn’t mean that they don’t lure a galaxy of stars. The casts of “Cheers,” “Good Times,” “Batman” and “Dallas” — including the big names, like Ted Danson, John Amos, Adam West and Larry Hagman, not just supporting players poignantly intent on keeping their faces in front of the public — turned up in a Santa Monica Airport hangar Sunday night to receive awards for shows that have long since left the air (except, of course, for syndication). It’s a cheeky ceremony that, reasonably enough, refuses to take itself seriously.
(Here’s the point where you’re grateful that I didn’t elaborate on my nightmare, 2 1/2 drive from Echo Park to Santa Monica on the day of the LA Marathon. But my head almost exploded and I’m still bitter.)
Here’s a question: What accounts for TV Land’s success? (Last year, the network says, 24 million people watched the TV Land Awards, though not at once — it was repeated several times; nonetheless, that’s how many people see an original episode of “Grey’s Anatomy,” which was named Future Classic on Sunday.)
Which is another way of saying, I suppose, what accounts for nostalgia in general? Are TV Land’s shows really that good and enduring, or are viewers more intent on escaping today’s grim realities by retreating to days that seem relatively safer via the TV shows of their childhood? (Interestingly, many of TV Land’s shows come from the ’70s, when the U.S. was also embroiled in a seemingly unwinnable war, so how innocent were those days/shows?)
Not a powerfully original thought, I concede. But still, here’s a question for TV Land viewers: Why do you watch? The shows or the memories?