Tuesday, 29 June 2010

TV Meme, Day 28: First TV Show Obsession

I looked at the word carefully obsession. I’m not an obsessive persons (lies) and I never really loved TV until I was at least nine. This makes my choice seem somewhat odd, but it’s an odd one. It got to a point where I think I’d seen all the episodes by the time I was 13 (one episode a day, five days a week). The first show I ever really became groupie for was Andy Griffith’s Matlock.
I should probably have prefaced that with the fact that up until I was 17 I was planning on being a lawyer (got through to University and all). I wouldn’t say that Matlock drove me to that career (that would be weird), if anything it probably weaned me off of it. The man’s life was always being threatened. Like many modern day detective stories Matlock was as episodic as it gets. In each episode a murder would occur, and Matlock would defend the accused who would inevitably prove to be innocent. Matlock wasn’t content to stop there, he always had to find the real murderer and this each episode led up to that climax in the court where he’d find the truth (whenever ten minutes are left usually whoever was on the stand was GUILTY). I did love the routine of the show, but it was even more gripping when it would be a double parter and (shocker) we’d be left with nothing. I have not seen an episode in some time, so I wonder how my 19 year old, non-legal self would respond to it.
Andy Griffith was the life of Matlock. With that same tepid, grayish white suit in every courtroom everywhere he went he was the perfect sort of lawyer we’d root for. He had a think for hot dogs and was something of a buffoon at times, but always funny. But Matlock worked too because of more things. Matlock, depending on the season, had a strong supporting cast. Of the people actually working for the big man Nancy Stafford’s Michelle (Matlock’s secretary / assistant /decoy / hottie) was my favourite with Clarence Gilyard’s Conrard a close second. Unfortunately, he never did rise to same level of greatness on Walker the Texas Ranger (Chuck Norris, aka screen hog, boo!). I was less enthused when the cast would shift to Matlock’s daughters Charlene or Leanne, who was a tad annoying, or Cliff who was more annoying. But the highlights of the supporting cast were those NOT working for Ben (oooh, yes he does have a first name). There was Warren Frost playing Cliff’s father and Matlock’s long-time rival back in the day when they were in high school, there was Don Knotts s his nosy, eccentric neighbour and friend and the shining light Julie Sommars as the Prosecutor and Matlock’s on-and-off “friend”. He was old, but he was not wimp.
Each episode of Matlock was preceded by the title (The Singer, The Other Woman etc) and each episode was formulaic and somewhat predictable. We always knew that Matlock’s client would be innocent so it was much fun trying to find the guilty party. I suppose it was never really a “good” show but everyday for years I’d tune in for Griffith’s quasi-humour. Strangely, I can’t imagine my childhood without it…
Again, late...yet as the MEME comes to a close I’m getting a little sad. Go figure, it’s been kicking my disorganised ass.


Marcy said...

Thanks for blogging about a show that no one seems to blog about!

I used to watch it on TV when I was really young too.

Heather said...

I watched L.A. Law with my mom religiously though I really didn't comprehend what was going on within the show.

I was also wildly addicted to Scooby Doo and Smurfs. No shame there.

Luke said...

Oh my gosh - what a great choice! I used to watch this with the grandparents back in the day... Another good choice for this category - Murder, She Wrote! Ever jump on that bandwagon?? :)

Rachel said...

Can't say I saw that one coming. I never watched Matlock myself, but Andy Griffith will always be a classic (the man and the show).