Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Hill Street Blues ... again

AFTER A FEW months of being stuck with network television, a fate worse than death on weeknights, Sheryl decided to get a Hulu subscription. Hulu basically lets you watch shows, movies and more for a cheap monthly fee.

I've been getting used to her watching The Office on her Kindle. Great peals of laughter erupt from the other room as I'm watching a game or on the computer or making sure Bella isn't eating a lamp.

I got really excited when learning many of the old shows are on Hulu, including the legendary NBC series Hill Street Blues. So the past few nights we've been sucked in watching the first episodes from the first season, and it's like a free ride back in time.

Hill Street Blues debuted in 1981 and I was instantly hooked. Back in my rebellious teen years I never got excited about anything unless it involved The Who or hockey. And Hill Street Blues.

I watched it on Thursday nights with my mother, and from what I recall it was usually just the two of us, since my brothers and sisters were in bed by 10. We would talk about the crazy plot twists and interesting characters and laugh out loud together.

How my mother stayed sane all those years with five children, a job and the chaos of life itself is beyond me. I think she just enjoyed watching the show because it took us away from life and she got time to spend with her oldest son.

I miss my mother.

Anyway, Hill Street Blues was different from other shows because it went over the top while trying to be realistic. Covering crime and courts for 12 years has proven that You Can't Make It Up, and watching the show now I relate even more.

Sure, there's the soap opera part, but there is wicked and understated humor no matter how dark the subject matter. The characters were defined early and you could relate to Captain Furillo dealing with his frustrated ex-wife, Belker growling at a bad guy, LaRue struggling with the bottle and money woes, and the general insanity.

I always wondered why the city was nameless, and now I know. If it had been in New York or Philly or Los Angeles, it would have limited and labelled the show. Hill Street was in the ghetto and was a dangerous place, but it could have been anywhere.

Most of all, I loved Michael Conrad's character, Esterhaus. His catch phrase set the tone and the theme song was the signal you were in for a great hour.

I'm remembering bits and pieces as we watch. The show went on for six years and I didn't watch the later episodes.

Hunkering down on cold winter nights watching a 30-year-old television series?

Now I'm getting excited!

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