“What goes around comes around…”

USA Today recently reports that Hawaii Five-0 is the No.1 rated show on the Fall TV schedule.

TV ratings information is provided to the national daily by Nielsen. For decades now, we’re  told that the Nielsens are a perfect demographic cross section of America. Thus, we are further told, that they are the perfect arbiters of what the rest of us “like” on TV… and of other things as well. In other words,  The Nielsens decide  first—and then tell everyone else — “what’s hot” and “what’s not.” (With all of this influence, you’d think that Neilsens would have to have been elected, but I digress.)

________________

 

Hawaii Five-0 is a remake— recycled programming originally broadcast in the 1970’s.

The prospect of resurrecting anything from the 70’s era gives me the “heebee –jeebies”. I am a survivor of the deacde, and like many other baby boomers, I just barely made it out alive. I also spent much of the 80’s receiving therapy as a result of actually having seen people dressed in big apple hats, leisure suits, white belts, wide lapels, and platform shoes. The idea of watching a TV show where there is chance of seeing everything plastered in paisley, seeing John Travolta dancing ‘The Hustle’ or hearing that awful song, Ring My Bell (by Anita Ward) even one more time sends chills down my spine. I have no interest in a return to the scene of the crime. Why tempt fate? Or the Nielsen family?

However, more or less on a dare from my best friend and blood brother since the third grade, Booger Wadsworth, I tune in. (The reader will note that the act of “daring” and “double-dog daring” is one of the essential duties of best friendship and blood brotherhood.)

Blessedly, I see no one dancing The Frug, no paisley, and not a soul eating fondue. There’s no collateral damage. Whew! And as long as one has enough buttered popcorn, I conclude that the new Hawaii-Five-0 is not the worst way to kill an hour.

Hawaii Five – O is not the first time that Hollywood has recycled an idea. It’s been tried again, again and again. One wonders why they bother to cancel programs in the first place. (One also wonders when and why we ever stopped awarding points for originality.)

We can all expect Kentucky Five-O, CSI:Tuscaloosa and Law and Order: Moultrie during the next ZTV season.

________________

The business of recycling stuff conjures up the notion of…

“…What goes around comes around.”

Lately – and especially in the recession – one hears this expression frequently.

Often the mantra is exclaimed by some indignant individual after they have been denied a request by another individual. Often times the former is a member of the proletariat as it were. The latter is usually a member of that ruling class that includes wives, girl friends, bosses, or rich(er) relatives. More often than not the original request involves legal U.S. tender or the exchange of bodily fluids.

Certainly ‘what goes around comes around’ can be an apt description of Hollywood ‘green-lighting’ behavior. However, except when talking to astronomers, the general idea behind the saying is that “one of these days”, the cosmos… the universe… fate… will conspire to see to it that’ the shoe will be on the other foot’. More specifically, one day, implies the party of the first part, the party of the second part will ‘get theirs’… i.e. get their ‘comeuppance’ as it were.

Ha!

The naked truth is that unless one is talking about The Laws of Planetary Motion, ‘what goes around comes around’ is one of the great lies of the last hundred years. The others include “…the check is in the mail”, and lately “…downloading this program from the Internet is just as easy as pie. Even you can do it.”

A re-balancing of the ‘Cosmic Scales of Justice’ almost never occurs. The scales are notoriously lopsided and the ‘Levers of Fate’ are both balky and sticky. Years after the inciting incident, government studies show that both the transgressor and the transgressed are at their same relative stations in life. In reality, about the only thing that goes around and comes around – other than planets and TV reruns – is Haley’s comet.

A closely related proverb is that is that “everything goes in cycles.”. This supposedly includes the economy, clothes, shoes, dances, music and a host of other things. Yet another apparent misconception about the nature of the universe! Personally, I am still waiting on the economy to cycle back.

I am also still waiting for  a closet full of ties purchased in the 70’s to come back in style. I have a couple of suits from that era  that I can still manage to get in. Occasionally, I attempt to press the issue by donning one of these old suits to see if I can ‘jump start’ the return of the two button suit. Sadly, the only trend that I can see starting is the one of people looking at me, raising their eyebrows, and then shaking their heads.

If my old clothes ever do come back in vogue, with my luck, it will occur two days after I will have given the ‘gently used’ items to some charitable organization. A few days later, Ozzie and Harriet Nielsen, having decided to expand their repertoire from TV to fashion, will suddenly decide that my old clothes are now in vogue. I can see it now: I’ll be walking down the street and encounter some now decidedly well dressed guy walking towards me wearing my now in vogue old stuff. I won’t complain however, if he is wearing my old leisure suit[1]. Better him than me.

Of course, outside of any kind of  cosmic justice  darn near everything else is recycled in this country: old tires, used bottles, defrocked priests, once beaten elected officials, fired football coaches, baseball managers, cans, paper, old automobiles, motor oil … even body parts. This is to our credit as a society. I guess, anyway. Perhaps resourcefulness is also next to Godliness, although the ‘cynic within’ compels me to think that we consider the profit motive first – and it is usually ranked well ahead of any desire for kinship with Deity.

Personally, I am waiting for a few things to get un-cycled – i.e. go out of style. My list is not a long one but includes nose rings, alligator shoes, the pants-on-the-ground style of dress, the Mohawk haircut, vampires, green toe nail polish and hair dyed the color purple. Not one of these things is a  good idea.  Not one! The list makes me wonder if the salesman involved also sells bridges and swampland. When these things are allowed to go out of style, one can only pray that the Ozzie and Harriet Nielsen don’t change their minds and put them on the hot list again.

Why do certain things get re-cycled and others languish forever, why are certain things are “hot” and others are …well,” not”? Why revive Hawaii Five-0 and not say, Gunsmoke? Why horn-rimmed glasses and not monocles? Why bicycles but not cars with the big fins? One might suspect what I refer to as ‘marketing mischief’ – i.e. marketing hype.

Personally, I suspect the Nielsens. They’ve expanded their repertoire you know.

Ozzie and Harriet have a lot to answer for.  A lot.

Book’em Danno!

© Copyright 2010 Will Cantrell


[1]The leisure suit may have been the single worst outcome of the 1970’s. One thinks that they were the result of some kind of communist plot of the ongoing Cold War. They do not/did not  even make good memorabilia. If discarded, leisure suits could neither be drowned, burned or thrown away in a landfill. They were simultaneously both fire retardant and not biodegradable. In the 90’s , Congress passed legislation that allowed that  one could deposit a leisure suit in a landfill…as long as one also filed an Environmental Impact Statement.

###
Will Cantrell

Will Cantrell

Will Cantrell (a pseudonym) is a writer, storyteller, and explorer of the milieu of everyday life. An aging Baby Boomer, a Georgia Tech grad, and a retired banker, Cantrell regularly chronicles what he swears are 'mostly true'  'everyman' adventures. Of late, he's written about haircuts, computer viruses, Polar Vortexes, identity theft, ketchup, doppelgangers, bifocals, ‘Streetification’, cursive handwriting, planning his own funeral and other gnarly things that caused him to scratch his head in an increasingly more and more crazy-ass world.   As for Will himself, the legend is at an early age he wandered South, got lost, and like most other self-respecting males, was loathe to ask for directions. The best solution, young Will mused, “was just to stay put”. All these years later, he still hasn't found his way but remains  a son of the New South. He was recently sighted somewhere close to I-285, lost, bumfuzzled and mumbling something about “...writing' his way home.” Of course, there are a lot of folks who think that “Cantrell ain't wrapped too tight” but hope that he keeps writing about his adventures as he finds his way back to the main highway.