Why we could not do The Carol Burnett Show today!


Image curtsey of Wikipedia via Creative Commons

I recently did a re-watch of the Carol Burnett show which got me thinking.

First off, can I just say that it hold up fairly well. Though some of the jokes are a little dated, the delivery and over all humor had me laughing out loud for almost the whole episode – every episode. Between the slapstick, and the delightful crackups that you can only get on live TV, the show just had me in hysterics. It was like you are a fly on the wall while you watch a group of friends be silly and try to crack each other up.

It really is something that everyone should watch, or re-watch.

Secondly, I was saddened by the thought by the thought that there is no way a show like this could happen today.

There was a couple key component that made the show great – cast, writing, and performances not withstanding – and there is really no way the components could be used today.

Audience participation.

Carol always went and talked to the audience every episode. She took questions, and provided thoughtful answers ever show (I think it was 2 a night when it aired). There was also the use of audience enjoyment in the episode. Intentionally or not (and I tend to think it was), the audience laughter and polite clapping was part of the skits – even framing scenes in some cases.

Sadly I don’t think this could ever happen today.

Society is just not quiet enough, or respectful enough today to be able to quietly clap to frame the scene. Nor could they be counted on to ask respectful, thoughtful questions.



I believe I am right though.

Even if I am not, with the advent of always on smart phones, and people with constant twitters and facebooks, at the least there would be constant audience distraction, and at best there would be tweets like ‘lawls, C.B. skit funny. ___spoiler here____”.

Not to mention the constant duck face selfies from the audience tagged “At the CB Show!”

I just don’t think in this technocentric – self involved – world a show that count on audience participation in that way could work.

Perhaps my faith in humanity has become a bit jaded as of late. Watching people paying more attention to their devices then each other has no doubt frustrated me a fair bit, but as this is currently the state of the world, it changes – everything.

We are not the same society as before.

We are to self-involved.

We are to arrogant.

We are to rude.

We are to distracted.

This makes me sad.

Some of the great things of the past, can never happen again.

The magic, is gone.

I kind of wish sometimes that people were forced to unplug – Revolution style – so they could learn to reconnect.

We could learn to be… People, again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *