For those of us who grew up on reruns of The Andy Griffith Show and A Christmas Story, yesterday saw the passing of two great actors. Don Knotts, "I'm Deputy Barney Fife and I'm as good a man as any" and Darren McGavin, the perfect 1940's grumpy dad from A Christmas Story. I think McGavin had some of the best one liners in history in that movie: "Do you know what this leg is?...It's a lamp! Would you look at that?! Would you look at that?!?! What a great lamp!" and (after the neighbor's dog's ear got stuck in the door) "Serves ya right! Ya smelly buggers!"
I find it ironic that both men who were about the same age and gave iconic performances died on the same day. I can still watch reruns of either of those classics and still laugh like the first time I saw them. Classic, situational comedy is hard to come by these days. Most comedy shows and movies have gravitated more to acerbic one-liner humor that is really only good for one viewing and does not have a lot of rerun value.
In fact, I haven't seen a funny sitcom on TV in years that has interested me all that much. I think Home Improvement was about the last sitcom I watched with any regularity. A lot of people liked Seinfeld, which I never could get into, the Soup Nazi notwithstanding. You can get a fairly intelligent, situational humor movie from time to time. Occasionally you will get a gem like Waking Ned Devine, a film that came out a few years ago that was hysterical.
In honor of Don Knotts and Darren McGavin, I'm busting open a jar of my mother's homemade pickles. Luckily, they aren't one of Aunt Bea's kerosine cucumbers.