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July 24, 2014

The Five: Today's technology on yesterday's shows

by Richard Keller, posted Sep 26th 2006 11:01AM

Rob Petrie and his laptopOne day, while sitting around the palatial TV Squad offices, a notion came to mind. What would happen if you took all of today's technology and applied it to classic television shows of yesteryear? Would The Fugitive's Richard Kimble be acquitted of his crime after the DNA evidence proved that he didn't kill his wife? Or, would The Mary Tyler Moore Show's Ted Baxter be a better anchor if he had access to all of the day's news via the Internet?

Taking that notion one step further, here are five shows that would have been vastly different if modern technology were applied to them.

The Dick Van Dyke Show: No more schlepping into the city for Rob Petrie; not when he could write his scripts from his home desktop computer. And, if he got tired sitting at his desk, he could grab his WiFi laptop and continue to write from the local Starbucks. He would still need Buddy and Sally, of course, but he could pass ideas to them via Instant Messenger. When they were all done with that week's script they could have a video conference with Alan where changes could be made via NetMeeting.

The Monkees: This 'Pre-Fab Four' was always trying to hit the big time. However, the biggest they got was a spot on a local TV talent show (and that was only to rescue their love-struck singer, Davy). Today, they would be mega-stars, well on the Internet at least, with a number of videos on YouTube, downloads of their songs on iTunes, and sales of merchandise on their homepage.

Happy Days: Gone would be the odd jukebox or pay phone that Fonzie could magically start with just a touch. That type of roughness would certainly damage his iPod or cell phone. In addition, he wouldn't be snapping his fingers all of the time. Why would he need to when his apartment and Arnold's were wired with The Clapper.

Gilligan's Island: If I'm not mistaken, most commercial sea craft need to have a GPS installed as mandatory equipment. Gee, don't you wish that was the case when the S.S. Minnow set sail on its three hour tour? Maybe they wouldn't have needed to generate electricity with a coconut-powered bicycle for so long. Oh sure, the GPS unit could have been destroyed during the storm, and they could have still been shipwrecked on that deserted island. But, they probably would have been rescued within a matter of days after some nerd with nothing better to do spotted them while scanning satellite views on Google Maps. Come to think of it, why hasn't anyone done that on Lost?

The Brady Bunch: Look at all of those Brady kids. They're active, fit, they eat all of their vegetables, and drink all of their milk. But, put a game console or computer in front of them and soon Greg Brady isn't making it up those stairs to his room without gasping for breath. That's because he ate a whole pizza while playing Halo for seven hours straight. Oh, and look how healthy their skin is. After spending the daylight hours updating her MySpace page Marcia's pallor would resemble a white sheet. Of course, there could be advantages to this. For instance, Peter wouldn't have broken his mother's favorite vase while playing ball in the house because he'd be more interested in blogging than basketball. And, Marcia's nose wouldn't be broken because the boys would never take a step outside. On the bad side, there would probably be a "very special" episode of The Brady Bunch where Mike Brady rescues son Bobby, who meets his MySpace friend "Rusty" at a local leather bar.

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David Van Deusen

With regard to your idea of what Rob Petrie would be doing with today's technology, I have to agree that he would be using a Wi-Fi laptop to do script writing. But I have to disagree with you that he would be at home or at his local Starbucks.

Much of the collaboration between Rob, Buddy, and Sally was physical comedy demonstrated for each other in the office (including facial expressions). Additionally, voice inflection for the delivery of jokes is key and is something not easily determined even with the use of emoticons.

I think the "awesome three" would still be working together, live and "in-person" even 45 years later!

September 26 2006 at 4:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John Howard

Google Maps showed up in 2005. On LOST, it's still 2004.

September 26 2006 at 12:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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