I’m not in the mood to write this morning. Or more accurately, I wasn’t in the mood, until I scanned the BBC news website and read about some studies done in the 60s that have recently been reevaluated. A select band of scientists is now suggesting that LSD may be the most effective temporary ‘cure’ for alcoholism we currently have available. Now, isn’t that the starting point for a wonderful series of character comedy sketches.
Except, as soon as my imagination started flying off into LSD-fueled comedy, I realized that most of the characters I wanted to rely on for the comic bottom-line probably don’t exist in this 21th century world. For example, I’m sure there are loads of rich, bored housewives, but are there any who are so prim and proper that they would go to any length to conceal their weaknesses? I think not. It’s a badge of honour to be an addict of some kind there days. Celebrities own up to it all the time. They chalk up addictions on national telly at an alarming rate, and often don’t appear to have a problem at all—please consider Daniel Radcliffe before you dismiss my claim as the ramblings of a grumpy old woman. LSD itself is deeply unfashionable, isn’t it? Most druggies prefer Coke or Ecstasy or Crack or whatever (I’m sure I’m dating myself by not knowing what the latest drug of choice should be), don’t they?
With Oprah and daytime telly encouraging full disclosure at every opportunity, bored housewives don’t try to conceal their problems at all any more. In fact, nobody does. Which I’m sure is a good thing from many points of view, but the present day propensity for public gut spilling doesn’t make for quite such amusing comic characters. Think of our old friend Basil Fawlty. Would you want him to own up to his hang-ups? If he were a real human being, perhaps, but in the context of comedy, it would be deadly. On the other hand, Basil Fawlty on LSD is an interesting premise for a comedy sketch—but not a long one. I wonder if I’ve finally put my finger on why I no longer even think of watching situation comedy on the telly any more.
And what does all this say about my mind? I recently realized that my view of the world is peopled with caricatures of the TV personalities I grew up with. Sad, but true. I am the product of an education that was built on the somewhat dubious foundations of regular doses of Benny Hill, University Challenge (with Bamber Gascoigne), Randal and Hopkirk (diseased), the Black and White Minstrel Show, the Avengers, The Lightning Tree, Batman (POW! SPLAT!), the Magic Roundabout, Doctor Finlay’s Casebook, Opportunity Knocks (with Hughie Green), Morecome and Wise, The Saint, Doctor in the House and Thunderbirds. So, are you surprised by the result? No wonder I’m both confused and stuck with skewed perceptions. Buddha was right, purifying perception is the only way to go. Hmmnn, perhaps I’m the one who should take a trip to see Lucy…?