tv The Eighties CNN July 7, 2019 12:00am-1:00am PDT
i do think that led to where we are now where everybody wants to do tv. >> sit down, you guys. >> no. [ laughter ] >> yeah, you can't sit there. >> why not? >> that's where sheldon sits. >> he can't sit somewhere else? >> oh, no, you see in the winter that seat is close enough to the radiator so that he's warm yet not so close that he sweats. in the summer it's directly in the path of the cross-breeze created by opening windows will and there. it faces the television on the angle that isn't direct so he can still talk to everybody but not so wide that the picture looks distorted. >> perhaps there is hope for you after all. ♪
there are two parts to the 1980s. on the one hand, the 1980s is a time of change, a time of excess and a time for tradition. and johnny carson is able to combine them all and does it night after night with that brilliant, non-threatening, non-edgy edginess. >> are you in a good mood tonight. and i tell you, we have put a great show together. it will be on a week from thursday. >> johnny carson in the '80s is making the transition from be being the king of night to a
national treasure. >> you've been busy with other things. >> the tide is starting to turn in terms of where late night television is going to go. but johnny is kind of holding out. he was not necessarily of his time in the '80s. but he did sustain a certain timelessness. he's the king. he's okay. he's just playing. >> my next guest not only has a college degree but a high school degree. he has his very own show. weekday mornings at 10:00 on
nbc. >> david letterman originally had a one-how much daytime show, and nbc after 13 weeks decided to cancel it. >> today is our last show on the air. monday, las vegas. [ crowd reacts ] >> have these people been frisked? >> it was a dismal failure in terms of the ratings but not in terms of introducing us to letterman. >> david, thank you for being on with us tonight. >> thank you for having me. >> and in spite of all this nonsense that goes around in the background, stay with us. stay in new york. >> thank you very much. >> dave is back in new york. we're going to host a late-night television program that premieres monday night. what are critics likely to say tuesday morning? >> i don't much care, because i found a way to deal with that, pills and whiskey. [ laughter ]
>> you're on, go ahead. >> i was enjoying listening to you snort. >> at the time, people thought who's going to watch television at 12:30 at night? who's up? i'm going to el it ytell you wh. young people, college people >> he was anti-establishment at his core. thumbing his nose to any existing social structures. >> who are those women out there, by the way. >> neighbors. i'll get rid of them. hey, excuse me, keep it movin'. >> he kind of spoofed the whole notion of talk shows. >> it's the late night guest cam. please say hello to tom hanks. here he is. >> no one can go on the david letterman show and try to steer it towards a point of view or push something, it just wouldn't stand for it.
you're on to do one thing and one thing only, be as funny as the rest of the show. >> you know, we could get in a two-shot here dave. >> we could actually send a crew home, couldn't we? >> as a comedian, you want the biggest audience that you could get. for dave, he knew a lot of things that he would do were going to alienate people. he didn't care. he wanted his thumb print out there, and that was the important thing. >> it's time for small town news. paul? paul schafer, ladies and gentlemen. >> the show making fun of itself and turning itself inside out that way was something kind of new. >> don't we look like guys who could be hanging around together? >> absolutely. >> would you like to hang around with me? >> no. >> i'll say again, this is the stupidest show. >> i thought i would never want to do this show with you. >> why? because you thought i was a [ bleep ]. >> there's one rule i keep
trying to abide by. and unfortunately, i only get to it about 12% of the time. and that is, it's only television. we're not doing cancer research. it's a 40-year-odd history, there's nothing sacred about television. >> hey, dave, i was just curious. is there any way coy get mtv on this? >> actually, steve, that's just a monitor, and all you can get on that is our show. >> oh, that's okay. >> there was a degree of cynicism that was needed in the art form at that time, and it's a cynicism that just became common sense after a while, because it never got old. >> i've watched johnny carson. and you are no johnny carson. >> ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh. >> welcome the great white north corner. we have a real big show. >> there was a second city chicago company, a second city toronto company. the toronto one is the one that
fueled the sctv series which originally was send cased and got to the states that way. >> hail caesar. >> hail, hail, thank you very much for that marvelous reception. i want to thank my supporters over there in the cesarean section. >> it's healthy to be an outsider, you know, as a comedian. and canadians are always outsiders, but they're looking at the other culture right next to them. >> i love you. i want to bury our children! >> it was the type of comedy that had only been accessible if you could have gotten into the improv clubs in chicago or toronto. i had never seen anything like second city tv. >> james bridgeman, park dale. >> i'm sorry, never mind. >> it was far more conceptional in its humor, because it didn't have to be performed in front of an audience. and there was also just the idea that it was this sort of
low-rent thing. it was this sort of by the seat of their pants kind of operation that gave it an authenticity. >> now that our programming day's been extended. >> where do you want me to pull the kielbasa? >> put it in the fridge. >> you were rooting for the show and the characters they created. there was just something you got behind, whereas, you know, snl, right from the gate, and through the'80s was this big enterprise. >> after five golden years, lorne decided to leave, and so did those close to him, including me, al franken. so nbc had to pick a new producer. now most knowledgeable people as you might imagine hoped it would be me, al franken. >> well, it was a real question of whether or not "saturday night live" would continue at all or whether it would just die. >> the press hasn't been overly kind. >> i have read that stuff.
>> "saturday night live" is saturday night dead? >> oh, come on, geez. >> my favorite is "vile from new york." >> oh, please. >>'s funny. it's funny. >> then came the man that saved the show, eddie murphy. there was a buzz about him. so you tuned in. and there was this kind of explosion of talent in front of your eyes. ♪ >> it really kind of rejuvenated the show. >> i'm gumby, damn it. you don't talk to me that way! >> after a while, the show regained its status and clout and became more of an institution than it had been. >> hey, bob. >> listen, if you're unhappy with my work, tell me now. >> you're through, you hear me, through, you'll never work in this town again. >> don't leave me by a thread. >> you guys have been so nice to
us during our stay. >> isn't that special? >> i'm hans. >> and i'm franz. and we just want to pump, you up. >> a lot of things they could do on "saturday night live" they couldn't do on a sitcom. the humor was more daring, and more satirical and political. >> you still have 50 seconds left. >> let me just sum up on track, stay the course. a thousand points of light. stay the course. >> governor dukakis, rebuttal? >> i can't believe i'm losin' to this guy. i was so anxious to do one line from the script "you complete me". there were times i thought, is this too cheesy? and i told tom that, and he said just give me a shot at it.
>> you complete me. >> i look around, everybody's crying, grizzled guys holding cable are like. want to brain better? say hello to neuriva, a new brain supplement with clinically proven ingredients that fuel five indicators of brain performance: focus, accuracy, memory, learning, and concentration. neuriva.
for almost two decades, we've been meeting like this in the evenings, and i'll miss that. and that's the way it is, friday, march 6. 1981. i'll be away on assignment and dan rather will be sitting here for the next few years. >> uncle walter had dominated, certainly, cbs but the country. people used to say he was the most-trusted man in the country. >> once walter cronkite retires, all three news anchors within a few years switch to a new generation. >> nuclear arms and how to prevent global destruction are expected to be the major topic of president reagan's news conference tonight. lesley stahl is at the white house. >> in the '80s, women came into the newsroom, when i first joined, it was '72, and there were very few. by the '80s, there were more and
more. >> the decade of the '80s was still a time of sink or swim. you had to be resilient in your own way when an environment where were you going up against people who still didn't think women had what it took. >> all of them happen to be women. >> the best producers, i'm going to get fired. the best producers at cbs news are women. and they are at the level of taking hold and making decisions about individual pieces. they're not yet executive producers of all the news shows, but they will be. >> for the past 24 hours, kristine pratt has it taken her cause to the networks. >> what happened to me deserves some attention. >> kristine craft had a very successful career, but there she was in her late 30s, and the tv station said to her we're taking you off the air because oyou've
gotten old and you're not as attractive. it became a huge topic of national discussion. >> a jury said she got a raw deal because she is a woman. >> women everywhere were asked what do you think about christine craft? >> it has been on physical appearance, and to the extent it helped swing it to good journalism we've got something happy about. >> what matters is what kind of reporter are you, but it took the christine craft incident to bring that conversation out into the open. >> this coming sunday, a new television network opens for business, cnn, cable news network. you're throwing all the dice on this one. >> why not? >> i wanted to see what was going on in the world, and there was no way you could do it
watching the regular television stations. news only comes on at 6:00 and 10:00. but if there's news on 24 hours people could watch it anytime. >> we started on june 1, and barring satellite problems in the future we won't be signing off until the world ends. >> how could this possibly find an audience? well, he did. >> ready, camera three. >> good evening. i'm david walker. >> and i'm lois hart. now here's the news. >> television news before this was stuff that had already happened. for the first time, cnn brought the world to people in real time. >> cnn, the world's most important network. >> i didn't do cable news network because somebody told me it couldn't be done. i thought it was a very viable concept, and i went ahead and did it. it was after we announced that we were going to do it that the detractors showed up.
>> is cable news network just going to be a new means of delivering the same kind of fair? >> no. it already does provide different fare and cable news network is a perfect and maybe the best example of that. >> people love news, and we had lots of it. and the other guys had not very much. so choice and quantity won out. >> new york city, hello. >> the major catastrophe in america's space program. >> i'm lou dobbs along with myron kandel. >> jessica mcclure, trapped for almost three days now in a dry, artesian well. >> the iron curtain has come tumbling down. >> good evening. i'm pat buchanan, the conservative in crossfire. >> the american people appreciated the new television. they certainly came to cnn in droves. >> mr. gorbachev and i both agree on the desirability of freer and more extensive personal contact between the peoples of the soviet union and
the united states. >> we began to realize that the best way to get a message to a foreign leader was to have the president go in the rose garden and make a statement, because everybody was watching cnn. >> cnn was a break through. it changed the whole world. >> it changed quickly. the network news business, that business that we weren't the only ones. and it was hard, you know. it's hard to be on the top little perch and have to come down off it. >> on special segment doesn'ton the network news. the profound changes taking part in television news. changes taking place by business and technology. >> there were a lot of reasons people were freaked out in the 1980s. one of them was cnn and the rise of cable. another was being taken over by foreign entities in corporate america. >> new owners spent billions buying the networks recently, and all of them want their
money's worth. >> people began to find out that news could be a profit center, and that focussed a lot of attention on us. a lot from people in wall street for instance. >> if you think about the news divisions of abc, cbs and nbc they were part of a tradition that really matters. we serve the public. this is not about profit and loss. and the people who worked at those news divisions were totally freaked out by what it meant that they were now owned by these larger corporate entities. >> if it isn't profitable there won't be any more news. >> i worry about people interested in money and power getting ahold of television. it has higher purposes than that. >> we have seen the news, and it is us. whoops. sorry. unlike ordinary diapers pampers is the first and only diaper that distributes wetness evenly
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sometimes ambition in a woman is considered to be a dirty word unfortunately. >> i don't hear a lot of female voices reverberating in the halls of power in this business. >> i'm surprised there aren't more shows about women talking about who they are. >> directing seems to be an area that is almost impossible to break through. >> i think the '80s were the era when women were being looked at with a little skepticism but definitely with more acceptability. you could see the door opening, but it wasn't wide open. >> "cagney & lacey" was huge. that there would be two women and they had a serious job and they solved crimes and they were out on the streets, they were tough, that was emblematic or maybe out in front a little of what was actually happening in the country. >> so we're a terrific team. >> this is true. >> there had been by that point hundreds of buddy cop shows. but these buddies were women.
it had never been done before. >> i didn't go after this job because i couldn't find anything else. all right. i did not come here because i needed some kind of work to help pay the orthodontist. this means something to me. >> what the hell are we talking about here? >> we didn't even realize this was going to be such a big deal. and strangely, all these guys would say to us, well, yeah. i mean, it's a good script, but who is going to save them in the end? >> come on. we're taking you out of here. come on. >> where are you taking my wife? >> you don't take one more step. you understand me? sergeant nelson, you have until 8:00 tomorrow morning to turn yourself in to iad. if you don't, i will. >> it was the time where you really saw an emergence of women on television who were not necessarily just 20 and blonde and had a small role, but women who had substantial roles. ♪ thank you for being a friend
♪ travel down the road and back again ♪ >> it was unpredictable that an audience, a young audience, a not so young audience and lots in between could relate to those older ladies. >> ma, if you couldn't see, why didn't you call me to come get you? >> i tried to, but every time i put in a dime and dialed, a condom popped out. i got five in my pocket. here, dorothy. a lifetime supply. >> she was recently named along with norman lear and jim brooks as one of television's most gifted creative writers. when you look back at the past women's role models on tv, it's easy to see susan harris' impact. >> susan harris was the greatest writer of her generation at that time, singularly. so all credit to her for coming up with so many iterations of something so amazing. >> do you think there is a woman's voice as a writer?
>> woman's voice? generally they speak higher, softer. >> i should have known not to ask that of a writer. >> yes, of course there's a woman's voice. women have a different perspective. women laugh at different things. so, yes, there very definitely is a woman's voice. >> oh, do you know how many problems we have solved over a cheesecake at this kitchen table? >> no, dorothy. exactly how many? >> 147, blanche. >> hi, brian. it's cutthroat prime-time time this fall as some 23 new shows compete in one of the hottest ratings races in years. here's one just about everybody predicts will be a big hit. designing women. four femmes giving each other the business. >> if fast food were sex there'd be an arch over your bed. >> they created one of the
funniest, most unusual shows in "designing women". they were a different group of women than you really saw on television. they were feisty. they were sexy. and linda's voice came through shining. >> men can get away with anything. i mean, look at reagan's neck. it sags down to here. everybody raves about how good he looks. can you imagine if nancy had that? they'd be putting her in a nursing home for turkeys. >> they've given me this 23 minutes to address whatever topic i want. and it's such a privilege. more than the president of united states gets. i would be lying if i said i didn't put my opinions in the show. >> excuse me, but you lovely ladies look like you're in need of a little male companionship here. >> trust me when i tell you that you have completely misassessed the situation at this table. >> moving on to scene d.
>> i am a woman, and i am a writer, but i don't really enjoy being called a woman's writer. i think labels are harmful to us. >> with "murphy brown" just about everything about that program felt new. the civil rights movement and the women's rights movement had just begun to sort of be reflected in the programming that you saw on television in the '80s. >> murphy, you know the dun frees club is for men. >> i don't get to go for one reason and one reason only, and it has to do with something you've got and i don't, a tiny, pathetic, little, y chromosome. >> she was sea change because she was so popular and such an independent, tough woman. >> no matter what you think of a guest or their views, you are obligated to ask the questions in a dignified manner. she was unprofessional, am i right? >> he thinks it's neat that his
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hours spent watching television goes up. the number of hours talking about television goes up. one of the symbols is entertainment tonight. >> hi, welcome to opening night, the premiere of "entertainment tonight." >> all the critics were unanimous in that they said it will never last baugh there is not enough epts entertainment news. >> we have surveyed to find out which television shows have the most impact on viewers over the years. >> up until this time, nobody had done television like this. nobody. >> burt reynolds, the hottest actor in hollywood. >> i'm surprised to see you here tonight. >> i'm pleased to see you. >> a lot of what makes successful television programming is being in the right place at the right time. and it was the right time. >> entertainment journalism
evolved as audiences got more curious and had more access. until that time, the entertainment business had been something we didn't know all that much about. we could go behind the scenes in our effort to really give an insider's look. >> the crafty old j.r. of dallas fame was with his mother mary martin as he was presented with a star on the hollywood walk of fame. >> it was very honorific of the industry. it wasn't salacious, and you would see actors speaking as actors rather than on a johnny carson show. >> it was the beginning of a lot of money being made, talking about entertainment and celebrities. >> robert redford plays the k3w50d ggood guy in the movies, but 2k0ebdon tell that to neighbors in utah. >> the appetite for celebrity
news was big. >> hi, i'm robin leach in monaco, the glittering gem of the riviera, and you've got a vip ticket to prince rainier's private party. >> your sunday newspaper is still delivered with the comics around the news, and that's what i always thought "lifestyles " was, we why the comic around the news. >> finally, in the driving seat of his own career he burned rubber in a new direction. david hasselhoff rock idol. >> it was a time where pushing the limits with wealth and ostentatiousness in a lot of cases was very comfortable. >> one of the earliest stories we presented to you on "lifestyles " was about the amazing real estate wizard, donald trump. if he didn't shock and surprise you back then he's had plenty of time since. >> with all of this costing
billions, not millions, do the figures every frighten you. >> the answer is no. it's my business t's my life. it's my lifestyle. i love it, the good, the bad. >> does this bring with it, p t political aspiration? >> no political aspiration. >> your show has gotten a lot of ridicule. there are people who say it's nothing more than trash. >> i think it's the best trash on television. i am not in the business of brain surgery. i am in the business of fluff. >> that's the fantasy element at a time when the access is possible. it's escapism and aspirational. >> you want to stand in a hot tub with a glass of champagne? rock on. >> we've never seen that kind of wel wealth ever before. we didn't mock it. we didn't say it was right, and we didn't say it was wrong. we were just through the keyhole. >> sometimes you know, it absolutely amazes me. i walk away from a shoot and i think, well, we did it again. >> there was more of everything
in tv by the '80s. your opportunity for watching stuff is increasingly vast. >> nbc presents "real people." >> my name's michael lee wilson. the thought dawned on me that the application of a small motor on a pair of roller skates might be a great thing. >> someone said each one of us will be a star for 15 minutes, and i think that's probably going to happen. >> american culture used to celebrate privacy. in the 1980s, as we're watching celebrities play out on stage, hey, i want to join, too. all the world becomes a stage. and to see shows like "real people" or "the people's court." >> where reality television is taken one step further. >> to see more tv, producers had to come up with new and different ways to give them television. >> don't be stupid. i told you not to be stupid. >> what cops did was did took away the script and just brought the camera people and the crews
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with this ring -- >> with this ring -- >> -- i thee wed. >> -- i thee wed. >> with my body -- >> with my body -- >> -- i thee honor. >> the biggest television event of the 1980s is the marriage of charles and diana. it's like the world stops when that happened. that was like, just massive. >> this was the final act of a spectacle that may never again
be seen in this century, if ever. >> the archbishop of canterbury called the wedding of prince charles and lady diana spencer today the stuff of fairy tales. >> good evening. the royal couple at this hour is off on the honeymoon, while a lot of people here in london tonight are still talking about the events of the day. >> when you have great moments like the royal wedding, they are part of history and it's done beautifully and everybody has a chance to watch it all on television and everybody just wants to drink a toast to chuck and di. >> a princess who must now be aware, as it was on this day, that every single move she makes in public will be recorded and observed. a very difficult life indeed. >> we'll be back in just a moment with some closing observations and one final look at what has justifiably been called the wedding of the century. >> by the authority of the state of new york, i pronounce that they are husband and wife. you may kiss the bride. >> your wedding was seen by an
astonishing number of people. 16 and 19 million viewers. how do you account for that kind of popularity? >> oh, i can't. i can't. the way it's grown is just amazing to me. >> it did appear in the '80s it was a good time for daytime season op razz, especially for a show like "general hospital" which had that huge success with luke and laura's wedding. >> i remember when luke and laura got married because it was nighttime news worthy. >> the soap opera discovers the blockbuster mentality, the sweeps month mentality. like what can we do to get even more people watching? you have a wedding. you have a kidnapping. you have an evil twin. and primetime stole from daytime. >> after "dallas" proved that ewing oil was better than real oil for cbs, the networks rushed to give the public more. >> the great primetime open operas of the 1980s, "dallas," "dynasty," they're all about
excess. this is about being over the top, stabbing each other in the back, going for the gusto, and having fun. >> i know what's wrong with you. the empty-armed madonna. mourning the baby that she couldn't have and the baby that she almost got to adopt. that is it, isn't it? >> you miserable bitch! >> there was a bigness to the stories. and they could afford to do it on a network if you are doing one episode a week. you can't do that if you are doing five episodes a week for a daytime show. so just the production value gave it that pizzazz. >> if you can't have it, watch other people with it, or so say the three networks who are programming nearly 40% of the primetime fare with series about the very rich and the public is devouring it at such a rate that make-believe money has become ratings gold. >> the characters were larger than life, they were more evil and more cunning and manipulative.
and more gorgeous. i mean, really, look at the way they were dressed. look at the way they lived. everything, it was fascinating. >> alexis. >> yes? >> i didn't thank you for your present. >> it's he you should slap, dear, not i. >> we all wanted to live like everyone on "dynasty," like the carringtons. and it all just ended up being a wonderful picture of fun and debauchery. >> greed was encouraged in the '80s. there was a sense of conspicuous consumption being okay. and those shows kind of exploited that. >> primetime families like the carringtons who live here in luxury on the "dynasty" sound stage are not the only rich folk on tv. in the last five years, more than half of all new shows have featured the wealthy. ten years ago, that figure was zero. >> it was an accident. your father's dead. >> "falcon crest" was a wine
family. there is lorenzo lamas and ronald reagan's first wife jane wyman is on that show. >> emma is pregnant. >> i know a doctor who could take care of it right away. >> that will never happen. >> all of the shows, where, oh, my god, what's next? what's going to happen with that? he can't get away with that. you tune in, it was appointment television. >> what will become of the missing twins on "knots landing"? >> they all had spinoffs. "the colbys" was a spinoff for "dynasty." they were seeing how much they could max this stuff out. because it was really successful. >> where is your son miles? isn't he going to be part of this venture or just playing polo as usual? >> the colbys could always find room for another trophy. >> you had these people fighting over oil and mansions and -- it was fantasy, but in a kind of so
over the top way that it was fun. >> there's nothing devious about using your femininity. >> these shows took themselves so unseriously that they were camp, but that was okay with the central audience that was loving them. >> it was entertainment. we weren't trying to do high drama. we were there to entertain. we were glossy. there was no getting around it, we knew what we were there for, and we did it as best we could. . ray! good job, brain! neuriva is a new brain supplement that combines the best of science and nature, with clinically- proven ingredients that fuel five indicators of brain performance: focus, accuracy, memory, learning, and concentration. neuriva - it's time to brain better.
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>> a huge very many it in television. >> it was presumed to be complete and rupert murdoch having disrupted the newspaper business and television business in britain. i don't see why there should only be three broadcast networks. he says i'm going to make another broadcast network. >> meantime, he will have to become an american citizen if he is to own tv stations here. something he says he is willing to do. >> some people are saying it will take you 20 years to get your fox network on par with the big three. are you prepared to wait that long? >> sure, i intend to live that long, but i don't believe in the 20 years. >> the idea of murdoch's idea for a fourth network was like ted turner starting cnn. it's ridiculous. what does he know about television? >> we don't have to reach everyone. there's no question we have an inferior lineup of stations to our counterparts. it means we have to work harder to get our message across and get shows sampled. >> they had an idea, that in
order to succeed, we have to differentiate ourselves from the networks. we have to do things they would not do. >> fox started throwing anything against the wall not sure what was going to go. first shows were things like "21 jumpstreet." joan rivers in terms of late night. >> we have been banned in boston, which is wonderful. >> and "the tracey ullman show"" it was a sketch show. and they needed something to go between the sketches. again they were looking for something different. >> i got to have those candy bars. >> you better not be thinking of stealing those candy bars. >> that's it! >> "the simpsons" would never have come along had it not been for "the tracey ullman show." >> ultimately crime hurts the criminal. >> that's not true, mom. i got a free ride home, didn't i? >> bart! >> fox was thrilled that it was different. they said, sure, be experimental, do whatever you want. we're just happy to have a show on the air.
>> i'm home. >> "married with children" was their first big, big hit in that way that said if all the rest of television is going this way, we're going that way. >> bud, kelly, you want to come down and help me in the kitchen? there, that should buy us about 10 minutes. seven more than we'll need. >> the title of "married with children" on the script was not "the cosby show." how great. you have to love that. they were taking the piss out of american families fun. great fun. >> never wanted to get married, i'm married. never wanted kids, i got two of them. how did this happen? >> the bundys were like a reaction to the perfection of the huxtables. you had this wonderful black family and these horrible white family.
you could find things to relate to in both. >> howdy, neighbor! >> yeah, yeah, yeah. >> why don't we sit down. it was a lot of fun to be had and al and peg bundy. >> after fox introduces "married with children," it does very well, then back on abc, they came up with another major hit "roseanne." >> you think this is a magic kingdom where you sit up here on your throne. >> oh, yeah? >> yeah. and you think everything gets done by a wonderful wizard. poof, the laundry's folded. poof, the dinner is on the table. >> you want me to fix dinner? >> you just fixed dinner three years ago. >> typical american families weren't on television for the longest time. the donna reed days, "father knows best," hardly anyone lives like that. that's the way advertisers want you to live. >> i know what will make you feel better.