Cable TV saved my Friday nights in rural America OR Dinner & A Movie Appreciation Post

As discussed previously, I often found myself in middle school/high school having to make my own entertainment. One thing I didn’t mention in that post was how rural the area was I grew up in. I had friends of mine that were within bicycle range of each other, so they could hang out regularly. Or they had relatives who lived near their friends so get together was often. 

I grew up on mars. Ass end of no where. In the time before I could drive, an adult would have to drive me 15-20 miles, one way, to go hang out with friends. This is a side bar, but its relevent to why this I remember onetime I got the information wrong on a hangout. My dad dropped me off at a bowling alley and then was headed to Winn-Dixie and then home. I walk inside and none of my friends are there. 30 mins pass, and I realize I got the date wrong. No cell phones, so I could stay for the other 4 hours before my dad picks me up, or I could phone home. So I walk up to the daquiri shop where there was a pay phone, called home. And then just waited for about an hour for my dad to finish the groceries, get home, drop them off, and drive back to come pick me up. 

Needless to say, plans had to be firm. 

So there were an endless number of fridays (really whole weekends, but I want to focus on fridays) where I was home with nothing going on. Especially before we had the internet in the house. 

What got me through those nights? Cable TV. And specifically, I want to highlight two main shows. One has been fucked out in praise already, so I will let other people do the footwork:

You know it. I know it. Joe Bob knows it. Everyone has done enough justice to this show that Shudder has basically brought it back. There is already a thousand blogs, youtubes praising it. I picked one. Go for it. 

But Monstervision was mostly Saturday nights. On friday nights….. I was watchin…


Yeahhh boiiiii. I think I may have mentioned them before on a drunk rant, but now its time to give them their due.

The premise was simple. I think TBS had a gang of these shows that was a way to jazz up content Turner owned deep in the vault. Dinner & A Movie was just two people talking shit and making themed food in interstitals throughout the movie. 

This could have easily fallen flat. And I personally didnt think it worked as well once Annabelle Gurwitch left the show. But her and Paul Gilmartin were magic. They skirtted that edge of corny and just rode that all the way to victory. They also played a ton of different types of stuff. This is where I intaked all of my basic cable staple films. 

I think its their interactions that really make the show. I would watch movies that I really didn’t like (see the aforementioned Angus) just to see it. Sometimes it was something in the background. Maybe I would be rocking a gameboy game or something on the PC and have Dinner and a Movie in the background. It made it more of a hang. Tuning in to see what randomness they had. Macho Man showed up on an episode once. Anthony Michael Hall. It was…basic cable strong. 

I also remember I videotaped some movies I liked (I still have their Ghostbusters episode somewhere in my parent’s house), so I would run that in the background if nothing else was on. 

I can’t remember when I stopped watching. Probably college. Even once I could drive, I was usually doing something on a friday (Movie Night….of a future blog post….was usually fridays), but sometimes I would be at home. So, guaranteed Dinner & A Movie in the background while I played UO or something on the PC. But, by the time I got to college, I didn’t always have cable in my dorm, and if I did, I was watching other shit. There wasn’t really whole weekends that went by anymore with nothing in it. I’ll never forget these two though. Getting me through alot of nights in the darkness of the swamp. 

One last thought before I go. This is definitely something that is lost in the era of streaming. Hosted content. Everything from Elvira to Up All Night. There is something lost now. I suppose only Shudder has anything equivalent.

If you can watch the movie directly, why do you need to pay for a set, actors, crew, editors, etc, just for something to “get in the way of the movie.” I think its a damn shame. To paraphrase an american genius, “the internet is good for alot of things, but there is no book store, no video store,” and no host for your movies. 

I expect someone else is going to try the old school route one of these days and bring back hosts and interstitials, but it definitely wont be the same. Its a you had to be there thing, and its one of the very few things I was glad I could be there for. Thank you Dinner & A Movie. You were awesome.

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