Feb 10, 2009

Benson: Super Cool MacDaddy

One of the interesting things about my Netflix queue is I’ve loaded it up with a little bit of everything. I’m not a viewer who really favors one genre over another although lately one could argue that I’ve got this obsessive streak going for that strikingly handsome new 007 Bond guy and I’m basically watching anything that he’s ever acted in regardless of content.


But aside from the movies, I love Netflix because I can watch television shows as they come out on DVD. At home, I have Season One (disc 1) of The Gilmore Girls (in homage to a recommendation from a former co-worker Scott who couldn’t stop praising the writing ) and Season One (disc 1) of Benson. Yes folks, Benson.

I was thinking this morning about which show to start watching tonight. I thought it would be historically appropriate for me to watch Benson since we have such a high-ranking African American in government office right now. (Although Benson was the Head of Household Affairs for Governor Eugene Gatling, he was the most intelligent and quick-witted smart-ass I ever recall seeing on TV back in the late 70’s other than Archie Bunker.) And then I sealed the deal by remembering the German cook Gretchen Kraus.

Back in 1979 when the show first aired, I was a mere nine years old and I’m pretty sure I didn’t understand the delicate balance of sexual tension amongst TV characters. But somehow I recall Benson and Kraus going at it all the time…just without the sexual overtones. As the show progressed into the early eighties, the Governor’s daughter Katie and the scatter-brained Secretary Marcy Hill came to be beloved characters of mine.

As with most newly rediscovered things from my childhood, I did a little information gathering on Wikipedia and discovered a little known fact the episode titled ‘Scenario’ airing back on 2/2/85:

Benson was the first to reference the Internet on American Network television by having one of the characters make reference to accessing the ARPANET, the progenitor of the Internet.

Pretty cool, huh?

I’m looking forward tonight to watching Benson – the original super cool macdaddy.

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