Happy 100th Birthday to Norman Lear! | Chaz’s Journal


‘One day at a time’ moves to pop“: This past March, Allison Shoemaker reviewed the fourth season of Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce’s acclaimed remake of Norman Lear’s classic sitcom (Lear serves as executive producer of the new show).

That is the most wonderful thing about the Alvarez family. Watching them is a warm and wonderful experience, the epitome of comfort food television, and yet the world they live in is recognizably our own. (Now running on a network schedule, the show shut down production this month along with the rest of Hollywood; when it returns, it’s hard to imagine Lydia won’t have some things to say about the Coronavirus behind those curtains. ) Neither they nor their authors ignore the darkness; it is always there in one form or another. The only thing about them that is idealized is the feeling at the end of each episode that everything will be okay, but it’s not because it’s overly sunny or blindly optimistic. That’s because what matters is what they have each other, and another day to look forward to—another breakfast that Lydia makes while she dances, another group therapy session with a roomful of smart and witty women to Penelope, another e-sports tournament for Elena or sneaker race for Alex, and some more beautiful, loving pathos from Schneider and Dr. B. They grind through it, as the theme song once said, one day at a time – and you can still hear the song on YouTube, so even that loss is survivable.


Norman Lear: Myself This I will experience“: On Norman’s official site, you can order a copy of his beloved 2014 excerpt below.

In my more than ninety years, I have lived a multitude of lives. During all these lives I had a front row seat at the birth of television; wrote, produced, created or developed more than one hundred shows; had nine in the air at the same time; founded the 300,000-member liberal advocacy group People for the American Way; was labeled ‘No. 1 enemy of the American family’ by Jerry Falwell; come on Richard Nixon‘s ‘Enemies List’; was presented the National Medal of the Arts by President Clinton; bought an original copy of the Declaration of Independence and toured it for ten years in all fifty states; blew a fortune in a series of bad investments in failed companies; and reached a point where I was informed that we might even have to sell our home. When my son-in-law heard that we were in such trouble, my son-in-law called me and asked how I was doing. My answer was, ‘Terrible, of course,’ but then I added, ‘but I must be crazy, because despite all that has happened, I keep hearing this inner voice saying, ‘Even this I will to experience’.


Norman Lear on the Declaration of Independence road trip. Courtesy of The Norman Lear Center.

Norman Lear Center“: The nonpartisan research and public policy center (named in 2000) that studies the social, political, economic, and cultural impact of entertainment on the world.

In 2001, Norman launched Lear Road trip to the Declaration of Independence to exhibit the document across the United States on a three-and-a-half-year cross-country tour. He and his wife Lyn Lear bought a copy of the Declaration of Independence to inspire Americans, especially young people, to see citizenship as an opportunity to participate in civic life, exercise their rights and, above all, vote. In 1981, Lear joined Congresswoman Barbara Jordan and a group of business, civic, religious and civil rights leaders who were disturbed by the divisive rhetoric of newly politicized broadcasters. Together they founded the law firm People for the American way.

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