I found some time, so I watched a live remaking of some classic television that made me think about a few things, mostly Hollywood itself. Live In Front Of A Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons” recrafted a 1973 episode of All in the Family and a 1975 episode of The Jeffersons. Norman Lear’s abilities to tackle the issues of the day were remarkable and the episodes, both then and this week’s live remake, contained incredibly written scripts targeting race relations as they occur for the common family. While the 1970s had it’s own set of race issues, there’s always that one family member who’s change resistant. A message that still resonates toady. It was just good television and timeless content. Kudos to ABC and Jimmy Kimmel for taking on such classics with a lot of taste and talent.

But it occurred to me after Kimmel introduced Lear in the show’s opening that I really an ah-ha moment. You see, long before he was a brilliantly famous writer and producer who spoke to the American condition, Norman Lear was part of a bomber crew who flew missions over Nazi Germany during WWII. He had skin in the game. It was this country, his country, a country he felt worth dying for, that gave him some authority to be reflective of it’s progress. Hollywood today could take a note or two from Lear. Don’t tell the audience how to see the world from the safety of a privileged life. Have that skin in the game and set the bar of community relations high the way Norman Lear did.

As an audience member, these shows will be timeless and now knowing this little fact, I respect the plight of race relations told from his Hollywood a bit more this morning. We need more writers who are willing to fight for its progress, the American way, and the freedoms to watch well scripted shows about issues we get uncomfortable about speaking of. It brings great credit to unify fractured communities and lets me know they get why speaking to millions of Americans is crucially important. Thanks to Norman Lear and other Americans who have that skin in the game with a great story to tell…

by Rory Andes

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