I had lunch with a man today who has had the awesome experience of being a writer for such shows as Love American Style, The Bob Newhart Show, Family Ties, Sanford & Son, Home Improvement, The Norm McDonald Show, 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, and those were just some of them. Pretty damn impressive.
And depressing at the same time.
Why? Because there’s a thing in this town called “ageism” that is simply the practice of television studios not hiring writers who are past a certain age range, because they just feel that they’re not “hip” after 50 (or whatever that age may be). It’s going on, and it’s scary — because if you can’t get yourself in a power position before you get too old, you might as well start selling vacuum cleaners from door to door (if they even do that anymore).
Not that this individual was having those issues – I mean the guy has such a huge credit list of huge shows that anyone would be stupid to not include him on any writing staff, but in talking about the town and how people past a certain age are not as “valuable” it just got me thinking about it. Los Angeles is such a goal-oriented town, people come here to achieve something. Everyone is here to achieve something. If you’re not, you’re working for those who are achieving something.
And that, well, is even more depressing than being over 50.
The parents are coming into town on Sunday to take care of Jack, while I find myself winging to Chi-town with the wife. I was telling my father that I had put together a whole list of “How-To’s” for them with Jack, and he couldn’t believe the extent we went to, in putting together such a list.
I then proceeded to tell him that we had also Fed-Exed them a compact disc that they should listen to on their drive down from Northern California. The CD had Jen and myself actually speaking the commands that we wanted my parents to use with Jack. The exact enunciation and the exact tone. My father was laughing out of insanity – he couldn’t believe that we would do that, although at the same time he half believed it because we treat this little creature like he’s a little kid. Needless to say, we didn’t do it — but even after I told him, he still thought I was insane.
And maybe, I am.