Television today simply isn’t what it used to be. Turn on the TV at any given moment and you’ll find a dozen different kinds of crap, if you ask me. And I’m no prude- far from it actually. I just happen to believe that a television show needs to make you feel something, just as a song, a book or a live play performance should. I think there should always be a take-away at the end of it. I don’t need a Full House moment every time, but something needs to be there inside of me that perhaps wasn’t there before. Call me old fashioned but if I’m ‘tuning in’ to watch you do something, you better give me something in return.
But everyone is just so scared to be original now. Everyone is scared to share their opinions. Everyone is scared to commit to something. Remember how politically diverse Family Ties was? All In The Family? There would never be something like that allowed today. No way. Can’t talk about politics. Can’t talk about something that would make our children ask important questions. Remember Cheers? Everybody was drunk on that show. All day long, just a bunch of old drunks…who actually made you feel something about them. I didn’t turn into a drunk because I watched Cheers. Did you? Remember MASH? Remember My Two Dads? Remember Webster? Remember Alf? OK. So maybe that isn’t the best example. But you know what? That show was original. A freakin’ alien who lands on earth and lives secretly with the all American family? A alien who EATS CATS?!? That show, that crazy idea of a show lasted 4 seasons. That’s a long time for a show based on nonsense. And here’s why- Because the characters were actually believable. As UNbelievable as the premise was, you actually believed them when you watched them. Same as Mork and Mindy. Same with Third Rock From The Sun. It was the empathy that we, as an audience, felt for the characters on all of those shows that made them successful and relevant. Most of them centered around a family, around love. And even when we’re talking about aliens, eating cats or a lot of drunk, old men, the show works when you, the audience, believe that the characters actually believe themselves as authentic.
Remember The Cosby Show? That show is an amazing example of proper family function. I, a little white girl from a small and predominately white town, watched that show with my little white family religiously, every week. I didn’t watch it and think about diversity, about how those characters were different than I was, I watched it and loved it because it was a believable family. And I wanted to be a part of it Where’s the modern day Cosby Show? Who’s gonna make that one? Tyler Perry? Why are our only choices for 30 minute television either ‘stereotypically-white-show on a big network’ or ‘stereotypically-black-show on a secondary network’? Cliff and Clair Huxtable raised their kids as people, with real opinions and diverse interests, but also as their children. Not their best friends, not their colleagues, not their equals. They laid down strict rules and did it with humor and love. That’s how you raise kids. I’m tellin ya, moms and dads- watch some early Cosby reruns and you will pick up a thing or two. It’s brilliant.
But where are the wholesome family shows about politics now? About race? The ones about diverse family structures? About war? Where are the shows that an entire family can sit down and watch and actually learn something? Modern Family (when it’s good), is my one exception- that show can be thoughtful, funny, sweet and meaningful all at the same time. There is nothing for me or my children to gain from watching two men and a half bring home a different girl every night. We’ve got dogs writing blogs, and sponges wearing pants but not a whole lot of useful information being thrown at us lately. Whether it’s realistic or unrealistic, wholesome or edgy, we’re kinda stuck with a whole lotta nothin’. Nowadays edgy really just translates to Kardashian or Housewife, or anything, for that matter, on the Bravo! or E! Network…it all being unscripted, of course. (Because, heaven forbid, a tv exec be held accountable for and stand their ground with someone getting offended.)
What would Bill Cosby or Cliff Huxtable say about our viewing choices nowadays? I’ve actually read what Cosby thinks of television shows today- He calls them ‘terrible‘. He says “When you look at these shows today, try to lock in with the characters and find somebody who’s in love or people who love each other”, he said. “These writers are so pushed into conflict that they don’t even understand where conflict can be…The shows may sound bright and intellectual – but I don’t think anyone wants to live there.”* And isn’t that the difference between something great and something good? Think about that for a minute- do you want to live there? Ask yourself these questions the next time you’re watching something, reading something, listening to something, or even eating something- Do I want this to be a part of me? Am I still thinking about this after it’s over? Is this worth my time? What did I gain from this? And most importantly -Do I love this? If we took more time to focus on what we love and what makes us happy, then we would have so much more time on our hands to do all of those happy things. We would feel better, look better, act better. No time would be wasted on all of the things that don’t add to us or improve us in some way.
It’s how I view food as well. I put in my body things that do good and taste good. And I happen to think you can accomplish both at the same time. So I created this recipe to make me happy, because everything in it is healthy and useful to my body, and also because it makes me think of my childhood. Who can forget Bill Cosby on the Jell-O pudding pop commercials? And, really- How incredible is a chocolate pudding fudgesicle?
…so much more incredible now that I’ve made them with love.
*Naturally Healthy (and vegan!) Chocolate Pudding Pops
In a blender, combine the following-
–1 cup raw cashews (unsalted)
–1/4 cup + 1 TB agave nectar
–the top cream from 1 (13.5 oz) can of full fat coconut milk– this will equal 1-1 1/2 cups of ‘cream’, (reserve the bottom coconut water)
–1/2 cup cocoa powder
–1 tsp instant coffee or espresso powder (optional, and decaf is what I always use)
–a couple good splashes vanilla extract
–pinch kosher salt
Blend, on high, until completely smooth. Add a tiny bit of your reserved coconut water if it’s giving you trouble.
Pour into Popsicle molds (I had some of the large ones and some small ones so I used both…but I recommend using the large ones if possible. The large ones were purchased at Dollar Tree.)
Freeze for at least 12 hours.
Once completely frozen, remove from the molds, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in a large, freezer safe zip bag.
(A tip on removing them from the molds- run under hot water for a minute or so first to loosen it up and run a knife along the edges if need be.)
And most importantly-
Enjoy with the ones you love the most…
(*Bill Cosby quotes sourced from trib.com)