Saturday, September 29, 2012

How Serious were we in the 1980s?

Yeah, I tend to think of the 1980s as a time for neon nights, poodle perms and penny loafers. How could they be anything but totally awesome? Still, we had our moments, such as the release of the sobering made for television movie Something About Amelia in 1984. I stumbled across an article that said Amelia was the second highest rated TVM for the season, after The Day After.

Now that's a couple of doozeys!

And that's what I love about made for television films. I mean, how can you show up in our living room and totally disturb us with tales of nuclear war and incest while also giving us such goofy escapism as High School, USA and First Affair in the very same season?

Cuz you were awesome 1983 TV season! It's true!

I watched Amelia the night it premiered on January 9th, 1984 and I'm not sure what beckoned me, except that incest and rape seemed so removed from my own life (and yes, I'm thankful for that), that I had to see how Ted Danson was going to pull it off (no pun intended). And that's what I remember most about the movie. Danson really walked a fine line in the film. How could you not hate him, but he made you want to watch him, maybe understand him and while you would never forgive him, you hoped maybe the film would have some answers.

Danson was nominated for an Emmy and took home a Golden Globe for his complicated performance as the most human monster you are likely to meet. What's so weird, and only a little funny, is that I probably watched something like Simon and Simon or Riptide the next night, or maybe even Cheers, which I'm sure would have blown my mind! Sam Malone as a child rapist? What would Diane think? Despite all the years that have passed, I never forgot Amelia. It remains in no-release-hell and that's simply unjust. If any movie deserves a shot at a second audience, it's this one.



Franko said...

"Amelia" was before my time, but it's long topped my wish list, ever since it was frequently mentioned in "Letters to Judy," Blume's book of letters fans sent.

Anyway, what a cast! Danson playing against type, the then up-and-coming Glenn Close and Roxanne Zal, who between this and her role in 1983's "Testament," had the market cornered on young girls in horiffic situations.

Trevor said...

I'm surprised back then one could win a golden globe or be nominated for a emmy based on a one-off tv movie. Sounds like a piece of cake!

Pam said...

I love that the 80s sitcoms, TV movies and after-school specials broached controversial topics and plotlines. Every sitcom today seems so straightlaced by comparison.

I've never seen "Amelia" but your observation about Ted Danson's performance definitely makes me want to check it out!

jervaise brooke hamster said...
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the sayer of the truth said...
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a murderously bitter individual said...
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teddy crescendo said...

Three totally meaningless comments are allowed, but when another three people say things that are profound and true they`re comments are deleted, i cant believe the double standards and hypocrisy of this site, is the truth really that painful ?.

Amanda By Night said...

OK "Teddy,"

I have no problems with comments, and I welcome them, but when you are wasting my time (and frankly you are wasting even more of your time) with triple posts about NOTHING, I will delete them. Get a life.