Jim Anderson and Desi Arnaz

A thing I notice that is missing in modern sitcoms and even short dramas and reality shows is the presence of real work. The people on these modern shows have all the appurtenances of “the good life” but there is no sense that anybody does anything to earn them. Desi had a band – you saw him practicing with it. You saw his occasional problems with hiring and firing and getting new music – the problem subject sometimes made good comedy. Jim Anderson had an insurance company. He got called out occasionally, and often ran into problems at work that upset or saddened him. These things grounded those people in the world.

One of the miraculous parts of Lorraine Hansberry’s masterpiece “Raisin In The Sun” is the conflict about the main male character’s job and what he considered to be the job he wanted for his son – “Sitting in restaurants talking about important things.” There is no work or real job – but the people are important by virtue of their being important. A glory of the play is that he will come to learn otherwise, but it strikes me that a lot of people have the idea – which television promotes – that work is a subsidiary and unimportant part of life.