For the last view months, I've been watching the Dick Van Dyke Show on Netflix. I'm captured by this show... this... television light.
Filmed in black and white, it's entertaining and surprisingly relevant though the situation comedy is nearly fifty years old.
Young and good looking Dick Van Dyke has the perfect chemistry with young, beautiful Mary Tyler Moore. He has great hair and she has fabulous clothes. I love how they get dressed up with pearls and furs for a dinner party... at home.
We could learn a thing or two here.
The writing is fabulous although each show is exclusively "situational" where the characters change to fit the plot rather than the plot always fitting the characters.
Some of the best humor of this show is Rob Petrie's co-writer on the fictional Alan Brady Show, Buddy Sorrell, played by Morey Amsterdam. He delivers laugh out loud lines. Amsterdam's bio on Wikipedia claims he was once called "the human joke machine." There are times when I think he delivers his own lines instead of scripted ones. Very funny. With one kicker.
It's usually at the expense of Mel Cooley, the show's producer. A tall, humorless balding man. Here's an example:
Melvin (Mel) Cooley: I need a place to hide.
Maurice (Buddy) Sorrell: Quick, grow some hair.
The lines are fast and funny. Always at Mel's expense. Humor and wit, often cutting, sarcastic wit is a staple in the sitcom. But why do we love to laugh at people making fun of other people?
Because they aren't making fun of us? Because it's what we'd like to say if we could, if we were smart enough and quick enough?
What if every day you went to work, someone poked fun of your balding head, crooked teeth, large nose, awkward physical shape, being short, or tall, or some physical trait you cannot help or change.
The quips and barbs would not be funny. They would hurt. Tearing at you as the words sank deep into your soul. A co-worker like Buddy Sorrell would be the office pain-in-the-butt. Because you know his quips would not be aimed at just one but the whole.
Words mean things. God spoke and the world was created. God. SPOKE. And the world was created. John 1 tells us "Jesus is the Word made flesh."
The apostle James warns us that "life and death are in the power of the tongue."
We cannot be both sarcastic and edifying. Our sarcasm, quips and cuts toward others damage our own hearts. Words don't bounce off and hit others while putting some kind of shield around us.
Words linger forever. They are spoken and because we no longer hear them we think they are gone. But they linger. In our hearts and minds, in the air, in space, before the throne of God.
As a sitcom lover, I have to be aware that the humor spoken on the show is not the humor that plays in real life.
Imagine if I insulted one of my friends or neighbors every day? They wouldn't want to be around me. It would damage if not destroy my light and witness for the name of Jesus.
Funny, in our feeling-oriented society, we accept sarcasm and insults, but we shun speaking the truth. We shun our views and values being challenged. "If I'm wrong, don't tell me."
Seems backwards to me.
Let's do this. Consider our words. Be the first to edify and encourage instead of tearing down. Speak truth in love. Keep open hearts to others. To God.
Who can you encourage today? Is there someone you're struggling with that you can speak a good word to? Do it!