• Not surprisingly, the best two series that were ever on TV began their runs in the early 1970s when the counter-culture was at its zenith and the powerful had not yet organized their own powerful counterattack to limit the boundaries of acceptable discourse. The ending of the GADM was essentially the beginning of this counterattack. There would never be another radical (i.e., going to the roots) TV series on PBS. In other words, public TV would again revert to being contained by corporate interests.

    For those of you naive enough to think that the US does not limit free speech, the history of the ending of this show is the perfect eye-opener for you. Of course, we currently have the response of the corporate media to OWS to show us how dissent is treated when it expresses the wishes and desires of the majority. Polls show that the majority favors reductions in military spending -- including ending wars and pulling back from overseas bases (perhaps 200 military bases overseas would be enough!), increases in taxes on the wealthy, securing Social Security, expanding and improving Medicare to include all citizens, etc. These majority opinions are labeled as outside the mainstream by the talking heads of corporate TV (and of course, corporate TV includes PBS nowadays).

    The GADM consisted of two complementary thrusts. One was a hilarious send-up of the corporatized culture of the USA. Here you would be treated to skits such as Marshall Efron's hilarious affirmation of the trash compactor's ability to turn 50 pounds of trash into a smaller 50 pounds of trash or his presentation on the manufacturing of "food" that had the immediate consequence of my spouse and I eating at least somewhat healthier.

    The other component was equally entertaining and more directly thought-provoking. Studs Terkel led discussions of American life with actual Americans who the majority of us could empathize with. Real Americans who make commentators on corporate TV like George Will seem like a visitor from an effete planet. Another segment featured the commentary of Andy Rooney. This Andy Rooney was more in his stride than the later version popularized on 60 Minutes. Interestingly but not surprisingly, this Andy Rooney was never mentioned in the encomiums after his recent death.

    Once killed by Nixon this show was never repeated. The other series from this period can still be seen however. "All in the Family" while not comparable to the GADM for its direct challenges to the corporatization of American life is still unsurpassed for its humor while maintaining a challenging compassion for those struggling with trying to understand what the Great American Dream really is.