By John Aloysius Farrell, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
When ER ends a 15-year run on NBC this week, to all the well-deserved bells and whistles for having survived, for so long, as a part of American culture, I won't be part of the celebration.
I have not seen a single episode.
Nor, when I think about it, have I ever watched a moment of any CSI, or Law & Order, or Dancing With the Stars, or that quiz show with the briefcases, or American Idol. Or any other "reality" show.
I'm not being elitist here. I was there when the nation gathered at the hearth to say goodbye to Mary Richards, and Hawkeye and Radar, and when Tony Soprano's life ended, over a plate of onion rings. I laughed heartily at the final scenes of Newhart and Seinfeld.
I've seen every single episode of The West Wing, and many a South Park , and should I outlive The Simpsons (an increasingly doubtful proposition), I'll surely be there for that finale.
Jon Stewart rocks.
But ER, no.
Why do I care? Only because ER's passing is one more sign of how the country has changed.
Barone can give you the numbers. There was once a time when the whole country paused on Sunday night to see what was happening to Pa and the boys on Bonanza. There were just three TV networks and everyone watched Cronkite, read the local newspaper, and ate bologna on Wonder Bread for lunch.
We now have many, many more choices. And a yearning, perhaps, for connection.
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