Norman Lear, a man who changed television, has passed at 101.
There's whole areas of media study dedicated to Lear, so I won't get into it too much here. But for those of us growing up as kids in the 1970s and 80's, there was kind of pre-Lear television and post-Lear television. Those halcyon days of media you think of where father knew best and folks' disagreements were settled over a polite laugh or gunfire and women wore pearls and kissed husbands as they walked in the door with a smile? Not Norman Lear.
Lear found the comedy in the reality of world and knew you could do more making people laugh than you could with a lecture, reflecting real world issues back to the audience, in the format of the sitcom. As a kid, I remember knowing things could take a dramatic turn on One Day at a Time (something the reboot series echoed), but it wasn't off-putting even as a kid. It was part of how television worked, as far as I was concerned.
While he moved on from TV, Lear has remained influential. I hope in years to come, folks understand what he did to move TV on from its juvenile state and propel conversations onto the screen and into living rooms, and giving voice to characters that had been supporting characters at best.
Here's to 101 well-lived years.