TVLand recently held its awards show and reunited the celebrity casts from The Cosby Show, The Facts of Life, and Welcome Back Kotter. The stars seemed to be delighted to see each other and to talk about the ‘good old days’ when they were in the public eye on a weekly basis.
As I looked at them, my thoughts ranged from ‘Boy, he/she looks old/strange,” to “He/She looks good, much like I remember.” I wondered what they were thinking as they looked at each other.
Many of us struggle with the ‘new normal’ – whether it’s how we look, how far our money will go, the nature of the workplace, or the stress and speed of daily living. Health care concerns that weren’t on the landscape are now part of the daily conversation. Politicians seem more concerned with job security than creating a sustainable plan for international conflict, the national budget, or my welfare. And many professionals are waiting for the workplace to return to pre-fall 2008.
While I see many indications to be optimistic, I also see that things are different now. Many new as well as long-time clients are finding the funds to provide training, development, and one-on-one support, but they are very lean and are very measures about what they are spending and what and on whom. I might work with a manager who has too many direct reports or a director who was promoted too fast and lacks many of the interpersonal skills needed to motivate the team. Like the cast of the old TV shows, how they see themselves is often very different from how they are seen.
While the Seinfeld bunch didn’t do a reunion show, they did do a send-up of one on The Larry David Show – but like a 10-year high school reunion, they didn’t look all that different. A decade is enough to change your life, but not necessarily how you look. There is no talk of a Friends reunion or one for the Dick Van Dyke Show. The cream of the crop may understand better than any that there is a certain magic that comes with a great show, and it’s not something that can be easily (or maybe ever) recaptured. There is plenty of talk about Reality TV reunion shows – but that may be more about recapturing dollars and ratings rather than talent and magic.
Looking back at how things were is a great way to remember how you got to today. But it only serves as a springboard for going forward, not a blueprint. They’ll only be one Rocky and Bullwinkle Show!