In the age of streaming and binge watching, parents across Long Island are taking the opportunity to share with their kids the prime-time television shows they grew up with. In some cases, a whole new fan base is being born — but not always.
The Marshall family of Dix Hills likes 'Good Times'
THE FAMILY Ethan, 4, and Caroline, 6, with mom, Marly Perou-Marshall, and dad, Dudley Marshall.
WHY THEY WATCH If it was up to Dudley Marshall, who owns a small livery business, he wouldn’t have exposed his young children to non-cartoon shows. However, his in-laws help out with taking care of Ethan and Celine while he and his wife, Marly Perou-Marshall, are working. “When the kids go to their grandfather’s house, granddad is . . . watching the oldies,” says Marshall. That includes 1970s sitcoms such as “Good Times” and “The Jeffersons.” “They watched the first few episodes and they thought it was funny.”
ANY CONCERNS Marshall says he was definitely concerned about the content of the shows. “If it was up to me 100 percent, I would not have introduced those,” he says. But after re-watching some episodes, he decided most of it wasn’t as racy as he thought. “There’s no profanity in it at all. Sometimes the topic might be touching on something, but then they get the punchline, ‘Dyno-mite!’”
WHY PARENTS LIKE IT Marshall says he’s OK with “Good Times” and other classics, such as “Diff’rent Strokes,” which premiered in 1978, because the sitcoms never went for shock value. “The delivery of some of these shows had more tact,” he says. “It used more innuendo.”
VIEWING RITUAL At their age, the children rarely watch an entire episode of any show. “It’s hard for them to sit still and really watch it,” he says.
WHAT THE KIDS LIKE ABOUT THE SHOW “They like the comic relief,” says Marshall. “Adults acting funny, the tone of voice, the dancing. They react to that more than what they are saying.”
The 'Good Times' cast in 1974 with, seated from left, Bernadette Stanis, Ben Powers, Esther Rolle, Jimmy Walker and Ralph Carter. Back row, Johnny Brown, Ja'Net DuBois and Janet Jackson.
The Goldstein family of Northport likes 'The Twilight Zone'
THE FAMILY Valerie and Geoff Goldstein with, from left, Gus, 6, Luca, 4, and Aurora 2
WHY THEY WATCH While “The Twilight Zone” is often thought of as a blend of science fiction and horror, to Geoff Goldstein, an accounting professor, the series, which originally aired from 1959 to 1964, was never that scary. “I remember being intrigued by them,” he says. “There was nothing about them that I was scared by.”
ANY CONCERNS Goldstein says he had no hesitation about watching the show with his three children and hoped they would be just as intrigued as he was.
WHAT PARENTS THINK Goldstein’s interest has only grown as he’s gotten older, and he says he understands the concepts much better now.
VIEWING RITUAL Goldstein and wife, Valerie, a homemaker, have only made one attempt to get the kids into “The Twilight Zone,” with mixed results. “Basically, I was like, ‘Hey, we watch a lot of your TV. Maybe you’d like to try something Mommy and Daddy like,” Goldstein says.
WHAT THE KIDS THINK “They liked the old look,” Goldstein says, and they kept asking, “Where is the color?” Goldstein admits the stories were a bit over their heads, so for now they’ve put it aside and gone back to watching “Minnie’s Bow-tique” and Play-Doh videos on YouTube.
The Goldstein family cuddles up for "The Eye of the Beholder," episode from the early 1960s on "The Twilight Zone."
The Montiero/Gutierrez family of South Hempstead likes 'Friends'
THE FAMILY Ingrid Gutierrez and her husband, Alex Montiero, with their children, center, Noah, 7, and Isabella, 15
WHY THEY WATCH Alex Montiero says he had high hopes that his stepdaughter, Isabella, would be into “Seinfeld.” After all, he says, “She’s all about living in New York City and stuff like that.” Unfortunately, the humor just wasn’t her style. Instead, he says, she really took “Friends.”
ANY CONCERNS Montiero, the business director for a day-care center run by his wife, says he had some concerns about the adult content of the show. Noah is more interested in cartoons, so he does not watch. Isabella, on the other hand, has not heard anything new, he says. “She’s a high school student, and she’s already been through sex ed,” he says.
WHAT PARENTS THINK While he doesn’t say it was a bad show, Montiero confesses that “Friends” “wasn’t a big favorite of mine.” Wife Ingrid always enjoyed it. “She really identified with Phoebe — she’s sarcastic, funny, and if you cross her, she will cross you back,” he says.
VIEWING RITUAL On weekdays, Montiero says, television typically comes after homework is done, but between swim meets and other things, there isn’t always time. Weekends are another matter — Montiero says it’s not unheard of for the family to do some binge watching. “We could watch six to eight episodes on a good day,” he says.
WHAT THE KIDS THINK Isabella likes the jokes, Montiero says.
The gang on "Friends" are, from left, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, Matt Le Blanc as Joey Tribbiani, and Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay.
The Khareyn family of Syosset likes 'I Love Lucy'
THE FAMILY Paul and Cristina Khareyn with Alex, 5, and Mia, 7
WHY THEY WATCH Cristina Khareyn, a homemaker, says she remembers watching classic prime time television with her mother when she was younger, especially “I Love Lucy,” although she also watched “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Leave It to Beaver” and “The Donna Reed Show.” She still watches these shows, and now her daughter, Mia, is showing some interest in them, as well. “I was watching it by myself, and she just gravitated toward me,” she says. “So, she asked if she could watch it with me, and when we did I laughed and she laughed.”
CONCERNS The clean and censored humor meant Khareyn and husband, Paul, an attorney, had little concern about letting the children watch with their mom. She says the old-fashioned depiction of women in “I Love Lucy” and other shows don’t bother her because, in real life, “Mia sees women with jobs like her doctor and her teacher.” Even the idea that the women seem more submissive to the men is no big deal, she says, “because I’m the bossy one in our household.”
WHAT PARENTS THINK Compared to today’s sitcoms, she says, “It’s a different kind of humor. It’s very clean and very censored.”
VIEWING RITUAL Khareyn says there’s not much time for TV on the weekdays, between homework and sports. Even weekends can get busy. Besides, she adds, most of the shows are on at odd hours of the day. So Khareyn DVRs “I Love Lucy” and other shows and watches with her daughter on rainy days.
WHAT THE KIDS THINK She says part of the appeal to Mia is the simple stories and humor, which are easy for a young child to grasp. She adds that Mia likes “I Love Lucy” because “she’s always getting into trouble.” Son Alex has yet to show any interest in the shows. “Alex isn’t into much TV. Cartoons, yes, but not, like, human TV,” she says.
The cast of "I Love Lucy," from left, Vivian Vance, William Frawley, Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball.
The Roper family of North Bellmore likes ‘WWE Raw’
THE FAMILY Stephen and Joyia Roper with Mason, 5
WHY THEY WATCH Professional wrestling is not just a show to Stephen Roper, a dispatching agent for a mattress firm, and his wife, Joyia, a teaching assistant -- it’s a long-standing family tradition. “I’ve watched it since I was 5 years old. My dad was into it when he was younger. And it just goes down the line like that,” he says. For years, the annual WWE WrestleMania pay-per-view would bring together family, friends and neighbors to slam down some beverages, Italian heros and his mother’s famous baked ziti. “It was always funny trying to fit 25 to 30 people in my parents’ den,” Roper says.
While Roper keeps up to date with what’s happening with the current programming, he says he uses his subscription to the WWE Network to watch a lot of older episodes. “I might watch old episodes from 2002,” he says.
CONCERNS Given that he was around the same age that his son, Mason, is now, when he started watching “WWE Raw,” Roper says he has no problem letting him watch.
WHAT PARENTS THINK Roper says he got into wrestling in the Hulk Hogan era, which was kid-friendly. Now that he is older, he has more appreciation for the athletic talent. “The talent they have is the best talent they’ve ever had,” he says.
VIEWING RITUAL Since he can access older episodes on demand, Roper will watch whenever he has downtime from work and school (he is studying criminal justice technology at Farmingdale State University). Roper doesn’t go out of his way to coax Mason into watching, but his son’s natural curiosity kicks in whenever wrestling is on. “He’ll watch it and ask a million questions about it, like, ‘Who’s that? Who’s that?’ ”
WHAT THE KID THINKS Unlike his dad, wrestling rarely catches Mason’s interest for long. “It’s hard to keep his attention with anything,” Roper says. “He’ll watch it for 10 to 15 minutes and then he’ll get up and do something else. He’s like that with his cartoons, too. He doesn’t binge watch.”
Finn Balor during WWE SummerSlam 2017.
The Afzals of Syosset liked 'The Cosby Show'
THE FAMILY Ilora Majumder-Afzal, 41, MohsinAfzal, 37, Saharra Afzal, 7, Sohayl Afzal, 3
WHY THEY WATCH For Ilora Majumder-Afzal and Mohsin Afzal, who both teach in New York City, there is a lot of love for “The Cosby Show,” which aired from 1984 to 1992. Majumder-Afzal cites the family dynamic and the positive representation of a minority family. “Plus, I thought it was funny and my daughter would enjoy it,” she says.
CONCERNS For Majumder-Afzal, the obvious concern was Bill Cosby himself. “[He] has been in the news for some pretty terrible things,” she says. “And, actually, we sort of stopped showing it because of that. It’s been hard, though, because I loved the show growing up. It’s kind of heartbreaking because of the positivity contrasted with the negative.”
WHAT PARENTS THINK Even now that she is older, Majumder-Afzal says, she still appreciates the humor.
VIEWING RITUAL Majumder-Afzal says that she used to watch the show on Sundays with daughter, Saharra, while son, Sohayl, napped. “We would sit down together and just cuddle up together on the couch,” she says.
WHAT THE KID THINKS “My daughter loved the humor and the way the kids interacted with each other,” says Majumder-Afzal. “I think it was just that there was this family that sort of resembled us and that they could have fun together and laugh.”
Bill Cosby, center, and other cast members of "The Cosby Show" during taping of the final episode.