Through a Glass, Darkly: Life Lessons from Unexpected Places

If the majority of hardcore Starsky and Hutch fans first fell in love with the series some time in those impressionable ages between eight and sixteen, then valuable information about how the world really worked was absorbed between the gunshots and car chases. Those years are magical: we are open to discovering things independent of – or perhaps even in direct opposition to – our parents and siblings. We are just gaining the emotional and analytical awareness to judge something as important to us alone. Everything is intense, personal; we are able to form bonds with books, art and music with an intensity nearly impossible later in life.

Depending on your socio-economic, cultural or personal background, the series was either the sole beacon of sanity or part of a network of crucial pre-adult signifiers (choose your own: S.E. Hinton novels, Star Wars, the death of a grandparent, an influential teacher). While imperfect, occasionally inconsistent or faulty, “Starsky and Hutch” can be a solid and reliable template of how to be in this world. Although a successful adult now, I suffered severe neglect as a child, and was unsafe and isolated. I found solace in my own imagination. “Starsky and Hutch” taught me – and mostly likely you, too – important life lessons.

Consistently cynical, often enlightened and always humane, the series hid its politics beneath the beauty of its two stars and the shiny chrome finish of its cars, guns and pretty girls. The next five posts will outline the Life Lessons the series has to teach us and the episodes which most strongly reflect those ideas. I will leave the best and most powerful for the last and start with something incredibly valuable for anyone negotiating their way through this troubling, complex world: the failure of The Institution to protect and serve us well.

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6 Responses to “Through a Glass, Darkly: Life Lessons from Unexpected Places”

  1. Kerry C. Says:

    We have you back! I can’t wait to read more of this train of thought.Sounds intriguing and powerful as your words always are.

  2. Sweet Alice Says:

    Wow! I just discovered your site and I am blown away by your insight and eloquence! Your posts are addictive! I would love to own a big coffee table book compilation of your posts with color photos from the series! Thank you for your complex analyses, astute observations and heartfelt appreciation for our beloved show!

  3. Dona Says:

    I thought these would have been five life lessons, I enjoyed the first four, but I miss the fifth, that should be the “best and most powerful”.
    I figured out and made up my idea on a possible lesson n.5, what was yours?

    • merltheearl Says:

      Hi Dona, thank you for this. I deserve a little kick – I admit I’ve had handwritten notes about Life Lessons 5 scattered here and there, nothing in order and not much time to get my thoughts organized. And you’re right, it’s the most important one. It’s titled, and I’m sure this is not a surprise, It All Comes Down to Love. Check back in a week and you’ll see it. And also, I’m curious. if you were to suggest a life lesson, what would it be? This is an open question to anyone who would like to join in the discussion.

  4. Dona Says:

    My fifth Life Lesson would be titled: “Real friendship is… an indissoluble tie”. Not a surprise too.

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