The apple doesn’t fall far from the TV
by Jill Effron
In honor of my mother-in-law’s birthday, I’ve decided to write about her impact on her son, Jon’s, TV habits. Let’s just say I would be lying if I said I don’t daydream about taking a sledgehammer to the TV. However, since having kids, Jon’s amount of time in front of the TV has lessened, probably because there’s only so much Doc McStuffins one man can take.
It’s ironic how much more TV he watches than me, and I’m the one who chose to have a career in television. You would think I would like that trait in a person, but after working on a show all day, the last thing I wanted to do was watch TV. My brain couldn’t turn off the writer in me dissecting act breaks, punch lines and character arcs, whereas Jon could watch TV for pure entertainment.
My husband attributes his taste in television shows, movies and books to his mother. They share a passion for mysteries, thrillers and “who dunnits.”
When he was younger he would stay up late with her and watch Sherlock Holmes and Charlie Chan, to name a few. When he got older, he turned to Matlock and Murder, She Wrote for his entertainment needs. If there were a Matlock lunchbox, Jon would have definitely had one. Not really, but you get the point. I swear he’s really 40, and not 95 years old.
Jon really didn’t latch onto the comic book craze. He was all about mysteries. In fact, his major in college was criminal justice and criminology, which lead him to seek a career in health insurance, a mystery most Americans are trying to solve right now. Maybe that’s why he’s able to read and comprehend insurance plans, because it’s a lot of decoding? It’s a mystery within a mystery.
Thankfully, due to the shows he grew up watching, he didn’t become your run-of-the-mill criminal or a serial killer, both of which are a big turn off in my book. I’ll give props to his mother for explaining the difference between fact and fiction in this case.
The same could be said about me. I would sit at my dad’s feet every Friday night wearing my Miami Vice t-shirt, while watching the show. If I was lucky, I got to stay up later to watch Hunter and Crime Story. I told my parents I wanted to become a cop like Sonny Crocket. I proved how great a detective I was by locking all the doors in the house and then picking the locks with a bobby pin. Fifty percent of the locks are still broken til this day and I didn’t choose a career in law enforcement. Obviously.
One of the first books his mother bought him was, Pale Kings and Princes by Robert Parker. Robert Urich brought these books to life when he played detective Spenser in Spenser: For Hire. This was yet another TV show he and his mother bonded over. As he got older, he turned to James Patterson, Michael Connelly and Lee Child to meet his “who dunnit” needs. To this day, Jon and his mom continue to ship each other books when they’re finished reading them. It’s very cute, actually.
According to Jon, he thinks it always helps your relationship when you have things in common with your mother, and a mystery was the glue that kept them close. When you’re an only child, you don’t necessarily have that built-in playmate. For Jon, there was nothing better as a young kid, than staying up late and sharing a good mystery with his mom. They would compete and try to guess whom the murderer or thief was. This was a game his mother excelled at, and still does. Jon and his mom talk the day after NCIS, their favorite show, to compare their notes since their sofas are 3000 miles apart.
If Jon could give his mother one gift for her birthday, it would be a mystery cruise with all of her favorite authors. That’s actually kind of a good idea for a movie, don’t you think?Tags: Charlie Chan, Crime Story, Entertainment industry, Hollywood, Hunter, James Patterson, Jill Effron, Lee Child, Matlock, Michael Connelly, Mother-son relationship, Murder She Wrote, Mystery thrillers, Robert Parker, Sherlock Holmes, Spenser for Hire, Television, Whodunnit mysteries