1985? It's outa here. It's history. When we think back on it, and that'll require an enormous exertion of willpower as well as of memory, how will it seem to have been? A little wacky, a little tacky and an awful lot like a 48-hour bout with the 24-hour flu.
And an even more awful lot like a headache with Excedrin written all over it.
But that's why we have television. It's there to ease the pain. Blink, blank, blunk. Ah, for the banal balm of bunk. There's no beating deep heating. In 1985, television continued to do what it has always done best: Be television. "Let's all be there," it said, and we were. But there was so much more there there: the networks, the independent stations, the cable networks and the pay networks and tons and tons of videocassettes.
Yes, we watched anything and everything we could get our little eyes on. Anything and everything except "American Almanac," that is.
Now is the time for taking stock, as Ted Turner once said. Before 1986 manages to get a firm foothold in our collective consciousness (and you know how painful that can be, as David Letterman not only once said, but has said about 1,423 times), we should pause to pay our respects to 1985. Don't worry -- it won't take long. There wasn't a lot to respect. Still, how could anyone really hate a year that was polka-dotted and festooned, not to mention potholed and bespeckled, with such Very Special Moments as these . . .
*It's the Same 8 Percent Who Enjoy Gridlock, Root-Canal Work and New Coke -- To the question "In terms of your values, how satisfied are you with the entertainment shows on television?" 8 percent of the respondents to a Roper Poll said, "Very satisfied."
*AQuestion of Priorities -- ABC delayed airing the Democratic response to President Reagan's State of the Union address for two days so it could show that week's episode of "Dynasty," with Joan Collins, as scheduled.
*We Still Say He's Really Captain Kangaroo -- A woman rose at a meeting of CBS stockholders in Chicago to ask Walter Cronkite if he was actually, "in fact, Lt. Gen. Sir Henry Pownall," head of British military operations and intelligence during World War II. Cronkite replied, "I hate to equivocate, but I don't think I am."
*Most Appropriate Line of Dialogue Uttered All Year on "Miami Vice" -- "If there's a point to this, let's get to it." -- Don Johnson, Oct. 18, 1985.
*Most Disgusting Line of Gush Printed All Year About Don Johnson -- A tie between "Pink Pants'd Pretty Boy" (Glamour) and "NBC's Prettiest Peacock" (People).
*Someone's Been Waking Him Too Quickly From His Naps Again -- Ronald Reagan sent a tongue-in-cheek sympathy note, on White House stationery, to a character in the NBC soap "Santa Barbara" who was suffering temporary blindness. "Nancy and I are sorry to learn about your illness," Reagan said in the note to "Augusta Lockridge," played by Louise Sorel. "Our thoughts and prayers are with you."
*Hold It, or You'll Get It Right Between the Shins -- Herve Villechaize, the 3-foot-11 actor who formerly costarred on ABC's "Fantasy Island," was fined $425 and placed on one year's informal probation for "creating a disturbance" and carrying a concealed handgun in the emergency room of Burbank Hospital. A spokesman said later that Villechaize has to carry a gun on his person because people are always threatening him.
*Looking on the Bright Side -- Quoted in a press release about the CBS decision to place "Mike Hammer" on hiatus while its star, Stacy Keach, served out a term in a British jail for cocaine possession, actress Lindsay Bloom, who played Velda on the series, said, "At first glance, it may seem like a tragedy, but I view it as an opportunity to be available for feature films and movies of the week . . ."
*One Small Step for NBC, One Giant Leap for Western Civilization -- Network censors ordered the words "douche bag" changed to "scuzzball" in the pilot episode of the comedy series "The Golden Girls."
*. . . and Two Steps Back Again -- The terms "sweat" and "period" were used for the first time in commercials for deodorant and hygiene products.
*Visual Literacy -- A Rockville company marketed cases for videocassettes designed to disguise them as books.
*Year's Best Hoaxes -- Seven people pretended to faint during a live broadcast of Phil Donahue's talk show in New York. A professional prankster rushed up to receive Betty Thomas' trophy at the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. And Rona Barrett was given the title "Senior Correspondent" on "Entertainment Tonight."
*And a Felony Not to Catch "Runaway Train" -- Critic Gene Shalit, in one of his movie reviews on the "Today" show, said, "It should be against the law not to see 'The Color Purple.' "
*Oh, That Aaron Spelling! -- Actress Loretta Young, announcing that she would emerge from retirement to play a matriarch in the Aaron Spelling movie "Dark Mansions," said she was "sick of dirty, slutty, foul-mouthed and violent" TV programming and added, "Aaron Spelling has better taste than that." However, the deal fell through, and she backed out of the show.
*Possible Answer to the Question, What Was in That Mysterious Package Sent Special Delivery by Jesse Helms? -- Employes at the CBS News Washington bureau reported that the building had become infested with fruit flies.
*On the Other Hand, There Are Worse Things Than Fruit Fly Infestations -- On "CBS Morning News," Phyllis George asked a convicted rapist and his alleged victim, who had since recanted her accusation, if they would like to hug each other. George later explained, "I wanted to get the personal side."
*Ickiest Sweet Nothing to Be Coo'd in a TV Movie -- James Coburn to Glynnis O'Connor in "Sins of the Father" on NBC: "I like peanut-butter sandwiches, coffee ice cream, sunsets in Puerto Vallarta, Count Basie, Mozart and you."
*Wake Me When the Video Revolution Is Over -- United Home Video of Tulsa announced it would produce the first original movie made for the cassette market. Title: "Blood Cult."
*With Scriptwriters Like This, Who Needs Critics? -- The ABC mini-series "Hollywood Wives" included the following lines of dialogue: "When you have no taste, you can do anything," "When you're head of a studio, you don't need class," and "I wouldn't direct anything that was this badly written."
*And You Think You Had a Bad Year -- While awaiting sentencing on charges of selling cocaine and failing to file income taxes for the years 1978 and 1981, Dan Haggerty, formerly TV's "Grizzly Adams," suffered leg injuries when the motorcycle he was driving crashed into a parked car on a winding canyon road.
*Oh Shut Up -- ABC News President Roone Arledge, criticizing "CBS Morning News," said, "It's like a prostitute who people stopped hiring asking herself, 'Why did I decide to prostitute myself?' "
*Brandon Tartikoff Would Be So Proud, Part One -- An Arlington woman confessed to police that she had formulated plans to blow up her husband in the family house trailer on a Thursday night, when she knew he would be home watching "The Cosby Show" on NBC.
*Brandon Tartikoff Would Be So Proud, The Adventure Continues -- A family in Birmingham, England, refused to budge from the television set during an episode of "St. Elsewhere," even though the room in which they were sitting was filling up with smoke. After firemen removed them and extinguished a second-story blaze in a back bedroom, the family went back into the house and continued watching the show.