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Shepard Makes Impressive Series Return
Airdate: Sunday - May 12, 1985


Last Update: 11-25-2016

Show Description
Jean Shepard, fishing tor folksy American humor in a boat in the middle of the Okefenokee swamp, catches the essence or his new public television series in one quick moment. "Well friends, this ain't 'Three's Company,"' he says dryly. No, it certainly ain't Not all television viewers will be hooked by "Jean Shepard's America." but the half-hour episodes of Shepard's musings about things universal are undoubtedly unlike anything available on the small screen these days. The series, which begins at 10 p.m. Tuesday on WGVC-TV, channel 35, follows the loquacious writer as he travels the countryside, looking at old neighborhoods, cruise ships, motels and tourist traps. Shepard, one of the great humorists of our time and the man behind the very funny movie, "A Christmas Story," makes a resplendent return to public television where his "America" series first ran in 1971-72. The new set includes 10 original productions, plus three from the previous series. Some may be bored by the sardonic wit of his unique observations. Others might think he just talks too much. But there can be no disputing that Jean Shepard is one-of-a-kind. His work, with its autobiographical tone, addresses life in a way that is both entertaining and enlightening. His amusing anecdotes about youth alone are worth hearing. Shepard recently spoke on "The Larry King Show" about how he strives to make his humor all-reaching. "I don't feel real humor deals with specific people," Shepard said in the radio interview. "In other words, if you read Mark Twain, be doesn't attack Ulysses S. Grant, who was in the White House at the time he wrote, but be might attack the military. He attacks an idea which makes his work then lasting and universal. "I try to specifically keep my work so that if you read a short story of mine that might have been written, say, 20 years ago, it's as relevant when you read it as when it was written. Too many people allow their work to become disposable - like Mort Sahl. Five minutes after he did stuff, he was out of business." In the episode In which he explores the Okefenokee swamp, he adopts the persona of the Swamp Man and speaks of how we all came from this mysterious primordial ooze. "0-ke-pben-o-kee," be pronounces it methodically. "If you're Living on the south side of Chicago and you just bear the name, It's enough to make your bladder feel awful tight." Shepard immerses himself In his subject, threatening to make even the casual viewer an active participant in his wry reminiscences and odd observations. "Goodbye civilization," he says. "I've had enough of this television baloney. Bye bye TV Guide. I've had my last Big Mac. I ain't never coming back." (Note: The author consistently misspelled Shepherd as Shepard)
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