Top 10 Influential TV Shows (1st Edition)

television-antiguaSince I’m still in the mood for sharing, and yesterday’s list of Top 25 Movies (1st Edition) was so well received. I’m making a list of top 10 television shows that influenced my life, because it wasn’t always about the movies.

These shows opened my eyes to the possibilities of something other than my reality. They opened me up to love, determination, to the ability of wanting something with arduous and unwavering passion. Most importantly, these shows taught me that it was more than okay to want to be better and that everyone makes mistakes.

Again, the list is in no particular order, but they are all very special to me.

  1. Full House (1987 – 1995) – yes, the Tanner clan were very influential to my life. With their dubbed (Spanish) programming their messages of understanding and family bond wasn’t lost in translation. While at first I thought their constant hugging was a bit strange along with the fact that their parents had dark hair and all the daughters were blonde – I learned much from the Tanners. They were such a stark contrast to my own reality. The Tanners were the ones who sparked the curiosity in me of “well, if someone wrote this, it has to be somewhat true – that’s what writers do isn’t it? draw from reality?” watching them navigate the troubles in life with family talks and hugging them out made me realize that we can and should have more “hugging it out” moments, and not fear of our family not loving us. Also, Michelle was pretty funny, but my favorite was the misunderstood Stephanie who you can watch here.
  2. The Jeffersons (1975 – 1985) – even though I was quite young to understand the premise of this show, I enjoyed it nonetheless. The fact that Mr. Jefferson black and wealthy, moving from his shoddy neighborhood in Queens to a penthouse apartment in the sky of the East Side in Manhattan was pretty spectacular. This was before African Americans were ‘forced’ into the Eurocentric standards of beauty, as everyone wore their manes au natural, and were like the neighbor from down the hall in my own building. The Jeffersons had a sassy maid who was rude to him, as he was rude to his everyone, including his quirky white neighbor and didn’t get in trouble for it. This family was the closest people on television I could find that sort of resembled my own in color – something that was rare during the early 1980’s. You can watch Florence getting ready for her Mr. Right here.
  3. Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990 – 1996) – As a teenager, coming from a poor/working class background I was often told that we had a place in life and it wasn’t in a mansion – unless of course, we were hired to clean it. Will, Uncle Phil and Aunt Vivian (Janet Hubert) let me know that with hard work and determination one can indeed change their situation. Coming from a similar socio-economic background as my own family, the Bank’s gave me hope for a better life as they made their way from poverty-stricken Philadephia to affluent Bel-Air and even employing the wonderfully sassy Geoffrey (who often stole the show with his snarky quips). The show was incredibly hilarious as it broke endless stereotypes for people of color, and struck nerves with dramatic episodes where Will and James Avery’s Uncle Phil’s relationship was tested and strengthened, best examples of which can be seen here and here (trigger warning, this might make you cry ugly). This show let me know that my skin color didn’t determine my position in life, nor did my first socio-economic status in life, I could change my life by dedicating myself to be a better human being and working incredibly hard. Also, Hillary was way funnier in Spanish.
  4. El Chavo del Ocho (1972 – 1979) – Roberto Gómez Bolaños better known as Chespirito, was a staple in many Latin households. His characters that included an orphan child living in a barrel in a housing complex, a clumsy superhero, and a sort of odd couple pairing was the sort of show that was educational, motivational, and pure. Chavo (the aforementioned orphan) was a kid who didn’t have a conventional family, but was adopted by the people who lived in the housing complex where he’d sleep in a barrel. Filled with quirky adventures, he and his bestie/girlfriend La Chilindrina were the best compinches one could find on television for decades (reruns that still can be seen on many Spanish-speaking networks). You can see a little bit of what I’m talking about here.
  5. Punky Brewster (1984 – 1988) – This show taught me so much. I mean, who doesn’t want to take control of their life? Penelope “Punky” Brewster was abandoned with her dog by her mother at a supermarket by her mother and refuses to stay at the orphanage, so she does what any person would do, takes her dog and leaves to stay at the tree house.  Punky’s style of clothing was colorful and fit perfectly with the traditional way Puerto Ricans dressed. I even had some crazy colored high topped shoes inspired by her style. Punky was more spunky than anything else, wise beyond her years, so it was appropriate that she was adopted by the much older and incredibly caring Henry. Sometimes parents aren’t the ones you’re biologically linked to, but the one your heart adopts. Watch Punky find a home here.
  6. Diff’rent Strokes (1978 – 1986) – talking about orphans…Arnold and Willis Jackson were my top on my list to watch. The family dynamics of this show were groundbreaking. I mean, two African American boys adopted by a wealthy rich man who didn’t see them for their color, but who they were and loved them as they were their own? Who can’t fall in love with that? The episode where the Willis boys want to change their name – tear jerker! This show taught me that doesn’t matter how different we all are, where there’s love there’s a family. Watch the first episode here.
  7. Knight Rider (1982 – 1986) – my passion for cars began at an early age thanks to my father. Enamored with KITT, I was introduced to the first female mechanic /engineer Bonnie Barstow who knew more about taking care of a car than Michael did. Patricia McPherson’s character and presence empowered me as a girl child. My fascination with cars, and transformers was not ‘boyish’ or reason to be concerning. Furthermore, my heart broke when KITT was destroyed – I forever will hate KARR…that bastard. You can watch the death and rebirth of KITT here.
  8. Sesame Street (1969 – Present) – What child hasn’t watched this show? My favorite character was the amazing Grover. His craziness taught me to be myself – even if that meant not everyone was going to like me. As we discoed to the ABC’s I learned that it’s okay to not be the boss, it’s okay to be tired, it’s okay to not be able to fly perfectly as he constantly crashed as Super Grover, because sometimes even supers need to take the bus.
  9. She-Ra: Princess of Power (1985 – 1987) – A strong princess that rebels against evil forces and doesn’t need saving because she’s the one doing all the saving? Yes please! Even at an early age I was a little tired of seeing the damsel in distress both in animated and acted films that couldn’t do anything without a man. She-Ra defied all that and swung her sword kicking ass and taking names – it’s unfortunate she didn’t get the recognition her cousin He-Man and the Masters of the Universe You can watch She-Ra here.
  10. Thundercats (1985 – 1989) – Adventure, strong female character, crazy kittens causing a ruckus? This cult classic was the best animated program for decades. I’m sure many will agree with me on that. I’m still waiting for the movie to come out; in the meantime I’ll share the first episode with you here.

Film Festivals and Acquisitions

Forever Boogies is the first in a trilogy about conservation, sport, and environmental awareness short films
Forever Boogies is the first in a trilogy about conservation, sport, and environmental awareness short films

 

I’ve been really busy the past couple of weeks. After shooting and editing an intense workout video for a friend (see the video here), I’ve been busy at work promoting my first short documentary Forever Boogies.

Galdo Gomez practicing the Laird Hamilton Technique for better performance in DK
Galdo Gomez practicing the Laird Hamilton Technique for better performance in DK

Since the releasing the workout video, I’ve: designed and printed some nifty new business cards for myself, updated the fundraising page for my next project, designed some awesome graphics for t-shirts and tote bags for sale – a way to further fund raise for further projects (I’ve already had a few people asking me when they’re going to be ready because they want to support my work). I’ve sent sponsorship request and/or proposal letters to two companies (GoPro, Proteus Clothing Company), and I’ve sent my film to both the People’s Film Festival in NYC and the Rincón International Film Festival here in Puerto Rico. All exciting, I’m a little bit more nervous than what I anticipated, but it’s good right? If you have a little bit of fear when you’re doing something, that means you’re doing the right thing…right?  

I’ve also acquired a Public Relations person! She’s a good friend of mine who’s transitioning from being strictly in the PR world to producing and managing in the entertainment world. So far, she’s gotten a few people interested in my work and I couldn’t be happier to bring her on board. She’s brilliant, she’s an incredibly hard working person, and she understands my drive to make things happen at a much faster and fanatical pace than many other people would. Last night I had a long conversation with her as to where I would like to take these environmental and surfing, SUP, body boarding and dk riding projects and she told me “I need you to speak with this guy because he’ll see the vision, the passion and drive that you have for your work that he’ll sure to give you backing after one conversation.” I grinned like a maniac and said “I’m available to Skype if need be.”

The rest of the conversation was about my van and how every one of the guys falls in love with it when they see it. It’s a 1993 GMC Astro Van – Special Edition. I run it pretty much everywhere it allows me to run it, and it’s also made me a mechanic of sorts, since it’s so old I have to really be on the alert of what’s happening to it and what rattling noises are coming from where. There have been plenty of times where I’ve had to pop the hood (the best time was while I was wearing a summer dress) and deal with the engine and/or battery because my fat buddy wouldn’t start. She was probably upset that I was running her through all those horrible back roads this island has and decided to take a break before allowing me to drive her back home. Yes, my car is a woman, she’s my fat buddy, and she’s awesome. She also has an insane sound system that I blast with all these song mixes and people tend to look into my car and smile because I’m so short, the car is so big and they usually expect a man to be driving it.

OMG I'm on IMDb!
OMG I’m on IMDb!

While I was talking to my new PR agent, I was remembering a conversation I had earlier that day with of my other friends, and told her about some designs I have for future apparel and she told me “You’re so creative, you’re like I’m going to make movies, write books, do fashion AND save the world!” I smiled and said “well, it’s what you do – if you were me” we both broke out in manic laughter. All the people that I surround myself by have the same insane work ethic I do. Work hard, complete several projects (lately it’s been about four or five) at once and move on to the next group of projects…because that’s what we do.

It isn’t because I want to get rich quick, no, it’s because I’d like to help people a lot soon than later. I’d like to be able to buy my father a house and not have him worry about paying rent, or needing to look for a place to live because the landlords are being assholes. I’d like to be able to help with my grandparents medical expenses because they’re piling up and social security and Medicare don’t cover all their medical needs. I’d like to get myself a nice place to live, close to my father’s house so I can keep an eye on him while having my own space. He keeps on getting ill and I don’t want to leave him alone, not for too long anyway.

In the meantime I’ll keep working hard to promote the work I’ve already completed, and keep trying to get funding one way or another for future projects – because the work I’m doing is important for the world to see. It has a lot to do with them; environmental and human rights reporting, has everything to do with society as a whole – I’m not peddling fantasy, I’m showing the reality of what’s happening in the world. Maybe that’s why people are so hesitant to pay attention.