The Honeymooners And The Age Of Consumerism

As said in some previous articles, The Honeymooners wasn’t at all without a hard core – it spoke not just about the life in the society, but also about the life of the blue-collar family. The show presented the life of the working man, with this working man still trying to prove that he deserves the role as the head of the family.

These were said before, but further explanation is needed. In the ‘50’s when the show was aired, there were two trends in the schedule presented on the TV. One was presenting this perspective, of the working man trying to sustain his family, while the other was more inclined to show that the woman had a similar (if not more important) role than the man.

In The Honeymooners we see that Ralph is constantly trying to find the right recipe for achieving success, while also maintaining his job as a bus driver. Furthermore, the illusion is maintained that he has the same leading role in the family.

However, this is an illusion and nothing else. Sure, he brings in the money and sure, at times, his asserting of his role becomes even physical in nature. But this is just a play, this is just a front, because all that he does is for his wife to be satisfied by him.

It was the battle of the sexes, so to speak, a battle that the time will settle eventually. As seen in other TV shows of the same period or from later on (I Love Lucy, Bewitched and many others), the woman is never content by her role and always wants more.

So even if Ralph makes enough money as a blue-collar, or even if he strikes gold through one of his get rich quick schemes, all that he does is perpetuate and build even more on the idea of needing. He doesn’t buy just to satisfy his wife: people have to buy not just to survive, but because the society demands it.

It is a never ending spiral which leaves behind the struggle of the man to maintain his position in the family. Somewhere down the road, even he forgets what he was trying to do from the start. He is tricked, much like it will later happen with the woman.

This idea is not singular in the history of television – the idea that the man himself becomes mesmerized by his most recent purchases. For example, The Flinstones (which was clearly based on The Honeymooners) shows us time and time again how technology worked in the Stone Age. The fact that there is a little dinosaur-thingy in every product isn’t just a gag, but it is the amazement of seeing how unbelievable the things we buy are.

Ultimately, the battle of the sexes is settled and nobody wins.

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