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Thread: Northern Exposure: A Retrospective

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    Bronze Member RonPrice's Avatar
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    Default Northern Exposure: A Retrospective

    Several years before I retired from my career as a full-time teacher, there was a highly successful television series entitled Northern Exposure(NE). The series aired from 1990 to 1995, but its popularity persisted many years after cancellation, well into the first decade of my retirement, 1999 to 2009, as dedicated fans continued to enjoy reruns and recorded episodes on VHS or on DVD. Among the thousands of continuing NE fans, many often referred to the program to interpret, endure, and celebrate their everyday experience—as people do with some of the many forms, narratives and images in the print and electronic media.



    The program text and its interpreted themes became for many an essential part of their personal, their biographical, narratives. Some of these fans came to understand NE as a narrative for the exploration of their own spiritual questions and spiritual discourse assisting them, in the process, to interpret their experience. NE represented a confluence of popular culture, audience practice, and contemporary patterns of religiosity in the quest for meaning.-Ron Price with thanks to John Mihelich and Jennifer Gatzke, “Spiritual Quest and Popular Culture: Reflexive Spirituality in the Text of Northern Exposure,” The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, Vol. 15, Spring, 2007.


    I learned, Joel, over the decades to be(1)
    consistently exhilarated and delighted by
    the play of intelligence and its psychological
    nuances. You are still so very young, Joel.
    Sometimes I had to call truce to life’s drama
    with its wonderful ten-course banquet for
    there was the fatigue as faith strained feebly
    against the unbelieving night and there was
    the melancholy, Joel, a sadness so ancient as
    to have no name and trivializing as it did my
    pitiable trophies & my minor virtues garnered
    in so many old-sweet but often bitter times.(2)

    My imperfections, Joel, are not so epically
    egregious as to embarrass the seraphim who,
    I am inclined to think, ruefully yawn at their
    mention and my shame will not topple cities
    or arrest the sun’s climb. Learning is so often
    a very slow business, Joel. You gave starved
    imaginations: magic, myth, ritual, philosophy,
    religious wisdom, folklore, fantasy, and living
    sparks from the moral dialectics of diverse
    characters as masses discovered their own
    meaningful autobiographical experiences.
    What more could you want to give, Joel?


    (1)The writers of this series thought of the five-year sojourn of Joel Flieshman, the young doctor from New York, in Cicely Alaska in terms of Joseph Campbell's myth of a hero's journey into a strange and magical land. By surmounting great challenges, this legendary hero wins new powers to take back home at the end of his adventure. I, too, had my pioneering adventures and hero’s journey as a Baha’i after nearly 60 years of association with this new world Faith.


    We can foresee, so argue some of the series’ analysts, that Joel’s moral and spiritual education will be unlike any in our own lives, and by living through his education vicariously with him, we might both liberate and discipline our own hearts. If this guy can grow, perhaps we can too.


    (2) Roger White, “Lines from a Battlefield,” Another Song Another Season, George Ronald, 1979, p.111.---Ron Price 4 July 2010
    married for 44 years, a teacher for 35, a writer and editor for 12 and a Baha'i for 52(in 2011)

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    I was fond of all the characters, but loved the moose best.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member yanna's Avatar
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    I must have caught something like 4 or 5 episodes of that show but I really liked it. I think my favourite was when the guy went hunting but he only wounded the duck so he was trying to nurse it to health afterwards.

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    Elite Member Palermo's Avatar
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    I loved this show when it was on.

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    Love the show, saw it first run, have two of the seasons on DVD.
    Tea baggers want to fight the Man because the Man doesn't look like them.

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    Gold Member eboni's Avatar
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    Loved the show also. My favorite episode was the burial scene where catapulted the casket into the wild. Loved the receptionist's voice also, everything was monotone, everything.
    ...Stopped smoking on March 8, 2011. Was trying to put a fancy ticker in my signature but it didn't work...

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    The actor who played Holling is in the pilot (and one other episode) of Mad Men. He plays a tobacco exec.
    Tea baggers want to fight the Man because the Man doesn't look like them.

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    Elite Member Kathie_Moffett's Avatar
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    "The program text and its interpreted themes became for many an essential part of their personal, their biographical, narratives. Some of these fans came to understand NE as a narrative for the exploration of their own spiritual questions and spiritual discourse assisting them, in the process, to interpret their experience."

    Yeah....that's kinda me, actually. I loved that show so much. That was a really happy time in my life, too. Ugh, I miss the early 90s and NE somehow encapsulates most of what I loved best about that era.

    I'll have to sit down and watch the whole thing again sometime. Apart from my personal affection for it, I really do think it was one of the all-time best TV shows. Pretty much perfect in every way. No surprise that it was early work from David Chase, who later did "The Sopranos". He kind of disses it now, since it was network TV. His quote on the subject is priceless: 'I loathe and despise almost every second of it (network TV)...I considered network TV to be propaganda for the corporate state.' I enthusiastically agree overall, but on the subject of NE I respectfully differ. Chase may not realize it but he brilliantly transcended the medium.
    Did you know that every time a parent gives in to their kid's whines and buys them candy at the checkout lane, a kitten gets diabetes?-Dlisted
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    -George Carlin

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    Elite Member ConstanceSpry's Avatar
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    I thought it was an intelligent, entertaining, quirky show. Now, with mostly reality shows and other drive, TV is not even worth watching any more for the most part, unless you pay for premium channels. Those do have some good series.

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    Elite Member OrangeSlice's Avatar
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    I was fairly young during the first airing, but am currently working my way through the dvds. I'm right at the end of (I think) season 3 right now. Shelley's mother just visited with her much younger fiancee. There's just something so classic about this series that makes it timeless. It's just wonderful, and I'm so in love with Chris in the Morning. Mmmmm...
    "Schadenfreude, hard to spell, easy to feel." ~VenusinFauxFurs

    "Scoffing is one of my main hobbies!" ~Trixie

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    Elite Member ikmccall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eboni View Post
    Loved the show also. My favorite episode was the burial scene where catapulted the casket into the wild. Loved the receptionist's voice also, everything was monotone, everything.

    I wonder what that actress is doing now? I think my favorite episode was the one where every woman in town had the hots for Chris (was it his pheromones?).

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    I really liked this show. I always watched it when it first ran. It had great little plot lines, and interesting characters.

    I love that Barry whathisface that played the former astronaut. And I adore Adam Arkin.
    It's no longer a dog whistle, it's a fucking trombone


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    Elite Member aabbcc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McJag View Post
    I was fond of all the characters, but loved the moose best.
    [YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKHzIXZBF74[/YOUTUBE]

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Thank you, thank you! That moose should have won an Emmy. Handsome devil,too.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    I really liked this show. I always watched it when it first ran. It had great little plot lines, and interesting characters.

    I love that Barry whathisface that played the former astronaut. And I adore Adam Arkin.
    Barry Corbin. He was a general on Wargames.
    Tea baggers want to fight the Man because the Man doesn't look like them.

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