I can’t tell you how many hours I wasted as a child watching the sitcom Green Acres. Even in retrospect the show still strikes me as one of the funniest series broadcast by a national network (CBS). I loved the patriotic, and usually conservative, speeches by Oliver Wendell Douglas, the successful lawyer who, with his wife Lisa, portrayed by Eva Gabor, has traded the life of a New York City attorney to be an unsuccessful farmer in the Hooterville countryside. Eddie Arnold played Douglas to perfection as the straight man to all the zanies around him. Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear believes we now live in a Green Acres’ world:
The Bear knows that Green Acres was coded by time travelers to tell us, here in the blighted 21st century, everything we need to know.
Oliver Douglas is a New York lawyer who fulfills a life-long dream to leave the big city and become a farmer. He drags his socialite wife Lisa to the bucolic setting of Hooterville, and they try to make a go of it. Ironically, it is the ditzy, game, unflappable Lisa who fits in, not the lawyer turned farmer, Oliver. Oliver has a romanticized idea of farming, and often breaks into little speeches about “the little green shoots,” which no one wants to hear.
You see, everyone in Hooterville is one wheel short of a tractor.
The county extension agent can’t finish a sentence without contradicting himself. An old couple treat a pig as a child. Twin carpenters can’t even hang a door. (No matter how many appearances the carpenters make, the house is in the same incomplete state at the end of the series as at the beginning.) The Douglases have to climb a pole to use the phone; connecting the last forty feet to the ramshackle farmhouse a seeming impossibility. A peddler always happens to show up with his dubious and overpriced wares just when Oliver happens to need something.
Oliver, the who who wanted to come here, after all, spends his days in exasperation at the incompetence and sheer weirdness that only he seems to notice. Although Lisa misses her glamorous life in New York City, she fits right in with her gowns and signature marabou trimmed robe.
Hooterville is sort of a first-rate third-world country. It has everything we take for granted, except not quite. The loopy inhabitants have all found their niches and are happy. All except Oliver. The only sane man in a mad world.
The Bear bets you get this. He bets you are Oliver. He bets that you look around and are amazed at the insanity that has engulfed the West. Weirdest of all, you seem to be the only person that notices.