Back in the early ’90s, there was a little show giving military families something to relate to and giving civilians a peek inside military life. Back then, fans military and civilian alike gathered in front of the cathode-ray television on Monday nights to watch Major Dad. Hulu got our AT-TEN-TION when they added the show to their lineup, allowing a new generation of military families and curious civilians to watch Major Dad.
If you’re not familiar with the show, it follows a Mustang (prior enlisted) Marine officer who falls in love with a self-described liberal journalist widow with three girls. After a whirlwind romance, the couple marries at the base chapel, and family makes five.
The humorous melding of conservative and liberal views, military and civilian lifestyles, and a forever bachelor with a house full of girls, along with #militarylife topics we all know and love — deployment, PT, PCS, promotion, and all the mandatory fun you can squeeze into a half-hour time slot — are all squared away with a braided leather belt. Getting the chance to watch Major Dad today as military spouses has us realizing that so much of the life at Camp Singleton (Camp Pendleton), Camp Hollister (MCB Quantico), and all the bases in between is still really relatable today — plus it’s fun to expose our military kids to ancient things like landlines and typewriters.
Old School Reminders
The show’s dialogue on Mac (the Major) and Polly’s marriage was refreshing. Today’s television shows opt for a wider audience, engaging through cliffhangers in romantic relationships. (How many seasons did it take for Meredith Grey to finally get with McDreamy?) It is rare for a show to have lead protagonists stay together without major conflict. Major and Polly actually talk about their concerns and worries — making them a united front; they even go to counseling as a family.
Fiscal responsibility is openly discussed. In several episodes, we watch Major Dad clip coupons. The family even goes to Kings Dominion with a family coupon — those are our kind of people! When the family needs a new washer and dryer, the Major takes on a second job. In a world where the national debt is outrageous and credit cards are in everyone’s pockets, discussing saving up for major purchases is refreshing and a reminder that is OK to not have it all.
Oh, Hey, Intentional Connectivity — We Remember You
Watching a ’90s show reminds us what life was like before constant connectivity. Yes, inquisitive children, we are older than the internet — calm down.
While life without texting and social media now seems retro and dated, stepping back in time with Major Dad demonstrated the importance of intentional connectivity. Now, we can’t even handle the thought of leaving home without our smartphones — what are we supposed to do while we wait in line, what will happen if we don’t reply to texts right away?
Having constant connectivity to social interactions of less quality is not a win. Quantity should not win out over quality. When someone on the show wanted to talk to another person, they went to see them in person or you called them. It wasn’t a one-line text or a string of emojis. America needs a little more intentional connectivity and a little less Twitter.
Chalked Full of History and Military Tradition
Major Dad originally aired from 1989-1993, and the military conflicts of that time are part of the setting. While Hulu carried the show, our military kids got to see the kids on the show deal with their feelings on war and separation from their active-duty parent. There were specific episodes on the Marine Corps ball traditions. One episode featured the Silent Drill Team, and another was all about Jane Wayne Day (the Marine Corps version of Bring Your Spouse to Work Day).
The mustaches were prominent, the hair was big (you know, except the Marine-reg haircuts — those haven’t changed), the sweaters were bright, and the shoulder pads were very visible. Caboodles were introduced, and the girls sewed their clothes! What?!
And technology — can’t you just see the confusion in your child’s eyes — computers were not on every desk and when they were, they are 10 times the size of current laptops. The telephones had cords, long, spiraling cords that stretched across the room! Seeing how far technology has come in the last 30 years was a learning experience for the kids watching and a nostalgic reminder for the adults.
The Whole Family Can Watch Major Dad
Family-friendly TV these days is almost all animated or on a channel named after a greeting-card store. A show the entire family can watch together without worry about graphic scenes or words on a mainstream network is rare. If you got to binge-watch Major Dad while it was on Hulu, you got all that wholesome, Marine-green nostalgia without the pesky commercial breaks.
We remembered that a TV show could inform us and hold our attention without foul language (possible even when 90 percent of the characters are Marines — no easy task) and scandal. At the end of each show, we were uplifted and happy. We looked forward to the next time we could watch it (which was immediate, thanks to streaming — that’s one point for 2019). So, how about it, Hulu? When do we get to watch Major Dad again?
Want to take a family vacation on the cheap like Mac and Polly? Don’t miss the chance to See America for Free with a Military Park Pass.
Photo Credits: Pixabay