I Went Down to the River to Brush My Teeth

I’m paying close attention to the latest controversy facing our nation — Pearlywhitesgate. Depending on your television viewing habits, you might not have heard of the egregious wrong being brought to us by the creators of 1883, the prequel to the popular television program Yellowstone.

It seems that viewers of the program are being asked to believe that the pioneers making their way to Oregon from deep in the heart of Texas have perfect teeth. They may be facing rattlesnakes and raging rivers and cold-hearted bandits, but they have time to brush their pearlies every morning and night to keep their teeth white and their breath fresh.

I will admit that I’m on the side of the program’s creators. I have no desire to see Faith Hill with her teeth blacked out. I’m not opposed to realistic television (hey, even Blake Shelton has to lose The Voice once in a while), but for me, television = escapism. I even get a little bit squeamish when I see Elsa Dutton’s unshaved underarms. But a gap in Tim McGraw’s smile from missing teeth (in the rare instances when he isn’t snarling at Sam Elliott) might do me in.

I have been a fan of westerns on television since I was a small girl. We faithfully watched Big Valley, Bonanza, and Gunsmoke as a family. I’m pretty sure Miss Kitty’s beauty mark was painted on, and I bet Doc didn’t really need the pince-nezes that he balanced on his nose as he regularly removed bullets from Matt Dillon’s shoulder. Oh, and Matt got shot up several times a month and didn’t get killed. That’s realistic.

Of course, I also read recently that there is an age gap at what I referred to above as “the popular television program Yellowstone.” Because apparently it’s only popular with people who look like me, namely old and white. It is for this reason that despite the fact that everyone I know watches Yellowstone, it hasn’t won a single award. Or even been nominated. John Dutton’s message must not resonate with the Powers-That-Be in Hollywood. Or with people who aren’t yet receiving Social Security.

I have complained for years that all of the movies and television programs that are nominated for awards are so dang depressing that they make me want to turn on the gas stove and stick my head in. (Hey, that would be a familiar ending for a Hollywood movie.) Bill and I recently went to see American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story. It has gotten surprisingly positive reviews, but I will be surprised if it receives a single award nomination. It’s way too uplifting.

So, I plea to you Faith Hill and Tim McGraw: fight to keep your teeth white. And watch that girl, Elsa. She’s guaranteed trouble to you both, with or without teeth.

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