Shows like Green Acres.
Green Acres was the story of a lawyer, Oliver Wendell Douglas (that’s how we know he’s a lawyer), who decides to get away from it all by moving to the country. He was a success in the city, but here he is constantly humiliated by the locals upon whom he has made himself dependent. People like Mr. Haney, who had sold him the place, and Sam Drucker, who runs the general store. Even Eb Dawson, his farmhand, seems able to outwit him.
Green Acres is set in Greater Appalachia. It is less a place than a state of mind, a byword for white, rural poverty, the kind Democrats used in the mid-60s to sell Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. Nixon and Norman Lear made everything more real. There was a “rural purge” of shows like Green Acres in 1971, poverty became a black and brown thing, and under the Nixon Thesis of Conflict, or Reaganism if you prefer, good people were to recoil from poor folks.
What if you were trying to make Green Acres today?
Most of our world would be easily recognizable to folks a half-century ago – cars are cars, homes are homes, and utilities are utilities. Hooterville, and the countryside surrounding it, would not look familiar. The Internet has transformed society, and made places like this redundant.