The banjo has always had a unique relationship to television. It has showed up in some likely and unlikely places. We enjoyed the appearance of the banjo on The Office last year. Now it’s made another showing in a new TVLand series entitled Retired At 35.
George Segal plays a leading role as the main character’s father. The story is that he plays the banjo himself, and insisted his character in the show play the banjo. The producers agreed and wrote it into the pilot episode.
In the show, his wife leaves him and he’s so excited he grabs the banjo and begins strumming it while singing about her departure.
The other characters aren’t that excited about the separation or the banjo playing. His son later asks his best friend this question.
“I’ve been thinking about something…How long do you think it would take me to beat myself to death with a banjo?”
Deciding what his father needs is a date, they head to the local bingo game to find him one. The friend strikes up a conversation with a lady there, describes Segal’s character and mentions that “he even plays the banjo.” Her response is the same as that of women of all ages.
“For the right man, I can stomach the banjo.”
As you can see, the banjo isn’t exactly depicted as the good thing we know it to be.
The episode is 22 minutes long. The banjo doesn’t make it’s first appearance until about 13 minutes in. It’s not 3-finger style picking, and the show doesn’t encourage family values, but if you’re interested in watching it, you can do so on tvland.com until February 12, 2011 when the episode expires online.