Last night the family enjoyed a bittersweet and powerful end to the short run series Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street. As the credits rolled for the last time I thought to myself how wonderful this series is and how I suspect we’ll be going through it again sometime soon.
Here’s a brief rundown: Gortimer and his two best friends, Mel and Ranger, live on Normal Street. It’s a pretty normal street, as Gortimer likes to explain in the opening credits, with a lake at one end and a forest at the other, but what happens in between is a whole different story. Each episode has the trio (and sometimes additional friends) solving some kind of mystery or problem that has beset them or someone else. One time it was a man who has seemed to have forgotten everything. Another time it was a mysterious library van that shows up once a year, which oddly enough ties to a girl who has been missing the same amount of time. Sometimes the mysteries or problems involve themselves. Gortimer struggles with being average and wants to be amazing at everything. Mel is an overachiever that starts to get caught up in what she does instead of who she is. Ranger volunteers as a peer counselor and takes on the burdens of others, but doesn’t want to share his own.
Each episode reminds me of the classic Twilight Zone episodes, not because a lot of them had a scary aspect to it, but because the “twist” that often happened in each episode emphasized the moral of the story in ways you wouldn’t necessarily have recognized otherwise. I’m a firm believer that the great and profound truths of the universe (goodness, truth, beauty) will never lose their effectiveness when told right. Gortimer does this wonderfully. Our ten year old daughters were able to pick up on these things right away, and I thoroughly enjoyed “rediscovering” them again.
I highly recommend Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street to any family, with kids from 9 to 99. There are a few episodes that may be a little intense for really young ones, since they deal with death in an episode (and the ramifications in a follow up episode or two), as well as one that deals with the “paranormal” (but the ending is a clever surprise). Other than that, head over to Amazon Video and start watching!!!