Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Television Reaches NEW Lows

I have an advanced degree in television and film.
I say this only to indicate I have a little knowledge of what it takes to put a program together and not to brag about my education.
I am also ashamed to say it because of the sorry state of television today.  (And movies too, but this will deal with television.)
I had thought television couldn't descend any further into the abyss of bad taste and banality.  I was wrong.
During idle moments I have surfed the cable channels recently and discovered 'reality' television has dropped off the cliff of taste and probably cannot be saved.
I thought things like "Survivor", "Big Brother" and "The Bachelor" had reached new depths of voyeurism and silliness.  Again, I was wrong.
There are several shows dealing with tattoos.  Huh?  Is there really that much interest in spending half a hour watching people trying to correct the mistakes other people have had drilled into their bodies?
There are a couple of shows dealing with dancing.  No, not dancing competitions (I could almost understand that), but crazy mothers who are sending their kids to dance classes.
Of course there the "Real Housewives of . . ." (insert your favorite city or condition.)
Finally, I stumbled across one I couldn't believe at all.  The ultimate in bad taste is "Double Divas".  Yes, a show dealing with two women who design bras; catering to the American male obsession with large breasts.
OK, I'll admit that cable network shows like this are designed to appeal to a smaller audience than a network show.  Thus, they appeal to a smaller, specialized consumer of entertainment, but a show essentially about large breasts?  Plllleeessseeee!
I thought all this was bad, until I saw some of the hype for what the major networks are introducing for their 'second season' starting here in January.
Gag me with a Gensu.
NBC is offering us a doctor with a split personality who turns . . . what?  Evil by night?  Killer by night?  I can't tell form the promos and I really don't want to know.
Fox is advertising a doctor who is forced to treat members of the mob.  And that will go away shortly to be replaced by a guy who hunts a serial killer (haven't we seen this before about a thousand times?
TNT is offering a doctor show as well.  "Monday Mornings". The promos are overly dramatic, but I gather it is about what hospitals call a mortality and morbidity conference where doctors explain why something went wrong with a patient.  Sure, just what I want to watch doctors screwing up and trying to explain it.
ABC has its’ own trashy entertainment in “Scandal” a show about cleaning up the messes of politicians in Washington D.C. as well as the aforementioned “The Bachelor”.  The network also weighs in with “Nashville” about dueling country music stars.
I thought "Entertainment Tonight" was banal enough, then the same network (CBS) offers a second helping of trivia about entertainment personalities called "The Insider".  But, not being stupid enough already, they teamed the people from that show with a celebrity gossip website called "OMG!" and created an even dumber program called "OMG! Insider". It gives you not only a half hour of mind numbing trivia about stars, but pairs it with a website where you can get up the second details and the trivial pursuits of wannabe stars and TV personalities.
No wonder we can't get our economy moving again, everyone is spending  all their waking hours wondering if Lindsay Lohan has been arrested again, who Kim Karsashian is married to/dating/pregnant by this week or   who John Mayer is dating today (I would say this week, but his relationships don't seem to last that long.)
And if the programs weren't coarse enough you can always watch the commercials.  Cutesy comments about going to the bathroom?  Give me a break Charmin.  Try and treat your audience like adults instead of sniggering sixth graders laughing at potty humor. 
Come on, folks, read a book.  Watch a movie even. (Although these days that isn't really too much of a step up from television.)
 Network viewership numbers have been declining over the last few years (no surprise there with the content they are producing) and I can only hope people are just turning it off and not just switching over to watch huge breasts being fitted for a new bra.

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