October 27, 2011

Don't box me in

I skimmed through this article the other day and agreed with the basic premise that there is little to no 'family' entertainment worth watching on television.

Once upon a time, I loved 'Two and a Half Men'.  I loved the characters, I loved the biting dialogue, I loved the story lines.  Long before Chuck Lorre and Charlie Sheen got into their public pissing match, I was tuning in less and less.  In the name of 'keeping things fresh' or trying to attract that magical 18-25 year old demographic, the series had devolved into a weekly regurgitation of masturbation jokes.  And the jokes had regressed from hilarious innuendo and subtlety to forceful dialogue with a studio laugh track demanding that you join in. 

I admit to paying for an excess of channels.  There are channels I have never, and will never watch - but we can't get the channels we do want without having the rest bundled in.  My kids have their choice of several dozen channels designed just for little people like them.  They also have nature, history, military, music and other various specialized channels to choose from.  I think what the media misses in these 'demise of family programming' articles is that the demise is of network television.  Three of them have been duking it out for decades, in the battle for ratings and advertising dollars.  They used to put out some damn good products - and my family loves some of them, now found on lesser channels.  (They are mostly black & white and/or feature a cast of long dead actors).  What we enjoy more is the programming suited to our individual, and eclectic, interests 

I really don't give a damn if NBC ever gets their Thursday night groove back.  I don't care what ABC thinks a modern family should look like - My family has no problem finding a show to watch together. More importantly we don't have any problem finding other things to spend our time doing, together.  I have a secret method that I employ that organically limits the time my kids watch television.  When they ask if they can watch something I say, 'Sure, if everyone can agree on what to watch.' 

500 channels of HD glory, with the addition of on demand programming and a DVR.  If there are good family shows out there, good families will find them.  I think the demise of television and family programming has more to do with intelligent people finding other distractions and attractions.  It doesn't take much of a brain to figure out that the networks want to put you in a nicely labeled box, complete with your social demographic and spending habits, the better to sell their advertising with.  I'm happy to stay out of their box.


KatWA55 said...

I feel the same way and I don't have young children at home. 700+ channels later and I am not interested in most of what they have to offer. I cancelled HBO because I can't stand subsidizing Bill Maher, even indirectly. I love movies but hate Hollywood and most of what they produce. I don't have the stomach for zombies or vampires or ghosts. My husband and I grew up on tv shows that wrapped up each 30 minute episode with a positive lesson. He says he learned his values from these shows because he grew up in such a disfunctional family. It's disturbing to think of kids today that are growing up in disfunctional families and what they're learning from what they see on tv. No wonder our society is caving in from within.

Harper said...

Boom about wet her pants the first time she saw the 'I Love Lucy' 'Vitameatavegamin' episode. Not a swear word to be heard, no nudity - the famous separate beds. I lived and died as a child by whether I had met my chore requirements and would be able to watch 'Little House on the Prairie'.

I guess I am fortunate that my 17-year old (occasionally) watches 'Jersey Shore' with a look of horror and shared embarrassment, wondering if there really are people like that in the world and wondering why they are paid to let it all hang out on TV.