NOTE: I found this in my ‘Drafts’ folder and thought I’d publish it.
I honestly lament most things about television these days.
I won’t rehash the many lamentations over reality TV– I’m sure you’ve seen that plenty. When I was a teacher, I encouraged my students to watch real dramas and sitcoms, because they tell stories that are made by a room full of writers, while Reality TV is told by stories created by a room full of editors. But that’s all I’ll say about it. [Editor’s note: I’m teaching now, but TV doesn’t come into our conversations much.]
What I’m talking about is the ridiculousness that gets put on the air these days. Is it just me, or are TV shows still pandering to stereotypes about racial minorities, women, and gays? For example, I tried watching Fran Drescher’s “Happily Divorced” which is based on her own real life experience. Yah–no. It centered around the running gag of, “Really? How did you not know he was gay?” Perhaps that would be because gay stereotypes are not a source of humor?
What also bothers me is the lack of a real start and end to the TV watching seasons. I remember being a kid and buying ONE issue of TV Guide: the one that listed the Primetime TV schedules for the major TV networks. I would look over the list, choose the shows I wanted to watch, clear it with my mom, and make sure my homework was done so that I could watch what I really loved. They all started in early- to mid-September, took a break during the Holidays, came back in January and lasted until late May. I had places to be over the summer anyway, so TV reruns weren’t my thing (unless they were shows that ran before I was a TV watcher– Remington Steele, It’s a Living, Silver Spoons… If you recognize those titles, you might be old). Now, it takes nearly 2 months for all the shows to premiere, they take random breaks, air only every other week, get replaced by another show that’s being “tested out,” come back for another couple weeks, and are over before you know it.
By the way, what is up with the random release dates?? “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” is one thing: people who were watching Leno live or DVRing it (like the Hubs and myself) were either up that late anyway, or they were willing to give Jimmy a try, and it didn’t really matter when he started up. It happened to be during the last week of the Olympics, anyway. But then other shows were premiered during the Olympics, too! Why stay up to see “About a Boy” when that pilot is going to be replayed another time?
I’m looking at the list of TV shows that have been most recently cancelled (to be fair, “About a Boy” is not on the list) and it kills me. People really like these shows! (Nothing I watch has been cancelled so far *knocks wood* but I have been a victim of those Nielsen people in the past.) They have decent ratings, they have good acting, and they’d be even better if they were given a real chance to continue. Many shows now considered classics (MASH, Cheers, Seinfeld) were on the network chopping block after their first season. They’d never make it today.
Here’s to quality television. Maybe we’ll actually have some on the regular.