Thursday, October 21, 2010

Yet Another Curmudgeonly TV Rant

Warning for those of you sick of these. You're excused. See ya later.

For starters, let me first fess up -- during my Lost Summer I watched more TV than I ever had in my life; not whole shows, mind you...if there wasn't something good on TCM, then I just kept flipping channels looking for direction. For this reason, I actually do know a little something about the programs about which I complain -- rather than my usual method of relying on heresay and getting it wrong (as in the American's Top Model vs. Project Runway fiasco in a Spot-On column I did).

I have since weaned myself off this habit -- and perhaps sometime I will do a blog why I think weaning is necessary, especially if you think it isn't, and how I did it. But that's not for today.

It seems that the new fall shows are being canceled already. I was only dimly aware new fall shows had started, but...really? Already? Not one of the shows even vaguely resembled Turn-On (which gives you an idea of how old I am...).

One of the reasons for this is -- and I quote -- "poor performance among younger viewers."


That's whose opinion we're relying on to determine what we're allowed to watch?

It explains everything!

It explains why those Kardashian people are making money. It explains why one channel devotes itself almost entirely to weddings of spoiled, whiney couples and their dysfunctional families (it's either Bravo or WE -- whatever; the channel numbers are close to each other on my cable remote). It explains why creating a wonderful meal is a fierce battle on the Food Network. It explains why Ashley Simpson showed up on The Dog Whisperer (the fading celebrity's next to the last ditch effort to revive their career -- after this, it's off to Branson and red, white and blue cowboy attire).

I will admit to being baffled at first, then outraged that I was watching a glorification of talentless, superficial,self-absorbed, self-centered Californians (sorry, Californians; but, as much as you all disparage the sophistication and physical attractiveness of everyone east of your "canyons" and west of your accountants' beach house in the Hamptons, you do know that the rest of the country considers you all a bunch of idiots*, right? -- all except my former editor Chris, who is one of the smartest women I know and who I envision as a sort of Jane Goodall living among the apes).

Upon further reflection, though, I resigned myself to the fact that there is no solution to this and eventually television will be nothing but a cesspool of so many talentless attention grabbers and their exploiters that in order to maintain the momentum they're going to have to resort to killing each other off in creative ways. While crass, this could preserve our gene pool.

We're already seeing signs of degeneration. Monk had a lackluster final season. House has turned into just another medical soap opera. Between American Pickers and Pawn Stars, watching the History Channel is very much like spending a weekend following my in-laws around. And freakin' Ashley Simpson is on The Dog Whisperer.

And I'm not even going to mention The Jersey Shore, because Heir 2 told me not to. He said everybody complains about The Jersey Shore. But, just so you know -- the people on the Jersey Shore are not from the Jersey Shore. Those of us who lived on the Jersey Shore avoided places like Seaside Heights in the summer because of people like them -- usually from New York or North Jersey). Now I'm done not mentioning The Jersey Shore.

Well, look at that -- I've written all the way to here and I haven't even touched on The Leering Channel...excuse me -- The Learning Channel -- little people, morbidly obese people, perpetually pregnant people, morbidly obese pregnant people, pregnant little people and people with severe mental illness being treated as though all they have is an "organizational problem." They're all there for us to -- ahem -- "learn" about!

Okay. I'll stop. For now. Before I start on the cable news channels...

*I feel perfectly justified in making a broad generalization about people I've never met, such as Californians. After all, people make broad generalizations about people from New Jersey based on that hideous show about sleaze buckets at The Jersey Shore who are not from the Jersey shore. (I wrote this before Heir 2 told me not to mention The Jersey Shore.)


Darkgarden said...

Jersey Shore. JERSEY SHORE. Not "The Jersey Shore."

We lived at the Jersey shore. We hate Jersey Shore. The Jersey shore was awsome! Jersey Shore sucks.... (things only mentioned on my blog).

AHHH!!! The pain!!!
I must have FRUIT!

Gwynne said...

I didn't think I watched much teevee, and yet I know all of those shows you mention...what garbage. I'm guilty of the channel surfing too, "looking for direction" is a good way to put it. And don't forget The Real Housewives of doesn't get any worse than that "reality."

Darkgarden said...

I like "The Real Housewives That Don't Exist at Hell House." Its on every day, and you can subscribe to my... err... to the webcast for only $50.00 per week.

Sisiggy said...

Those local people are on the D.C. version of this (the ones who crashed the White House party -- they're from Front Royal). These people have been trying to get attention around here for the past 20 years -- when I was working at the paper, we were told to deliberately NOT cover anything they did (they own a winery -- but their "winery news" was always about them, not the business). Now the news media and television is giving them just what they don't deserve. This guy's only "talent" is having a rich daddy buy him land and hire a farm manager to run the vineyard for him.

Karen said...

I love your blog. What caught my eye first was your banner picture (Longwood Gardens correct?) but you've hooked me with your writing. My husband looks Pawn Stars and American Pickers. I don't see the draw myself. As for the rest of the stuff you talk about, I have reality shows except for the Food Network shows. I have to admit a fondness for those. I have learned quite a few cooking skills from those. I guess we all have a weakness somewhere.

Sisiggy said...

Karen: Welcome! Yes! Longwood! Linguini's are known for their love of Longwood Gardens! We've lived many places, but we always meet at Longwood.
(I do have a weakness: reruns of Touched by an Angel. Shhhh -- don't tell anyone -- it'll really mess with my street cred.)

Karen said...

I used to love watching that show so I can relate. I also have the same Longwood scene on my desktop at work just from the other side. That's why it caught my eye. I love that spot, it's so peaceful and I love Longwood. I'd live there if I

Sisiggy said...

I have the little door to the shed by the topiary garden as my desktop. I have plans to live in that little shed -- so you can rent it to me when you live there!

Karen said...

I'll make a note of that. I was thinking of taking over one of the tree houses but I think I'd be too conspicuous there.