Posted by: JDM..... | April 9, 2012

Is it time to shoot your TV..….?

Misery and psychopathology now outsell sex….

One should never mutter anything akin to “It can’t get worse than this”, because it usually can and does. I should have known better.

At some point in the not too distant past, I spewed sarcastic about television fare of the time by broadly caricaturing it as a collection of mildly differing versions of the “America’s Funniest Disembowelment” theme, and suggested that a nadir might have been achieved.

From that high point, we of course have continued our losing battle with the forces of intellectual gravity with prime-time exposés of personal mayhem and mental illnesses for the entertainment of the drooling public. Just as no respectable Nature Show would be complete without serial scenes of animals mating, no television producer worth his, her, or its salt would let pass an opportunity to vie for position against the seedier corners of YouTube and such sites as your typical anti-virus software blocks on general principles.

In these enlightened times, the Shocking and Pathetic far outsell the sexually suggestive that so outraged an earlier generation, with the possible exception of Toddlers and Tiaras where four year olds are gussied up like street whores for the vicarious fulfillment of the female bipeds who bore them, perhaps following random mating incidents. Using the word “mother” would be inappropriate here under anyone’s flag. Where we once celebrated fictional heroes such as Hopalong Cassidy and Captain Kirk, the media hopeful of today doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell without certified credentials from the dog-eared pages of the DSM-IV. I expect the next bling draped Awards Night Extravaganza to feature those stars and starlets not currently incarcerated, in rehab, or residing in forensic psychiatric facilities vying for some sort of coveted Manson Personality Disorder of the Year figurine.

I’ll not predict the demise of television and thereby seal my certification as an Old Fart, but I do have to wonder about the significance of our fascination with the miseries and pathologies of people we have never met.



  1. One of your better posts…pithy but amusing. It makes me consider my viewing choices from a different angle: specifically..what defines my personal taste boundary? I have sneered and continue to do so at many of the tacky reality shows. I’m inordinately pround of never having watched even one second of Jersey Shores and absolutely despise the various marital sweepstakes by the various Batchelors and Batchelorettes. But yet, I watch Real Housewives of Atlanta and I sit in stunned horror watching Toddlers and Tiaras and cannot turn away. I shall have to ponder what about these programs (and a few others I’m to ashamed to admit to) compells me to watch.
    I must say though that the unparalled glorious tackiness of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding leaves me speechless with admiration. And I do know that I don’t watch the nature shows for their prurient value since bestiality is not one of my turn ons. Otherwise you’re spot on

  2. I remember when my dad was aghast at the first toilet paper ad on TV. It is one thing to be fascinated with the pathologies of those we have never met, but it’s to the point now where I detect smugness in people who are f
    fascinated, and maybe even delighted, by the torment of those they do know.

  3. All of the above and more is why we quit cable TV. I don’t miss paying for the futile searches for something good to watch or the disappointment of finding something I did enjoy but that was cancelled because it couldn’t deliver the ratings of the latest reality show. Internet services offer plenty of options AND I get to choose and vote more specifically as a consumer. Network TV has become like a fast food deal meal – people will eat everything in the bag because they think it’s a bargain, even if they get a stomach ache later. I don’t predict an end anytime soon to the cultural phenomenon of “reality” entertainment, but I do believe that the demise of network television (as we have known it) is already happening. The question is what will rise up in its place?

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