One of the worse things about staying home with nothing much to do has been watching daytime TV with it’s various reruns of previously popular shows.
What has happened to television? I remember a time when we could hardly wait for Monday night and “I Love Lucy” to come on. There were funny shows on television, “sitcoms.” We watched the likes of Dick Van Dike, Mary Tyler Moore, Lucille Ball or Carroll O’Connor and laughed like hyenas.
Somewhere over the rainbow television went haywire. We have satellite TV now, zillions of channels to flip through, but, there is nothing to watch. Reality television has taken over the air waves, like a quarterback with the football.
We watch chefs prepare food in the kitchen while ducking vicious curses thrown at them like pots and pans. We watch “teams” on a deserted island connive, scheme, and lie to survive a game of elimination to win a million dollars — and a lifetime supply of mosquito repellent, I assume. We watch singles form emotional liaisons and coldly eliminate the competitors to come up with the perfect match, whom they dump as soon as the show ends. And worst of all, we watch guts and gore as crime scenes assault us like scenes from Steven King’s worst nightmare.
I try to watch TV while a Nanny teaches parents how to take care of their own kids. They are fighting, jumping, biting and screaming little monsters until the parents find out about “time out” and declare war on Sippy cups. Have these people never heard of Dr. Spock? After 30 minutes, I cannot stand listening to screaming kids any longer as my eardrums might burst and send me flying around room like a balloon losing its air.
Hell’s Kitchen, aptly named, is hell for TV viewers as well. It used to be that restaurants had front stage and back stage. Front stage was where the patrons were, and we were never subjected to the goings-on involved in the preparation of food. If we wanted to see food prepared, we would go to mom’s house for dinner. Now we get to see chefs overcook or under cook steaks, throw away enough food to end world hunger, curse like pirates with a toothache, and sweat like sumo wrestlers.
Contestants on game shows now have no questions to answer but only numbers to choose. No skill is involved, merely chance. Enormous amounts of money are turned down as contestants say “no deal” to try to get even more. It’s like an addiction. More often than not, they end up as runaway racecars that can’t quit trying to win until they crash on the wall. Greed in all it’s glory. Not a pretty sight.
And those crime scene investigation shows — what can I say? You’ve all made the mistake of turning on the boob tube to the grizzly site of human remains, battered, slaughtered, burned beyond recognition, drawn and quartered and all on display for our entertainment and amusement. Almost worse than the shocking display of carnage is the indifferent attitude of the police and doctors who are as cold and cynical as a homeless person in January. When crime scene investigators stop caring, it’s time for them get out of the business.
Well, I could go on and on describing how television has gone south and there is nothing on it to watch. I wish we could have more comedy shows, television that makes us laugh like we are wearing fuzzy slippers. Maybe those days are gone forever. Viewers are now more sophisticated. What used to be funny isn’t as funny when we see it in a rerun. Networks are unwilling to pay comedy writers and want unscripted reality shows that can make the payments on their executive mansions.
How much more of this type of entertainment can we take before there is mass hysteria in our living rooms? Is this actually considered interesting entertainment. No wonder so many no longer watch broadcast television and only stream movies or series. We can only hope that the pendulum swings back and viewers eventually get the last laugh.