You know one of the pleasures of being a night crawler is that I get to watch tv land and nick at nite at 3 in the morning since its the only thing on that isn’t paid programming that time of night/morning. However, it also brings to my attention the severity ofdecline in quality programming.
I don’t enjoy the Cosby show now as much as I did when I was little (I’m sure it has something to do with me being far more cynical as an adult) but I do realize that the Cosby show was great and not just for Blacks. It was a positive show that managed to be successful and most importantly, funny.
Nowadays you have a crap storm of reality shows, which I blame RealWorld and Mtv for, as well as poorly produced-short lived mini productions. Look at the OC, Paradise Hills, Hidden Beach, One Tree Hill these are all Dawson’s Creeks on steroids and catered to attract a young white demographic. This is where I see the decline starting.
For some reason someone at some station decided it was more profitable to remix the same show and put it on everyday of the week. If you disagree check programming for the new CW. All the quality shows such as Reba and 7th Heaen have all come to an end. What is left is again a crap storm of mediocrity.
It’s not just the poor execution and lack of creativity, its also the images that are being portrayed. I didn’t realize until now how concentrated these unrealistic images of size 2 valley girls and well groomed frat guys had become.
At its peak i love Desperate Housewives, primarily because it bit into the idea that surburban life was perfect. It was breath of fresh air on television. But, when the storyline became stale and you actually pay attention to the characters you find yourself again wondering where is the honesty. Every housewife does not look like Teri Hatcher. Teri Hatcher doesn’t look like Teri Hatcher.
The evidence is there that you can have successful shows and still portray a realistic representation of diversity. Look at Grey’s Anatomy, rivaled only by CSI and quite a diverse cast of talent (with or without Isiah). From everyone from McSteamy to Miranda you have a full spectrum of representation. I know a Miranda and a McSteamy. Just like I am more likely to find a Weezy on the street than I am Eva Longoria.
The Jeffersons, The Cosby’s, Roseanne, Grace Under Fire, Reba, Designing Women, The Golden Girls, Family Matters, Perfect Strangers, Empty Nest are all examples of successful shows that didn’t have to sacrifice quality for aestethics. So, what changed?
We did. The glorious 80’s and early 90’s are more. As the Y2K emerges you see a clear slide into modelesque actors and thinning plot lines. The more skin you show the more successful the show and it’s all because thats what we started watching. These were the programs we started gravitating towards because of its risque factor. It was primetime soap operas and we feel into the trap hook line and sinker. Once reality television popped the decline was official. When we wanted to see regular people we could watch reality shows with the farthest stretching gimmck that any intern could think of and we loved it. Who really would marry a millionaire? Who was the average Joe? What about the grandmother and grandfather of them all Real Word and Road rules?
The ironic part of it all is that the regular person we tuned into the reality shows to see soon disappeared as well. Think Heather on the first Real World, now think Paula. Not the same. Kevin Powell and Tyree are completely different ends of the spectrum. Dominick and Davis have absolutely nothing in common, I’m sure. But there’s no one to blame but us. As far as I’m concerned these images are just as bad as the bitch/ho debate you see going on in Hip-Hop.
Can anyone tell me why there have been 4 seasons of Super Sweet 16? I don’t care how much money you have what 16 year old deserves to spend half a million dollars for a couple of A’s and taking out the trash? Yet these shows are being watched by kids who don’t have half a dollar so the message they receive is that you aren’t anybody ifyou don’t have this lambo or this Range Rover.
I am old enough that I know the average woman is between size 12 and 14. I can’t get too angry at the networks for showing what we ask for. I can, however, be angry with them for not venturing out. It is their responsibility to do more than right now. What should be profitable to them is to take a chance on the newbies in order to find the next big thing ( and I so don’t mean america’s talent or so you can dance). I find myself watching more Bravo and Showtime/HBO for their more appealing programming. Dexter, though I hope not very realistic, is entertaining and creative.
Maybe its because I’m older but television has lost its appeal and I feel its catering only toa younger audience which is ironic since I feel that they are the ones who should be watching the least amount of television.