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Post-Modern American TV: More Idiot, Less Box

There was a time when one could count on American TV channels being consistent, consistently crappy, but consistent nonetheless. There was a time when, for example, the Travel Channel mostly showed travel-related programming instead of a shit-load of poker. The Learning Channel used to air programs about nature and science, not hours and hours of house pr0n. American Movie Classics just ran two weeks worth of James Bond movies. Not the reasonably good Pierce Brosnan ones or the slow, old Sean Connery ones. They mostly showed the drug-induced, hyper-campy, 70\'s Roger Moore ones. American Movie Classics? Let\'s see, those films were British produced, and pretty goddamn far from classic (unless you\'re stoned) but they are movies. Sadly, one out of three isn\'t bad for TV channels these days.

Bravo used to air high-brow, thoughtful programming. Now, their most popular show features a bunch of gay guys teaching clueless, straight, white slobs how not to be such pathetic fucking retards. Of course! All gay men exist for is fashion and interior design advice. Way to push the envelope and break down stereotypes, assholes. If I wanted to see tired gay clichés, I\'d watch some network sitcom drivel like Will & Grace. Bravo, dipshits!

Speaking of shitty network shows, why are all the leads on network dramas cops, attorneys, in the military, or doctors? Are there NO other interesting jobs? It\'s like the network executives signed some sort of satanic pact where Lucifer granted them twelve inch cocks, millions of dollars, a garage full of exotic sports cars and a harem of hot women but if they green-light any show where the leads have a different job, it all disappears in a cloud of smoke faster than most of the fall lineup.

Then there are movies on TV. I don\'t know who the critics are that determine the number of stars that a film receives but I am reasonably confident that they smoke PCP, drink a pinto of whiskey and eat shrooms before they head off to the office. In my local newspaper\'s TV listings, for example, Final Destination 2 received two stars out of four. So, that means that it\'s half as good as a classic like The Godfather or The Shawshank Redemption? I think not. Final Destination 2 is not even one-eighth as good as those films and the writers should be forced to take screenwriting classes at UCLA or AFI and publicly apologize to everyone who has had to watch this film. What merits a one star review – Manos: the Hands of Fate?

Wait, it gets worse, Smokey and the Bandit received three stars. I feel that it\'s necessary to repeat that statement in all caps. SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT GOT THREE OUT OF FOUR FUCKING STARS! Remember how I said I was reasonably confident that the critics that rate movies for TV listings were high? Now, I\'m 100% certain that they\'re sparkin\' the rock! What possible framework for critical analysis could possibly result in Smokey and the Bandit getting the same number of stars as Traffic and The Fifth Element?! The critics\' criteria must be tits and car crashes.

Next, we have digital cable and satellite coming to the rescue. Old, analog TV signals were far too stable! Analog cable hardly ever has problems. It isn\'t dependent on bandwidth. You\'ll never get pixilation like with digital cable. You never get a shitty signal due to various atmospheric phenomena like with satellite. In short, it isn\'t broke. This, of course, to the executives, means that it\'s time to fix it. And by \"fix\", I mean ass-rape consumers with a 16\" dildo made of dry ice and wrapped in razor wire. So replacing analog cable, which works fine, with digital cable, which doesn\'t, is a vital service upgrade and benefits us? Yet giving consumers the ability to order only the stations they want isn\'t feasible? Thanks a lot, pigfuckers.

As if in a misguided response to all of these problems, the FCC is mandating that all broadcasters must begin broadcasting in HDTV by December 31, 2006. As if that\'s the big problem with TV, that the picture isn\'t sharp enough. The problem isn\'t the picture; it\'s that almost everything on TV is fucking awful! HDTV turns shit, into slightly sharper, clearer shit. From horrid \"Reality TV\" to the 5th spin-off of Law and Order to, what are we up to now, CSI: Tacoma? It\'s a god-awful wasteland out there. There are a few bright spots on Comedy Central, The Cartoon Network and the Discovery Channel but on the whole, TV is the herpes of American culture. It\'s unpleasant, it\'s very common, you can\'t get rid of it and it harms everyone it touches. If only the FCC could mandate that broadcasters have to beam out programs that are well made and thoughtful… well, I guess then there REALLY wouldn\'t be anything on.

 Steve-O

Posted by  Steve on Saturday,
March 04, 2006 at  1:30 PM

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