TV Execs are to blame for such pathetic show programming!

Last night I had my first experience with the PBS phenomenon “Downton Abbey.” So many of my friends have fallen in love with the series and have kept encouraging me to watch.

I, too, have become a devotee of the program. The characters, clothing, castle and dialogue are exquisite.

Actress Maggie Smith has some of the best lines, which are often filled with razor-sharp wit. The sarcasm rolls off her tongue and so quickly that her victims don’t have time to react before she skewers them again.

The contrast to some of what TV executives have decided is programming fit for the public is astounding. There are so many reality shows today that seem to focus on individuals that are becoming famous for being dysfunctional, or excessive in all areas of their lives.

When I am aimlessly surfing to see what I might find that is fodder for a column, I am blown away by what I see – shows like “Duck Dynasty,” “Swamp Men” and “Buried Alive,” a show on hoarding. And, of course, there’s the infamous Honey Boo Boo.

Kathleen Parker from the Washington Post said “the Honey Boo Boo family proudly shares even that which Beano intends to prevent. The show has become a hit simply because no one can believe that anyone lives like that. But you would think after seeing it once that you would not want to wallow in the muck with them.”

What I fail to understand is why there are so many shows that appear to thrive on using degradation and humiliation to entertain the public. I’m sure I’ll hear from some readers who think I’m being a snob. Well, guess what? I am!

There are so many talented, actors and musicians who need work. Why are the networks choosing to inundate us with shows that are essentially pathetic?

The latest reality show on the docket is called “Buck Wild.” It focuses on the antics of young adults in rural Kanowha, W. Va. Sen. Joe Manchin, a local politician, has railed against the show, asking the station to remove it. He could not understand why the programmers would not want to showcase his state in a more tasteful way. Well, Senator, you’re missing the point. There are more than 900 stations now, all vying for viewers. They have to fill hours and hours with programming. Once the Snooki franchise took off because of its excessive cursing, shoving and over-the-top clothes and nails, they thought, “Hey, America is digging this. Let’s see how far we can go.”

So here we are, and where it will all go is not too much of a mystery. I’m sure if we stay on this track, we will get further and further into the dark and stupid side of humanity, unless more people say “enough” and don’t tune in.

7 Replies to “TV Execs are to blame for such pathetic show programming!”

  1. I feel like you pulled these thoughts right out of my head. I said a few years ago, when this type of show first started, that the pendulum would only swing so far into the ludicrous and abhorrent side of humanity before it started to swing back — boy did I ever estimated how far that would be. Now I worry that we will have a huge battle to get back to civility. I watch European films for the same reason I watch Downtown Abbey.
    Thank you for writing this.
    By the way, I have been a fan of yours for ages and often use your phrases “awfulizing and catastrophizing” — they always get a laugh or smile, but more importantly they make a tremendous point.

  2. Sadly, I had a conversation with my 14 year old daughter who accused me of using “big” words. The word I used was one that just rolled off my tongue and I didn’t think anything of it but then began to realize that in all of our media, TV, news, online, the words used are “small”, simplistic even. The vocabulary we use each day is what we hear or see, more of the “dumbing down” of our society.

  3. Six years ago, when I retired, I gave away my TV. It was like getting out of prison! My energy soared, not to mention my enjoyment of life! Freedom from all the violence and stupidity! Freedom from fear-mongering and greed-mongering, mostly from the mind-destroying repetition. I have time to read, blog, explore, attend discussion groups, draw and walk in nature. Why didn’t I do this years before I retired? I was afraid I’d miss the TV. I don’t. (Well, I loved Star Trek and those Art Wolfe specials). Now I track the news on the Internet, but choose what and how much I watch. And I can still look at Art Wolfe pictures and a lot of other art on the net, also watch a few movies on Youtube, even find back episodes of Downton Abbey! Ditch the box!

  4. Bravo! i’m a snob, too. I am appalled at the Survivor shows and I can’t imagine
    why anyone would want to watch “The Bachelor”. It degrades women and men.
    And, I’m shocked at the number of my friends and neighbors who think these shows
    are great.


  5. I am so glad you wrote this Loretta these shows are so sick and they make me sick. I can’t believe people would exploit themselves like that don’t they have any self respect.

    Downtown Abbey is one of the best shows on TV it is low key, dignified and calming. There should be more like it. There are a few but now many.

  6. is it possible something in our food is dumbing us down? I heard about a test with mice who forgot how to get through their maze after a few weeks of being fed fructose and sucrose, the sugar substitutes we find in our soft drinks. When did they stop using sugar? Is there a decline in overall intelligence coincident with adding the dumbing down ingredients?

I always encourage feedback. Love to hear your thoughts!

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