It’s a Love/Hate Relationship

There are downsides to everything; there are unintended consequences to everything. The most corrosive piece of technology that I’ve ever seen is called television – but then, again, television, at its best, is magnificent.– Steve Jobs, 2003

It may not be PC to admit I love television.  I’ve always loved television.  Yes, I believe I could live without it if I had to, but I would miss it terribly.  That said, there are programs on TV whose premise is simple despicable to me.  First and foremost I hate reality show “faux-lebrities” (fake celebrities).  The reality is there is no reality. Honestly, who are these people?  They don’t possess any talent other than the ability to focus our attention on their dysfunctional lives.  The situations are planned, staged, arranged…call it what you will.  To say it’s dramatized is to suggest they can act.  Furthermore, they crossover into entertainment news media, i.e., Us Magazine, The Insider, and insist “everybody’s talking about them.”

Here are the shows on my PLEASE GO AWAY list

  • Teen Mom (MTV)
  • Sister Wives (TLC)
  • Toddlers & Tiaras (TLC)
  • 19 Kids and Counting (TLC)
  • Kardashian-anything (E)
  • Housewives of Orange County, Atlanta, New Jersey, New York City, and Beverly Hills (Bravo)
  • The Bachelor (ABC)

The top three shows on my list are simply disturbing and creepy.  Teen mothers, polygamists, and baby-women are not to be revered or envied, yet that’s exactly the message these shows are sending.

The “I Don’t Get It” Award has to go to Extreme Couponing.  I love to save money as much as the next person, but to frame a show about the ability to buy 50 tubes of toothpaste for $1.00 at the checkout is absurd.

Now that I got that out of my system, there is an abundance of programs I do like.  Based on genuine laughs, intelligent drama, educational, and irreverence, here are my Prime Time Top 10:

 

  • Modern Family (ABC)
  • 30 Rock (NBC)
  • The Soup (E)
  • Criminal Minds (CBS)
  • What Not to Wear (TLC)
  • Project Runway (Lifetime)
  • Whitney (new) (NBC)
  • Hoarders (TLC)
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
  • Sex & the City – reruns (E)

I could go on and on singing the praises of shows about biographies, medical reality, history, mysteries, UFOs, and the paranormal, but suffice it to say there’s far more out there to love than hate.  The sheer abundance of information available is enough to develop just a little crush, no?  What shows are on your Hit List?

Comments

  1. Woodlander says:

    Well said, Annie. I totally agree with you about “reality TV.” There’s nothing real about it — it’s all scripted and contrived. What they should call it is “Cheap to Make Because We Don’t Have to Hire Professional Writers and Actors” TV. To me, it’s just part of the general dumbing down and coarsening of our culture, along with talk-radio shout-fests, hateful anonymous comments on the Web, user-generated content, etc.

    I also agree that there is still some great stuff on TV. But I have almost completely gotten out of the habit of watching it in real time. I can never remember what’s on and when; I think Netflix and streaming have conditioned me to watch only when I want to, not when the networks want me to. I’m willing to wait months, even years, to watch something good, but I get to see the episodes all together on DVD with no commercials.

    Here’s my list of favorites, which includes a few from the recent past that are no longer on but I still watch:

    1) The Wire. Hands down, the greatest show ever.
    2) Mad Men. Almost perfect (just wish Don Draper was more interesting.)
    3) Curb. The opposite of reality TV: professional writers and actors who actually are working without a script.
    4) The Office (original BBC version)
    5) Extras (more Ricky Gervais, the Larry David of the UK)
    6) 30 Rock. Love Tina Fey.
    7) The Daily Show
    8) The Colbert Report
    9) Real Time with Bill Maher
    10) Prime Suspect (original BBC series with Helen Mirren) Okay, it’s not recent, but it’s a classic, almost as good as The Wire.

    • With the exception of The Wire and Prime Suspect (only because I’ve never watched them) I enthusiastically agree with your other choices. I only recently got into Mad Men (SO can’t wait for Season 5, which is set to premiere in 2012), and Ricky Gervais is pure genius (rent the movie Ghost Town if you haven’t seen it).

  2. I have to say that I LOVE TV. However I agree that there is too much crap and that I can’ remember the last time I watched something “live” on TV! I bet it’s been over a year. 100% of what I watch is on Hulu, Amazon Prime, or Netflix. My wife watches HGTV on cable and my kids TIVO some kids shows and Star Wars the Clone Wars (which I was very excited about but now is more and more lame).

    Here are some of my favorite shows in no special order.

    1. The Wire (Yup its thats good)
    2. Sons of Anarchy (It’s Hamlet, in a Central Valley Biker Gang setting, Really)
    3. Rescue Me
    4. 30 Rock
    5. I haven’t seen he original BBC Prime Suspect, but I do watch the NBC version. It’s okay. If it was on FX or HBO it would be great!
    6. Modern Family
    7.I did really like the Sopranos. The last season was weak and I never got to watch Finale!
    8. Fringe – It feels very fresh to me. Non fomrula. However not like lost where I thought that they were just faking it episode to episode.
    9. Doc Martin – BBC Version
    10. MI5 – BBC spy version – First few seasons were really good. You never knew who was going to get bumped off. After a few seasons the writing went down…

    I guess its obvious that I’m a total demographic. Thats okay. I am who I am.

  3. Woodlander says:

    I have the DVD boxed set of The Wire, Annie, if you ever want to borrow it. Five seasons, 60 episodes. I’m biased because it’s set and filmed in Baltimore, my home town. But it’s not for everybody — definitely NC-17 rated. Extremely violent, profane, sexually explicit, as only HBO can do. Also, so gritty and depressing it’s hard to watch at times. And although there are some memorable female characters, it is a very testosterone-fueled show. (I’m not doing a very good job pitching it, am I?) But if you get into it (it takes two or three episodes to get hooked because it’s kind of jarring and off-putting at first for some people — it doesn’t hold your hand and explain what’s going on like most shows, you really have to pay attention) you will come to know some of the most vivid, compelling characters ever written for TV. (Like “Bubbles,” a homeless heroin addict and police informant who in one episode drags a two-hundred-pound radiator that he stole through the streets of Baltimore to a scrapyard where he can sell it for a few bucks so he can buy his next fix. Good times! 🙂 It’s a show that dares to raise uncomfortable questions about what we are becoming as a country, with particularly pointed observations about law enforcement, politics, race, class and the media. Not bad for a TV show.

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