Senior Stories

Is TV a Vast Wasteland? Absolutely!

I remember watching my first color TV show back in the early sixties… it was a Yankee baseball game; the grass was blue and the infield dirt was purple. But it was in color! How exciting! I thought to myself that this medium is really going to go somewhere. I didn’t know how wrong I was.

I sat and watched shows with my family. Lawrence Welk on Sunday evenings followed by Walt Disney. And we always watched the news, again together as a family. And some of the other shows were all family-type shows – Leave It To Beaver, Lassie, Rin-Tin-Tin, Sky King, they were all viewed regularly and as a family.

Notice that all the shows that we watched were ‘wholesome’ shows and we always watched as a family. That’s what families did 45 years ago. They spent time together. We talked about the shows. What did the Beaver do that I could learn from?

Today, in my opinion, television has fallen so low that I don’t watch near what I used to. The shows are either stupid situation comedies, all about crime (CSI et cetera), or totally insulting advertisements that drag on for what seems like forever. I get so bored during commercials that I actually start channel surfing. And how about those paid-programming infomercials?

Some homes have televisions in each room – nobody spends time with anybody anymore. Nobody talks with anybody – you watch your show and I’ll watch mine. And some folks use it as an electronic babysitter for their kids. Read them a book – cuddle with them – take them fishing – spend some time with them. They’re growing up and moving out of the house before you realize it.

Besides the brain-numbing boredom, I am absolutely appalled at how low the quality of language has fallen. I hear words on various shows that if my mother even thought that I was thinking about that word, I would have had my mouth washed out with soap. Today, these words are still not in my vocabulary, I’ve taught my two sons that folks who swear are just too stupid to think of the proper word to utilize. Now I have this foul stuff flowing freely into my home via the idiot box. Don’t you think that it’s appropriately named?

Several years ago, Fox had Nielsen Media Research on the carpet as they reported that Fox’s viewing had dropped so among a certain ethnic/age group. Did Fox actually watch these programs? They were lousy – they were LOUSY! Still are lousy.

I believe that television executives really need to look at the quality of their programming. They might be getting the younger viewers today, but where will those younger viewers be in another 45 years? I shudder to think about it. Some will say that it’s a business. Business is about making money. I believe that business is about making a quality product. Build a quality product and the money will follow.

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