Watch This Now


If corporate America had its way this is how we would watch TV, like my good droogie Alex here, eyes forced open and head pointed squarely at the TV set. Drops of some drug in our eyes so we will absorb every message they want to impart in our brains. At least during the commercials because right now for a limited time we are in the viewer empowerment age of Television. We are not obligated to warch their commercials anymore thanks to DVR’s. The Golden age of TV was cool, a lot of fun and experimentation, variety shows, soaps, comedies, and the only price we had to pay was being subjected to advertising, subliminal or otherwise. A half hour show was about 19 minutes programming and 11 minutes of advertisement. They even snuck their slogans or catchphrases into our cultural vernacular. Taste great, less filling, a little dab will do ya, choo choo Charlie was an engineer, always after me Lucky Charms, sorry Charlie, Trix Are for kids, I can’t believe I ate the whole thing. They appealed to our grandparent love, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up, where’s the beef, and they even had us singing tongue twisting jingles, two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles on an sesame seed bun. But now most of us record the shows and fast forward through the commercials. I haven’t seen a full series of TV commercials in over a year! I am empowered now, I watch the shows I like without that commercial interruption so its up to the stations to take full advantage of this by entertaining me with quality television programs. They have the opportunity to showcase some real creative shows and we aren’t forced to have our intelligence insulted by little men sailing boats in toilet bowls, women ecstatically happy during their menstrual cycle, or the reforming of the old high school rock band to sing about erectile dysfunction. What’s the best they offer? Shows about ridiculous people just being themselves, a number of updated versions of Ted Macks Amateur Hour, or dancing with the has beens.
I was raised to believe that hard work and determination would reward me with success but that’s bullshit. Those days are long gone, the rules have changed. The workplace isn’t the arena for making big bucks nowadays unless you can wrestle up a sexual harassment suit from HR. Legal manipulation is the easiest and most prolific path to the top today. Unless of course your idea of success is not just money, but fame. For many people its all about being on TV. Get yourself on one of the hundreds of talent competition shows. Do you have what it takes to make it in music? Don’t bust your ass playing at low income gigs and performing all week long dedicating yourself to your art,. get your ass on an idol X Factor Voice show. You can practice for your big moment at karaoke night at your fave pub. Hell, you don’t even have to be a good singer if you can whistle happy birthday through your nose or anything else ridiculous. Hell yea, that’s good enough to get you a talent challenge on any network. Fuck the winning prize money for coming in first all you really need is to get noticed. Be an asshole or a bitch and own that fact and maybe they’ll come looking to sign you up for or a show of your own. All you need do today is be a pompous ass and sell your shitty self absorbed personality. We’ll pay for it because Barnum was wrong there isn’t a sucker born every minute suckers multiply by the second and they watch reality TV. Just check out the prime time TV listings and choose where you fit in. A backwoods idiot, white trash toddler, a catty rich housewife or mob or rap star wife, bad girl, crazy masochist boy, Jersey Shore loser, the list goes on. Apparently our lives are so boring we’ve become desperate to peek in on the lives of losers who live in constant drama or are such assholes they give us self confidence because we aren‘t THAT bad.
I don’t know, maybe we just want to know that there are bigger assholes in this world than us. I must admit when I’m driving I’m often guilty of this. If the person in front of me pulls a dumb ass move I feel compelled extend my middle finger then stare inside their car as I pass. I need to see exactly what an asshole driver looks like so I can avoid looking like one myself. Or perhaps I need to be able to recognize the facial features of an idiot so I can avoid them off the road as well. Whatever it is the American television viewing public seems transfixed on other peoples lives whether its watching them get drunk and act stupid, have a meltdown in public, trash talk their friends and family, or just be out of place millionaires. We need to know how other people act in real life. Why?
As for me I have more than enough stress and drama in my own life to want to see someone else going through their real life problems, give me fantasy. I‘m much more comfortable watching serial killers, lawyers and cops, crime scene investigators, and horny doctors and interns. When I relax and vegetate on the couch I want escape from my world, not look at other people living theirs, but fantasy, a life as far removed from my own as possible. That’s why I never watch the Food Channel. I’m around food constantly in my job, why on earth would I want to see more of it in my free time? Unfortunately creative stories with actual professional actors is more costly and a lot more work so the networks are more than happy to fill prime time with bullshit competitions and real life drama they insist are unscripted.
Sit com? Here’s an idea for a new sitcom no one has, an idiot male for a husband, a suburban wife who wonders why she puts up with him, a smart mouthed kid, a gay family member (uncle or whatever), a minority marrying into the family thrown in for some mispronunciation of English laughs, and one brainiac precocious little kid. Um, actually it looks eerily similar to every sit com around today. never mind!
When I was a kid the TV was called an idiot box, or boob tube because watching for hours drained us of our capacity for critical thinking or cognitive thought. Now the kids that were transfixed by the pixilated screen are the ones creating B&I television. Not business and industry, boring and irrelevant. The idiot part is obvious (even to an idiot) but the boob part of boob tube today has become how much boob they can show and get away with under the guise of wardrobe malfunction. Young boys tune in hoping for a nip slip, teen girls hoping for some tight spandex. I love edgy stuff and I enjoy pushing every envelope passed my way but it pains me to see gratuitousness in television. I’m not a supporter of censorship but its sad to me that the artistic integrity of stretching our boundaries and placing us outside our comfort zone is slipping away. Especially because its only a matter of time before the sponsors figure out a way to get their sell, sell, sell, message into our brains. Perhaps they will team up with the NSA…….PEACE

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