In a follow up to Alex’s post yesterday, I just wanted to make a few comments. For some reason, I too was watching that God-awful show the other night. I can’t explain it, but I was completely memorized by the action, and on some level was living vicariously through those meat heads. It was strange, because although I completely recognized that me watching this crap was a waste of time, I simply couldn’t stop. I have a strange feeling that a lot of other people have this same problem. It’s Pringles syndrome. One you start….
I did a quick search to see how well reality TV shows are doing these days. According to Nielsen, out of the top 20 shows this season, 8 of them are reality TV shows. The top 4 are all American Idol. How many people are watching this crap? Try 26 million a night. The only sitcoms on the list are Desperate Housewives and Two and Half Men. The rest are cop/doctor shows (except no House).
So what does this tell us? We’re going to see this crap for a long time to come. As long as people are watching, TV networks are going to make more of the same. This means, we’re going to have Survivor: Darfour, and CSI: Winnipeg, starring some good but forgotten movie actor. It seems like television is the only market you can completely saturate, and the masses keep asking for more. The more gluttonous we become, the worse it gets.
I honestly blame TLC for this. Once upon a time, TLC stood for The Learning Channel. Now it’s (i’m guessing) The Life Channel. That’s a pretty broad scope of television shows. It all started with the now non-existent Trading Spaces. At first it was on once a week, then every day, then there were spin offs- and now you’ve got shows like Trading Wives. Ask me 15 years ago if I’d ever imagine they’d make a show about two families switching spouses for a week, and I’d say it would be a hit- if it were on the Playboy channel.
A&E’s done the same thing, except I think they’re acronym hasn’t changed. A&E, just one question: I know Jon & Kate may be considered entertaining, but what the fuck does it have to do with art? And don’t even get me started on the Philly parking ticket show. Seriously? A fucking show about parking enforcers? How pathetic are we? Next thing you know, there will be a reality show about janitors.
You could argue that it’s a lot cheaper to produce reality TV shows, but the fact is, there’s just no good original ideas being produced. Look at the top shows: American Idol, The Office, Trading Spaces, Hell’s Kitchen- all originally done in Britain. The American television industry is so creatively bankrupt, they can’t even come up with their own shows. The ones they do come up with, they rip off a hundred times. We’re in the era of television franchises people.
I think I’m just going to stick to streaming episodes of Mad Men and get rid of my cable.