The lure of television is that you can sit down after a long, hard day and veg out to truly vapid superficial entertainment. This has become a national pasttime, and there’s no fighting it. In general, people in this consumerist money-obsessed society work too hard, and when you work too hard you are damn tired when you get home and there isn’t enough energy for anything deep. That still will not stop me from saying that television, especially network television, is total crap.
1. Overactors. At least in movies, overacting does not constantly pay off. Though a good actor occasionally appears in a television show, most of them seem to have graduated the Des Moines School of Stage and Musical Theatre with a major in Beat Them Over the Head With the Lousy Godforsaken Script. Television actors, I believe, mistake themselves for stage actors. I don’t know what else can explain the tragic overacting. If you think the British are a reserved, classy bunch, watch BBC for three days and you’ll realize that most of British TV is people screaming at the top of their lungs: I’m looking at you, CSI: UK Edition, Dr. Who, and Being Human, all shows that Mr. Anger watches. I can hear the shouting three rooms away at all times, even with earplugs jammed so far into my ears that they hit my brain.
2. Bad writing. There is only so much an actor can do with a script that would be more useful as toilet paper. If I want to hear a bunch of cheesy one-liners that make me cringe, I’ll put my mini-skirt on and walk into a bar. Whether it is a sitcom or drama, the character writing on network television (CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX) relies on flip comments, sarcasm, and a steady undercurrent of common disdain masquerading as cool. One begins to believe that the writers for the network shows are actually a bunch of eye-rolling, terminally embarrassed teenagers instead of the old rich white men they really are. The most horrible shows I have ever seen in this respect are oldies: Friends, which made eye-rolling sarcasm into an art form, Charmed, which I never watched, and Gilmore Girls, which I also tried to avoid. To add insult to injury, the plots are so dismally written that Helen Keller could see and hear coming from a mile away.
3. Reality shows. If I want to see dim-witted women that are my diminuitive height but two to four times my weight and dress size, I’ll head out to the nearest Walmart. There are so many effing reality shows that–I kid you not–there is one being filmed AT THE MOMENT I WRITE THIS across the street from my office building. Uh, I don’t live anywhere near Hollywood or New York. Please, please, leave my neighborhood alone. Reality shows are everywhere and they are boring. The likelihood of the TV networks coming up with something besides reality shows is about as likely as the writers in item two gaining ten IQ points in this lifetime; not gonna happen. The only reality show that was ever interesting was the beginning of American Idol where Simon would smack down aspiring singers and tell them to try different careers. It’s time for reality to end. Simon has left the building.
4. HGF***kingTV. I hate HGTV, that prissy bunch of pampered in-the-closet dauphins and their chubby butterface breeder trophy wives who have no other hobbies but to agonize over the right dining room table or travertine marble flooring. In a world where 47.8 million people live in abject poverty, HGTV is an obscene fart in the face of any hope of fairness or the establishment of meritocracy for the entire planet. In short, HGTV kills the soul and it should be destroyed.
I end with a final message to all the overstuffed, overpaid network execs who lose more and more of us “valued” audience members every year: when you inevitably discover that the fat kid on and the crudely drawn unicorn on YouTube does better than your big $$$ network show, reference the handy guide above . . . and know that you deserve it.