I watch TV.
There. I said it.
I don't watch a ton of TV–especially in the age of DVR. However, TV, for me, is entertainment–a way of escape and release from taking life too seriously for a time. I learned some time ago that I like high intensity thinking and environments, but that if I don't create some lower intensity environments (a yang to the yin), I get too intense. I like to go to bed laughing–so I tend to go to bed watching something funny.
There are times I feel guilty for watching television. I think about other things I could be doing and wonder if I shouldn't stop and do something of more "lasting" value. Maybe I should. Maybe we all should.
Television, film, and news has gotten pretty predictable, with some exceptions. I know that every newscast will end with an animal story. I know that certain shows have certain axes to grind. Some shows are preachier than some churches I'm familiar with.
I can guess by just hearing the plot of some movies that they will be nominated for an Academy Award–or that they have no shot at all. I know that every romantic comedy will follow roughly the same plot-line, and involve the same group of friends with the same life situations.
Nevertheless, for all the garbage Hollywood has to offer, they also offer us some brilliant stuff as well…stuff that makes us laugh, think, feel, and ponder. Last week began the "Season Premier" season for the fall shows. I'm glad my shows are back on–The Office, Southland, House, etc. are all coming back. Leno is back on TV too…so I'm not ready to hand over the remote just yet.
However, at the risk of sounding like an old man here: You know what's missing from TV today?
It strikes me that there is no recognizable family show on TV like there has been virtually since the dawn of television.
When I was growing up, there were family shows of all shapes an sizes from Little House on the Prairie to the Cosby Show, Happy Days, Family Ties, etc. Even the action and drama stuff was in the context of family (Dukes of Hazzard, Simon and Simon, Dallas, Dynasty, etc.) That was my generation. Others of you will remember the Jeffersons and Bunkers. Others will remember the Honeymooners, I Love Lucy, and the Cleavers.
Of TV guide's 50 greatest shows of all time, 4 of the top 5 (Seinfeld is the exception) are family shows (if you count the Sopranos–you get my drift :)). If you keep going down the list, the trend continues. Even the Simpsons are a form of family show. Today, the highest rated "Family show" is at about #12 and is "Two-and-a-Half Men." YIKES.
No other "family show" was in the top 20 last week. Does this say more about Hollywood's new tastes, or about a shift in culture's tastes?
1) Family shows are officially extinct. Why?
2) What was your favorite family show of all time. I'm going Cosby.