While I’m aware that the term “Hollywood mentality” is somewhat of an oxymoron, I continue to be amazed at what passes for “hits” currently – or, indeed, at any time – on television. Personally, I watch television shows online so I can prevent myself from being brainwashed by Madison Avenue every fifteen minutes with vacuous, nonsensical commercials. Hell, you can’t even go to the cinema anymore without commercials. Anyway, I am perpetually baffled by what is considered “funny”, or what is considered “a hit”. It raises more questions for me on the state of mind of the public, making the monastery more and more appealing as the years roll by.
So let’s start with the obvious: The Office and Scrubs. These two absolutely horrible shows are considered funny. In fact, one episode of Family Guy out-laughs an entire season of both of these shows combined. Why these are hits mystifies me. They’re awful. I get more genuine belly laughs out of incidental humor in episodes of House, White Collar, Burn Notice or Leverage than any time frame from The Office or Scrubs. These are terrible programs. Yet, they continue.
Moving on, I pride myself on the fact that I have seen exactly one episode of American Idol. As a musician, singer and actor I find it offensive that people with absolutely no talent whatsoever are judging people with talent. Simon Cowell needs to go away. He’s nobody. Just another snotty European who, like the rest of Europe, hasn’t contributed anything to culture for at least a century. The Beatles are the notable exception. And that’s it.
So-called “reality shows” are disgusting, and again I’m proud to say I’ve never seen one episode of any reality show simply because – based on commercials alone – they’re idiotic. Talk about being out of touch with reality. I’m actually embarrassed for the American public.
Thank God for cable and other networks. Were it not for TNT,USA and Fox, I wouldn’t have the pure joy of shows like House, White Collar, Burn Notice, Royal Pains, The Closer and Leverage. Original, witty and non-formula programs that are just plain fun.
What passes for a hit has always baffled me. I basically gave up after Just Shoot Me had more than 13 episodes. The truly hideous has become the norm, ushered in by the profoundly awful Married With Children. Fortunately some good has hung on over the years, and I guess that survives. One would hope. But it echoes the advent of disco in the 70’s which conjured such fear in me in my young years, thinking that music was dead. Still, the voices of real music call from the past, surviving the vacuum of mindless disco. Perhaps this will be the case with the television programs of quality. Star Trek, for instance, was a 3 year failure, yet has become the largest franchise in all media – bolstered by a fantastic movie this past year – and still going strong after over 45 years. Go figure.
The vast recycling bin that Hollywood has become is no longer cute. The novelty has worn off. But it won’t change.
It has gotten better, though, I have to admit. Just.
Let me, just for a moment, touch on the Tiger Woods thing. I was going to write an entire article on it, but I don’t care enough. Seeing as all sports are entertainment, this qualifies as one of the mysteries I described. Tiger Woods should not apologize to anyone other than his wife. The only thing Tiger Woods is guilty of is playing golf, for which capital punishment should apply. He plays a dull, pointless activity that takes up too much real estate in this country and that’s the only thing he’s guilty of. Neither he nor any other “sports figure” should be a role model. Parents – two of them – should be role models. Odd how musicians and actors – people with real talent – aren’t considered role models. They end up in rehab or worse. Yet we’re so eager to pawn off the role model moniker on stupid sports dolts. Makes no sense to me, and never has.
The fact that Tiger Woods apologized publicly is a disgrace, not what he did. That’s between him and his wife. Period. The fact that people feel they can comment on it in public, while not looking at themselves, is astonishingly shallow.
And, let me tell you, the fact that I spent time defending someone that plays golf is more disgusting to me than anything I’ve ever done in my life. Anything.
What I’m getting at is that we are supposed to understand as fact that bad TV, or bad film, or bad entertainment is supposed to be good. This is why, for example, a bunch of coke-heads thought John Waters was a genius, when he was just plain BAD.
I haven’t watched the Oscars since the early 80’s. I have no intention to watch film that no one has ever seen get rewarded for extreme mediocrity. When I worked in Albany, NY, I had a boss who was a crystal meth addict, and he would always say “Perception is reality.” No. Reality is reality. And if bad is a substitute for good, then nothing is right.
Everything has the potential to be meaningless.
Apparently we have achieved this.
Andrew T. Durham