Sodom, Gomorrah and American TV

What happened to the days when the whole family could watch TV together? (Photo Credit:  en.wikipedia.org)

What happened to the days when the whole family could watch TV together? (Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org)

This is one of those posts that I didn’t necessarily want to write, but felt compelled, almost duty bound, to compose. Some would probably call me a TV fanatic, because I love the talking box. I enjoy watching almost any and every kind of program. Regardless of the critics’ reviews, I normally give it a chance and make up my own mind. However, it seems that a lot of programs, in their efforts to be politically correct, are going overboard and showing too much.

Soap Operas

These types of shows have always been a guilty pleasure. The fantastical situations and years-long story lines keep us enthralled on a daily basis. Kudos to the writers, because as hard as it likely is for writers of weekly shows to keep things interesting, it must be quite a daunting task for serial writers to dream up back-to-back plot twists every day.

That being said, I don’t know if some of them are running out of ideas, or just trying to be inclusive, but something is a little off. For instance, there is one soap that features an hourglass in the opening credits. For the last few months, they have had a big buildup to a wedding between two men. Yes a fanfare-filled, Prince Charming wedding on daytime TV. Now these types of relationships have often been implied, but they showed the whole ceremony, right up to the kiss. But it didn’t stop there. Where I think they crossed the line is in repeatedly showing the couple in bed caressing each other and kissing all over. Once upon a time, sponsors would have balked, pulled their ads, and the scenes would have been deleted, but apparently this is a new day.

Reality Shows

There is one show that featured a former Olympic champion, his wife and the escapades of their three daughters. Then the story branched out as the grown kids began to take over one city after the other. I confess that I used to watch this show, but one day a light bulb went off. The oldest daughter, and the one who should have been setting the example for her kid sisters, is nonchalantly spilling out baby after baby, without so much as a howdy do, despite the fact that their children’s father still has not made an honest woman out of her. Like this is the norm. It was so aggravating to see this type of behavior celebrated, when it is so hypocritical. Let that happen in certain neighborhoods and economic classes, and it immediately brings out stereotypical comments of how “those” poor kids never have a two-parent stable home. But when you’re rich, it’s glorified? No ma’am, it doesn’t work that way. So I stopped watching.

Primetime Drama

It seems as if all of my favorite nighttime melodramas are being shot, live on location, in the polished-up burnt ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah recently. There is one which features a female lead who has the president wrapped around her little finger. And she specializes in handling things that could turn the nation’s capital upside down, if they were to become public. But lately all of the president’s men have been getting an abundance of screen time.

Then my show about the gubernatorial candidate’s family’s love-hate relationship with the housekeeper’s family is spinning out of control. Now to be fair, so far the plots have centered on the patriarch’s son, who is not into men, allowing little peeks and touches, to basically just toy with the judge’s son, who is struggling with coming out. Got all of that? But the show has thus far avoided the gratuitous mat-wrestling tussles that pass for love scenes.

Alas, one of my new favs has also taken the plunge. This fast-moving suspense piece takes the usually boring law classes and has the teacher do what thousands of real life professors long to do. This educator, who is also an attorney, has found a way to keep her students totally engaged by having them apply what they learn in class to the cases they help her solve. The show has some killer, literally, plot turns that keep the viewers on the edge of their seats in anticipation. Be that as it may, this show might be one of the worst yet, as far as aggressive, thrust-it-in-your-face, male-on-male groping.

I guess part of the problem is that these images are not just alluded to, but they are lingered on in overly-long close-up camera shots and angles. I feel that this constant and increasing exposure will desensitize us to the point where we feel any and everything is acceptable, because we see it all the time. Of course, if something offends us, we can always turn our heads. But when it gets to the point where you have to avert your eyes during the majority of the show, then Houston, we have a problem.

There are no immediate fixes or solutions. We don’t want to go back to the days of strict artistic censorship, but we do want to maintain a standard of dignity and decency. While we work on this, I’m thankful that some of the channels are now running some of the past gems in syndication. Those old “Andy Griffith”, “Sanford and Son” and “Perry Mason” reruns are looking pretty good right about now.

 

 

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