Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Must see TV?

In the Entertainment section of the newspaper I have been reading about the "wonderful new Cable TV shows" and the "great writing" to be found there and how we are now in "a golden age of television."
Really? Sorry but for me this gold is dreck.
We dropped cable TV a few months ago.  We purchased an antenna which is mounted in the attic.  It provides very clear images of the four networks plus PBS and some miscellaneous local stations.  We find it useful to get weather news, the government news as reported on ABC, NBC. and CBS, and the local news as required by the Chamber of Commerce.
The entertainment shows in prime time are of scant use to us. Murder, assault, rape, robbery, torture, serial killers, criminal minds, special victims, molestation, crime scene investigaions, trials, stalking, cannibalism, and torture chambers are what passes for entertainment in present-day America.  That, or simpering political correctness and adolescent fantasies.

 Reading about these 'great new shows' on HBO, Netflix, etc around my wife's curiosity.  She discovered that she could download these shows from the internet at no cost.  So she downloaded the complete series of House of Cards and we began to watch them as the last thing before bedtime, not serially in time but on those days when it felt like we needed diversion.
I remember that in the fourth or fifth show I commented that there  were no good people, no honest unselfish people in this story.  It makes Congress look evil.  Can they be happy about that?
Zut alors!  On February 18, Peggy Noonan wrote about the House of Cards and the Congressional response to it.  They love it.  They are proud of it.  They enjoy quoting the famous lines.  Her opinion?  "To have judgements is to be an elitist.  To have doubts is to be yesterday.  To have standards is to be a hypocrite...so why have them?"  She concludes that the response is decadent.

We watched the first two shows of "Empire Boardwalk."  A story of crime, mobs, deceit, cruelty, gratuitous sex, dishonest cops, and no good people.

We watched only the first show of "The Wire."  A story of crime, racism, cruelty, dishonest and corrupt police, and no good people (well maybe one.  We didn't give the show another chance.)

We watched only the first show of "Game of Thrones."   A story of getting head, giving head, cutting off heads, mindless cruelty and the most cliched writing.  It was like seeing American life today transported back in time to an era somewhere between that of the Druids and the Age of Chivalry.

I am not dis-inclined to believe that today's police departments aren't portrayed accurately in these wretched shows but I don't understand why I haven't read one instance of unbrage taken thereto.

Bertolt Brecht wrote "Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it."

Some hammer.  Some shape.

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