Wednesday, October 19, 2005


The Parent's Television Council is my sworn enemy.
Their annual list, only marginally more relevant than Mr. Blackwell's worst dressed, congratulates the "family friendly" programs and clutches its pearls when presented with actual amusing content. According to these folks, the best programming on television is Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Three Wishes. Let that sink in.
These shows have all the trappings of nice. Attractive rich people come in and help out semi-attractive poor people, with the help of the corporations that pay to have lingering shots of their logos marching around the property. Famous people come in to advertise how nice they are. At the end, someone has a new house, or a new leg, or something. But when you think about it, it's kind of a shitty way to treat people. I saw a preview for Three Wishes where the team fixed up one family's house in Louisiana. One family's house. The entire neighborhood is in a shambles and this one family deserves a house? To be fair, Three Wishes avoided the ostentatious McMansion home styling that Extreme Makeover does in impoverished areas. But shouldn't most of the neighborhood get some new houses? What kind of wish-granter only helps one person? Christ, even Jeanie would have blinked up a few trailers without mold for the other people. These programs don't teach great morals. They teach product placement and jealousy.
You should not be watching Family Guy or Arrested Development. Yes, the shows are crude and yes, young kids probably shouldn't be watching them. But they're well written. They're funny. Life is not a sweet candy. Life is a turd coated with candy-- you think it's good until you get to the meat of it. It's messy and crude and full of unsavory situations. I'd much rather my kids (theoretical kids!) watch something witty and crude than a thinly veiled advertisement in the guise of philanthropy.
I'm going to start a group that rates television show on artistic merit. And to those of you who are privy to my television choices, I'd argue that the bitch fights of America's Next Top Model are pure art. Shut up.

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