My mother loves vintage TV. In fact more than half of her favorite programs were made prior to 1980. And there is a percentage more made up until the 1990’s. And then TV for my mom basically stopped. Anything made after Home Improvement came on the air pretty much does not exist. OK, maybe that is a little unfair. She still watches HGTV and occasionally American Idol or Dancing with the Stars. But that is reality TV – a whole different conversation. I mean scripted TV. She stopped watching sometime in the 90’s. She can still watch an episode of Full House, Step by Step, Family Matters or Roseanne, but she can’t bring herself to watch much more recent shows.
Mom was never one for the one hour drama – she likes sitcoms. But sitcoms have changed. Mom liked the sitcoms about families, who had sanitized family issues resolved in half an hour. Families who hugged and loved each other and the fighting was for laughs. Or there was “a very special episode” – remember those – that dealt with some potentially game changing event or illness…and then was again gone in just a half-hour (or the two part episode which was resolved in an hour). Fun and harmless and, well not real. It is the reason that I can’t watch them over and over again as my mom does…there is an inauthenticity to the characters. They are mere charactatures of real people. Stereotypes of someone you might meet or know.
Those days are most certainly gone … although I have always thought we might cycle back there eventually…it will never be the same as it was before. We are not that innocent (did I just quote Britney Spears?). My new favorite show on TV is Glee. The show is satire…it is part musical, part coming of age story, part adult drama and part ironic farce. I love everything about it. But this is also where my faith and TV collide.
A recent article on Boundless was called “Glee Grieves the Spirit” (http://www.boundlessline.org/2009/10/glee-grieves-the-spirit.html) and it highlights some of the more salacious storylines of the show.
“the producers actually want the viewer to hope the main character’s marriage breaks up. And of course it’s the president of the abstinence club who get’s pregnant”
Yeah. I know.
But this actually brings me to the point, where does the line between showing reality and promoting bad behavior go?
When a character behaves badly, or wants something they shouldn’t, or does something that we disagree with – is this reality on TV, or is this promoting bad behaviors and choices and influencing others to do the same?
Kind of like the chicken and the egg.
Now I will say that things are not as clear cut as the author above would like you to think. There is much more to the story than they are telling here. And some of it is worse, and some of it is better. And some of it makes you wonder – what would I do?
So where do you stand on the topic – TV too realistic? Or TV too powerful in influence?
BTW – this is post 99. At post 70 I offered a prize to all of the people who have commented leading up to post 100. I will enter in the names as soon as I post #100. Could it be you?