Sunday, February 08, 2009
I watch too much tv. There I said it. I feel like I should be in front of a room of people saying...hi my name is Sqt and I watch too much tv. On the other hand, I don't necessarily watch that many shows. The television is, much of the time, nothing more than background noise. I've become so accustomed to it that I will turn it on while I type away on my computer. I often don't even turn it to any particular channel. But the TV is a window to the wider world isn't it? Though it isn't as influential as it used to be, with the advent of the Internet and all. The reason I'm musing over the television and it's influence on society is because I'm wondering if we'll start seeing some major shifts in what is considered entertainment soon. Recent news articles are starting to point out that advertising revenue is significantly down this year, and poised to get worse. This is certainly no shock since virtually every industry has been effected by the economic downturn. I'm only surprised that it has taken this long to hit the entertainment industry in a noticeable way. The obvious outcome of an advertising cutback is that advertisers are going to be more choosy about where they spend their money. I hope that means less "reality tv." I seriously abhor almost all reality-tv-- except "Deadliest Catch." So I'm a hypocrite. But seriously, if I have to make a prediction, I think "reality-tv", at least of a certain type, is going to slowly but surely make an exit. I say this because I think "reality-tv" is a direct result of all the excesses in recent years (decades?). Take the tv show Cribs for example. MTV started airing "Cribs" all the way back in 2000. It was a fun show for awhile-- a glimpse into the lives of the rich and famous-- like the old show with Robin Leach (the original "Cribs"). But after awhile the novelty wears off and you begin to muse on the strangeness of the fact that a pro-skateboarder (and member of the "Jackass" cast) can make such obscene amounts of money that they can paint a Lamborghini purple and deliberately attempt to wreck it just for fun. Yeah, I wish I had over $200k to throw away. Must be nice. The parade of rappers, athletes, rock-stars and other people I never heard of kind of turns into a blur after awhile. I haven't watched the show in years, but I'm not sure it matters. After you see one indoor basketball court in someone's home, you've seen them all. If it were only "Cribs" I really wouldn't have too much to complain about. But it seems as if we have the opportunity to see into the lives of every spoiled, dysfunctional celebrity there is. I know about these shows because I watch "The Soup." Well, that and I have a husband whose guilty pleasure shows include stuff like The Surreal Life and The Two Coreys. I wish I was kidding. The reason all of this is swirling around in my brain right now is because I think this stuff is going to seem beyond obnoxious to people as we try to stay afloat in a rough economy. As I was thinking about all of this I browsed some articles on Depression Era entertainment. Not that I think we're heading for another Great Depression (knock wood! knock wood!). But it's interesting to look back at what was popular during that intense economic downturn. It came right on the heels of the Roaring Twenties-- a time of great excess like we saw with the last housing boom. Predictably entertainment during The Depression was escapist in nature, featuring musicals, "screwball" comedies, gangster films-- and oddly-- movies about the wealthy. Come again? Well, to be more specific, movies about the rich losing all of their money. Okay, that makes more sense. Surely you see where I'm going with this. As our economy continues to contract I think we're going to see a lot of excess shaken out. I've already heard that home builders are downsizing the new homes being built-- the age of the McMansion is probably over for awhile. I've also heard that the absolute symbol of useless excess-- the Hummer, is probably going the way of the dinosaur. So what is going to be superfluous in the entertainment industry? I think, and I sincerely hope, the first casualty is going to be the "reality" show. Then I think the shows that feature characters acting like the Paris Hiltons of the world will be the next to go. I hear a show called "Gossip Girl" is particularly asinine, but I haven't seen it-- I predict it will be that kind of show that follows the "reality" shows into the scrap heap. Anything that represents the spoiled-brat mentality that has so permeated our so-called entertainment has got to go. What do you think? Is it too much to hope for?